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Question Cosplay

The Intersection of Dykedom and Dorkdom

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Geek Girl Con 2011 Report
Question Cosplay
Booboo and I went off to Seattle this past weekend for the first Geek Girl Con. Per their website (www.geekgirlcon.com), the purpose of the convention was:

“…promoting awareness of and celebrating the contribution and involvement of women in all aspects of the sciences, science fiction, comics, gaming and related Geek culture through conventions and events that emphasize both the historic and ongoing contribution and influence of women in this culture.”

Programming at the convention included gaming, a preview of the Wonder Woman documentary film, a mini-Viscera film fest (horror short films by women filmmakers), a masquerade, presentations of academic papers, and panels on women in comic books, popular culture (SF & fantasy oriented), horror, and science. There was a nice vendor/exhibitor room with a small but varied group of vendors, local Star Wars cosplay recruiters (Mandalorian Mercs, the 501st & Rebel Legion) and an area dedicated to author signings. The guest list was diverse and featured individuals from comics, television and film, academia, and bloggers. The con was located in the Seattle Center with a couple programming rooms also in EMP Museum. The con ran Saturday to Sunday and closed with a Labyrinth sing-a-long.

Pros (no pun intended):

• Great programming for a first year convention;
• The programming had something for everyone – a variety of topics, genres and media, both academic and non-academic discussion, films, science;
• Programming was accessible for younger and older audiences;
• There were relatively big name guests (Jane Espenson, Trina Robbins, Greg Rucka, Gail Simone among others) all of whom were available and accessible throughout the convention;
• Attendance was small enough to be enjoyable, but large enough to show that there’s definitely an interest in this type of event; and
• We stayed at one of the convention hotels (the Marqueen), which was only a couple blocks away from the convention and was also an easy walk to a grocery store, a pharmacy, and a ton of restaurants.

Cons (again, no pun intended):

• Registration on Saturday was chaotic and overlapped with the beginning panels.
• Panels ran back-to-back: If you wanted to see something at the EMP Museum and you were at the Seattle Center or vice versa, you had to hustle to get there and still missed at least the first 5 minutes of the panel. Additionally, there was no break in programming for lunch.
• This isn’t really a con, but I hope they have filk programming next year.
• Also not really a con, but the SF Writer’s Hall of Fame at the EMP Museum was closed for renovations. That was a total bummer.

These were by no means deal breakers, they’re just part of this being a first-year con and I’m sure that next year they’ll be much improved.

Highlights of the Con:

• The Very Special Dudes panel: Their discussion of feminism, politics and popular culture was informed and really a delight to hear. The best part was Alan Kistler saying: “I thought we’d be further along by now,” a sentiment that was echoed by the other panel members and audience alike.
• The History of the Universe as Told by Wonder Woman documentary film panel: The film explores female heroism in popular culture beginning with Wonder Woman and branching out across various media to include other women heroes. During the panel, we saw about 45 minutes of the film, consisting of interviews with a young girl for whom Wonder Woman is a role model, Lindsey Wagner, Lynda Carter, Trina Robbins, and others. The filmmaker, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, discussed the inception and execution of the project and many of the panelists were also interviewees in the film. The film is unfinished and is still being edited. Hopefully it will have a limited theatrical release and/or appear on Public Television next year.
• The Women in Horror panel: The panel opened with a short film by Shannon Lark (who started Viscera) that drove Booboo out of the room. Although it was very disappointing to hear about the sexism that is still rampant in the horror industry, there was good discussion about horror and women in horror among the panelists, all of whom have different roles in the horror industry. I especially enjoyed hearing about the conception of the movie “Dead Hooker in a Trunk:” from the formation of the idea to the realization of the project into a feature-length film by filmmakers Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska.
• The Ink Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology panel: Jennifer Stuller gave a presentation that hit the highlights of her book, discussing female heroes in modern popular culture from the 40’s to the 21st century and their impact during their time and on future heroes. One of the trends she noted was the lack of women training women: in most cases the women are mentored by their father or a father-figure. That’s a trend I hadn’t noticed before, but see frequently now that I’m aware of it –definitely food for thought. Booboo enjoyed the panel enough to buy the book immediately after the panel ended.
• Meeting Greg Rucka. He’s one of my favorite writers and has created a stable of strong female characters, many of them queer. I love how passionate he is about Wonder Woman. He’s articulate, approachable and appreciative of his fans. Amongst my weekend of stalking, he also gave me a glimpse of upcoming Punisher art, talked about the content of the next Stumptown story arc and a few other things. And he always said hello to Booboo and me whenever he saw us.
• Meeting Neal Baily, writer of the webcomic Cura Te Ipsum (translation: Cure Yourself). Neal is another super cool guy: very gracious and incredibly appreciative of those who support his webcomic. He wasn’t on any of the panels, but he was one of the vendor/exhibitors. Cura is a great comic and it’s updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday without fail. The first thing I do when I get to work on M-W-F is read the new page of Cura. I won’t summarize it here because it’s involved and would take too long to explain. Check out Cura here: http://www.charlieeverett.com/.
• I’d add seeing Viscera to this list except that Booboo doesn’t like horror movies, so I had to skip it.
• The exhibits at the EMP Museum: Battlestar Galactica, Avatar, and Can’t Look Away (the horror movie exhibit).
• We also managed to be in town for the last two nights of a local production of “The Beebo Brinker Chronicles;” a play based on the lesbian pulp novels of Ann Bannon. We caught the show on its last night and it was a hell of a lot of fun. Here’s a link to the website for the off-Broadway production: http://www.beebobrinker.com/.

We’re definitely planning on attending the con next year. In fact, I believe I enjoyed Geek Girl Con more than I enjoyed the Baltimore Comicon. If you’ve got the inclination, the vacation time, and the cash, you should definitely be at the con next year. Hopefully next year I’ll have worked out the kinks in my Question mask and I’ll do a little cosplay….