Culture on My Mind – Juneteenth

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Juneteenth

June 18, 2021

This week, I have Juneteenth on my mind.

Tomorrow is Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. It is also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day. It was established in 1865, when over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves in Galveston, Texas were finally informed of their freedom.

During the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. It was formally issued on January 1, 1863, declaring that all enslaved persons in the Confederate States of America in rebellion and not in Union hands were to be freed.

Planters and other slaveholders had migrated to the more geographically isolated Texas from eastern states to avoid the fighting, many of them bringing enslaved people with them. This increased the enslaved population of Texas by thousands, and by 1865, there were an estimated 250,000 enslaved people in the state.

News of General Robert E. Lee’s surrender, which happened on April 9, 1865, reached Texas later in the month. The western Army of the Trans-Mississippi did not surrender until June 2nd, and by June 18th, Union Army General Gordon Granger arrived at Galveston Island with 2,000 federal troops to occupy Texas on behalf of the federal government.

The following day, while standing on the balcony of Galveston’s Ashton Villa, General Granger read aloud the contents of “General Order No. 3”, announcing the total emancipation of those held as slaves:

The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.

Even though the event is popularly thought of as “the end of slavery”, the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to those enslaved in Union-held territory. Those slaves would not be freed until a proclamation several months later after the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865.

The freedom of formerly enslaved people in Texas was given legal status in a series of Texas Supreme Court decisions between 1868 and 1874.

June 19th is still officially celebrated as Juneteenth in Texas. Every state in the Union except South Dakota and Hawaii recognizes the event.


There are several places to find more information about Juneteenth and its impact on the Black community. I have highlighted four of them below. I hope that they offer a chance to learn about the importance of Juneteenth and spark further interest in finding out more about it.

“Why all Americans should honor Juneteenth” from Vox:

Vox also has a discussion and other resources at their website.

NextGen America presents a history of the event and how it has shaped the experience of Black people in the United States:

The Washington Post explores what Juneteenth tells us about the value of Black lives in America:

Finally, Dr. Shennette Garrett-Scott made a detailed presentation of the holiday’s history back in 2013:


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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Pershing’s Own and Queen

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Pershing’s Own and Queen

June 11, 2021

This week, I’m reaching back to May 2020 and the United States Army Band. The U.S. Army Voices and Downrange joined forces to present a medley of hits by Queen.

You can find more about Pershing’s Own and the Army Band’s ensembles at their official website.

These musical versions of Culture on My Mind are short and sweet. Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you again very soon. Take care.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Gingertail’s Mandalorian

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Gingertail’s Mandalorian

May 28, 2021

This week, I have music from The Mandalorian on my mind.

Specifically, this cover by YouTuber Alina Gingertail.

These musical versions of Culture on My Mind are short and sweet. Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you again very soon.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – The IDIC Podcast Festival

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
The IDIC Podcast Festival

May 14, 2021

This week, I’m promoting a Star Trek-themed podcasting festival helmed by Women at Warp: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast.

IDIC Podcast Festival - 1920x1080

The Women at Warp crew will be hosting a virtual podcast festival on July 17-18, 2021. The weekend event will honor the Star Trek principle of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (IDIC) by celebrating and amplifying the diverse voices in Trek fandom through a series of live podcasts.

The general announcement, call for programming and contributors, and important dates leading up to the event can be found on the event page at the Women at Warp website.

The IDIC principle is something that I believe in and the Women at Warp team is a champion of the cause. I’m more than happy to spread the word.

Today’s press release follows.


Women at Warp Launches the IDIC Podcast Festival

Women at Warp: A Roddenberry Star Trek Podcast is pleased to launch our call for applications for the first IDIC Podcast Festival, set to run July 17-18, 2021. This weekend-long virtual event honors the Star Trek principle of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations (IDIC) by celebrating and amplifying the diverse voices of our fandom through a series of live podcasts.

Over the past year, COVID-19 has taken away so many opportunities to connect with diverse creators and audiences in person. At the same time, we’ve seen fans taking to social media to seek out and share podcasts that approach Trek from diverse perspectives. As an intersectional podcast we know that women’s issues are inextricably connected to issues of race and class, LGBTQIAP2S+ issues, disability issues, and more. The transformative period that we are in gives us an opportunity to truly center voices from all these diverse communities in our fandom.

Any podcast that showcases diversity in its hosting lineup is welcome to apply for the IDIC Podcast Festival, whether newly-launched or well-established. We welcome shows that do not exclusively cover Star Trek in their regular episode lineup, but ask that panel submissions for this event be Trek-related.

Admission to this virtual event is free. Podcasts will be streamed live on Women at Warp’s Facebook and YouTube pages and podcasts will be welcome to share recordings in their own feeds after the event.

The deadline for podcasters to submit applications is Friday, June 18. Click here to apply.

For more information, visit out event page at womenatwarp.com/IDIC-fest or contact us at crew@womenatwarp.com.

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About Women at Warp

Women at Warp is a groundbreaking bi-weekly podcast committed to examining Star Trek from a feminist perspective, exploring Intersectional Diversity in Infinite Combinations with a rotating crew of seven hosts. Tune in for everything from episode and character analysis to history of women behind the scenes and in fan culture to discussion of larger themes and messages throughout the franchise. Women at Warp is part of Roddenberry Podcasts. For more information, please visit womenatwarp.com.

About Roddenberry Podcasts

Roddenberry Podcasts is a network of audio shows that deliver thought-provoking, insightful entertainment wherever you are. Podcasts that dig deep into Star Trek, social commentary, science and critical thinking – all ready to download in one place for you to enjoy on your commute or whenever you need a little lively discussion. For more information, please visit podcasts.roddenberry.com.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Death Mountain

Culture on My Mind

Culture on My Mind
Death Mountain

May 7, 2021

This week, I have The Legend of Zelda on my mind.

We joined the Nintendo Switch crowd last Christmas and I finally got the chance to dive into the experience of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That game has simply blown me away. Embracing an open-world approach to gameplay, Breath of the Wild tells a grand story that is completely up to the player to structure as they see fit.

After the tutorial phase is completed, the player could easily take Link into the heart of evil and confront Ganon. Such an approach would be foolhardy of course, but the point is that conquering the dungeons is not a requirement this time around. On the other hand, the depth of the story, from the main quests to the various side quests and treasure hunts, is spectacular. There are a ton of stories across the Kingdom of Hyrule, and that’s what has kept me from finishing the game after nearly half a year of playing it.

I mean, yes, I feel bad leaving Princess Zelda in the lurch against the awesome power of Ganon while I gather crickets, buy a house, and broaden my wardrobe of armors, but the rich tableau is just that addictive.

One of the aspects I love is the music. Manaka Kataoka, Yasuaki Iwata, and Hajime Wakai have composed a beautiful score that couples new themes with re-orchestrated tributes to the now 35-year-old history of the franchise. If you’re familiar with Zelda‘s musical history, there’s no finer example than the two Hyrule Castle themes in Breath of the Wild.

Among those tributes, however, was a theme that took me back to my childhood with a just a tiny bit of the nerves.

Welcome back to Death Mountain, it said.

The original Legend of Zelda was a (pun intended) game-changer in 1986 because it offered the possibility of preserving your progress with dedicated save files. Being able to pick up an adventure right where you left off is a standard now, but it was quite the novelty then. Over quite a long period, I fought my way across Hyrule and gathered the eight pieces of the Triforce of Wisdom, but then sat the game down for a while.

During that time, my brother Nick was living in Washington and we wrote each other on a semi-regular basis. I sent him a letter that talked about school and life and my plans to storm Death Mountain. He had told me before about how difficult the dungeon was, but when he wrote back, he included a hand-drawn map of the level.

The map is lost to time now, but it still remains one of my treasured memories. It was photocopied from the original with custom artwork in the corner of Link rushing to the rescue. The maze of rooms and passages was coded by number and provided an easy to follow guide to the endgame. He even provided a suggested path that included the big treasures and simplest road to victory.

The battle itself, of course, was completely up to me.

I remember that it was a Sunday morning when I decided to tackle the level. All through the game, the music had been the same mix of the Overworld and the Dungeon themes, so I really had no idea what to expect in the final dungeon. The first step into the labyrinth brought the dark beats of the Death Mountain theme and I had to take a few minutes before leaving the opening room just to let it sink in.

The theme faded into the atmosphere as I ground my way through the level. I picked up the Red Ring to boost my defenses. I found the Silver Arrow, which is the only weapon that can kill Ganon. I meticulously tracked my progress and ended up at the room before the big battle.

This is where I lost it.

The Legend of Zelda was the first Nintendo game I had ever finished. When I reached that penultimate room, I knew that I was close to that milestone and my nerves hit me hard. Without even pausing the game, I sat the controller down and closed my eyes. While I centered myself, the music kept playing. After a few minutes, I picked up the controller again and walked into Ganon’s chamber.

The room was pitch black. Link held up the Triforce. Ganon snarled in the light. The fight was a blur but I distinctly remember firing the Silver Arrow and turning Ganon into dust, revealing the Triforce of Power.

I knew I had done it. I had beat the game. I entered the last chamber, met Princess Zelda, and watched the credits roll in a state of euphoria. It was amazing.

Looping back to Breath of the Wild, part of the story takes Link to Death Mountain. The game’s tribute to that theme caught me off guard. As I was climbing around the rocks those familiar notes took me right back to that feeling of nervous euphoria. I stopped for a moment and listened, remembering the story I recounted today, before smiling and climbing onward.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild could rest as a wonderful capstone to the franchise but we already know that it’s not the end of the line. It could easily be the basis for the oft-requested Zelda live-action or animated adaptation. So much of that is the story and the setting and the music and the artistry, but a big slice of it is personal. It’s my adoration of the mythology and the adventure.

It is the memories of working hard on something and reaching the payoff. It is the connection I share with my brother in a simple map to help me along the way.

It’s probably why The Legend of Zelda is my favorite video game franchise of all time.

I guess, in a way, I owe it to Death Mountain.

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Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

The 2020 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar

The 2020 LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar

Promotional image via The LEGO Group

One of the holiday season traditions in my household is the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar. These annual boxes contain twenty-four unique small builds, many of which are abstract, along with exclusive mini-figures and whimsical winter-themed spins on Star Wars staples. We’ve seen a winter Chewbacca, a rebel pilot snowman, a Santa Porg, a “gonk” power droid decorated like a present, and the AT-AT and R2-D2 pair with reindeer antlers.

It’s whimsical and it’s fun. It makes us laugh.

This year’s box was tied to the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special, which was so much fun to watch (but was definitely not canon). This year’s box also included The Rise of Skywalker in the mix of Star Wars favorites. A couple of my favorite builds this year were Vader’s Castle (for the ingenuity) and D-O (for the cute factor).

As you can see, the day-to-day images are posted on my Instagram account. Feel free to follow me there for whimsical observations, tons of pictures of my dogs, and this annual tradition. I compiled last year’s photos into a single blog post.

I hope this holiday season finds you and yours well. Stay warm, stay safe, and I’ll see you next year.

Debrief: Pop Pop Con Con

Pop Pop Con Con
October 16 through October 18, 2020

Pop_Pop_Con_Con

Last weekend was Pop Pop Con Con, a free virtual convention hosted by Shaun and Laura Rosado of PopCycled Baubles.

Three days of geeky discussions helped to fill the gap of conventions cancelled by the global pandemic, and it was a really fun event overall.

All of the weekend’s panels can be found on the PopCycled Baubles YouTube channel, and the videos from the panels I participated in can be found below.

I want to thank the Rosados and all of the panelists for a great weekend, and for experimenting with the path forward for events like this in the future. The entirety of the convention was hosted and run on Streamyard, including the transitions between discussion panels, video bumpers, and scrolling chyron banners. It was very well crafted.

I keep saying that this is the way new and smaller conventions should be run. There’s no need for renting physical space with this, and it would certainly help to build an audience and get the convention on its feet in the first few years.


The New Normal – VOD

1984

Far Beyond the Stars

D&D Tips and Tricks (Player Edition)

NuTrek

Sci Fi Westerns

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Pop Pop Con Con

Pop Pop Con Con
October 16 through October 18, 2020

Pop_Pop_Con_Con

I’ll be contributing to another genre convention this year.

With the global pandemic, so many fan conventions have been cancelled. The fun of great conversation and hanging out with friends is something that I miss. In an effort to help fill that gap, Pop Pop Con Con will be happening over the weekend of October 16-18, 2020.

Pop Pop Con Con is absolutely free, and will assemble fans of anime, movies, comics, TTRPGs, and more. We’re going to be discussing a ton of fun topics with a laid back atmosphere.

The event is being hosted by Shaun and Laura Rosado, longtime fans and owners of PopCycled Baubles. Along with putting on this show, they’re also celebrating the re-opening of their online store.

The event will be hosted online on the PopCycled Baubles Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitch channel.

The schedule of events can be found on the PopCycled Baubles website, and the specific panels that I am sitting are listed below.

Friday, October 16th

PPCC-1-VOD9:30pm – New Normal VOD
Premium Movie Rentals: COVID-19 has changed how we do a lot of things, even going to the movies. Will Premium VOD become the new normal? What does the movie industry look like after COVID?
Panelists include Nathan Laws, Gary Mitchel, and Jenna Busch

PPCC-2-198411:00pm – 1984
It’s been argued that 1984 was one of the single best years in the history of movies. Is it true? Why? Let’s find out.
Panelists include Kristen Nedopak, Eric Ratcliffe, Gary Mitchel, and Calvin Watts

Saturday, October 17th

PPCC-3-DS93:00pm – Far Beyond the Stars
Deep Space Nine was a groundbreaking moment in Star Trek and in TV history. We’re going to talk about the best Star Trek series you’ve never seen and how it changed the world.
Panelists include Sue Kisenwether, Nathan Laws, Kimi Hughes, Michael Williams, and Will Nguyen

PPCC-4-DnDPE8:00pm – D&D Tips and Tricks (Player Edition)
Being a player can be tricky and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. We’re going to talk about the best tips and tricks to ensure you get the most out of your TTRPG experience (can be used for any Tabletop RPG).
Panelists include Dodger, Jeff Mueller, Nathan Laws, and Michael Williams

Sunday, October 18th

PPCC-6-NuTrek6:00pm – NuTrek
Trek has entered a new golden age of content. With Picard, Discovery, The Lower Decks and new movies on the horizon, the world of The Federation has grown by leaps and bounds. What hit? What missed? What’s next? Let’s talk.
Panelists include Sue Kisenwether, Callie Wright, Nathan Laws,  Michael Williams, and Calvin Watts

PPCC-5-Western7:30pm – Sci Fi Westerns
In the last 20 years, the Sci-Fi Western has become a regular staple and the cornerstone of a genre that tends to produce excellence. From The Mandalorian, Firefly, Westworld and Wynonna Earp, we’re going to talk about the Sci-Fi Western.
Panelists include Corrine Vitek, Bethany Kesler, Donald Maher and Brandy Roatsey

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Debrief: Dragon Con 2020

Debrief: Dragon Con 2020
September 3 through September 7, 2020

 

 

Dragon Con 2020 is done.

Obviously, it wasn’t the situation that we wanted, but the Dragon Con social media team did phenomenal work to develop a platform that could deliver the convention experience at home. Alongside the convention staff, several track directors and their respective staffs were fantastic in both building content and stoking the fires throughout the weekend.

This convention gave me a chance to get comfortable with video content at home, and it gives me plenty of ideas going forward to develop ideas and content going forward. It was also good to touch base with my geek family, and even though it wasn’t in person, it still offered me the chance to catch up with them in an era when so many of us are isolated.

 

Thursday

Typically, Thursday would include breakfast at the local Waffle House, picking up our badges for the weekend, and introducing hundreds of newcomers to the convention via the Dragon Con Newbies events.

Instead, the convention got started here with a Zoom recording with the irregulars from the American Sci-Fi Classics Track. In what was scheduled as a one-hour event, we sat much longer and swapped tales of our various shenanigans and favorite memories from the convention.

It was a good way to catch up and almost feel home again.

 

Friday

Friday started with some browsing of the Dragon Con Goes Virtual channels before settling in for a chat about the second season of Lost in Space on the American SF & Fantasy Media Track.

The panel was moderated by my long-time friend Lindy Keelan, who I met during our time at The Scapecast. We were joined by Kevin Eldridge of The Flopcast and Nathan Laws of The 42Cast, and the panel was a great discussion about the season, the series so far, and what might be ahead for the family Robinson.

The next panel for Friday was one that I recorded before the convention with the BritTrack and the crew of Earth Station Who. Mike Faber, Mike Gordon, Mary Ogle, and I joined Caro and Rob to talk about where to get started in Doctor Who.

It’s a large topic to tackle, especially since the franchise has been around since 1963 in so many various ways, but this was a fun and informative discussion and I hope that newcomers and long-time fans find it useful.

 

Saturday

Saturday started with a bit more Dragon channel surfing and a trip at 88 miles per hour with the 35th anniversary of Back to the Future.

I teamed up with Michael Williams, Shaun Rosado, James Palmer, and Joe and Gary to talk about this film, its franchise, and the legacy that they still maintain in science fiction. It got deep at times and was really fun.

Later that night, I popped back into the Classics Track for a look back at the Marvel films that preceded the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Michael Bailey, Jessa Phillips, and Keith R.A. DeCandido also joined the party as we tried to cover the history of Blade to Iron Man in one hour. We needed so much more time.

 

Sunday

Sunday brought me back to my podcasting roots on the Digital Media Track with a topic that Mike Faber and I have been talking to people about for quite a while: How to get started in digital media.

The video is available on the track’s Twitch channel, and (with Mike and myself) included Matthew Malis, Sean Weiland, Tyra Burton, and podcasting newbie Channing Sherman. The goal now is to get Channing to record a podcast. Because he really needs to get his content and character on the airwaves.

 

Monday

Monday brought three more events to round out the weekend.

First up was a pre-recorded panel about Doctor Who that is similar in style to the classic Roll-a-Panel.

With Sue Kisenwether, Jm Tuffley, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Keith DeCandido, and me, Caro spun the wheel and let fortune drive the discussion through the universe of Doctor Who.

The second panel was a discussion on mathematics in science fiction.

I joined Darin Bush, Deanna Toxopeus, Sue Kisenwether, Gary, and Joe on a journey through how our favorite genre uses and abuses one of our favorite technical topics. This is another one that could easily spawn multiple discussion panels.

Finally, the convention came to a close for me with the Dragon Con Newbies team and a quick discussion on Dragon Con TV about coming to the con in person next year.

I joined Kevin Bachelder, Kim McGibony, and Sue to cover some of the basics. We also invite anyone interested in Dragon Con to visit both the website and the Facebook group to get information from a group of helpful convention veterans.

 

General Notes

As I mentioned before, the biggest benefit to going virtual was that we could have some semblance of a convention this year. That’s key in a time where we’re all siloed and unable to physically convene in celebration of our favorite works.

The other benefit that really stands out is two-fold and focused on the fan tracks: First is ingenuity and creativity, and second is continued access.

Each of the fan tracks had to decide how to best present themselves this year to a virtual audience, and many of the ones that I was able to follow this year did so through widely available platforms like YouTube. Using Zoom or Streamyard, these tracks were able to bring experts and fans together and stream their panels to the world. Those panels remain available for as long as YouTube stores them, and they remain an example of both creative problem solving and what the track has to offer for newcomers.

It’s a win-win.

That path was forged by Joe and Gary with the “quarantine panels” that they have done for months leading into this event. Search this site for “Quarantine Con” or visit their YouTube channel and see. In my estimation, those two are the MVPs of this event.

I’m not just trumpeting that to, as Michael Bailey would say, “wax their car”. It’s absolutely true.

 

And that brings me to the things that would improve this system going forward.

First, there was too much divergence on where content was available, and that was confusing for the man-on-the-street who just happened to wander in. My perspective on this comes from the fact that I have a Roku device, an XBox, and a television that can run apps. That means that I can stream YouTube and Vimeo from my couch.

I could literally attend Dragon Con this year from my couch.

The convention’s core programming (Dragon Con Main, Dragon Con Fan Tracks, and Dragon Con Classics) was available in one location (dragoncon.tv/virtual). Those streams were hosted on Vimeo and mirrored to a Roku app, but that app was broken for the first day and did not transmit the Fan Track channel.

If it hadn’t been for the broken code, the Roku app would have been perfect for that intent. But, it also limited who could simply switch on and watch since not everyone has a Roku. Ideally, going forward, a Dragon Con streaming app should be available on multiple platforms for more universal access.

A contributing factor was each track’s individual programming. Some tracks used YouTube, which is universally available for anyone who can click a link. Others were limited to Facebook and Twitch, which are fine for attendees who were on their computers or could use one of the streaming sticks (Chromecast, Amazon Fire Stick, etc) to mirror the computer to the television. But Facebook and Twitch are not available on the Roku, and that was a deciding factor in which Dragon Con Goes Virtual content I chose to partake from.

An argument of “well, you wouldn’t have watched anyway” won’t fly here because I have watched several other panels this year that I usually don’t have the time to watch at a live event. One that stands out is the Star Wars droid-building presentation. Others were puppetry panels, including interviews and a Puppetry 101 discussion, and Michael Bailey’s presentation on Green Lantern and The Flash.

I also have a long list that I want to see because they’re now stored on YouTube for the foreseeable future.

An easy solution to that hurdle is to require every streaming track to have a YouTube channel. It’s not that far of a reach since everyone was using Streamyard and Zoom to broadcast, and those tools have the built-in capability to stream to YouTube.

If a track director has a question on how to do it, we obviously have several experts available to share that knowledge. I’m sure that we also have experts who could tie those YouTube videos into the apps (like the Roku one) to make one-stop-shops for people.

The second big stumbling block was the schedule. The main schedule for the three Dragon Con TV channels was available in the Quick Start Guide and on the Eventeny site for the con. The fan tracks, on the other hand, were buried behind a link hidden in plain sight in the Quick Start Guide. That schedule was a Google Sheets file which was not formatted well.

The schedule should have been more accessible and legible. So much content for this con was hard to find because of this stumbling block.

And, again, ingenuity and ease of access, I’ll point to an example: Kelley at the American SF & Fantasy Media track set up all of her panels ahead of time. She sent emails in advance to the panelists with their links to join the Streamyard recording, and she set up each YouTube livestream in advance so anyone subscribed to her track’s channel would have a ready list of what was going on at what time.

All anyone had to do was select the video and wait for it to start. Joe and Gary did the same on Classics, but I noticed it first from Kelley.

Both of these issues popped up while the con was in motion. Fixing them going forward would greatly improve the experience in the future.

 

Wait. Going forward?

Yes. Because there is some serious potential here for “off-season” programming and contingency planning for the future. Each of these tracks can literally produce panels at any time with this infrastructure, thereby keeping the interest alive throughout the year outside of Facebook groups and localized meetups.

Joe and Gary have a huge library of material to choose from – Dragon Con defines a sci-fi classic as any genre property over ten years old that is not taken by another track – and they have proven that there is interest beyond the scope of their mandate with panels on representation, social issues, and more.

Classics, SF & Fantasy Media, BritTrack, Digital Media, Star Wars, TrekTrack, Space, Science, Skeptics, Animation, Puppetry, the literature tracks… that’s just off the top of my head. All of these tracks have an evergreen presence because there’s so much to talk about. Doing panels year-round (even on a monthly basis) baits the hook for people who might want to come to contribute in person.

The potential is nearly endless.

 

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed Dragon Con Goes Virtual, and I applaud the teams that made it happen. This wasn’t an easy choice, I’m sure, but they did fantastic work under the circumstances.

My deepest gratitude goes out to the staff, the directors, the pros and guests, the volunteers, and the attendees for this event. As one of the local news stations reported, the programming was accessed over 600,000 times by fans from over 49 nations.

That’s not insignificant.

You’ve done good work, gang. Congratulations.

I’m looking forward to see you in person next year.

359 days to go until next Dragon Con.

 

Until then…

Dragon Con 2020: Gone Virtual

Dragon Con 2020
September 3 through September 7, 2020

 

Dragon Con!

It’s an annual tradition for me, but thanks to COVID-19, it’s not going to be in person. And, as someone who personally has risk factors for the infection and lives with people who have risk factors, I’m okay with that. It sucks, but it’s understandable.

Dragon Con is going virtual, including three official video channels – Main Programming, selected programming from the fan tracks, and a classics track of panels from past years – as well as copious amounts of fan-generated content from the various tracks.

And all of it is free. No badges, no memberships… just tune in and get a taste of what Dragon Con does every year.

 

This year will be my twelfth time attending and my fifth year as an attending professional. I have done some work already with pre-recorded content, and I’ll also be on some live panels as well.

The main schedule is available in the 2020 Quick Start Guide. The Quick Start Guide is the overall guide to the convention that is given to each attendee every year. It includes a link to the large scheduling spreadsheet of fan panels, which points you to the channels where that video content will be hosted.

 

Note: All Dragon Con schedules are tentative until the convention ends on Monday. Even then, things are a bit suspect. As things change before the convention, I’ll update this post.
Revision History:

    • Rev 0 – 03 Sep 2020: Initial post.
    • Rev 1 – 04 Sep 2020: Added Doctor Who and available videos for Friday
    • Rev 2 – 07 Sep 2020: Added available videos for the weekend
    • Rev 3 – 11 Sep 2020: Added the Thursday video

 

9:00p: Shenanigans and Tails of Dragon Con! (4 hours)
American Sci-Fi Classics
Streaming live on Facebook (Event)
It’s here! It’s here! 2020 tried to stop us, but it couldn’t as Dragon Con Goes Virtual! As always, the American Sci-Fi Classics Track starts off on Thursday, because why wait for Friday? To kick things off, Joe, Gary, and a gaggle of the Classic Track Irregulars gather to tell the untold tales of Dragon Cons past. Well, untold until now. Now they’ll be totally told. So get your virtual con badge, an over-priced slice of pizza, settle in for the silliness, and remember to let Streamyard have permission to use your name, so the panel can see your name on your comments!

 

12:00p: Lost in Space – Season 2 Revisited (1 hour)
American Science Fiction and Fantasy Media
Live on YouTube
Trials and tribulations finally bring the Jupiter Two and the Robinsons back to the Resolute only to deal with robot slavery, mutinies, and all the mixed up trouble that only ‘Dr. Smith’ could get into.

2:00p: Doctor Who: Where to Get Started with the Earth Station Who Podcast (1 hour)
BritTrack
Pre-recorded on YouTube
Earth Station Who Podcast joins the BritTrack to chat about where new fans can get started with the Classic Doctor Who Series, New Series, novels, comics, and audios!

 

2:30p: Back to the Future 35th Anniversary (1 hour)
American Sci-Fi Classics
Streaming live on Facebook
The Avengers were wrong! This movie is awesome, and scientifically accurate, of course.

8:30p: Pre-Dawn of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (1 hour)
American Sci-Fi Classics
Streaming live on Facebook
We look at Blade, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and more.

 

3:00p: Getting Started With Digital Media: The Ups & Downs (1 hour)
Digital Media
Live on Twitch
This panel will help newcomers and veterans alike find the ins and outs of creating both audio and video podcasts, on multiple platforms.

Video available at Twitch.tv

 

10:00a: Doctor Who Potpourri (1 hour)
BritTrack
Pre-recorded on YouTube
Similar to “roll-a-panel,” Doctor Who panelists spin a wheel and get a topic with only five minutes to answer!

11:30a: Making Sci-Fi Add Up: Math in Classic Sci-Fi (1 hour)
American Sci-Fi Classics
Pre-recorded on Facebook
All slide rules must be peace bonded for this panel.

2:00p: Dragon Con 101 (1 hour)
Dragon Con Facebook and Instagram channels
First Dragon Con? Confused or overwhelmed? Savvy con attendees will share their tips and tricks for making your experience an awesome one.