Meet Circle City Aerodrome
For one night a year, alternative-history aficionados frolic in their intricate Victorian garb and dust off their tricked-out toy guns—all while glitter puddles on the dance floor like oil.
It doesn’t get much more steampunk than that.
Nebulous and imaginative, steampunk is a geek culture that allows people to create a version of themselves in the mid-1800s, right as the Industrial Revolution was taking over. Aside from planning the city’s biggest steampunk ball, which has been held in various months over the last few years, Circle City Aerodrome cultivates that kind of mood all year long. Mary Karty and Matthew Mayer head up Indy’s group, which fosters a community that embraces the sometimes fancy, sometimes grungy aesthetic. Steampunk culture mirrors changes taking place in the world today—namely, sexual, creative, and technological revolutions.
“What makes a world-class city?” says Karty. “It’s art. It’s a place where people feel welcome and comfortable with being themselves. It’s a place where artists have a focus and an audience to show their skill.”
The club gets together the second Sunday of every month at Nine Irish Brothers downtown pub and puts on various DIY workshops and events. In the works right now: kite-flying, a murder-mystery dinner, and possibly an ice cream social this summer.
“People who enjoy steampunk have skills that they like to use for the aesthetic,” says Mayer. “[One member] runs a local publishing house. Someone does specialty robotics.” And others, we’ve noticed, are gifted at crafting corsets, beyond-elaborate crowns, and bird’s-nest hats.