Led by the charmingly gregarious Captain Lucky, the champions of the Aether Brigade are a flawed and mostly well-meaning crew who work to avenge, defend and educate from beyond the inky veil of time itself. These unique protectors could be great, but they would rather stew in their various lunacies. You might be better off without them, but they’ll “help” anyway!
Defining the Aether Brigade
The ensemble-created humor of the Aether Brigade is conveyed across multiple platforms, including live performance, radio theater, comics, video and more. In addition to working together to create our science-fiction props and historical costumes from various past and future eras, our performers utilize a technique inspired by Commedia dell’arte, meaning that the characters have rich, established relationships that inform sketch comedy. Boozy, bawdy, ribald humor is our forte.
Reactive, adaptive and evolving during live performance, we are known for using a stage properly, which is to say that we torched the fourth wall and left it to die in a gutter in El Paso: we talk with the audience, not at them. But if you want, we can pretend to be a TV. Pretending to be a TV costs extra.
* Stage performance: Live sketch comedy, staged readings of radio theater and interactive murder mysteries.
* Video production: Interviews, beverage reviews, spokesperson promotions and more.
* Emcee/MC/Master of Ceremony: Several members of the Aether Brigade are veteran emcees with a range of characters available to fit your event anywhen in space and time.
* Walkaround performance: Also known as character walking, this is environmental, interactive and immersive theater.
* Luxury services: Party planning/hosting, officiating weddings, conducting chartered cruises of San Francisco Bay and catering gourmet dinners.
* Artistic services: Illustration, character design, world building, and comedy script development, costume design, prop construction, set design, graphic design and more.
Ensemble Diversity & Sensitivity
The Aether Brigade is an ensemble effort with all performers invited to participate in creative control. Demographically speaking, we are a diverse group: multi-racial, LGBTQ-inclusive, gender balanced and many of us have disabilities of one kind or another.
We believe it is important to avoid “punching down” in our comedy, but that doesn’t stop us from covering edgy subjects because we also believe that awareness comes from discussion and commentary, in our case often through satire. Most everything are subjects that we will handle with what we see as the right balance of irreverence tempered by respect for others. As an example, we would never joke about a rape, but we would create commentary through satire of rape culture.
The Backup Ribbon Project: “No judgment. No exceptions. Geeks got your back.”
We like to think that we are real-life heroes and not just fictional idiots: we support the Backup Ribbon Project and we will help you as ourselves and not our silly characters, if you genuinely need it. If you are in trouble at our events, the Aether Brigade really is there to protect and serve you.
Awards & Honors
February 2016 – Guest of Honor: Captain Lucky Peddycord (Corey Holden) at the Sacramento Steampunk Society’s Steampunk Emporium & Bazaar
April 2015 – Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award (Best Performance Artist – Captain Lucky Peddycord (Corey Holden))
April 2014 – Steampunk Chronicle Reader’s Choice Award (Best Group Performance (non-music))
December 2013 – Invited to exhibit & perform at the Peninsula Museum of Art, Burlingame, CA by curator Ann DiNapoli
October 2012 – Airship Award: Potpourri category (the catchall category for stuff that didn’t fit other categories) winners – awarding body: SteamCon IV
September 2012 – Daily Deviation – awarding body: DeviantArt.com for “Unhallowed“, photo by Spencer Stecko, model Corey Holden
December 2011 – 1st Place, 5th Annual Steam Explorer’s Consortium – awarding body: Le Legion Fantastique (a now defunct but well-respected performance troupe from the Great Dickens Christmas Fair that portrayed characters from Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and other Victorian science fiction authors)
“The show is a steam powered, time traveling, Who’s Line Is It Anyway on Viagra and steroids. The physical comedy was just as titillating and side-splitting as the sharp wit of the ensemble cast who takes ‘Thinking on your feet’ to a whole new level; 6,000 feet into the aether.”
— Dr. Brassy Steamington of Steampunk Designs by Dr. Brassy Steamington on the Aether Brigade at Clockwork Alchemy 2013
“Such wit! Such tact! Such aplomb!”
— Mary Crawley, High Desert Steam on the Aether Brigade at Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition 2013
“Your equipment was top notch and production brilliant! Quite a group of characters, your crew. Not a loose nut among them though I suspect a few rivets short of watertight just to keep things interesting.”
— Commander Nicholas W. “Whiskey Nick” Triton of Kelly’s Heroes on An Evening with the Aether Brigade September 2013
“I engaged Captain Lucky (Corey) and the Aether Brigade to cater and entertain my wife’s 50th steampunk birthday on the Sunol/Niles railway line. Despite the extreme heat, Captain Lucky and the Aether brigade were a resounding success and made the day a delight to the birthday lady and guests. The catering was delicious and absinthe service a huge hit. The entertainment on the train was fabulous and they Brigade even unveiled a special bomb prop and worked the birthday lady into the script to defuse the situation.
“All in all I would not hesitate to recommend Captain Lucky and the Aether Brigade – they are professionals and deliver a very exciting and differentiated experience.”
— Phil Montgomery, Identiv CPO, July 2014
Some of The Cast & Crew
Mr. Holden created the Aether Brigade originally and continues to guide the project’s evolution as director and producer. An award-winning performer and artist, he plays the popular character “Captain Lucky Peddycord” drawing on his experience as an international circus clown. He holds several degrees on subjects ranging from Computer Science to Liberal Arts, but still can’t figure out his taxes.
Miss Tavares plays “Toppy” the mad and precognitive pilot. A natural comedienne, sculptor, and illustrator, she apprenticed with Todd Andrews of TASCo helping to create large-scale, bronze statuary. She was a professional art slave in Hollywood where she created creature effects for films, including for the Academy Award Winning special effects team of 300, the tale of a band of Spartan soldiers defending their homeland against impossible odds. More recently she studied Illustration at the Academy of Arts University. Gifted on stage, Ms. Tavares’ twisted wit is as sharp as a chainsaw set to “puree”.
New to the stage, yet somehow gloriously awkward, Miss Martin plays “Lieutenant Emma O’Connell”. She is a talented costume designer with a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Also a brilliant props builder, she created her signature robot arm and “Scaffy, the Floor Sweeping Automaton”. Ms. Martin has also discovered a talent for comedy writing and should probably improve all these descriptions with said talent. Hint, hint.
Technical Sergeant Livas is a USAF Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician who loves to create artwork and laughter when not busy saving the world from IEDs. Sgt. Livas plays “Sgt. Quintus Emanuel Washington”. While not busy protecting the real world with the US Air Force, he enjoys trying to reign in the Aether Brigade’s antics as Technical Director for the “Aethercast” series, audio improvisations from the Aether Brigade as well as constructing props such as “Patches” (the mechanical parrot who we can nearly certify is not a listening device for the Pinkerton Detective Agency).
A burlesque performer and actress with a winning smile as well as an excellent and lovely emcee, Mrs. Smuda plays “Corporal Wilhelmina Alice Lowe” when she’s not caring for her loving husband and menagerie of furry, scaled or aquatic babies.
Stand up comedian, comedy writer and incredibly aware of his breath, Mr. Brown has joined the Brigade as “Silent Tom”, the secret captain of the crew and nominally Cabin Boy. Mr. Brown is not mad about life, just disappointed.
Ms. Simon is a longtime improviser, having led an improv meetup for 3+ years, played a Fairytale Princess on one stage, and Mother Goose on another. She’s also been known to act – actually from a script! – and sing both onstage and in the shower. She does double Brigade duty as “Bob the Green Fairy” and “Cinderbellaurora”. When she’s not caring for her two amazing daughters, she spends her free time wondering what the hell to do with her free time.
Formerly, Technical Sergeant Moon played “Sgt. Igor Korvanski” in live performance as well provided superior photography, however, he has since moved across the country and now joins the Brigade strictly for radio theater. Like Sgt. Livas, Sgt. Moon was a Technical Sergeant in US Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal but has since moved on to R&D rather than field duty.
(AKA Pocketm0use) A UK-based illustrator & comic-maker who has always dreamed of being a time traveler. A little too far away to participate in any of the shows, but still delighted to be on board creatively- usually colouring in posters and up-and-coming comic pages! While not working she spends her time developing her computer-themed webcomic and tabletop RPG ‘Noesis.EXE’.
Mr. Jack Tittiger – Talented maker of many gorgeous props.
Mr. George Anderson – Some film photography and editing. Owner and operator of Ripper Studios who made or spiffy opening and closing film sequences.
Mr. Gene Forrer – Backdrop structural architect. Cultural Ambassador and Founder of the Steam Federation (Bay Area Steampunk Association).
Mr. Sean McCaffrey – Photographer and former Artistic Director of Ladies of Steampunk Magazine and has since moved on to head up Clockwork Magazine.
Mr. Tom Banwell – Photography and digital production. Owner and Operator of Tom Banwell Designs.
Ms. Shelley Prevost – Photography. She is an award-winning, independent filmmaker.
Mr. Art Koch – Photography.
Mr. John Fitzpatrick – Assistant and fabricator for Mr. Tittiger’s creative visions.
Mr. Rod Ayers – Found object sculpture design & construction.
Alumni of the Aether Brigade include: Mander Zander, Ruth Sears, Spencer Stecko, Michael Hoff, Dylan Hoy-Bianchi, Nichoel Thorne, and Daisy Knight.