Why Press Should Cover Flame Con

IMG_2275

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:

IMG_2268

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.

IMG_2265

The true heroes of Flame Con and they even wore capes

             

IMG_2264

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.

IMG_2267

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.

IMG_2286

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”.

IMG_2263

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.

Advertisements

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!

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

IMG_0103

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.

IMG_0095

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

photos: Anita C. Wang

SBR journalists make The Village Voice NYCC 2016 Cosplay List!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oct. 10,  2016- Sara Barton

Only at New York Comic Con (NYCC) can a journalist have their 15 minutes of fame. Every year, thousands of cosplayers are photographed by fans and the press. Each media outlet has their own version of a top or best cosplay/costumes list. This year we got our moment in the sun.

Anita and I, joined by guest correspondent, Digi Kolobong, were on our way to the Rooster Teeth booth to interview Barbara Dunkelman & Miles Luna from RWBY. As we left the Press Room, we were approached by a woman from The Village Voice. She was impressed by Anita and Digi’s costumes and asked if they’d liked to be photographed. Ecstatic-we seized the opportunity!

Anita cosplayed as Shiro, from Voltron: Legendary Defender(2016)  and Digi cosplayed as Weiss Schnee, from RWBY (which was fitting for our interview.) The photographer, C.S. Muncy, loved my tinted rainbow glasses. He asked if I wanted to be photographed as well. I was surprised given the simplicity of my costume. I was cosplaying as Radio Times Reporter, Jilian Holtzman, from Ghostbusters (2016).  (I thought it would be funny to play up the journalism pun.)

New York Comic Con 2016 has been a magical experience for SBR!

To see the full article:

“Incredible Cosplay at New York Comic Con 2016”
http://www.villagevoice.com/slideshow/incredible-cosplay-at-new-york-comic-con-2016-9204567

Photos by C.S. Muncy for the Village Voice