ConShark

Preview: GeekGirlCon 2014

With less than 24 hours to go until GeekGirlCon 2014, we’re bringing you our top panel picks for Seattle’s female-driven multigenre convention. Now in its fourth year, GeekGirlCon is bigger than ever – online tickets for Saturday are already sold out. You can still buy Saturday tickets from Seattle-area retail partners:

Download the Guidebook app and search for “GeekGirlCon” to keep with full programming guide with you on the go. And be sure to use the official hashtag for the weekend, #GGC14!

On to our programming highlights (the full descriptions of which can be found at the bottom of this post):

GGC is female-oriented, but also focuses on all kinds of minorities in media and geekdom. Get your feminism fill with great panels like “Geek Elders Speak: How Media Fandom Empowered Women in the 60s, 70s, and 80s,” set to share a first-hand history of women in fandom; “Why Isn’t Bilbo a Girl? Talking to Kids About Media Representation;” “A Woman’s Place is on the Bridge: Trek Women in Charge,” which this Trekkie will most definitely be at; and “Turn Up Our Volume: The Female Voice in the Advertising World.” Branch out with “Fandoms in Black Twitter” (the description opens with “likening Jay-Z’s infamous Hot 97 Summer Jam diss to the Hound’s epic confrontation in episode one of Game of Thrones season 4,” how could you turn this one down?); and “Gaylaxy Quest: Exploring Queer Fantasy and Science Fiction,” which could’ve made our highlights list on title alone.

As a former Girl Scout myself, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the “Exploring the Girl Scouts Leadership Experience” discussion – it’s for Seattle-area scouts, but I’m sure any young ladies interested in community service would be welcome. The high-school aged girls on the “FIRST Robotics Team 2930 Sonic Squirrels” will certainly have some inspiring things to say to any young women interested in STEM fields. And speaking of science, drop by the DIY Science Zone, featuring hands-on experiments like invisible ink, DNA extraction, slime-making, laser rules, and pocket solar systems. GGC has more info for parents here.

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GGC has some of the best career-oriented programming I’ve ever seen, and it’s not just for aspiring writers or comic artists. All are welcome at Sunday’s “One-on-One Resume Review,” with “career experts in science, technology, gaming, and other career fields” on hand to give you personal advice. Though it’s been a difficult few months for women in gaming, they’re still going be at GGC to help the next generation: “Rapid Fire Mentoring Session: Ask Us Anything About the Gaming Industry” and “Overcoming Indie Game Obstacles” are on Sunday’s slate. And at the same time as “Overcoming Indie Game Obstacles” is “How to (or Should You) Start a Geek Business” – which is focused on the business element and not so much on your genre or medium of choice. Looking for something a bit different? Stop by “Leading the Charge,” a discussion hosted by Coast Guard public affairs that’s for both those who want to be work in disaster response professionally and those who want to just want to be able to handle disaster response in their everyday lives.

What would a con be without cosplay these days? GGC’s Costume Contest is Saturday afternoon (the evening programming slot is reserved for the headliner concert). Other great cosplay programming includes “CAUSEplay: Cosplay for a Cause!” about using your cosplay skills for charitable good; how-to sessions like “Working with Worbla;” and discussion panels like “Cosplay, Parenting, and the Word ‘Appropriate.'”

GeekGirlCon doesn’t bill itself as a comic con, but anyone who thinks women don’t like comics has another thing coming to ’em. With panels like “Ethics in Comics” and “The Carol Corps and the Evolving Face of Fandom,” there’s certainly a comics presence at the show. And if you’re looking for a primer on how to get into comics? Try “Curious About Comics? We’ve Got You Covered!” on Saturday afternoon.

It’s great that GGC can host so many in-depth discussions, but all of us need some light-hearted fare sometimes: try “Foam-Fight Like a Girl,” where the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society will “play out combat based scenarios using foam padded ‘weapons’ and shields.” Screen Justice League with the voice of Wonder Woman herself at “Great Hera: Let’s Watch Justice League!” And check out the Pacific Northwest’s own Star Trek in the Park during their performance of “Outdoor Trek: Mirror Mirror” before heading over to the GeekGirlCONcert, which is set to feature The Doubleclicks, Sammus, and Thundering Asteroids!

Of course, all cons are about what you make of them – what will you be checking out this weekend at GeekGirlCon?

Highlighted Panel Times & Descriptions:

SATURDAY

11:00 – 11:50, RM303

Why Isn’t Bilbo a Girl? Talking to Kids About Media Representation

Comics, games, and films tend to go the “less is more” route when it comes to representation. Often we only see one character of a racial, gender, or sexual minority. Even worse, some people aren’t represented in media at all. Kids grow up asking, “Where are the characters like me?” Let’s have a thoughtful discussion regarding how we address this issue with kids—with an emphasis on constructive, positive, and educational answers for the kids who ask.

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM, RM303

FIRST Robotics Team 2930 Sonic Squirrels

FIRST Robotics provides amazing opportunities for girls ages 5-18 to learn STEM skills, and develop self-confidence, public speaking, entrepreneurship, outreach and marketing skills and we have a whole lot of fun! This panel includes high school girl team members and their coach. They’ll demo robots and share the tremendous opportunities that FIRST provides, as well as the Sonic Squirrels’ enthusiasm for STEM learning. Come learn from the experts!

2:00 – 2:50, RM 302

Curious About Comics? We’ve Got You Covered!

Want to start reading comics and graphic novels but don’t know where to start? This panel is designed for the new-to-comics crowd looking for woman-positive, diverse stories–both classic and current titles. Learn great books and resources to get you started as more women read, create, and critique comics. We’ll talk about a mix of lesser known comics at the Big Two, as well as creator-owned small press, foreign press, and webcomics. We’ll also recommend resources about the craft of comics.

2:00 – 2:50, RM 303

A Woman’s Place is on the Bridge: Trek Women in Charge

When Star Trek: Voyager first aired in 1995 with Captain Janeway in command, many fans thought having a woman in charge was long overdue. But even today, fan comments on Janeway are divided and include gendered critiques of her hair, voice, and personality. What can we learn from Star Trek—and its commanding characters like Janeway, Doctor Pulaski, Kira Nerys, and “Number One”—about women in positions of authority and how our society judges them against their male counterparts?

2:00 – 2:50, RM204

Exploring the Girl Scouts Leadership Experience

Girl Scouts gives girls access to life-changing experiences that inspire them to do something big. Learn about the Girl Scout Leadership Experience which empowers girls to make the world a better place. Discover the myriad opportunities in your community to get involved as a volunteer or a girl member!

3:00 – 3:50, LL2

Turn Up Our Volume: The Female Voice in the Advertising World

Brands are built on carefully crafted stories that guide us to form opinions, feel emotions, and make decisions. These decisions influence the products in our life, the TV shows we love, and where we invest our time. They help create our cultural identity. Join Creative Directors Lindsay Daniels and Goldie Jones as they share their experiences as female voices in the advertising world, and the importance of women contributing to and creating the stories that advertising tells.

4:00 – 4:50, RM301

Ethics in Comics

Wandering from con to con, our team of ethics experts brings their latest breakdown on the state of “depth” in comics today! Join them as they explore the difference between PC marketing moves and true inclusiveness, story-driven sexuality and gratuitous sensuality, and the value of personhood versus the value of sales! So, turn on your brain and let’s hit the world of spandex, blood, and reboots!

4:00 – 4:50, LLC

Foam-Fight Like a Girl

House Valkyries presents “Foam-Fight like a Girl”: LARPs and Medieval Combat Sports (MCSs) for ladies and gents. Learn about Belegarth and House Valkyries from founders and members. Members of Belegarth Medieval Combat Society play out combat based scenarios using foam padded “weapons” and shields. House Valkyries is an all-female fighting house dedicated to being a resource for fighter education, promoting camaraderie between ladies on and off the field, and encouraging collaborative innovation in all members.

5:00 – 5:50, RM303

Costume Contest

Whether you’ve been working on your cosplay all year or threw together a costume last night, come on up to the GeekGirlCon ‘14 Costume Contest, hosted by Jina D! Love seeing people’s talent but don’t cosplay or have a costume? We need you there, too — we judge on applause! There will be prizes for different categories. Stop by the Info Booth on Level one to enter and find out more. We can’t wait to see you there!

7:00 PM – 8:50 PM, RM303

Outdoor Trek: Mirror, Mirror

Outdoor Trek is the creation of Hello Earth Productions, a Seattle-based group that has staged live episodes of the original series of Star Trek in a local park since 2010. Now they’ve come to GeekGirlCon and ask you to join them for an encore performance of their 2014 show, “Mirror, Mirror,” and get your Star Trek on – inside, out of the rain!

SUNDAY

10:00 – 10:50, RM303

The Carol Corps and the Evolving Face of Fandom

The Carol Corps are fans of Marvel’s Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), but they have come to represent something much bigger than one superheroine: the future of comic book fandom. This discussion will include how the face of fandom is evolving, how it is affecting the business, and what we can do to support inclusivity. Our panelists include the editor of Pretty Deadly and the 9-year-old founder of the Carol Corps Cat Commandos!

11:00 – 11:50, LL3

CAUSEplay: Cosplay for a Cause!

Cosplay can be much more than creativity and fun: it can be CAUSEplay. Come find out what started CAUSEplaying, and the success CAUSEplayers have seen in giving back to the community through using costumes and portraying their favorite characters. Learn to brighten the day for a terminally ill child, how to participate in a toy drive, and many other amazing ways to use your creativity and powers of cosplay for good.

11:00 – 11:50, RM303

Geek Elders Speak: How Media Fandom Empowered Women in the 60s, 70s, and 80s

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, before the Internet, media for Star Trek and Star Wars fanzine fandom gave all the girl nerds something to bring them together, and helped them break out of their cocoons. Fandom gave them the boost they needed to take chances and become authors, merchandising pros, independent artists, and self-respecting women instead of just protected daughters and wives. Come hear from women who experienced it firsthand!

11:00 – 11:50, RM 301/302

Great Hera: Let’s Watch Justice League!

Join Susan Eisenberg (voice of Wonder Woman), Alan Kistler (writer for TheMarySue), and Samantha Cross (Word of the Nerd) as they watch and discuss selected episodes from Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Behind the scenes gossip and superhero trivia abound in this not-to-be-missed panel! We’ll see you there.

11:00 – 11:50, RM204

Leading the Charge

A straight-from-the-source Q&A session that explores how the face of disaster response is changing in the face of social media and other emerging technologies. Come talk with a U.S. Coast Guard public affairs officer about how to be the catalyst of change in your organization, no matter what your current job is. Attendees will also have the chance to discuss entering a traditionally male-dominated field in a majority male organization.

12:00 PM – 12:50 PM, RM303

Fandoms and Black Twitter

Whether it’s likening Jay-Z’s infamous Hot 97 Summer Jam diss to the Hound’s epic confrontation in episode one of Game of Thrones season 4, or rallying behind Tara and Lafayette on HBO’s True Blood, and creating their own hashtags, Black Twitter–despite its negative aspects–is a haven for geeks who prefer a more irreverent and comical breakdown of their favorite fandoms, but also welcome respite for geeks of color.

12:00 – 12:50, LL3

How to (or Should You) Start a Geek Business

Do you want to turn your geeky passion into a business? Can you really turn a love of comics into a living? Can you sell your geeky art and make some cash? How much money does it really take to start a business—and what type of business should you start? Learn how to get started from people who’ve already done it. Bring your questions and get answers from successful geek business owners!

12:00 – 12:50, LL2

Overcoming Indie Game Obstacles

Want to try making a game, but don’t know how to get started? Perhaps you’ve already begun, but can’t find enough time because of work, school or your love life—or maybe you know how to build the game, but not how to market, sell, and protect it? Come listen to three professional game developers explain how they’ve dealt with challenges, and turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones on the path to making a game!

1:00 PM – 1:50 PM, LL3

Cosplay, Parenting, and the Word ‘Appropriate’

Come discuss cosplay from the perspective of children, teens, and adults who cosplay as individuals and as families. This panel of parents and kids who cosplay will cover a range of topics: How to present cosplay to your parents? How to present cosplay to your kids (and not embarrass them)? How does a parent encourage their teen to express themselves, be body positive, and consider modesty? How do you discuss appropriation vs. appreciation? Deep topics, some advice, lots of discussion!

2:00 PM – 2:50 PM, RM303

Gaylaxy Quest: Exploring Queer Fantasy and Science Fiction

Join us and a panel of LGBTQ speculative fiction authors as we explore how stories can both be out of this world AND out and proud! Each author takes characters on exciting, imaginative journeys, all while highlighting LGBTQ characters and relationships. Co-hosted by Gay City Health Project, Queer Geek, and Gay Romance Northwest. Watch for these amazing authors signing in our media area as well!

2:00 – 2:50, LL2

Rapid Fire Mentoring Session: Ask Us Anything About the Gaming Industry

The “Ladies of BioWare” return to GeekGirlCon to talk about their jobs and answer your questions about their work in game development. Panelists will chat about their experiences as women in the industry, essential skills required to get the job done, and why it’s important to mentor women who want to get into games. The panel Q&A will be followed by an informal meet and greet at a selected location later in the day for one-on-one Q&A opportunities.

3:00 – 3:50, RM204

One-on-One Resume Review

Bring your resume and cover letter, and sit down one-on-one with hiring and career experts in science, technology, gaming, and other career fields for feedback. Depending on the size of the crowd, attendees should have the opportunity for in-depth conversations with our experts.