July Geek About Town!

Check out these awesome events around Seattle this summer! GAT will now also feature events that are going on throughout the month, so you can plan ahead!

 

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

Star Wars Day

Written by Meg Humphrey, Programming Project Manager

This post originally appeared on May 4, 2014 at Have You Nerd

May Fourth has become the official Star Wars holiday over the last few years. As a Star Wars Fan since I was old enough to comprehend what a movie was, you’d think that it would be my favorite day of the year (outside of holidays where I get presents, of course). This is where I’ll admit that, for a little bit, I was a Star Wars hipster in the way where I really disliked the idea of “May the Fourth.” Suddenly Facebook would be blowing up with posts “May the Fourth be with you!” and I would get unreasonably angry. I would think “You’re not a Star Wars fan! Luke Skywalker isn’t lame! You haven’t cried while reading the X-Wing series or the Jedi Academy Trilogy! You don’t collect any of the toys! CG YODA IS NOT BETTER THAN CRAZY PUPPET YODA! Stop pretending!” Then I realized that I was part of the problem; I was acting as a gatekeeper to my fandom. I needed to cut it out and I did. I’ll never again forget that Star Wars touches uncountable lives in many different ways and there’s no one true way to be a fan.

Star Wars Celebration VI Attendees

Repeat after me: Star Wars is for everyone. Casual fans, die hard fans, fans who started with The Clone Wars, fans who saw A New Hope opening night in 1977, fans who hate the prequels, fans who love the EU (now the “Legends” books), old people, young people, girls and boys (and any gender outside or in between), Sith, Jedi, Wookiees, Trandoshans, Bith, Ewoks, politicians, pilots, and every other being in the galaxy. Star Wars is for you (and for me) and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

On the whole, Star Wars fans are beautiful. We’re eager to make friends and connections, to talk about our speculations and feelings, and to just enjoy the vast universe that is being set before us. You’ll find people with different opinions than you, but we’ll try to discuss them rationally and without hurting each other’s feelings (we just sometimes have strong opinions). I’ve done Star Wars Panel at Sakura-Con for the last seven years and I’m forever grateful for the friends I’ve made there and the stories from audience members about the goodness that Star Wars has brought to their lives.

Audience at “We’re Doomed!: A Star Wars Panel” at Sakura-Con 2014

Is the fandom perfect? No. As much as I’m accepted and respected by others, there’s still people who insinuate that my Rebel Alliance and Jedi Council tattoos aren’t real and I couldn’t possibly know as much about Star Wars as them because I’m a woman. Are there things I wish were different about Star Wars? Of course. My voice joined others with the concern of the lack of female representation after the Episode VII core cast announcement. But we stick with it, because our love ofStar Wars is too great, and we are determined to make it better, more inclusive, and more fun for everyone.

So go ahead and get your Wookiee Cookies and Han Burgers ready for your Machete order marathon (or in my case – a showing of the Ewok Adventure and the Caravan of Courage)! Fill Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with your makeship Leia bun head bands and your hand crafted stormtrooper armor! Celebrate the Force as it surrounds us and binds us as the luminous beings we are!

 

And, as ever, may the Force be with you.

Always.

 

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

February Geek About Town

Hi, readers! Here’s what February has got in store for geeks!

All Month: EMP Museum: Block by Block: Inventing Amazing Architecture
From emp.com: “View epic edifices that represent more than a hundred years of architectural innovation and nearly 200,000 LEGO® bricks. Stand next to American giants like the Chrysler Building and Hearst Tower, ‘60s visions of the future like the Space Needle, and international wonders like Dubai’s Burj Khalifa—the tallest manmade structure in the world. Create a masterpiece of your own at a collaborative building area featuring LEGO® bricks within the gallery then build your own community by placing it in EMP’s Mini Megalopolis. Suitable for all ages.”

Friday, January 31 – Sunday, February 2: Foolscap
From GeekWire: “Foolscap is a small weekend conference where readers, writers, visual artists, and other people who love science fiction and fantasy meet, learn, talk to each other, and have a great time together. At Foolscap you can hobnob with people who share your viewpoint, participate in cool projects and events, and charge up your mental batteries with lots of stimulating ideas.”

Saturday, February 1: Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon
From the events page: “Wikipedia’s gender trouble is well documented: in a 2010 survey, Wikimedia found that less than 13% of its contributors are female. The reasons for the gender gap are up for debate: suggestions include leisure inequality, how gender socialization shapes public comportment, and the contentious nature of Wikipedia’s talk pages. The practical effect of this disparity, however, is not. Content is skewed by the lack of female participation. Many articles on notable women in history and art are absent on Wikipedia. This represents an alarming aporia in an increasingly important repository of shared knowledge.

Although the main event is happening in New York City, we can still participate! There will be reference materials available for how to appropriately edit the wiki, as well as books on female artists available.

Please bring your own machine if at all possible, as there will only be two lending computers. If you have a tablet, please bring that as well so we can save some trees while referencing Wikipedia tutorials.

Refreshments will be potluck.”

Saturday, February 1: Beginning TV Puppetry Workshop
”Instructor Chad Allers will help you expand your acting and improvisation skills in this six-week on-camera workshop. You’ll learn and practice all the basics of good TV puppetry: lip-sync, eye focus, walking, talking and more.”

Note: This event occurs every Saturday until March 15.

Saturday, February 1: Grab Bag 3: The Grabbening
From the Facebook event page: “Put on your pith helmet and ready your machete as we travel deep into the burlesque jungle to see enticing and rarely-seen performances! It’s a true burlesque archaeological adventure as five artists have reached deep into their closets to bring you the acts that are too weird, wonderful and off-the-wall for most stages. Have a drink and some field rations brought directly to your table and settle in for a journey both strange and sparkling!”

Saturday, February 1: Make:Seattle
From the event page: “Monthly gathering of Make magazine enthusiasts. Includes event announcements, show-n-tell, & technical presentations.”

Saturday, February 1: Plus Size Clothing Swap and Meetup
From the PNW Fattitude Tumblr: “Unload your old threads and pick up someone else’s to freshen up your wardrobe! Please join PNW Fattitude for our inaugural event”

Saturday, February 1: One Day Puppet Making Workshop
”In this 7-hour class, you will create a monster puppet from Puppet School’s pattern and walk out at the end of the day with a finished, professional puppet. Instructor Chad Allers will guide you step-by-step, tracing, cutting, hot gluing and sewing (both by hand and using a sewing machine) until your character is fully realized. At the end of the class, you will perform on-camera with your new furry friend.”

Sunday, February 2: The Seattle Alternative Boardgamers Meetup Group
From the Meetup page: “Seattle Alternative Boardgamers now has a U-District outpost! Come join us for board games and fizzy beverages. If you have games you’d like to play, bring them, and we’ll be sure to set up a table. Otherwise, the organizers will have an ample supply for you to choose from.
Big Time is an all-ages venue until 8pm.”
Note: This event occurs every Sunday.

Monday, February 3: Ballard Board Games Meetup Group: Pub Trivia at The Blue Star
From the Meetup page: “OPEN CALL FOR TRIVIA BUFFS!!
Come one, come all and test your strength against the cognoscenti of Seattle Geekdom! We meet every Monday at the Blue Star Cafe and Pub. For more on the rules check out the Geeks Who Drink Trivia League. There are free beer questions between rounds and gift certificates for the top 3 teams. Make use of a lifetime’s worth of absorbing useless pop culture and random facts. Whether you are a trivia buff or have never played, please join us! WE WANT YOU!!!

The organizers will show early and stake out a table for our team by 7:30. We will have a hand-made meetup sign. If we have more than the team limit of six people we can split into 2 teams. The quiz begins at 8 sharp, so try to get there by 7:45PM so we won’t have to break up and reform teams. Newcomers are always welcome.”

Note: This event occurs every Monday.

Thursday, February 6: Women in Tech: Show Me the Money!
From GeekWire: “Interested in starting a company, but not sure how to go about funding? Women in Tech invites you to attend this engaging evening with industry experts and entrepreneurs with experience in venture funding, angel funding, crowd funding and bootstrapping.”

Thursday, February 6 – Sunday, February 9: The Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF)
SAFF is a four-day event (February 6-9, 2014) showcasing feature-length and short format films by and about Asian Americans across North America, with an emphasis on filmmakers from the Pacific Northwest. SAAFF 2014 will be presented at Columbia City’s Ark Lodge CinemasSAAFF showcases works by Northwest Asian American filmmakers, as well as films from across the country dealing with Asian American people, issues and themes, which are absent from other local festivals. SAAFF is the only film festival in Seattle to provide a space for Asian American voices, perspectives and histories by screening independent films that reflect the diversity and richness of the city’s Asian American community.

Their schedule can be found here.

Saturday, February 8: SIFF 2014 Post Alley Film Festival: Female Centric and Eccentric Short Films
From SIFF: “It’s another bonanza year at the Post Alley Film Festival for uniquely stimulating shorts—one day of female centric and eccentric short films about, for, by women (and some good men).”

Saturday, February 8: Nerds Collide!: RTC (Renton Technical College) GamersFest
From the Meetup page: “Magic the Gathering Tournament plus more! Workshops! Comic and Game Vendors! Food Trucks! Guided Tours of RTC Programs! Student Leadership & Involvement Opportunities! Zombie Photo Booth! Demonstrations and Exhibits! Costume Contest! Sci-Fi Podcast! Proceeds benefit Basic Studies Scholarship Fund – Your ticket is tax deductible!”

Saturday, February 8: Te Fare O Tomatoa Family Concert
From Town Hall Seattle: “Te Fare O Tamatoa is on a mission to educate the public about Tahiti through drumming and dancing—it’s a bonus that the “lessons” are so incredibly entertaining and fun. Working in the traditional style, Te Fare O Tamatoa (The House of Tamatoa) demonstrates Tahitian drumming, dance, music, history, and culture through high-energy rhythmic performances that are beautiful, colorful, and mesmerizing.”

Saturday, February 8: The Seattle Astronomical Society Star Parties at Greenlake and Paramount Park

Sunday, February 9: Seattle Games Cooperative: Game Design Workshop
From the Meetup page: “Want to make games but not sure you have enough time? Lack the programming chops to turn your ideas into reality? Or perhaps you’d just like to practice designing games?
Join us for an afternoon of good, old fashioned game making! We’ll be using pen, paper, and various other odds and ends to design games from scratch.”

Wednesday, February 12: Communicating Science with Younger Audiences
From NW Science Writers: “Are poop jokes over-used? Does the word “DNA” need to be defined? Is particle physics just too hard to explain? These are the kinds of questions that come up when writing about science for kids. Panelists Emily Krieger, Beth Geiger, and Eric Chudler have produced books, articles, and educational materials for children on topics ranging from memory to comet impacts. They’ll discuss the rewards and challenges of translating complex technical concepts into stories that the under-age set can understand — and enjoy.”

Thursday, February 13: Seattle Antifreeze Games
“Our mission is simple: bust the myth of the “Seattle Freeze!” For newcomers to the city—or those who have been here for years—Seattle AntiFreeze is a place to meet new people, learn a bit about where you live, and discover practical tips for making this place your home. Join MOHAI and staff from Card Kingdom for a short history of gaming in Seattle, and then play video and board games that were designed by or have connections to game makers in this region.”

Friday, February 14: GeekGirlCon Board Games Night at Wayward Coffeehouse
From the Meetup page: “Want to explore the board/card game hobby? Want to meet people happy to teach you board games? This is your group!
It is a very casual newbie-friendly group!
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.
Join the GeekGirlCon staff and friends and play some games! Want to each a game? Bring along some games and show others how to play!”
Note: This event occurs every other Friday.

Friday, February 14: Valentine’s Day with the Barefoot Divas: ‘Walk A Mile in My Shoes’
From Town Hall Seattle: “Six women. Six distinct life stories tied to the complex history of Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea’s indigenous people. Six strikingly fresh voices that move that history down a compelling new path. Fill your heart on Valentine’s Day with the oh-so-soulful Barefoot Divas, a group of innovative, acclaimed singer/songwriters of indigenous heritage, whose wildly popular showWalk a Mile in My Shoes visits Town Hall as part of its first North American tour. A sellout over two seasons at the Sydney and New Zealand International arts festivals, the “heart-warming, spine-tingling” show offers a cultural experience and an intimate look at the lives of the talented, funny, uplifting Divas. Backed by a powerhouse six-piece band, the bold and brash Divas perform original, authentic, deeply felt compositions that swing between acoustic roots, jazz, R&B, and Latin-infused soul—in Aboriginal languages and a fusion of English and Maori (Te Reo), and with magical six-part harmonies.”

Friday, February 21: Elizabeth Kolbert presents The Next Mass Extinction
From Town Hall Seattle: “There have been five mass extinctions in Earth’s history — the sixth is upon us now. Until now, they’ve been caused by environmental factors like the asteroids wiping out the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert says “This time, the cataclysm is us.” Our species is slowly killing off all the others and if successful, the planet won’t recover for millions of years. Kolbert combines years of research and fieldwork with a chronological trajectory of extinction in The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. She shows how human migration, staggering population increase, habitat destruction, greenhouse gases, poaching and a number of other factors have already affected a number of species, including the golden frogs of Panama, Staghorn coral and the Sumatran rhino. Will the human legacy be one of destruction? Two-time National Magazine award winner Kolbert shows us it already is.”

Friday, February 21Gaylaxy Quest: A Celebration of Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Join us on Friday, February 21 for Gaylaxy Quest: A Celebration of Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy for an out-and-proud and out-of-this-world evening of readings by local writers Astrid Amara, Ginn Hale, Laylah Hunter, and Samuel Jarius Pettit. From Lambda Literary-nominated fantasies to taut sci-fi thrillers to racy space romps, each author takes the reader on an exciting, imaginative journey.”
Brought to you by Gay City Health ProjectQueer Geek! Seattle and Gay Romance Northwest Meet-up 

Friday, February 21 – Sunday, February 23: BeyondCon
From GeekWire: “BeyondCon is a costuming relaxacon event where you can learn new costuming techniques, share techniques you have developed, and hang out for the weekend with other costumers.”

Saturday, February 22: BoneBattle II: Gaming Tournament
From the Facebook page: “The BONEBATTLE returns! A free-to-play, multi-game tabletop tournament, hosted by Steve of The BoneBat Show podcast! Grand Prize: (2) Tickets to the BoneBat “Comedy of Horrors” Film Fest 2014!”

Saturday, February 22: The Moth Presents GrandSLAM: Fish Out of Water
From Town Hall Seattle: “The Fish Out of Water edition of The Moth’s GrandSLAM brings together five-minute, unscripted stories of free spirits in working offices, awkward locker room fiascos and other examples of wrong place, wrong time. This GrandSLAM performance is the culmination of 10 monthly StorySLAMs around Seattle, with StorySLAM winners joining together in what’s sure to be an impressive finale. In typical Moth fashion, the winner of the GrandSLAM will be chosen by guest judges from the audience.”

Tuesday, February 25: Public Health Cafe The Human Microbiome
From UW Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health: “Public Health Café is a series of informal, interactive conversations intended to raise awareness about the fascinating and often overlooked science of public health. Join us at Chaco Canyon Organic Café in West Seattle, have a latte or a glass of wine or beer, and hear an expert discuss an emerging issue in public health. Then enjoy a lively, guided discussion or activity with the people at your table. Come alone or bring a group. No expertise or preparation required, just a desire to listen, learn, and discuss the topic served up for your intellectual enjoyment. Our goal is that you leave more curious about the topic and fired up about the work that public health has done, is doing, and will do in the future.”

Tuesday, February 25: Jennifer Oullette Presents Mapping the Journey of Self-Identity
From Town Hall Seattle: “The nature vs. nurture debate has been ongoing for a number of years, but one of the underlying questions–what defines self–has been largely unanswered until now.Me, Myself & Why: Searching for the Science of Self brings us Jennifer Ouellette’s personal journey of self-discovery, and in the process, analyzes the construct of identity. Ouellette explores her beginnings as an adopted child, her dislike of math and the root causes of human behavior. She explores everything from eye color andcilantro hatred to representation of our online selves via avatars. She gets her brain mapped, undergoes multiple personality tests, has her genome sequenced and even experiments with psychedelics–all in the name of science. Author of The Calculus Diaries and Black Bodies and Quantum Cats, Ouellette’s work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.”

Friday, February 28: Attic Let’s Read and Book Club
From the event page: ”Open evenings for quiet communal reading, fourth Fridays. Bring your latest book, or start digging in to our fabulous library–read feminist history or theory, get inspiration for your next project, or relax with something funny or fantastical.

This month we will be discussing Arlie Hochschild’s The Second Shift. The Attic has a copy.”

Do you have a geeky event to plug? Email Shubz Blalack. We are happy to feature events outside of the Seattle Metro area!
Please note: GeekGirlCon reserves the right to approve or deny any event submissions. All submissions must be in alignment with GeekGirlCon’s Mission Statement.

Shiboo_Krismer
“Rock On!”

LEGO Friends and Gendered Marketing

I love LEGO. I love the creativity, focus, and ingenuity it takes to build with their products. But apparently, some people think traditional LEGO toys are just for boys. Recently, LEGO introduced a line of toys specifically designed for girls called LEGO Friends. I must admit: I prefer their Star Wars toys. In fact, my initial reaction to LEGO Friends was similar to this little girl’s viral video about gendered toys.

LEGO Friends has received criticism and praise. Despite controversy, the Australian Toy Association named LEGO Friends the 2012 “Toy of the Year.” The Sydney Morning Herald recently reviewed Friends’ success. Much to my amusement, the review described Friends as a “beauty themed range” of products.

During my frequent visits to the LEGO store, I’ve observed various responses to LEGO Friends. Some girls completely ignore the Friends display. Others love the new toy line, making a beeline to play with the interactive display. On one occasion, a girl insisted to her (shocked) mother that she wanted to buy LEGO Minifigures instead of LEGO Friends.

Olivia's House, part of LEGO Friends, a product line targeting girls

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

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