I used to go to WonderCon every year when I was younger, and anyone who regularly goes to cons knows that you have your “con posse” (not to be confused with “clown posse” like Harley Quinn will now have with her new ICP-esque costume… but I digress). When I was younger, I was the one girl in a group of many dudes. After I had my son, I stopped going, but in the past year, I have gotten back to attending and have added more cons to my must-see list. In the time that I was away, a major change happened: the con posse I had joined became 99% GIRLS! This is pretty phenomenal for a gal who has grown up getting the stink eye from the dudes (and gals) behind the counters at comic shops.
It’s not too surprising that we now have our own convention. GeekGirlCon, located at the Seattle Center and EMP, was a slightly bittersweet event for me. I was originally on the staff — one of the original members, first person to buy a pass, etc. I was the Vice President and Operations Director, filed the incorporation paperwork, opened the bank account, and so forth. No-one ever really cares about Operations; it’s the department that does all the behind the scenes work that allows the more creative types to do the shiny stuff. I eventually had to leave the organization because of the huge amount of time it required. Since the staff is comprised of 100% unpaid volunteers, I was essentially working a second full-time job for no pay, and I have a husband and child. It finally got to the point of having to choose: GeekGirlCon or child — obviously my child had to win. The sweet part was how AWESOME a time I had, and how amazing it was to see that both days sold out. The bitter part was that I was seeing it from the outside.
I do have to say it was a bit nice to not have to work this weekend and be able to just enjoy the convention as a panelist/attendee. I got to romp around with a posse of amazingly talented and fun folks. I stayed out too late, drank too much (though oddly didn’t once get drunk), and was introduced to the most amazing alcohol I have ever tasted by the lovely Stephanie Thorpe.
I drove up Friday night with my “fake niece”, who is the 16-year-old, anime-obsessed, blue-haired daughter of a friend. We stopped by the airport to pick up a few friends, then checked into our AH-MAY-ZING hotel, the Marqueen, on Queen Ann Street in Seattle. After that, I met up with friends for drinks, a walk up a monstrosity of a hill, and dinner with more friends.
On Saturday morning, I got up and had breakfast at Mecca Café; if you go to Seattle, you MUST try this place. They have awesome bacon, great waffles, you get a mini pitcher when you order iced tea, and the receipt showed that our server’s name was “BAT GIRL”. I then attended the very fun “token dudes” panel. That night, I attended the unofficial CheeseCon at The Melting Pot, which was one of the most fun dinners I have ever been to – go to Twitter, look up the hashtag #CheeseCon to see the hilarity.
Every panel I attended had one common theme: women need to support one another and act as the “elders of the internet” to support the younger generation. The vendor room, while small, was diversely filled, thanks to the hard work of Dixie Cochran. I only peeked my head into the gaming room, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves there.
It was nice to see so many little girls dressed in cosplay. There was one family, who had I think three daughters, all dressed up as different versions of Princess Leia. Most of the people I saw were smiling and having a good time. On Sunday, I was the assistant for Miss Bonnie Burton’s craft panel. The creativity of the attendees was awesome. We had Yoda, Tardis, Doctor Who, and even… GASP… Star Trek puppets made.
Really, the only negative thing I can think of was that it was spread out between the Northwest Rooms and the EMP. This would have been fine if panelists weren’t scheduled for back-to-back panels on opposite sides of each other. It is about a 10-minute walk between the Northwest Rooms and the EMP, so if your panel ends at 4pm and the next one starts at 4pm, there is no way to make it on time. However, being a first year con, I am sure they will keep that in mind for next year. There are some doubts as to whether the Northwest Rooms will be available for 2012, but I am sure they will announce the location when it is secured.
All in all, I am happy with the changes to convention culture that have occurred since I started attending them. Girls are having more and more panels aimed at them, and hopefully, sometime soon, we won’t NEED to have a GeekGirlCon because all cons will be equally targeted for all audiences. And I look forward to seeing my Con Posse as soon as I possibly can. They are a group of individuals who inspire me to push myself and go for my dreams, and I love them all in special and different ways.