Archive for the ‘shows’ Category

musicians, contact norwescon now

As you may know, several years ago, I started and built a small geekmusic festival at Norwescon called nwcMUSIC. I took last year off completely as a sabbatical year, and they continued to do it.

This year, I’m back as an advisor – sort of a showrunner emeritus. And while I won’t be running it, I will be giving a lot of advice and training on how to run it the way I did.

NOW IS THE TIME TO CONTACT NORWESCON TO BE A PART OF NWCMUSIC 2017! Or, for that matter, to be involved in any programming at the show. Here’s part of the announcement:

I know Norwescon seems forever away, but August is actually when the main work of programming begins. SO! if you are interested in being a panelist, get yourself over to this attending pro information page and use the contact link to tell us who you are and why you would be a good panelist.

Please do so even if you have been a pro before, the programming team isn’t constant from year to year.

Bonus request: if you are an artist, and there are workshops/demos you could run, please include that info; art track is my responsibility and I’d like to increase the amount of hands-on programming.

So, hie thee off and fill out the form! That’s EVEN IF you’ve been at nwcMUSIC or Norwescon Programming before. I did it, even. Do it today!

clallam bay comicon 2016 post-con report

So, yeah! Back at the lair, back directly from Clallam Bay Comicon! The Party on the Peninsula, Donna’s Weird Little Comic Show, Clallam Fun Days Adjunct and excuse to go relax on the coast for a weekend. Call it what you will, we even made the sign this year:


In a small town, that’s a big deal

Leanne Franson, this year’s GoH in from Montreal, does not stop. She’s the only person I’ve met who can match Donna Barr one-on-one. I bought a bunch of her books. I also finally picked up the Stinz collections – both volumes – and Volume 2 of Winging It, which I’d somehow never read back in the day.

Aside from the usual stuff, CBCC is where I will run little experiments, in front of tiny audiences who are just kind of surprised you’re there at all, so extremely tolerant. TO WIT:

Experiment number one! Remember “USSR,” that YMCA-based Soviet Disco song I wrote in response to a challenge on Tumblr? Well, here’s me doing it live, karaoke-style. I’d embed, but I had to put it on Tumblr because YouTube doesn’t like you uploading Karaoke performances, even if you wrote your own lyrics.

The crowd at the show was quite good, as you can maybe hear in the camera microphone, until about halfway through the show when the sky – which had been threatening all day – really opened up and the rain got serious, at which point an outdoor concert is not the most fun thing ever invented and a lot of people ran off. (Hey, I was sheltered…)

Still, a good day for me – as was, honestly, the whole weekend. You don’t go to CBCC to make money, but damned if I didn’t. Not sure what to make of that.

Experiment number two! I’d gone with the intent of running a panel on building old-technology microphones, but I realised as I was packing that I could haul along enough gear for people to hear their own voices, and make recordings I could hand them via Dropbox.

So I set up at our table, with the carbon mic hooked up to my laptop, and let people go at it all weekend. This was surprisingly popular. Several people made recordings – even when not in use, the microphone remained an attention magnet. Here’s Donna Barr singing an old Ukranian (I think) folk song, trying specifically to sound like a performer from the 1910s or so.

Interestingly, everyone wanted to use the carbon mic, and not the crystal, though they were curious about how both worked.

Experiment number three! I can’t tell you about experiment number three, so instead, have a picture of this other bay that’s on the way there, but I’ve never stopped to visit until now. Very nice.


The Other Bay

Experiment number four! Very similar to experiment number one, except for being “Kaiju Meat” instead of “USSR” and being able to properly mic up for a Godzilla footwear bridge solo. YOU WANT SOME GIANT LIZARD PODORYTHMIE I HAVE SOME GIANT LIZARD PODORYTHMIE

From a technical standpoint, this worked far better than it had any right to. As a performance experience… I think I’ll hold it for when I have an actual live band behind me. Doing it solo… with “USSR,” it felt like the Karaokeness added to the silliness in good ways. In “Kaiju Meat,” the combination didn’t feel like it worked as well.

But the Godzilla Footware Solo is definitely staying in.

Experiment number five! Field recording, using the new windscreen I’d bought, the kind that looks like a tribble got stuck on the end of your microphone. Result: SMASHING SUCCESS. Despite a constant ocean breeze, I got very clean recordings of waves on the shore, and of birds in the foliage nearby. Best investment is best!

Not as many photos this time, but I did take a few. As always, larger at the Flickr feed.


Clallam Bay


The Makah are building a canoe fleet



I realised I haven’t taken many or any pictures of the actual Clallam River heading into the bay. So I fixed that.


Fisher Who?

back from clallam bay!

Back from Clallam Bay after a particularly successful event! More tomorrow, after I unpack and get things cracking here again. But in case anybody thinks there aren’t geeks out on the Olympic Peninsula, here’s one of several dozen wooden fence fish painted by students at the local high school.

That’s not how I’ve pictured the eye of harmony, but who am I to lecture people about their headcanons? XD

i forgot my favourite picture!

HOW MANY GODDAMN ZENYATTAS DO THEY HAVE ON THEIR TEAM ANYWAY?!


all the ultimates, all at once

(stupid Overwatch addiction. stupid Zenyatta. stupid Zenyatta’s stupid orbs of discord always messing with my D.va. i’ll show him!)

not so much a blogging lockout as a blogging slowdown

SO BUSY! We’ve landed back at the Lair for a couple of days, just long enough to help another supervillain unload gear into her lair – also mountaintop, also geologically active, good choice – and we’re headed right back out tomorrow. Really, it’s kind of a laundry stop more than anything else. Blogging will continue to be sparse for another couple of weeks.

I have a few photos from Westercon 69, though. Bigger on Flickr, of course.


Sunset from a Hotel Window


Society of the Crossed Keys cosplay. It’s from The Grand Budapest Hotel and utterly made my day.


Sometimes, the Gods are Kind, and you have one real pop in a sea of Shasta.


Panorama from a Hotel Room Party

Westercon and Clallam Bay Comicon

Who’s going to be at Westercon in Portland? That’s this weekend! Anna has a share of a dealer table, so you’ll find us at least some of the time in the dealer room – at both conventions, actually, because that’s how it works out sometimes.

To be honest, we weren’t originally planning on Westercon, but a bunch of friends from afar are showing up, so we decided hey, let’s go for it.

About the only new thing here aside from my Overwatch addiction – my username is solarbirdy, surprise – is that I got a 6m long MIDI cable so I could try to get the electric piano’s MIDI output over to the desk.

See, I’d got this keyboard only after I’d bought a very large MIDI-only keyboard controller (because reasons), and said MIDI-only keyboard controller – a Roland A-30 – is nice, but it’s huge and kind of a pain in the ass to set up for small things. I have to get out the ironing board to use as a support, it’s wider than the desk, etc, etc, etc.

But I had some idea that the electric piano’s MIDI didn’t work, and it didn’t when I tried it, but I dug out how to reset its internals, and did so, and that made the MIDI port come back online, which was great, except that also turned on this auto-accompaniment feature which takes away like a third of the keyboard and wow it is terrible, like a parody of piano music, terrible in that oh-god-oh-god-how-do-I-stop-this kind of way, in that either-this-has-to-go-or-I-do kind of way, in that I need to stop this right now or there are going to be detonations kind of way, and I’m just saying we got unnecessarily close to tire explosions before I was able to dig out how to turn that shit off.

(WHY DOES “SYNC” MEAN “OFF” THIS MAKES NO SENSE WHAT IS GOING ON IN YOUR HEADS YAMAHA?!)

So, yeah, basically, it’s been quiet. See you at Westercon or Clallam Bay? Hope so! I may nerf you, but I still love you.

Rainbowcon DOES have a web page!

I was wrong – Rainbowcon does have a web page! And here it is. ^_^

My schedule today:

Kitting Out Cheap: How to build a home recording studio for as few moneys as possible. 3pm, Rainbow Room, I think? It’s easy to find us it’s a tiny con. 😀

Main Stage: Critiqued One-Shots. 5:30pm, Main Stage.

Decadent Dave Clement concert, Rainbowcon 1

rainbowcon 1

Rainbowcon 1 starts today! It’s new, it’s local, they’ve asked me to come, I said sure! Attendance is probably in the mid-40s (yes, mid-forties) and they plan to keep it that way. Odds some at least one person reading this being there: surprisingly high.

They don’t have a website or I’d point you at it. XD

Last night, this happened:

I was actually bleeding, it was hilarious. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was trivial, and I put on some archery gear and ended up using a bandage to hold that in place (not to protect the wound – the arm shield kept slipping) and kept going.

This is legitimately a difficult song to play, despite being all of four chords and a rhythm line. It’s heavy, heavy grinding and rhythmically complex, with lots of dry strike and patterns in it – it’s that one I wrote a few days ago after that horrific video of a lesbian being thrown against a wall by a washroom cop who decided she was dressed too butch.

So you want some goddamn rage-driven elfmetal? That order is being prepared right now.

eta: I was wrong! They do have a webpage!

emerald city comicon!

I went to ECCC as Shadowcat – Kitty Pryde of the early 1990s, when she was with the superhero group Excalibur – because I felt like being retro and also because reasons – and of course the first thing that happened is Lockheed stole one of my goddamn gloves, about which I was tweeting in character all day. I even had period money!

This era of Kitty Pryde is so old (and short-lived, really) that I wasn’t getting recognised until I started fistbumping other mutants. My favourite of that was running into Beast, I was all “yo, Hank!” and he reflexively returned the fistbump, and then was all, “…Kitty? KITTY PRYDE?! OH MY GOD” and it was awesome. XD

I also have like 750 photos that I collectively refer to as Shit Got Arty which were all taken when I accidentally phased a little into my phone. Phone doesn’t like that. At least I didn’t short the thing out completely. XD

Anyway, here are a few samples that I liked. There are lots more photos – including a bunch of group shots from the Marvel fan meet up on Saturday – On Flickr. Plus, of course, they’re larger. Enjoy!


Goddammit Lockheed!


Shadowcat, phasing. Wearing the glove Lockheed didn’t steal.


ALWAYS LOVE THE KYOSHI WARRIORS


This is what I’m going to do to that damn dragon if he doesn’t bring my glove back


Bill Cipher, interpreted, Gravity Falls


Shit Got Arty (538)

Photos Continue on Flickr

i took so many notes

This was the first year in a very long time that I was not running nwcMUSIC or some other all-consuming event at Norwescon. As I was explaining a lot this year, I’m the sort of person who is very good at building somebody a neat toy, but I’m not the person to maintain the neat toy. I get bored and frustrated doing the same thing repeatedly, and those are two very bad adjectives to describe a supervillain. Do Not Let the Supervillain Get Bored. So: handed off!

And I have to say, Norwescon as purely an attending professional and congoer is a completely different experience. Goddamn, there is a lot to do at Norwescon, and knowing that on paper and trying to get to it are completely different things. I missed some great events – I didn’t get a chance to play Artemis, I didn’t get to Death*Star’s party-wing show, I didn’t get to Kadesh Flow’s Grand 3 show – so much missed! But there was just too much to hope to make it all.

Even being at a lot of the same events felt completely different a lot of the time; the gap between “doing something” and “doing something while making sure everything else happens” is pretty dramatic. As, I note, is the difference between “room in (quiet) staff wing” and “room in full-time party wing 5b,” which is where I ended up this year.

Wing 5b’s not so bad, though. First, I’m a late-nighter and partier regardless, so waiting ’till after parties wound up (2am or so) for sleep wasn’t such a big deal, I do that anyway. And second, I could just go all “Could you not?”/”I could not” and wander by party rooms playing my Cajun accordion as loudly as possible at any time of day. This was hilarious. For me, anyway. 😀

#no I didn’t do it after 2am     #thought about it

I took a lot of notes at panels, particularly panels I was on, and I wish I’d taken more. They put me on non-music panels too – Nicole Dieker’s “The Tumblr Effect” panel turned into a lot of language geekery, for which I am always ready, particularly when discussing hashtag language and typography as linguistic expression. And being on a costuming panel after being out of cosplay for so long before edging back into it the last few years – I was just thrilled to be included and geek out about making props. Everything everybody brought just looked amazing.

Shubzilla totally crushed several panels I saw her on, not just when talking music, but also about cultural issues in fandom. I also have a bunch of new-to-me nerdcore artists to check out, like upstate New York artist Sammus. (And fans should definitely check out The NPC Collective.)

Thanks to Jonny Nero Action Hero – who will be taking over nwcMUSIC concerts next year, which is 198% awesome – I know that chiptunes fans who want to drink from the firehose should definitely get on ChipMusic.org. And he didn’t have to tell me about This Week in Chiptune, but if you want a weekly podcast consisting almost entirely of new chiptunes tracks, you now have your orders.

I’m not in the Carol Corps, tho’ I did consider myself an Angel auxilliary, which is pretty much the Supermarionation same thing. But I most certainly did enjoy the Carol-Corps-and-comics-fandom panel, just because it made me realise something about why my comics fandom in grad school was so very much not a boy’s club. Don’t get me wrong, there were lots of guys, but also lots of women. Based on that panel discussion, I think a lot of the credit for that goes to the local big comic store being the absolute opposite of so many this-feels-like-a-dark-alley comic book shops. Comic Connection just felt like a nice bookstore that carried comics and graphic novels and games, and I don’t think I realised how good we had it.

that’s no moon
i think you’re right
that’s a space station
just how else
could a short-range fighter
get so far?

One of the nuts I was never able to crack in nwcMUSIC was “open filking,” which is to say, people just getting together and playing in turns (and together) at night. But this year, moved to the main floor, Open Filk felt the strongest it has in a long time. Discoverability had always been its biggest problem, and I knew that, but I’m still very surprised at how much difference going one floor down made. Lots of new people, lots of energy, going until well after 2am on Thursday and Friday, and after 3am Saturday night? At Norwescon? Madness! And yet.

Despite commentary above, the party scene didn’t seem as big this year. I know a couple of the regular crews were missing. My favourite was there, of course – Merchants of Deva, whose access pass is in the photo next to my badge – and that’s the biggest deal for me. They were, as always, tearing the place down with decor. (Imperial Starfleet Next Generation functional LCARS-interface control panels? SURE WHY NOT HAVE SOME. jfc those guys. I spent like a hour just playing with their setpieces.) And Party in a Box also made a good appearance, as did the Cult of Scott Bakula, and there were several publisher parties. But even so, it felt like someone or someones were missing, and I wasn’t the only one saying it.

But in the end, I got to see a bunch of people I don’t see often, some not nearly as much as I wanted to (Hi Joy! Bye Joy! That should’ve been longer!), failed to see some (Grace! I’m sorry! I kept looking for you!), had some good conversations at parties and on stairwells and in hotel rooms and hallways (or listened in on some – for Anna, this was 100% Hang Out And Chat With Tanya Huff Con), watched Saturday morning kind of go voop as half the con – seriously, it felt like half the con – took off for the Democratic caucuses, filtering back in during the afternoon, and… all in all had a remarkably de-stressed Norwescon.

I don’t know what I’m doing next year, but I can say that I’m really glad I took this year off.

I sorely lack pictures! Post links if you took some!


#not after 2am     #look I’m just saying that I have occasionally caused norwescon to make new rules     #the best one being “staff may not wear costumes on duty”     #that was a good costume     #what there was of it     #fake tumblr hashtags     #straps

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The Music

THE NEW SINGLE