(All images in this post were photos taken either by/for my partner or myself. Enjoy!)
I was reading an article about queer representation onscreen when that article evolved into a list. The list made me realize it has been months since I last posted (my last post was a list, get it?). As someone who is trying to use this blog as a way to force herself to write more regularly, this is, of course, unacceptable.
It’s especially unacceptable because just last month I was making a list of things in my notebook to talk about on here. You see, last month I had a Spectacular First. I went to my first major comic convention, Awesome Con 2018 in Washington DC. My partner and I stayed at an adorable and well kept AirBNB that had a desk in the back corner with a glass top and a space beneath the glass to store and display books. There were so many that excited my inner bibliophile, but we had different goals than to pour over a stranger’s AirBNB book collection. I want that desk though.
Awesome Con was an experience, which is a vague thing to say, but I can’t currently think how to encompass such an event into just one word. I met Baby Pond (aka Caitlin Blackwood, younger cousin of Karen Gillan and the actress who played Amy Pond as a child on Doctor Who). I met Cress Williams, aka Black Lightning (recently picked up by Netflix, woo!), aka Scooter from Living Single, AND I got a picture with him. I also attended his Q&A, during which a black femme asked him about his role on Living Single and my heart soared. I also met Michael Dorn, aka Worf from Star Trek, and got a signed Worf head shot. It was honestly rather intimidating to be his presence. I think I muttered something about being excited to tell my mom we had met, oof.
My budget was set around $300 (save your Christmas money, kids!) and I actually came in about $40-70 under my limit. I bought one Pop Vinyl (X-Man Deadpool) and a disgusting amount of, yet not remotely enough, comic books. I got: some Wolverine, some Jean Grey (I have complicated feelings about her, but I still find her story very compelling), a complete Deadpool collection, and some Black Panther (Marvel, if you’re reading this, we need more). I bought a Star Trek communicator pin for my mom, gave it to her as a belated Mother’s Day gift (because I no longer live where she lives, not because I’m some kind of monster), and she’s currently at work wearing it as I type this. Mom: The Original Trekky.
There were leather vendors who sold masks, leather vendors who sold notebooks and carafes and apparel, comic book vendors as far as the eye could see (speaking of eyes, shout out to Third Eye Comics for being such an enjoyable booth to patron and congrats on your new store), Geico had a spot, there was a kids corner which included a live animal show at one point, there was an entire Artist’s Alley where the artfully talented displayed everything from dragon eggs and magic wands to paintings and plushies, there was a Pride Alley, an artist saw my afro as an entry point to show me his afrocentric paintings (s/o to Terry Huddleston, your work is dope), I saw science experiments happening in real time, I got to walk through a lovingly crafted Doctor Who Experience and take pictures with mannequins of Vastra, Strax, the “are you my mummy?” child, an Ood, and others, and, oh my goodness, the COSPLAY. And this paragraph of a run-on sentence doesn’t even begin to cover it all! I haven’t even touched on the panels I attended or publicly thanked my partner for going to so many of them with me when he could have been downstairs in the massive arcade room living his best video game existence or out on the floor buying more Pops (he did plenty of that too though, don’t worry).
I honestly feel like the panels could be a post in and of themselves, but here’ a little list of the ones I attended, who led them (I’ll try to link as many panelists as I can), and when they occurred:
Friday, March 30, 2018
4:15-5pm – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Nerdlesque! – an 18+ panel in which I learned there would be a nerdlesque performance proceeding the official Awesome Con after party (which sold out before we could get tickets, which then inspired me to attend my first burlesque show back home in NY) – panelists: Maki Roll, Cherie Sweetbottom, Ellie Quinn, and Kimono Jones
5-5:45pm – #MeToo and Geekdom – “A discussion of the intersection between geek culture and sexual harassment and assault. Topics include common occurrences in gaming, conventions, and our favorite industries, how fans might be complicit in this behavior, and how we can stand up against the problem.”
This served as a “don’t sexually harass cosplayers and other nerds/geeks” from a fairly femme perspective, although the panelists were clearly trying to keep the discussion intersectional while also speaking from their own experiences. One thing I took away was that the sexually creepy often wind up ruining a femme’s desire to cosplay in public because the harassment just isn’t worth it, even though they still cherish cosplay. #CostumesAreNotConsent was Awesome Con’s catchy motto on this topic. – panelists: Ashley Mika, Belle Burr, Kurenai Kiba, and Rogue Empress – I found this clip on YouTube while trying to link these panelists.
Saturday, March 31, 2018
1-1:45pm – Heroes, Villains, and Healing – Attending this panel consecutively after #MeToo and Geekdom was a real treat because it offered a conversation on sexual harassment and assault and trauma from a male perspective with a focus on how comic books and superheroes can serve as a gateway to understanding and coping with one’s own trauma (a topic I care a lot about, have written on, and may share publicly someday). – panelist: Kenneth Rogers Jr.
4:30-5:15pm – Cress Williams Q&A – Such a treat!!!! He discussed everything from the culture on the set of Black Lightning (warm, familial, comfortably and religious in a positive way) to his role as Scooter on Living Single [insert heart-eyes emoji here]. – panelist: Cress Williams, obviously
7-7:45pm – Black*(Panther+Indie Comics+Characters) – A celebration of blackness in nerd culture which included an acknowledgement that Wesley Snipes tried to make Black Panther happen in the 90s and a free raffle which I did not win. – panelists: K. Ceres Wright, LH Moore, Williams Jones, Stafford Battle, Chad Eric Smith, and Diane Williams
Sunday, April 1, 2018
12-12:45pm – Women of Color in Sci-Fi Television – This was pretty much just a PowerPoint presentation of WOC in sci-fi followed by a discussion in which the whole room geeked out over our favorite femmes of color in sci-fi representation. Really good vibes. – panelists: Halima Magoma-Redd, Latisha Jones, Eva Green, Nicole Homer, and Somaera Choudhary – HamilamTV took this video of the panel
1-1:45pm – CANCELLED: Disability and Mental Health in Doctor Who – I was super pumped for this one because DW features a lot of mental health and disability related issues including trauma, PTSD, and blindness, to name just a few, and I was interested to see how members of these communities would discuss the show’s use and depictions of these concepts, but unfortunately the panelists had a last minute emergency of some sort and could not attend. This did, however, give me the opportunity to grab a meal before my last panel. – panelists: Day Al-Mohamed, Patrick Cokley, Rebecca Cokley, and Victoria A. Rodríguez-Roldán (The only reason I am not providing links for any of them is because I never saw them, and thus do not know them, and don’t want to accidentally link to the wrong people.)
2:30-3:15pm – The Doctor Through the Ages – A spectacularly geeky good time in which the Doctor’s personality traits, key episodes, outfits, moods, and regenerations were discussed and celebrated with as much thoroughness as the time would allow. – panelists: Michael Wexman and Shelby Codde
Friends, I have been rambling for ages now. All I can really say is that if you are remotely interested in the nerd life, check out a comic convention. Awesome Con had VIP passes set at $150, so this worked out as a financially reasonable Christmas present to request from mom, which was also secretly a birthday present from me to me in case I couldn’t figure out anything fun for my actual birthday — 4/14, Aries babies what’s good! Also, not all cons are or even have to be comic cons. There are so many different types of con nowadays and I feel towards the vast majority of them as Ash Ketchum continues to feel towards the world of Pokémon — I’ve just gotta catch ’em all. I strongly recommend you try to catch a few, too.