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.

 

A New Addition to the Team

Hey there!

My name is Melissa; I'm super excited to join the Geeky Girl's Guide to Life. I hope to be bringing you all kinds of cool news about all sorts of nerdy things. Movies, television, board games, books -- just like the rest of you there's a long list of the things I love. And yeah, I could list them off. But you've got a limited attention span and a simple list of all the things I love isn't going to be all that interesting, because we hardly know each other.

So instead, I'd like to tell you a story. And it starts with a confession:

I wasn't always what you'd consider geeky.

These days, my geekiness and I are... well, we're in a good place. A happy, committed relationship, you might even say. But we've been on and off in the past. It's taken me a while to get comfortable in my own skin, and there were a few moments where I almost abandoned the geek life for the mundane.

Why would I ever do such a thing?

Well, to put it simply: Life sucks sometimes. But those experiences -- those periods of 'normality' did teach me something important. And that's why I'm here, and why I'm donating my time to writing about geeky things. And that's why I hope you'll stick around. Continue reading

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

 

 

Geeky Girls Guide to WakandaCon: This Merch Tho

One thing I'm excited about with WakandaCon is this merch! Granted, we don't know what official con wear will be available unless you attend the convention yourself. However, they have a bunch of neat products that you can buy online wherever you are!

WakandaCon, as a reminder, is happening next month. August 3rd through the 5th, in the windy city of Chicago. While the convention is named after the fictional country in Black Panther, there is a reason why it isn't called Black Panther Con.

WakandaCon is so much more than Black Panther. With exciting STEM panels, amazing guests, and in-depth discussions, this con is about to be the definition of "All Black Everything"**

While there are many things to geek out about at WakandaCon, one of them is the merch that is available online right NOW!

My favorite? This mug right here. I don't even care that it's $16.00. It's worth every penny to have that in my cubicle at work.

There are a few awesome shirts out there as well. But this one is pretty cool. I'd wear it everywhere.

Listen yall, if the merch is this good already, imagine what it's going to be when the con actually hits! What do you guys think of the merch so far? Drop us a comment and let us know.

**and before you ask, yes, you can attend if you are not black. Jeez, guys.

Life Lessons Learned from Freeplay: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Bliss

Y'all know I'm a bookworm by now. I was excited to add Freeplay to my Goodreads list, but I wasn't expecting to get a life lesson out of it. Seriously, every page I just sat on my couch like "Well, shit...time to make a change."

Freeplay: A Video Game Guide to Maximum Euphoric Bliss was finished in less than a day. A quick read that I assumed would go into more scientific evidence about how video games actually make you happy, ended up being one of those long car rides with your dad while he gives you a lecture about life using gaming as a metaphor.

And honestly, that is just what I needed.

Jordan Shapiro, the author, is a dad himself, so that could explain it. Shapiro actually got into gaming as an adult while playing with his children and it brought them closer together.

And much like the good father he is, his book taught me so much about life that I really need to A) quite strongly recommend you read it for yourself but also B) share some of his wisdom here.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book and how they will stick with me:

 

As a perfectionist, I needed to learn that losing wasn't the end of the world. Just like in gaming, you learn more about how to beat your bosses from losing than you do from winning.

How many times in life did I need to restart, try another level, even repeat the same level again? I felt like a failure and that I was giving up. But the thing is, I wasn't taking the whole cartridge out, I was pressing the restart button.

And how many times have I been too afraid to take a risk? To jump into a new relationship when I wasn't sure if I would get hurt again? To quit a toxic job because I didn't have a new one lined up just yet (and before you say anything, I found a new job two days later. This quote is the truth).

I was surprised that this book even spoke to the social justice. With all that's going on in the world lately, it's good to be validated that I'm fighting the good fight.

 

And finally, I'll leave you with this quote. it reiterates on losing, but man is it powerful