One Featured Contributor I’m especially excited to see in action this year is SassyBlack. SassyBlack is a Seattle-based artist who creates dreamy music that’s richly inspired by the traditions of sci-fi and Afrofuturism. She’ll be performing at GeekGirlCon ‘19 (at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday! Check out the whole programming schedule here!) and we couldn’t be luckier or more excited to have her. Read on to learn about her longtime love of Star Trek and newest album, Ancient Mahogany Gold.
I was born in San Francisco, raised in Hawaii and Seattle. Seattle is definitely my home!
What are your favorite communities to be a part of?
I really like being a part of the music community and music tech communities. Producing music in Ableton and composing on my synths bring me a ton of joy. I’d like to get more involved in the Marvel & Star Trek communities, but I get a little nervous about my knowledge base around all of that and sometimes that can prevent me from getting deeply involved in any of those communities. On the flip side, my family is a good source of community for all that type of conversation.
If I’m recommending a TV show—or any piece of media for that matter—nine times out of ten I’m talking about a story that’s distinctly women-centric. Stories about women and other underrepresented groups are so incredibly overshadowed in the mainstream that it feels wrong to spend my time and energy celebrating anything else.
However, our media landscape being what it is, I sometimes find myself drawn to books, movies, and shows that aren’t as overtly feminist as I would like. In these cases, I like to think about why, despite its less-than-ideal representation overall, a story still resonates with me. It’s this process of (hopefully legitimate) rationalization that I’ve been going through for the past few years with Mozart in the Jungle.
It was my best friend who pointed it out to me first—there aren’t many women on the radio. She sings along to the songs more than I do and she was complaining that too many were out of her range. When I started to pay attention, it was shocking how long I could listen to certain stations for before I heard a song with a woman on vocals, let alone a lady-only band.
Because I am who I am, the next logical step for me was to crunch some numbers and analyze just how big this disparity between the genders on the radio was. I contacted several Seattle-area radio stations in hopes of getting data directly from them (including Star 101.5 FM, KISS 106.1 FM, Kube 93.3 FM, The End 107.7 FM, and KEXP 90.3 FM), but only heard back from program directors at STAR and The End. Both stations provided a list of their most-played bands and artists from late May and early June. Luckily, KEXP has charts available online that, if I’m correct, show similar information.
Written by GeekGirlCon Copywriter Sarah “SG-1” Grant
Someone asked me about my favorite music the other day, and it got me thinking: what IS my favorite music? When I was growing up, my dad had LPs and 45s (also known as record singles) of music from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s; the first album I ever had was Michael Jackson’s Thriller on vinyl. This was followed quickly by Starship’s We Built This City, and Prince’s Purple Rain. My family also had a 4-record set of Disney music, so I know all of the Disney songs REALLY WELL if they were written before 1975. Inflections and everything!
Music has always been very mood-centered to me; I listen to what makes me feel good at any given moment, or to something that fits a quiet, haunted mood. Some music I listen to over and over and over, to the point where I know if other people were hearing what I was hearing, they would either go insane or hit me over the head and turn it off themselves. I go through phases where all I want to listen to is happy country; others are exclusively whatever music is current on the radio. I go back to Thrift Shop and Can’t Hold Us from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis quite a bit, and spend days lost in 80s music on YouTube while I’m at work.
I never realized exactly when I was a geek, but that’s like a tree trying to figure out what a city is. Old, bearded, freaky, geezer geek. Ample, scruffy, multi-media maven, publicizing new underground music and culturally provocative books and weird cool movies from my deep nerd-pit of pop culture obsession. When I interview bands for fanzines, I do it here: a one-bedroom piled-high apartment where it seems like Octavia Butler could hang out with Nardwuar and Elvira. Musicians always give better responses when they know how deep my crates go. If you can’t bond with someone over the ideas, characters, sounds, and images that give electric meaning to our lives, you’re not trying or they’re not really in the game.
Here at GeekGirlCon, many of the staff members’ passions naturally cross over into multiple genres. Since music is such a huge part of everyday (nerd) life, this month, we explored our favorite tunes or singers with a geeky twist.
Director of Marketing Sheila Sadeghi answered, “My favorite geeky song of all time has got to be ‘Geeks in Love’, written by Lemon Demon and animated by Andrew Keppple.
It was made for Albino Blacksheep back in the day, but you can now watch it [in a slighty NWFW video] on YouTube:”
Susie Rantz, GeekGirlCon’s fearless PR Manager, states, “I will never get sick of the Mo Mo O’Brien parody song ‘LORDE of the Rings’. Any song that weaves in Lord of the Rings is already a winner in my book, but this one has some particularly fun lyrics. ‘We’re going to Mordor (Mooordor).’ So fun!”
Copywriter SG-1 was happy to share thoughts on her favorite geeky artist as well. “Weird Al Yankovic’s entire album Dare to be Stupid is just a complete classic. It starts with the beeps of a heart monitor in “Like a Surgeon”, goes through “Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch”, and finishes up with a rousing “Hooked on Polkas” that sticks in my head for days. I originally had it on cassette when I was much younger, and then decided I was too grown up for such silliness – and I gave it to my little sister. When I realized I never wanted to be too grown up for Weird Al, she wouldn’t give it back. So now I have it on CD. It lives in my car, and tends to get blasted on the way home from a long day at work. :-)”
GeekGirlCon Accounting Manager Karen Hampton weighed in as well. “I love video game music. All the music on my playlists is video game music. I’ve been to some live concerts (Play! Symphony, Video Games Live, the Minibosses, Video Game Orchestra and Metroid Metal.) I like other sub-genres too, like chip tunes, and I’m open to vocals in my remixes.
I must love Tommy Tallarico’s Video Games Live show best, because I’ve been to two of their shows in person and watched their Comic-Con performance live via Twitch. I even backed their Level 3 Kickstarter last year.
After that, my favorite performance is Symphonic Fantasies, a medley of songs from Kingdom Hearts, Chrono Trigger/Cross, Final Fantasy, and Secret of Mana. I couldn’t attend that show in person, but I do have the two versions (from Colonge, Germany and Tokyo) of the performance on CD.
I used to feel very alone in liking game music, but I’m happy to say that the community has really grown in the last 10 years.”
Written by Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator.
Hey there faithful readers! I was chatting with fellow staffer and amazing emcee in her own right, Shubzilla who mentioned an artist that I should check out. I did and I was hooked hard! If you aren’t familiar with SAMMUS, you are in for a treat. She is a New York-based rap artist and producer who uses synths and smart rhymes to make some seriously fly music. She just launched a kickstarter to fund a Metroid-inspired EP and I thought what better way to introduce her to our audience than with an interview with producer and emcee, SAMMUS!
Kristine (K): Hi SAMMUS!
SAMMUS (S): Hi Kristine! So wonderful to chat with you!
K: Me too! Let’s begin with an origin story. Tell us a little about yourself and how you started rapping?
S: My mom and dad are from the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of the Congo respectively, but I’m from upstate NY. I was born in Rhinebeck, NY and my family moved to Ithaca, NY when I was about five. I had a pretty regular childhood. I was a big nerd, I loved school, I played a lot of video games with my two brothers, watched a lot of cartoons and movies, and played volleyball year-round. I will say that I was a little more artistically-inclined than many of my peers in that I was always drawing pictures because I had aspirations to develop a cartoon and video game series, I wrote a ton of stories, and I started producing video-game inspired beats in high school. Still, I would never have believed that I would ever grow up and become a rapper. Based both on my older brother’s influence and my own musical explorations I mostly listened to alternative rock and electronic music with a little bit of hip hop thrown in for good measure.
I continued producing instrumental tracks throughout high school and into undergrad, and while my beats became more hip-hop oriented after I first heard Kanye West’s “College Dropout,” I still never considered rapping on a track. The first time I ever attempted to rap was towards the end of my senior year in college after one of my friends recorded himself rapping on one of my beats and shared the song without my permission. While I was slightly flattered that somebody thought my beat was hot enough to steal, I was also furious that a friend of mine would do that to me, and annoyed because I thought I could do a better job lyrically. I ended up producing another song and putting together a little rap to go with it. Even though I cringe when I listen to it now, I did receive some positive feedback and it made me start thinking that this was something I could do.
It took another year before I began to take rap seriously and start building a catalog of original music. By that time (2009) I had moved to Houston,TX to begin my first year as a corps member in the national teaching program, Teach for America. The first half of that year was rather difficult for me and I ended up going through a major depression. The only thing that really carried me through that experience, besides my adventures with my roommate, was making beats. Eventually I met some people with whom I really clicked and started attending an eclectic church with a great artistic community. I was inspired by all of the amazing artistry around me and from that moment forward I started writing songs, rapping, and recording myself on Youtube to practice and share my songs with my friends (if you go through the archives of my Youtube channel you can find some of these ridiculous videos). My first show was in October 2009 and after that I just kept going!
K: I’m not a fan of labels and categorizing. If you had to describe your rap, how would you?
S: I appreciate that you started off that question by gesturing towards how damaging and limiting labeling and categorization can be. As much as labels are applied to me (and any artist, for that matter), I will continue to fight them for as long as I’m producing music. If I had to describe my rap, I would say that it’s a mixture of honest introspection, snark, and innocent fun that channels the spirit of College Dropout era Kanye.
K: Do people make assumptions about your music based on your name or when they see you?
S: I have definitely encountered some interesting assumptions about my music because of my name. The first is that I’m simply riding the nerd/geek wave that seems to have gripped much of popular culture recently. I’ve had people approach me after a show and tell me that when they first saw my name on a flyer they thought I was some sort of poseur and probably didn’t actually know that much about Metroid/video games if anything at all, which is interesting because I don’t know if somebody would say that to an artist like Mega Ran, who also has a video game inspired moniker. I’ve also seen the other side of the spectrum, in that there are those who assume that the only thing I will rap about is Metroid, or more broadly, video games. I’m not offended by those assumptions at all considering that the names of my last two albums were inspired by Metroid, but it does make me aware of the extra work I have to put in to make sure non-gamers know I exist. At one point I became uncomfortable with all of these questions so I started purposely pronouncing my name “Say-mus” to avoid the immediate association and some of the assumptions that came with that connection. I’ve since learned to deal with whatever may come and proudly embrace my name!
In regards to the second part of the question, because everything and everybody are easily Google-able and my face is on a lot of my artwork I don’t think it’s much of a surprise when people see me at shows or in videos after they’ve heard my music. If I had thought more about the message I wanted to send out, I definitely would have tried to mess with people a little more as it relates to revealing and challenging their assumptions. When I was first starting to take my music seriously my boyfriend suggested that I even go so far as to wear a helmet a la Daft Punk and alter my voice on recordings to sound lower, only to one day reveal that I was a woman — it’s a little late for that but maybe I’ll dip off the radar and try that at some point in the future!
K: You have been called a “20-credit” rapper. What does that mean?
S: That refers to the fact that I am a graduate student and that I am openly reflective in my music about my experiences as a scholar and graduate of an Ivy League program. Since I first started rapping I have become increasingly critical of the educational system, so my message is less “stay in school, kids” but I remain committed to promoting an agenda that says being intelligent and well-informed are fundamentally good things. Long before I knew what nerdcore was, I named my first EP “Fly Nerd” because I wanted to be the type of rapper that my fourth grade students should be hearing. I thought about how inspiring it might be for them to hear a rapper, particularly a woman, expressing pride in her academic success without being corny about it (which is a very hard line to walk, I’ve discovered).
K: What you do when you’re not spitting rhymes?
S: I’m currently a graduate student so I spend a lot of time reading, and wondering why I’m in grad school (lol.). I’m also a huge fan of watching awesomely bad movies (like The Wicker Man, Atomic Twister, Mortal Kombat, etc) and catching glitches with my family and best friends. When I need to decompress I play my Sega — usually Sonic the Hedgehog 2 because it takes me back to a simpler time and I love the music. Lastly, I love cat naps! All I need is a relatively comfortable surface and I’m good.
This year I’m also trying to do more work in the community since I’m no longer an elementary school teacher. Next month I’m going to be helping to facilitate a youth empowerment program for at-risk youth here in Ithaca so I’m very excited about that.
K: You play video games but do you have to understand video games references to like your music?
S: Not at all! I often tell people that the moniker “Sammus” works for me because while it is an obvious nod to the video game Metroid, it’s also a reflection of my role in subverting assumptions about gender as it relates to the broader context of hip hop. There is much more to my experience that I would like to share than just my love of video games, so even though I make references to Metal Gear Solid or Bob-ombs in certain songs, I’m very intentional about making music that touches on the full spectrum of my experiences and thoughts. On both of my albums I share my ideas about topics like gendered representation in the media, love, sex, God, race, and consumerism among other things because they are just as much a part of my makeup as Mario Kart.
K: Your kickstarter is doing really well! Do you feel you are reaching a wider audience using this method?
S: I definitely do! Since I launched the campaign, my social media has been buzzing with support from lots of different places. Thanks to the tweets and retweets of platforms like GeekGirlCon, Black Girl Nerds, Bitch, OC ReMix, and Okay Africa among others in promoting the project I think I’ve been able to reach audiences I never could have by myself. I’ve received support from geeks and gamers from all different backgrounds, lovers of hip hop, and feminists eager to hear Sammus’ story, particularly as told by a WOC.
K: What are some things that have helped you grow as an artist?
S: I think Youtube has been one of the most helpful resources for me as an artist, particularly as it related to my performances. I never knew how awkward I was until I saw video of myself moving (or rather, NOT moving) on stage, and it was only then that I began to actively think about how I could put on better performances. Youtube also has tons of footage of amazing performances as well as beat-making tutorials, which has helped me to get better as a producer.
This doesn’t work for everybody, but something else that has helped me to grow as an artist has been periodically stepping back from my music between releases, during which time I exclusively listen to other artists. Being an artist can make you very myopic — especially if you are the lyricist and a producer because it’s all about you. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back not only to be inspired by what else is out there, but also so that you can have some more clarity when you come back to your own music.
K: Are there any female emcees that inspired you?
S:Missy Elliott is one of the best to ever do it. One of the things I loved about her as a child was her creativity. She wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries as it related to her music and her image. Not only that, but she’s a producer so she inspired me on that front too. MIA is also a great inspiration for me because she’s very politically minded, and uses her platform to shake things up. She’s another woman who likes to push boundaries through her art and through her image.
K: Any recommendations for other female emcees we should check out?
S: PLEASE drop everything and check out E-turn from Orlando, FL. I got the chance to see her perform at this year’s Nerdapalooza afterparty and my jaw literally dropped. She has the flow, the content, the energy, the EVERYTHING. Of course my girl Shubzilla is a beast and I’m looking forward to hearing some more great music from her and the 9K1 crew. I would also recommend listening to Lizzo, an incredibly talented singer and MC whom I met in Houston in the underground rock + hip hop scene. Look her up and thank me later! Finally, if you haven’t heard fellow producer/rapper Awkwafina — definitely get on that! I had the pleasure of opening for her in October and she is a ton of fun and snark both on and off stage.
K: I listened to Lizzo’s Faded and was blown away. I will definitely check out those suggestions. What words of advice would you have for anyone aspiring to become an emcee?
1.) Surround yourself with creative, positive, and hard working people. For several years, every time I made a beat I would send it to other producers and hip-hop enthusiasts to hear their thoughts. Of course ultimately you have to go with your own opinions, but it’s nice to be able to hear how others are responding to what you do. I would never have grown as an artist without the guidance and assistance of my network.
2.) Set tangible, realistic goals. People lose interest quickly if you tell them that you’re a rapper yet your album has been “coming soon” for three years. I like to tell people about projects I plan to drop far in advance because that holds me accountable. If the idea of announcing projects publicly makes you uncomfortable, find an accountability partner.
3.) Don’t be afraid to say no. I struggled with this for a long time but I realized that I wasn’t obligated to provide a feature for everybody who asked me. Make sure you are taking care of yourself and staying true to your vision before you agree to do something or work with somebody. Don’t be afraid to say that you won’t do certain things for free. I have had to say “no” to working with people I like, but who are talking about things that I can’t get behind or who want to exploit my talents. While it’s not necessarily fun saying no, maintaining your integrity is worth it.
4.) It’s all about the music! It can be very easy to forget that these days. I know many “aspiring artists” who have no music, but lots of photo shoots booked. Image does seem to go an awfully long way, but you have to remind yourself that first and foremost you are an artist. You can certainly get your 15 minutes by having a beautiful and captivating image, but you can’t keep them if you have nothing to show when all eyes are on you.
K: What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?
S: Back in 2009 I received advice from fellow producer, Justin “Eight Months” Lewis, that was so great I actually created and uploaded a video about it! He gave me three pieces of advice (sorry for being so long-winded):
1.) Always make sure that what I release is just the tip of the iceberg. Basically, that I should always be creating in order to ensure that I have a library of material. Even when I finish a new project I should still be working and thinking about the next project — a lesson which is also good if I intend to have any type of career in academia.
2.) To always maintain my vision and integrity. Specifically, if I really like something I create, go with it instead of trying to cater to other people’s desires at the expense of my own happiness and pride.
3.) To stop doing what I’m doing when it’s not fun anymore! If music starts to become too much like a business — it’s time for me roll out.
K: What’s in store for 2014?
S: 2014 should be a great year! My Metroid EP will be dropping in January so if you haven’t backed the campaign, head to my website and do that now! I will then start work on my third album, which should be dropping this summer and hopefully I will be setting up my first tour.
K: We here at GeekGirlCon, love sharing our geekdoms. What have you been geeking over lately?
S: I feel like I may be very late in this, but I have been voraciously watching episodes of Dragon Ball Z Abridged which, for those who don’t know, is a series of recaps of Dragon Ball Z episodes with ridiculous yet accurate voice-overs. Using original footage from the cartoon, the creators of DBZ Abridged have condensed the series into a few hours so that you don’t have to do all the waiting that comes with watching the real deal (no shade to DBZ or Akira Toriyama, I watched the cartoon religiously as a child).
I also have been watching episodes of Goosebumps on Netflix, while crossing my fingers that they start streaming Are You Afraid of the Dark?
K: Thank you for the interview and I hope to see you perform live one day! I’m Kristine Hassell and I’ve been speaking with SAMMUS. She hopes that listeners and future fans will be pleasantly surprised by the contrast between the person society says she should be as an artist and who she actually is. Check out her music on her SoundCloud and her kickstarter to fund AN[OTHER M], her Metroid-inspired EP.
I admit it: I am one. I have been once since sixth grade. I will be one until I die.
That’s me on the top right!
Band geek certainly wasn’t my first label growing up. It’s definitely not going to be my last. But it’s certainly the one I’m most proud of.
I started playing piano in fifth grade and then flute in sixth grade. Taking lessons from the public school music teacher meant I was automatically in the band, and my first concert was the holiday concert that year. The grammar school band led to the junior high band, which led to the high school band, which led directly into the college band. Along the way, I made some incredible friends—friends who liked me for exactly who I was. We were tall and short, thin and overweight, and (as we know now!) gay and straight. We did really fun, daring things like listening to REM and They Might Be Giants on the bus all the way to Florida from Wisconsin for a bowl game. We also gathered at each other’s houses to play Trivial Pursuit and then piled into a couple of cars and headed to Denny’s.
My high school memories revolve around these friends and the ridiculousness we loved in each other. Many of us are still in touch, thanks to Facebook. I have a reunion coming up this year, and these are the friends I will want to hang around with.
Smurfette is the shorter one, Sassy is the one without her hat on.
Band in college was a completely different animal from the innocent junior high and high school band days. I learned to play the cymbals, drink beer, and do just enough work to get fair grades in my classes. Along that road, I made two of the best friends I’ve ever had. I call them Sassy and Smurfette.
They’re both married with children now; Sassy is with her family in Wisconsin, while Smurfette and her family are currently on assignment for a couple of years with her husband in Poland. I miss them all very much, but we keep in touch via Facebook and texting, along with phone calls and the occasional silly present in the mail. We also get together for alumni band reunions, which gives us the opportunity to geek out about those band days all over again.
Last year’s alumni band reunion, Wando’s Bar, Madison, WI
Being a geek can have so many sources in your life; if you played Dungeons and Dragons growing up, you have that. If you hung out at comic book stores with your friends waiting for the release of the new Spiderman, you have that. If you listened to awesome music with your parents or an older sibling, you will always have those memories, as well as a solid foundation to win all those music categories in your local pub quiz.
The best thing about being a geek these days—whether you’re a music geek, a Magic geek, a Potterhead, a Twilight junkie, a motorhead, a John Hughes movie buff, a knifemaker, a writer, or anything else—is that geeks aren’t ostracized nearly as much when we become adults. All-around geeks like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have paved the way for us to come out of our Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles half-shells and into the bright, wide world. I think it’s because we learn to recognize each other and group together in places like GeekGirlCon; we build our chosen families from those who understand us, even if we don’t necessarily geek out about the same stuff.
The world seems to be quite a dangerous place, in general. Finding our geeks helps us to find the safety we’re looking for, and the comfort of a place to belong. Even if it means you’re one of over three hundred people on a football field for a half-time show.
Hey everyone! As the cold weather settles in, here are some November geeky events to keep your heart pumpin’ and your toes warm!
Saturday, November 3rd:X-Bit Halloween Bash Chiptunes concert featuring Electric Children (Misfits Cover Set), Bright White Lightning, MCFiredrill, and Live Animals
Saturday, November 3rd:The Atomic Bombshells LIVE at Columbia City Theatre! From the Brown Paper Tickets Site: “Hot off the heels of a headlining spot at Bumbershoot, The Atomic Bombshells, named “Seattle’s most venerable burlesque dancers” (The Stranger) and “the city’s most dazzling Burlesque troupe” (Seattle Weekly), bring their internationally celebrated brand of fabulous and polished high-camp burlesque to the oldest vaudeville theater in Washington. After a busy season of performances in New Orleans, the San Juan Islands, and the Triple Door and Bumbershoot stages in Seattle, the Bombshells return this fall to the gorgeously renovated Columbia City Theater, offering up a chance to see the country’s burlesque ALL-STARS (members include 2011’s Reigning Queen of Burlesque, and Miss Viva Las Vegas 2011) in a rare and intimate setting that has been named a “Best of Seattle” by Seattle Weekly. With a different exciting show each week, you’ll want to catch these icons more than once, as it’s their last run of shows before 2013….perfect for group events and parties, VIP tables are available for reservation! Your evening will be complete with Columbia City Theater’s full bar and delicious food. (Note: This is every Saturday in the month of November.)
Saturday, November 3rd – Sunday, November 4th:Sherlock Convention From the website: “The Sherlock Seattle Convention is a celebration of all things Sherlock and as such will feature many interesting and informative panels, fun and entertaining events, as well as a large screen presentation of BBC’s television production, SHERLOCK: Season 2 – A Scandal in Belgravia, The Hounds of Baskerville, and The Reichenbach Fall!” Please note: Advanced ticket sales are closed and there are no at-the-door membership sales. Please check their website for any changes.
Wednesday, November 7th: Everything vs. Everything! From the Facebook event page: “Unnatural Redhead Productions is proud to bring “Everything vs. Everything! A pop-culture explosion of pirates, ninjas, zombies, robots and more!” to Seattle this November. Iconic heroes and monsters will vy to win the audiences’ hearts in this burlesque extravaganza. Will Godzilla reign supreme? Which will triumph in the end, pirates or ninjas? These questions and more will answered with a heaping helping of glitter to boot!”
Wednesday, November 7th:Kurtis Wiebe Signing From the Facebook event page: “Kurtis Wiebe author of Image books: Intrepids, Green Wake, Peter Panzerfaust, Debris and Grim Leaper will be signing in the store Wednesday November 7th from 3-8pm! Come in and meet one of our favorite authors and check out his excellent books!”
Thursday, November 8th – Friday, November 16th:Where No Man Has Gone Before From the Brown Paper Tickets page: “Adventure! Beautiful women! Exotic alien worlds! Seattle Experimental Theater is proud to present its original unscripted comedy Where No Man Has Gone Before, a fully improvised parody of the original Star Trek TV series. Each night the cast will use suggestions from the audience to create the world and plot of the show. Where No Man Has Gone Before is appropriate for all ages.”
Friday, November 9th:The Ninth of Nerdvember Nerd music concert featuring Death*Star, Kids Get Hit By Buses, Klopfenpop, Jonny Nero Action Hero, and MC 117
Thursday, November 15th – Saturday, November 17th:Stories for Bad Children From the press release: “ Once upon a time there were two sisters. One day they went into the woods and encountered something weird like a talking wombat or an ancient cheese-scented crone. The good sister was perfectly polite and did whatever they asked. The bad sister was all “Piss off, freaks!” So the bad sister was cursed and the good sister got to marry a prince and ride a sapphire unicorn and lived happily ever after, blah blah blah. Bored with the good children? So are we. Vox Fabuli Puppets and Kendra & Michael Hayes team up to bring you STORIES FOR BAD CHILDREN, a cabaret-style show celebrating the naughty boys and girls of the fairy tale world. (Note: This is a show intended for audiences 15+)
Sunday, November 18th:Electro-dissection with the Geek Scouts From the event page: “Solve the mystery of electronic components by dissecting (and destroying) old devices. We will use hand-tools to disassemble a variety of electronics, identify the parts and learn what they do. We will use this process of discovery to explain key concepts of electrical devices and develop a deeper understanding of how they work. There will also be a metal-working studio tour which will including demos of a cnc plasma cutter and cnc router and a demonstration of mig and tig welding.”
Friday, November 23rd – Saturday, November 24th:EtsyRAIN’s Handmade Holiday Show From the Facebook event page: “Thanksgiving weekend come to the annual Handmade Holiday show at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall at Seattle Center. A bigger venue, more vendors and the biggest shopping day of the year add up to the BIGGEST craft show in etsyRAIN history. The first 100 shoppers through the door EACH DAY will receive a free swag bag. More than 100 hand-selected vendors will be selling their wares on Friday, November 23 from 11-6 and Saturday November 24 from 11-5 on two floors of the lobby. This event is free to the public and promises the best selection of unique, high-quality, locally handmade gifts, art and treats.”
Got a fantastic event in November you’d like to see on Geek About Town? Email Shubz at email@example.com! (Keep in mind, we at GeekGirlCon do reserve the right to decide what we post.)
Hiya, readers! For this installment of Artist Corner, we at GeekGirlCon connected with Nicole Dieker of Hello, The Future! She has been reaping the successes of her recent Kickstarter and took the time out to answer a few questions from us in between shows.
Hello, The Future! punching in the hours to make music for a nerdy world.
1: For folks not familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
“Nerd folk” is probably the most accurate statement. I say “geekrock” a lot too. Sometimes I tell people I sound like “girl Jonathan Coulton,” which I really don’t, but there’s a lot of overlap between people who like JoCo and people who like my songs.
2: You have recently completed a successful Kickstarter! What was the most rewarding part of the whole process?
Learning that I have a fan base willing to support an unfinished project.
By this point, I was nearly three years into performing as Hello, The Future! and I looked at the Kickstarter as a bit of a milestone marker; if I couldn’t get support for this project, I should step back from the full-time independent musicianry.
Then we not only funded the project, but also funded two stretch goals. It was an amazing feeling, knowing I had a team ready to support and back my work.
3: What are some obstacles you have faced as you were promoting The Geek Girl EP?
Boosting the signal is always the biggest obstacle. There are so many musicians and so many Kickstarters and so many tweets and videos and Facebook posts.
In my case, I started telling the story of the Kickstarter long before I actually announced the Kickstarter. I involved my audience in the process from the very beginning, showing them drafts of songs and drafts of rewards, letting them know how invested I was in this project and how much I wanted to give them the best work I could.
This helped because when we were ready to launch the Kickstarter, the audience was already ready to back. I didn’t have to spend the first week of the Kickstarter explaining it to people.
The other smart thing I did was get on as many podcasts and websites as I could. I would watch the stats, and every time I did an interview (even for a small podcast) the signal would boost and more people would back the project.
4: What is the most valuable advice you can offer for someone thinking of starting their own Kickstarter?
I have two pieces of advice.
1: Test your project and rewards with your fans before you launch the Kickstarter. I put an early draft of my Kickstarter online and asked my audience to tear it apart, which they willingly did (the internet seems to enjoy that kind of thing). They gave me a lot of useful information, including which rewards they liked (and which rewards they didn’t like at all) and helped me shape the final draft of the project.
2: Do the math, for both the money and the time. Make a budget. Create an estimate of how much it will cost to produce the main project, and then add on how much it will cost to produce and ship all of the rewards. Remember that Kickstarter and Amazon each take their cut, and that there’ll likely be taxes you’ll need to pay as well. Then figure out in which order you’re going to fulfill and ship the rewards, and how much time you’ll need to produce each of them (while you’re simultaneously working on the main project). That’ll help you create a realistic plan of action for the Kickstarter.
5: What are you geeky about right now?
I am coming late to the Song of Ice and Fire series, having discovered it through the Game of Thrones HBO show. Nearly finished with A Feast For Crows at this point. Because I am a redhead, I’m making a Hipster Melisandre costume for Halloween which includes a t-shirt that reads “I served R’hllor before it was cool.”
Thanks again for taking some time out of your hustle for GeekGirlCon, Nicole! Congratulations again on not only a great EP, but a successful Kickstarter!