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.
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.
GeekGirlCon ‘16 dove into new territory with the addition of sex geek content for the eighteen-and-over crowd. Over the past few years, sex education has become more peer-oriented and pleasure positive. With these great evolutions to modern thinking in mind, we created the panel Sex Geeks Mobilize!
Our panel was comprised of several important voices in the sex community:
Allison Moon, Author
Liz Andrae, Sex Geek Comics Artist
Sandra Daugherty, Podcaster at Sex Geek Sandra
Tobi Hill-Meyer, Creator of Doing it Online and Author
SEX POSITIVITY AND NEW MEDIA
The focus of this panel was in large part about new media and how it has contributed to their sex-positive work. Sandra jumped on the topic immediately, saying that her work at was made possible by new media. Her podcast, Sex Nerd Sandra, is part of the Nerdist studios, and all of their work has grown from these new media arenas.
Allison’s work has also been tied to new media through the self-publishing of her book, Girl Sex 101. She also Kickstarted the book, which was an interesting experience because not only was she using new media to fund the work, but she was able to hear what people were hungry to learn. In this way the author and the audience could engage in a dialogue even during the funding of a project.
There are drawbacks, as Tobi pointed out. Kickstarter, Paypal, and other e-commerce sites have very strict rules on sex-based media. This means that some content is unable to be featured on or bought through these sites. It can be a frustrating setback for indie artists.
Do you have a stellar idea for a panel, or have you been working hard on developing your first tabletop game? Own a trendy DIY business, and have a great idea for a workshop? Never fear, it’s not too late to submit Programming Submissions for GeekGirlCon 2017!
Whether you and a small group are geared up with an idea for a panel, or you are an individual interested in being a panelist or moderator, we’re looking for mission-aligned panel ideas for #GGC17. We’re also accepting applications for performance and event submissions (such as musical performances, variety and game shows, and networking events), workshop submissions, and tabletop game host submissions.
Photo via Danny Ngan, GGC Flickr.
So make sure to mark your calendars, because the following forms are due on April 30th, 2017 at 11:59 PST:
If you are at all familiar with GeekGirlCon, you’ve surely noticed the high standard our community has for con programming. Before being offered a slot in the GeekGirlCon lineup, all programming (panels, activities, workshops, and performances) is carefully reviewed by our excellent Programming department. This is what makes GeekGirlCon so magical and so welcoming.
Panels comprise a large portion of the programming that takes place at the con. And so, we’re always seeking new voices and new ideas for panels. Just because you haven’t seen it at GeekGirlCon before doesn’t mean we don’t want it. In fact, it likely means we need it especially!
I talked to our Panel Program Manager, Marina Martinez, to find out exactly what makes a GeekGirlCon panel. If you’ve never submitted programming ideas to GeekGirlCon before, now’s your chance. Applications close on Sunday, April 30, so take your time and let these arguably-infrequently-asked Frequently Asked Questions be your guide.
The GeekGirlCon staff is abuzz with activity as we get preparations rolling for GeekGirlCon 2017. We’re extremely excited to put on another great con, just as I’m sure you all are excited to attend one! While we’re busy scheduling panels, perfecting layouts, and planning another spectacular weekend, here are five things you can do right now to prepare for #GGC17, commencing on September 30: