Archive for the Events Category


Queers & Comics 2017 Event Report

April 23rd, 2017

Queers & Comics 2017 in San Francisco was as fascinating and delightful as the inaugural event in New York City in 2015. This time around it was organized by Jennifer Camper (Rude Girls and Dangerous Women) and Justin Hall (QU33R). Once again, the level of engagement and energy was high and the conversations on and off panels were exceptionally interesting. 

The event was held at the California College of the Arts. The keynote speakers were Mariko Tamaki (SkimThis One Summer) and Gengoroh Tagame (Otouto no Otto /My Brother’s Husband). 

For this event, my travel companion was Bruce, and our first night in town we wandered over to the Center for Sex and Culture, a fun little reading/art/ event space to see Tyler Cohen’s Primahood art show. It was great to see Tyler and appreciate the art in person.  On the way out I was able to chat briefly with Mari Naomi about her amazing book, I Thought You Hated Me, which I rave-reviewed last summer.

Bruce and I wandered over to the Asian Art Museum, which was lovely, until I felt weak from hunger and we had to go find food.

My event began with a panel of Underground Comics pioneers, including Gay Comix editor Howard Cruse, Lee Marrs, Roberta Gregory, Diana Green, Trina Robbins, Burton Clarke, Robert Triptow, Mary Wings and Vaughn Frick. It’s always fascinating to look back at the days when LGBTQ comics were not yet a thing and hear from the people who made it a thing. 

One of the questions was about where the passion is these days and, of course the answer is, “Where are you looking?” Roberta Gregory suggested one look at Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites…and I’m going to double down on that. Not in the comic shops. It never was there, really. American comics are primarily a production line job as Howard Cruse pointed out. Underground stuff wasn’t even sold in comic stores…it was sold in head shops and then queer bookstores. The energy and passion now is online. On Pixiv, Deviantart, Kickstarter, Patreon (and KS is particularly pro-LGBTQ projects, I have to say.) Look online. 

After lunch, it was my pleasure to be part of the Queer Manga – History and Cultural Context panel where Graham Kolbien showed a short clip of the documentary he’s been working on, Queer Japan. I am a backer of that work and cannot *wait* to see it. During a short interview with a BL manga artist, I was openly grinning at the views of Otome Road and the stores along it. It was definitely a warm/fuzzy moment for me. Leyla Aker from Viz did a publisher-eye’s view presentation on BL and Yuri. (Although, when she commented that Citrus isn’t exploitative, I said, “Oh, yes it is!”) I followed this up with a discussion of the place women’s groups newsletters and doujinshi had in the history of Yuri manga, following early “Woman-Only Communications” newsletters through doujinshi into Lesbian magazines and Yuri manga. I hope to write an article about that this summer.

 

Bruce had never been to San Francisco before, so we wandered over to Japantown where the Kinokuniya had a little “Yaoi” section, that included some Yuri manga. 

It also had this bilingual guide based on Rose of Versailles, so as you can imagine the English phrases were super-relevant to modern life. ^_^

 

The second day began with a Panel on being the editor for anthologies called “Herding Cats.” It was fantastic, and I was able to fully fangirl at Taneka Stotts, who had edited Elements: Fire, which I had read on the plane ride over.  This was one of my highlights, as I am a huge fan of Taneka’s work and her energy. Review to come, but Tl;dr – it was great.

Another highlight of my event was being able to meet Joamette Gil, one  of the minds behind Power & Magic, which I enthusiastically reviewed recently. Joamette said something really profound to me, about white women supporting work by women of color. She pointed out that if women support work by WoC, they are still getting work by women, so it’s win-win. This was eye-opening to me, because I’m just honestly 100% behind diversity of all kinds, but I guess there are folks who would need it to be relevant to their experience. Frankly, I like reading about stuff I *haven’t* already lived, and am always thrilled to support works by women of color. And no I am not saying “I’m color blind,” I’m saying I consciously seek out work by women of color to support. Because this is what we must do to get the diversity we want in the world.

I caught up with an old friend, Julie Davis, former editor of Animerica magazine, and probably the first person to ever pay me for a piece of writing. She joined me, Anne Ishii and Tagame-sensei for Queer Craft: Art & Writing. Anne did a fabulous presentation on the evolution of Gay Manga and a discussion of translating sound effects, I quickly presented process discussions about two guests who hadn’t been able to join us, Nakamura Kiyo and Rica Takashima, then Tagame-sensei spoke about a trans manga he felt was very important in terms of what it was not, as much as what it was. We took questions and had a fabulous time. 

We then sat in a lovely panel about LGBTQ comics about superheroes that subvert paradigms and rewrite the old scripts with Joan Hilty, Brian Andersen, Tommy Roddy, Kat Leyh and Andy Mangels.

As Bruce was leaving early, we and Julie went out to a crazy dinner in a place where you could book a room with the pope’s head in a Lucite case on the table. It was super creepy. (Sorry, random strangers in my photo, I didn’t get the picture when the room was empty.)

After saying farewell to Bruce, I was able to catch up with Julie and her husband Mark, a brilliant artist and illustrator and a man who is to Gundam what I am to Yuri. Had a lovely time just chatting about art and writing and life. Thanks Julie and Mark! Let’s not go 13 years until we see each other again. ^_^

Of course I bought books while I was at Queers & Comics….reviews to come in days ahead. ^_^ I was able to get a Lee Marrs collection, The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudgy Pudge, Girl Blimp and  Burn Bitchy Burn by  Roberta Gregory, as well as Princess Princess Ever After and the Queer Creatures tote bag, which was just too great to not get and for which profits go to support the event itself.

One of the most amazing things about the event was this – just as the young artists were in the panels learning from the older folks, the older artists were present in panels by younger folks, learning from them. It was…GREAT. These folks are crowdfunding old collections and new works. They get it, and so should we. It might feel righteous to be old-school, but you’re hampering yourself if you don’t use the tools that exist. In fact, I’ve set myself a goal of self-publishing at least one book this summer because there is literally no reason not to. ^_^ At this point, if your work isn’t out there, it’s because you’re not trying to get it out there. There are no barriers left except the one’s you make for yourself.  And that, frankly, is my big takeaway from this event. Just…make your art. 

Panels were recorded, so when they are available, I’ll add in the links.

Overall, it was an amazing event, with friends new and old, and I cannot wait for the next one! Thanks to everyone on staff and all the presenters and guests for making it a reality. ^_^

 

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Event: Yuricon at Yurithon in Montreal!

March 26th, 2017

This is such exciting news…I have been invited to be a guest at the Yurithon, Yuri-focused programming track within Montreal’s Otakuthon convention!

Please join me (and bunch of Yuricon friends and staffers) for the weekend of August 4-6, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. We’ll be doing some panels and who knows what else. I’ve never been to Montreal before, so I’m hoping to meet a whole new group of readers! This is a great chance to meet some of the core staff from early Yuricon days and folks who know a metric ton about cool Yuri stuff to watch and read.

As more details become available, I’ll share them. But just to remind you, this is my 2017 schedule to date: 

(Events in which it is confirmed that I’ll be participating in are in bold.)

MoCCA Arts Festival, April 1-2, 2017. New York City, USA. (TBD. I hope to pop by on Saturday. )

Queer & Comics – April 14-15, 2017. San Francisco, CA, USA. I’ll be participating and moderation panels.

Toronto Comics Art Festival – May 13-14, 2017, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’ll be helping out with moderation.

AnimeNext – June 9-11, 2017. Atlantic City,  NJ, USA. (TBD, but let’s be real, I’ll probably be there, at least for a day. I always like to visit.)

Yurithon – August 4-6, 2017. Montreal Quebec, Canada. I’ll be a guest. ^_^

Flamecon – August 19-20. New York City, NY, USA.  (TBD, hoping to do a panel or two.)

If you want me at your event, please get in touch asap, you can see that the year fills up pretty quick these days. ^_^

 

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Upcoming LGBTQ Lectures and Events

February 15th, 2017

Get out those calendars! It’s time to plan our next few months of LGBTQ Comics and Manga events and lectures.

February

This weekend, on February 19, 2017 our friends at Yaycon, this year in Amersfoort, Netherlands, will be celebrating Yaoi and Yuri and love! I had a lovely time at Yaycon a few years ago and hope to one day return. 

 

March

I am pleased as punch to be part of Rainbow Manga along with Gay Manga’s Anne Ishii at Hunter College in NYC on March 10, 2017. The lecture should be open to the public and as soon as I have a link or address for you, I will be sure to let you know. Hunter College is 695 Park Ave. in New York City. Anne and I will be speaking about LGBTQ manga in Japan and here in the US!

April

For San Francisco-area friends, I expect you will not want to miss this year’s Queers & Comics Conference. Keynote Speakers are Tagame Gengoroh and Mariko Tamaki (and, I have all my digits crossed that maybe, maybe we’ll have Nakamura Kiyo as well. Pray for this. Pray hard.) I’ve made all my reservations, so I will absolutely be there. I’ll be participating on a Queer Manga history panel and moderating a Craft of Queer Manga panel and bouncing around like a child the rest of the time, surrounded by such awesome talent and energy. Please join me! The 2015 event was magical.

In addition to praying, the Queers & Comics Travel Fund has been created to help Q&C bring in queer creators from around the country (and world) and give them a place to stay, food, etc.  You know that queer comics don’t often have the kind of mainstream distribution that the superhero stuff gets, and queer creators are often living on the edge. If you can even offer a cup of coffee’s worth of support, you can get some great digital rewards, including ABSOLUTE POWER: Tales of Queer Villainy!  and more from Gay Manga and Northwest Press. (I also wrote to Seven Seas to see if we can get some Yuri manga on that rewards list. We’ll see if they are interested.)

May

Toronto Comics Arts Festival is around the corner and on my radar once again. After a few years away – and missing it badly – I’m going to do my very best to be part of the 2017 event. (I cannot wait to experience the new de-improved DHS processes at the airport. Ugh.) TCAF is held for free at the Toronto Reference Library and external venues in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, May 13-14. Traditionally, it has always been very LGBTQ-friendly and inclusive and manga friendly and inclusive, unlike some other comics events, for which manga is just a thing some people sell there. There’s usually a Queer Mixer before the event, as well. Guests include Tagame Gengoroh, Jillian Tamaki and Sandrine Revel, all of whom have worked on LGBTQ content. Also, our friends at Sparkler Monthly are usually there and this year they have even more Yuri than ever before. It’s a don’t-miss event for folks who can make it.

My schedule fills up pretty fast these days, so if you want me at your event, as a moderator or to present, do please contact me. Here’s to a year of amazing queer manga events!

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Queer Manga Lecture at Michigan on Youtube

February 3rd, 2017

With many thanks to the University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies, the entirely of my lecture Alt Manga, Queer Manga – Telling Our Own Stories is now available on Youtube for your enjoyment. I hope you’ll watch and comment and now I’m gonna have to go and write something new. ^_^;

 

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Event Report: Yuri Lectures at University of Michigan

January 22nd, 2017

I have returned from Michigan, for which I have nothing but praise. And from a very hectic few days pre- and post- my lectures. I have a lot of people to thank, so let’s get right on that first. First, my sincere thanks to Jennifer Robertson and the Center for Japanese Studies for having me out to the university and treating me so well. Thanks to Gal, Mary, Matt and Ben for a lovely lunch and to Jennifer, Celeste and Erin for a lovely dinner, both of which were filled with fascinating and wide-ranging conversations.  Special thanks to Nicole for arranging everything. I had a terrific time and hope to visit again sometime soon.

When I came in to Ann Arbor, I had a few hours free before meeting some folks for dinner, and the campus was great for Pokewalking, so I headed off to find the Art Museum. Folks, I have to tell you that the University of Michigan Museum of Art is fantastic. I was fascinated to see that they had an exhibition of Kabuki posters. Some of these I had seen previously  at the Brooklyn Museum, but they had a interesting section on how the onnagata, men who played the females roles,  influenced fashion and femininity. Perhaps more important to us, I also learned about the Shirabyoushi, who were female performers in the Heian period who dressed like men as they danced. (Which immediately called to mind a scene in Saitou Chiho’s  Torikaebaya, in which Sara Sojuu, presenting as a man, dances for the Emperor.) There was a poster of an onnagata dressed as a shirabyoushi, which is a lot of layers of genderfuck right there. A man, dressed as a women who dresses like man. The TV screen immediately next to that picture showed a shirabyoushi dance performed by a kabuki actor. It was fascinating.

This a painting of the most famous Shirabyoushi, Shizuka Gozen. Notice the hat (tate-eboshi), the sword, and the men’s clothes.

The other key learning I had was that fanfic and fan art are, as I have always presumed, both eternal and universal. Among the posters at the exhibition were paintings of popular kabuki actors “as” other things. Much in the way you see fan art of “Disney Princesses as…” a variety of things or people, here are paintings of popular stars “as” legendary sages and in the second picture, as flowers.

So. There you have it. Along with knowledge that kabuki posters were bootlegged, we now have confirmation that human nature is pretty consistent across time and geography. 

The next morning I first attended Jennifer’s Sex and Gender in Japan class, where I walked them through the demographic genres of manga and the wholly unique history of Yuri and LGBTQ manga. The questions were fantastic, genuinely. What a great class! I felt bad I hadn’t brought more books to give away as prizes for good questions ^_^;

The second lecture had an interesting, varied audience, which contained a few friendly faces. I was very pleased to see old friends Jackie S and Jocilyn W there. At that lecture I talked about LGBTQ (Yuri, BL, gay) manga and how pressure from fandom helped it to become a successful niche in manga sales. Again, good questions and loads of nice people.  

After that, I was able to sit with some of the grad students and chat. Mary and I found we were separated at birth and were able to fangirl over Marimite, Sailor Moon and Yuki Kajiura a bit. ^_^

Dinner conversation with faculty ranged from Japan to Amsterdam and back and through many levels of politics and pets. All in all it was a fascinating and enjoyable glimpse into the life of academics, so far removed – and yet so similar – to my own corporate world.

Two last thanks are in order. One to my driver Sayeed, who embodies everything beautiful about the American dream. And my final thanks to Ann Arbor itself, which was both lovely and fun and helped me level up in Pokemon Go. ^_^

I’m going to go do some more research on the shirabyoushi now.  ^_^

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