Of all the amazing panels offered at GGC 2019, I was most looking forward to Knotty Geeks: Fiber Arts and Fandom. Crafting is having a bit of a renaissance in the geek world, and I am all here for it! I am an avid geek crafter, and I really wanted to see what other crafty geeks have been up to while possibly getting some new inspiration for myself. I waited patiently (not really) for 4 p.m. to roll around on Sunday and I headed down to the room with high expectations. I was not disappointed!
First off, the room was pretty full, which was encouraging to see for a late Sunday panel. As I looked around the room, I saw folks of many different ages waiting patiently for the panel to begin. Some of them were even working on knitted projects as they waited. I was actually a bit jealous, since I hadn’t brought any current projects of my own.
The panelist really didn’t waste any time once things got started. She kicked off the panel with one of the biggest and most important issues facing people who like to craft with ideas derived from pop culture—copyright infringement of trademark and licensed properties. Basically, what it boils down to is don’t sell this stuff. You can make patterns for things, knit a sweater depicting your favorite anime character, and even give them away as amazing one of a kind gifts, but the key is not to exchange money for said goods. It is really the safest practice. Now, you can absolutely jump through the hoops to create patterns in collaboration with license holders, but it is a lengthy and difficult process. Many times, it is simply easier to find licensed patterns that already exist and purchase those.
Another aspect of this issue that was mentioned is something known as “The 30% Rule.” This rule states that if a product that derives its design from another idea is not infringing on copyrights if the new product differs from the original by at least 30%. This can be tricky though, as it is largely subjective. Personally, I find it much easier to just find a fun pattern online and run with it.
When the necessary legal stuff was out of the way, we got to see some really fun and cool examples of fiber arts in the geek world. We were treated to a brief history of knitting, crocheting, and cross stitch, and were shown some cool and fun work that other geeks are doing out in the world. We had a discussion about how much math is involved in the art and the panelist showed us how some people are crocheting hyperbolic planes. She also passed around pieces that we could feel and look at in-depth, which was really fun. You could just feel the air in the panel room change with different levels of interest and awe with every project that was passed around.
The last portion of the panel was dedicated to a show and tell, and the attendees really delivered! It was wonderful to see geeks of many ages and skill levels get up in front of the room to show off work that they were so proud of, and to be supported by a community of like-minded people. The one I remember most was someone who showed their double-knitted Star Wars scarf that was readable from both sides! It was one of the most fantastic pieces I have ever seen! Even after the panel ended, there were groups of people in the room who stayed to talk about their crafts. Information was exchanged and connections were made. To me, this is what GeekGirlCon is all about—connecting you to your people. I was so, so glad that I attended this panel, especially since it has special significance to me.
I have been a crafter all my life. As an adult, I have taught myself how to knit and crochet. My mom taught me how to sew when I was very young, and it has proven to be a valuable skill. When I was 10-years-old, my father taught me how to cross-stitch. Yeah, my macho dad who worked in construction taught me how to cross-stitch because I was in love with the stitched Christmas ornaments he had made before I was born. No matter what goes on between my dad and me, I will always be grateful to him for giving me this gift.
Like many people, I have struggled with anxiety and depression for a very long time. And, also like many people, I was mis-diagnosed as a teen and didn’t receive the proper treatment for my mental illness. When things got hectic or hard, or when there would be too many thoughts running through my head, I would use cross-stitch as a type of therapy. It was something I could do that would calm my spirit and order my mind. I spent so many hours sitting in a really comfortable (and ugly) pink recliner, watching movies, and just having a great time creating beautiful things. Even now, over twenty years later, it is my favorite hobby.
There is also a timely and important issue that this panel brought up that I feel very strongly about, which is the gendering of crafting. We tend to think of knitting, crocheting, and other fiber-based arts as being a purely feminine pursuit, but that just isn’t true. I learned from this panel that, historically speaking, fiber arts have been practiced by people of all genders. If you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, everyone probably needed to have some kind of sewing and knitting skills just to keep their clothes in decent shape before they were mass manufactured. It wasn’t until fairly recently in human history that these skills were branded as being “womanly” and were relegated to the lowly position of being a housewifely, old lady hobby. I was taught to cross-stitch by a man. My boyfriend and I like to spend quiet nights crocheting together. Young people can make amazing things. Fiber arts are for everyone. Period.
I also love the idea of crafting for a cause. Sometimes you have an important message to get out there, or sometimes you get the itch to knit something, but you already have a million hats and aren’t sure what to do. Margaret and Christine Wertheim created a crocheted coral reef that has traveled to museums around the world to bring attention to the plight of coral in the Great Barrier Reef. My boyfriend and I have been knitting marsupial pouches to send to Australia to care for animals orphaned by the devastating wildfires. Premature babies, cancer patients, shelter animals… there is no end to the possible good that crafters can do, and have done, in this world. I am proud to be a part of a community that cares.
It doesn’t even have to be about knitting or crocheting. I want to take the opportunity to open this up. Sewing, quilting, sculpting, jewelry making, weaving, and any type of crafty outlet belongs here. In fact, I want to see what you have made! Share your projects! Stand up and be proud of the things that you have made! Inspire and be inspired by others! There is a place for you here.
Want to find some more inspiration and fun patterns online? Try heading over to ravelry.com to find another great community of knitters and crocheters. Want to learn? YouTube has so many great tutorials available for any skill level. Or you could do what I did and pick up a copy of Knitting for Dummies. There are a ton of resources out there for eager students. Don’t be afraid to try things. You may make something amazing!
I can’t wait to see if this panel will be back at GGC 2020!
Science geeks, this one’s for you!
From astronomy to robotics, GeekGirlCon’19 will be packed with great discussions
by some of the leading minds in STEM. Want a sneak peek of what we have in
store? Check it out:
Can you believe that GeekGirlCon ‘19 is just 49 days away? Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing curated lists of panels that we think you’ll enjoy. Our first list is for the Academia Geeks.
Are you still waiting for an owl to deliver your acceptance letter to Hogwarts? Perhaps you’re a teacher who wishes they could teach jutsu from the Hidden Leaf village? Maybe you dream of teaching like one of your favorite characters? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, we have the perfect panels for you!
Panels are one of my all time favorite aspects of the con. It’s a chance to indulge in conversation about my favorite fandoms and stay aware of the current happenings in my industry. It gives me the opportunity to hear stories that I otherwise may not get the chance to—or even meet people that I otherwise wouldn’t. Panels are not only a great way to learn, but they’re a great way to connect.
In anticipation for GeekGirlCon ’19, I asked my team to write small pitches for panels that they’d like to see at GeekGirlCon. Since our deadline for panel submissions is coming up at the end of the month, you never know what might inspire your next great idea!
Title // Putting the A in LGBTQIA+
Description // What is the asexuality spectrum? What is it like being asexual and/or aromantic? How do these identities fit into the LGBTQ community? Do aces have sex? This panel of asexuals and aromantics would provide a frank discussion of these lesser-known identities and what it’s like to be aro/ace in an allosexual world.
Title // A Talk with Ijeoma Oluo
Description // From her writings on race to her opinions on makeup brands and application, Ijeoma Oluo embodies so much of the GGC spirit. I would love to bring her in as a featured contributor, if we could make it happen.
Title // The Good, the Bad, and the 13 Reasons Why: Depictions of Mental Health in Media
Description // From Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to Lady Dynamite to (yes) 13 Reasons Why, television shows often seek to portray characters struggling with their mental health, but the degree to which these depictions are successful varies wildly. Join our panelists for a discussion of both the most polarizing and the most effective depictions of mental illness on TV, as well as an exploration of themes of stigma, romanticization, and relatability.
Title // Choose Your Own Adventure: The Creative Possibilities of Fanfiction
Description // Whether you’re a veteran writer with hundreds of fics under your belt (or published to your Archive of Our Own account); are just beginning to dabble in the world of AUs, headcanons, and ships; or are a complete novice, you’re welcome at this panel exploring the world of fanfiction! As proud fanfiction writers and readers, we’ll be discussing the freedom, creativity, and radical possibilities inherent in fanfiction as a genre, and how “choosing your own adventure” by writing fanfic has the power to expand, enhance, and subvert the media we love.
Title // ?Zankoku…? (ahem) the Power of Anime Openings and Endings
Description // Have you ever watched an anime simply because it had great opening animation? Do you know only the first 1:25-2 minutes of a catchy Jpop tune? This panel is for you! Discuss the history of anime openings and endings, how they’ve changed throughout the years, and (of course) watch a few clips of our favorites.
Title // Reboots, Remakes, and Nostalgia
Description // Twilight Zone. Fruits Basket. Aladdin. Hellboy. Men in Black. Final Fantasy X. What do all of these cultural icons have in common? They’re all getting remade for today’s audiences. Join us as we explore the deja-vu filled world of reboots. Are we in an age of remakes, or have we seen this pattern before? How does the process of remaking a movie differ from porting a video game, or a new storyline in comics? In the end, what audience do these reboots target — new audiences, or nostalgic fans?
Can you believe that it’s already February? We’re well into the new year and you know what that means: programming submissions for GeekGirlCon 2019 are officially open!
The GeekGirlCon staff is ramping up again as we plot this year’s convention. The creative team is in the thick of brainstorming the 2019 theme (which we’re excited to share with you later this spring) and now our programming team is eager to see your ideas for new panels, events, and workshops.
Panel Submissions Panels are the heart and soul of GeekGirlCon. We’re all about sharing a diverse range of unique voices and stories—and we want to hear yours. This year, we’re particularly interested in engaging content inspired by our community. What are you passionate about? What do you want to share?
Panelist and/or Moderator Application Interested in being on a panel but don’t necessarily have a group? You can apply to be either a solo panelist or a moderator! We’ll try our best to match you to any panel in need of an additional participant.
Performance & Event Submissions Panels aren’t the only events at GeekGirlCon. Historically, we’ve hosted our annual Fashion Show and Cosplay Contest, but each year we aim to expand on our content. From variety shows to networking events, if you and your company have an idea for a performance or event, we’d love to hear from you!
Workshop Submissions GeekGirlCon also hosts a variety of workshops and other interactive programming. If you’re interested in giving a more hands-on presentation or class, we welcome you to apply. Prior workshops have included the Use Your Voice, Rey: Political Advocacy 101, Allyship in Fandom, and the Black Girls Code Workshop.
Tabletop Game Host Applications Are you working on a game, whether independently or with a larger studio? We’d love for you to demo it on the gaming floor! Tabletop games, indie developers, and larger game studios have joined us at GeekGirlCon in the past, and we’d love to see you this fall.
A couple tips and pointers to consider when submitting your proposal:
Make sure your submission is on-mission. We’re looking for engaging content that correlates with our mission statement, which is to celebrate and honor the legacies of under-represented groups in science, technology, comics, arts, literature, game play, and game design. We do this by connecting geeks worldwide and creating an intersectional community that fosters the continued growth of women in geek culture. GeekGirlCon provides a safe space to spark conversations around social justice while encouraging unabashed geekiness.
Think about what’s going on right now. There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and we are very interested in topics that are relevant to recent events or discuss important issues in interesting or new ways.
We want to hear your unique perspective. We want to hear from everyone. Regardless of how you identify, the color of your skin, your gender, or your sexual orientation—we’re all geeks here, and that’s what matters. Tell us your individual story. What are you excited about? What is your niche?
If you have any questions about submitting your programming idea, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first day of con has come and gone, and there are plenty of feels to go around.
Each year, my team covers various panels and events to write about for the GeekGirlCon blog—a truly daunting task, of course. This year we each wanted to write a short blurb about our experiences during the weekend of con to share with all of you: what panels we attended, our favorite exhibitors, and a little bit about what’s happening behind-the-scenes (you know, those important anecdotes about naps in the staff room and dad jokes that only we find funny).
#GGC18 may go down as one of our favorites yet, and we hope you’re having just as much fun as we are thus far!
From GeekGirlCon Manager of Editorial, Indigo Boock (me!)
Saturday morning started off with a pot of coffee delivered right to my hotel room door at 6:15 sharp. Oh, I could write ballads to that coffee, but no amount of caffeine would stand a chance to the hectic excitement that awaited me on the convention floor.
Appropriately, I started off my day at a panel that meant a lot to me and my relationship with gaming: 25 Years of Myst Fandom.
Back when I learned that Cyan would be joining us for GeekGirlCon 2018, I was floored. I immediately called my dad and geeked out over the news, and without a doubt I was primed and ready for the panel at 11:30 this morning. A conversation between Myst co-creator Rand Miller and super fans Melinda Rose and Eleri Hamilton, the panelists discussed the game and the truly unique community that has tirelessly slaved over its lore throughout the years. Though I have far less street cred than both Melinda and Eleri, Myst has a sneaky way of integrating itself into pivotal parts of my life, and that now includes my time working with GeekGirlCon.
During a little bit of down time, I finally had a chance to walk around the exhibitor hall—and I am genuinely shocked that my wallet is still in once piece (though it’s definitely not happy with me). I passed some familiar faces, added a few more t-shirts to my ever growing collection, and connected with an artist I hadn’t heard of before but whose work I instantly adored. Susana’s (@S2HEARTBunny) style meshed perfectly with my aesthetic: very pink and a little eerie. She even told me about a smaller, local event that she’s organizing in the coming months, illustrafest!
The exhibitors truly outdid themselves this year. I’m proud that I displayed at least a little self control and didn’t just buy everything for myself.
This year I was also joined by my mom, who periodically reported which panels she was excited about and the new friends that she was making. She really reminded me why I love this community, and also made me question my own genetics and introverted tendencies when she walked by with her newfound con-posse. My mom, who I’ve written about on the blog before, is still a little newer to the geeky side of life and definitely fresh to the convention scene. Initially a display of support for my work with the organization, her own interests have taken off and she’s really learned to open up and savor the experience. A geek in training yet, she’s proud so say that she has learned a lot and excited to keep going.
The rest of my day was spent tucked away in various panels and stowed up writing in the staff room—definitely not gorging on donuts whilst whining about how sore my feet were thanks to my ill fated decision to wear high heeled boots. I fawned over the women of Dungeons & Dragons, who have been working on the franchise since I was in grade school, and the lovely team behind Magic: The Gathering Arena. I also stopped by the Women in Horror panel for a few good laughs (and some much needed profanity). All in all, it was an great day.
….and here’s to a second that’s just as amazing as the first!
As I write this—sitting in my hotel room just hours away from the official start of the convention—I am thrilled, excited, and relieved. Another year of hard work and we’re finally ready to share it with all of you. My outfit is spread out, my bag is packed, and I’m ready to commence a weekend of geeky fun as we celebrate the importance of diversity and inclusivity in this community.
Brought together by our love of fandom, popular culture, STEM, fashion, gaming, comics, and just about anything that we can possibly geek out about, GeekGirlCon gives us the ability to express what we love and share those passions with our friends and peers. Whether you’ve been with us from the beginning or this is your first year, we welcome you and we are honored that you’ll be apart of this journey alongside us.
This year’s content lineup includes a plethora of panels, events, workshops, and meetups for you to learn something new or explore an old favorite (with some added spooky happenings for Halloween!)
So without further ado, here are but a few things you can looking forward to during the first day of GeekGirlCon 2018.
10am to 11am in Garnet
A roster of experienced cosplayers will instruct you on how to make any costume for under $100 in less than 7 days. No costume is unattainable. With a mix of suggested costumes from internet polls and ideas from the audience, the goal is for everyone to gain crafty, affordable methods of costuming.
Featuring Jay Justice and Emily Finke.
25 Years of MYST & MYST Fandom
11:30am to 12:30pm Samus
Since its release in 1993, MYST has had a dedicated following, built a complex world and lore, and Cyan has continued to push expectations of what is possible in video games. Join us as we reminisce on the joys, sorrows, and mayhem of the D’niverse, and ponder the future of Cyan and their fans.
Featuring Eleri Hamilton, Rand Miller, and Melinda Rose.
Feminist Frequency Radio Live!
1:30pm to 2:30pm in Storm
FemFreq Radio is a podcast tackling feminism & pop culture from the folks that ruined your favorite video games! Anita, Ebony, and Caro deliver funny, irreverent, take-no-prisoners opinions on the good, bad, and ugliest media that pop culture has to offer.
Featuring Ebony Aster, Anita Sarkeesian, and Carolyn Petit.
Everyone! GeekGirlCon ’18 season is officially upon us!
On our part, we’re getting things organized and settled behind the scenes. But what we need from you all, what we need each year to make GeekGirlCon the most memorable and magical weekend we possibly can, is programming submissions. Specifically, we need the excellent panel ideas that we’ve come to expect from our GeekGirlCon family.
This year, your deadline to submit applications for all kinds of programming is April 30. You have some time, so use it to refine your applications and track down potential panelists. While you’re working, here are some FAQs about panel applications with answers from our very own Panel Program staffers.
[Image Description: Three panelists from a past GeekGirlCon sit laughing with each other.] Adaptation, Appropriation, Influence: Using Other Cultures to Build Fictional Worlds, GeekGirlCon ’16. Photo by Danny Ngan.
I have a confession to make: I haven’t been a “Riverdale” fan for very long. I’m sad to say that I never read the Archie comics growing up, and my major investment in the Riverdale universe pre-CW adaptation was an extreme love for “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and a sneaking suspicion that Betty and Veronica should almost definitely be the major romantic pairing in the series.
When the TV series debuted in January, though, my ignorance quickly turned to true love. With my newfound enthusiasm and rookie knowledge securely in place, I arrived at GeekGirlCon ‘17 convinced that the panel The Road to Riverdale: A Look at the Evolution of Archie and the Gang was going to be a joyful, geeky celebration of all things Riverdale, and it did not disappoint.
Source: Giphy. Description: Betty Cooper clasping her hands together and looking excited.
Moderated by Mary Gallacher, panelists Mia Gipson, Devi Sword, and Jeremy Huff explored not only their own hopes, ships, and disappointments surrounding the show itself, but delved into the history of the Archie comics as well.
They described how the characters of Archie and his friends have been staples of pop culture for 75 years, encompassing multiple comic and television spin-offs and becoming a sprawling and beloved franchise. After each of the panelists spoke about their own journey with the Archie comics, and their arrival at “Riverdale,” they explored the way that Archie characters have populated other films, television shows, and spin-off series, such as the Melissa Joan Hart “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” series and the “Josie and the Pussycats Movie.” In fact, all the major characters from the Riverdale universe have been given comic spin-offs of their own, leading to a rich and highly populated universe. As part of this background, the panelists highlighted a YouTube video from NerdSync called “The Bizarre Origin and History of Archie: From Comics to Riverdale Explained!” This video gives a fascinating glimpse of how such an iconic franchise has expanded and evolved over its long history.
After providing background to the series, the panelists were able to fully delve into their love for “Riverdale,” pointing of the show’s highlights, exploring concerns and critiques, and expressing their hopes for the series as it continues.
Though many aspects of the show were enthusiastically celebrated in the panel, a couple specifically stood out. One was the level of diversity in “Riverdale.” While the show has a long way to go to provide adequate representation for many identities, its portrayal of Veronica as a latinx character and the strength of the characters Josie, Valerie, and Melody are highlights that point to where the series could go in terms of greater representation in the future.
The panelists also agreed that the moment when Alice Cooper stands up to Hal over what has happened to Polly (only vague spoilers here!) felt absolutely triumphant, especially given the fact that so many parents on the show are problematic to say the least.
Concerns and Critiques
One common criticism of the show is that it diverges from the comics. The panelists, however, believe that while the show has put its own signature spin on the original stories and characters, it retains the spirit of the Archie universe, and, moreover, was never meant to feel exactly like the original. Part of what makes it so compelling, after all, is its darker tone and more mature themes, capturing the concerns of its teenage-and-beyond audience.
On the other hand, a critique that is merited is the major, deeply unfortunate change in the Ms. Grundy storyline. This problematic storyline proved controversial for fans and represented a huge overhaul – and, for many, a betrayal – of Ms. Grundy’s character. The panelists pointed out that they were at least satisfied that none of the characters treated the predatory relationship between Ms. Grundy and Archie as though it was okay or acceptable.
Source: Giphy. Description: The character Ms. Grundy looks up with a sad expression on her face as she plays the cello.
Another major controversy is the portrayal of Jughead’s sexuality. In the comics, Jughead’s sexuality has been portrayed in various ways, but as of 2016 his asexuality has been part of the canon. The show, however, has not identified Jughead as asexual, and his relationship with Betty has caused fan concern that this aspect of his identity won’t be addressed at all, leading to even further disappointment and a near-total lack of representation for the ace and aro community in TV and media. The panelists agree that the handling of Jughead’s sexuality has been disappointing, but notes that there may be cause to hope. After all, long-term the show could be providing representation of ace people who have relationships if Jughead is identified as asexual, or even that this characterization of Jughead could be demisexual rather than asexual.
Source: Giphy. Description: The characters Betty and Jughead kiss.
At the time of the panel, the second series was about to premiere in only 10 days, and the panelists were feverishly excited about what they were looking forward to seeing as the upcoming season, as well as hopes for the show’s future more broadly.
Among these hopes and expectations was more representation for Josie and the Pussycats, since Josie, Valerie, and Melody are often under-utilized characters, a more in-depth exploration of Moose’s sexuality, an appearance by Jughead’s little sister Jellybean, more screen time for Kevin, and a bigger glimpse at Riverdale’s Southside.
Apart from their hopes for the series itself, the panelists were all deeply excited about the upcoming adaptation of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” Though this new show means that the character of Sabrina most likely won’t be a regular in “Riverdale,” the panelists were hopeful that this series might provide representation for paganism or wicca.
After the bulk of the panel, the panelists opened up the discussion to the audience, welcoming a variety of questions from fellow enthusiastic “Riverdale” fans. One audience member spoke about the Ms. Grundy storyline and how it furthered the problematic trope of predatory student-teacher relationships in TV (such as the uncomfortable love story between Aria and her English teacher Ezra on “Pretty Little Liars.”) Another question revolved around what forms of diversity the panelists would love to see represented in “Riverdale,” especially representation of trans and nonbinary characters. Another audience member wondered hopefully if the CW might legitimize the love triangle between Archie, Betty, and Veronica as a polyamorous relationship. Lastly, the problem of queer-baiting in “Riverdale” was addressed, with an audience member hoping for more actual queer femme representation and a move away from this destructive trope, which has especially been present in the relationship between Betty and Veronica.
With the show about to wrap up its second season in January, and “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” on its way, this panel couldn’t have come at a better time and served as a fun-filled, hilarious, and thoughtful reminder of all the reasons that so many of us have fallen hard for “Riverdale,” whether we’ve read Archie comics our whole lives or – ahem – only began our infatuation a few months ago.
Source: Giphy. Description: The character Cheryl dancing in her cheerleading uniform.
This year has been a challenging one for most of us who follow politics. From the Women’s March to the March for Science to the numerous Black Lives Matter Marches, activism and getting involved in political action has been increasingly prevalent in our everyday lives.
How we understand politics is also pervasive throughout pop culture and the media we consume, and this is reflected in several of the panels that will be presented at GeekGirlCon ‘17. Even if you’ve never written political slogans on a square of cardboard, nor marched in the street, there’s a place for you to start learning about how your can take what you’re passionate about and transform it into effective activism.