Here at GeekGirlCon, we pride ourselves on promoting the interests of all types of geeky women, be it in the sciences, or in gaming, comics or popular culture. However, our mission is considerably broader than that: we value diversity in all types, and celebrate in particular the space where these differences overlap.
Some of our panels also touch on the intersectionality between gender and another issue, such as race, ability, gender identity and orientation, or size. And now with our schedule available online for GeekGirlCon ‘15, here are some freshly-picked panels at the intersection of geeky lady-ness and everything else:
With our convention passes getting close to selling out for the fifth straight year (go buy your passes NOW if you haven’t!), we’ve been busy planning our schedule, prepping all of the panels, gathering science-y materials for the DIY Science Zone, brushing up on our game play, and setting up ideal spaces for all of our awesome attendees.
Not to be missed: October 9, the night before GeekGirlCon ‘15 opens its doors, is our GeekGirlCONcert and Kick-Off Party! If you can’t pick up your badge at the Conference Center at the WSCC on Friday during the day, you can pick it up on your way into the Hard Rock Cafe, where we will be celebrating our 5th Anniversary in style with Thundering Asteroids! and PDX Broadsides for dancing and entertainment. (This event is badge holders only; not open to the general public.)
October 10, we have two evening events lined up at the convention: the Annual GeekGirlCon Costume Contest, and our first ever GeekGirlCon Fashion Show, partnering with some amazing designers for geeks everywhere!
Doors open at 9am on Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11, with programming starting both days at 10am. Check out the schedule and start planning your weekend more thoroughly so you don’t miss a thing!
As well as celebrating the amazing accomplishments of women in geekery, GeekGirlCon has always had a strong focus on helping women and other marginalized geeks find the tools, contacts, know-how, and resolve to achieve their own goals. In addition to our GeekGirlConnections room (we’ve already highlighted some of the organizations who’ll have tables there this October), we have a range of awesome panels and workshops lined up where you can pick up tips on everything from cosplay to community building to content creation.
Written by GeekGirlCon’s Special Events Manager Maddy Vonhoff
Our special events, such as our annual GeekGirlCONcert, our closing celebration, costume contest, and our Friday night Kick-Off event have been some of the most popular attractions of the con! Past GeekGirlCon performers and special guests have included former astronaut Wendy Lawrence, The Doubleclicks, Molly Lewis, SAMMUS (check out our 2013 interview!), and Unwoman. This year, GeekGirlCon’15 will take place on the weekend of October 10 and 11, 2015 at The Conference Center at the WSCC in downtown Seattle and we want YOU to be a part of it!
We are looking to diversify our performances, speakers, and musical genres from previous years, so don’t be afraid to apply, even if it is not something we have seen or heard at GeekGirlCon before. We’re especially looking for talent that reflects and appreciates the mission of our convention – to promote, celebrate, educate, mentor, encourage, and empower the female geek. Don’t want to apply but know someone who is a great fit? Please pass along this form to them!
Do you have to be a woman to apply?
No, although woman performers and special guests are highly encouraged! GeekGirlCon is committed to representing women geeks of all ages, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, creeds, physical and mental abilities, and familial statuses. All performers must reflect this commitment as well.
Do performers and special guests get discounted badges?
All performers and special guests are eligible for comped badges if they are performing or participating in special events at the convention.
Submissions are open until 11:59PM PST on Friday, May 15.
Please fill out the form here to indicate your interest. All questions and suggestions can be directed to the Manager of Special Events, Maddy Vonhoff, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your interest and we will be in touch shortly!
Do you have a great idea for a panel or workshop inspired by women’s contributions to, and experiences in, geeky life? Whether you’re a gamer, costumer, cosplayer, writer, scientist, artist, business owner, or whatever flavor of geek you may be, if there’s a topic that’s important to you–something you are passionate about–and you think people would be interested in learning or discussing it, let us know!
We are now accepting applications for panels and workshops for GeekGirlCon ‘15, which takes place October 10 and 11, 2015 at The Conference Center at the WSCC. This is your chance to be part of it, to talk about topics that mean something to you, and to learn more about geek culture all over the world. This year is our fifth anniversary, and we’re already working to make it better than ever!
Applications are open only until May 1, so head over to our applications page and let us know your ideas. We can’t wait to hear from you!
It’s not every day that one gets to talk to Wonder Woman, but attendees of GeekGirlCon ‘14 had the chance to do just that! Susan Eisenberg, the voice of Wonder Woman in the animated television shows Justice League and Justice League Unlimited (and more!), was featured on two panels, letting fans learn firsthand about her experiences. “The Voice of Wonder: Spotlight on Susan Eisenberg” dove into her professional history and voice acting superpowers, with Samantha Cross moderating and The Mary Sue writer Alan Kistler sharing his background as well. while “Great Hera: Let’s Watch Justice League!” was one enormously fun view-along of episodes from the series. The highly animated panels (pun intended!) were a hit, but for those who missed them, we caught up with Susan afterwards for even more tips and tricks of her trade.
How did you initially get into voice acting?
SE: I actually started out acting, and discovered fairly early on that I was far more comfortable in front of a microphone that I was in front of a camera. I had done radio ads for my father’s business when I was a kid; I did some of the commercials for his department store, growing up in Rhode Island. It scared me to death, and I loved it. You know, it still scares me a little bit, but I still get giddy when I go into a studio!
After attending university for acting and voice acting, were you hoping to land a specific type of role, such as voicing a superheroine?
SE: When I first started out, anything that came my way, I would say yes to. I would do narration jobs, commercials, regional commercials, and it’s still the same: It’s all good, as far as I’m concerned. You get to do a radio spot, or a commercial for television, or a promo for the NFL network, or you get to be on an animated series—if you love doing voice-overs, then you’re going to love doing all those things. Of course there are distinctions with money; certainly commercial voice-overs are the most lucrative, so you get residuals, but I don’t think there’s anyone out there who does voice-overs who doesn’t covet being on an animated series. I say all the time that getting the Wonder Woman job was the biggest gift of my professional life. I got to have fun all those years on the Justice League and the Justice League Unlimited and now, I still get to play her.
How do you think voicing and spending so much time with the character of Wonder Woman has changed your worldview?
SE: It has gotten me into comics more, because it’s the universe I’m in. When I first started out, I hardly knew anything. I had grown up reading Archie comics, but I still get a bit glassy-eyed when people start talking about comic book characters’ origins and things like that. I’m lucky enough to have a few friends invested in that universe, so they’ve helped me along.
Even if it’s not my passion as much as say cinema is, and soap operas—I love my soap operas! [laughs]—I want to know about it, and what’s happening. Being on Twitter has helped a lot with that, because people talk about it so much. That’s been incredible. I’ve been able to interact with people who are directly connected to her, like Phil Jimenez, who draws Wonder Woman, and Gail Simone and Amanda Deibert. That’s been another great gift. I’ve met them all at cons, and been able to travel the world because of Wonder Woman. I’ve been invited to Australia and New Zealand because of her. That’s just been extraordinary, really special.
Speaking of cons, what was your experience like at GeekGirlCon ‘14?
SE: There were a couple big highlights! One of the panels we did was watching the Justice League episodes, and that was just such a hoot. Watching them with a room full of fans was just unbeatable. I got everyone to sing the theme music. When you’re recording shows, you’re doing it in a small group in a recording studio, or you’re watching it at home. Being in a room full of people who, ten or fifteen years later, are still crazy about the show—it’s so incredibly gratifying.
Then, meeting a couple people that I followed on Twitter or who follow me was just so much fun. Meeting the young fans, too, was great. There’s a picture I got of this beautiful little girl, just a tyke, she could barely see over the signing table and she came up in her little Wonder Woman outfit. C’mon, that’s just darling! The best. The best.
I also want to mention Samantha Cross, as it was because of her that I went to GeekGirlCon. It was she who invited me and organized the panel with the screening of the episodes, and it was a great idea. I want to give her a shoutout!
It was also interesting, because it was so intimate as a con. It’s not chaotic, and I like that. I like the energy around it; there was just a kindness to the people there. It was very sweet. They had science exhibits for girls, and things like that that I really support, so I was very happy to be part of it.
Also, while I was there, meeting fans who did grow up with the shows, and who cared about them—I don’t want to sound immodest, but for them, I’m their Wonder Woman, because they’re too young to know Linda Carter. She was my Wonder Woman because I grew up with her, but when I meet people in their twenties and thirties, to know that [Justice League] had an impact on them is really moving. It was such a quality show, and everyone—the actors, the producers, the artists, the musicians, the directors, and especially the writers—made it just so well done.
That’s one great thing about Wonder Woman as a character—she’s been in different shows for a few different generations now, yet she’s remained a feminist icon throughout it all.
SE: Yes! Except it depends who you ask, because sometimes the word “feminist” gets you into trouble. People get kinda scared, and I’ve never understood why. I think if you’re of a certain age, it’s something to be grateful for, feminism. It’s just equality. Really, to me, it’s freedom and equality, and certainly Wonder Woman is that. You throw truth and justice in there and it’s like, “Hello!” It is Wonder Woman. I feel very, very fortunate.
I think about that all the time when people ask about this Wonder Woman or that Wonder Woman, this actress or that actress. The truth is that it’s the character that endures and endures. Whether it’s me or somebody else, an animation or live action, books, comics, whatever, it’s the incarnation. She will just continue to be as popular as she is because, in my opinion, she’s extraordinary. I think in this day and age, we need her ideals and that moral compass. You can’t play somebody like that and not feel it, even in everyday life. I never take that likely.
What advice would you give to those who want to break into voice acting?
SE: I would say the first thing is to take classes. I think oftentimes, people are under the misconception that if you have a “good” voice, quote unquote, then oh, you should do voiceover. But it’s far more involved than that, just like there’s a skill set for acting. People ask me all the time, “Did you ever want to be an actor?” And I’m like, well, Wonder Woman isn’t me. I wasn’t Diana Prince. I only say “Great Hera!” maybe once or twice a week at most [laughs].
There is a skill set there, and you have to get a demo reel. Depending on if you’re doing commercial or promo or animation, you put that together so you can send it out to agents. That way, they can listen right up front and bring you in for auditions. I can’t emphasize the importance of classes enough. I still take classes! There are always things you can tweak and be more comfortable with. You can get into habits, and sometimes it’s just really good to throw it all upside down and get out of your own grooves.
Plus, the beauty of voice-over today, as opposed to twenty years ago when I started, is that there were always voice-overs throughout the country, but the big markets—New York, Chicago, Los Angeles—were really the only main games in town. Now, you can have a successful voice-over career living in Minneapolis, living in Portland, Seattle has a huge market, I’m sure. You don’t have to get on a plane and move to Los Angeles; there’s plenty of work to be had.
The days that you get to be in front of a microphone: that’s what you’re in it for. Even the days you get to audition; that’s basically our full-time job. You have to audition, and practice, and be lucky. And if you are lucky, just be grateful.
Do you have any goals or projects you’re working on now, or looking forward to doing this year?
SE: Recently, for DC, I did an online video game, Amazon Fury, and a couple episodes of a show for Marvel [Avengers Assemble]. That’s already done, and there are one or two other things, but I can’t reveal them yet, because they haven’t been announced yet. It’s to be continued!
And actually, the other thing I’d like to do more of this year is to be involved with more cons. I can announce that I’ll be going to Emerald City Comicon! I’ll be doing several panels, and that’s a goal of mine. I love being out there. I love meeting the fans and hearing their stories, having them introduce themselves to me and talking about who their favorite character in the Justice League is. If that doesn’t make you giddy—to be in a room with the fans, singing the theme song of the show you’re in—if you can’t be moved by that experience, you’re dead inside [laughs].
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, views, and voice, Susan. You do Wonder Woman justice!
Join us at GeekGirlCon ‘15 to meet more of your favorite real-life heroes. Purchase your passes today to see all the action!
Written by GeekGirlCon Copy Writer Sarah “SG-1” Grant
In the past four years, GeekGirlCon has called for and selected hundreds of ideas for panels to be presented at our yearly convention. Topics have ranged from comics, racism in geek culture, astronomy, feminism, and building community, to geek women in the early days, ableism, geeky careers, and so many, many more. We’ve done our best to show you the sky is the limit for what you want to be, create, or do. Check out last year’s program booklet for some examples!
Panel on Feminist Community Building, GeekGirlCon ’14
Image source: GeekGirlCon Flickr
This year, it’s your turn.
Get your panel ideas ready! We’re looking for geek life-inspired panels that are creative, informative, and interesting. Gamers, costumers, cosplayers, writers, scientists, artists, business owners, or whatever flavor of geek you may be: pick a topic that’s important to you–something you are passionate about. Do you believe other people will be interested in listening to you, talking with you, and learning about this topic?
If the answer is yes, we need two extremely important things:
Title for your panel
Short description (100-150 words)
We will also need the following information for each panelist on the submission form:
Short bio (150-200 words max each)
Audio visual requirements
Age restrictions (if any)
Starting on April 1, and ending on May 1, GeekGirlCon will be accepting panel submissions for GeekGirlCon ‘15. GeekGirlCon ‘15 will be held October 10 and 11, 2015 at The Conference Center at the WSCC. This is your chance to be part of it, to talk about topics that mean something to you, and to learn more about geek culture all over the world.
This year is our fifth anniversary, and we’re already working to make it better than ever. Send us your panel submission starting April 1, and help GeekGirlCon make history in 2015.
Carol Corps-inspired cover art by Joe Quinones. Image source: Marvel Wiki
Written by GeekGirlCon Copywriter Winter Downs.
If you’re wondering whether to get an early jump on passes for GeekGirlCon ‘15, here’s a sample of the kind of programming you can look forward to!
The Carol Corps has put in a great showing at every GeekGirlCon since 2012, and this year it’s especially excited about the recent announcement of a Captain Marvel movie, set to hit theaters in July 2018.
Why is this a big deal? Well, as Ashley Leckwold of Nerdophiles pointed out, before Kelly Sue DeConnick launched her as Captain Marvel in 2012, Carol Danvers was “a third string Marvel character.” And then came the Carol Corps, a spontaneous upsurge of readers old and new rallying around this inspirational character and bringing her to the forefront of Marvel fandom. I’m not saying it was solely due to the Corps’ efforts that Captain Marvel got her own movie, but it surely is a factor.
All this explains why we were so excited to have a panel about the Carol Corps on the schedule at GeekGirlCon ‘14!
A packed panel room greeted panelists for the Cosplaying While Fat.
Panelists Jo Jo Stiletto, Wolfcat, and Mickey Schulz. Image from the GeekGirlCon Flickr
Cosplaying While Fat occurred on Saturday afternoon, with the description: “Cosplaying when you’re plus-sized presents some unique challenges. Putting together an awesome costume you’ll be comfortable in can be a real challenge for a number of reasons, including how people treat you and a general lack of ‘off the rack’ options. Come hear our panelists talk about coping with the trash talk as well as how to make what you wear look great and feel comfortable.”
I wanted to go to this panel because Jamala Henderson was the moderator, and I love her voice and her presence. She and I met for the first time at the premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier this year, and now I’m part of a group of Marvel enthusiasts that shares awesome upcoming Marvel things with each other.
I also wanted to go to this panel because I am a little bit of a history geek. Not about every aspect of history, but the history of fandom is definitely something that sparked an interest. I know MY history with fandom, and I love hearing other people’s histories as well–and this panel was the ultimate history of women in fandom.
Linda Deneroff, Tish Wells, Susan Matthews, Jamala Henderson, Maggie Nowakowska
The speakers in the panel were four women with various connections to the beginnings of fandom: Linda Deneroff, Susan Matthews, Maggie Nowakowska, and Tish Wells. Each of these women was involved in the beginnings of media and print fandom in the 60s and 70s, primarily around Star Trek and Star Wars. They each spoke about the first books they read that got them into science fiction–everything from Freddie and the Space Shipto Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot to the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Jamala asked the panelists what they loved about those early science fiction books they read. Susan said, “It was a new world where anything could happen, but there wasn’t any magic!” Linda was struck by the commonalities between what she was learning to read and the advent of the United States space program. Maggie read all the kids’ science fiction books available in her local library, and then moved onto the adult books (which is just what I did!). Tish spoke briefly about an author named Hugh Walters and how she read every book he wrote.
The conversation moved from books to fandom, and how the women got started in media fandom, specifically. All four of them had the same response: Star Trek. They saw the show, then worked on Star Trek fanzines, attended Star Trek conventions, joined Star Trek discussion groups, and cosplayed the characters they liked, whether they were men or women. There wasn’t anything special about a woman dressed as Han Solo or Luke Skywalker; they wore what they wanted to wear.
Having fandom in their lives inspired all four of the panelists in different ways. Susan began writing her own fiction in about 1978, but often kept it to herself. She published her first novel in 1997. Linda was inspired to take up photography, as well as publishing and traveling. Maggie started helping to publish fanzines–most of which were written, typed, mimeographed, and compiled (all by hand) to be sent around the country. Tish said fandom became part of her life as a journalist as she wrote her first published piece on a WorldCon; that piece got her a job, which sent her to Los Angeles for a Star Wars costume exhibit, at which she met and interviewed George Lucas!
All of them said they “found their ‘selves’” in fandom; there was a huge community linked to fandoms and conventions. They encouraged each other to do what they loved, it was powerful enough to keep them doing it. They told stories of women whose husbands wouldn’t allow them to attend science fiction conventions because their husbands “needed them home to cook their meals”. One woman apparently put together fanzines in her car, because her husband wouldn’t allow them in the house. There was even a woman they knew who was institutionalized! Her husband thought that the things she was doing and wanted to do around fandom were literally insane. This sounds like something out of the nineteenth century, or maybe even the early twentieth century; but these happened in the 1970s and 1980s, here in the United States.
Each of these four women have learned very powerful things in their lives through fandom.
Community is powerful.
Sisterhood is powerful.
Whatever it is, you can do it.
I left this “Geek Elders Speak” panel with tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat, and the determination to learn more about the history of women in fandom. I know my history, and I knew about some of the early fanzines; I was even part of a correspondence fiction club called The Third Fleet out of California where we made our own characters, took Starfleet ranks, and were placed on “ships” (groups of other writers) to write stories with our characters and fellow “shipmates”. But nothing I did when I got into fandom prepared me to hear Maggie, Susan, Linda, and Tish speak about their experiences. I’m proud to be part of their ranks, years later, and thinking of ways to do some of the kinds of things they did: building and fostering community, mentoring each other (both in life and fandom), and making sure that what they did–how they built and fostered the communities we have today–continues to grow.
The info sheet for The Third Fleet Academy
If you were at the “Geek Elders Speak” panel at GeekGirlCon ‘14, what impressed you the most about the panelists? How did YOU come to fandom? And if there was one thing you could do to help others in our community and build their fandom experiences, what would that be?
And guess what: you can already get your tickets for GeekGirlCon ‘15! We’ve sold out entirely two years in a row, and next year is our fifth anniversary. Don’t miss it!
Below is a bibliography of some of the books and publications mentioned and discussed by the panelists; Maggie Nowakowska forwarded it to GeekGirlCon so we could share it with anyone who wants the information, and to learn more about early media fandom.
Space Cat, Ruthven Todd (orig. 1952) For the young girls in your life. This was the very first book I took out of the library when I was in 1st grade.
Star Trek Lives!, Jacqueline Lichtenberg (1975) A classic, written by a media fan, that allowed many women to discover Star Trek fandom. If you’ve ever wondered how Trek fandom came to be an grew so powerful, this is a good book to read.
Enterprising Women: Television Fandom and the Creation of Popular Myth, Camille Bacon-Smith (1992) A frank discussion of how fandom developed socially in the 1980s. The author participated in fandom herself and describes the ways a fandom supported and challenged women in the 1980s. IMO, Bacon-Smith nails the problems that often arise between those who made up the “first fandom” of a favorite series and the “second fandom,” made up of those who join later, bringing different, often conflicting interpretations to the mix.
Boldly Writing: A Trekker Fan and Zine History, 1967-1987. Joan Marie Verba (1996) A year-by-year review of Star Trek fandom by someone who was there. If you want to travel the years of fandom vicariously, this is the book for you. All the people who paved the way for media fandom, all the social and fanzine developments, are here.
Fan Phenomena series: Star Trek, Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman, Twin Peaks, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock Holmes, Jane Austin, The Hunger Games, Various editors (2013) England brings us a series of books about many of the world-wide media fandoms that have developed over the years.
“Fangirls Flying High,” Tricia Barr, article on women in SW fandom, Star Wars Insider Issue 151 (Aug/Sept 2014)
How Star Wars Conquered the Universe, Chris Taylor (2014) An excellent history about how Star Wars, and Star Wars fandom took media fandom mainstream and made Star Wars the phenomenon that it is. Deeply researched, this book will take you into the heart of the Star Wars experience.
**Also, you can help make the paperback version better. The Star Wars fandom that Taylor describes is made up of boys and men. Taylor wants to know more about the women of Star Wars fandom. Read the book and when you review it, ask for more coverage of all the girls and women who love Star Wars! Tell Taylor about all of us who love Star Wars now and have for years.**