Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Ren's Rant: : "Epilogue For Rick's Cafe Americain... Life Imitates Art."

I wanted to share this piece with my friends here at Dieselpunks that took me a couple of weeks to write:
"Epilogue For Rick's Cafe Americain... Life Imitates Art."
I wrote this as a tribute or as a love-letter to a place that was a second home to me during a difficult time in my life 20 years ago when I had to say good bye to a young woman who wasn't any good for me. Or anyone else for that matter.

This story also reminded me of what's been going on in some of the darker corners of The Retroverse where webmasters want to hoard all the attention of their members and don't want anyone to know that other sites exist unless those sites are run by members in their little cliques. That's a brick wall that I've run into during the half decade that I've been running The Fedora Chronicles. People that I've worked with before have given me the "I stick my neck out for nobody" attitude after I've helped or defended them before.

Newer sites that could have used the help from the more establish sites that were run by long time members were shunned. Now I'm getting reports that some of the newer sites are now on the brink of closure if they haven't already gone off-line. Many of the sites that were on "GeoCities" have faded into oblivion since they didn't find or were offered new homes. [My biggest regret this year is that I didn't get to any of them fast enough despite the alerts and requests I "spammed" on many of the yahoo groups I belong to.]

The consequences for the more established sites? Long time members who used to go there don't any more. Who needs the elitist attitude of some of these admin who believe that it's their privilage to allow other sites to get the recognition they deserve? Many other admin come off as mom-bosses, thinking that they have the power to make up-starters as big as they want them to be. The results, sites that I used to frequent often don't get a minutes worth of my time. They aren't worth yours, either.

Now that it's my turn to play that game since our site continues to grow, I made the decision to help out any new webmaster that's looking for help. I believe that The Fedora Chronicles has started a "beautiful friendship" and I've linked to Dieselpunks on our main-site, (on the top of the screen, click "Features" and you'll see the link to this site.) How could it possibly hurt The Fedora Chronicles by linking to Dieselpunks? Since this site has linked to us I've seen an increase in our traffic, and since I always wanted to do a page on The FC dedicated to dieselpunk but didn't have the time I'll just respect this site as if it were our own. I get more time to write articles about being retro in a modern world. Hopefully I'll be able to continue to write in this blog section of "Dieselpunks."

Which makes the snobbish behavior of more established sites more of a mystery. What harm could have been done if the older more "established" sites affiliated with The Fedora Chronicles? I would like to think that a lot of our goals would have been meet or succeeded if we had done just that. But since those other webmasters felt "threatened" by us because we filled a niche they didn't, I can't say as though I blame them. We'll see how well they do as more long-time members become more alienated and feel just as disenfranchised as I did.

Which brings me back to "Rick's Cafe Americian" that used to reside in the old Service Building in Rutland, Vermont. I have no idea why it when under or changed it's theme. As I wrote before I wish it was still there. If every classic movie fan, retrocentric, vintage aficionado, dieselpunk and "IndyFan" went there once a month with-in a 100 mile radius at least a couple of times a year - I have no doubt that "Rick's" would have remained open. I would love to have planned a pilgrimage to Rutland, Vermont with fellow retros on The East Coast, made a weekend of it...

What more can fellow retro's do to help each other out and avoid the tragic closings in the past in both the digital and physical world? Who else can we link to, what other "Rick's Cafe" are out there that could really use some help and remain open? If you have any ideas, e-mail me and we'll get started.

Meanwhile, enjoy Dieselpunks - get involved and show off your art work if have something to share. Keep your chins up and your fedoras on!

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Comment by Tome Wilson on November 6, 2009 at 2:31pm
I couldn't agree more, Mr. Fisk.

On one hand, I don't know too many retro sites that cater to the *punk culture. Like anything, there are conservatives that feel the whole thing is silly and there are extremists who want us to all go away because it doesn't fit their very narrow definition of what they're into.

I look at us like ships in the ocean. We're built of the same steel and we face the same challenges. We both need crews, we both need a reason to stay out of dry dock, and we both fear getting rusty. There's no point at going at it alone.

I'm tipping my hat to Jonny B for introducing me to the Fedora Chronicles. Hopefully, when I'm done my crunch at office next week (damn politicians), I'll have more time to enjoy what you've built because its really fun.

As for sharing, I'm always open to meeting new people, new groups, and new ideas. I'm not here to make money. I'm here because I get exposed to a lot of good history and art that I wouldn't normally come in contact with. It makes me a better man.
Comment by lord_k on November 6, 2009 at 11:36am
I've read your piece. It looks so familiar.
He was putting her on that plane not because he loved Ilsa, but because he was tired of the ambiguity of it all. He was tired of al the indecisiveness of her choices. Frustrated with not knowing what cards were dealt, he folded his hand on the tarmac of he airport.
That's exactly how I feel about Casablanca.
But there's something more. Somewhere between the lines there's a glimpse of me, wearing khaki and drinking my nights away at Cafe Rose, listening to Casablanca soundtrack when I finally come home, dreaming of putting an end to all this and not knowing how. Since then, my life has changed and not once - but I cannot say it's behind me. There's always a feeling, just around the corner.
Thank tou, Sir.

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