Jun 262014

From our Hotel Liason, Lucy Kennedy:

It’s time to put Penguicon on your radar again! We have dates! We have a hotel! We have a concom! We have Angry Orchard cider! No wait, that’s just me. Sorry.

Without further ado: Penguicon 2015 will be hosted, once again, at the Westin Southfield on April 24-26th, 2015! We are blocking out the entire hotel again, and the link to reserve rooms will be available when the 2015 website goes live (which will be soon!). Double/king rooms will be $108/night, and suites are $199/night this year.

PLEASE NOTE: The dates for Penguicon have shifted one week earlier than what we originally anticipated. If you pre-regged for May 1-3 and are UNABLE to come on April 24-26, please email registration@penguicon.org so we can work with you.

Only ten months left to get super excited for Penguicon. What? You know you want to. You can start at the SMOS dinner this Sunday, June 29th, at the Gocay home, starting at 3pm!

May 082014

bx7u0515_sizedIf you’ve written up your experience at Penguicon this past May, please send a link to marketing@penguicon.org and you’ll appear on this list!  We will select one reviewer to receive a free Galaxy-style T-shirt of their choice.

Other links:

May 052014

deloreanWe want to thank everyone for attending, volunteering, presenting, and generally being amazing.

We welcomed 1377 guests, and had over 450 hours of programming this year.  We showcased over two dozen unique artists, and had one of the best and most well-staffed ConSuites you’ve ever seen.

Ernie Cline drove up in his ghostbusting Delorean, the Ecto88, to talk about our pop culture past and our virtual reality future.  Ed Mason of Gameface Labs showed us the VR present with a high-definition wireless prototype based on an Android OS.  Eva Galperin educated us on global and national privacy issues that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is tackling, and Erika Carlson showed us how one person can change the lives of hundreds of others, through Girl Develop It, by teaching people valuable coding skills.  And YTCracker flashed his mirror shades and his Nerd Life tattoo, rapping with maximum attitude.

If you have pictures or videos of the weekend that you’d like to share with the world, please send links or files to our Head of Commuications at marketing@penguicon.org.  We would love to use them in our next video, on the web site, or in next year’s promo materials.

Did you present this year?  We would love for you to share your presentation with us by emailing a link to marketing@penguicon.org.  There was so much great programming this year that we all missed a panel that we would have liked to attend.  When you choose to share your materials through a Creative Commons license, we can all benefit from your knowledge.

Don’t forget!  We have a brand new suggestion system called TuxTrax – If you’ thinking of presenting for next year you can submit your ideas today.

There is a lot of great feedback on the Facebook page and forums,  but these comments are difficult to keep track of through multiple years.  Please give us your comments through our feedback form and let us know how much you loved this year.

UPDATE: Penguicon 2014 Reviews

Finally, we would really appreciate if you would let us know about any publicly viewable commentary you make about your experience with Penguicon.   We are interested in both positive and critical reviews – one author will win a Galaxy Penguicon T-shirt!  We will be sure to share those reviews on a page for all of you to check out.

I know some of you are already making plans for next year.  Did you know you can register today?  Stay tuned for announcements about 2015, as well as our social gatherings leading up to next year’s Penguicon.

It was our pleasure and  honor to bring you Penguicon 2014 through the labor of our all-volunteer crew, and we can’t wait to show you what we have in store for next year.  If you want to be a part of the process this year, please let us know.

Apr 272014

LGBTQA* – An Alphabet Soup Q&A with a diverse panel and your host April NanceLGBT Awarness Concept

Fandom in the PenguiCon community is a very broad and diverse group of people so it is not unusual to have attendees all over the sexual and gender spectrum. But how represented and included are LGBT and Queer people in science fiction, fantasy, and other fandoms?

April had this to say when we asked her why this discussion is important: “Science fiction and fantasy are areas in which the current struggles of LGBT and Queer people can be explored. But having these scenarios played out in people’s imagination is not enough. Across the country, there are leaders in fandom who are in a position to take a stand against the harassment and discrimination that still exists.”

Are these depictions throughout the fandoms accurate in showing the diversity of LGBT and Queer culture? Does this change as we look at other factors of fandom such as interactions with writers and performers, participation in conventions, clubs, and forums, or awards? And if the answer is “not very,” what can be done to improve this?  April sums it up best when she said, “There is not an easy, one-size-fits-all solution for showing leaders in fandom how to be inclusive and respectful of all people on the gender and sexual spectrums.”

Join us for this hands-on discussion where a diverse panel will represent a variety of the gender and sexual spectrum and audience participation will be encouraged.

Apr 252014

Fighting in the Movies – Chicks that kick a$$ with Shannon MarshallShannon Pink Punk (2)

Ever wonder if the action in films could happen in real life?  Wonder how woman can realistically win over a much larger opponent, like the scene in Total Recall (2012)?  Shannon will walk you through a series of the best female fight scenes in the movies and break down the skills needed to make it look real.  She will examine the hand-to-hand techniques, “prop” fighting, and swordsmanship in each clip to show you how they make you a believer.

We asked Shannon why she wanted to present this panel: “Being part of Polaris Fellowship of Weapons Study I love doing a “fighting in the movies” panel every year at Penguicon. This year I decided to focus on the chicks that kick ass! Most recently inspired by Black Widow in the Avengers, I felt it was important to showcase that females can kick just as much butt as men.”

Woman can kick a$$ and Shannon plans on showing you just how much.

Apr 242014

I am happy to bring you an Artist Alley bonus post.  Thanks to the excellent work of  Lucy Kennedy, our hotel liaison, and Judy Foley, our Artist Alley track head, we were able to secure more space and add additional artists to our original line-up.  If you missed the first four posts make sure you check them out.  1, 2, 3, and 4.

Art of Heather 

Heather Schilling is a Michigan based scratchboard artist. Scratchboard is made by using an ink coated clay on a hardboard then scratched with a knife or sharp tool. Her work features macabre scenes of skeletons, dancers, and other gothic creatures. She creates more unique works by putting her art on wooden plaques, bottles and boxes.

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Penguin Attack Studios 

Tiffany was born on June 9th, 1989 in St. Clair Shores Michigan. Like most kids she grew up watching cartoons and by some staggering twist of fate came across a life altering show…Sailor Moon.  It was that very first episode that changed Tiffany’s world forever; she became enamored with Anime and knew from then on that she wanted to be an animator. After having Matt Busch as a mentor and professor at Macomb Community College, she started thinking of becoming a Freelance Illustrator. She has never foregone her passion for animation and works at conventions doing anime style caricatures and selling her adorable original stickers. locutusofborg_sm_by_penguinattackstudios-d7d2c34

Jeannie Arquette FX

Jeannie has always loved film and theater, and is thrilled to be a part of the magic as a professional makeup artist, special effects artist, and face and body painter. An award winning artist and instructor, Jeannie also designs a line of stencils called Just B Cos, (a part of The Bad Ass Stencil family), for the cosplay and body paint community. She also created a line of encapsulated silicone prosthetics that she designs, sculpts and creates in her studio in Howell MI for use in face, body and special FX makeup. Jeannie currently works with the award winning 2ND Skin Makeup and Body Art Team, and is proud to be a part of the incredible global community of makeup artists, face & body painters.  Jeannie is a Penguicon Featured Guests and will be showcasing her body painting skills on Saturday night at nine pm.

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The Scents of Deesplace 

Dee started making candles because she was unhappy with the amount of fragrance and cost of brand name candles.  As a result, she designed a line of highly fragrant candles using gel and paraffin waxes.  Tickle your senses by stopping by Dee’s table in Artist Alley. deesplace

Wild Birds Bungalows

Nancy Fink creates one of a kind custom bird houses.  Nancy is donating 20% of all sales made at Penguicon to the Detroit Humane Society,an organization close to her heart.

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Apr 242014

Rocky Horror Resurrection and Costume Contest with your host and judge: Dr.  R. Frank N’ Furter (Tim Downing)rhps (2)

Join Dr. Frank N’ Furter for an event that is sure to having you jumping to the left and stepping to the right with joyful abandon.

RHPS got its start in 1975 as a film after being adapted from the musical stage production.  It has a large international following and continues to amuse and delight audiences nearly 40 years later. When we asked Tim why he thought this film continues to have cult following he had this to say:  “Each ‘new crop’ of kids ‘coming of age’ rediscover the messaging of the film and runs with it.   Where else can one, engage in fervent Cosplay, act totally silly without worry, run around in ‘sexy’ sultry outfits, hang out with groups of people like-minded and explore oneself in the meantime.   All without reproach.”

The evening will start with a preshow filled with mash-up based fan videos and will be followed by the showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show. Cosplay is encouraged and will be judged throughout the event.  The evening will be rounded out by a “graduation” ceremony for all RHPS “virgins” and awards given to the winners in the costume contest.

If you are a RHPS “virgin” come prepared for an experience and not just a movie.  Viewers are encouraged to participate in the film with props, lip-syncing, and response to on-screen jokes.  Prop bags will be for sale at the event and movie cues will be given so that everyone can play along.  Although participation is encouraged, it is not expected and based on your own comfort level.

Apr 232014

Developing Software for Penguicon with Matt Arnoldpcon2013 bb9q4766

Penguicon has started running satellite events year round, and one of them is our code sprint, in which we write software to make it easy and fun to organize the convention. Software tools are important to the future of Penguicon, because no matter how fun the convention is,we can only thrive if our volunteers enjoy creating it.

Matt has worn many hats over his years attending and volunteering with Penguicon.  He draws on that knowledge to help with the direction and architecture for TuxTrax, the open source convention running system he is working on.  He shared with us information that he needed when he worked in various positions:

As Head of Programming, I wished that I could keep our schedule data
in one place that automatically caught conflicts. As Convention Chair,
I wanted to know which of my track heads were answering their emails
and which ones had vanished. As a program participant, I wanted to
check on how many panels I submitted, without having to bug the staff
about it. As an attendee, I wanted to request help from Operations
instantly from a smartphone app. As a track head, I wanted to preserve
and find records from past years all in one place (such as Closing
Ceremonies feedback and program ops reports) to find out which
presenters had skipped their panels, to avoid scheduling them again.
As program book designer, I wanted the schedule to be proofread before
it goes into the book. As a signage maker, I want a system that will
automatically arrange the schedule for signs that go on room doors.

If you’re not a developer, this is your opportunity to get started using the 2015 event submission system, TuxTrax, during the 2014 convention weekend.

If you’re a developer, show up to have a voice in choosing the weekend for our next code sprint. Our project contributors will describe the Python/CanJS/Bootstrap tech stack that we use. We’ll also explain how to make your own mashups of the parts of Penguicon’s data which are public, using our API named “Herdcat”. We’ll distribute work tasks to be done after the convention. If you’re a developer who wants to see Penguicon succeed, plan on joining Matt, at the Developing Software for Penguicon panel, to play a vital role in Penguicon’s future.