Ask GeekGirlCon: Exciting Con Events

GeekGirlCon ‘12 is just over a week away.

We hope you are as excited as all of us at GeekGirlCon. We are incredibly humbled by the support and positive messages all of you are sending — on Twitter, Facebook, on our blog, and over email. YOU are why we do this work. YOU are the reason an organization like GeekGirlCon exists in the first place. YOU are what gets us up in the morning. Really.

And to get YOU excited, our staff decided to share a second blog highlighting some of the programming we can’t wait to catch at GeekGirlCon ‘12. Check out our staff’s diverse responses below. And get your passes today!

Lani Blazier, Gaming Director

“I’m most excited about the Mystery Box Game Design Challenge. It was a great experience last year, and I really feel we’ve created an even smoother, interesting, and fun challenge.”

 

Melanie Howard, Customer Service Coordinator

“I am excited about being your Info Booth Princess all weekend!!!” (Find Melanie at the Mario-themed Info Booth)

 

 

Shubz Blalack, PR Content Producer

“I’m stoked for Expressing Your Creativity Through Audio. I’ve got a few friends who have had great successes running their own podcasts, and I want to see what all the fuss is about…and what it can do for me! This sounds like a must have for the geek girl looking for a voice (literally!).”

 

Stephanie LittleStephanie Little, Marketing Assistant

“I can’t wait to see the GeekGirlConnections area. It will be refreshing to discover and grow with a community of other like-minded geeks! I look forward to improving my career skills with knowledge, networking, tips, and tricks.”

 

Tammy Vince CruzTammy Vince Cruz, Vice President and Design Manager

“The panel I’m super jazzed about is Customizing My Little Ponies: Tips, Tricks, and a Basic How To on Saturday! I’m a total fan of the whole vinyl toy industry, especially custom toys, and how the mish-mash of pop culture plus DIY is in a major boom. PLUS, what’s not to love about Ponies?”

 

Bunny Cole, Social Media Manager

“I’m super excited to talk Batman & Co. with some of our amazing guests and am eagerly awaiting all of the great cosplayers that are sure to return this year!”

 

 

Raychelle Burks, Media Administrator

“I’m looking forward to the Misogyny Online panel. There have been a few high-profile incidents over the last year which have showed sexism is ‘alive and well’ in the geek, nerd, and/or skeptic community. As an active geek girl online, I am interested in the insight this panel can provide into misogyny online and how to deal with it.”

Susie RantzSusie Rantz, PR Manager

“I am jazzed to see people talking about populations beyond women who are underrepresented or misrepresented in pop culture, comics, and other geeky fields. So I can’t wait to catch panels examining gender roles in Doctor Who, as well as those that talk about disabilities, including Capes and Canes: Abilities and Disability in Superhero Comics and A Fate Worse than Death: The Last ‘Outsider’ in Popular Culture – Disability.”

Stephanie LittleStephanie Little, Marketing Assistant (who was so excited she contributed two quotations)

“The Once More, With Feeling Sing-Along on Saturday & Closing Celebration on Sunday will provide two great opportunities for me to make new friends and have fun. I look forward to singing my heart out and reflecting on the awesomeness of our geeky community. I am also super duper excited about our showing of The Wizard of Oz with Three Dollar Cinema on Friday night. The movie is really close to my heart (my twin sister and I memorized the movie by the time we were 4). I couldn’t dream of a more fun, family-friendly way to begin the GeekGirlCon ’12 festivities!”

What about you?

Take a look at our Saturday and Sunday programming, and tell us: What panel do you simply HAVE to catch? Let us know in the comments!

And stay tuned to our website, where we’ll profile some of the special events and gaming that we want to hit up, and the cosplay we hope to see at the convention.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’12 Preview: A Q&A with Anita Sarkeesian

Anita Sarkeesian (From FeministFrequency.com)

I have two words for today’s GeekGirlCon ‘12 preview: Anita Sarkeesian. We are incredibly lucky to have her at our convention this year. If you didn’t know her name prior to this year, it is likely you have heard about her by now. She’s been busy lately.

For those who need the introduction, Anita is a feminist pop culture critic who produces an ongoing web series of video commentaries from a feminist/fangirl perspective at FeministFrequency.com. She explores representations of race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability in popular culture.

Recently, Anita posted a Kickstarter project to raise money for a video series, “Tropes vs Women in Video Games,” that explored female character stereotypes throughout the history of the gaming industry.

Tropes vs. Women in Video Games Kickstarter

Despite the fact that she had yet to even produce one of the videos, the trolls deployed in full force. They left hateful comments on Anita’s YouTube video, repeatedly vandalized the Wikipedia page about her, and sent a number of threatening messages that went as far as threats of violence, death, sexual assault, and rape. This New Statesman article  (Major trigger warning: there are some very disturbing examples) provides perhaps the most detailed look at how Anita was treated.

Anita didn’t back down, and neither did her supporters. You see, despite the horrible treatment, there is some good news to share. While she only asked for $6,000 to create this video series, Anita ended up raising over $158,000! Geeks and pop culture fans of all types came together to show their support for her project. Now that’s a movement we can all get behind.

We had a few moments to catch up with Anita and chat about this project, as well as the panels she’ll be participating in at GeekGirlCon ‘12. Enjoy!

1) Let’s talk about something positive! Tell us what it’s like to have a community rally behind you and support you, as many did with your Kickstarter project.
I’m actually not sure how to describe the feeling, but it was pretty incredible especially considering I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be able to raise my initial funding goal. In the midst of all the horrific (and at times scary) harassment, I received an outpouring of support by way of comments, private messages, video responses, and even fanart from both my long time supportive viewers and also from folks who had not heard of my web series before the Kickstarter. I feel inspired and tremendously lucky to have so many wonderful people defending and supporting me in the face of all the trolling, hate, and abuse.

2) What messages are you hoping to share at GeekGirlCon ’12?
This year I’ll be participating in a few different panels and workshops. In “Go Make Me A Sandwich: Barriers to Women’s Participation in Online and Fan Spaces,” I’ll be sharing my experiences with online harassment, as well as some strategies other women can hopefully use to protect themselves online.

During “Let’s Get Critical: Fans, Creators, and Social Justice,” I’ll be talking about the complexities of being a fan within a media landscape that is largely created for (and by) straight, white men and how we can love our fandoms while simultaneously being critical of the more problematic aspects.

Lastly, I’m co-facilitating a video making workshop called “Really Make Your Own Videoblog” with Reel Grrls. We are going to teach the basics of how to record a captivating and engaging video blog. We’re bringing filmmaking equipment and all participants will be invited to make their own videos during the workshop.

3) Aside from your panels, are there any panels or special guests you are particularly looking forward to seeing at GeekGirlCon ’12?
I’m excited about everything, and I’m trying to figure out a timey-wimey way to be at every single panel! I’m thrilled about the “Once More, with Feeling Buffy the Vampire Slayer Sing-Along” (I still believe it is one of the best hours of television, ever).

I’m looking forward to hearing Greg Rucka talk about “Why Men Write Women Poorly, and How to Get a Clue” and learning about Corrinne Yu’s experience working in the video game industry. I’m also really happy to see the subject of harassment in geek culture as the focus on a number of panels this year. I’m looking forward to learning about other women’s experiences and sharing strategies on building stronger communities to fight against sexism in geek spaces.

4) What sort of things are you geeking out about right now?
I am a big fan of the Portal video game series so I was anticipating the release of Kim Swift’s latest project this year. Quantum Conundrum is endearing and quite challenging, plus the whole game is narrated by John De Lancie giving it that extra geeky charm.

I also recently read a book series called The Steerswoman’s Road by Rosemary Kirstein. It’s such a great example of a captivating, creative and brilliant fantasy novel that stars a genuinely complex, interesting, female protagonist. I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t read it yet, but it’s now one of my all time favourite books which I recommend to everyone!

Thanks for your time, Anita! We look forward to hearing more from you at the convention.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’12 Preview: Women in Star Wars

We are continuing our GeekGirlCon ’12 panel preview with a look at Star Wars. On Saturday, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:20 p.m., come to Room 204 for From Jedi Princess to Sith Witch: An Exploration of Female Characters in Star Wars. Here’s a description of the panel:

Padmé Amidala and Leia Organa are icons in discussions about female characters in science fiction. Panelists will delve into the representations of females in the Expanded Universe and the recurring theme of the Jedi Princess. As a counterbalance, the Sith witches transcend the stereotypical caricatures often found in fairy tales and the “ordinary” female characters such as bounty hunters, intelligence agents, smugglers, and fighter pilots that capture our imagination without mystical powers.

Presented by Tricia Barr, Ashley Eckstein, Joanne Perrault, Linda Hansen-Raj, Joao Stinson

Princess Leia feeds the secret plans for the Death Star — a planet-killing space station — into R2-D2’s memory banks (Photo from StarWars.com)

Star Wars is amazing because it draws equal numbers of female and male fans. Why is that? Is it because of the strong female characters in the show? Come to this panel to engage in this conversation. This is great timing, as we announced last Monday that Ashley Eckstein will be attending our convention as a guest. She will be joining this amazing panel.

We were able to snag Tricia Barr, moderator of the panel and creator of the FANgirl Blog. Tricia shared some additional details about the panel and talked about what parts of GeekGirlCon ’12 have her excited. Read on!

1. How long have you been a Star Wars fan (and how did you become one)?

I’ve been a Star Wars fan from the beginning. I still remember standing in line to see the movie with my grandparents in 1977. The opening sequence was spectacular. Then there was this princess who wasn’t like any princess I had ever seen before…

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’12 Preview: Maya Bisineer

Maya Bisineer (Photo from www.thinkmaya.com)

While our programming is now live on the website (Saturday and Sunday), we will continue to spotlight some of the great panels or events you will find at our convention.

Today, we’d like everyone to meet Maya.

Maya is the founder of Memetales, a revolutionary marketplace for children’s picture books. Memetales opened its doors in March of 2010 and has been growing steadily ever since. She didn’t just stop with Memetales. Maya is also a founding board member of MomItForward and co-founded ReadingSocialMedia, a social media book club.

She is one busy and fabulous mom, geek, entrepreneur, and writer.

Maya is also dedicated to helping women realize their own potential. In fact, she will host a panel at GeekGirlCon ‘12 called “Here is Your Cape. You are a Superhero. Now Act Like One.” Join Maya on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. for this panel, and learn how you can achieve your goals. As the title implies, we can all be superheros with the right equipment. Maya will show us how to gather our own tools so we can succeed. You will learn why you should reach for the stars and how to quell that voice inside telling you that you can’t achieve your goals.

We are lucky to have someone like Maya in Seattle, and look forward to sharing her with all of you at our convention (have you bought your passes yet?).

In the meantime, leave us a comment with your favorite children’s book!

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Actress and Her Universe Founder Joins GeekGirlCon ‘12 Guests

We might have released our programming last week (Saturday and Sunday), but that doesn’t mean we are done announcing guests for GeekGirlCon ‘12! Today, we are excited to announce the addition of Ashley Eckstein, an amazing actress and entrepreneur.

Eckstein in a Her Universe shirt (left) and Ahsoka Tano (right)

Eckstein currently stars as the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the animated television show. Her devotion to Star Wars extends well beyond her years as a voice actor for the show’s four seasons. She currently blogs for The Official Star Wars Blog and is the founder of Her Universe, the first merchandise line exclusively for female science fiction fans. She created the company to provide female fans an equal opportunity to show off their Star Wars pride. Her Universe products have since expanded to other well-known franchises such as Syfy, Doctor Who, and Star Trek.

How cool is that?

Here is what Jennifer K. Stuller, our Programming Creative Director, had to say about this announcement: “We are honored and incredibly excited to have Ashley joining us for GeekGirlCon ‘12. She is a fantastic role model for young girls and women, and the work she does is completely in line with our mission at GeekGirlCon, which is to create a community where women and girls can come together to celebrate who they are, and what they love.”

Eckstein will join other Star Wars fans on Saturday as a member of the panel From Jedi Princess to Sith Witch: An Exploration of Female Characters in Star Wars. She will also be available for media signings and will be featured in the GeekGirlConnections room, where convention guests can network and get mentorship and advice from professionals, who work in their desired career fields.

Read our press release or guest page for more information.

Don’t forget to buy your passes now to catch Ashley and other guests! GeekGirlCon ‘12 will be happening at The Conference Center in downtown Seattle, August 11-12, 2012.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Sign up Now for the Game Design Challenge at GeekGirlCon ‘12

GeekGirlCon’s Mystery Box Game Design Challenge is an opportunity for you to learn from the top industry pros and have a little fun while doing it. This workshop is aimed at ages 12 + and college students interested in game design, but the workshop is open to everyone, by yourself or with your friends. Just bring your brain (mmm….braaaaains) and your creativity!

Space is limited (only 16 seats available), so register now to secure your spot! To register, email our gaming director, Lani Blazier at gaming@geekgirlcon.com with your name and a few sentences about why you want to participate. Please include “Workshop Registration” in the subject line.

Workshop begins at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 11th. Purchase of a pass to GeekGirlCon ‘12 is required for participation.

Here’s how it works:

– You and your design team get a box of mystery game parts.
– An industry mentor shows your team the ropes to create game concepts, prototypes, and design.
– Creativity abounds.
– Your team’s game goes on display in the game room for a popular vote to choose a winner.
– Return to the Game Room on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. to find out if you won and collect your prize.

Industry Mentors FTW!
We have some amazing, talented, and experienced industry mentors to help you win this design challenge, get expert advice, and learn what it’s like designing a brand new game.

Mark Baxter
Mark Baxter has been in the Games and Digital Media industry for more than 12 years in a variety of roles including: executive, producer, and creative director. He is currently vice president of product & creative and co-founder at Vivity Labs, a Vancouver-based developer of mobile, web, and social games. Baxter is also the president and founder of Gnosis Games, an independent games studio that developed multiple #1 games. At Threewave Software, he led the Casual Games division and was also producer of multiple titles for the Xbox360 and PS3, working closely with top clients including: Disney, EA, MTV/Viacom, RealArcade, Shockwave, and Big Fish Games.

Christine Miller
Christine Miller started a career in games early – at six she and her brother were board game testers for a now-defunct publishing company. That was followed by years of interest in everything from art and technology to horror stories and science. Clearly only one outcome could emerge – a fabulous career in game development! She has shipped numerous well-respected titles including Morrowind, Forza and several titles in the SOCOM series. Miller has also worked as FX artist, environment artist and game/level designer. In her spare time she trains for triathlons and half-marathons and somehow also manages to play a lot of Diablo 3. Currently working at Disney Interactive, she shares office space with some amazingly creative and talented people and a purple manatee named Hugh.

Narisa Spaulding
Narisa Spaulding is a multidisciplinary user experience (UX) designer with a passionate focus on creating aesthetically-pleasing and usability-considerate digital experiences. In other words: she believe that things should be pretty AND easy to use. Her current emphasis is on making fun, beautiful, easy-to-use games for mobile touch devices. Her favorite way to do this is by working collaboratively with others to define, develop, and streamline the UX — from flows to UI to visual design to final production art. Thankfully Big Fish Games Studios lets her get away with it.
Before falling into games, she spent 8 years at design agencies creating graphic design solutions for web and print, for clients such as Nintendo, Hasbro, Nike, and PBS.
Outside the office, you’ll find her seeking out new sights, sounds, and tastes around the world, snapping endless digital and film photos, attending live music, and petting moss.

Register Now!
Don’t miss this opportunity! To register, email our gaming director, Lani Blazier at gaming@geekgirlcon.com with your name and a few sentences about why you want to participate. Please include “Workshop Registration” in the subject line.

Laurel McJannet
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’12 Preview: Sporty Geek

GeekGirlCon ‘12 is nearly a month away. It is going to be a rocking, amazing, empowering, inspiring convention.

Don’t believe us? Well, perhaps a preview of some of the awesome panels will persuade you. Today marks the start of a series of GeekGirlCon ‘12 panel previews that will come out in the coming weeks.

Join us on Saturday, August 11, for Sporty Geek: How Roller Derby and Quidditch Are Changing the Game for Women.

Roller derby and Quidditch don’t seem to have much in common on the surface. But they share something very important. They are both thriving, grassroots sporting efforts that provide a new range of athletic opportunities for women. Geek girls are kicking ass … on skates and brooms!

Panelists Sara Weisenbach, Chelsea Hougan, and Tammy Oler will lead this moderated discussion. They will explore the intersections of geek and jock culture with two sports that challenge convention and have the power to change women’s lives.

Here’s a little more background on these sporty geeks:

Sara Weisenbach is the Alaska and Washington state representative for the International Quidditch Association. She is currently studying design illustration at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where she is also co-captain from the college’s quidditch team.

Chelsea Hougan is the other co-captain from the Cornish Quidditch Team. She’s currently attending the college to pursue a degree in motion design.

Tammy Oler co-founded the Denver Roller Dolls in 2005, a nonprofit roller derby league that has not only trained hundreds of female athletes, but also contributed thousands of hours of community service. She also co-produced Talk Derby to Me, a documentary about the roller derby revival.

We don’t talk about sports a lot in geek culture, but a number of GeekGirlCon staff can be seen attending Seattle Sounders games or roller derby bouts, losing their voice at Seattle Seahawks events, running marathons, or kicking butt in fantasy football.

Are you a geek and a jock? Or are you simply interested in learning more about women and sports? This is the panel for you.

With the Summer Olympics only weeks away and ending during GeekGirlCon ‘12, we thought this was the perfect panel to highlight. So what are you waiting for? Get your passes for GeekGirlCon ‘12 before we sell out.

In the meantime, let us know your favorite sport in the comments below.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Trina Robbins Not Appearing at GeekGirlCon ’12

There are only 43 days until GeekGirlCon ‘12, but who is counting? (We are, of course!)

Before all the crazy fun, we have a little bit of sad news to share. Trina Robbins, the amazing writer and self-described herstorian, will unfortunately be unable to make it to Seattle for GeekGirlCon ‘12.

Some of you might remember her from last year; she was an amazing addition to our list of special guests. We will miss her, but understand that she is in high demand. Trina has promised to do everything possible to make it out here for 2013.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Fact or Fiction: Women and Gaming

Today, we are kicking off a new GeekGirlCon blog series titled “Fact or Fiction.” In these posts, we hope to dissect some of the stereotypes or assumptions made about female geeks. You know, assumptions like “Geek girls don’t exist.”

To pay tribute to GeekGirlCon’s burlesque show, JOYstick!, today’s “Fact or Fiction” will focus on video games. (P.S. Tickets are going fast for JOYstick! Get your tickets now.)

Tell me, is the following statement fact or fiction: Barely any girls or women are gamers. What do you think?

Let’s take a look at some of the facts:

• According to the Entertainment Software Association, 42 percent of all game players are women.
• Women age 18 and older represent a significantly greater portion of game players (37 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (13 percent).
• Men & women are playing online PC games in almost equal numbers: 130 million women and 140 million men!

Ok, you might read these stats and think: Well, girls play more social games like Bejeweled and Farmville. Some women certainly do, but here’s another interesting fact:

Nearly 40 percent of all World of Warcraft players are women.

Wow! Women and girls certainly are gamers. Many of GeekGirlCon’s staff members rushed home to play Diablo III the day it came out. And we know a ton of you feel the same way.

Not only are women and girls avid gamers, they make games too! That is why we are so excited to have video game experts like Corrinne Yu, principle engine architect for Microsoft’s Halo video game, at GeekGirlCon ‘12.

We will also have a whole floor dedicated to gaming, where convention guests can play some amazing console games, which are brought to you by EA and PopCap games. On top of that, con-goers will be able to participate in Magic: The Gathering tournaments, try out board games with friends and family, test out their own game design skills at our Mystery Box Game Design Challenge, and join some amazing LARPing workshops.

We hope to you’ll come to our convention (buy your passes here!) and help confirm the fact that women are definitely gamers. In the meantime, tell us: What’s your favorite video game?

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Womanthology Creator Renae De Liz Joining GeekGirlCon ‘12 Guests

Renae De Liz

Did you think we were done announcing guests for GeekGirlCon ‘12? We’re not! Today, we are excited to announce the addition of Renae De Liz, an amazing comic book artist.

Cover for Anne Rice's Servant of the Bones

In 2011, Renae created and managed Womanthology, a 350-page comic anthology created entirely by women, with all proceeds going to charity. She raised $109,000 on Kickstarter, making Womanthology the most successful comics project and 25th most successful Kickstarter of all time.

Pretty awesome for something that started with a tweet!

In addition to the overwhelming success of Womanthology, Renae De Liz has illustrated the New York Times bestselling graphic novel adaptation of Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn for IDW, as well as other adaptations including Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones. She lives in Maine with her husband, sons, and cats.

“We are exceptionally excited to have Renae joining us for GeekGirlCon ‘12,” announced Jennifer K. Stuller, Creative Programming Director for GeekGirlCon. “The overwhelmingly positive reaction and support for the Womanthology Kickstarter project is an indication that there is a great market for comics created by women. We are looking forward to hearing about her experiences creating and managing the project, as well as illustrating great graphic novel adaptations.”

Cover for The Last Unicorn designed by Renae De Liz

Read our press release or guest page for more information.

Don’t forget to buy your passes now! And stay tuned for more exciting announcements about what’s happening at GeekGirlCon ‘12!

GeekGirlCon ‘12 will be happening at The Conference Center in downtown Seattle, August 11-12, 2012.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

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