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Okay, so registration on Friday night was a disaster. It was a disaster that started out as an inconvenience, then ramped up to an accessibility issue. Here's what I gleaned about how that came about: somewhere along the line, it got decided that the con (which gets attendance in the 4000+ range) should have a signed code of conduct from each attendee. Okay. There's a registration database, customized for the con, but for some reason, the form wasn't included in the preregistration options; I can only assume that it was a late addition. I know that I got a copy in an email on the 11th but didn't get around to running off a copy before the con. I had a LOT of company, as it turns out, and it would have made little difference if I had run it off beforehand.

What they decided to do instead was to set up a couple of stations and one printer. Each con goer in line was expected to run off a personalized print out of the code in order to get a printed on the spot badge. No provisions were made for people with obvious mobility issues or small children or panelists or vendors or preregistration vs.pay at the door, or any other logical breakdown that would have helped this process in any way. Periodically, small handfuls of people who had printed the code off were run through faster, but not consistently or often. I ended up in line for over two hours, with no sitting and one cup of water. I think the people further back ended up waiting even longer. One vendor I spoke to the next day told me he was in line for 4 hours, due to various issues which got him returned to the back of the line for sundry reasons, only one of which seemed to have much to do with something he had forgotten to bring. Anybody who had any programming or plans for Friday night and didn't already have a badge by 5PM missed a big chunk of the evening. So, yeah, disaster.

Why was this an accessibility issue? Let's start out with all the folks who couldn't stand in line that long. I stayed because I had a morning panel and I had no idea whether things would improve in the morning, and I thought I needed a badge. At the end of my time in line, I had a swollen knee and a hypoglycemic crash, neither of which were fun. I also had a badge and a signed, personalized code of conduct that neither I or probably anyone else in that line actually read, thereby reducing its effectiveness to nil. But I was also not the elderly man with the cane who one of the line volunteers persuaded to get up from one of the few chairs to stand in line again, despite the fact that he seemed unsteady on his feet (I was too far away to hear what actually got said, in all fairness, but could see the affect). There were folks with walkers and wheelchairs or using canes or crutches (this does not, of course, include less visible disabilities that would have made all this unpleasant, if not impossible), standing in line for well over an hour in many cases. The registration volunteers either couldn't or didn't look for other options. And, based on conversations I had the next day, a lot of people paid for it in physical discomfort. The con was very, very lucky that no one passed out or had a seizure or other issue.

I have no idea how those decisions got made within the Con Com, but I really hope that that they do better next year. A signed code of conduct is all well and go but it's only effective if someone actually reads it and agrees to abide by it. One of the things that I like about CONvergence is the "Costumes are not Consent" campaign which includes posters and flyer throughout the con. Many of these are humorous, but all of them taken together help create some level of awareness around harassment. I assume that was one of the intended points of Arisia's code of conduct. Maybe some day, I'll get the opportunity to read it and find out under less unpleasant circumstances.


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Last weekend, we went to our second trip to Boston and Arisia. Boston kicked off splendidly with a trip to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. On the way, we ran across a terrific hurdy-gurdy player in the train station who proved to be the famed Donald Heller of the Hurdy-Gurdy Band. We didn't know he was famed, precisely, at first, but we had acquired a taste for the hurdy-gurdy when we went to the late, lamented Nordic Roots Festivals at the Cedar Cultural Center. And he's very good and very charming and we geeked about hurdy-gurdies and such and bought a CD. Good stuff!

From there, we went on to the Museum, where a nice man stopped us on the steps and handed us two tickets to the Museum, thereby saving us $50. He said it was too crowded for him that day and was headed for quieter pastures so we got to celebrate part of our 22nd anniversary trotting around a lovely museum. Amongst our discoveries, actress Sara Bernhardt was also a sculptor! This is a fabulous self-portrait of herself as a sphinx.

After that, we were off to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, with its glorious interior courtyard. Lovely furniture, art, tapestries and other sundry pretty things to look at, plus a nice cafe and good gift shop. Definitely going back there again next time we're in town. Then we went back to the con, and things went awry for a bit (see next post).

Saturday's panel on Founding Mothers of SF and F went pretty well. We covered a lot of genre territory, from Mry Shelley and Margaret Cavendish to the Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain to Shirley Jackson, Zenna Henderson, Naomi Mitchison, Octavia Butler, Elizabeth Lynn, Angela Carter, Marge Piercy, Joanna Russ and others. The audience was very involved and interested so there were a lot of good additions and questions. I went on to a very entertaining talk on bad cover art while Jana went on to various art programs. After that, I tracked down the fine folks at the Broad Universe table and roamed around with one of my friends. Then Jana and I wrapped up our evening by enjoying dinner at a local restaurant with author Jude McLaughlin and her lovely wife. And we got back to the hotel in time for the Worldcon 75 (Helsinki) Party and I got to meet Crystal Huff and we both sampled reindeer pate and pine tar soda, as you do.

Sunday was miscellaneous stuff, then lunch with the fabulous Julia Rios, followed by a very nice party/discussion for the Outer Alliance. I haven't had the opportunity to sit around with a group of queer-identified folks of different ages and backgrounds and identities and chat.  Plus, there were really good munchies. Sacchi Green gives good party, just saying. And we got to hang more over dinner after that. 

The masquerade was impressive (we watched it on TV) and the rest of our time was spent working on sundry projects until we had to head home. Overall, people were pleasant, the programming we went to was decent to good and the hotel was quite nice.

In the next post, I'll talk a bit about what didn't go as well.


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Farewell, Goblin King. Thanks for the great music, the terrific performances and the times that you were brave and beautiful and freaky.




And in more sad news, lesbian activist and writer
Jeanne Cordova also died today.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/c/ce/Jeanne_Cordova_Lammy.jpg/220px-Jeanne_Cordova_Lammy.jpg

As a side note, I was scheduled to read with her in Chicago a couple of years ago, but she had to cancel, so I didn't get to meet her. I do wish I had.

In the personal front, I'm off to Arisia this week to hang out in Boston and see friends and actually go to the con this time around. I also got an invite for programming for Au Contraire in Wellington, NZ, which should be lots of fun, especially since I just found out that the WETA Workshop is there.
And I just got my post turned in for this year's Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event! Lots of great posts going up every day, plus some book giveaways so do check it out.



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It's been a very full week! The big news is that I got the Medial Assistance approval for my mother from the State of MN. What that means in concrete terms is that the funding for her living expenses at the nursing home are now covered. This is a gigantic load off my mind - it took several months to sort out and weighed on me for considerably longer, so feeling pretty accomplished now. The other bit of news is that my small business attorney is filing my LLC for Queen of Swords Press this week! This will pave the way for a bunch of other things that need to happen so it's pretty glorious. :-)

In other news, cons for 2016 will include, barring unforeseen issues: Arisia, Marscon, Au Contraire (New Zealand!), CONvergence, Diversicon, MidAmericaConII (Worldcon in Kansas City). Perhaps a couple of others depending on exhaustion, etc. Details to follow.
Other appearance stuff: Possible presentation on accessibility and aging at the Google Development Conference in Minneapolis (waiting on the conference); teaching 2 workshops at The Loft Literary Center (if they carry); guest lecturing at a U of MN class (not open to the public). Plus some other things currently pending...

I also just upgraded my membership to full for Helsinki World Con in 2017, using proceeds from my Jack the Ripper story, which feels very professional writerly at the moment. Work is fraught, we're rearranging the house, I'm starting to get back into writing and editing again, holidays ahead and more to come.

My Arisia schedule is pretty lowkey, which is all good. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the con, Boston and friends than I did the last time!
Current panel:

The Founding Mothers of SF/F Marina 2 Literature Sat 10:00 AM 01:15

Description As we know, women invented all our favorite stuff! Mary Shelley defined science fiction with _Frankenstein_; Baroness Emma Orczy invented the superhero with _The Scarlet Pimpernel_. Let's discuss the founding mothers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Panelists: Greer Gilman, Debra Doyle, JoSelle Vanderhooft, Sonya Taafe, Victoria Janssen. Moderator: Catherine Lundoff
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As noted in my previous posts regarding Arisia, Unheard Voices is a roadshow panel promoting three organizations promoting diversity in writing and reading in the science fiction and fantasy genres: Carl Brandon Society, Broad Universe and Outer Alliance. We throw a lot of things at the audience and each other, then try to remember them afterwards. Here's my best current effort, plus a few other things that didn't get mentioned given panel time constraints.

Women in SF/F/H:
Broad Universe - Member catalog
www.broaduniverse.org/catalog/
SF Mistressworks - reviews of classic SF/F by women:
www.sfmistressworks.wordpress.com
Feminist SF Bibliography -
http://feminist.org
100 Great Science Fiction Stories by Women - Ian Sales'
blog
Worlds Without End Women of Genre Reading Challenge -
reviews

Gender in SF/F/H:
Tiptree Awards - science fiction and fantasy that expands and/or explores understanding of gender. Award winners and short/honor lists

LGBTQ SFF:
Lambda Sci-Fi - resource list
http:///www.lambdascifi.org/books/recommend.html
Gaylactic Spectrum Awards - award winners and recommended l
ists
GLBT Fantasy Resources and Reviews -
www.glbtfantasy.com
My posts on SF Signal: "
LGBT Science Fiction and Fantasy in the 1970s" and "LGBT Science Fiction and Fantasy Before 1970"
And another post, this one for the Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event 2012 - "
Lesbian Protagonists in Science Fiction and Fantasy"
Rainbow Awards - see lists of nominees, finalists and winners for the last several years
American Library Association GLBT Roundtable Rainbow lists

People of Color and Writers of Color in SF/F/H:
Carl Brandon Society - resources and award lists
Carrie Cuinn - bibliography: 100+ Asian Speculative Fiction Authors
Sofia Samatar - Horror Writers of Color
Diversity Roll Call Roundup: POC in Sci-Fi and Fantasy
Making Lists: Mindblowing SF by Women and People of Color
Fantasy Magazine - People of Color in Fantasy Literature - Three Part Roundtable Writeup

Steampunk - Beyond Victoriana


General Diversity lists:
Diversity in YA


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As I noted in the last post, this is not the most representative couple of posts on what Arisia is like for most people, just me. It was a fun and lively convention and I would definitely be willing to go back. Now back to what I actually did there.

So having messed up on times, I hung out with Connie Wilkins until we needed to work the BU table. The table was hopping, thought not so much for us. Lots of people stopped to get badge tags and info and some books by other people, plus interesting socializing with other Broads. At one point, I met Rose Mambert of
Pink Narcissus Press, who was quite entertaining.From there, we were off to dinner with Connie and family, then back up to the room for me to deal with my worsening migraine.

Then back down again to moderate an 8:30 panel - Unheard Voices of SF/F/H.
This is a roadshow panel  that we've been doing at a number of conventions with representatives from Broad Universe, the Carl Brandon Society and Outer Alliance. talking about each organization, why we all exist and what we hope to do next (I'm a Board member for BU, a founding member of Outer Alliance and a member of Carl Brandon, hence the "we"). The full panel discussion will be up at the Outer Alliance podcast in a few weeks so this is just based on what I remember at a high level while moderating and having a migraine. .K. Tempest Bradford stepped in for Nisi Shawl (who sat in the audience and asked us to call her "Nalo," which made for lots of fun comic relief); other panelists included Andrea Hairston, Julia Rios, Trisha Wooldridge, Victor Raymond and me.

Resources that the organizations offer:
Broad Universe is an organization that exists to promote women writing science fiction, fantasy and horror (women are defined as anyone self-identifying as female). Resources/benefits of membership include: social media, newsletter, online discussion group, website catalog of member works, a podcast, rapidfire readings at conventions and tables at conventions.
Carl Brandon is an organization that exists to promote racial and ethnic diversity in both the writing and reading of science fiction and fantasy. The organization runs the Parallax and Kindred Awards, as well as the Octavia Butler Scholarship fund to send writers of color to Clarion and the Con or Bust auction, which provides financial support to fans of color wanting to attend cons. They also host parties at several conventions, including Arisia and WisCon.
The Outer Alliance is an organization that exists to promote and support the writing and reading of LGBTQ science fiction, fantasy and horror. There is a podcast, an online discussion group and a reading group at WisCon, as well as panels such as this one.

We discussed visibility and invisibility, some of the authors that we've lost, small presses that promote diversity, things we'd like to do if we had the people power and resources, issues in the field that make each organization essential, conventions that are friendly to diversity, and related topics. It was lively, as promised, and I'll post a link to the podcast when it's available. Check out each organization's website for some resources. I'll post more as I think of them.

We left the panel, stopped off to talk to Victor and some of his friends and ended up in the bar, as one does. we spent a jolly hour or so talking about conventions, queer fandom, LGBTQ organizing and other related topics. And I may be headed back to Boston for an upcoming con. More bulletins as events warrant. We made vague plans to meet Victor the next morning but the hellacious hotel wifi made connecting nearly impossible. So we ended up wandering down to the restaurant on Sunday morning and crashing the breakfast that Victor, Tempest and a friend were having. More food, more chatting, occasional bits of gossip and sordid anecdotes ensued. As they do.

Jana went off to go look for a bookstore and I stayed, fully intending to go to panels. I got a message that James Nicoll had some questions about BU and went to his guest interview, which was very entertaining. He and I wandered back up through the hotel and I ended up crashing the lunch he was having with a friend (we have a theme for Sunday!). And there was more hanging out and chatting. Then off to the Art Show so I could recover my fabulous little bird bone earrings and skull box, then down to the Dealer's Room. And from thence, on to an early dinner with Julia Rios. Jana took off for a panel and Julia and I retired to our room to hang out until her next panel and the Masquerade.

After that, Jana and I hung out, complimented people on their costumes, then went and vegged out. So, overall, good  relaxing time, bruises, migraine and all. Good chatting with friends and meeting new people and all of the things that make for a good con weekend.

Monday's trip back was pleasant and mellow. So now we are back to the regularly scheduled programs of unpacking the office, putting stuff away, dealing with Mom and so forth. Thanks for a fine and pleasant con, Arisia!

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Replete with the usual namedropping, because I know awesome people. And, really, that's how much of my con time is spent these days. I set out to go to a reading or a panel, I run into someone and then I'm off to go talk or meet or whatever the equivalent is. I'm not complaining, but it did mean that I saw less of Arisia than I originally thought that I might.

That said, we got into Boston early on Thursday afternoon and got to the hotel without incident, then were off into the city to
Brattle Book Shop which was old and creeky and charming. We picked up a copy of Virginia Woolf essays, Coaching Days and Coaching Ways (with the Hugh Thomson illustrations), Thurber's The White Deer, and fine press editions of the Songs of Sappho and Shakespeare's Sonnets, all for very reasonable prices. Then it was back to the hotel for dinner and sleeping, since we'd gotten up at 3:30AM to catch our flight and were pretty groggy by then.

Friday, Jana went off to go explore and network with other binders, while I holed up in the room and did some writing before meeting up with Victor Raymond for lunch. From there, I was off
to help set up the Broad Universe table in the Dealer's Room, where I got to hang out with our esteemed pres, Trisha Wooldridge and her husband Scott, the nice folks from Spencer Hill Press and a bunch of other fun folks. An expedition to the business center resulted in me running into Fan GOH James Nicoll (we'd met online, but not in person) as well as getting copies. Then it was back to the BU table for me until I needed to leave for dinner with Jana and sparkymonster. This was lovely, except for the part where Jana limped in, having taken a bad (bruising, back spasms) fall on the steps of one of the libraries. but she soldiered on bravely and we had a fine chat about fannish and personal stuff and lady's undergarments, as one does.

I then headed back down to the Dealer's Room, where I got to guard the table while a bunch of other Broads did party setup. I went up and checked on Jana, who was still convalescing, then went on to the Broad Universe Party where I met up with the fabulous Connie Wilkins/Sacchi Green. We hung out at BU for a bit, then went on to the Circlet Press party next door, where we chatted with publisher/editor/writer Cecilia Tan and other folks. Then onward and upward to the Carl Brandon Society party where we chatted a bit with Nisi Shawl, Julia Rios, K. Tempest Bradford and other folks, and got a demo of what I have come to think of as "Stupid White People Tricks." This particular instance started with a conversation about the House Elves in the Potterverse, which got turned into a mini lecture by a white fanboy on the extent to which enslaved people "buy into" or become "comfortable" with their status as slaves and are then  redefined as "willing slaves.". This went over about as one would expect (hint: badly), while derailing what might have otherwise been an interesting conversation.  At any rate, his companion took him away shortly thereafter, we hung out for a bit longer, then headed off to our respective rooms.

Saturday morning, Jana and I headed down for breakfast and ran into James again, this time sweeping him up to join us for breakfast. We had a lovely conversation about cats and sf/f and assorted other stuff. Then we went off to the Art Show, where we ran into Connie and her family. At which point, I developed a migraine, just in time to go collapse before the BU RFR. Jana went off to panels, I pulled it together to go read. We had a full room and lots of good readings. I ducked out to go work the table, only to discover I'd written my shift times down wrong. So I bought tea in the Dealer's Room and headed back up to the reading, in time for it to let out.

To be con't...

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is brief and will allow for wacky things that I seldom get to do at cons, like laze about, read, go to panels and hang out with friends (and possibly holing up in the room to work on revisions), maybe even see some of Boston. I'm so looking forward to this! If you're going to be there, please let me know. :-)
Full con schedule and info is
here:

Saturday, January 18th -

1:00 PM Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading — Writing, Reading — 1hr 30min — Hale (3W)
Broad Universe is an international organization of women and men dedicated to celebrating and promoting the work of women writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Come hear samples from the works of several members of the Broad Universe organization.
Elizabeth Black, Terri Bruce, Kelly Hashway, Rachel Kenley, Ellen Larson, Catherine Lundoff, Gail Z. Martin, KT Pinto, Jennifer Allis Provost, Suzanne Reynolds-Alpert, Roberta Rogow, Connie Wilkins, Trisha Wooldridge, Phoebe Wray

8:30 PM The Unheard Voices of SF/F/H — Literature, Panel — 1hr 15min — Adams (3W)
What amazing voices and stories are we missing out on in science fiction, fantasy, and horror due to lack of representation, support, or a myriad of other things? What are some things that suppress/oppress different voices and stories? What is being done to boost the signal of women, authors of color, and QUILTBAG authors? What can readers do to find these voices? Members of Broad Universe, the Carl Brandon Society, and Outer Alliance discuss these issues and more in a lively panel discussion.
Andrea Hairston, Catherine Lundoff (m), Victor Raymond PhD, Julia Rios, Nisi Shawl, Trisha Wooldridge
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I'll be doing the 2014 edition of the Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event in January, this time on the topic of Amazons in Fact and Fiction. I've participated in this for the last two years and had a lot of fun doing it. Highly recommended! http://redheadedkb.tumblr.com/post/69377379483/announcing-the-2014-lesbian-fiction-appreciation-event

Also in January, I'll be at Arisia in Boston where I'll be moderating a panel on Unheard Voices of SF/F with an all star lineup and participating in the Broad Universe Rapidfire Reading. http://2014.arisia.org
Final schedule to be posted soon!

I'm also working on a follow up guest blog for SF Signal on LGBT SFF in the 1970s, which will probably post in late December/early January.

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