YOU ARE HERE: Burbank HomeCollectionsBurbank

Burb's Eye View: Steampunk and cutthroat card games

April 08, 2013|By Bryan Mahoney

On Saturday, I was asked to check out a time-traveling phone booth that landed in Burbank. It was one of those invitations you don’t refuse.

When I arrived, I was cordially ushered into the middle of an old-west gunfight. The local sheriff had just placed a suspect in jail and, in the name of justice and winning, shot at her for good measure. Sure, the bullets were cardboard and the two held their respective titles only on paper, but “Bang!” is a cutthroat card game and the emotional wounds can run deep.

“Shooting someone while they’re in your jail is a little questionable,” cried an incredulous Kaya Cummings, who watched Alessandro Signorini flip over each card that indicated she’d been “shot.”

They joined about 40 other game players outside Clockwork Couture Saturday for International Tabletop Day, an event devoted to role-playing card and board games.

Besides the shootout, I visited a group of school bullies gleefully stealing each other’s pennies in the appropriately titled “Lunch Money,” while at a table next to me a Jedi sought to wrest control of the universe from a young lady clad in Victorian-era replica garb.


Overseeing the calamitous fray was “head troublemaker” Donna Ricci, who when she’s not hosting gamers in front of her shop, is the founder of Clockwork Couture. Last November, she opened the shop on Main Street in Burbank when online sales of her steampunk couture grew too big for her living room.

And what is steampunk? For a definition, I asked Trip Hope, resplendent in vest and old-timey pantaloons.

“It’s a genre of Victorian-era science fiction, where the highest level of technology is steam power,” he said. “It’s a wonderful excuse to dress in Victorian-era corsets and vests … if people dress up in steampunk, they look amazing in it.”

Hope is a member of the League of S.T.E.A.M., a group that hosts a Web series in addition to performing live events. They’re the embodiment of the shop’s style, where old English hats and dresses are sold along with boots and waistcoats that look as if Jules Verne might have owned them.

Burbank Leader Articles Burbank Leader Articles