The following was originally published on http://con-news.com on 11/02/2009
Well, as promised, or threatened, I’m back for part two of my Gaylaxicon 2009 recapitulation. Thank you for returning for more. You know, perhaps this isn’t really a recap, because, part of the definition of a recap is “concise”, which this isn’t. Synopsis doesn’t fit either, for the same reason. Call it a wordy review. In any case, on with the whole ADHD soaked show!
Gaylactic Jeopardy! 1 of 2 – Drew Post with contestants David Kaplan and two others still to be identified.
Gaylaxicon has it’s own game show, Gaylactic Jeopardy, played just like the television show, except that the answers are all at the very least, genre related, though not necessarily BGLT related. Drew Post was ebullient as the master of ceremonies, exuding that bit of Canadian-ness required to be a Jeopardy! host. Nersi Nikakhtar kept everyone honest by keeping score and a young gentleman named Richard Martin who gracefully revealed the answers. Dave Kaplan and others (please help me out with names) were faced with topics like; Author! Author!, ABC (Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke), Twilight and Comic Book Movies. And what was the general consensus?
A) The whole thing was damned funny.
B) Gentlemen, you need to read more.
C) Sparkly vampires suck, and not in a good way.
D) Shy geeks who read need to not be so shy, so get up and participate.
Spectrum Awards – Rob Gates [M], Carl Cipra, Warren Rochelle
The Gaylactic Spectrum Awards honor outstanding works of science fiction, fantasy and horror, that include significant positive explorations of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered characters, themes, or issues.
The 2009 nominees for Best Novel are:
Adijan and Her Genie by L-J Baker (Bedazzled Ink)
All The Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear (Tor)
Alliance in Blood by Ariel Tachna (Dreamspinner Press)
The Archer’s Heart by Astrid Amara (Blind Eye Books)
Blood Magic by Matthew Cook (Juno)
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (McElderry)
Covenant in Blood by Ariel Tachna (Dreamspinner Press)
Dragon & Fenyx: Called By Power by Auburnimp & Michael Barnette (Shadowfire Press)
Dragon & Fenyx 2: Swordbrothers by Auburnimp & Michael Barnette (Shadowfire Press)
Face Your Fears by Jeffrey L Stoddard (PD Publishing)
Half A Crown by Jo Walton (Tor)
Havemercy by Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett (Bantam Spectra)
Hell and Earth by Elizabeth Bear (Roc)
Ink and Steel by Elizabeth Bear (Roc)
Jawk, Tales of the Chosen by Kayelle Allen (Liquid Silver Books)
The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak (Bantam)
The Magician and the Fool by Barth Anderson (Bantam)
My Hero by Tristram Burden (Rebel Satori Press)
Nights of Sin by Matthew Cook (Juno)
On Azrael’s Wings by D. Jordan Redhawk (PD Publishing)
Santa Claus Conquers the Homophobes by Robert Devereaux (Booklocker)
Seti’s Heart by Kiernan Kelly (Torquere)
Shadow’s Return by Lynn Flewelling (Bantam Spectra)
Turnskin by Nicole Kimberling (Blind Eye Books)
And the winner is – Elizabeth Bear for The Stratford Man (that’s Ink & Steel and Hell & Earth, treated as the single book they properly are).
Cabaret – Host, Glori Halleluiah
After a delicious dinner, a large percentage of the convention gathered for an after dinner Cabaret, hosted by the lovely Glori Halleluiah (performed by Troy Gross). We were treated to; a wonderful performance by Barbara Gordon, which pulled us though decades of pop culture and stage magic including the Brady Bunch and Star Trek, intense and intensely funny spoken word performances by Allegra Lingo and Wonder Dave, a troupe called Transvestite Soup performing the best bits of the Rocky Horror Show (if the time warp plays and you don’t dance, we take away your geek card. No excuses.), a bit of folky, filky music by the Feng Shui Ninjas, and of course, a drag performance by our hostess with the most-est, Glori Halleluiah.
We were all left in an excellent mood and ready to party the night away. The number of parties was small (it’s a small convention) but the camaraderie more than made up for it. Oh, and it was at this time we noticed that some of the guests at a couple of wedding receptions also being held in the hotel kept walking by the con suite. Then a couple stopped by to make inquires about Gaylaxicon in specific and fandom in general. We answered their questions and showed them a good time.
No, not like that.
GoH Spotlight – Lawrence Schimel
Guest of Honor Lawrence Schimel (whose wikipedia photo looks very gruff & serious) did an excellent job of introducing us to the breadth and depth of his work. While I had some idea of his work as a translator and short story author, I had no idea of his work creating children’s books. And not just any children’s books mind you, but books about growing up different. He’s penned books about having two daddies or two mommies. Books whose very existence point out how different modern Spain is from the modern United States.
Lawrence is very approachable, very accessible man within whom there is great depth to be plumbed. Hopefully, we will run into each other at some convention or conference (where he’s not the GoH and being run ragged) in the near future where I can buy him a drink or two or some such and we can have a long chat.
(by now I was getting pretty tired. I was not taking comprehensive notes; so if my recollections are a bit off, please correct them.)
The Straight Pill – Andrew Bertke [M], Lee Martindale, Marlin May
Yes, that’s my name sitting up there. It was my first time sitting on a panel as an SF convention and I was very nervous. Yes, I’m inordinately proud of myself.
OK, gloating over.
In this panel we examined the idea of “The Straight Pill” or curing homosexuality as expressed either directly or allegorically in F&SF, across the media landscape, with a dip into the science to see if this is even remotely possible, and the sociology, to examine if anyone would avail themselves of such an alteration were it available. From there on, all bets were off.
The conversation ranged far and wide, starting with allegorical approaches to the issue, for example the X-Men (in particular the third X-Men movie), the Psi Corps sleeper drug from Babylon 5, even the book and movie Flowers for Algernon. It was difficult to come up with direct treatments of the idea, besides “Hard Pill”, a play and movie by John Baumgartner.
As far as the science goes, Lee Martindale reminded us all of the carnage which has resulted from ongoing attempts to make people thinner through bogus medical means in increasingly calorie soaked industrial and post-industrial societies. We all quickly agreed that a certain percentage of the populace would partake if it were made available, especially if they were culturally averse to being Gay. If such a treatment were based on something like changing epigenomic expression, then the possibility would exist for a gay pill as well as a straight pill. By now, ideas were flying back and forth betwixt and between the audience and panelists, with the division between the two morphing and melting. What if it were short term? Could you be straight or gay for a day or for an hour? Would it come in different strengths? Could it make you bisexual? What about illegal trade in the drug? What about date rape? Could it be slipped into someone’s beer? What about coercive action by the state? Would repressive regimes force people to take it like we can sentence sexual predators to chemical castration? Would parents give it to their children, like today’s parents give HGH to their children?
All the while this was going on, Lee was gleefully taking careful notes. Her sly comment, “People ask me where I get ideas for stories. Now you know.”
It was excellent and I had a ton of fun. I’d love to do it again. I extend sincere thanks to Andrew & Lee & my fellow Gaylaxicon attendees for making my virgin panel experience an exceptionally pleasant experience.
Gaylactic Jeopardy! 2 of 2 – Drew Post with Contestants: Kendall Bullen, Rob Gates & Carl Cipra
By the time Gaylactic Jeopardy! part two came along; we were all getting a bit punchy, in that ‘we’ve been at a con for 2 ½ days’ kind of way. Drew once again was the Master of Ceremonies, assisted by Richard working the board and Nersi keeping score. I will confess to being a little fuzzy on the exact goings on at this point until Rob called his mallet his “little banger”. We all lost it. Carl almost fell out of his chair. It was a very silly time. I have no idea who won. No, in actuality I know; we all did.
Wonder Woman Appreciation Panel – Mike Penick [M], Andy Mangels, Ctien
The final panel I attended at Gaylaxicon was an examination and appreciation of Wonder Woman across all of the media in which she’s appeared; Comics, live action and animated television. The conversation ranged from her origins in direct opposition to the standard masculine heroes of the time (and today) to the recurring themes of bondage as play in the comics and television series. Often in the comics, Wonder Woman would be tied up, reminding her of games she played in her youth on Paradise Island. She would easily slip her bonds and then proceed to truss up her would be captors in knots she learned in childhood. They could not escape them. It was also pointed out that Wonder Woman seems alone in wanting to reform the criminals she captured.
We also spent time talking about the television series and Linda Carter’s role in creating Wonder Woman’s most iconic image. Ms. Carter’s image is now so solidly fused with Wonder Woman that, if a movie were to be made, the actress will almost surely have to look similar to Linda Carter.
Closing Ceremonies – Presided over by Convention Chair Don Kaiser
The closing ceremonies were bittersweet, like the closing ceremonies of most conventions, but with an important difference. At one point, Don asked for those who were first time Gaylaxicon attendees to raise their hands. A forest of hands erupted into the air (what an alarming image). Really, well over half of room raised their hands. It was thrilling.
Gaylaxicion was over, but not quite over. Those of us who were still hanging around were treated to a series of shorts and a feature length film, along with a whole bunch of warm chocolate chip cookies.
The films shown were:
- Masturbation: Putting the Fun into Self-Loving
- And the Award Goes to
- Prop 8 commercial
- In the Closet
- Begging for Change
- Masturbation (repeated by request)
- Shock Treatment
And that’s it. There was nothing left but pack and to go home. It was snowing as we left the hotel, unusually early for Minneapolis, but leave we did. My convention jones was sated for a while; but only for a while. It always comes back; I’ll never get that convention monkey off of my back. It’s ok though; it is a pretty monkey. It has rainbow colored fur, it wears a propeller beanie, and I think it squeaks in Klingon or Elvish, I’m not sure which.
Thank you to Don Kaiser, Andrew Bertke, Joe Agee, Burl Zorn, Peer Duda, Claudia Slovacek, Robert Schug, Jason Tucker, Chad Eschweiler and everyone else who helped to make Gaylaxicon 2009 a reality.
See you, and you, any you too missy (you’re already out of the geek closet, you might as well come out of all of them) next year at Gaylaxicon 2010 in Montreal!