You Had to be There: CONvergence 2016 – Day 1

As a geek, fewer things make my heart sing more than going to a convention. Ever since my very first San Diego Comic Con back in 1996 where we got up at the crack of dawn to drive down from Orange County to San Diego just to be there for one day, I’ve always loved the feeling I get from being around my fellow geeks and nerds, talking about and enjoying a thing we all love together. I’ve covered them for amateur publications, been paid staff for some of the Wizard World conventions, worked my way towards being a senior staff member at a convention, and just plain been an attendee at a convention. I’ve seen them from all sides, and the charged up feeling of preparing for my very first day at this year’s science fiction/fantasy convention known as CONvergence here in Bloomington, Minn. is no different.

Continue reading “You Had to be There: CONvergence 2016 – Day 1”

Geekly Speaking About… Planning an Intervention

Words of wisdom from con runner Onezumi Hartstein. © Onezumi Events, Reimagined by Geeking Out About
Words of wisdom from con runner Onezumi Hartstein. © Onezumi Events, Reimagined by Geeking Out About

As a newbie geek, a major event you learn about is the genre convention. When I started out, I thought it pretty amazing there was a gathering where you could leave your home and go to geek out with your friends or make new ones while enjoying the thing you loved.

The more I went to conventions as a journalist—first for Sequential Tart and then Anime Insider—the more I became interested in how they were run. It wasn’t long before I was volunteering first in the publications department, then later becoming a senior staffer in the guest relations departments of some East Coast anime conventions.

I’ve since returned to my roots as an attendee, but after being a panelist for six panels(!) at the recent CONvergence in Minneapolis, MN, I started to wonder: What’s it really like to be on the planning committee of a genre convention? What changes have taken place while I was “away?”

I asked Intervention Convention’s founder Onezumi Hartstein and its social media manager (and former Geeking Out About contributor) Kara Dennison to chat with me over Skype about what it takes to run a pan-fandom convention in the 21st century.
Continue reading “Geekly Speaking About… Planning an Intervention”

You Had to Be There: “An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss and Paul & Storm” in St. Paul, Minneapolis


An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss and Paul & Storm

November 14, 2013
Amsterdam Bar and Hall
Saint Paul, MN
Performed by Patrick Rothfuss, Paul and Storm

When we moved to Minnesota this year, my husband and I made a deal with each other: If there was a live event that sounded interesting and the ticket price was reasonable, we’d try to go. After all, what better way is there to learn how to navigate your new metro area than attending great shows in great venues?

Both individually and together, we’ve seen musical comedy duo Paul and Storm perform many times, and they always put on a good show. Money’s been a little problematic for us recently, though, so I made a decree that if we were going to see them perform again, there would have to be a real good and compelling reason. So when we learned that the next leg of their shows would not only swing through the Midwest but also bring fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss along for the ride, we snapped up the tickets quicker than you could say, “When’s Book Three coming out?”

This is not because we’re particularly strong Rothfuss fans. In fact, until that night, we’d never bought any of his books before. However, judging from the set that he did at w00tstock 5.0 this year, I knew that I’d love to hear what Rothfuss could do with a smaller audience and whether or not he’d be reading snippets from the new book. (A person can always dream!)

Suffice to say, neither my husband nor I were disappointed. Continue reading “You Had to Be There: “An Evening with Patrick Rothfuss and Paul & Storm” in St. Paul, Minneapolis”

Geekly Speaking About… Cameras, Cosplayers, and Consent

Even though it’s been a long time since I went to an anime convention, I remember how exciting and how much fun they are to attend. I also remember how much drama can surround an anime convention, especially when it comes to cosplayers and the people who like to take pictures of them. The topic of today’s podcast surrounds the dealer’s room at the recently concluded AnimeNEXT convention in Somerset, New Jersey, and one dealer in particular who decided that the next innovation in images on body pillows should be actual human cosplayers. Read along with us using the links below, and then listen to the podcast to untangle the legal issues involved.

In short, this kind of incident could have been easily avoided by all 93 of the cosplayers if they’d just read the agreement carefully, questioned its provisions, and/or refused to sign. That’s why the “Contractual Obligations” episode of “Strip Search” has been the most important one, and the one that all creative fans need to watch.

Here’s hoping everyone involved has learned a valuable lesson.

Live-blogging the Oscars 2012

It’s that time, again—time to honor the “best” or perhaps the “most well-marketed to Academy voters” movies from the previous year with the 84th annual Academy Awards ceremony. Once again, Lyssa Spero (@CinemaGoddess on Twitter) and I (@trishalynn) will be your hosts for this live blog, with perhaps a few more of the GeekingOutAbout writers will be chiming in.

And now, let’s get on with the show! Continue reading “Live-blogging the Oscars 2012”

Trisha’s Take: D20 Burlesque’s A Night of Role Playing (Games) review

D20 Burlesque’s A Night of Role Playing (Games)

Produced by Anja Keister
Hosted by Neil O’Fortune
Starring Anja Keister, B.B. Heart, Dangrrr Doll, Hazel Honeysuckle, Lily Stitches, and featuring Luna Chase
Raffle prizes sponsored by The Compleat Strategist
Friday, March 25 at 11:30 pm

[Editor’s note: Apologies in advance for the blurry photography, which may not be safe for work. -TL]

My introduction to burlesque began with my viewing of the 1993 Bette Midler TV musical production of Gypsy which featured Cynthia Gibb as the eponymous Gypsy Rose Lee. It was a musical I’d only ever heard about but had never seen, and Bob Mackie’s fanciful costuming of the three featured burlesque performers in the second half of the show along with Gypsy’s own beautiful tear-away gowns made me want to find out more.

However, the very first live burlesque show I ever witnessed was at the 2008 MangaNEXT convention where I first heard about not just the neo-burlesque movement, but also the idea that there was a geek version of it as well. The troupe called itself Cosplay Burlesque, and I’d later learn that some of the dancers there were also a part of another group called the White Elephant Burlesque Society.

The idea stayed with me for quite some time, and so when D20 producer Anja Kiester asked the members of a New York City-themed LiveJournal group I’m in if there would be interest in an RPG-themed show, I bought my tickets as soon as I got my next paycheck. Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: D20 Burlesque’s A Night of Role Playing (Games) review”

Anime convention to send condolences to surviving members of Satoshi Kon’s family

One of the things I love about the Otakon anime convention is that the people who run it not only have a great love of the medium, they care about people in the industry as well. After director Satoshi Kon’s passing two months ago, the members of the non-profit responsible for running the Baltimore, Md. convention decided to do something for the family members and colleagues he left behind.

“There was such an outpouring of shock when he died, and so many fans expressed appreciation and gratitude—we wanted some way to let his family see, firsthand, how much of an impact Kon had,” wrote former con chair and current Otakorp. member-at-large Jim Vowles in a post to the Anime Cons ML.

Fans can visit the website (located at and they can either send a message to a Gmail account that has been set up for this purpose, send a letter or condolences card to a U.S. physical address, donate money to an accredited charity which helps fight life-threatening cancers—or most importantly, purchase DVDs of works by Satoshi Kon.

From the website:

First, strong sales may increase the likelihood that Kon’s final project [The Dream Machine] will be completed. Second, like most in the animation industry, Satoshi Kon was not a wealthy man, but unlike many, he held some intellectual property that he hoped would continue to provide for his family after his death.

Me, I’m up for purchasing Perfect Blue when payday hits on Saturday, and I urge you to pick something out as well.

Trisha’s Take: How to get the most out of one day at a convention, part 1

Approximately 10 years ago, I used to go to a lot of conventions, like the San Diego Comic Con (aka “Nerd Prom”) and Anime Expo. In fact, in 2001, I think I went to six different conventions on two different U.S. coasts.

My most traveled year was 2003 when I was working for the now-defunct Anime Insider as an associate editor and went to the Wizard World conventions in Chicago, Arlington (Texas), and Philadelphia; my busiest year was when I was an assistant editor for Sequential Tart and covered Anime Expo all by myself.

Being such an old hat at attending conventions, I knew what my preparations would be when I made the decision to attend only one day out of three for the New York Comic Con/New York Anime Fest mega-con which was held on October 8 through October 10 at the Javitz Center: Continue reading “Trisha’s Take: How to get the most out of one day at a convention, part 1”

Desert Bus for Hope 2 drives onto the Internet…for the children!

Low-resolution image of four young men playing air guitar in the background while a fifth young man in the foreground plays the Desert Bus video game using only one hand on the controller.

[Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally written during the second run of Desert Bus for Hope.]

One of the best things about having a blog is that you can talk about things that may sometimes only be tangentially-related to the blog’s topic.

Today, I’d like to talk about Desert Bus for Hope, a video gaming marathon for the Child’s Play charity, which was started by the guys at Penny Arcade, who are a webcomic just like Multiplex, which was started by Gordon who [was] my boss.

Desert Bus is the most boring video game ever (here are the Wikipedia details):

The objective of the game is to drive a bus from Tucson, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in real time at a maximum speed of 45mph, a feat that would take the player 8 hours of continuous play to complete, as the game cannot be paused.

The bus contains no passengers, and there is no scenery or other cars on the road. The bus veers to the right slightly; as a result, it is impossible to tape down a button to go do something else and have the game end properly. If the bus veers off the road it will stall and be towed back to Tucson, also in real time. If the player makes it to Las Vegas, they will score exactly one point. The player then gets the option to make the return trip to Tucson—for another point (a decision they must make in a few seconds or the game ends). Players may continue to make trips and score points as long as their endurance holds out. Some players who have completed the trip have also noted that, although the scenery never changes, a bug splats on the windscreen about five hours through the first trip, and on the return trip the light does fade, with differences at dusk, and later a pitch black road where the player is guided only with headlights.

Last year, the gang at Loading Ready Run who create short comedic skits on a weekly basis decided that they would play this never-released video game non-stop in exchange donations to be sent to Child’s Play, on an exponential basis. In other words, the more people donated, the longer they would have to keep playing. The gang only expected to get $5,000 or so at the most; the final tally last year was $22,805 after 3 days of 24-hour busing that was also streamed live.

This year, they’ve beaten their old record and as of this typing have earned $24,053 over 2 days and 11 hours, have had actor Wil Wheaton call in, will have Felicia Day and Sandeep Parikh from The Guild call in later today, and one of the core cast members from LRR will shave off his trademark beard. All for the children!

So check out their site, watch the cams, donate some money, and enjoy the schadenfreude. They’ve already got me for $25 so far, and I may just end up donating my entire blogging paycheck this month if they keep going.

For the children!