Apr 232014

nuri_greeterdeskThe first thing you’ll see this year when you walk in the front doors is likely to be our greeter table – our welcome banner, souvenir books, and one or two friendly people to direct you wherever you’d like to go.

If you’re new, they’ll show you around the convention, help you get registered, and give you an idea about what Penguicon is all about!

If you’re the kind of person who enthusiastically talks about Penguicon throughout the year and wanted a way to contribute to our all-volunteer family without committing to monthly meetings or lugging kegs, THIS IS FOR YOU!

This position DOES

  • Allow you to hang out at the front door to check out the new arrivals, like you would anyway
  • Allow you to make someone else feel less confused/overwhelmed and more welcome to the con
  • Allow you to run around the hotel on tours, with people in tow, as madcap as you’d like, to show them what’s awesome at Penguicon
  • Give you a chance to hand out ribbons (while they last)
  • Get you typical volunteer swag, a Penguicon sticker (while they last), and a special ribbon only for greeters
  • Get you a shout-out at Closing Ceremonies

penguicon_stickersThis position DOES NOT

  • Provide hours for reimbursing your badge.  Kalika still needs volunteers for vital positions during the con, and we do not want to take away from that with the greeter desk!

Many of the ConCom plan on taking some time at the greeter desk, including myself, the Con Chair, and the Head of Programming. Many “old hands” at Penguicon have also volunteered to show people around.

We ask that you not volunteer for this if it’s your very first year at Penguicon (the opposite of Fight Club).

If Penguicon has shown the love to you over the past decade-plus, show a little love back through the Greeter Table by volunteering some of your time.

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

pcon2013 bb9q4786If you are presenting a panel during Penguicon this year and you’d like to pay the presenter rate (without doing three events), please submit a web link to your presentations to marketing @ penguicon dot org.

We encourage anyone who has visual aids to make them available to us via a Creative Commons license – it’s just one more way to give back to the community.

All available presentations can be found on our Presentations page – don’t forget to check back after Penguicon is over to see additional presentations as we gather them.

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

pcon2014_shirt_ladiesIf you’d like a Penguicon 2014 shirt, please pre-order before April 25th to ensure Offworld Designs has your size at their booth – if you miss that window, you’ll have to take your chances with whatever sizes they bring to the con.

The front image is our beautiful program book cover, and the back is a graphic with our logo, the guests of honor, and a sweet reveal of all of the awesome things that happen during Penguicon.

NOTE: This year they’ve made available to us a women’s cut T-shirt!  Again, pre-order to make sure they have your size!

Both styles of shirt can be found on our Art and Media page!

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.

Apr 102014

The Completely Random Guide to Cocktail Crafting with Nathan Balyeat

One convention, many years ago, Nathan decided to bring fun stuff to drink and open his door to people, creating an unofficial party that became known to insiders as the “Completely Random Cocktail Hour.”


The room party grew, year by year, until it became an epic event where the variety and quality of adult beverages was… well, epic.  The original reason for having the party, the desire to share fun stuff to drink, has never left Nathan, and over the years his skill at and knowledge of alcohol alchemy has increased to the point where he is confident in sharing what makes a good drink work.

When we asked Nathan why he wanted to present this panel, he had this to say: “Throwing these parties has been a large and time-consuming effort, and frankly, I’m taking a break this year from hosting two nights of party suite madness.  But I still get to do what I love about throwing the parties… share new experiences with you.”

Nathan promises a unique learning experience accompanied by tasting of a number of different new and classic cocktails, and one of your own to take home with you.  If you’re over 21, sign up at ops.  Space is limited.

Can’t make the panel?  Interested in what you might see there?  Start off with the simplest of the drinks that Nathan might have invented over the years.  One particular rum and coke aficionado declared it better than his drink of choice and said, “Ooh, it’s magic”.  And the name stuck.

2 Parts dark, spiced rum
3 Parts root beer
Splash of vanilla vodka

Nathan is particular about WHICH dark rum and which root beer he uses, but if you what to know WHY, you’ll have to come to the panel.

Apr 092014

Here is an awesome group of artists that will be joining us in Artist Alley.  If you haven’t checked out the other artists you can see them in the first, second, and third preview posts.

Matt Roll

Matt is the captain of a space ship, called the astroliner.  When he isn’t piloting his space ship, Matt can be found working on his novel series Jupiter 7. 


 Rosemary Van Deuren

Rosemary Van Deuren is a novelist, essayist, press writer, and interviewer. She is the author of the young adult fantasy adventure, BASAJAUN. She conceived and wrote the arts and entertainment interview column “Flipside” for idlermag.com, a website chosen by the Writer’s Guild of America West for “The Hotlist: A Guide to the Web’s Most Cutting Edge New Media Content.” She has interviewed author Peter S. Beagle, artist and author Wayne Barlowe, actors Neil Jackson and Mark Indelicato, and many more. Rosemary is also a guest interviewer for the UK music website Louder Than War.


Treasured Roses

Treasured Roses is a local family business inside the Dixieland Flea Market in Waterford, MI.  Cynthia Richardson established her local family business, Treasured Roses, four years ago. Her store is best known for custom costumes and one-of-a-kind accessories.  When Cynthia isn’t working in the store she is busy with her two children, competing in sailboat races, and traveling to find new and exotic items to add to her store.


Deosil Designs

Noah and Alex Page are partners in crime who operate their own studio, Deosil Designs, LLC. Noah is a full-time illustrator who works on commissions and her own projects throughout the day. She is best known for her comic Material Girl, a weekly strip that ran for about a year. Noah is a strong gender advocate and Material Girl is her way of helping her fans understand and cope with gender differences. Alex works behind the scenes. She edits and colors Noah’s works and designs characters. She is an award-winning cosplayer and loves to sew. Her “real job” is working at a veterinary clinic. This year, Alex is realizing her dream of completing her own Tarot deck.

deosil designs

Tim Thurmond, The Balloon Sculptor

Tim’s passion to show the world just how much ingenuity can be crafted from a simple pieces of Latex began over 20 years ago. During that time he has won numerous international championships and owns a World Record for balloon creations. He has traveled extensively and seen firsthand how the simple artistry of balloons transcends language and culture barriers, and through his amazing creations he has brought smiles and happy memories to children and adults all around the world.