You’ve seen it all over the internet; now you can participate in person! Come to GeekGirlCon ‘13 to experience our DIY Science Zone!
Science Communicator and GeekGirlCon Media Administrator Raychelle Burks has put together a star-studded workshop full of awesome science for you to get your hands on. Get a feel for what scientists do. This isn’t just for the kids—there’s science fun for all ages! Professional scientists and science teachers from a range of disciplines will be available to work with you in the lab. What might you get to do?
DNA extraction made easy!
Are you bitter? A genetic taste test.
Magic breath! Acid-base chemistry of the body.
CSI: GeekGirlCon! Finding latent prints using ninhydrin.
Coffee ground fossils! Perfect for Seattle.
Neuron know-how! Build your own & learn how they work.
Slime-to-go! Make your own bag of goo.
Making craters! Please bring your own sound effects.
Dancing raisins! No choreography skills required.
Nature notebooks! A mix of art & nature.
What scientists and science communicators might you get to interact with? Currently slated to help you out include:
Danielle Lee @DNLee5 – biologist, animal behavior, mammalogy, and ecology
Lali DeRossier @Lalsox – science teacher, general biology, anatomy and physiology, and animal diversity
Nicole Gugliucci @NoisyAstronomer – astronomy, radio astronomy, specifically low frequency radio astronomy instrumentation, CosmoQuest, education
Dr. Charity Lovitt – chemistry, organometallics, quantum mechanical modeling of chemical reactions
Ray Burks @drrubidium – chemistry, analytical chemistry
Do you have other science questions? Each of these prominent scientists and science teachers has a field of specialty with tons of knowledge to share. Come visit them and get your questions answered!
Not only do you get to participate in hands-on science and talk to scientists and science communicators, but you also have an opportunity to bring some science kits home! Attendees will be given an “Exploration Tracker” to document the completion of experiments. This tracker doubles as a prize entry, thanks to the support of ThinkGeek! By completing 3 projects, attendees could win a Portal 2 PotatOS Science Kit, an Edible Chemistry Kit, or a Common Cold.
What more could you want? Come to GeekGirlCon ‘13 (passes on sale through Brown Paper Tickets or at a local shop) and get your science geek satisfied!
Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, GeekGirlCon Manager of Editorial Services
Interview by AJ Dent, GeekGirlCon Staff Copy Writer
Being a professional cosplayer can’t be easy—it surely takes nerves of steel, cunning craftswomanship, and all the character of a superheroine. Chaka Cumberbatch not only pulls off this career with grace and humor, but continuously keeps conversations open about race and gender in cosplay communities. I was thrilled to have the chance to chat with her about these topics and am pumped for her appearance at GeekGirlCon ‘13!
Storm: Photo courtesy of Patrick Sun
In what ways do you see cosplay as empowering for women?
Honestly, the most empowering part of it for me has always been the different skills that I learn. It just makes you so handy! I like it because it keeps me thinking all the time; it’s constantly presenting new problems for me to solve, new skills for me to learn, and new trades to acquire. I’m always learning something new, and it keeps me going. If you want to make bigger, more intricate costumes, you have to learn more skills. It always keeps you on your toes, always keeps you leveling up.
What was your very first cosplay outfit, and what was your most recent? How did that first experience and your latest one differ? In what ways were they similar?
My very first cosplay was Misa Amane, from the anime and manga series Death Note. My most recent cosplay was Red Sonja, The She-Devil with a Sword. In a lot of ways, Misa kind of paralleled how I felt about myself as a cosplayer at the time—not 100% sure I could stand on my own, somewhat naïve, but completely enthralled by and willing to jump headfirst into a world I didn’t fully understand. Sonja, on the other hand, is strong, independent and resilient. She’s unapologetically sexy and she takes no prisoners. Her scale mail bikini, while it may appear tiny to some, was the result of weeks spent weaving over 700 pieces of scale mail and jump rings—whereas I put my Misa costume together in about a day, and didn’t even wear a wig! I really feel the two characters really kind of mirror who I was as a cosplayer then, and who I am now.
Huntress: Photo courtesy of BentPics5
What are some ways that you tap into your inner superheroine in order to pep yourself up or steel yourself against the criticism of others?
I’m not going to lie—sometimes, it’s hard. When you’re at the convention, 99.9% of the time, everything is sunshine and rainbows, everyone loves your costume and everyone wants your pictures. The negativity, in my experience, usually doesn’t creep in until after the convention, when pictures start to make the rounds online. You have to remind yourself that when people online are criticizing your body or your costume that they don’t know you, and they don’t know what went into that costume. They don’t see all the hours you spent fighting with the bobbin on your sewing machine, they don’t see all the YouTube videos you watched and tutorials you read to learn how to weave scale mail or sew different seams, they don’t see the painting, the sanding, the sculpting, the false starts, the do-overs—all they see is the final product. And it takes a lot less time to say something snarky about someone’s costume than it actually takes to create a costume from scratch.
So to that end, you can’t let negative comments derail your entire experience. You have to remember how much of a thrill it was to put the costume on for the first time, look in the mirror and see your favorite character in the reflection. You have to remember how exciting it was to have someone recognize your character, compliment your work, and ask you for a picture. Honestly, it sounds cliché, but you have to focus on the positive. With cosplay being such a visual hobby, people are going to say things both good and bad about what they see. You have to be prepared for that, and you have to try not to let it derail you.
Do you view cosplay as a form of healthy escapism, an expression of self, or both?
I kind of feel like it’s a little of both, at least for me. I have no problem waking up every morning and facing the world as Chaka Cumberbatch. I’ve worked hard to build the life that I want, and I love living it. But as a girl with a runaway imagination and a fascination with bright colors, I love being able to put on a wig, snap on some armor, and suddenly take on a completely different identity. So in a way, it’s both escapism and a form of expression for me. It’s escapism in that I get to pretend to save the world for a few days on the weekend, and it’s a form of expression because bringing a character to life is the best way I know how to show my love for that character or that series.
If you could attend or sit on any panel at the intersection of race and geekdom, what would the specific focus of the panel be?
I would love to sit in on a panel that discussed ways we can encourage creators to include more people of color in our comics, video games, books, movies, and cartoons. The audience is there, but we aren’t being spoken to or represented in the mediums we love!
Amazon: Photo courtesy of Lemon Ikon Photography
As encouragement to others considering cosplaying characters of different races than their own, when was a time when you felt especially validated in choosing to do so?
Ever since I wrote my article earlier this year, I’ve gotten messages, emails, and letters from around the world from people who previously hadn’t had the courage to attempt cosplaying a character of a different race—or even cosplaying at all—but were going to give it a shot after reading about my experience. There is nothing more validating than that. The idea that I could have even played a small part in introducing someone to this hobby, or helping them get over their fear of trying feels bigger than I am, if that makes any sense. It’s so humbling, I don’t feel worthy of it. But it’s so gratifying to know that I had the chance to turn something that was a negative experience for me into a positive experience for someone else. If raising my voice helped someone else find their own, then seriously, that makes it all worth it.
What lessons about geek communities and life at large have you learned by cosplaying characters of different races?
Full disclosure—I’m an Air Force brat. I spent my childhood on a series of different Air Force bases, surrounded by friends and classmates who were a mix of different races. So while I don’t agree that it’s possible to “not see” color, I definitely think it’s possible to not see color as someone’s #1 defining characteristic, because when I was growing up, I didn’t. None of us did—there wasn’t much of a point. We were all kids, and we didn’t care. I remember being annoyed by how every time I’d make a new friend at school, my biological mother would want to know if that friend was black, and if they weren’t, she’d lose interest. I never understood why my friend, whom I was so excited about, was somehow less important if he or she wasn’t black. As I’ve grown older, I’m much more aware of the different races that are around me, but still, when I look at a person, the first descriptor that comes to my mind isn’t related to their skin color.
The number one thing that cosplaying outside of my race has taught me is that I may not see others as a “race first and a person second,” but many, many other people do. It’s something I still struggle to wrap my mind around and may never truly understand. Mostly because, I mean, the hobby is called cosplay. It’s short for costume play. The last time I checked, skin color wasn’t part of the elements that make up a costume. So explain to me why it matters if a black girl cosplays Sailor Venus? If the actual costume is accurate, why are we even considering her skin color?
How do you think geek communities can become more welcoming to and inclusive of all races and genders?
Oh goodness, there are a lot of ways. I think one thing we could do as a community is just listen more. When a cosplayer of color brings up an issue, maybe not telling them, “Oh, that isn’t racism because of: this. I don’t want this to be racism, I don’t want this to be a problem, because then we have to acknowledge that there’s a problem. Why can’t we just be quiet and act like everything is ok?” Essentially, down-voting them and making them feel like they don’t have a voice is an issue in itself. Maybe we can just listen to them; we don’t have to solve every problem of a cosplayer of color or a different gender, but just listening to them and acknowledging that some of their complaints may actually be valid may help us find out why they’re making you uncomfortable. If we just ignore them, then we don’t have to talk about it and the fact that there is probably sexism or racism going on. Instead of shutting that down, let’s have that discussion, and that way people will feel more welcome to come in, because people just don’t feel like they are.
I’ve gotten emails from people all over the world who just didn’t feel like they were welcome to do these things—they honestly felt like it was something they weren’t allowed to do. I was at Dragon Con last weekend and a little girl came up to me—I mean, she was maybe in her teens—and she told me she had no idea that black people quote-unquote “were allowed” to cosplay. To be completely honest, it almost feels like it’s an unwritten rule, because you don’t see it as often. I see it, because I know other cosplayers of color, but I know that from the outside looking in, when you look through all the galleries of cosplay at all the big shows, you don’t see people who look like me, so people don’t know that we’re there. So inviting people to participate in the first place, and making them feel welcome to talk about it, will open it up to more people.
Akasha: Photo courtesy of Hell or High Water Photography
Since you’re a superheroine to many people both in and outside cosplay communities, if someone was to cosplay as YOU one day, what would you envision them wearing?
Oh man! So I actually polled my friends for this one, and judging by their responses, any combination of pink, glitter, polka dots, cupcake jewelry, hair bows, velociraptor-related accessories, and red lipstick would make up a pretty accurate Chaka.
Thanks so much for the inspiration and encouragement, Chaka, both in and outside the cosplay world!
We at GeekGirlCon can’t wait to see everyone’s costumes in October! Pick up your passes, charge your camera, and get ready to come see Chaka in person at GeekGirlCon ‘13!
Ah, shiny baubles! For those of us who like to adorn ourselves, poring over displays of jewelry, clothing, accessories, and other luscious accoutrements never gets old. In any store or at any event that features crafters and artisans, it’s the first place I gravitate to, hoping to find the next little treasure that I just can’t live without.
Unfortunately, my geeky jewelry is sadly lacking these days. In high school, I had one of those dragon’s claw necklaces (you know the ones), and a ring in the form of a snake wrapped twice around, which I pretended was my own personal Sning (this was my Piers Anthony phase).
Happily, I plan to rectify that situation at GeekGirlCon ‘13. Here’s a small sampling of some of the many jewelers and other makers of pretty things you’ll see on the 3rd floor Exhibitors Hall.
Image courtesy of Surlyramics
I love it when science-minded artists create works that are sort of sneaky. Like this pendant from SurlyRamics: it looks a bit like an abstract drawing of a flower, but wait! It’s actually a neuron! She carries plenty of other science, skeptic, and geekery designs, too, from Feynman diagrams to trilobites and robots.
Image courtesy of idolatre clothing co.
For fantasy-lovers who have maenads, faeries, unicorns, and the like on the brain, check out the fantastical creations of idolatre clothing co. Who needs the Younicorn app on your iPhone when you can have an actual unicorn horn sprouting from your head, complete with ears and a flowery headdress?!
Image courtesy of RetroPopNamu
If screenprints are more your thing, RetroPopNamu has got you covered with hoodies, t-shirts, and bags, all inspired by retro Japanese motifs. Some of their designs include octopus, squid, kitten, and dragon themes. It’s officially fall in Seattle, so I’m already coveting their cozy owl hoodie—you can never have too many hoodies, right?
Image courtesy of Tea Time, Inc.
Vendors like Tea Time Inc. and Christal Blu Creations appeal to the steampunk aesthetic, with their intricate hats, fascinators, and other apparel. With Halloween and New Year’s Eve both around the corner, you’ll find good use for items like jaunty mini top hats and saucy underbust vests. You’ll need some jewelry to go with these, of course, and Verona the Mad is just the thing, with brass filigrees, delicate gears, and colorful beads.
There’s more, including Lego-inspired jewelry, duct tape bags, and astronomy-inspired necklaces—but you’ll have to come to GeekGirlCon ‘13 to check it out!
Now you can strategize every minute of your GeekGirlCon ‘13 experience! Check out our programming guide to make a detailed quest guide of what workshops, panels, and spotlights to attend on Saturday and Sunday. Remember to fit in time to visit our Exhibitors and Artist Alley.
We are less than one month away from GeekGirlCon 2013! We hope you’re just as excited as we are to celebrate with all of you this year.
October is a busy month for all things geek and nerdy! Here’s what you can do before and after GeekGirlCon ‘13 – something for every single day of the month!
Tuesday, October 1: Spooky Scavenger Hunt at EMP Museum From the EMP: Journey through EMP’s exhibits and explore the realms of darkness and intrigue to win prizes.
Tuesday, October 1:Capturing & Counting Tiny Plastic Debris in Puget Sound at .T.S. McHugh’s From the Pacific Science Center: Microplastics are a major problem for ocean environments, and researchers at Tacoma’s Center for Urban Waters have created methods for capturing and measuring their amounts. At the October Queen Anne Science Café, join UW Tacoma’s Julie Masura to explore what she and her colleagues have learned from a three year study of small plastics bits floating around bays in the Puget Sound.
Wednesday, October 2: Halloween Themed Angry Birds at EMP Museum From the EMP: Super spooky gaming on EMP’s gigantic Sky Church screen.
Thursday, October 3:Inside the Learning Brain at Odegaard Library, UW campus From ScienceOnline Seattle: Is neuroscience the beginning of a new age, or the latest in a series of scientific fads? Startups tout “brain-based” education. Conversations about lifelong education highlight neuroplasticity. What do we know for sure?
Join us to engage your brain in brains – tackle big and small questions from “what is this fMRI thing anyway” to “how do our brains respond when we hear a sentence that make sense does not?” to “What can neuroscience say about education, and what can’t it say.” Drinks and snacks will be provided.
Friday, October 4: Freaky Friday Challenge via EMP Museum From the EMP Museum: Compete in social media contests for awesome horror-related prizes.
Saturday, October 5:Costume Garage Salefrom MyBallard.com: “Halloween [ed: or GeekGirlCon!] is mere weeks away, and a Ballard resident is hosting a huge costume sale with over 200 costumes to choose from. The sale is on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 6519 22nd Ave NW. Organizer Jenifer Rees says the costumes are mostly adult size, and come from past performances from the NW Associated Arts (NWAA), which is a non-profit consortium of five performance choirs providing singing opportunities for kids and adults. There will even be props and accessories (wigs, shoe covers, vests, etc) available for sale. All proceeds from the sale will go to benefit the NWAA. Saturday, October 5:GeekGirlCONversation at Card Kingdom From the Facebook event page: “All are welcome to attend our last GeekGirlCONversation before GeekGirlCon ’13! This meeting will take place at Card Kingdom in Ballard on Saturday, October 5 at 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Look for us in the Tournament Room located in the back of the store. Swing by and learn more about GeekGirlCon ’13 and other events like theGeekGirlCon ‘13 Kickoff Party! (You might even win some prizes!)”
Saturday, October 5:Science on Stage – Staged Readings of “The Sequence” at Bathhouse Theater Greenlake From Washington Life Sciences Website: Experience a creative pairing of science and theater. Join the dialogue around science and ethics. From the competition to sequence the human genome to personal DNA sequencing, the knowledge and use of genomic information inspires debate and discussion.
Sunday, October 6: Michael Jackson’s Thriller Unearthed at EMP Museum From the EMP Museum: Dance along with a mob of zombies to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in Sky Church, check out the costume worn by filmmaker Mick Garris in the video, and prepare yourself for undead surprises.
Monday, October 7: Monster Mash Monday “We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes” at EMP Museum From the EMP Museum: Chilling music of the undead and the untamed takes over Sky Church.”
Friday, October 11: Freaky Friday Challenge via EMP Museum From the EMP Museum: Compete in social media contests for awesome horror-related prizes.
Friday, October 11:GeekGirlCon Board Games Shenanigans! at Wayward Coffeehouse From the meetup page: “We play a wide range of modern board and card games as well as some classics. You could find Ticket to Ride, Flash Point, Pandemic, The Resistance, Dominion, Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, and many more.”
Saturday, October 12:Science on Stage – Staged Readings of “The Sequence” at Bathhouse Theater Greenlake From Washington Life Sciences Website: Experience a creative pairing of science and theater. Join the dialogue around science and ethics. From the competition to sequence the human genome to personal DNA sequencing, the knowledge and use of genomic information inspires debate and discussion.
Sunday, October 13: Michael Jackson’s Thriller Unearthed at EMP Museum From the EMP Museum: Dance along with a mob of zombies to Michael Jackson’s Thriller in Sky Church, check out the costume worn by filmmaker Mick Garris in the video, and prepare yourself for undead surprises.
Sunday, October 13:Science on Stage – Staged Readings of “The Sequence” at Bathhouse Theater Greenlake From Washington Life Sciences Website: Experience a creative pairing of science and theater. Join the dialogue around science and ethics. From the competition to sequence the human genome to personal DNA sequencing, the knowledge and use of genomic information inspires debate and discussion.
Monday, October 14: Monster Mash Monday Season of the Witch at EMP Museum From the EMP Museum: Chilling music of the undead and the untamed takes over Sky Church.
Tuesday, October 15: Spooky Scavenger Hunt at EMP Museum From the EMP: Journey through EMP’s exhibits and explore the realms of darkness and intrigue to win prizes.
Saturday, October 19-Sunday, October 20:GeekGirlCon 2013 Come celebrate our 3rd annual convention at the Washington State Convention Center! Our mission: “GeekGirlCon celebrates and honors the legacy of women contributing to science and technology; comics, arts, and literature; and game play and game design by connecting geeky women world-wide and creating community to foster continued growth of women in geek culture through events.”
Sunday, October 20:Beginning Puppetry From the invite: “In this fun, dynamic class, you’ll learn the foundations of good stage puppetry – focus, physical commitment and basic puppet operation. We’ll focus on how to make your puppet seem alive and connect with the audience. You’ll get lots of hands-on time with professional arm-and-rod puppets plus a simple practice puppet to take home so you can keep working on your skills. No puppet experience required. Please dress comfortably and be ready to move.
Monday, October 21: Monster Mash Monday Full Moon Fever at EMP Museum From the EMP Museum: Chilling music of the undead and the untamed takes over Sky Church.
Tuesday, October 22:Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants at The Burke Museum From the event site: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants is an inspired weaving of indigenous knowledge, plant science, and personal narrative from a distinguished Native American botanist whose previous book, Gathering Moss, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing.
Wednesday, October 23: Haunted Bonus Round: Psyhonauts at EMP Museum From the EMP: Super spooky gaming on EMP’s gigantic Sky Church screen.
Friday, October 25:Seattle BioMed Open House From Seattle BioMed: Come visit Seattle BioMed’s labs for an up close and personal experience of our research. Meet our scientists, learn about our latest breakthroughs and spend time with other visitors interested in infectious disease research. Leo Stamatatos, Ph.D., will present and give a tour of Seattle BioMed. Breakfast will be served.
Sunday, October 27:Intermediate Puppetry From the invite: “In this fun, intermediate puppeteering class, you’ll learn the basics of characterization – voice, physicality and emotion – and how to apply them to your puppet. You’ll get tons of tips for making character choices and see what a big impact they can have on your puppet’s performance. Beginning puppetry class or equivalent puppet experience recommended. Please dress comfortably and be ready to move.”
Sunday, October 27:Seattle Radio Theater Hallowe’en at Town Hall Seattle From Town Hall: This Hallowe’en, catch the show Seattle Radio Theatre audiences have waited for. SRT will mark the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles’ infamous, panic-inducing 1938 radio broadcast with a spine-chilling tribute featuring a local setting and starring Pat Cashman and Tracey Conway, and including live sound effects, live music, and other radio drama frights and delights. SRT regulars including Tracey Conway and Pat Cashman will thrill, chill and . . . hmmm, can’t think of another word that rhymes . . . anyway, you get the picture. With live music, live sound effects and other radio drama frights and delights.
Monday, October 28: Monster Mash Monday Undead Dominion at EMP Museum From the EMP Museum: Chilling music of the undead and the untamed takes over Sky Church.
Tuesday, October 29: Haunted Bonus Round: Costume Quest at EMP Museum From the EMP: Super spooky gaming on EMP’s gigantic Sky Church screen.
Street harassment: at best, it’s irritating, like a buzzing fly that won’t leave you alone. At worst, it’s scary and makes you feel unsafe. Most of us have experienced it at least once, if not several dozen times. And we’re tired of it.
The good news is that women (and other folks) all over the world are putting that fed-up energy to good use. Hollaback is an international movement to end street harassment, with chapters from Argentina to Turkey, including several cities in the US.
2011 comic cover
Hollaback encourages folks to take action, and HollabackPHILLY took an innovative approach to that mission. Working with Philadelphia-based artist Erin Filson, they created an anti-street harassment comic book for use in education workshops. Fundraising to publish the comic was so successful, they’ve also been able to translate the comic into ten (!) languages and are at work on a choose-your-own-adventure computer-based comic.
According to their website, HollabackPHILLY is “on a mission to make conventions safer.” At GeekGirlCon ‘13, they will lead a panel on comics for social good, culture jamming, and a more inclusive geek culture. They’ll talk about some simple ways for you to get involved in anti-harassment efforts at cons.
Get your connection on this year in GeekGirlCon’s Connections Room! That’s right, we have an entire space devoted to your career and school needs. Make sure to have your resume and portfolios in hand; we’ll be featuring some of Seattle’s top companies and schools.
Ever wonder what Amazon engineers do everyday? Now is your chance to talk one-on-one with a diverse team of lady engineers and learn about all the amazing projects they’re working on!
Moz is provides inbound marketing and social monitoring software. Meet Sierra Murphy, the Technical Recruiter, and learn more about this awesome company!
F5 is a Seattle-based global leader in Application Delivery Networking. Stop by and learn more!
Microsoft, featuring Project Spark
Everyone has been talking about Project Spark, the game maker video game for XBox One, XBox 360, and Windows 8. Here you have the chance to talk directly with the team behind it!
Seattle-based EMC Isilon is the global leader in scale-out storage. Now is your opportunity to talk directly with recruiters and learn more!
Stop by to meet the ladies running Reel Grrls, an award-winning nonprofit media arts and leadership training program for girls and young ladies.
Have you ever thought about studying game design? Then you need to stop by the DigiPen booth! DigiPen Institute of Technology has been ranked by the Princeton Review as one of the top colleges for studying Game Design.
Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, GeekGirlCon Manager of Editorial Services
With GeekGirlCon ‘13 coming up, it seemed appropriate to get the staff of GeekGirlCon to share what they love about attending cons. Some of the staff are long-time convention attendees with a dozen and more cons under their belt, while others are going to attend their first con this year—GeekGirlCon ‘13.
GeekGirlCon Volunteer Program Manager, Jessica “Jex” Ballard, responded to the question: “I really love the community that surrounds a convention. It’s a way to meet people you wouldn’t necessarily meet in your day-to-day life. A chance to geek out about things with others instead of by yourself. A chance to surround yourself with people that like that same thing you do. In fact, most of the people in my life I’ve met through one convention or another. I’m addicted, and I’m ok with it.”
Jex with Sandeep Parikh (Zaboo), Jeff Lewis (Vork), and Kim Evey (producer) of The Guild at PAX ’09
Copy Writer AJ Dent has loads of enthusiasm for this topic: “While my con experiences may be limited, my enthusiasm for them knows no bounds! In March 2013, I attended my very first convention, the anime-focused Sakura-Con at the Washington State Convention Center. I was so enamored with the creative cosplayers and energetic atmosphere, it inspired the longest haiku poem I’ve ever written. As I’d made the decision to go at the last minute, I was without a costume—and what a bummer! I’m definitely not making that mistake again at other cons. Other than that fun factor, I appreciate these events for their ability to connect like-minded people. They serve as sounding boards for innovations, personal insight, and problem-solving in a variety of communities. I’m pumped to swap stories and inspirational ideas with everyone from nerdy newbies to geekdom pros at GeekGirlCon ‘13. Hope to see you there!”
Cosplayers practicing their poses at Sakura-Con
It is clearly evident GeekGirlCon President of the Board and Twitter Administrator Kristine Hassell adores cons. “It was hard to single out the one thing I love about attending conventions. I love the lack of sleep, the bottles of Oi Ocha that become my fuel, and the excitement over panels, and what creative cosplay will cross my path…and I even love the soreness that comes with traversing all over the convention floor. Okay… maybe not that far, but I got carried away.
Barret Wallace and a pair of Finns
If hard-pressed to name a single thing, it’s that feeling of community that spontaneously happens when you’re surrounded by your peer group. I love meeting new people who will get my jokes and references. Seeing those people again the next time that particular convention happens. Familiar faces become acquaintances who become friends that turn into family.
Over the last couple of years, it’s become our tradition to gather our closest friends together on the final night and share a meal. Most of us are bleary-eyed and some of us have little to no voice but it doesn’t matter, we survived another con and can’t wait to do it all over again!”
Family, left to right: Serene Careaga, Joshua Waugh, Kristine Hassell, Andy Munich, Josh Milligan, Greg Hjertager, Stephanie Hjertager, and Brenna Holkins
Manager of Editorial Services and Vice President of the Board, Adrienne Roehrich asked her family—her teenage daughter said “cosplaying my favorite anime with all my friends.” “One of my favorite things about attending cons is the loot you get in the swag bag. Also the place where you buy stuff,” said her son. Adrienne reported, “I love attending cons, but being behind the scenes as a volunteer is really where my enjoyment lies.”
Singing at open karaoke at Sakura-Con 2012 in cosplay with friends
What is it that you love about attending cons? Come to GeekGirlCon ‘13 to let the staff know exactly what your favorite aspect is!
We are proud to present programming exploring race and geekdom. Estafany Gonzales will be presenting a panel titled “Black, Latina, Girl, and Geek” with Aquala Lloyd and Emily Berrios. She chose to bring it to GeekGirlCon ‘13 because “[GeekGirlCon] feels intimate and above all things, open and eager to truly stand behind its name and keep a space open for geek girls of all fandoms, walks of life, etc. With that said, I think it’s a great place to talk about a really underestimated demographic of geeks.”
The dynamic Chaka Cumberbatch will be joining us. Catch her superhero cosplay and get her insight on topics such as social, race, gender, and sexuality issues within geek and cosplay communities. On a related superhero topic, Grace Gipson presents on black heroines. Gipson chose to present at GeekGirlCon so that she furthers awareness with regards to race and gender in comic books and novels, particularly on the black female. She notes that “little research has been conducted [on the subject] and I would like to build upon the small founding so that individuals in and outside the academic community can learn and hopefully share with others.”
The same session will be loaded with concurrent presentations by Erin Lovejoy-Guron and Jose Alaniz on the topics of Wonder Woman and Octobriana, respectively. Not only will programming examine the characters of color in comic books, but it will also take on movies. At the panel “The Changing Role of the Character of Color,” panelists Raychelle Burks, Danielle Lee, Kristine Hassell, Lali DeRosier, and Stephen Granade will examine if the disposable Character of Color trope has truly disappeared from film, or if it has morphed into other forms of disposability and invisibility.
Lali DeRosier explains some of her experience when exploring the concept, as a part of the Curly Haired Mafia (CHM): “In the last year, I became involved with the Curly Hair Mafia (@drubidium & @DNLee5 on Twitter), where we did movie reviews for sci-fi and horror. We got together as friends with common interests, but themes of race that spoke to us became a common thread. For me, CHM was the first time I’d had an opportunity to have conversations about race-related issues in a public way about fandoms that I deeply care about. The opportunity to be on the panel at [GeekGirlCon ‘13] is an extension of that desire to continue the conversation. I am very excited to hear input from so many voices. In sci-fi especially, the intersections of so many influences (science, gender & race perceptions and stereotypes, pressure from producers, biases of the writers, class, education…) make it a constantly shifting sand on which to build worlds.”
GeekGirlCon is a great place to explore intersectionality in geekdom. We’d love to see you participate in the topic of race in geekdom—come to GeekGirlCon ‘13!
Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, GeekGirlCon Manager of Editorial Services
You’ve worked with artist Emma Rios before on Osborn: Evil Incarcerated and are now collaborating again on the upcoming Pretty Deadly series. Watching two female artists create a multifaceted Western story together is incredibly inspiring. What has working with Emma on this particular project been like so far?
It’s been utterly terrifying because this book has thwarted us at every turn. It’s kind of not the book we thought we were doing? It’s a lot weirder book than we set out to write. It’s very strange and we’ve both recently just sort of accepted the fact that it is the F word: it is fantasy! Which is sort of not what we meant for it to be, but it kind of insisted, so there you go.
How else have we described it? It is a macabre western. Greg Rucka called it a dark fairy tale. Mythic western. Yeah, it is certainly supernatural. The story is told by a dead bunny and a butterfly. Death incarnate is in it, and Death’s daughter. It’s a trippy book, which is not what we thought we were doing. There was a point at which I sort of accepted that this book is going to be what it is, and no amount of wrestling on my part is going to make it not. And we had talked in the beginning about how much we both love Sergio Leone. We wanted to do a Leone western, so there was a point at which I was sort of bummed we’d gotten away from that. But then Charlie Huston got this quote for me that was a Sergio Leone where he talks about the myth is the thing—historical truth doesn’t matter; it’s all about the world and the myth. Reading that after he sent that to me, it was another one of those goosebump moments that I have had a million of with this book, where I felt like, oh, this whole time it was a Leone western, it just wasn’t what I originally saw happening.
Along the lines of being influenced by outside sources as you write, there’s been a lot of online activity surrounding the release of Pretty Deadly. Do you find that fan interaction affects your writing process or drive at all?
I don’t think that Captain Marvel would have made it more than six issues without the Carol Corps. I don’t think it would have survived without that really vocal, supportive fanbase. And I think that they were able to find each other through social media. So I think it’s been very important to my work life to have been lucky enough to be a part of that. I can’t write a story with the idea, ‘Let me give them what they want!’ I think reverse-engineering what you think the people want never results in good stories, but that said, I am also a part of that culture, so sometimes references make it in. I’m clearly influenced by the Carol Corps. I’m doing a Carol Corps issue.
Do you have a bucket list of women characters you’d like to write about someday, whether already existing or currently just a spark in the back of your mind?
I have a list of story ideas that I maintain—some of them are projects of their own, some of them will find their way into books I’m currently writing. When I did start Captain Marvel, I knew I wanted to write Monica and I knew I wanted to write Anya. I wasn’t able to bring Anya into Captain Marvel because the timing wasn’t right. In fact though, because I wasn’t able to have Anya is how I was able to have Wendy Kawasaki, and I love Wendy, so I have no regrets about how that worked out. I didn’t get to bring Anya in, so it has come around that she is available again, so I’m going to be using her in Avengers Assemble.
I grew up reading DC, not Marvel, so Wonder Woman and Lois Lane were important characters to me. I’ve gotten to write Lois Lane, so that’s checked off my list, and I’m not sure if I want to write Wonder Woman, because that’s just terrifying to me! I don’t know if I’d be a good fit for it; I’m afraid that what I would want it to do is basically Lynda Carter-esque TV show fan fiction! That is best left to my nostalgic memory or watching episodes with my daughter.
What are you most excited to do or speak about at GeekGirlCon ‘13? Do you identify as a geek, and if so, what makes you proud to be one?
I am looking forward to GeekGirlCon because I have heard really good things about it. I have been to one other women-centric convention, and it was WisCon. It’s a science fiction convention, so it’s a slightly different animal. It’s sci-fi, highly academic, super cool. My conception of GeekGirlCon is that it’s almost like a younger, hipper version of that. [Laughs] I’m not entirely sure what to expect there, but I think it’s going to be cool, we’ll have a lot of fun. I love Seattle, so I’m into it!
I guess I don’t, oddly enough, know what a “geek” is! I have read comic books on and off forever. I grew up on military bases—my father was in the service, and very often, we were in places where we did not get American TV stations. My mom encouraged it; my mom loved Wonder Woman so she would buy me the comics and then dole them out to me as rewards. We would go to swap meets on the weekends and buy comics by the handful, and the house that I would go to after school—the Edmondson family—I would go hang out over there, and their whole family collected comics, so I would read. Read, read, read, read, read! Now I’ve put them down and come back to them various times in my life, but I’ve never been away for very long. They have always been a part of my life.
I’m not a gamer—my husband gave me the controller and tried to have me play Grand Theft Auto once, and yeah. He had a friend over and they were sitting over and I had the thing. He looked over at me and I was just sitting there and he goes, “What’re you doing?” and I go, “Well, the light is red.” [Laughs] So clearly, I don’t get the spirit of the game. So I’m not a gamer, I have just started my first role-playing game, which is the Call of Cthulhu, at 43 years old! But hey, I’m doing it right: Greg Rucka is my dungeon master so, you know, I started late, but I got started awesome.
So yeah, I don’t know, I don’t have anything particularly negative attached to the term. I like comic books. If other people want to hang out with me and talk about comic books, I am down with that! If people want to tell me that because I am a girl I have no place in comic books, we will have words. And I will laugh and laugh at them!
Thanks so much for the laughs and words of wisdom, Kelly Sue!
Come hear this real-life superheroine speak at GeekGirlCon ‘13! She’ll be sharing more comics industry insight with us just three short days before the October 23 release of Pretty Deadly. Pick up your passes today!