As I am sure you know, GeekGirlCon ‘17 is just around the corner. And by just around the corner I mean 224 days away. That’s practically no time at all.
One of the first steps of any avid con-goer’s preparation is determining what their involvement will look like this time around. Maybe you’ve thought of exactly the panel or special event GeekGirlCon’s been missing. Perhaps you’ll join our team of Agents and sign up for this mailing list. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re interested in being an Exhibitor.
And, lucky you, Exhibitor applications are now open on our website. This is your chance to get your geeky artwork, plushies, cosmetics, games, socks, or whatever else you have to sell out into the world and into the hands of the most enthusiastic, welcoming, and all-around lovable crowd of nerds Seattle’s ever seen.
To get you into the exhibiting spirit, here’s a delightful collection of pictures from GeekGirlCons past. And don’t forget to check out the application!
Early last September, the GeekGirlCon copy team huddled together to discuss and assign some of the most important jobs at the con (well, to us). With a nearly finalized schedule in hand, we gathered around to pick with panels we would each be covering to write up, as I am now, to help invoke all of those con feels we all felt in October.
When I first learned about The Women of Pixar panel, I knew that I needed to cover it. Before realizing my personal calling to become a writer, I started my college career at Ringling College of Art & Design in their Computer Animation program. Although I ultimately decided to switch fields and focus solely on storytelling through writing, my love of animation (especially Pixar) is strong and true. Although I was never introduced myself, some of the contributors on the panel worked closely with a handful of my friends and former mentors, so I was already familiar with some of their work and stellar reputations. It may have been because I looked mildly crazed as I requested it, but I was unchallenged when I asked to cover the panel.
I set up camp right in front of the main stage, as I was assigned to the first three panels that were being hosted there: Inclusion & Evolution of Female Role in Modern Animation, the Q&A with Ashly Burch and Sarah Elmaleh, and finally, The Women of Pixar. By the time the first of those panels had come and gone, the convention floor was just starting to buzz with activity. More people filed in for the Q&A, but then it happened. Like there was a mass consensus, what seemed like hundreds of attendees swarmed the hall the minute the Pixar logo was flashed across the two large screens that flanked the stage. So many people, in fact, that it immediately turned to standing room only. Guests young and old, readied with notepads and cameras, collectively gushed about their favorite animated films in anticipation of the panel. Current and prospective animation students, curious passersby, and fans alike gathered together in what I thought to be one of the liveliest crowds at the ‘16 con thus far.
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.
On Saturday, more than 130 GeekGirlCon staff, volunteers, friends, family, and fans joined together at the Living Computers: Museum + Labs to geek the night away in celebration of our new Executive Director Michele Carrico Domingo.
Guests began the evening with time to explore the museum, meet new geeks, and enjoy delicious refreshments from Swift and Savory food truck, beverages, and water provided by Essentia Water.
It was my first time at the museum and I was blown away by the enthralling exhibits and aesthetic beauty to be found in every corner. On just one floor I met a robot that was able to complete two independent activities simultaneously with more precision and skill than I ever could, enjoyed beautiful interactive digital art, and got to experience a fully immersive self-driving car simulation.
Over the past couple of years, I have become gradually more and more disenchanted by YouTube. I’m sure you understand the feeling. I’ve recently curated my subscription feed to better reflect this sense of apathy. What’s left is an odd collection: the daily vlogs of queer millennials, Sexplanations, and makeup videos.
7 p.m. to 9 p.m. — Northwest Film Forum in Seattle’s Capitol HIll neighborhood
Ticket prices: Free for members of Three Dollar Bill Cinema, $5 for not-yet-members ($6.16 with fees)
Get ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day with this collection of short films from past screenings at TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival and Translations Film Festival! The event page lists 12 short films. Read them here.
Ah the podcast. This simple style of media has its roots in the old-school art form of radio and is a cheap, easy, and delightfully portable way to receive news, entertainment, and education.
If you’re like me, then you probably have a list of your favorite podcasts ready at the tap of a touch screen, but you’re probably also are always on the lookout for new shows to tickle your ears and fill up your mind with new ideas.
That’s why today I’m pleased to share four podcasts that I officially recommend for geeky ears.
In the late 1990s, I rushed over to my best friend Haley’s house so we could watch Sailor Moon every morning before school. Her favorite Sailor Scout was Sailor Venus, and I swore that I was the reincarnation of Sailor Neptune as we both swam and played the violin (I even dyed the tips of my hair turquoise as an homage to Michiru years later, which was pretty edgy when I was fifteen). We were also obsessed with Pokemon, slightly less obsessed with Digimon, and weirdly addicted to a short-lived anime about hamsters called Hamtaro. We walked around with Luna and Artemis plushies and acted out some pretty “vivid” scenes from our favorite episodes. We were fearless, and it didn’t hurt that just about every other little girl we knew was in love with all of the same things.
I moved a few times after that, since my dad was in the military, but my love of anime only grew with age. By the time I was fourteen and just about to enter high school, I had a massive collection of manga, a pretty impressive knowledge of the “hit” anime series of the time (regardless of whether or not they were being shown in the states), and a budding interest in Japanese literature. At that point, I was living near Seattle, and Japanese popular culture seemed to be far more common than any other state I’d lived to date.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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!