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Home » ARTS AND CULTURE » CONNECTICUT » Dr. Grymm Laboratories and The Mark Twain House & Museum Present the 2011 Steampunk Bizarre - The Unknown
Dr. Grymm Laboratories and The Mark Twain House & Museum Present the 2011 Steampunk Bizarre - The Unknown

The Mark Twain House, Hartford, CT

By Mark B. Oliver | November 17, 2011

The Edgar Allan Poe Nightmare Inducer (Joey Marsocci: Dr Grymm)
Baby Head Music Box #7 (L) & Steampunk DRD (R) (Justin Stanley)
PEGGY The Robot Assistant (Joey Marsocci:Dr Grymm)
The Weather or Naught Gun 2.0 (Joey Marsocci: Dr Grymm)
The Gaslamp Gallery (Kiara Leistikow )

Mark Twain was a prolific and highly successful writer, but what is less well known is that he was an inventor too.

Fish Boy (Joey Marsocci: Dr. Grymm)

His inventions sadly, were not as successful as his writing, and his investment in one of James Paige's inventions, the Paige Compositor, cost him his entire fortune.

This early forerunner of the printing press was unreliable, which was its undoing.   On display at the Mark Twain House Museum, the compositor is extraordinary, a marvelously intricate, and large, machine.

Perhaps then it is less surprising to find the third annual Steampunk Bizarre Exhibit running at the museum through January.   Steampunk?

The curator of the exhibit Joey Marsocci (or Dr. Grymm as he is known in steampunk circles) explains.

“It would have to be a world that never actually happened.   But if steam power still existed but throw on top of it all of the technology that we have today.   Most people would consider it a mixture of Victorian and science fiction.”

It’s an interesting thought; what if technology had developed along a different path?

Many steampunk enthusiasts are inspired by the great literary writers of the Victorian age such as Twain, H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.   Perhaps the Nautilus from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, the famous submarine from the Verne classic, is the most well known literary steampunk invention.

The works of Mary Shelley are often an influence too, introducing elements of gothic horror.

Construct 489 (Justin Stanley)

So what of the exhibit itself?

As you step inside the room, you hear an eerie voice drifting towards you.   It is The Edgar Allan Poe Nightmare Inducer which was created by Marsocci, with sound design by Mark Adams.   It sets the scene perfectly, as you walk around looking at the creations.

The variety is notable from flying devices, to robot constructs and steam powered weaponry to name just a few.

Clever use is made of the available space with partitions on which certain creations such as The Morgan Aeronautical Destroyer of Satan’s Arrogance by David Lee are hung, creating more space for the inventions.   The lighting, which is suitably dimmed without being dark, adds to the overall effect.

A group of teenagers on a school trip were there, and in excited but hushed tones, moved from exhibit to exhibit.

They were clearly enthralled by the ingenuity, and gothic elements of the exhibit, but what seemed to interest them the most was the question “What if?” Inspiring their imaginations is no mean feat in this world of sensory overload.

If you are a fan of the writers mentioned, science fiction, inventions, gothic horror, or are simply intrigued by the unusual, there is much to be enjoyed here.

For more information on the exhibit visit the Mark Twain House website or www.DrGrymmLaboratories.net.


The Mark Twain House

351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105


The 2011 Steampunk Bizarre - The Unknown

The exhibit runs until January 15, 2012, and entrance is free with the purchase of a ticket to tour the Mark Twain House, or $6 for entrance to just the museum.

Tour Tickets:

Senior Citizens: $14 (65+)

Adults: $16 (17 - 64)

Children: $10

Under 6: Free

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