I am returned from my whirlwind tour of locations west of my natural habitat, at last! First up, I want to tell you all about Geek Girl Con, which was held October 11 and 12 in Seattle, Washington.
The focus of GGC is very hands-on, what have you made/written/worn/sung today? And it is very young-person friendly. The event offers a maker space for kids and a DIY science area, both of which were pretty full the whole time. The attendee mix was delightful, people of all genders, ages, sexes, sexualities. The only thing I’d say was missing was racial diversity, but that may be more of a reflection of Seattle, which strikes me as a very white city as compared with my local area. I’ll get back to this point later. There were a lot of children, boys and girls, and what really stood out to everyone I spoke with is that GGC attracted a crowd that actually gets what equality looks and feels like. The guys as well as the women were all about female-focused fandom without the kind of “I’ll get me some girls for sure!” inanity or the kind of incoherent rage we see from some parts of the community at female-focused series being popular, or series that women like being inherently less good or, indeed, women being fans of anything. In short, it was a great crowd. So great that nearly everyone commented on it.
The con itself got off to a gentle start, with a gradual fill, rather than the frenetic rush of larger events.
I was accompanied in my study of Geek Girls by my intrepid lackey Bruce, who puts up with amazing shit and I’m incredibly grateful to him for many things. Bruce and I wandered the main selling floor, past the gaming stuff, until we found things we could buy. As soon as we found stuff we could throw money at, we knew we’d like this con. ^_^
It started with some awesome pop culture/ancient art mashups by Dancing Heron.
Then we found a lovely print of the Senshi by KRMayer.
I managed to not be a total dork at the Doubleclicks table as I bought their album Lasers and Feelings from Aubrey (whose name I got right, score one uber nerd point for me fo, not fucking that up. Don’t worry though, I fucked up a major thing later at a different event and lost that point and many others.)
I also bought a lovely ring with the symbol for the planet Uranus on it that I liked. I know it’s upside down, I was wearing it so someone looking at it would see it right way up.
I owned it less than a week. It fell off my finger in a cab in Mitaka, Japan. But that’s a different story. ^_^;
Bruce and I ran into some old friends, Sparkle and Gideon. I was given a sample copy of their daughter’s hand-drawn comic, Blue Bird. We also got to spend some time with an old friend Hillary, blogger L.B. Bryant and Yuri no Boke herself, Katherine H. and twitter friend Amy S. It was great catching up with everyone, seriously. Walking around an event is always more fun with someone to bounce ideas off of.
In the Artists Alley, I had an extended conversation with the folks at Kilted Comics, because I absolutely fell hard for their Paris in the 20th Century comic, that features adventuresses in an alt 1920’s Paris. SO my type of thing. In fact, about the time I bought that I was feeling very pleased with GGC. ^_^
We started to get in line for the concert, but an incipient cold I was fighting off became a fever and we packed it in for the night.
Sunday was spent with friends for the first half, as we wandered around the con once more, enjoying the atmosphere. When I encountered this group of cosplayers I realized exactly what I liked best about GGC:
Sailor fuku-wearing, gender switched Avengers and Darth Makenna for the win. THIS is everything I loved about GGC, the unapologetic mashups, the celebration of everything we love all at once, and loving it any way we damn well please. ^_^ The cosplay was fabulous. (Later that day I saw a Sailor Mars with many tattoos and I suddenly thought that an all-inked up Senshi lineup would totally do it for me. If I could draw, I would be working on that like gangbusters.)
Riding on this high of “woot, fandom, we’re all crazy, in a sparkly way”, I made my way over to the Northwest Press booth, which comes complete with disco ball and pink fake fur-covered sofa, along with some of the most *amazing* queer comics and prose in print. (I haven’t reviewed it here, as it’s utterly not lesbian, but Al-Qaeda’s Secret Weapon is one of the most amazing comics I have ever read.) There, at last, I got to fangirl at Leia Weathington, creator of The Legend of Bold Riley. As I expected, Leia was delightful and was not at all flipped out by me being a massive creepy fangirl at her. Leia was really excited about the upcoming Bold Riley pamphlets, and we talked about how the success of her Kickstarter gave her the chance to give all the artists a raise.
I also had a lovely talk with publisher at NWP, Zan Christensen. He kindly gave me the short story anthology The Lavender Menace: Tales of Queer Villainy! to read. Expect some very exciting news coming from this quarter in the near future. ^_^
I managed one panel on Sunday, on LGBTQ writers, characters and content in Sci-Fi. The panel was quite excellent. Panelists talked about the resistance of traditional publishers, the sea change in representation that is becoming a swell as more readers and authors demand better and more diversity. They talked about their own histories, gave suggestions of authors to read. They even noted that while it was great having an female scifi writer panel on the topic, there was still some work to do. All the panelists were white, they noted. Where where the Women of Color authors? The Trans and Queer authors? I was really glad that they commented on this and it made me hopeful that GGC would work to increase diversity even more for next year.
After hanging with friends a bit more, Bruce and I headed down to the water to visit the Seattle Art Museum. We had less than an hour there before it closed, but it was stellar. Well worth a visit on its own. It should come as no surprise at all that I made a beeline for the Pop Departures exhibit and was gratified to see a James Rosenquist in the mix and then beside myself with glee to see Barbara Kruger included, as well. ^_^
Sunday night, Bruce and I walked across the city (through a crowd of unhappy Seahawks fans) to what turned out to be a fantastic, restorative dinner at The Tamarind Tree. And our con ended officially Monday morning after tea and crumpets with Katherine and Amy at The Crumpet Shop. Thank you ladies for a delightful time!
I would highly recommend Geek Girl Con for anyone who likes to be part of the narrative, not just part of the audience. It’s intimate and small right now, just the kind of con that you can feel comfortable coming as the TARDIS, a steampunk gender switched Harry Potter or Satsuki and Nonon from Kill La Kill and fit right in.