Monday, July 20, 2009
On Friday night, Duncan and I took up our friend (and my bandoneon repairman) Kimric Smythe's invitation to an afternoon of high tea and an evening of hijinx with the crew of Neverwas Haul. Neverwas is a nearly indescribable oddity, a self-propelled three-story Victorian house on wheels, brimming with wonders inside and out. It was moored at The Shipyard Studios just off Ashby Street in Berkeley, where the crew hosted the tea, cocktail hour, dinner, and stage show in full regalia as a team of demented inventors and industrialists. I daresay that for as amazing as the Neverwas Haul crew members were in character, it wasn't much of a stretch for any of them -- they're all mad about art and science and history!
Besides the people and the moving house, there were a number of inventions at the event, including a steam powered engine that also happened to play sirens and several copper whistles. Most impressive was a whizzing little Heron engine that looked about ready to explode. You can see a video of another of Kimric's inventions, a steam powered calliope, being played at the recent Maker Faire here.
I left the evening with my mind reeling and just giddy for Kimric and his comrades. The event, and Neverwas Haul and all its marvels, felt deliciously dangerous and was a perfect example of people diving in headfirst and committing themselves to an artistic project and way of life because there's no way they can't do it.