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Showdown at Unobtainium: Tesla vs. Edison

Showdown at Unobtainium: Tesla vs. Edison

The Showdown at Unobtainium 2012: Tesla vs. Edison was an open (community) sourced, highly entertaining and amusing, educational and intellectual, and wholly immersive event.

It’s was a science, arts and music extravaganza married to a Comic Con and underpinned by a “virtual world made physical” approach employed by Renaissance festivals.

The event’s “spiritual” heart was all about innovation, STEAM in education, DIY, and entrepreneurial thinking.

Our audience consisted of a rabid “steampunk” and pop culture aficionado fan base, as well as inventors, programmers, entrepreneurs, hackers, revisionist historians, and “Makers” of all flavors.

In addition to two full days of musical and Vaudevillian-style entertainment, we featured, in conjunction with the Tesla Project, and a number of other Austin maker groups, an educational Maker Mad Science Lab for kids of all ages to create and experiment.

Immersive in nature, costumed actors, played “captains of industry” and 19th century scientists and culture makers, as well as spiritualists, wild west cowboys, snake oil salesmen, a preacher, and even the Son of Perdition, himself!

Set in the old mining ghost town of Unobtainium, TX, the highlight of the event was the fictional “smackdown” based on the very real rivalry between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. A hilarious stage show, it begin on civil terms as the gents each presented their side of the story – utilizing steampunk-style PowerPoint presentations – in a celebrity moderated debate ala political candidate forum. However, it rapidly devolved into highly erudite name-calling, followed by a Victorian-style martial arts cane fighting, followed by “Team Tesla” and “Team Edison” rushing the front of the stage, who exchanged “blows” in a melee of epic proportions. Tesla coils sparked madly and smoke rose as the action got more intense. Mr. Edison went down for the count and had EMTs reviving him with Steampunk-style (Tesla-invented, of course!) defibrillators.