We’ve still got a little ways to go, but the GeekGirlCon staff can’t begin to tell you how excited we are for ‘18 convention. As of my posting this, we’ve got about 192 days until the con commences on the morning of October 27th. We’ve still got a some planning to do ourselves, but there are a few things you can do right now to prepare for a weekend of fun as we celebrate diversity in popular culture.
Pick Up Your Passes
Passes are currently available for purchase online and are still listed at early bird pricing. Make sure to grab yours now before they go up, because the sale will be ending on May 1 at 11:59 PST.
…and at that price, maybe you’ll grab a couple for your kids, your favorite in-law, or your sister. There’s something for your entire family at GeekGirlCon (and we mean that!)
Book Your Hotel
This year, we’re ecstatic to be reviving our partnership with Hotel Max in downtown Seattle the weekend of the convention! A few city blocks away from the Conference Center at the WSCC, Hotel Max is giving you a special GeekGirlCon room rate of $169 Thursday through Sunday evening.
Finish Your Programming Submission
Looking to do something a little more hands-on, or have a great idea for a panel at GeekGirlCon ’18? Never fear, there’s a little more time to submit your programming application! We’re still accepting applications for panels, panelists and moderators, performances, events, workshops, and tabletop hosts. But make sure to submit yours soon, because applications close on Monday, April 30 at 11:59 PST.
Apply To Become An Exhibitor
Interested in bringing your wares to GeekGirlCon? We’re also still accepting exhibitor applications until Monday, April 30 at 11:59 PST. Each year I spend an obscene amount of time perusing the tables of the exhibitor hall, enamored with everyone’s work—so whether you’re an independent artist or shop owner, the GeekGirlCon community thrives on creativity and this is the perfect way to express and share yours.
Stay tuned as we continue to sculpt your perfect convention, where every geek is free to participate in the conversation, share their passions, and express what makes them unique. GeekGirlCon ‘18 is all about being loud and being proud of who we are, and we’re thrilled to share that experience with you.
As some of you already know, I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember. I had been eagerly awaiting the GGC’17 Looking for Leia panel since I first read about it while helping edit the con’s program booklet. The panel highlighted filmmaker Annalise Ophelian’s six-episode docu-series Looking for Leia about women of the Star Wars fandom. The panelists included Annalise herself, along with droid-builder Christina Cato, Rebel Legion member Pat M. Yulo, physician and starwars.com writer Linda Hansen-Raj, fanfiction author and cosplayer Maggie Nowakowska, and KUOW reporter Jamala Henderson.
Given the wildly fluctuating highs and lows of 2017 (let’s face it, mainly lows), this past year’s GeekGirlCon represented the perfect space to reflect on the progress that has been made in the media we love, as well as the work that still needs to be done. One panel which perfectly encapsulated this blend of nostalgia and foresight was Lassos, Lightsabers, and Stakes: Assessing the Heroine’s Journey 20 Years After Buffy.
Image Description: Buffy twirls a stake in her hand. Source: Giphy.
Since 2017 was the 20th anniversary of the premiere of the complex and groundbreaking Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series, this panel highlighted the ways in which the entertainment industry still struggles to accept the lessons demonstrated by the enduring impact of the show, its characters, and its fans. Simultaneously, panelists celebrated the gains made through media ranging from Wonder Woman and Star Wars at the movies to Supergirl, The 100, and The Crown on television.
Drawing on the theory of the Heroine’s Journey – a counterpoint, most notably presented by Maureen Murdock in her 1990 book of the same name, to Joseph Campbell’s famed Hero’s Journey – in which characters experience a cyclical journey of personal and communal growth, the panelists analyzed the state of affairs in media representation for women and other underrepresented communities.
Image Description: A gif of Buffy squinting her eyes and looking intense. Source: Giphy.
The panelists included B.J. Priester, a law professor, novelist, editor, and self-professed “lifelong geek;” Tricia Barr, an engineer, novelist, and writer at the FANgirl blog; and Jennifer K. Stuller, a writer, editor, and pop culture critic and historian specializing in the history of American female superheroines and action heroines in comics, film, and television.
Image Description: A gif of Buffy and Willow, with Buffy sucking on a lollipop. Source: Giphy.
Fittingly beginning with the enduring significance of Buffy, the panelists discussed the modern-day resonance of its values, especially the themes of community, friendship, mutual support, and female empowerment and leadership. The panelists argued that, while many shows shaped the values of young people at the time, Buffy truly defined those values. However, the show is not without its flaws. The panelists noted the egregious lack of diversity in the show’s cast as a particularly frustrating limitation. Similarly, the actions of the show’s creator Joss Whedon – which have been incredibly problematic and disappointingtosaytheleast– are important to grapple with for fans who continue to glean insight, comfort, and empowerment from the series.
Image Description: A gif of the character Rey from Star Wars, with the caption saying “Follow me.” Source: Giphy.
The panel subsequently analyzed Star Wars and Wonder Woman, pieces of media which represent both how far we have come in terms of representation for women in film, as well as highlight the limitations that we still encounter time and time again. With the emergence of the character Rey, the Star Wars universe has introduced an exceptional new example of a heroic arc, as well as an inspirational figure for audiences and storytellers to connect with. At the same time, the film series needs to ensure that all female characters are depicted as full human beings, with agency and complexity of their own.
Image Description: A gif of the character Diana from Wonder Woman, deflecting a bullet with her forearm cuff. Source: Giphy.
As Jennifer noted, Wonder Woman not only became the highest grossing DC comic film ever, but had a “visceral, resonant impact,” due to the care with which director Patty Jenkins crafted a narrative of empowerment and the struggle for power and self-determination in a world marred by war and misogynistic violence. However, as Trisha noted, Wonder Woman is far from perfect, and it too falls far short in terms of full representation for women and marginalized groups as a whole.
This panel is a perennial staple at GeekGirlCon, a chance to check in on the state of affairs in feminist media. As the panelists noted, every year there are more stories to talk about, more examples of exciting and necessary representation, and more opportunities in the future to look forward to. But as with the Heroine’s Journey itself, the progress of intersectional feminist representation is never-ending, and we must constantly challenge ourselves to support diverse media, to fight for greater representation, and to create our own narratives which challenge all of us to extend our knowledge, understanding, and empathy.
Image Description: A gif of Dawn from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with the caption saying “Cause at least I admit the world makes me nuts. Source: Giphy.
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.
Our staff are working hard behind the scenes to make sure that we make #GGC18 the biggest and best convention that we’ve ever organized!
One old reliable we’ve had for our convention has been our program booklet. In the past, our program books have been printed, hard copy guides with maps, lists of schedules, featured contributor biographies and all the nifty information you need to get the most out of your con weekend.
It looks something like this:
Image: A pair of hands holding the GeekGirlCon program book
Last year, in addition to our physical booklets we also had a digital program guide that was pretty popular. And this year, we’re thinking about focusing primarily on the digital program guide, which you would get in the form of an app. For those of you who like a tactile guide that you can hold and read, never fear! To accompany the digital program guide, we’ll also be designing a physical poster that you will receive at admission. Information included on the backside of this poster would be a streamlined version of our panel schedules, maps, highlighted panel information and events information. (We’re still in the process of designing the poster.)
Going digital has its pros and cons, and we’d like to pick your brains for your thoughts on whether you’d prefer a program book, or a digital app to get your information. There are environmental, practical, and technical considerations. But, ultimately, we want to do what’s best for our community–YOU.
Image: a GeekGirlCon attendee reads on a digital device
So, we’re hoping you can help us make that decision! What format would you like to see your programming information in? We’ve put together this survey in order to help us figure out whether or not you would be interested in seeing our program guide go primarily digital. We value your opinion.
I should be fanning myself, really, as I recollect Fryda Wolff’s Q&A at GeekGirlCon ‘17. So buckle up guys, because I’m about to reiterate why her panel was one of my absolute favorites at the convention, and how Fryda easily became one of my top girl crushes of all time (nice and snug between Maggie Stiefvater and Danai Gurira).
GeekGirlCon was Fryda’s first ever convention as a voice actor, and we couldn’t have felt more honored or humble to have her with us. She was a force to be reckoned with, whose voice didn’t demand but immediately earned my absolute attention when I first heard her speak during the Voice of a Hero panel the day before. Her confidence was intoxicating, and made live-tweeting her panel almost impossible, as nearly everything she said was a quote that could be used to inspire the masses. She was truly amazing, and was eager to share her experience getting started in gaming and how that got her into voice acting.
While Fryda began her voiceover journey in 2013, that’s not where her career in gaming started.
She graduated high school a year early, in fact, the week she turned 17. She wanted to be a campaign manager back then, and didn’t have a clue how far from that she’d end up (although it did play a pretty big role in how she got there).
Even though Fryda ended up in the gaming industry, it wasn’t until high school when she got her first PC. She then dubbed herself a PC gamer, and got really into Blizzard (because I swear, all us cool kids started our Blizzard phase when we should have been studying). The interest sort of sparked from there, she really loved to game. “This is what happens when you don’t let your kids do things,” Fryda joked. Gaming wasn’t something she did a lot growing up, so the infatuation was serve. It was fun and exciting.
…and then it just happened.
Sony was hosting an event in Vegas, Fryda’s home town. The event was supposed to host about a thousand people, but unfortunately the venue could barely hold two hundred and fifty. She put that prior interest in campaign management to work and did something about it. She started organizing people, and eventually ushered those who couldn’t get in to all meet at a nearby GameWorks.
Long story short, someone from Sony hunted her down and nonchalantly asked “do you want a job?”
Spring has officially sprung, dear blog readers! And that means flowers popping up, bursts of sun to up those depleted vitamin D levels, and, most importantly, plenty of amazing events coming up! Here’s a look at what’s happening this month. Get ready to mark your calendars for movies, meetups, and talks galore!
Image Description: A gif of Alice from the animated movie “Alice in Wonderland” lying in a field of grass as daisies blow in the breeze above her. Source: Giphy.
Join us on March 31st for an inspiring afternoon with students from Shanti Bhavan and Director of Operations, Ajit George. Shanti Bhavan, a school in Southern India, caters exclusively to children from India’s lowest socioeconomic class and is the subject of the recent documentary Daughters of Destiny. The event kicks off at 12:00 p.m. with a light lunch. Shree and Visali, Glamour Woman of the Year in 2014, will share their stories and the impact that Shanti Bhavan has had on their lives. Guests are invited to stay for a special screening of Daughters of Destiny, which tells how the unique educational model of Shanti Bhavan equips its students to break out of the cycle of poverty. The only educational program of its kind, Shanti Bhavan offers 17 years of rigorous academics, leadership development and professional guidance completely free of charge. The school’s graduates have a 100% university acceptance rate, work at Fortune 500 companies and contribute 20-50% of their salaries to their families and communities – helping end the poverty that has trapped India’s poorest communities for generations. This is a free event but donations are welcome. Visit shantibhavanchildren.org to learn more about the school and ways you can get involved.
(*Note: okay, so this is obviously not quite April, but WHAT a great event!)
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
Being a Disney fan can be tough sometimes. Despite the countless hours I’ve spent rewatching “Moana” and belting out the entire “Mulan” soundtrack, it’s impossible to ignore the many, many ways in which Disney films – as well as all the other aspects of the massive capitalistic juggernaut that is the Disney corporation – have been incredibly problematic, normalizing sexism, racism, and other forms of oppressive bigotry. For many of us, Disney is an omnipresent influence throughout our lives, representing all that is beautiful, nostalgic, and hopeful, while simultaneously perpetuating harmful messages and stereotypes.
Given this dilemma, I couldn’t wait to sit in on the Dissecting Disney: Race, Gender, Sexuality in Children’s Films panel from this past year’s Con. Led by Dr. Arielle Wetzel, a lecturer in Writing Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma, and an amazing group of her students both past and present, this in-depth, thoughtful panel addressed how we can still love Disney films while finding them problematic, analyzing films such as “Zootopia,” “Moana,” “The Lion King,” and many more through a critical, intersectional lens.
The panelists began by introducing themselves and their geeky, Disney-related interests. At UW-Tacoma, Dr. Wetzel has taught a variety of pop culture topics, including television, warrior women, Disney, and Mr. Robot. She was joined by Theo Calhoun, an Ethnic, Gender, Labor studies major who enjoys film and board games; Larissa Bokoni, a recent UW-Tacoma Communication major graduate who is also a French translator and MAC makeup artist; Kiona Jones, a graduate student in the Master of Social work program at UW-Tacoma and an intern with the Children’s Administration; Ashley Primer, a recent Art, Media, and Culture graduate from UW-Tacoma and former intern at the Destiny City Film Festival; and Joshua “Rocky” Marks, a Psychology major at UW-Tacoma who is also a semi-professional voice actor who has had a few roles in audiobooks, games, and animation.
Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the panel itself!
Image Description: The character Wendy Darling from the film “Peter Pan” jumps off the plank of Captain Hook’s pirate ship. Source: Giphy.