Panels generally run 1 ½ hours, including a question and answer segment of the presentation. A standard projector with A PC VGA connection or a HDMI connection, and projection screen is required. They can be shortened to one hour, or expanded to 2 hours with notice.
When Otaku Attack: The Dark Side of Fandom
Fandoms are wonderful communities, but like all communities they have a dark side. From body shaming cosplayers to sexual harassment at con, there are many problems within the fan community. We’ll examine the many issues that come up in fan communities and talk about ways to help make them welcoming for all fans.
Fan Fiction 101: The attack of the Mary Sues
What’s a fan who truly loves their fandom to do when the property itself just isn’t enough? Write your own stories based on the fandom of course! In this workshop, we start with talking about the history of fan fiction in America, and move on to legal issues, critique, and avoiding the pitfalls of bad fan fiction writing.
Yomiko Readman’s my hero: Anime and Manga in Libraries
Ever wonder how to get your local library to carry your favorite manga series? Whose car do you have to wash to get the library to have an anime club? Why is “Loveless” classified as an Adult Graphic novel? We’ll discuss how libraries work, how they are catching up with anime and manga fans, and how you can help your local library become anime savvy!
Cosplay is for Everyone
The Cosplay is for Everyone movement is a coming together of cosplayers who have decided to fight back against the myth that only perfect physical representations and recreations of characters are welcome in the cosplay world. In this panel, we look at cosplayers of all physical descriptions, talk about found piece cosplay, and other beginner cosplays methods. We also talk about how to look for welcoming communities of help in learning types of cosplay crafting, and how as cosplayers we can make the hobby more inclusive.
Anime and Animation
Adult Swim: The Early years
Adult Swim has carried some of the most influential programming in fandom, varying from Robot Chicken to late night anime blocks. You might find it surprising that if not for things like Hanna Hanna-Barbera and Loony Toons, the off shoot of cartoon network might not have survived. In this panel, we look at the early days of adult swim and how these early animation studios helped create an adult cartoon block.
Women in Anime
Women and girls have a strong presence in Anime, but how are they portrayed? How has anime influenced women in fan culture? We will look at both fictional anime women, and the women who love anime.
Hunting the Forest Spirit: Mythology and Anime
Anime is full of mythological themes. From Miyazaki’s films to Princess Tutu In this workshop, we explore its mythological roots, examining both Japanese myth, and world myth cycles. Come see how a new art form spins ancient stories.
Anime 101: Isn't Otaku a kind of Sushi?
Can you tell a Pokemon from a Digimon? Do you know the differences between a sub and a dub? Do you hear words like “Baka” and scramble for a dictionary? Well you aren't alone. This workshop is for you.Japanese Anime is a big part of American pop culture now, and many people are trying to catch up . In Anime 101 we cover the basics of Anime from its birth in Japan to it’s popularity here in America.
(I also offer a teachers/librarians professional version of this workshop that includes hand out material for suggested anime and manga for classroom settings and library collections)
Soul Sucking Snow Women: Mythological Horror in Anime:
Japan has a long tradition of monsters, demons, and ghosts in their folklore. Anime has dipped into these stories and given them a unique spin.. We’ll be sharing some of the weirdest and spookiest of the supernatural tradition, and see how anime is adapting them for a worldwide audience.
Gargoyles: Reinventing Myth for Modern Times
In 1994 Disney rocked the animation world with a show that used Shakespeare, and world mythology to create a story of magic, darkness, love, and redemption. In this panel, we talk about this amazing show, and how it helped changed how Americans viewed animation as a storytelling form.
The Great Cartoon Rewind: The 80’s were weird. Really weird. Nothing shows how weird as well as the cartoons on our TV’s every Saturday morning. Come and take a walk down memory lane to a time when MTV was king, and Trapper Keepers were as far as the eye could see. (This presentation requires audio, and also an internet connection)
Make It So: The Science of Star Trek
In 1964, a science fiction show premiered that would boldly go where no show had gone before, not only inspired by the science of the day but encouraging generations of scientists to make their own discoveries. In this panel we'll talk about the real science that influenced the many versions of Star Trek, and the scientific breakthroughs that Star Trek helped to later inspire.
American folklore, mythological archetypes, and clashing cultures are just some of what made Joss Wheadon’s cult classic series ‘Firefly” so successful. In this workshop, we will discuss the elements of the show that tap into these areas, and explore why the program has such a long lasting fan following.
I Want to Believe: The Cases behind the X-files
In 1993, the X-files attracted a huge fan base with its smart writing, interesting co-stars, and dark humor. For many fans, part of the fun was knowing the paranormal cases the show was referencing. Come and see what in the real world inspired the fiction, and find out if you believe.
Cloud Age Symphony: Steampunk in Anime
Steampunk and its various spin off genres have influenced anime for years. In this panel we look at the anime that have taken inspiration from Steampunk, and examine how anime has in turn influenced some aspects of steampunk.
The Intersection of Technology and Romance: Steampunk 101.
For all its appeal, steampunk can be a very hard genre to define. In this panel, we discuss the various ways steampunk is identified, look at how it developed as a genre, and see how it is influencing everything from literature to fashion. This includes a reading list of both speculative and steampunk fiction for folks just starting to get interested in steampunk.
(I also offer a teachers/librarians professional version of this workshop that includes hand out material for suggested steampunk material for classroom settings and library collections)
Every state has its ghost stories, but no other state has the Dover Demon or the Salem Witch Trials. From sea-side ghosts, to UFOs over the Berkshires, Massachusetts has a rich history of paranormal legend, odd events, and strange denizens. In this workshop, we have a look at some of the most famous of Massachusetts paranormal history.
Nefarious New England: The New England States are full of weird. From Betty and Barney Hills 1961 reported alien abduction to the haunting of the Sterling Opera House, the is a wealth of spooky tales that are known all over the northeast. In this presentation we look at some of the most famous cases from each state, and tell the tales that have entertained generations of New Englanders. Decide for yourself if you ought to sleep with the lights on.
Abnormal America: : Every state in the union has its own spooky stories and unsolved mysteries- Alien abduction, Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and the Mothman. These are only some of the strange things can be found across the country, and in this presentation you’ll hear some of the strangest and spookiest stories the USA has to offer.
Dark Frequencies: The Strange World of Shortwave Numbers Stations.
For over 75 years, strange pirate radio messages have been picked up over shortwave radio. These have become known as numbers stations. But what are they? Who is sending them and why? How is it they have captured the imagination of many who hear them? Come and find out. (This workshop will need sound, as we will play clips from numbers stations as part of the presentation)
The Electric Myth: The evolution of Creepypasta
Slenderman. The Rake. The Seedeater. Ted the Caver. The internet has become the new forum for our fear. In this panel we’ll look at some of the more famous creepypastas, the psychology behind why they scare us and look at the more popular forms of their stories on the web.
Welcome to Welcome to Nightvale
In July of 2012, a strange little podcast hit the internet almost unseen. A strange blend of NPR type narration and twilight zone events, Welcome to Nightvale has exploded onto the fan community. What is this show? Why is it so popular? And what indeed is lurking in the dog park? You’ll have to come to this panel to find out.
Demogorgons and Xenomorphs: The Horror that influenced “Stranger Things: Netflixs hit horror/fantasy series owes a lot to the creators that came before it. From 80’s horror films, to classic horror fiction, this presentation examines what inspired the chills in “Stranger Things
Bird Kings and Christmas Demons: The Wonderful and Weird Global Traditions of the Yuletide Season
There is no more popular time of year in the USA than the Christmas seasons. But have you ever wondered were the flying reindeer came from? Why do we set up a tree inside the living room? The more you think about these customs, the odder they seem. Look outside the USA and you’ll find even more fascinating Yuletide traditions. Come and find out about how weird the season of joy is.
(This lecture is suggested for 15+ due to content. Be advised we will be talking about some of the origins of our friend in the red suit, so little ones may not be ready for all Santa’s secrets.)
Comics/ Comic Properties
Faster than a Speeding Bullet: A brief history of comics.
How did the comic art form develop in America? What made it part of our nations mythos, and how is it evolving in the modern age? In this workshop, we look at how sequential art has evolved throughout the years, and what influence it has had on modern popular culture in America and around the world.
(I also offer a teachers/librarians professional version of this workshop that includes hand out material for suggested comics for classroom settings and library collections)
Wonder Women, Super girls, and Villainous Vixens: A history of women in American Superhero comics.
There’s been a lot of attention paid to female comics fans in the last few years, but the truth is women have always been part of superhero storytelling. We’ll explore the importance of female heroes and the women who brought them to life in the larger history of American superhero comics.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: From the Underground to Superstardom.
In 1984 a black and white comic quietly appeared on the New England comic’s scene. Who could know that 1987, a TV show and a line of kids toys would make a bizarre experiment into a world wide craze. In this workshop, we’ll trace the history of the TMNT from the early days to the upcoming Michael Bay film. We will also discuss the fandom of TMNT, and why these characters have stayed popular with generations of fans.
Give yourself… 12% of the credit : The female perspective in Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers” And "Age of Ultron"
The Avengers was one of the marvel superhero films of the past decade that did as well with a female audience as a male. In this panel, we’ll look at the women of the Avengers, and talk about both Whedon’s take on them, and why female audiences reacted to the film.
Suffering Sapho!: A Brief History of Wonder Woman. She’s one of the most recognized characters in the history of American comics, but many fans don't realize her strange and rich history. Together, we'll explore the long and complicated journey of the amazon princess.
Artwork by Bettina M. Kurkoski.