When the organizers of the very first GeekGirlCon planned for a successful inaugural con last year, they were very pleasantly surprised at just how much of a hit it turned out to be. Tickets completely sold out for both days of the event, as throngs of people arrived to take part in this most important con dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the contributions of women in all aspects of geek culture.
This year the all-volunteer organizing committee is prepared for an even bigger turnout. Last year’s location at the Northwest Rooms at Seattle Center and the Experience Music Project just did not offer sufficient space for everything the con offered, so this year the event has been moved to the spacious Conference Center at the Washington State Convention Center. Also, the con is being held Aug. 11 and 12 rather than in October like last year, which will offer much more pleasant weather for con-goers.
“We were bursting at the seams last year, and this year we’ve expanded a lot,” said GeekGirlCon Public Relations Manager Susie Rantz. “We’re really excited to have lots more space for exhibitors.”
There is way too much going on at GeekGirlCon ‘12 to fit into this article, so visit www.geekgirlcon.com for the full run-down of events, workshops, parties and special guests. Rantz offered some highlights:
SPECIAL GUESTS – There will be returning guests from last year’s con and new ones as well speaking on panels and signing their works: notable comic book writers Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Jen Van Meter and Jane Espensen (writer for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and the cast of the web show “Husbands”; local superhero crime fighter Purple Reign (husband is Phoenix Jones) will present on domestic violence; acclaimed game programmer and game designer Corrinne Yu; Ashley Eckstein, voice actor for “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and founder of Her Universe; Seattle public radio producer Jamala Henderson; Emmy Award-winning meteorologist on Q13 FOX News M.J. McDermott; artist and writer Renae De Liz; and more.
EXHIBITORS/ARTISTS ALLEY – Nearly 200 exhibitors and artists will be at the con offering entertainment and education, from large companies like Big Fish and Fantagraphics to one-person shops like Dorklandia and Monkey Minion Press.
GAMING – The entire lower level of the Conference Center will be dedicated to gaming this year offering tabletop, RPG and console gaming, workshops, LARPing and lots of great opportunities to learn and play.
GAME DESIGN CHALLENGE – GGC’s Mystery Box Game Design Challenge is an opportunity to learn from top industry pros in a workshop for anyone 12 and up who is interested in game design.
On Aug. 11 the venue will be packed with events, including a masquerade ball and costume contest, a GeekGirlCONcert featuring geeky music favorites, nerdy comedy improv NERDprov and a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” sing-along. Presentations and moderated roundtable discussions go on throughout the day featuring leading women in the fields of science, video games, comics, television and more. Some topics on the agenda: “Capes and Canes: Abilities and Disability in Superhero Comics,” “Making Science Fun (with NASA)!,” “Super Style: 70 Years of Comic Book Fashion” and “Sporty Geek: How Roller Derby and Quidditch Are Changing the Game for Women,” among others.
Rantz said that last year GeekGirlCon attendees expressed a desire to learn more about how women can get into career fields like gaming and comics art. “We really heard from people looking to get mentorship opportunities or career advice, so this year we have a brand-new program called GeekGirlCONNECTIONS on Saturday and Sunday.” Con-goers will get the chance to interact with people in the industry, such as NASA, as well as editors from Dark Horse Comics giving feedback, so bring your work with you.
A feast for the eyes as well, lots of GeekGirlCon attendees come as cosplayers in the most fantastic assortments of costumes and accoutrements. Dressing up as your favorite heroine or hero is encouraged, and be sure to check out the “Cosplay Weapons Rules” on the website so that everyone arrives to the con aware of the safety regulations.
GeekGirlCon welcomes all ages, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, creeds, physical and mental abilities and familial statuses. While GeekGirlCon is undoubtedly all about fun and games, it has deeper intentions as well – to include everyone to share their geeky quirks and to lift up geeky girls in particular in a safe and welcoming place. GeekGirlCon tells girls they do not have to wish they had the power because they do have the power to achieve their dreams.
It is all about empowerment and inclusion, thus men are welcome at GeekGirlCon too. “Last year 25 percent of our attendees were men,” Rantz said. “Our convention is really family friendly.” This is reflected in the admission price for the con: $5 for kids ages 5-10 and kids under 4 years old get in free with an adult pass - $45 for a two-day pass and $30 for one day. Visit www.GeekGirlCon.com.