Sarah Elmaleh & Ashly Burch, who immediately ignited this gamer’s heart as the voices of Katie from Gone Home (Sarah) and Tiny Tina fromBorderlands (Ashly), graced us with a casual Q&A about their journey to the geek life GeekGirlCon 2016.
It was immediately obvious that the two are close, the friendly chemistry on stage could light up the room. You weren’t just watching a Q&A, it was a conversation between friends. No different than meeting someone for coffee to talk about their career and get some adivce, we got a little glimpse into how these two successful women grew as actors, writers, and dreamers.
The GeekGirlCon staff is abuzz with activity as we get preparations rolling for GeekGirlCon 2017. We’re extremely excited to put on another great con, just as I’m sure you all are excited to attend one! While we’re busy scheduling panels, perfecting layouts, and planning another spectacular weekend, here are five things you can do right now to prepare for #GGC17, commencing on September 30:
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.
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.
As a writer, and a fictional writer at that, reading takes up a great deal of my time. I love perusing the shelves at the local bookstore, searching for new books to add to my library. In celebration of a fresh start as we welcome 2017, I set a fairly lofty goal for myself: to read at least one book per week, aside from the arsenal I already read in professional pursuits. I set this resolution in order to force myself to rethink how I utilize my downtime. Whether it’s a more thoughtful memoir by someone I admire, an educational anthology that’ll help inform my work, or an epic fantasy for pure leisure, I want to make sure that I’m actively enriching my mind with a good book.
For those of you who share my love of reading, and have set similar goals for yourselves, I’ve come with an author recommendation that is bound to keep your reading time well occupied.
Last summer I was introduced to the world of Sarah J. Maas. I was immediately enamored with her work, and read everything that she had published (at the time) in the span of one month. To date, Maas has written two stellar young adult series that are ongoing, currently totaling in eight novels, that are bound to interest readers young and old — she’s easily become one of my favorite modern authors. I even included her debut novel, Throne of Glass, as a part of our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide out of admiration.
A manifesto of sorts, I’m going to do my darndest to tell you why these books are absolutely fabulous, and worthy of a good read (all spoiler free!):
Both series take place within the same meta-universe, and are high fantasy “epics” about some pretty stellar girls doing some pretty stellar things. Throne of Glass, which currently sports six novels (one of which is a little collection of short stories that take place before the events of the first novel), and A Court of Thorns and Roses, which currently has two. Both series are scheduled to wrap up this year, with spin-off novels of the latter, ACOTAR, in the future works. That’s over 3,500 pages of material to blast through.
At 9am on Thanksgiving morning, my father was in the kitchen cooking our turkey and heating up sides that were prepared the night before. By noon, after we were done eating our “Thanksgiving Brunch,” my mother began fluffing one of her five synthetic Christmas trees. At 4pm, we went to go see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at their local theatre, and proceeded to spend the car ride home defending it to the nonbelievers (I’m looking at you, Pat). Finally, at 8pm we were all stringing up twinkly lights, and ogling at our massive, life-accrued collection ornaments whilst decorating the tree(s) as a family.
The Holiday season is officially upon us, and we are all abuzz with family traditions, seasonal drinks from your local coffee joint, and time with laughing with your friends and family. We are a diverse community that celebrates a plethora of different holidays. My family personally celebrates what we like to call “Commercial Christmas,” as we are avid fans of baking cookies and watching our favorite holiday movies on repeat. Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, or which traditions your family shares, many of us are looking for the perfect present to give your loved ones to let them know how much you care.
In order to help you take a step back and enjoy the holiday season that much more, or give you more time to finish up your last bits of work before hunkering down to spend some well deserved time with family, we’ve curated some of our favorite books, games, and festive plush toys that your geeky loved one will absolutely adore. Whether your geek is a big fan of Supernatural or renewing their love of Pokemon with the recent release of Sun and Moon, we’ve got something for every geek…and maybe just maybe, a little something for yourself!
Coloring Books, Novels, and Art
For your book-worm geek we’ve put together a list of coloring books (because those are trendy, right?), a unconventional YA series about a 16 year-old female assassin who takes on a world of magic, graphic novels, and art books detailing the beautiful concept work from the latest Disney flick:
We’ve found some great stuff for your media-obsessed geek. Whether your gamer has been plugging away since they could hold a controller, or is even newer to the gaming scene, we’ve got a few video games that are breaking the mold with fabulous female leads and compelling stories. We’ve also found an amazing but lesser-known film from some of our absolute favorite studios, Studio Ghibli, following a woman as she looks back on her childhood. Included are also a couple of coffee table books highlighting the history of Tomb Raider and the film Aliens’ cinematography.
Does your geek have an annual countdown to the holiday season, to when it’s appropriate to wear “ugly” Christmas sweaters and listen to nothing but Carol of the Bells for two months, non-stop? Well, that’s my kind of geek and I’ve got you covered. For my festive friends, we’ve got sweaters and other snuggly gifts, plush toys wearing plush sweaters, and nerdy cookie kits:
Whether you’re looking for stocking stuffers, or something a little extra special, we’ve also put together a ton of miscellaneous gifts. Scarfs and shower curtains for your science lovers, cosmetics and bath bombs for a little self-love, and PUSHEEN! We wanted to make sure that there was something for everyone under the tree or by the fireside:
Note: Links to Amazon are affiliate links, which means GeekGirlCon receives credit if you make a purchase using them. You can also sign up for AmazonSmile for free and help out GeekGirlCon! Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable donation of your choice, like us!
On Friday morning, we posted a brief letter explaining our thoughts on the current political air. As we face a difficult period, we wanted to remind our GeekGirlCon community that we are here to support and foster diversity, representation, and equality.
At the end of that message, we asked you to share your thoughts on the current situation, but in an encouraging and optimistic light: what are you doing to contribute and help? Which women are inspiring you today? What media (television shows, movies, books, music) have you been turning to for additional motivation and comfort, and what media is doing a stellar job at representing diversity?
Here are some of the answers that we’ve been receiving on social media:
At the end of the second season of Jane the Virgin, Jane Villanueva finally marries her longterm sweetheart, Michael Cordero. While this would be, for obvious reasons, a very significant moment in Jane’s life, it would also be a very significant moment in my life. Finally, I would see how this show that has rooted itself so deeply into my heart addresses the big, complicated thing that is Jane’s sexuality.
Before I get into a totally acceptable amount of detail about this episode’s plot and my personal thoughts and feelings about it, let me explain some of the things I was hoping the writers would do with this very important moment. First, I wanted Jane to continue to think of the first time she has sex as a monumental thing—that’s pretty integral to her character at this point. However, I also wanted the first time Jane has sex to be rather less than monumental. I wanted them to continue writing Michael as very thoughtful and considerate and just generally not caught up in his own masculinity. And last, but definitely not least, I wanted them to cautiously and realistically address how Jane’s personal decisions about sex and marriage, while valid in a vacuum, do perpetuate harmful notions about purity and women’s sexuality in general.
To be fair, I will concede that The Episode, Chapter 47, ultimately addressed (if not to the extent I would have liked) most of my concerns. Unfortunately, it also called into question a pretty dangerous idea about the nature of intimacy and communication.
At GeekGirlCon HQ, we’re still on cloud nine as we recount all of our memories from the 2016 convention. Two weeks ago today, our staff and agents were on the floor setting up and preparing for the rush of attendees. Both Saturday and Sunday were spent smiling, laughing, sharing our passions, and inspiring one another.
GeekGirlCon keeps on growing, and growth brings more people who empathize with our mission. More people means more voices, and more than ever before we’re seeing articles across the Seattle area (and beyond!) sharing what they thought about the convention this year. To ignite those post-con feels, we’ve curated a ton of those posts to share with you.
My mind is blown by all of the imagination and ingenuity I’ve just seen that I’m not sure how to even write a post about it. Thank goodness I have Indigo, my fellow GGC copywriter to help me out! We’ve decided to tag team the writing of this panel to maximize the awesomeness.
It was crazy! In no time at all, Adrienne and I were drawn to the pure craftsmanship of the host and judge’s costumes. Lauren Bond was charismatic and made for a stellar Evie Frye. Cheyenne, Priscilla, and Li were no less, dressed as our favorite Nintendo and anime characters. The show started off strong, and only got better as it went on.
GeekGirlCon ’16 at Washington State Conference Center in Seattle, Washington, on Saturday, October 8, 2016. Photo by Danny Ngan.
Since my mind is blown, we’re going to hit the highlights of this year’s contest in an effort to paint a picture of this inspiring event. All of the participants were placed into one of five categories: anime, comics, other, film & tv, or video games.