Jessica Roland

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  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  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

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 212014

On Location: Local Food and Local Businesses, and Why We Need Them with Paul Angelinipaul (400x400) (2)

Paul is a Michigan-based entrepreneur and owner of Sodas & Sundries, a business specializing in all-natural, artisanal soda syrups, teas, and more.  He has been a student of the natural world since his youth, and has participated in the Clarkston, MI farmer’s market for the past six years, where he sells a variety of products including  DIY gourmet mushroom kits and garden products.

We asked Paul why he believes people should shop locally:

I feel that doing business locally is one of the most important and empowering ways we, as individuals, can help build community, support our local economy, and ultimately help ourselves. Local food, for example, not only travels a shorter distance to get on our plates, it also tastes better. And here in Michigan, we are now seeing an increasingly large number of locally-made products on store shelves. Everything from baked goods to bulk grains, to pastured beef and bacon, there’s not too much we can’t produce here locally. And with the rise of Michigan microbreweries, wineries, and so on, we can raise our glasses and have a toast to all the hardworking folks who make it all happen- Us!

Paul also spends his time as a co-organizer of the Oakland County Permaculture Meetup.  This community of like-minded individuals gather together monthly to share skills on a wide array of subjects ranging from natural building, food preservation, and appropriate technology.  He is an avid forager, aspiring herbalist, and cyder maker who’s passions include music, arcane knowledge, and all things natural.

Join Paul as he shares his resources on where to find the best local food and why you should support your local mom ‘n pop shops.  He will also be presenting on composting and foraging in your own back yard during the con. Paul’s natural soda syrups and bitters will be available at the end of each of his panels.

Apr 182014

You Monster! A Special Effects Makeup Demonstration with Kat McConnellkat

Kat’s love of special effects makeup grew out of her love of playing dress-up.  She never outgrew the desire to become her favorite characters.  Her skill as a special effects makeup artist has given her the opportunity to fully become the characters that she loves.

We asked Kat what special effects artist she most admired: “I appreciate anything that uses practical effects over CG.  I’m a big fan of Doug Jones for all the work he’s done in heavy prosthetic makeup.  It’s one of the reasons I chose to go as Billy from Hocus Pocus this year for Halloween.”

Kat has worked at several haunted houses and recently worked on several short films.  These experiences allowed her to work with talented artists and gain skills that she would not have had the resources to accomplish on her own. You can see samples of Kat’s work on her Facebook page or, if you attended Penguicon in the past, the walking dead of zombie tag sported a make-under by Kat.

Kat will share her tips, tricks, and demonstrate her techniques to turn you, or your willing victim, into the monster of your nightmares.

Apr 162014

War on Cooties: Bringing Nerd Men and Women to the Same Gameboard with Victoria Stapels

wonderwomanWhere are all the female heroes? The tournament-winning chicks? The female gamers and coders in the media?

If you have been to conventions over the last few years, being a girl at con can sometimes feel a little like odd-man-out. Many of the panels are hosted by men talking about male characters in male-directed shows.  When asked why she wanted to present this panel, Tori had this to say: “Out of every con I’ve ever been to, I’ve never seen a panel about women that wasn’t sexual. I want girls to feel comfortable in nerd spaces as they are.”

Equal gender representation in nerd culture has been slim at best. The way we are  judging each other for who is the most ‘L337’ nerd, it’s no surprise that women are being judged from the nerd community at large.  The lack of genuine representation of women in nerd culture is shocking.

 Join this panel to discuss some awesome chicks in sci-fi, video games, and in our real-world nerd careers.

Apr 142014

How Did We Get Cool? with Michael Cieslak

We are experiencing a period where interest in science fiction, and science itself for that matter, is becoming accepted as mainstream entertainment.  What changed in society’s perception of the genre to change it from the providence of young kids to something for everyone?  Why have other genres like Mystery and Western always appeared on television and the movies yet Sci-Fi and Fantasy have traditionally been less accepted?  Most importantly, how do we make sure we keep SFF in the limelight?

We asked Michael to share why he wanted to present this particular panel and he had this to say:michael

If someone had approached my gaming group in the mid-80s and said that they were from twenty years in the future we would have been gobsmacked.  All sorts of questions about the scientific and technological requirements of time travel would have followed immediately.

If that same person went on to say that in her or his time the number one television program for four years centered around a group of geeky physicists we would have scoffed.  When that person went on to say that of the top ten grossing films of all time there were three based on comic book characters, two based on fantasy novels, one on a toy line, one on a Disneyland ride, and that the film at the number one spot was an animated sci-fi movie we would have pelted that time traveler with Cheetos and empty Mountain Dew bottles.

Make plans to join Michael for this lively discussion about how to keep our nerdy passions in the spotlight. He promises not to throw Cheetos and empty Mountain Dew bottles at you.