May 28th, 2016

teamoose

WisCon: Day One

Today has mostly been about settling in and having some fun. Although I didn't sleep in as much as I would have liked, I still had a nice relaxing morning -- had breakfast, went to the coffee shop across the street (which might as well be an extension of con space -- there are even some official events there!) for a bit of writing time, and then had lunch with [tumblr.com profile] pierceaholic and [tumblr.com profile] magnetsorwhatever at a local cheese shop -- all before official con events started in the afternoon.

I went to two panels today. The first, "The Fandom Awakens", was essentially a love letter to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Not to say that there was no deep discussion -- far from it, as panelists spoke about how moved they were by seeing women and people of color in such significant roles, the ethics of droid labor, and why we insist on gendering droids. One good question that provoked conversation, though no definitive conclusions, was whether a droid in the Star Wars universe has any sense of gender identity. Next up was [profile] cypheroftyr's panel on the queer gaming experience, with a focus on Dragon Age although several other games were also discussed. Many good thoughts and sharing of experiences about what games do right and the (many more) things they get wrong.

For dinner, I joined the New Attendees dinner gathering. Although it could have been better organized, I ended up with a lively and fun group. We picked up food at a Russian dumplings place, then ate it on the steps of the Capitol Building, chatting all the while about fandom, and we enjoyed the conversation enough to keep it going over coffee until the time came to head to the opening ceremonies. This event was mostly informational, introducing attendees to policies and committee heads, but since this is the 40th WisCon, they also took some time for reminiscences, as long-time WisCon attendees talked about the con community and what it means to them. We also got a stirring speech from Katherine Cross reminding us to treat hotel staff with courtesy and respect, and call from Pat Murphy to make WisCon a "'splaning free zone". Then I wrapped up the night with a panel on Hamilton followed by a singalong, which was a blast. Unfortunately, the timing wasn't organized quite right, and so we didn't have time to sing the whole thing -- just as well, though, because my voice would have likely given out. :) We sang through the entire first act, then hit some highlights from Act 2 ("What Did I Miss?", "Cabinet Battle #1", and "The Room Where It Happens"). About halfway into the first act (I think with "You'll Be Back"), people started getting to the front of the room and acting out the main roles, often to hilarious effect -- maybe my favorite was Hamilton and Burr fighting over the rolled up scarf they were both using in place of their respective newborns in "Dear Theodosia". It was a great high point to end my first full day here.

One thing I've noticed: people often use the Twitter hashtags assigned to events, so it's worthwhile to check them. Good stuff on the Fandom Awakens and Queer Gaming Experience hashtags, specifically.

Fortunately, there's nothing in particular I want to do in the first programming slot tomorrow, so I can have another relatively relaxed morning. But still, I should get to bed. Goodnight, WisCon. I'll see you at 10AM.

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BMC - juno

WisCon: Day Two

Busy day, and it's not quite over, but I'm taking advantage of a lull in the proceedings to make some quick notes about everything I've done so far. I went to four panels today and took notes on all of them, and I hope to dive into them more later.

First up was Female Friendship in Fiction. A lively conversation about the good, the bad, and the missing of female friendships depicted in fiction. Lots of recommendations, including a solid five minutes at the end dedicated solely to recs from the audience. Many of them can be found in the Twitter tag. Lots of my favorite examples -- Supergirl, Jessica Jones, the Spiritwalker trilogy, etc. -- were brought up, and of course my TBR continues to expand.

After lunch (back to the cheese shop!) was probably the best panel of the con for me so far: a discussion of "weaponized kindness" -- when calls for civility are used to shut down important discussions. The Andrew Smith/#KeepYAKind incident was used as an example and jumping off point for talking about why "niceness" as a code word for "sit down and shut up" is a problem (as opposed to actual niceness, which they defined as really listening to other people and caring about their feelings and point of view) and how to fight back against it. I'll definitely want to come back to this later, and maybe see if I can find other people's write-ups. For now, I highly recommend the Twitter tag for this one, too.

Next up was a panel on metaphorical minorities (such as the X-Men "mutant metaphor"), which also moved a lot into thoughts on coded (as opposed to explicit) representation followed by a roundtable on the works of Octavia Butler. I learned quite a bit from these discussions, stuff I will have to process and also probably revisit. Very glad I went to both.

After dinner, I went to the Tiptree Auction, a fundraiser for the award. I was promised a great show, and I absolutely got it. [twitter.com profile] brainwane was the auctioneer, following in the footsteps of legendary auctioneer Ellen Klages, and I thought she was great -- an evening of humor, and Hamilton filk, and smashing of the kyriarchy (literally, in the form of a "Pilates for Weight Loss" DVD), and costume changes, and serious remembrances of significant people. Well worth my time, even though I didn't bid on anything (though I did donate a little when the hat was passed around).

Now I'm headed back downstairs to check out the Floomp, the con's dance party. I'm not sure I'm feeling high-energy enough to dance, but I'm told that it's still a fun scene with excellent costumes to admire. And who knows, maybe I'll be inspired to cut a rug or two.

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