Archive for July, 2013

#virtualcc panels today

Two Virtual ComiCon panels today! They’re listed just below. Also, Donna Barr wrote up a nice report on Clallam Bay Comicon, and I wanted to link to that. Anyway, “Rocking Hall Costuming” at 2pm Cascadian/Pacific, 5pm Eastern; “Kitting Out Cheap” the next hour, at 3pm/6pm. Deets:

Added: Rocking Hall Costuming: Join award-winning costumer tereshkova2001 as she discusses what makes a good hall costume, how to have fun in one, and how to avoid awkwardness or creepiness. Visual aids will be included! 2pm Pacific/Cascadian, 5pm Eastern, Saturday, July 20th, Supervillainy 1. tereshkova2001 (Moderator)

Added: Kitting Out Cheap: Assembling the sound kit you need for the very little money you have. Supporting materials included but not strictly required. 3pm Pacific/Cascadian, 6pm Eastern, Saturday, July 20th, Supervillainy 1. Solarbird, the Lightbringer (Moderator)

We’ll post with the final URL once we know what it is – Google+ will just kind of assign it for us once we open the livestream. See you there!

three! virtual comicon panels

Not at San Diego Comicon? Neither are we. So we’re DOIN’ OUR OWN! It got started on Tumblr, under the #virtualCC tag, with cosplayers and artists and even a vendor offering sales. Now tereshkova2001 (Worldcon top-level costumer) and I (supervillain musician) are adding panel programming.

YES, WE MEAN IT. We have two panels scheduled, both to be streamed in Supervillainy 1, a.k.a. my YouTube channel, on Saturday. COME TO OUR PANELS! They’re listed here, in…

PROGRAMME CHANGES:

Added: Rocking Hall Costuming: Join award-winning costumer tereshkova2001 as she discusses what makes a good hall costume, how to have fun in one, and how to avoid awkwardness or creepiness. Visual aids will be included! 2pm Pacific/Cascadian, 5pm Eastern, Saturday, July 20th, Supervillainy 1. tereshkova2001 (Moderator)

Added: Kitting Out Cheap: Assembling the sound kit you need for the very little money you have. Supporting materials included but not strictly required. 3pm Pacific/Cascadian, 6pm Eastern, Saturday, July 20th, Supervillainy 1. Solarbird, the Lightbringer (Moderator)

DIRECT LINKS TO THE ACTUAL LIVESTREAM WILL BE POSTED ONCE THE STREAM HAS BEEN LAUNCHED, and not before, because we won’t have the link until we actually start it. Watch either the blog or the #virtualCC tag on Tumblr for announcement probably half an hour before the panels start. We’ll be monitoring the chat on behalf of each other, so we can relay questions and stuff.

Neither of us have ever done this before so it will be an ADVENTURE IN TERROR! Or in live podcasting? Something like that. ADVENTURE! o/


ETA: OH SHI SOMEBODY ELSE IS DOING A PANEL OKAY HERE Y’GO:

MORE PROGRAMME CHANGES:

Added: Overly Dramatic Reading: Rob Leifeld’s Captain America, 4pm Pacific/Cascadian, 6pm Central, 7pm Eastern, Friday, July 19. shinykari (Moderator). Presumably she’ll post a livestream URL beforehand; watch her tumblr.

#virtualcc / Virtual ComiCon

So weerd1 and tereshkova2001 have started cosplaying at #virtualCC (Virtual ComicCon), and OKAY THEN here’s the handout for Kitting Out Cheap – how to assemble a recording kit on zero budget, #VirtualCC edition.

Further, my fully armed and operational podcasting studio is more than capable of actually holding this panel, live, say, tomorrow or Saturday, as long as it doesn’t conflict with Pacific Rim. Wanna do it?

screw you putin

The new Pussy Riot single (and video) is out. In short: screw you, Putin.

everyone at comicon

Everyone’s at San Diego Comicon! Except me. Okay, and except a lot of people. But that doesn’t stop me from being jealous. So I’ve posted more pictures from Clallam Bay Comicon to my Flickr account. Lots of them are illegal fireworks. Yay!

…yeah, it’s just not the same.

On the other hand, I’ve bought my membership for GeekGirlCon 2013. I kinda want to do an unofficial show. The Supervillain Origin Story Set (<hipster>you probably haven’t heard of it</hipster>) went over real well at Clallam Bay. People used to do that shit at PAX – particularly the 8-bit underground – all the time, so why not here?

Is there a protocol for that? Probably, and I don’t even know. O(≧∇≦)O Do you?

exclusion

A friend of mine, from Europe, writes and draws a lot of comics. He’s small-press, indie-publish, self-publish, he’s worked for some of the smaller comic presses. Some of his books are pretty political. Fair disclosure: I tend to agree with his politics, tho’, of course, not always.

He wrote recently that he’d got a review of one of his political zines, from a woman who also publishes a political ‘zine, who agreed with his politics in general, and liked the work in many ways, but decried the sexist nature of his mostly-male cast. He didn’t agree with that part, at all, and asked what I thought.

What I think is: she’s absolutely right. Oh, it’s not intentional – it’s absolutely not. He lives in the States, and by US standards, he’s very progressive.

But his cast in these political zines is almost exclusively men. And that’s a big part of the problem, on a much bigger scale.

See, I was surprised to learn this summer that the average “crowd scene” in film is 83% male. 17% of a “random crowd” is women; the rest are men. Slightly less than one in five.

Further, this summer, in most markets, you could not go see a film about a woman. Of nearly 500 films released early this summer, a couple had female leads, but they were small films, and not shown in large markets. Most markets had zero.

This is a bad year – but not particularly an orders-of-magnitude-worse year. That crowd stat is accumulated over many years; it’s not new.

So what’s that mean, other than women don’t get the equity time that leads to opportunities and larger roles in film? Well, that matters itself, of course. But…

…the thing is…

…humans learn by storytelling.

Also by doing, but story is really important. Story – and story “sense,” or “coherence” – trumps facts, soundly. This has been shown over and over again, in study after study: known facts can be overwritten by coherent story, even if that story is flatly false.

So what does an “average crowd” being four men for every one woman mean, in our big stories?

Fortunately, people research this. Here are some examples. It means that men see a crowd of one-third women – a crowd wherein there are literally two men for every one woman – and think it’s “mostly women,” despite the fact that it is mostly men. And if it’s a crowd they think should be “gender-balanced” – in reality, overwhelmingly men – they’ll react against that, in ways small and large, and weird, with enemies lists, harassment, and in the largest cases, law.

This carries over into classrooms, too, and that’s important. The numbers are strikingly similar; men expect to dominate the discussion, and in that, think it’s equal, and fair. Recent studies I’ve seen sited (but not read firsthand) have shown that if discussion and student time in a mixed-gender classroom gets anywhere close to equal – if women get half the time of the discussion and the teacher…

…male students start to complain that they are actively discriminated against. And the horrible part is that the whole class does better if this doesn’t happen, or is kept in control by the teacher; women students speaking in class improves all performances. It’s not a zero sum game – but it’s treated as one.

And I don’t think I need to point out that this isn’t merely an academic matter.

Now, I know some of you guys reading this are mad at this point, but this has been shown enough times you should deal with it. These are numbers; these are the points at which these phenomena repeat, across environments. That 17% number keeps repeating – according to one story I’m citing below, 17% of cardiac surgeons are women, 17% of tenured professors are women…

…just like in those crowd scenes.

And when the number rises above that, men complain about being crowded out, and, eventually, complain about being discriminated against – long before equality is reached – and start harassing and pushing women out.

Not all men, of course. But enough. Some, actively; others, just by going along, or just not saying anything, even if they are discomforted by it. It’s easy to do that when it doesn’t affect you.

And I have to wonder, how much of that goes back to that expectation that’s set when just 17% of the people in our biggest, brightest stories are women; that “male” is the character default – just as is hetersexual and white – and that to be anything else requires a reason to be that. Humans learn by telling stories.

Seanan McGuire wrote last month about a fan asking why one of her minor characters was gay – essentially, why wasn’t he the default? What was the reason for him being gay?

Essential to this question is the assumption that this character needed an excuse to be there, in the eye of the fan. Being gay without a reason for it actually bothered the reader enough that they had to ask. They weren’t upset; but it raised a flag, in their brain.

And that’s because straight white men can be anything, in a story. But queers, women, and people of colour? They better have a reason, or their presence – their right to be there, to exist – is questioned. And pushed against.

And I think we all know how those types encounters tend to work out.

Particularly this week.


eta: TheMarySue.com has a highly relevant article on the lack of female villains (and supervillains). All I can say is 1: yep and 2: DOIN’ MY BEST TO FIX THAT!

 

This post is part of a series of articles on sexism and racism in geek culture.

Many numbers from this article are source from NPR, particularly those numbers related to women in film, particularly from the story “Hollywood Needs More Women.” Others are from a variety of papers I’ve scanned the last few months, but not kept records of reading, because my memory for these things is pretty good. If you want more than that, do your own research; it’s not hard to find.

Mind you – it could be worse. Whites start moving out of neighbourhoods when more than 8% of their neighbours are black. That’s why some people of colour with options are getting the hell out of Dodge. At least women get 17% before the pushback gets too mean.

oh dear columbia

Columbia sighted – floating city, ahoy! Action stations, action stations! Prepare for incoming…

…oh. Wait. Missouri? Never mind. Calm down, everyone, false alarm. Have a flower picture.


See the cool, soothing flower? Love it. LOVE IT.

(This message brought to you by too much Bioshock Infinite, Google Analytics, and trying to figure out what to do with a really messy desktop.)

end of the tour

I love touring. I really do! I know a lot of people get tired of it and if I got to do it a lot more often then eventually it’d turn into “have to do it” and frankly I can think of worse problems, but sure, that’s a real thing that you’d eventually probably get tired of doing, sure.

Getting back, on the other hand? God damn a lot of crap piles up, doesn’t it? Laundry, mending, cleaning out the tent, cleaning the gear bags, recycling all the dead batteries, checking equipment, catching up in the office, seeing what you can get off the cameras and audio recorder… I should have some usable footage and audio from the Leannan Sidhe shows once Shanti gets back from Europe; sadly, the only thing from Clallam Bay is on-camera audio that’s probably too clippy to post to the channel. What do you think?

(I haven’t got the audio recorder wrong in a while. But I did here. There’s a small trick to it, and every so often, I forget. ;_; If I hadn’t, I could’ve brought over that audio and used it with the video. Dammit!)

I did make good on my pre-departure promise, though: the YouTube version of the latest Geekmusic Podcast episode went live last night and is on the Podcast page! Video embed, j0:

Right then, back to it.

clallam bay

Clallam Bay Comicon! Otherwise known as a rather large party at Donna’s house The Lion’s Club. It’s a tiny event, but this year they had a venue and everything! But they’re still trying to figure out what they can do – the dream is to have a whole fleet of these things out in tiny Olympic Peninsula towns, maybe even on the same days, so you can have kind of a tour-the-peninsula-via-comic-conventions event.

Anyway, there were probably twice as many exhibitors as last year, plus we had panel programming. Next year, there’ll be more than one room, so the panels and exhibitor space won’t overlap. I did substantially better in sales than last year, to talk about business for a moment, but I think I’m the only one.


Donna Getting Ready for Opening Ceremonies on the Beach

Opening Ceremonies was more beachwalk than anything else. But it’s a gorgeous bay. Utterly lovely. I’ll throw more photos on the flickr stream later, but here are a couple:


Clallam Bay, East Side


Sunset, from behind the bridge

Then we went on a parade! We had a cosplay Scotsman playing flaming bagpipes on stilts. He won a ribbon.


I See You’ve Won First Prize!
(Niall actually did win first prize.)
(photo Angela Korra’ti)

The convention didn’t have a newsletter. I used to do the daily ‘zines at Norwescon for years, so I made one in the bar with a rubber stamp kit and some post-its.


Typesetting
(phone photo courtesy Donna Barr)


Electronic Edition, a.k.a. Typesetting is Difficult


The entire print run

There were, of course, panel presentations, and I did my concert. And if you’re looking for the PDF version of the Kitting Out Cheap – Building Gear on a Budget handout, click here; also, the series of articles I talked about on making your own podcasting or recording studio is here.


Introducing Cosplay to the Fishers


 

Supervillainy on a Microphone
(photo courtesy Angela Korra’ti)

I did a new thing called the Supervillain Origin Story set, just to see if they’d cope. And actually… they really did. I did much better in sales than last year, and I think that’s partly why. Also:

I HAVE A HEADSET MICROPHONE DO YOU SEE IT? OH MY GOD I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS HEADSET MICROPHONE. HEADSET MICROPHONE WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! I grabbed it on the way out of town from a Guitar Centre on sale for $210 including transmitter/receiver and … I should’ve bought one of these two years ago. I’ve got pretty good mic discipline at this point – and even use distance/proximity effect on purpose sometime – but I’m a highly kinetic player and always, always felt constricted and tied down and weird. I’ve always been much better without a mic and this is exactly like being without a microphone except I have a microphone.

FUCK YEAH HEADSET MICROPHONE!

Anyway.

After things closed down for the day but before we went out for dinner we stopped back at our hotel room. I have never wanted to open an appliance door more than when I saw this:


Do Not Open

OH MY GOD MUST OPEN. MUST. OPEN. Anna had to put a towel on my head and feed me ice cream.

Then we went and hung out on the beach for the illegal fireworks. It’s seriously Ten Finger Johnny time on the beach out here, particularly for the two hours before the official big fireworks display on the south side of the bay in Sekiu.


One Point Five Limbed Johnny on the 14th of July…

I don’t have any photos of the official fireworks, but Sekiu put son a great display for Fun Days; just like last year, there were cruise ships lined up out on the Salish to watch from a boring safe distance. They have some seriously exotic fireworks and they launch them really high, and it’s just great.

Today, cleaning, and mending, and patching a few fire holes in the old battlesuit – the usual drill after Escapades. How was your weekend?


ps: I put up a few dozen photos of Harrison Hot Springs over on my Flickr account, which I keep forgetting to use. I’ll add more Clallam Bay photos there later, but I don’t want these lost in too huge an update.

kitting out cheap handout

Thank you so much, everyone who stayed for my end-of-comicon panel on building a recording kit on the cheap! I’ll post about the convention in general tomorrow, but as promised, a PDF copy of the handout is right here (click to download).

Also, the series of blog post articles I talked about – which go into considerably more depth than I could in the presentation – can all be found here. That link takes you to a master post which collects all the articles into one convenient place. It’s also linked to from the blog itself, in the left column, below the RSS feed and podcast links, so bookmark that if you like for later reference.

More tomorrow – for now, time to unpack!

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