A GeekGirlCon ’12 Preview

I am winding up a 16-month run as a copywriter at GeekGirlCon in August and over that time I’ve been in awe over the achievements of this all-volunteer corps of geeks. It is fascinating to watch an idea become a reality and observe all the blood, sweat, and tears that go into making a game-changing organization and event. That said, I wanted my first post to this nascent blog to be a preview of GeekGirlCon ‘12.

At GeekGirlCon ‘11 I spent a lot of time “working” panel rooms and helping to keep everyone on time and things running smoothly. This year, I get to visit more panels and do some reporting on the great offerings at GeekGirlCon ‘12. I am also looking forward to having my friend Mal4Prez with me so we can do some vlogging and panel reviews together for the GeekGirlCon PR team.

First up for me is Steampunk Sewing: From Newbie Basics to Expert Techniques on Saturday at 10:30 AM. From the first time I saw this listed in the potential programming, I’ve been pretty excited about it. Seattle has its own steampunk convention, Steamcon, that happens every fall–each year with a new theme. In 2010, I prepared a dirigible mechanic costume inspired by Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker and last year I tried a more dieselpunk look by blending some Chicago-mob pinstripes with a bowler and the ubiquitous steampunk accessory, goggles. I’m looking for tips to pull my next costume together for Steamcon IV’s Victorian monsters theme. It should be a killer costume, or more like a monster killer costume.

Every convention or conference has that time slot where two or more “must-see” panels are scheduled at the same time. GeekGirlCon ‘12 is no different. Let’s Get Critical: Fans, Creators, and Social Justice and Capes and Canes: Ability and Disability in Superhero Comics both look fantastic, but are unfortunately opposite “Steampunk Sewing.” If only I had Hermione’s Time Turner, I could see each of these panels. For that matter, I could see every panel at GeekGirlCon ‘12 and that would be awesome. “Let’s Get Critical” tackles on my recurring issue of engaging in media in a socially conscious way after I acknowledge the problematic tropes or structures. And “Capes and Canes” hits on a topic that was underrepresented at GeekGirlCon ‘11, that of the abled and disabled representations in popular culture. Part of me wants to take the GeekGirlCon programming department to task on this schedule. But, it hardly gets any easier to decide where to spend your time with so much interesting material to choose from.

It’s thrilling to have so much more science programming this year. Building on all the excitement of NASA’s landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars this week, I am thinking of checking out Tug of War: The Story of Science and Engineering Finding a Happy Medium or the FIRST Robotics panel on Saturday. Then on Sunday there is a panel about the Voyager spacecraft called Stunning Space Science: Voyager–12,369 Days and Counting. Being a scientific layperson, but also interested in citizen science, I’m hoping that these panels are accessible to folks like me as well as engaging for actual scientists, like Mal4Prez.

I missed Mike Madrid at GeekGirlCon ‘11, so this year I must get to Super Style: 70 Years of Comic Book Fashion on Saturday. I might find some inspiration for a superhero costume of my own that will incorporate some LEDs, because on Sunday I will be learning to use LED lights in costuming at the workshop LEDs in Fabric: Sew Your Own Circuit.

If you can believe it, there is even more great programming content. Some other panels I wish to attend are Misogyny Online, Writing with a Y Chromosome, Women and Skepticism, and How To Build a Superheroine. Will there be time to hit the gaming floor? I hope so. I’d like to brush up on my Magic: The Gathering skills and paint some miniatures or take part in a LARP session.

Plus, Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, and Jan Van Meter are special guests again. Last year, I carted a bunch of books to the event and did not find any time for signatures. Not sure if I will try for autographs this year or not. My stack of single issues and trade paperbacks for these folks is huge. My back is already hurting at the thought of lugging those around.

Given all that is happening this weekend, I might not have any energy for the special events like the NERDprov and GeekGirlCONcert on Saturday or the Closing Celebration on Sunday. Number one lesson about cons is that you can never do it all.

And that about covers my entire weekend plan. I am really proud of the work I’ve done with this amazing group of women, and the few guys on staff, too. Together, we have made great strides for supporting, honoring, and acknowledging female geeks everywhere. My wish is for GeekGirlCon to grow into a mature, experienced nonprofit organization that has far-reaching effects for women engaged in geek culture or professions–to go beyond the con and into everyday lives of geek girls.

Visit the GeekGirlCon website; there are events all year long. And check out all the GeekGirlCon ’12 programming for Saturday and Sunday. Plus Special Events and Gaming.

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