GeekGirlCon Blog

An Interview with Feminist Camp

Feminist Camp is a weekend camp for college-age students that goes beyond classroom or campus activism for networking and learning more about feminism. While Feminist Camp was originally based in New York, it has since expanded to the Seattle area. I had the opportunity to speak to the campers last November, and also got to interview the camp organizers!

 

What are your official roles at Feminist Camp?

KATIE GALLAGHER: I’m one of the Feminist Camp Seattle directors, along with Jody.

JODY JOLDERSMA: I’m the other Seattle director, along with Katie.

CARLY ROMEO: I’m the Feminist Camp Director, I run all the sites!

What is Feminist Camp?

KATIE: Feminist Camp is a transformative experience. I attended the NYC program when I was a senior in college and emerged as an entirely different person by the end of it. Being immersed in a constant exchange of big ideas (from both experts and campers!) shaped who I am as a thinker and an activist. I left camp with a stronger feminist network, a new perspective, and the kind of renewed energy that can only come from spending a week with passionate, driven people.

JODY: I attended the Feminist Intensive program in NYC, which visited many of the same organizations as the week long program but is targeted at professional mid-career women. I was introduced to A.I.R. Gallery (the first women run cooperative art gallery in the United States) during my session. As a professional artist this was a great opportunity to expand my network and was pivotal in my career.

CARLY: Feminist Camp is an intimate week-long conference for folks who want to further explore what feminism looks like beyond theories/campus activism. It’s one part inspirational retreat, one part professional development, and one part launchpad.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

Seven Indie Games that I played in 2016

2016 was a pretty interesting year for games: with the rise of VR and announcements about new generation consoles, there’s a lot more going on for gaming than in previous years. I didn’t get to play everything that I wanted to (of course), and although I played a lot of AAA games as well, I’m trying to spend more time looking at indie offerings. Here (in no particular order) is a quick list of some of the indie games that I played last year and would recommend:

Inside

Inside is a side-scrolling puzzle/platform game from indie studio Playdead, where you control a boy who, from the first scene, is being chased by soldiers, dogs and scientists. Although the narrative doesn’t do much to explain what’s happening, you do get to wear mind control helmets to move zombies around to solve puzzles, and there’s an underlying commentary about autonomy and ownership. The art is minimal, with the setting being mostly black and gray, except for your character and interactable objects. Likewise, there’s very little soundtrack, with only audio cues, and the sound of your character’s footsteps, which really adds to how eerie the setting is.

This War of Mine

This one came out in 2014 but I only got around to playing it in 2016. There are lots of games about war, but This War of Mine is unique in that you play as non-combatant residents of a war-torn city–all the fighting you do is for your day-to-day survival. I think this one hit home particularly hard because I started playing as the Siege of Aleppo was intensifying at the end of the year, and there are some incredibly heartbreaking choices you have to make. It’s not a game I would say I enjoyed per se, but I think it is definitely one that is worth playing for the lessons in empathy, understanding and acceptance it can teach. (And if that’s not emotionally wrenching enough for you, there’s now an expansion called This War of Mine: The Little Ones where you experience the besieged city through the eyes of a child.)

Overcooked

Overcooked is a great little cooking game where couch cooperation is key to success–it’s not enough to just be good at the game as an individual; where it gets fun (and tricky and frustrating) is playing with a group of up to three other players, where you have to navigate a kitchen without bumping into each other to source, prepare, cook and serve food. With some clever mechanics that focus on teamwork and cooperation, hilarity (and a little bit of rage) ensues.

Unravel

I absolutely love Unravel. It’s probably the most visually stunning game on this list, and it’s a little game with a lot of heart. You play as Yarny, an anthromorphic ball of yarn who—as the name suggests—unravels as he traverses across levels, using his yarn to solve puzzles and move objects around. The mechanics in the game are pretty straightforward, but what ties Unravel together (if you forgive the pun) is how lovely it is. The story is poignant and bittersweet, but it is incredibly clear that the developers really put their love into making it the game that they wanted. Also, you’d never imagine that a ball of red yarn could have so much emotion and personality.

Firewatch

I’m a huge fan of adventure games, but the majority of them that I’ve played are of the point-and-click variety. Firewatch is almost like a grownup version of that, with a mystery that drives the story and a first-person perspective that works surprisingly well for the narrative and the puzzles. You play as Henry, a volunteer lookout for Shoshone National Park, and your only means of connection to the outside world is via a walkie-talkie. As you patrol your part of the park, you discover a whole host of different storylines that interweave. I really enjoyed the way Firewatch set up dialog trees so that your responses in your conversations would drive how your experience in the game evolved.

Salt and Sanctuary

If you like the grindiness of games like Dark Souls, but set in a 2D platformer, where you can play cooperatively with your friends (and not just people who invade your game), Salt and Sanctuary might be worth checking out. It’s a hard game, but there are lots of player customizations, and playing with your friends helps soften the blow of the many, many, times that you’ll die in the game.

The Flame in the Flood

The Flame in the Flood is a roguelike survival game, where you play as Scout, a survivor in a flooded, post-apocalyptic America where the land has been transformed into a series of islands that she has to traverse on a makeshift raft. As she and her dog Aesop travel down the river, Scout has to contend with wild animal attacks, snakebites, hunger, and staying warm and dry, all the while as she uncovers the mystery of where everyone went during the rapture. What keeps the game together is the river, which varies between calm streams to rushing rapids that you have to maneuver through to get to the next destination. Will it take you where you want to go? Or will you be dashed upon rocks? I also highly recommend the soundtrack for The Flame in the Flood; I didn’t stop listening to it for weeks after I finished the campaign.

What did you play in 2016 that you enjoyed? Are there any other indie games that you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below! Happy gaming for 2017!

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

New Year, New You… as a GeekGirlCon Volunteer!

If one of your resolutions for the new year* was to support a nonprofit that supports women and girls in STEAM fields, comics, games, and other geekdoms, now’s the chance to act on it.

GeekGirlCon is looking for volunteers for 2017! With our well-documented convention expansion last year, we were looking to hire more Agents than ever before, and we’ve also brought on more staff to support the organization year-round.

This could be you. (Image source: GeekGirlCon Flickr)

We have even loftier plans for 2017, and bigger plans means a bigger army of dedicated, awesome volunteers. We’d love for you to join us for a whole plethora of reasons. Because we’re an amazing organization and an even better community. Because we’re dedicated to being able to make room for what we love doing. Because the representation of women and girls in all forms of geekery matters. Because we’re going to need all the help we can get.

So, will you be a hero(ine) and answer the call?

*Even if you didn’t make resolutions, or your resolutions didn’t involve GeekGirlCon, we’d still love to hear from you!

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

A Season’s End: Looking Forward, Looking Back at 2016

My original plan for this blog post was to write a review of the events of the past 12 months. But, for a lot of us, 2016 was not the greatest year, for a variety of reasons. A lot of scary political things happened, or are still happening, both at home and abroad. Many figures who were influential when we were growing up passed away. Zika, Brexit, having giraffes added to the endangered species list

It’s no wonder that some people have described this year as a giant dumpster fire.

But I guess that I’m ever the optimist, and even in the face of an uncertain future I look forward to opportunities for changing ourselves for the better. It might not look like much in the grand scheme of things—I mean, what is learning how to crochet really going to do when there are animals on the brink of extinction?—but I believe in progress, even if progress happens to be tiny baby steps that are barely perceivable on a large scale. As long as you keep on moving, you’re still getting somewhere, as it were.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

December Geek About Town!

‘Tis the season! Here’s the last round of Geek About Town for 2016!

 

Thursday, December 1: MoPOP Campout Cinema: Die Hard

8:00pm (doors open 7:30pm), MoPOP (formerly EMP Museum), 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, WA

Tickets $12 ($10 for members)

This event is 21+

It’s up to John McClane to save this office holiday party gone wrong in the Campout Cinema screening of Die Hard (1988).die_hard_poster

New York City officer John McClane is in town to visit his estranged wife and daughters on Christmas Eve. But when the holiday party his wife’s attending in the exclusive Nakatomi Corporation building is taken over by a group of terrorists, it’s up him to take on the villains and save the hostages from certain death.

Watch the film that launched Bruce Willis’ career as an action hero, and gave Alan Rickman his first starring role as Hans Gruber, the German leader of the group of thieves.

Tickets include admission to Infinite Worlds of Science Fictionwhere you can view artifacts from another Bruce Willis-led film: The Fifth Element.

For more ’80s-themed holiday fun (and a place to show off your ugly sweaters!), join us at Yippee-Ki-Yay Happy Hour (21+, free) before the screening for themed cocktails, old-school hip-hop, and clips from classic ’80s holiday films and TV.

 

Saturday, December 3: Rat City Rollergirls presents: Debutante Brawl

5:30pm-8pm, The Rat’s Nest, 19022 Aurora Ave N, Shoreline, WA

Tickets $20 adults, $15 for kids

Want to meet Rat City’s newest home team skaters? Check them out in the Debutante Brawl, a Rat City tradition where our newly drafted skaters go head to head to show you what they’ve got! This year, we’ll have two mashup teams: Grave Danger and the Sockit Wenches will join forces as the Danger Wenches, while DLF and the Throttle Rockets are combining to become the Rocket Liberation Front!

Doors open at 5:30 with our first whistle at 6pm. There will be a reception/meet and greet in the lobby to follow the bout; maybe you’ll find a new fan favorite!

Tickets are $20 and available online or at the door; kids 6-12 are $15.

 

Sunday, December 4: 15th Anniversary of Spirited Away

Check your local cinemas for screening times and ticket prices!

 

Sunday, December 4: Doctor Wholidays

6:30pm-11:30pm, MoPOP (formerly EMP Museum), 325 5th Avenue N. Seattle, WA 98109

Tickets $24 ($18 for members, $9 for kids under 15)

Time Lords big and small are welcome to join us for our annual celebration of BBC’s iconic series, Doctor Who. Don’t miss out on this yearly tradition including the famous holiday-themed TARDIS photo op, plus costume contest, Whovian bingo and trivia, screenings from Doctor Who Christmas specials, festive live music, Doctor dance party, family-friendly holiday activities, and drink specials that are sure to make you wibbly wobbly!

Tickets include admission into MoPOP’s Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction, which features the original Dalek and Cyberman used in the filming of classic Doctor Who episodes from the 1980s.

 

Tuesday, December 6: All Geeks, All Games at Mox Boarding House!

6:30-9:30pm, Mox Boarding House, 13310 BelRed Rd, Bellevue, WA

Our All Geeks, All Games events are growing in popularity!

Join GeekGirlCon and Mox Boarding House in Bellevue and help us continue to expand our community of diverse and inclusive gamers to the East Side!

Help us fill that beautiful Tournament Room with folks enjoying our favorite games in a safe and accepting atmosphere. Why mess with the headache of traffic when you can come and play games with us instead.

Staff from both organizations will be on hand to help facilitate gameplay for the shy to the extroverted, from the expert strategist to the board game neophyte. With a huge lending library of games on hand, there will be something for everyone!

As an added bonus, if you play a board game from their library and love it, you can buy a fresh copy for 20% off! How cool is that?!

 

Thursday, December 8: Seattle Human Rights Day: Jose Antonio Vargas

jose-antonio-vargas_headshot

7:30pm (doors open 6:30pm), Thursday, December 8, 2016

Seattle First Baptist Church, 1111 Harvard Ave, Seattle, WA, 98122

Free!

This Human Rights Day celebration puts a spotlight on local organizations and initiatives who are making waves in the community, and places them in context with broader issues happening across America. This year’s program (the city’s 17th annual event!) features journalist, filmmaker, and immigrants’ rights activist Jose Antonio Vargas (White People) as the keynote speaker. An undocumented immigrant himself, Vargas, who also founded the Define American organization, has worked to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America.

 

Friday, December 9: GeekGirlCon Board Game Night at Wayward Coffeehouse!

7:00pm-10:45pm, 6417 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA

Do you love board games and enjoy teaching others how to play? Explore the board/card game hobby and meet folks happy to teach you their favorite board games! Come and play with folks who love playing games. And the best part about the GeekGirlCon game nights with our friends at Wayward? They are absolutely FREE with no cover charge!

Our group is inclusive and totally newbie-friendly. We play a wide range of modern board and card games as well as some classics. You might find CodenamesLove Letter, SplendorKing of Tokyo, Völuspá, slashAlien Frontiers, Locke & Key, Coup, Tokaido, SuperfightThe Resistance, Colt ExpressSkull and Roses, Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, Toc Toc Woodman, FLUXX and many more!

Bring a game with you or just bring yourself. Join GeekGirlCon staffers, make some new friends, play some games, and enjoy some delicious organic, fair trade, and shade-grown coffee.

 

Saturday, December 10: The Ada Party

10:00am-5:00pm, The Living Computer Museum, 2245 1st Ave S, Seattle, Washington 98134

Tickets $10

All-ages public event celebrating one of the first influencers in computing history, Ada Lovelace! Join us in our brand new interactive 1st floor space for birthday treats, presentations by leading ladies of the tech world, workshops for all ages, and a film screening of Code: Debugging the Gender Gap!

 

Saturday, December 10-Sunday, December 11: GeekCraft Expo

11:00pm-6:00pm, Seattle Center Pavilion, 305 Harrison St, Seattle, WA

GeekCraft Expo is a curated craft market specializing in handmade, “geek”-themed crafts of all kinds; clothing, accessories, toys, home decoration, furniture, art…if it’s geeky and made by hand, it can be found at a GeekCraft Expo. If you’d like to see some examples of what you can find at GeekCraft Expo, visit our photo gallery page.

 

Tuesday, December 13: Why do we vote the way we do? With Hanna Brooks Olsen

7:30PM, Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Public Room, Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Free!

Why did you vote the way you did—and who helped you make your decision? Between fake Facebook news, the domination of cable news personalities, and the rapid shrinking of local media outlets, it’s harder than ever to figure out how we even feel about an issue. Often, we turn to trusted sources…like our friends and family. But what does that mean for our ballots?

Join Town Hall Scholar-in-Residence, policy wonk, and Seattlish co-founder Hanna Brooks Olsen for an original talk on the subject of trust and voting, followed by an interactive conversation about the role of the news, social media, and community spaces (like Town Hall!) in politics, both local and national.

 

Thursday, December 15: Star Wars: Rogue One Premiere: Cinerama

4:00pm-1:00am, Seattle Cinerama, 2100 4th Ave, Seattle, Washington 98121

Garrison Titan and Alpha Base return to entertain fans at The Cinerama!

 

Thursday, December 15: Star Wars: Rogue One Premiere: PacSci IMAX

4:00pm-1:00am, Pacific Science Center, 200 2nd Ave N, Seattle, Washington 98109

Garrison Titan roams the Pacific Science Center to entertain fans awaiting Rogue One in IMAX!

 

Wednesday, December 21: The Good Shubzilla Augustus B Heart Sic Ill Almond Roca Tom Hutch

8:00pm-12:00am, Substation, 645 NW 45th St, Seattle, Washington 98107

See GeekGirlCon’s very own merch manager/resident rap superstar, Shubz, in a live gig at Substation!

 

Friday, December 23: GeekGirlCon Board Game Night at Wayward Coffeehouse!

7:00pm-10:45pm, 6417 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA

Do you love board games and enjoy teaching others how to play? Explore the board/card game hobby and meet folks happy to teach you their favorite board games! Come and play with folks who love playing games. And the best part about the GeekGirlCon game nights with our friends at Wayward? They are absolutely FREE with no cover charge!

Our group is inclusive and totally newbie-friendly. We play a wide range of modern board and card games as well as some classics. You might find CodenamesLove Letter, SplendorKing of Tokyo, Völuspá, slashAlien Frontiers, Locke & Key, Coup, Tokaido, SuperfightThe Resistance, Colt ExpressSkull and Roses, Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, Toc Toc Woodman, FLUXX and many more!

Bring a game with you or just bring yourself. Join GeekGirlCon staffers, make some new friends, play some games, and enjoy some delicious organic, fair trade, and shade-grown coffee.

 

Tuesday, December 27: Jessica Bennett with Jeannie Yandel: Welcome to the ‘Feminist Fight Club’

7:30pm (doors open 6:30pm), Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Great Hall, Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave, Seattle, WA 98101

Tickets $5

It was a fight club—but without the fighting and without the men. Every month the women would gather, sharing tips for how to tackle the ultimate workplace enemy: sexism. The first rule of the club was not to talk about the club—but the time has come to take it public. In her new book, Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual (for a Sexist Workplace), New York Times journalist and Seattle native Jessica Bennett blends research, personal examples, and playful exercises to create a modern-day field guide for navigating pervasive workplace sexism. In conversation with KUOW producer Jeannie Yandel, Bennett will discuss both overt and subtle sexism that persists, how she took inspiration from the trailblazing women who came before her, and the way that modern gender bias plays into everything from the wage gap to our presidential election.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

Hallo Spaceboy: GeekGirlCon’s Super Secret Event Revealed–and Livetweeted!

This year for GeekGirlCon, we had a secret evening event! Although it took place in the open Garnet space, it was shrouded in mystery, except for a few hints dropped by host and emcee extraordinaire Rebecca M. Davis.

I had the opportunity to livetweet the event, so here’s my take on what happens when you get a room of strangers to sing together in honor of everyone’s favorite man who fell to Earth.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

Last Call for Early Bird Pricing!

Can you believe that GeekGirlCon ‘16 is less than a month away?

And if you haven’t got your passes yet, here are two reasons to do so right now:

  1. We’ve also sold out of passes every year, and this year we expect to do so again.
  2. Our early bird pricing officially ends at 11:59pm on Saturday, 9/17.

After that, the prices for our one- and two-day pass prices will each increase by $10, to $40 and $55 respectively. Passes for kids 6-12 will remain $10, and tiny geeks under the age of 5 will still have free admission, so bring the family!

Image Source: GeekGirlCon Flickr.

Image Source: GeekGirlCon Flickr.

Don’t forget that our con has expanded for Year Six! We’ll have a whole additional floor at the Conference Center! That’s more room for panels, games and exhibitors this year. While we remain a 100% volunteer-run, non-profit organization, all proceeds from our sales go to furthering our mission and expanding our convention.

We hope that with your support we will continue to sustain our organization in future years!

Passes are available online, or at one of your friendly neighborhood comic or gaming stores while stocks last.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

This Weekend: GeekGirlCon x PAX West!

If you’re into games (or even if you’re not), PAX West is one of  biggest gaming conventions of the year. GeekGirlCon will be making an appearance at PAX again this weekend! Starting from Friday and running all the way until Monday, we will be in the PAX Diversity Lounge. I talked to the amazing Kristine Hassell, who has worked to make sure we can take place at this awesome event, about what it means to have GeekGirlCon represented at PAX, and where you can find us!

 

What is the PAX Diversity Lounge and why is it important?
The Diversity Lounge was first launched in Boston at PAX East in 2014 by Benjamin Williams, co-founder of the Lounge and also GaymerX. The idea behind the Lounge was to offer a space with a specific focus on diversity where PAX attendees could find organizations that represent diverse groups in the industry that might not necessarily get exposure otherwise. The Lounge is free to its participants who have a tabling opportunity to network with PAX attendees, reach a new audience, and to improve the overall inclusion at PAX.

 

Since relocating to Seattle in 2006, I have attended every Seattle PAX. With each passing year, I was pleased to see better diversity in the attendees. So when GeekGirlCon was invited to participate in 2015, I felt it was important that we participate for several reasons. As a non-profit, our operating budget is snug and we could not afford the tabling costs to come to PAX. As a WOC geek, I demand better representation in my games, media, and at the functions I attend. I believe the inclusion of spaces like the Diversity Lounge benefits the greater geek community that might not otherwise be exposed to organizations like ours, AbleGamers, or I Need Diverse Games, to name a few.

Kristine Hassell

Come and see Kristine Hassell in the Diversity Lounge at PAX this weekend!



What is GeekGirlCon doing at PAX?

GeekGirlCon staff members and board members engage with attendees to tell them about GeekGirlCon. It’s a treat when someone has already attended a previous GeekGirlCon convention and want to share a favorite memory from our convention. We pass out promotional cards and candy, sell passes to our convention in October, and offer a small amount of merchandise for sale. So you should totally swing by and say hello!

 

What can PAX attendees expect from meeting GeekGirlCon in the Diversity Lounge?
Smiling faces, answers to their questions about why GeekGirlCon is an important organization, witty banter, and candy. We always bring excellent candy. We will have a limited amount of merchandise to sell for those who couldn’t make our convention or who want to rock one of our sweet tees back home in Kalamazoo*! All proceeds directly fund our all-volunteer non-profit and support our convention which takes place October 8 and 9 at the Conference Center at the Washington State Convention Center.

 

I hope that if someone has never heard of GeekGirlCon, they walk away with a better understanding of why we do what we do. Our conventions are celebratory but they are also a carefully curated safe space with a strictly enforced zero tolerance harassment policy. Our focus is on the support and celebration of women in the geek community but it’s important to know that everyone is welcome at our convention. Our catchphrase this year is Every Geek, Everybody and we mean it. Our mission of inclusion and diversity is something that we are more than happy to discuss with curious folks. I like to tell people how I found GeekGirlCon and what it means to be as a WOC geek.

 

Sounds awesome! Where can I see GeekGirlCon in action?
If you are attending PAX, stop by the Lounge on the 6E Lobby on the 6th floor. Come and visit us between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Friday, September 2 through through Monday, September 5! Check out our swag, start a conversation, or just come by to say hello to some fab GeekGirlCon folks, myself included!

 

*Unbeknownst to Kristine, I actually used to live in Kalamazoo!

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

Be Heroic for the Kids!

We love games at GeekGirlCon! We also love awesome events that help kids. So, here’s an opportunity to do both by supporting Extra Life, a 24-hour game marathon to raise funds for sick children and their families. Extra Life has been around since 2008, and since that time it’s raised over $14 million for children in hospital! This year, GeekGirlCon is proud to have two of its staffers taking part on September 16 for this great cause.

 

Once again, our very own Gaming Event Coordinator, Andy Munich (also known as The 8 Hour Gamer) and our Merchandise Manager extraordinaire, Shubz, will be battling the monsters of the Underdark as part of the Wizards of the Coast team to help raise money for the Seattle Children’s Hospital. Andy will also be running a game of Dungeons and Dragons as a Dungeon Master, so you can see him switch hats and roles throughout the marathon!

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

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