Author: <span class="vcard">Liz Rishel</span>

October 28 Fundraiser Extravaganza!

Not sure what you’re doing on October 28th? Fear not, as you need not sit at home! You have two options that are closely connected to this project and open to the public.

Steam ~ or ~ The Specters of the Knox Mill will be performing at the Undercroft Opera fundraiser, “Macabre Masquerade.” We are very excited to be able to lend our support to one of Pittsburgh’s few community opera companies who still puts on large-scale live productions. We hope that they are able to continue their mission to provide inexpensive viewing experiences to audiences and intermediate-level performing opportunities to the artists of Pittsburgh.

Steam will be performing a small number of their original pieces as well as two covers from Phantom of the Opera to fit the ghostly feel of this Halloween masquerade. Also, if you attend the fundraiser, you will have the opportunity to meet the man in the photo- “Nicholas Monroe”, played by the one and only Rob Frankenberry, who will also be entertaining you that evening.


If Halloween makes you long for the gothic flavor of Edgar Allan Poe and other such haunts, Steam’s  fiscal sponsor, New Sun Rising, is having a fundraiser, “The Moo Ha” to support their mission in assisting projects such as ours and allowing us access to non-profit benefits. This fundraiser will help allay the costs to their projects (us) so that they can help as many startups as possible. This is the first fundraiser in their new space, so we are very excited to wish them well and are very excited.

I would very strongly ask that you consider supporting one of these excellent organizations, and have a wonderful time attending one of these fundraisers.

Have a spoopy time!! 🙂



Steam is looking for Extras!


If you would like to be involved in the filming of the first chronological episode of Steam ~ or ~ The Specters of the Knox Mill, we would love to have you on board!


Filming will take place in the courtyard of the Penn Brewery on Labor Day, September 4th.  Please check in no later than 7:00 AM.  We will be done shooting by 11:00 AM, so you may still be available to enjoy holiday activities.  


The scene we are filming is of the outside of a fictional Pittsburgh steel mill in the midsts of chaos. Workers are fleeing the scene of an accident, which is still in progress inside.  Some workers are arguing to go back inside to save their friends. The crowd outside is full of onlookers, workers who have escaped, and loved ones searching for their friends and family.


How should I dress?


We don’t have the resources to costume everybody, but we will try to have small details to enhance your pieces if needed. Steam is a steampunk production, but leans more toward the Victorian. Clothing needn’t be precise in its accuracy, but should give a strong Victorian impression with whatever you can provide. Steam depicts a more idealized version of history with regard to gender/race roles in society, so please choose whichever Steampunk/Victorian identity you wish:


  • Mill Workers: (We will need the most of these in both men and women)

Please wear clothing that can get dirty. If your clothing cannot get dirty, please tell wardrobe.


Men: Dark pants, old jeans (please avoid modern cuts and styles), or denim overalls are all appropriate.  Grey, blue, or dirty white button down shirts (Mandarin collar or tux shirt are best), alternatively, you could wear a button collar knit shirt or thermal. Long sleeves please on either shirt style. If you are wearing a knit shirt, you may wear suspenders.  If you are wearing a dress-style shirt, you may wear suspenders or a dark vest.

You may wear an Ivy Cap (flap cap), or newsie hat, if desired.

Shoes: You may wear dressy/durable black shoes or thick leather work boots.

Hair.  Cleanly styled, but disheveled.  If long hair, please wear in a low ponytail.


Women: You may wear any of the clothing described for the men, and/or substitute in bloomers for pants, and dark cinchers/corsets for vests. Please feel free to layer suspenders and corsets.

Hair:  Updo, please if you have long hair.  For further instruction, check out the tutorial I made for Steampunk Hair which is posted to the Facebook page.  If short hair, wear cleanly styled.


Additional Accessories:  Plain or leather apron, goggles, welder’s masks (period non-specific), thick leather gloves welcome.


  • Special workers: If you can commit to more than one day of filming, you may be asked to return for filming inside the mill location.


Bystanders / Significant others: (Your clothing will not be dirtied or distressed)


Men and women may wear personal Victorian/Steampunk costumes in full including hats (please avoid goggles for this scene, since you are mixed among mill workers.)

If you do not own a full ensemble, please bring:

Men: Black pants, white or off-white shirt, black or dark vest. Black or Grey dress jacket optional.

Hats: Top Hat, Bowler Hat, Ivy Cap welcome

Accessories: Canes, ‘little dark sleeve holders’ welcome.

Hair.  Cleanly styled.  If long hair, please wear in a low ponytail.


Women: Long (floor length if possible) flowy skirt, second flowy skirt for layering. Button-down Shirt that is either white/off white or coordinates with one of your skirts. Tight-fitted jacket.

Hats: Large-brim, wheel hat (crammed with feathers and accessories), tiny hats, fascinators welcome.

Accessories: Corsets, Vests, Chokers, long necklaces, bracelets, white (or matching) gloves, parasols (decorative European-style Victorian) welcome.

Hair:  Updo, please if you have long hair.  For further instruction, check out the tutorial I made for Steampunk Hair which is posted to the Facebook page.  If short hair, wear cleanly styled.


Alternatively, you could dress in a profession of the time.  


Please feel free to wear items of personal or character significance providing they do not grab too much focus on frame. We would be delighted to know that your personal cosplay is a part of the events.


When you arrive:


Street Parking is available around the Penn Brewery. Please park with consideration of local signs and laws.

  • Please check in with Joel Egyud who will give you some paperwork to sign.
  • Check in with Wardrobe who will greenlight your outfit or give you additional accessories to wear.  If you borrow accessories, you will need to sign a ‘wardrobe lend’ slip filled out by the costumer that rents an item. When you leave, you will need to return the items, and the costumer will check each off to denote that they have been returned.


We will have water available, but you may want to bring a small snack. Please wait in the break area until called to the set by the film team.  Steam and its crew are not responsible for lost or stolen items, so please leave anything of significant value in your vehicle.


Thank you for your interest, and I am looking forward to a truly rewarding day on September 4th!




Liz Rishel


Vandalia-Con Recap!

This past weekend, we at Steam ~ or ~ The Specters of the Knox Mill took our show on the road to perform as the headlining act at Vandalia-Con Steampunk convention in Parkersburg, WV. Arriving shortly before 1 PM at the Blennerhasset Hotel, we set up our merch table in the Ballroom where we spoke to passersby about the project and ran a demo reel of footage from the music video.

Hard At Work!

The Steam Team is hard at work getting ready for Vandalia-Con, as well as starting design work for Episode 1 filming. Steam welcomes our new Production Designer/ art director, Jess Bala to the project. Jess’s visual talent was implemented previously as Liz’s Makeup Designer for “The Pitch” Music video shoot at Mr. Smalls Theater, and she is gung ho to carry that vision into the design of our Pittsburgh Industrial Revolution Steampunk world!

Steam Live at Vandalia-Con!

On Friday, May 26th, Steam will perform a live concert as musical guests at Vandalia-Con, as part of their Friday Night Pink Block Party entertainment. Vandalia-Con is a steampunk convention whose proceeds provide cancer screenings to women of West Virginia. Steam will be performing all original music, including some never-before-heard previews from their first episode, currently in pre-production.


Meet Charlotte Monroe

Photograph by Keith LeonardIn honor of International Women’s Day, we’d like to introduce you to the heroine of Steam ~ or ~ The Specters of the Knox Mill, Charlotte Monroe.

Steam is Stylin’!!

IMG_1199 (1)

A huge Thank You to Point Park University (Alma Mater of Steam’s Drummer/Baritone, Sean Lenhart) for gifting out project with 19 Men’s jackets in Tux and Frock style and several women’s gowns…. and one tiny hat. ^_^

Period costumes are expensive and rare, and we are so overjoyed to have a compliment of costumes available for our project that will make our actors look snazzy! Some of these will remain the same, and some may get some Steampunk treatments, but either way, it is huge leap ahead for us, and an amazing cost-saver.

Thank you Point Park, our theater angels!

Last Three Days of our Kickstarter

It’s been a long month of fundraising for this project on Kickstarter, and now we are down to our last three days. Some of you joined us for the dance party at Cattivo, celebrating our launch, hosted by the Awesome DJ Kelly A, some were listening to our short segment on the Saturday Light Brigade, some saw our beautiful full-spread ad designed by the talented Marjorie Rishel in the program for Undercroft Opera’s Don Giovanni, and some of you tuned in to our Twitch live stream last Saturday, featuring the endlessly entertaining Bonnie Bogovich and her cache of chickens. Many of you heard about us through friends, and many from one of us directly. To everyone who has been following us and especially to our Kickstarter backers, we want to express our most sincere gratitude.

Saturday Light Brigade Interview

Did you catch Liz Rishel on the Saturday Light Brigade this past saturday? Steam was granted an interview live on the radio, and you can check it out here!

Live Twitch Stream

Saturday, June 4, starting at noon and running until four, the Steam Team and Special Guests will be running a LIVE PLEDGE DRIVE on Twitch!  There will be games, there will be sneak previews of songs, there will be steam punk demonstrations, and MORE!

Check us out at

Don’t forget that it’s all to advertise our Kickstarter! Help share the link and add to your pledges at