Preview: GeekGirlCon 2015

GeekGirlCon2014.19It’s already been a year since we watched tiny Spider-Woman break dance to The Doubleclicks’ set at GeekGirlCon’s Saturday night concert – time flies! Which means it must be time to return to Seattle for the annual GeekGirlCon, the con that welcomes “anyone who self-identifies as a ‘geek’ and supports the achievements of women in geek culture.”

GeekGirlCon 2015 is sold out online and no passes will be sold at the door – however, if you’re local, several retail locations may still have tickets in stock.

While much of geekdom is transfixed by New York Comic Con, happening this weekend on the opposite coast, GeekGirlCon is a very different experience: it may be a small show, but the sense of community here is impressively strong.

I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday (and I’m bringing my mom, so this should be good). Let’s take a look at what’s in store this weekend!

First Timer?
Do not fear unruly mobs at GGC.

Do not fear unruly mobs at GGC.

Is this your first visit to GeekGirlCon? Check out our coverage from last year:

If this is your first con ever, or you’re used to bigger events, don’t worry – you’ve chosen well. GGC may be volunteer run but their logistics are often smoother than they are at bigger for-profit events. Since this is a sold-out show, expect a crowd; but the layout of the convention center splits the crowd over three floors, so bottlenecking isn’t too common. You are right in the heart of the city, so area food options are decent, and leaving the convention center for an hour or two for lunch won’t be a problem. In fact, out-of-towners can even easily find time in the schedule to pop out and do a little sightseeing! This is a relatively relaxed event, so explore accordingly.

Kickoff Party

GeekGirlCon2014.29If you’d like to pick up your badge early, GGC has got a deal for you: head over to the Hard Rock Cafe form 6pm-8pm Friday night for a kickoff party! Grab your badge and enjoy free food and giveaways. At 8:30pm, the GeekGirlConcert will follow the party with music from the PDX Broadsides and Thundering Asteroids.

No word yet on whether tiny break-dancing Spider-Woman will make a return appearance, but one can hope.

GeekGirlCon kindly makes this event all-ages and family friendly. Parents, families, and groups of under-21s, rejoice!

Exhibit Hall
Escalators: learn to love them.

Escalators: learn to love them.

The split-level layout of the WSCC Conference Center means exhibit space is spread out in an unusual fashion. On the lower level, you’ll find gaming tables – look here for new designers testing and displaying their games.

On level two, Artists Alley has its own space – watch out, artists are always popular and this space can get packed! Across the hallway from AA is the Connections room: this area is career-oriented, with area employers, professional organizations, and a few science-based panels will be held.

Up on the third level are the remaining program rooms, including the largest panel space, room 301/302. Because of the layout here, panel lines can often snake the halls in weird patterns: pay attention to what line you’re in and ask a volunteer for help if you can’t find it.

Also on level three is the main exhibit space, with a bevy of girl-focused vendors. Check our 2014 recap for details on the vendors that were on hand last year, but expect more non-traditional con booths again: cosmetics, food, apparel, and accessories are the most common items available. While there are plenty of booths offering books or independent comics, don’t expect to spend an afternoon rifling through long boxes.

Finally, the third level hosts the DIY Science Zone, geared for kids but open to all: try some hands-on science experiments hosted by scientists and educators. There are also prizes for participants.

Evening Events
Expect great cosplay!

Expect great cosplay!

The usual GeekGirlConcert moves from Saturday night to the Friday night kickoff party this year, although the PDX Broadsides will have an encore performance at the con on Saturday (4:30pm, room 303).

This makes room for some new Saturday evening events: in the late afternoon, the Costume Contest returns (5:00pm, room 301/302)! Important: if you plan to compete, participant sign ups close Friday, October 9 at midnight for online submissions; you can sign up in person as late as noon Saturday, October 10.

Then the sartorial celebration continues with the first ever GeekGirlCon Fashion Show (8:00pm, room 301/302). Local geek fashion companies will show off their newest wares, with an emphasis on diversity and accessibility. Swag alert: the first 100 attendees get a free swag bag and everyone gets to participate in the raffle!

Programming Highlights
Small space, long lines - make sure you're in the right one!

Small space, long lines – make sure you’re in the right one!

First, a reminder that in 2014 programming rooms were cleared between events. While crowds were manageable enough that it was not an issue getting back inside for the next panel in the same room, you should plan accordingly – particularly if having a certain seat is important to you. This can also cause some slight chaos outside the programming rooms upstairs when they must all simultaneously empty, have attendees rejoin a line, and then re-enter the room.

Get Involved in Your Geek Community

Looking to get more involved in the Seattle community? Not from Seattle, but trying to find ways to build your own geek community back home? These panels will help you learn a new skill or find a new group to hang out with! Check out Anyone Can Make Board Games (and You Should Too), or Make the Media You Want to See – Tips and Tricks to Becoming a Content Creator. Locals can also visit the tables for upcoming area events like the Kirkland Geek Gala, OrcaCon, and Sakura-Con. And the high school robotics team SonicSquirrels will help teens figure out how to take part in designing, building, and driving your own robot creations.

Create Something Today

In the mood to make something? Looking for a fun (and free) souvenir? Try painting your own miniature at Paint ‘n’ Take by Privateer Press, or create a light-up piece of clothing at Sew Your Own Circuit. Materials are provided at these sessions.

Learn Something New
Even the Girl Scouts get in on the fun.

Even the Girl Scouts get in on the fun.

There are countless analytical discussion panels on the GGC schedule – find one that speaks to your interests and see if you learn something new! Try Loving What You Hate: How to Engage with Problematic Media.

Comics fans can see G. Willow Wilson and other authors at Women, Diversity, and Comics: A Non-Compliant Discussion About The Comic Book Industry. Writers can check out Matriarchies, Patriarchies, and Beyond: Depicting Gender in Your Fictional World to learn more about crafting their characters. Cosplayers should stop by Pockets, Purses, and Potty Breaks: Level Up Your Cosplay Design to learn new tricks for making your costumes more livable. If the DIY Science Zone piqued your interest, go to Ask the Astronomers, or blend fiction and science at Game of Thrones Science.

Get Inspired
Cosplay so good, even this baby has an A+ stroller.

All are welcome, even Princess Davros.

Check out what others have made – maybe it will spark something within you! Pop by Awesome Women to Read in Science Fiction and Fantasy Lit for reading recommendations from local librarians, or check out the Costume Contest and Fashion Show. Or, see what’s coming down the nerd style pipeline at Inside the World of Geek Cosmetics.

Closing Ceremonies

Leaving so soon? Stick around Sunday afternoon for Closing Ceremonies, which will feature Sammy Scott and Alison Luhrs’ play “Vicious and Vulgar”, a re-imagining of a modern day Sherlock Holmes from the female perspective with a look at modern fandom’s take on the character.


Programming Highlight Details

Saturday, October 10

  • FIRST Robotics Team 2930, Sonic Squirrels at Glacier Peak High School
    Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Location: RM101
    See robot demos and maybe even drive a robot! Hear about all the engaging FIRST Robotics programs for ages 6 to 18, and find a team near you—or start one of your own!
  • Kirkland Geek Gala by Getting Eventive
    Time: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
    Location: RM101
    The Kirkland Geek Gala is organized and run by Getting Eventive. We donate our time and services to put on the event each year.
  • Paint ’n’ Take by Privateer Press
    Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
    Location: LL4
    Stop in and learn how to paint your very own Privateer Press miniature. Our miniature painting experts will give you all the tips and tricks to bring your mini to life. Supplies are limited so get here early!
  • Sew Your Own Circuit
    Time: 10:00 AM – 11:20 AM
    Location: LL2
    In this workshop you will learn the basics of electronic circuits and put your new knowledge to the task of sewing your own stylish light-up clothing. We’ll begin with a short introduction to electronic circuits, and then cover how you can sew such circuits to create clothing that lights up with LEDs (light emitting diodes). You will be provided with conductive thread, sewable LEDs, sewable batteries, fabric, and tips on how to make things light up. Bring your imagination and love for all things blinky!
  • Awesome Women to Read in Science Fiction and Fantasy Lit
    Time: 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM
    Location: RM301
    Even though the guys tend to get most of the attention in genre fiction, there are loads of amazing, kickass women writers and characters in science fiction and fantasy books. Join a group of enthusiastic librarians who will give you a rapid-fire primer on women to look out for in lit, and come out with some new recommendations for your reading list!
  • Anyone Can Make Board Games (and You Should Too)!
    Time: 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    Location: LL2
    With their low material costs and design flexibility, board and card games are the perfect way for budding and experienced game creators to hone their design muscles. Anyone can grab some markers and a stack of index cards and start designing the game of their dreams. However, it can still be difficult to know where to start, or what to do once you’re ready to take your game to the next level. Our panel of experienced game designers will provide tips on how to turn your ideas into prototypes, what to look for when playtesting your design, and how to turn those early prototypes into a polished game!
  • Matriarchies, Patriarchies, and Beyond: Depicting Gender in Your Fictional World
    Time: 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    Location: LL3
    Are you tired of “egalitarian” futures where 90% of leaders happen to be male? Are you sick of matriarchies where evil women can’t wait to oppress men? Join Mythcreants for a discussion on depicting gender equality, creating realistic matriarchies, and portraying patriarchies in a subversive way. We’ll offer tips for choosing how your fictional culture approaches gender, and describe destructive stereotypes we’d all better off without. While we’re at it, we’ll rant and/or rave about franchises like Star Trek, Wheel of Time, Teen Wolf, Discworld, Battlestar Galatica, and Game of Thrones—and more!
  • Loving What You Hate: How to Engage with Problematic Media
    Time: 12:30 PM – 1:20 PM
    Location: LL3
    Every fan knows what it’s like to love something that doesn’t love you back. Often, playing our favorite games involves a certain amount of denial and frustration when it comes to portrayals of gender, race, and sexuality. How can we best engage with media that doesn’t reflect our values? It’s okay to like problematic things, but how do we interact critically with content we love—while still allowing ourselves to relax and have fun? How can we challenge and change representation of women and marginalized people in movies, television, comics, and anything else we love—while still allowing ourselves to relax and have fun? Come help us figure it out!
  • Inside the World of Geek Cosmetics
    Time: 1:00 PM – 1:50 PM
    Location: RM302
    There are many different ways you can show your geek passion. Fashion and accessories are a large part of that, but the world of geeky cosmetics is growing very quickly! Whether you show off your love of Sherlock through your nail polish or use eyeshadow to express your Borderlands obsession, there are more options than ever before to fulfill your geeky cosmetics needs. We’ll explore the current state of geeky cosmetics and what the future may hold for the industry. The panelists will discuss what inspired them to get into the business, what the process is like for creating their products, how they’ve seen the business of geek cosmetics develop over the years, and more.
  • Ask the Astronomers!
    Time: 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM
    Location: RM204
    How many solar systems have we discovered? Why are those Hubble Space Telescope images so pretty? What is up with Pluto these days? If these questions interest you, or if you have questions of your own, join our popular panel of astronomers for an interactive discussion about the universe!
  • Pockets, Purses, and Potty Breaks: Level Up Your Cosplay Design
    Time: 3:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    Location: RM303
    Fumbling to hide backpacks and purses during photo-ops or struggling to disrobe in a cramped bathroom stall can disrupt a cosplayer’s convention experience! Learn strategies from three veteran cosplayers for designing your armor, ballgowns, catsuits, and props around your needs for secret pockets, hidden purses, and trips to the restroom.
  • PDX Broadsides: Acoustic Show!
    Time: 4:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    Location: RM303
    Come check out one of our GeekGirlCONcert ’15 guests, PDX Broadsides, performing an acoustic show! You’ll fall in love with their intelligent lyrics and quirky style, which includes video games, Norse mythology, parodies, and sweet tributes to your favorite creators. Don’t miss it!
  • GeekGirlCon ’15 Costume Contest
    Time: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
    Location: RM301/302
    You’re really proud of your costume or your cosplay–and you should be. Walking the halls of a con shrouded in your favorite character is exhilarating. Get up on stage with us and listen for the applause! Our Costume Contest is for everyone who wants to show off their hard work, totes adorableness, and general awesomeness. Sign up at the Information Booth starting Saturday morning when the doors open; sign ups close at 12pm Saturday, so be sure to get there before they close! This year, the Costume Contest will be hosted by Devious Cosplay, and our judges are Morgue Anne, Darth Makenna, Kristine Hassell, and Shubzilla. Come cheer on your favorites!
  • Ultimate Character Creator
    Time: 6:00 PM – 6:50 PM
    Location: LL2
    Crafting your perfect character is the greatest part of live action role playing games: the tragic back story, the heroic destiny, the quest for good for evil and everything in between. There is also a lot more! What will you wear? How will you speak? Who will you find unbearably annoying and manipulate with your telekinesis until they’re covered in tea stains? Join Christina Dabney of the Magnet Improv Theater (NYC) and Caroline Willis of Larp Couture as they talk creation, style, attitude, and point of view. They’ll take you through the specifics of the creation process and the fun techniques to naturally sustain your character. Then we’ll round off the workshop with a few character-developing games that will spark you to spontaneously and naturally inhabit the exact character you’ve always dreamed of. Let’s be exactly who we want to be—and nothing less!
  • GeekGirlCon’s First Annual Fashion Show
    Time: 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    Location: RM301/302
    Join GeekGirlCon for our first-ever Fashion Show! On Saturday night, a diverse group of geek girls will take to the runway to model outfits from a selection of local geek fashion companies. See how these companies are combining their geeky passions with fashion and find out what inspires them. We’ll be celebrating how empowering geek fashion can be for every geek girl and highlighting the work that still needs to be done to make geek fashion diverse and accessible to everyone! Free swag bag to the first 100 attendees! Everyone will receive a raffle ticket to potentially win great prizes. Come to Room 301/302 and join the fun as we put a spotlight on how inclusive geek fashion can make a difference for geeky women everywhere!

Sunday, October 11

  • GoT Science?
    Time: 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
    Location: RM303
    Reading George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire or watching HBO’s Game of Thrones (GoT)? Then you’ve probably got a lot of sciency questions! What’s up with the wacky weather? Are there real world versions of the strangler, sweetsleep, wildfire, and moon teas? Can engineering, biology, and chemistry explain dragon traits? Is Valyrian steel all it’s cracked up to be? How can genetics explain the people and animals of Westeros? If you want the answers to these questions and more, we’ve GoT Science!
  • Make the Media You Want to See – Tips and Tricks to Becoming a Content Creator
    Time: 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
    Location: LL2
    Do you want to star in your own superhero webseries? Make a fanfilm? Tell non-mainstream stories that reflect your unique voice? Are you tired of never seeing anyone in television or movies that looks like you? The time has never been better for non-traditional voices to be able to get their stories made and shown to the world! This workshop will show some examples of home-grown content, and discuss their strengths and pitfalls. Then we will share some resources to gather ideas and techniques to help you tell the stories you want to hear and make the content you want to see.
  • Women, Diversity, and Comics: A Non-Compliant Discussion About The Comic Book Industry
    Time: 1:00 PM – 1:50 PM
    Location: RM301/302
    Join G. Willow Wilson (Ms. Marvel, Swords of Sorrow), Lindsey Murphy (Crazy Aunt Lindsey of The Fab Lab), Sabrina Taylor (The Valkyries, Comic Book Resources), and others as they talk about “the good, the bad, and the very problematic” issues regarding diversity in comics and related media. There might even be a free comic or two!
  • Closing Celebration – Vicious and Vulgar
    Time: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
    Location: RM301/302
    Arthur Conan Doyle has risen from the grave, and he’s upset! In “Vicious and Vulgar”, local playwrights Sammy Scott and Alison Luhrs re-imagine the literary hero and wonder aloud: what would he think of all of the fanfiction, cosplaying, and conventions happening in modern times? A grumpy and abrasive reanimation, Doyle manifests Holmes and Watson in contemporary, female forms in attempts to prove to his audience that they have wasted their time with the canon. Throwing in Granada Holmes and a certain mouse detective, this play explores the themes, characters, and relationships in Doyle’s classics with a modern-day female-centric twist while asking the question: what is the relationship between a canon and the fan? Come wrap up GeekGirlCon ’15 with us as we explore the world of Sherlock Holmes from the female gaze!


But of course, every con is what you make of it – what are you checking out at GeekGirlCon this weekend?