One of the priorities of GeekGirlCon I am most proud of is its commitment to creating space for communities that have been traditionally left out of mainstream geek culture. In the case of GeekGirlCon’s identity-centric panels, it is actual, physical space that is being created. My favorite panel of this kind that appeared at GeekGirlCon ‘16 was called ¿Cómo Se Dice “Nerd”?and set forth to discuss the reality Latinx nerds face when engaging with geek culture.
Panelists Sylvia Monreal, Olivia Hernández, Jorge Albor, and Tristan Tarwater began the conversation by addressing, outright, how fundamentally linked mainstream geekdom is with consumerism. In other words, one’s ability to participate in geek culture is defined by their access to capital. Therefore, historically poor communities have had to innovate new and different ways of interacting with nerdy content.
The room was abuzz with anticipation. David-Bowie-loving con guests talked amongst themselves, excitedly trading ideas about what would be discussed at a panel about Bowie’s influence over the genres they love.
Then the panelists began singing “The Man Who Sold the World.” It only took a few lines before the audience joined in, turning a simple, beige conference room into a wonderland of magical notes.
As the first verse came to a close in the transformed room, the panel began. The panel moderator, Evan J. Peterson (author and teacher), introduced himself, followed by Grace Moore (podcaster), and Sara Depp (musician).
Evan explained that the panel would focus on Bowie’s influence on visual content, such as film and television, although his music would be touched upon as well.
Sarah Elmaleh & Ashly Burch, who immediately ignited this gamer’s heart as the voices of Katie from Gone Home (Sarah) and Tiny Tina fromBorderlands (Ashly), graced us with a casual Q&A about their journey to the geek life GeekGirlCon 2016.
It was immediately obvious that the two are close, the friendly chemistry on stage could light up the room. You weren’t just watching a Q&A, it was a conversation between friends. No different than meeting someone for coffee to talk about their career and get some adivce, we got a little glimpse into how these two successful women grew as actors, writers, and dreamers.
If there was one panel I was looking forward to the most at GGC ‘16, it was The Women of Nerdcore. Featuring artists SAMMUS and Shubzilla, this panel focused on the interplay between music and geek culture and the female identity in traditionally male dominated fields.
My first panel of GGC ‘16 was with the super smart young women of Holy Names high school’s FIRST Robotics team.
What is FIRST Robotics? FIRST Robotics is a mentor-based program for youth engagement in science and technology. They offer programs for all age groups with a focus on STEM concepts.
The FIRST Robotics Competition is a high school-only where teams of students develop, build, and program their own robot. Students must follow strict rules, are given limited resources, and have only six weeks to complete their project.
Once completed, teams compete in a difficult field game where their industrial-sized robots are put to the test.
Early last September, the GeekGirlCon copy team huddled together to discuss and assign some of the most important jobs at the con (well, to us). With a nearly finalized schedule in hand, we gathered around to pick with panels we would each be covering to write up, as I am now, to help invoke all of those con feels we all felt in October.
When I first learned about The Women of Pixar panel, I knew that I needed to cover it. Before realizing my personal calling to become a writer, I started my college career at Ringling College of Art & Design in their Computer Animation program. Although I ultimately decided to switch fields and focus solely on storytelling through writing, my love of animation (especially Pixar) is strong and true. Although I was never introduced myself, some of the contributors on the panel worked closely with a handful of my friends and former mentors, so I was already familiar with some of their work and stellar reputations. It may have been because I looked mildly crazed as I requested it, but I was unchallenged when I asked to cover the panel.
I set up camp right in front of the main stage, as I was assigned to the first three panels that were being hosted there: Inclusion & Evolution of Female Role in Modern Animation, the Q&A with Ashly Burch and Sarah Elmaleh, and finally, The Women of Pixar. By the time the first of those panels had come and gone, the convention floor was just starting to buzz with activity. More people filed in for the Q&A, but then it happened. Like there was a mass consensus, what seemed like hundreds of attendees swarmed the hall the minute the Pixar logo was flashed across the two large screens that flanked the stage. So many people, in fact, that it immediately turned to standing room only. Guests young and old, readied with notepads and cameras, collectively gushed about their favorite animated films in anticipation of the panel. Current and prospective animation students, curious passersby, and fans alike gathered together in what I thought to be one of the liveliest crowds at the ‘16 con thus far.
There was plenty to do at GeekGirlCon ‘16–browse the expanded exhibitor’s hall, attend the numerous amazing panels, and socialize at meet-ups. But my favorite activity on each day was Crafting with Feminism, aka meeting up with a few dozen other attendees and Bonnie Burton to create superheroine wrist cuffs and tampon buddies.
At GeekGirlCon HQ, we’re still on cloud nine as we recount all of our memories from the 2016 convention. Two weeks ago today, our staff and agents were on the floor setting up and preparing for the rush of attendees. Both Saturday and Sunday were spent smiling, laughing, sharing our passions, and inspiring one another.
GeekGirlCon keeps on growing, and growth brings more people who empathize with our mission. More people means more voices, and more than ever before we’re seeing articles across the Seattle area (and beyond!) sharing what they thought about the convention this year. To ignite those post-con feels, we’ve curated a ton of those posts to share with you.
The final moments of GeekGirlCon are always bittersweet. On the one hand, it is when it becomes very clear very fast just how near the end really is. On the other, it brings with it the Closing Ceremony, which is always such a magical way to conclude the other-worldly experience that is GeekGirlCon.
To start off, GeekGirlCon staff and board members thanked attendees for spending this weekend celebrating socially-conscious geekdom. They also took a moment to address the sheer amount of time and energy staff and Agents voluntarily and consistently dedicate to the mission of making GeekGirlCon a reality. They implored attendees to add their support to the pool as donors and volunteers. It was a moment of true gratitude all around and a real indication of just what sort of atmosphere GeekGirlCon cultivates. Here is a video compiled of scenes and feels from GeekGirlCon ’16.
After the last shoutout was given and the last round of genuinely heart-warming, congratulatory applause had trickled away, the main event was announced and actors from Jet City Improv took to the stage to debut their upcoming show: Periods in History.
This year for GeekGirlCon, we had a secret evening event! Although it took place in the open Garnet space, it was shrouded in mystery, except for a few hints dropped by host and emcee extraordinaire Rebecca M. Davis.
Ready for the #supersecret event tonight at #GGC16! Apparently “It’s going to be delicious and intimate…” what could it be?