Eight Reasons to Watch Sense8

Just to keep you all updated, I am a changed woman. And it all happened last Friday when the series finale of Sense8 premiered.

If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it’s a Netflix original that first premiered in 2015. Loosely, it’s about a species of human, Sensates, who are intensely telepathically linked with each other. More than anything else, this premise is a tool that allows the creators to write interlocking stories about eight strangers who, upon finding themselves linked and the prospective victims of vicious scientific testing, find out just how vital their newly amplified sense of empathy can be.

I’ve never been able to get a clear sense of just how large the Sense8 fandom is. Most people I ask haven’t watched it and don’t have immediate plans to. I myself only sat down to watch the first episode after a direct and imploring recommendation from a close friend, and I don’t remember it being on my radar before that. Maybe this means the show’s marketing team didn’t do the greatest job. Maybe it means the cast wasn’t high profile enough to garner the attention the show needed. Regardless, this just-too-small viewership has led, ultimately, to the cancellation of the show.

We’ve known about this impending end for a while now. In fact, this final episode was publicized as a last-ditch attempt to tie up the action before the show officially ended. And, let me tell you, it was perfect. It was everything we wanted and needed. More than anything else, it made me sad that more people hadn’t experienced this beautiful, glorious show. So, to commemorate this ending, I offer you eight spoiler-free reasons why you should consider watching Sense8 because if I’m sure of anything, it’s that this story deserved more attention than it got.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

On Solo and Our First Impressions

As you’ve probably noticed (or are feeling yourself), reactions to Solo, the newest installment in the Star Wars film franchise, are, to put it simply, mixed. If you’re looking for a general consensus, the closest you’re going to get is a noncommittal “it wasn’t great, but it also wasn’t horrible.”

From Black Nerd Problem’s assertion that it’s fun if you’re not expecting a good origin story to The Atlantic’s claim that its difference from the other films is what makes it refreshing, everyone seems to have gotten something different out of it.

In trying to organize my own thoughts and feelings about it, I asked some fellow GeekGirlCon staff members about their first impressions. Unsurprisingly, it seems our responses were as mixed as those of the fandom at large. Here’s a selection of some of my favorite reactions. I know that reading about what everyone else has been thinking has been good for my excitable fangirl heart, and I hope it will be for yours too.

And please beware of spoilers!

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

What do We Need from Our Feminist Media?

Since the premiere of this season of The Handmaid’s Tale, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of feminist TV and feminist media generally. To be fair, I don’t really ever stop thinking about the concept of feminist media, but as there has been a clear influx over the past few years, the conversations surrounding it are becoming more and more pointed.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a clear example of what is widely considered feminist media, but it’s not the only example. Its tone and sense of hopelessness have led me to think a lot about what is useful to feminists about feminist media. Many people think of The Handmaid’s Tale as a story that can open the eyes of those who don’t themselves suffer at the hands of heteropatriarchy to our plight. But as feminists whose eyes are already opened, what do we need from our media?

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

GiveBIG this year and support GeekGirlCon!

Each year, local nonprofits receive a surge of support during the Seattle Foundation’s annual giving campaign, GiveBIG. GiveBIG invites individuals to support their favorite nonprofits with monetary donations. You can check out GeekGirlCon’s page here. This year, we’re able to provide matching funds thanks to former GeekGirlCon board president I-Wei Feng.

While this time of year is surely important to a lot of orgs, it’s also super important to us, as it’s when some of GeekGirlCon’s most supportive individual sponsors show up in full force. To give you a sense of some of the remarkable folks who really come through for GeekGirlCon during GiveBIG, I interviewed longtime supporter Stevie Lantalia Metke.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

Want to write for our blog? Send us a pitch!

As we hope is abundantly apparent, we value and prioritize diverse perspectives here at GeekGirlCon. At the con, this is reflected in our programming, which consists almost entirely of panels, workshops, and events that are created and hosted by community members. However, throughout the off-season, the content we produce is limited to the collection of voices that comprise our marketing staff. And while it’s a great staff, it’s also small. We have volunteered to help usher content through the GeekGirlCon pipeline, but we shouldn’t have a monopoly on the creation of the content itself. This is where you come in.

Even more than writing our own posts, GeekGirlCon’s Copy Team (that’s us, the blog people) is responsible for ensuring that the blog is a complete reflection of our broader community. It’s a job that involves many steps, and one of those is seeking out much-needed guest contributors. Writing for us in a guest capacity is cool because it requires a less serious time commitment than being a staff member does, but it still gets you involved in our year-round work.

For this pre-con season, we’re particularly interested in takes on diversity among content creators. As a viewer, what differences do you see between media that involves diverse perspectives integrally behind-the-scenes and those that don’t? Are you a creator yourself? How is your perspective key to the stories you create? Do you have ideas about how we, as a community, can demand the representation we deserve? If you have answers (fully-fledged or not!), we want to hear from you.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

A Reading Challenge for Spring

While the concept of a temporally-bound reading challenge is one I find very alluring, actually finishing one is a success I’ve never personally experienced. This year, in an effort to prioritize both reading and sustainable self-care, I’m working on setting myself some more manageable, bite-sized challenges.

If you’re interested in joining me, here’s what I propose: a three-book seasonal reading challenge to usher in the spring. The more I think about it, the more I’m not only excited about the selections I’ve made, but also about the real possibility that this is a challenge I can and will finish. I want to imbue these next few months and reads with as much meaning and springtime symbolism as I can, and I’ve devised these challenge parameters with that goal in mind. Follow along for the three challenges (one per month of spring) I’ve set for myself and the books I’m thinking about reading to fulfill them.

[Image Description: A black background behind an illustration of a gold pentacle design interlaced with leaves and flowers.  A white banner along the bottom reads, “Spring equinox.”] Source: Pinterest

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

Submit Your Panel Ideas for GeekGirlCon ’18!

Everyone! GeekGirlCon ’18 season is officially upon us!

On our part, we’re getting things organized and settled behind the scenes. But what we need from you all, what we need each year to make GeekGirlCon the most memorable and magical weekend we possibly can, is programming submissions. Specifically, we need the excellent panel ideas that we’ve come to expect from our GeekGirlCon family.

This year, your deadline to submit applications for all kinds of programming is April 30. You have some time, so use it to refine your applications and track down potential panelists. While you’re working, here are some FAQs about panel applications with answers from our very own Panel Program staffers.

 

[Image Description: Three panelists from a past GeekGirlCon sit laughing with each other.] Adaptation, Appropriation, Influence: Using Other Cultures to Build Fictional Worlds, GeekGirlCon ’16. Photo by Danny Ngan.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

On Loving Mozart in the Jungle and Finding Relatable Characters

If I’m recommending a TV show—or any piece of media for that matter—nine times out of ten I’m talking about a story that’s distinctly women-centric. Stories about women and other underrepresented groups are so incredibly overshadowed in the mainstream that it feels wrong to spend my time and energy celebrating anything else.

However, our media landscape being what it is, I sometimes find myself drawn to books, movies, and shows that aren’t as overtly feminist as I would like. In these cases, I like to think about why, despite its less-than-ideal representation overall, a story still resonates with me. It’s this process of (hopefully legitimate) rationalization that I’ve been going through for the past few years with Mozart in the Jungle.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

Big Little Lies and the Representation of Women’s Relationships

A few weeks ago, I binge-watched Big Little Lies over the course of one (bad-feeling for unrelated reasons) day. At the end of the day, I was feeling weirder than before, but for an entirely new set of reasons. As far as I can tell, this is the experience many of us have had with the show. We think we may have liked it, but we also definitely feel that there was something off about it.

Big Little Lies is based on a book written by a woman, starring an allstar (if very white) cast of women, and produced by a company founded ostensibly to uplift women-centric stories. Yet, more than anything else, Big Little Lies tells the story of women who, despite being overwhelming rich in access to resources, are still barely surviving the emotional barrage of patriarchal social structures.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

Panel Recap: ¿Cómo Se Dice “Nerd”?

One of the priorities of GeekGirlCon I am most proud of is its commitment to creating space for communities that have been traditionally left out of mainstream geek culture. In the case of GeekGirlCon’s identity-centric panels, it is actual, physical space that is being created. My favorite panel of this kind that appeared at GeekGirlCon ‘16 was called ¿Cómo Se Dice “Nerd”? and set forth to discuss the reality Latinx nerds face when engaging with geek culture.

Panelists Sylvia Monreal, Olivia Hernández, Jorge Albor, and Tristan Tarwater began the conversation by addressing, outright, how fundamentally linked mainstream geekdom is with consumerism. In other words, one’s ability to participate in geek culture is defined by their access to capital. Therefore, historically poor communities have had to innovate new and different ways of interacting with nerdy content.

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

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