Archive for the ‘shows’ Category

Welcome back from one of about a zillion different events!

PAX, DragonCon, Burning Man, Bumbershoot, Fan Expo, Faerieworlds, I don’t even know what else. And, of course, a bunch of people stayed home. Where were you?


I, of course, was at PAX, riding a dragon.

I also released a single. It’s one that’s super-personal for a lot of reasons, and I wrote a big post about it here which you should read because I think it’s the kind of thing that will mean a lot to a bunch of other people as well.

And, of course, you can go right on and play it right here, which you should do. It’s on Bandcamp and also on Soundcloud.

But PAX – wow, yeah. I didn’t intend to do all four days, but I did, and I’m glad I didn’t sell the extra passes. Totally worth it.

First, in a lot of ways, I figured out why it’s felt different the last few years, but still good. PAX got too big to be the “instantiate the internet” event it started out being years go, and, having now spread out over several blocks (all the way to the Westin!), it’s become a gaming-oriented theme park overlay for the city.

That’s a very different experience. But the thing is? I like theme parks. I had a great time. For example – I don’t give two figs about Magic: The Gathering but I loved tooling around the insanely-decorated Paramount. I liked that there was a VR-events hotel. I liked the teeming hoards of geeks up all night downtown, the sidewalks like party wing hotel corridors only not so cramped. I liked finding said afterparties, as well. It was epic.

And, the old parts are still there. I spent a fair amount of time in the handheld lounge and having people want to know where the hell this weird-ass handheld I was playing came from and how they could get one. POCKETCHIP YOU OWE ME. (I was mostly playing Celeste on it, which is kinda brutal. I’m 1km in so far. Hard game is hard.)

From a coming-games standpoint, VIVE did what Oculus Rift did not do, which is convince me that goggle VR has a place in computer gaming in the very near term. It’s kind of like – okay, things like the Virtual Boy and predecessors (which existed!) weren’t quite yet up to Pong. Kinect was maybe Advanced Pong. Oculus Rift made a big jump forward, and is kind of an, oh, maybe an Atari 2600 experience – fun to play with, but not fun to play.

Vive, though – yeah. Vive reaches the level of being actual fun. Look, here I am shootin’ a bazooka and throwing grenades at Nazis! Because fuck Nazis. Really, I wish they’d been doing the greenscreen for another game called Raw Data, because that was the most fun, because it was 100% I AM TRACER ONLY FOR REAL WITHIN VR. That was great.

And sure, it’s probably about the Commodore 64 / Atari 800 level of VR device, particularly since there are still controllers with buttons – even if they’re a lot less intrusive than, say a gamepad. But as we all know from history, Commodore 64 is Good Enough. Game ON.

Oh, what else. The Overwatch cosplay was thick, I shot every Overwatch cosplayer I could grab (which was not all I saw) and put a bunch of photos on Flickr.

I entered a lot of hardware raffles (like usual) but did not win (like usual). I played a hilariously stupid game called Gang Beasts which is technically a fighting game, but all of the characters are floppy plushies. I won one round by deciding I’d just go jogging around the outskirts of the arena instead of fighting and the other players all accidentally threw themselves off the edge of the world. VICTORY THROUGH JOGGING! And I scouted out a lot of hardware, like y’do, for when there’s money again and I can think about building a VR gaming PC.

Like y’want to, at least. 😀

Where were you, and was it fun? Play the new song while you’re telling me about it. It’s the kind of thing I think a lot of us are going to need heading into the rest of this year, and for now, hopefully, we’re all coming off a good long weekend. Time to get back to work.

we’re not friends, we’re not lovers, we’re not people you know
different clans, different colours, and a whole different flow
but i know that when i see you that it’s true even so
that the future has a place for me
and the future has a place for you
and the future has a place for both of us now

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

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The Music

THE NEW SINGLE