Uncategorized

Forget Clothes: What Bag Are You Wearing to Wizardfest??

*knock* *knock* Hello there, have you heard the good word about WizardFest? No? Let me tell you.

WizardFest is a big ass Harry Potter dance party where you can shake your wands and shake your booty

Still mad about not getting your Hogwarts letter? You need to go.

Defending your house to anyone who will listen? You need to go.

After all this time? You. Need. To. Go.

And they are hosting them all over, so check to see if WizardFest is in your city. If you're 18 or older, you'll be able to enjoy the costume contest, dance party, and a boozy butterbeer (but only if you're of legal age, sorry). It might even make up for not living anywhere near Universal Studios

So, now that you've decided you're going (cause you are) how are you gonna hold your stuff?

Might I suggest...

Hedwig Figural Drawstring Backpack because someone might need to send you a message while you're dancing the night away

Harry Potter 12" Fashion Wizardy Backpack to give you that Hogwarts feel

Luna Lovegood Flat Clutch ditch the bulky bag and go for a clutch. But in case you don't trust yourself to not leave it somewhere, here's the backpack version

Girl's Harry Potter Wristlet, of course, you can't lose it if it's tied to your wrist

Time Turner Crossbody Bag I'd die if I had this one <3

The Monster Book of Monsters wheres that eyeball emoji when you need it because I love this one too

Tom Riddle's Diary Crossbody Bag don't actually read it tho

Harry Potter Wand Velvet Crossbody Bag you will probably rub your hand on the velvet all night, but you'll look fabulous while doing it

Last but not least, Marvolo Gaunt Ring Handbag cause that's going with me to a formal dinner even after WizardFest

Are ya going to WizardFest? Are you dying over one of these bags? Drop us a comment and let us know.

Comics and Chronic Illness: How Ava from Ant-Man and the Wasp Perfectly Described My Invisible Symptoms

Hi, I'm Quinzel. I have Multiple Sclerosis

"Hi Quinzel" my imaginary audience says "we don't believe you"

While hurtful, it's understandable. I fall under the category of people who don't look sick. It's why they call it an invisible illness.

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS as its shortened, is a snowflake disease, meaning symptoms can be different for everybody. Do we know why? No. Is there a cure? Also no.

One of the hardest things about my disease is explaining to people what it feels like daily for me. Aside from telling them that getting off my medication won't actually make me feel better and eating a bunch of oranges won't cure it, I also have the worst time trying to explain how I feel.

*some Ant-Man and the Wasp spoilers ahead*

Then I went to see Ant-Man and the Wasp. We were introduced to the character Ghost, known as Ava, who is constantly phasing in and out while experiencing a lot of pain. Long story short, the lab explosion that killed her parents didn't kill her, it just fucked her up to holy hell.

There's a symptom that I have that I can't describe in one word. But Ava's phasing shows it pretty well. It's this weird out of body experience like I'm jumping from one scene to another. It makes me feel as if I'm about to pass out.

The second is the pain. The constant pain. When you're in pain, minutes feel like hours, hours feel like days. While there is a level of pain I can deal with on a daily basis and still function, once I've passed that level, its all over.

Just like Ava, I am always in pain. Always.

So, I get it. Being so close to not being in pain everyday and you tell me we can't do the thing? Most people will never get to experience that level of desparation. It's a feeling where you will do absolutly anything to get rid of the pain. Living in constant pain robs you of the ability to have any sort of chill. Hell, it robs you of the ability to just live.

So, I get it. Do I agree with her plans? Mostly no, but I understand. To phase everyday, almost like a slow burning glitch, on top of being in pain sucks to the highest level. All you can do is wait to crawl into bed only to do it all over again.

So now that I've opened myself up to you guys, I'm curious what your lives are like. Any of you deal with a chronic illness, disability, or undiagnosed "why Lord?" level of pain? Have you seen it represented in media in an accurate way? Would you like MORE representation? Spill your thoughts in the comments section below.

Weaponized Music

The other day Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship came on the radio and it got me thinking about the associations we form with certain songs. In this particular case, it made me realize that ever since seeing The Skeleton Twins, whenever I hear it now all I can see is Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig dancing on living room furniture. Associations are powerful. Even if we already have a personal history with a song, a television show or a movie can utilize it in such a way that it wipes out all previous associations. Here are 5 examples of television scenes that took songs I already knew and completely re-wrote what my brain feels when I hear them. I’m sure you all have plenty of these so feel free to share them in the comments!

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Goodbye to You (Tabula Rasa)

Michelle Branch was big in the early 2000’s. I wasn’t particularly a huge fan but Goodbye to You was catchy. It didn’t evoke any emotion in me but I thought it was a cute pop song. Then someone who worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer said to themselves (I’m assuming), “How I can make it so that any time a Buffy fan hears this song it feels like their heart is being pulled out of their chest?? ...wait, I KNOW!” The result was this scene. Never have I ever been able to hear this song in the 17 (17?? JESUS.) years since without thinking of Giles abandoning his surrogate daughter to return to England, Willow and Tara’s heart-shredding breakup scene, and Buffy’s profound loneliness leading her to make a truly self-destructive choice. Thanks, Tabula Rasa.

 

Supernatural: Do You Love Me (The End)

I know, I know. Carry On My Wayward Son. Eye of the Tiger. Heat of the Moment. The Holy Trinity of songs that Supernatural has co-opted and now might as well own. But everyone knows those! Those are too easy. So I thought about another really great one that hasn’t been talked about as much. The only music my mom and I could agree on while I was growing up was oldies, so I heard this song A LOT. But SPN used it in such an awesome and unexpected way (in one of its best episodes of all time) that now this is what the song is to me. Running from Croatoans (SPN’s version of zombies) and getting rescued by a bunch of post-apocalyptic soldiers. Who knew this song could be so fucking badass?? Well Ben Edlund, I guess.

 

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Just a Friend (Dennis and Dee go on Welfare)

Oh boy is this show a multiple offender for song associations, usually hilarious and sometimes awful. There were so many to choose from. Motownphilly, Vacation, Jessie's Girl (OH MY GOD THIS ONE), I Can’t Wait, Hollaback Girl, Take My Breath Away, Pretty Woman, Runaway Train... the list goes on and on. In the end I went with this one because it was the first of the many songs the show would use to create ridiculous new associations in my head. Dennis and Dee’s failed attempt to go on welfare and their subsequent crack addiction was one of the funniest things the show has done and now, goddamn it, a song I have always loved makes me think of these two assholes getting day-drunk and thinking they could play the system so that they never had to work again. The end when they turn the song up while Mac yells at them cracks me up every time. These goddamn assholes.

 

Black Mirror’s San Junipero: Heaven is a Place on Earth

I almost want to tell you not to watch this video if you have not seen the episode because this scene is so moving and profound if you have, but if you haven’t then it’s just sort of cute. The first time I watched San Junipero this scene made me weep. And a previously boppy, fun 80’s song now makes me tear-up thinking about a love story between two women that a television show developed beautifully, and that WAS ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO END HAPPILY. It was a bittersweet story overall but the ending was uplifting and glorious. And the choice of this song was perfection. If you have not seen it, please head over to Netflix and fix that.

 

Sense8: What’s Up (What's Going On?)

This 4Non-Blondes song now forever belongs to this show in my mind, and after Linda Perry showed up to the premiere of the series finale at the ArcLight theater in Hollywood and let the audience join her onstage to sing along with it, it belongs to the fans as well. I’ve mentioned previously that whenever all of the Sense8s appear in the same scene it is the best thing 100% of the time, and this is no exception. These pockets of joy in the show were always so well-placed and carried the audience through the tougher times. I used to like What’s Up because it reminded me of the 90’s, now I love it because it brings me actual joy remembering this scene (P.S. Kala and Wolfgang forever).

So, what song associations have been created, altered, or ruined for you by television??

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Did Someone Say GAMES????

Ahh, here we are talking about gaming again. I swear, WakandaCon is right up my alley.

And if you are going to WakandaCon tomorrow, you better bring your snacks and energy drinks, cause you about to game ALL WEEKEND!!

That's right, WakandaCon is hosting a gaming tournament all weekend. The WakandaCon site says:

We're excited to partner with I Play Games! to bring head-to-head video gaming to Wakandacon! I Play Games! was founded in 2009 by experienced video game promoter and tournament organizer Kevin Fair. Playing video games at home with friends and family was a favorite hobby for Kevin, and so bringing the joy of video game entertainment to greater video game community was a natural fit.

WHO'S GOING TO THIS??? And if you're not, pretend you're going for a second. Comment below and tell me your console and what game YOU think you can kick my ass in, if we were in this tournament together 🙂

 

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: The Shuri Project

I don't care what you think. Shuri IS an official Disney princess. And after Tiana, she is now my favorite Disney Princess.

(For those of you who don't get the connection: Disney owns Marvel >>Black Panther is a Marvel Film>> which is owned by Disney>>Shuri is a princess>> And therefore, she's a Disney princess. Square up).

Black Panther not only put a female character who was smart, funny, and royal, she was also a Pretty Big Deal Kinda Scientist. Homegirl was creating technology that we could only dream of. The best part? She did it all without playing up the whole "nerd girl" stereotype.

Little girls all over the globe watched Shuri in awe and wanted to be just like her. Some probably even abandoned their Barbie Jeeps and Townhouses for lab coats and beakers. While at times I forget that Shuri is a fictional character, that didn't lessen the impact that she has made on millions of women and girls everywhere.

WakandaCon has a panel for just that. The Shuri Project by Henry Williams Love foundation is a summer program for girls who want to be just like Shuri. It's six weeks long for ages 8 to 12. In this mentoring program, they teach tech skills while also giving the girls a big self-esteem boost.

They gonna do a live demo of a website they've built. These babies are our future. You gotta support them.

I actually can't wait to hear more about The Shuri Project and how their website demo goes. What do you think of Princess Shuri and the impact she has on young girls today? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Games as Social Justice

I don't think I ever stopped hearing the barrage of comments "oh, do you play games? aren't you a little too old for that? isn't that a waste of time" blah blah blah

Normal people have a lot of opinions, hahaha.

Not that I ever paused my game long enough to take them seriously. But of course, when that damn swatting incident happened, gamers everywhere got a bad rap. But as all Geeky Girls know, gaming can be used for good.

WakandaCon is having a panel called Games as Social Justice. This panel will take place Friday, August 3rd at 6 pm. Hosted by Kenyatta Forbes, this panel will prove that gamers are more than how we are depicted in the media. The panel description is as follows:

This panel brings together experts in the social justice and gaming to discuss the impact gaming has on raising awareness, changing behavior, or other inequalities. How might gaming be a tool for social, political, and cultural change? Join the conversation with these panelists as they share their work and take questions from the audience.

My prediction is that they will discuss different kinds of gaming that can work as social justice tools. Maybe streaming on Twitch will work better with PC gamers and a different outlet would work for tabletop gamers. If you're headed to this panel, comment and tell us what you think. And if you're not, comment anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how social justice and gaming can work together as one.

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Queerkanda Celebrates Black LGBT Community

I look straight on the outside, but my true sexuality can be described as "IDK????" and you know what? That's perfectly fine with me.

Because of this, I understand the importance of queer spaces not just in general, but even more so in the Black community. There's something so refreshing to be around folks who understand your struggles, your life experiences, and who are open and accepting of your sexual identity.

That's why I really commend WakandaCon for having the panel Queerkanda. Hosted by Eris Eady, the panel is described as, "A conversation about the impact of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression on blackness both stateside and abroad." This panel is going to have a huge impact on those attending. Not only through showing them support, but giving them the tools to make the LGBTQIA+ community even stronger.

 

I am so excited to see what discussions will take place at this panel. What would YOU want to talk about at this panel? Leave us a comment below and it may be a great conversation starter!

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Do Your Own Stunts

See, I tend to do all of my own stunts, just usually by accident. Tripping, usually over just air, I end up in a contorted position. Upon survival, I jump up, bend my knees, hands in the air and shout "Superstar!"

While I am not formally trained in stunts, I am a lifetime member of The Clumsy and Unfortunate.

Thanks to this panel at WakandaCon, I don't have to be.

It's right around the corner though! Friday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 5th, WakandaCon will take place at the Hilton Downtown in Chicago, IL. And if Wakanda can't be real, this is the next best thing.

Another panel I need to talk to you about is the Jabari Stunt Workshop with Mark Willis. Willis was in Black Panther as a Jabari Warrior and he is M'Baku level fine, uh I mean, performed a lot of the stunts in the film. He's now taking the stunts and fight choreography used in Black Panther and teaching it to y'all, so we can all be bad-asses together!

Black Panther BTS photos CR: Courtesy of Winston Duke

This panel is happening this Friday, August 3rd at 5 pm. So if you're going to WakandaCon, comment here and tell everyone if you're going to this panel.

Geeky Girls Guide to WakandaCon: T’Challa vs. Killmonger Panel

Wakanda is just around the corner guys! If you are in the Chicago area, WakandaCon is taking place Friday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 5th. The convention is taking place at the Hilton Downtown hotel.

One of the panels that you definitely need to attend if you (like me) have been discussing the differences between T'Challa and Killmonger since February is T'Challa Vs. Killmonger: Exploring the Differences between the Diaspora and the African-American Experience.

This panel is hosted by Carla M. Kupe-Arion, Esq and takes place Saturday at 11:00 am. Below is the panel description:

"The dynamics between T'Challa and Killmonger depicted in Black Panther brought to the forefront a phenomenon that usually occurs in private circles or sometimes in academia: Oppression Olympics between African-born or Africans and American-born or "rooted" Black people. The differences in reactions to the movie have reignited a discussion this panel seeks to have.

Exploring the impact of the two different histories and systems that have and are still impacting all Black people will be the panel's starting point in order to highlight differences but also focus on the similarities between narratives and what we can do as we create new ones, a new history."

So who out there is going to WakandaCon? Do you plan on going to this panel? What kinds of question do you have for Carla? Let me know in the comments section below.

 

Inside Briana Buckmaster’s Album Launch Party for Begin

Briana's Album Cover

As a Supernatural fan, I'm pretty fortunate. I live within driving distance of Los Angeles and the local Supernatural cast members like to create cool opportunities for us to come together.  I have attended a book reading by Misha Collins, an album release party by Louden Swain, and a charity walk with Lauren Tom and Osric Chau.  I am deeply appreciative of those opportunities. That being said, I don’t drive out to Los Angeles on weeknights. Jesus Christ could show up in Culver City on a Monday doing a water walking demonstration and I’d be like…meh. I’ll watch the livestream. However, last night was an exception. Last night’s was Briana Buckmaster’s first solo show in support of her first album, Begin.

Briana plays Sheriff Donna Hanscum on Supernatural and is one of the driving forces behind the Wayward AF fan movement.  Wayward AF is a movement that encourages fans (women fans in particular have championed the movement) to value themselves, express themselves, and work towards their dreams. So I wanted to be there when Briana made one of her dreams come true. So after work, I made the trek to The Hotel Café in Hollywood. Spending the evening with Briana onstage and my Supernatural family in the audience turned out to be a great decision. I rode out sleepiness the next day at work with a smile on my face.

Let’s start with Briana’s stage presence. If you have never met Briana, here’s the best way I can describe it:

Briana Buckmaster is the kind of woman that reminds you of your lady queerness.  She walks into the room, and you’re like…oh right. I’m super queer. Brianna has confident, comfortable in her own skin, grownass woman swagger. Combine that with her huge heart and irreverent sense of humor, and you have a potent combination of outrageously sexy. When my straight sister saw Briana for the first time at a Supernatural convention, she messaged me something like “Holy Lord I’m in love with Briana Buckmaster. Wait am I gay?” To this day if you bring it up she'll wax poetic about how Brianna looked in jeans.

If you only know Briana as Donna Hanscum, it might take you by surprise at first. Donna Hanscum is an endearingly sweet, brave, and goofy character, but she was not meant to be sexy. That is evident in her first episode in season 9, called The Purge.  When we meet Donna, her confidence has just taken a hit. She is still smarting from being dumped by a boyfriend who was critical of her weight. She runs into the boys at a spa where she is taking part in a weight loss program. Now, Briana is a very thin woman by our mortal standards, but you know, Hollywood. Fast forward to season 13 in the Wayward Sisters episode, the show has let some of that sexy badassery shine through. When Sheriff Hanscum pulls up in her pickup truck to save the day in jeans and a pony tail carrying a cache of weapons, a wink, and a smile, gay women everywhere swooned.

But regardless of what you have seen on screen, nothing really prepares you for full strength Briana. She’s a force of nature.  That makes her a charismatic stage presence, which served her live show beautifully. But what about her voice? Singing one or two songs sporadically at Supernatural conventions is one thing. Doing an entire set and being able to carry the show is another thing. Briana, with a little help from her friends, did just that. Briana has a bluesy voice that is powerful and vulnerable. She calls it a ‘whiskey voice’. Think Alannah Myles crossed with Bonnie Raitt. I’m no Rolling Stone reviewer, but they would probably categorize her as ‘blue eyed soul’.

Briana opened with the scorching, “Do I Move You”, which was originally written and performed by Nina Simone. Bold move. Nina Simone is one of the greatest musical artists of our time, and there is risk inherent in covering someone like that. We’ve all seen singing competitions where perfectly talented singers try an iconic song by an iconic performer and it ends up feeling like karaoke. Briana avoided that pitfall by not trying to copy Nina Simone. She tweaked the song and made it her own. She pulled the straps of her blouse off of her shoulders to riotous applause, and poured her entire self into a mischievous and spirited version of the song. It was a great choice to warm up the crowd.

From there, the show was consistently engaging and filled with songs that reached out and grabbed you. Better Than That, written by Suzanne Santo, was one of the standouts of the night. It was the kind of song that makes you ache and remember falling in love. During that entire number, the audience was eating out of the palm of Briana’s hand.

Olive Branch, a duet written by and performed with Rob Benedict, was another special one. Rob plays the prophet Chuck / God on Supernatural. He is a musician’s musician, having performed for over twenty years with his indie rock band Louden Swain.  He can write, arrange, produce, play multiple instruments, sing his ass off, and perform like a boss. He is the real deal, and Olive Branch is a folksy, catchy as hell song. We were all stomping our feet and having a great time.

Briana did another duet later, but this time with Jason Manns. Jason is a solo artist, member of Station Breaks, and producer of Briana’s album. Briana explained onstage that she had felt the album needed a nineties power ballad duet.  And that is what Have a Little Faith in Me was, which means it was a soaring crowd pleaser.

Another noteworthy performance was “How Will I Know”, originally performed by Whitney Houston. Again, when you cover legends like Whitney Houston and Nina Simone, it is critical that you don’t try to copy their arrangements or styles. Briana’s arrangement of “How Will I Know” was a yearning ballad. It was bittersweet and moving, and did its own wonderful thing.

And rounding it all off was the delight of being in an audience that is happy to be there together.  Notable Supernatural family that came out to support Briana included Kim Rhodes, Ruthie O’Connell, Gil McKinney, and Bobo Berens. It was heartwarming to see the friendships that have formed among the cast members. It also felt good that our fandom has played such a critical part in something this special.

I think it is safe to say that Briana’s album was born at Supernatural conventions. Supernatural conventions typically consist of two nights of music: karaoke night on Friday, and a Louden Swain concert on a Saturday.  Cast members show up to sing with the fans on Fridays and to sing with Louden Swain on Saturdays. Our riotous support has resulted in several cast members saying that they have recaptured or refocused on their love of music.  Also, they get to share their love of music with each other and meet the experienced and kind musicians of Louden Swain. Undoubtedly the enthusiastic fan support of Briana’s singing paired with Rob Benedict/Louden Swain’s generosity of spirit, encouraged Briana to record an album. She started a Kickstarter to support the album and it was funded in twenty hours. It eventually took in over double its original goal of $20k.  We all got to accomplish something beautiful together. What could be better than that?

The last song featured Briana with Station Breaks singing a rousing rendition of the Beatles ‘Come Together’.  People all over the dark bar had arms around one another and were shouting the lyrics together. It was a sweet moment and the perfect way to end the night. I know we have a lot more to look forward to from Briana as a singer.  I for one, can’t wait. And if you have a chance to see her live, you won't regret it.  You can buy her album ‘Begin’ on cdbaby, itunes, amazon, and pretty much everywhere else you buy your music. You can find Briana on twitter here.

And to talk fandom with me, join me on my closed Facebook group for Supernatural and Wayward Sisters fans or catch me on the podcast, Geeky Girls Night In.  I’m also on twitter shouting about Supernatural among other geeky stuff.

Photo from Briana's Kickstarter for Begin