Why Press Should Cover Flame Con

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Whether it’s your first time covering the comic convention circuit or you’re a veteran; as soon as you hit the Press Room, it’s common to exchange ‘war stories’ among colleagues. Which con had the longest Press check-in line? or the eternal question, Why don’t Press Room’s have food or drinks? However, after covering Flame Con, the game had changed. Flame Con is journalist’s dream!

Here are The Reasons Why:

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photo: Flame Con

The Super Staff & Volunteers

As soon as you walk into Flame Con, you’re warmly greeted by staff and volunteers who are eager to help make your convention experience a blast. It’s one of the important aspects that give Flame Con it’s friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The Press check-in is speedy and efficient. (This also includes applying for a badge.) This year we received a super helpful “night before” email from the new PR Director, Michelle Rose Micor, which also included a map.

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The true heroes of Flame Con and they even wore capes

             

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The Press Room

The Press Room gets better and better every year. Last year it was luxurious. This year, it’s not only gorgeous, it 2.5 times larger in order to accommodate for interviews. One of the challenges of conducting interviews at a comic convention is either reserving or finding a quiet space. If you’re small or medium Press Corp, you won’t always get a chance to reserve a space. You’ll most likely have to conduct interviews on the floor, where it’s very noisy. In this case, Flame Con staff went out of their way to make sure all Press got the opportunity to use the space.

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Food, Snacks, Drinks, WiFi …Oh, My!

It just keeps getting better, there were water bottles and snacks in the Press Room! Most comic conventions do offer free WiFi, yet, the free lifesavers on the table were a delightful touch. (You might say it’s a clever pun). While the snacks went by fast, don’t worry, the Press Room wasn’t the only place that had food. Several booths gave out free candy and one vendor offered bagels and danishes! A happy journalist is a well-fed one.

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Activism

Have you developed an interest in politics? Then, Flame Con is a great springboard. It’s a wonderful place to meet people who’ve taken a creative approach to our current political climate and a great way to get involved in the LGBT community. Flame Con hosted a twist on last year’s Geek Activism panel, called “Queering Activism” along with other panels and workshops on diversity & representation in media. I even received a free button saying “Bisexuals Against White Supremacy”.

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The Press Room Sign

Flame Con is well-known for its pop-culture style signs. Whether it’s the Flame Con logo, Cosplay Repair Station or the Gender Neutral Bathrooms; each booth or room has its own unique sign based in the spirit of comic book tradition. The Press Room Sign is reminiscent of Clark Kent’s Press hat from The Fleischer Superman Cartoons (1941).  Alongside Ironheart(Cosplay Repair Station Sign) and Snorlax(AFK Lounge Sign); this journalist felt like a Superhero.

Last, but not least…

Flame Con is Fulfilling!

Covering Flame Con is one of the best assignments I’ve ever had. It’s more than just a job; it’s rewarding. I feel that I’m part of a growing community and that I’m making a difference- That’s priceless!

Still not convinced? Then check out my Top 5 & Top 10  lists on Flame Con and Flame Con 2: 2 Fierce 2 Fabulous.

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THE VOICES OF WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK

What is International Women’s Day? It’s a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.[1] Since 1975, the UN began celebrating International Women’s Day, along with a theme and events to empower women around the world. Yet, its history is unique. International Women’s Day has it origins as a socialist/Soviet holiday dating back to the Russian Revolution; it was originally a day to celebrate women’s rights and women’s liberation from being second class citizens. It was customary for women to receive flowers or gifts or get the day off from work. Russia and several former satellite states still carry out this tradition. Ironically, the first Women’s Day Observance was held in 1909, in NYC by the Socialist Party of America.[2]

On March 8, the organizers of the Women’s March harnessed the symbolism of International Women’s Day to create “A Day Without A Woman.” A protest that symbolizes unity and to “highlight economic power and significance that women have in the US and global economies.” The march was inclusive calling attention to the injustices cis women, trans women and gender non-conforming people continue to face. Marches were organized on a global scale.

Since the early 20th century, Washington Square Park has been synonymous with activism. In 1912, 20,0000 workers rallied in response to the disastrous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire to protest for better working conditions. In 1915, Women marched through Washington Square Park for their Suffrage. In 1917, the Arch Conspirators declared Washington Square Park and Greenwich Village a Free and Independent Republic. This vibrant history of free speech continued on into the 60s and 70s, the anti-Iraq protests of the early 2000s; and today it was the perfect location for “A Day Without A Woman.”


Here are the voices of Washington Square Park told through photographs.

Pop-culture as a reflection of current events

 

 

Great sign (and great advice!)

 

 

Black Lives ALWAYS matter!

 

 

  The question we should ask—regardless!

 

 

It was good timing, as representatives from What’s In Your Box (an organization on promoting sexual health and empowerment) came to show their support. A woman carrying a sign saying “Queer Power” stood in the middle. Perfection!

 

 

Last, but not least your moment of zen as the NY State Nurses Association shows their support!


SOURCES

All photographs and video: Sara Barton

originally published via GeeksOUT!

GEEKING OUT ABOUT #MARCHINGWITHME

On January 21, millions gathered around the US to advocate for equality, health care, love, and solidarity for the Women’s March. What originally started as a march on Washington, DC spanned nationwide from New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Austin, Chicago, and Minneapolis, to name a few (there were at least 673 “sister marches” across the county), making it one of the biggest one-day protests in US history.

While this journalist has been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, lately it’s been quite a struggle. This brings up an interesting question, how do you fight injustice when your chronic illness or invisible disability (1) becomes cumbersome?

NY Mag wrote a comprehensive guide for prospective marchers that included information on the Women’s March-DC- Disabilities Caucus and how to receive accommodations. An estimated 45,000 people with disabilities showed up, which the largest assembly of people with disabilities in US history (4). What about those who are unable to attend the Women’s March?

Suffering the Silence developed an ingenious solution, called #MarchingWithMe. In collaboration with the Women’s March, people who were unable to attend sent a photo of themselves and were paired with a marcher. The marcher would wear or carry their picture as a sign of solidarity and to raise awareness for chronic illness and disability rights.

“Suffering the Silence (STS) is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to leveraging the power of art, media, and storytelling to raise awareness around the life experience of people living with chronic illnesses.” What started as a book by Allie Cashel, describing her experience with chronic Lyme disease, has blossomed into a mission to empower others with chronic illnesses, build a community, and transform medical and social perceptions of them.

I was excited to participate, but I’m very camera shy (the irony!). So, I asked Suffering the Silence if there was an alternative and they were kind enough to accommodate. After much debate, I sent in my favorite photo; which was taken by Village Voice photographer, C.S. Muncy when I covered NYCC this year (3). I was cosplaying as Radio Times reporter, Jilian Holtzman, from Ghostbusters (2016). I couldn’t have asked for a better photo and the queer feminist pop culture reference was the icing on the cake.

This isn’t the first time I’ve volunteered for Suffering the Silence. Over the summer, fellow spoonies (2) and I participated in photo-shot for their campaign to help them become an official 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Mission accomplished!

IMAGE: Amanda Crommett

 In addition to taking our photos, we’re asked to pick a quote or mantra that inspired us. I chose, “Suit Up, Again!” from the Toonami promo for the anime series, Gundam Wing. (They loved the reference!) It was a pleasure to work with them, and I was ecstatic to help out again.

IMAGE: Susan1087

I received an email from Marching with Me coordinator, Jacqueline Rasposo. I was paired with my marcher, Susan, who attended the Women’s March in New York. We exchanged social media handles in order to hashtag and share photos to spread awareness. I loved how she ended each email with, “In Solidarity with the Resistance!”

Joining Marching with Me gave me an option to feel included and empowered. Yes, I would have loved to have marched or to have covered the protest in person. Nevertheless, Suffering the Silence gave me a unique opportunity to be a part of a dedicated community striving to make a difference. In journalism, we strive to be objective, yet this was my time to strive to be personal and share my story.

The Gundam Wing quote has deeply resonated with me throughout the various phases of my life. When I developed my invisible illness, it became the mantra I think of every-time, I have to head to the ER. Every time, I have to suit up, again and again, to fight another medical battle. Now, after the Women’s March, I see it with another layer of context. It’s a sign of the times, that in order to protect our rights, we’re all going to have to “Suit Up, Again!”

Dedicated those who “Suit Up, Again” to fight injustice


DEFINITIONS

(1) Chronic illness/invisible illnesses/invisible disabilities: are interchangeable terms to describe illnesses that are often invisible (to most people). The daily feeling of being invisible can be one of the most challenging parts, especially since one can appear healthy and able-bodied. Invisible illnesses can range from asthma, food allergies, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Lyme disease, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, or brain injuries, and also includes mental illness such as G.A.D, PTSD, bipolar, and depression.

(2) Spoonies: A person living with chronic illness who identifies with Christine Miserandino’s Spoon Theory. The Spoon Theory measures a person’s daily abilities much as one would measure the proper amount of spoons needed for an event or occasion, sometimes having an abundance, other times coming up short.


SOURCES

(3) SBR journalists make The Village Voice NYCC 2016 Cosplay List!

(4) Women’s March expected to be largest gathering of people with disabilities in US history


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Suffering the Silence-STS
STS Facebook
STS Twitter
STS Instagram
Women’s March

The resistance continues: 10 Actions / 100 Days

 

published via GeeksOUT!

Behind: Stabbed!

“Don’t piss-off Miranda!”- A film by Sara Barton


Behind: Stabbed! 

Stabbed! is an homage to the infamous shower scene from the film, Psycho, the gritty look of the 1970’s and early 80’s slasher films and the Looney Tunes cartoon, “Falling Hare”(1943), starring Bugs Bunny.

I started writing the script for this film a few weeks after I finished post-production for  BB-8 Goes to Washington for Adobe Premiere Editing class in Spring 2016. My professor, Olivier David loved the idea and this would be Miranda’s 1st starring role. (I admit it, even though I transferred into film, I’ll always be animator at heart) I had intended to film it over the summer, unfortunately, the weather made shooting unbearable. (It felt like 100 degrees F in my apartment)

I did what any good screenwriter would do. I hung on to the script until an opportunity arose, and it did! It was Fall 2016, Production class; Sal Petrosino thought it was hilarious. Except, I had to change the ending, it was extremely bloody. In the original ending, Miranda jumps on top of its owner; it’s the final stab and blood explodes everywhere. I relished the idea of creating a blood bomb for the special effects. Yet, looking back, if I’d gone through with it. There would have an epic mess in my bathroom. The difference between a film set or your own personal space- clean up!

With the script tweaked, now came the fun part; the fake blood. Like any aspiring prop and special effect builder, I started working on this over the summer. I wanted to create fake blood that was free of red dye and could be made from simple cooking ingredients. I test a bunch of recipes, some involving raspberries and coffee grounds. However, I had hit a roadblock.  I wasn’t getting the right color.

During the Fall semester, I brainstormed a solution in Food & Bio-Art class, my co-professors, Sally Bozutto and Kirby Gookin were intrigued. After some trials and errors, I found that beets produced the perfect color to resemble blood. Another issue arose, the color only lasted a few weeks, our science advisor, Sebastian C. Cocioba, recommend sodium benzoate, a preservative, commonly used to make pickles. While I’d had solved the dye issue, the base was another. In fake blood, there’s a corn syrup base. This can easily be resolved by making a simple syrup (It’s made of sugar & water).

So, I had the dye and the base, but when combined it was still too liquidy.  When I changed the ratio of sugar to water, it either turned to candy(it delicious, but not useful for my film) or resembled human tissue. It was an unexpected surprise, nevertheless, I added it to my film. I still wasn’t able to solve the problem. Ironically, when it was time to shoot; I had to use the simple syrup and regular red food dye (which I’m allergic too). It’s not a fatal allergy, but it leads to itching, a rash, mild swelling. The situation would have been worse if it was ingested.

Production went smoothly, Kharise and I worked well together as co-directors. The stabbing effect was thanks to Cameron and the fake prop knife. (It has a plastic retractable blade) We all did a really good job that day and wrapped early. However, I did make one last minute change to the script. The victim arrives from the beach. I realized I wasn’t comfortable being filmed nude and in this scenario wearing a swimsuit is more plausible. If you notice on the set, I hung my mom’s Gloria Gannor vinyl, “I will survive”; to hint foreshadowing.

Post-Production is where the magic happens. Sarah Beim and I always work well as a team. Initially, we wanted to replicate the Psycho shower scene, but we decided to cut the footage differently and be as original as possible. It was filmed in color, but we used filters to change it to black and white and replicate the gritty 1970’s effect for the beginning. While, cutting, Sarah thought that Miranda was too cute to be scary. It wasn’t my intention, but it’s true, Miranda is adorable. The filters take the audience through 3 decades, in the beginning, is the 1970’s, then the 50’s- 60’s and the ending is more contemporary.

In the ending of the original script, Miranda is supposed to put on a pair of glass, as an homage to the film, “Pulp Fiction”.  It was difficult to do this as stop-motion, yet Sarah came up with a brilliant idea to use the Thug Life black shades. It was a nice touch.

One last thing, wondering what inspired the G & R card joke? Watch the cartoon.

In case you haven’t figured it out; the G and R card are a reference to the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) rating system.


Credits

Starring:
Miranda, Sara Barton and Cameron Xing (the one who stabbed me!)

Director-DP:
Kharise King & Sara Barton

Screenplay- Storyboards:
Sara Barton

AC/Sound:
Cameron Xing

Editing:
Sarah Beim(Vellichor Productions) & Sara Barton

Prop Design: Sara Barton
Miranda is manufactured by Monster Factory

Music Credits:
Psycho-OST- Bernard Herrman(1960)- 15)Peephole & 17)The Murder
Kill Bill: Vol.1 OST- Quincy Jones 16) Ironside
Pulp Fiction OST- Dick Dale & His Del-Tones 1)Misirlou
More Dirty Dancing- The Surfaris(1988)- Wipe-Out
Hot Butter(1972)- Pop-corn

Special Thanks:
SVA Bio-Art Department
Prof. Sally Bozutto
Prof.Kirby Gookin
Sebastian C. Cocioba
and Prof. Olivier David for his encouragement

Dedicated to Tony Perkins and his fans

THE TOP 7 ANTI-TRUMP PROTEST SIGNS!

It was the shock heard around the country. After a long arduous election, Donald Trump was declared the 45th President of the United States. New Yorker’s wasted no time expressing their discontent and disbelief. The streets flooded with thousands of protesters chanting and carrying several colorful signs.

Protests started in Union Square and went uptown to the Trump Tower, along with a few smaller ones in Washington Square Park. I did what any journalist would do — I took photographs. I also picked out some favorites from social media. I hope this list empowers you (especially those of you who are new activism).

Presenting [drum roll]…

The Top 7 Anti-Trump Protest Signs!


7: The Most: Witty

Image: NYMag

One of the most agonizing things for first-time protesters is: “What do I write on my sign?” As my professor always says: “Don’t get it Right! Get it Written!” This good-humored sign shows that imperfection is perfection.


6: The Most: Steven Universe!

Image: Hannah Corwin

This photo is the LGBT double entendre. Steven Universe is well known for its queer themes and its creator Rebecca Sugar is bisexual. This sign was made by my friend, Lorelle, a design major at the School of Visual Arts. While my Facebook wall was covered with posts of despair and hopelessness; she was one of the first who rallied people to stand up and fight with the clever hashtag: revolt2k16.


5: The Most: Sage

Image: Susan Alzner

The sign is held by singer-songwriter, activist, and independent entrepreneur, Ani Difranco. The quote by Angela Davis embodies the soul of the Anti-Trump protesters. It’s reaffirming that we as Americans mustn’t accept or tolerate hatred, racism, homophobia, sexism, and xenophobia. It’s our job to fight for what’s right!


4: The Double Down

Image: Courtney Sweet

This image has it all: a sign quoting Hillary Clinton’s reassuring words to the young ladies, a sign with the Anti-Trump hashtag “Not My President,” and of course, sign number 3 (below). The man climbing the traffic poll to post it only adds to the epic value of this image.


3: The Most: Artistic

Image: Sara Barton

A lot of hard work was put into creating these signs. (Yes, there were two Nazi Anti-Trump parody signs) One of the artists was kind enough to stop and be photographed. It’s gone viral throughout social media, as it was featured in many other photos.


2: The Most: Honest

Image: Sara Barton

This sign is a poignant reflection of the feelings of the LGBT community. It’s simply perfect!


1: The Most: Foreshadowing

Image: Sara Barton

I photographed this protester just after I voted. Her name is DJ Chela. She sat patiently in Union Square and let strangers take pictures of her. Yes, this sign speaks the truth. The presidential candidates have been unable to take action on The Dakota Access Pipeline or properly address the concerns of the Black Lives Matter movement. This photograph is not only powerful and moving, it’s symbolic of how most Americans feel right now: that our voices have been silenced.

As President Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

This article is dedicated to: Lorelle, Hannah, and Nicole.

published via GeeksOUT!

The RWBY Interview

Nov. 1, 2016 – Anita C. Wang

As a fan of Rooster Teeth’s animated series, RWBY; I was ecstatic to learn that Digi Kolobong and I were going to interview: Miles Anthony Luna (Head-writer/Co-Director/ V.O.A: Jaune) and Barbara Julie Dunkelman (V.O.A: Yang) at New York Comic Con.

Digi and I dressed to our absolute best for this interview. Digi cosplayed as RWBY’s very own, Weiss Schnee; and yes, she built that fantastic sword! I cosplayed as the female version of Takashi Shirogane(Shiro) from Netflix’s animated series, Voltron: Legendary Defender (2016). I crafted the top and the cyborg arm. (In case you’re curious, Digi is pregnant with her second child. It’s a girl!)

I won’t drop spoilers; except this one. During the interview, it was nice to learn that the spirit of RWBY’s creator, the late great Monty Oum lives on within the series.

Edited by: Sara Barton


CREDITS:

SBR Correspondent: Anita C. Wang

Guest Correspondent: Digi Kolobong

Team RWBY: Barbara Julie Dunkelman (VOA: Yang) and Miles Anthony Luna (Head- writer/Co-Director/ VOA: Jaune)

Director-DP: Sara Barton

Producers: Sara Barton & Anita C. Wang

Editors: Sarah Beim (Vellichor Productions) & Sara Barton

Special Thanks:  Vellichor Productions, Sal Petrosino, Mike Delvecchio and SVA

The Star Trek Beyond Interview

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October 9, 2016 – Sara Barton & Anita C. Wang

It’s Sunday, the last day of New York Comic Con 2016.  SBR correspondents Sara Barton and Anita C. Wang venture to the final frontier; going boldly where no journalist has gone before- The Star Trek Beyond Booth.

We were greeted by the lovely Star Trek Ambassador, Jordan Kessel.  Anita and I co-interviewed Jordan.  Among this stellar interview, we discussed the eternal burning question; the original Star Trek series v the new films?  Jordan happens to be a big fan of the original Captain James T. Kirk, played by William Shatner.

We had the chance to see Jordan at work and to try out the booth ourselves. There were a photo and video station. NYCC attendees relished the opportunity to pose with Star Trek film props, including, the famous ray gun. In case you’re wondering, that’s actual Captain’s seat from the Star Trek Beyond movie set.

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It was an experience that was truly out of this world.

photos: Anita C. Wang