catherineldf: (Default)
Said write-up consists entirely of my personal experiences, FYI, so none of the various and sundry things that went on that I either haven't heard about or wasn't present for are covered.
  • Drove 4.5 hours, give or take, landed at the Concourse and did a mad dash from the car to the hotel registration to the con registration to the Art Show and the Dealer's Room. I also got to make a short dash into The Gathering to drop clothes for the Clothing Swap. Not very excited that the entrance was once more "mined" with an unexpected nail polish cloud from the nail polish booth. I have chemical allergies so I literally couldn't stay in the ballroom. I know I'm not the only one and this is year 2 of this happening; this is a thing that needs to be fixed before someone has a major asthma episode or equivalent. That aside, everything else went relatively smoothly. Jana got her artwork set up at the Art Show and got checked in. I dropped books off at A Room of One's Own and DreamHaven Books (both of which carry print Queen of Swords Press titles). After all that, we went and collapsed in the Starbucks to recharge.
  • There, we were joined by the delightful Robyn Bennis (whose books you should be reading), followed by postering for the Sunday night Queen of Swords Party. From there, we went out for vegetarian Tibetan food at the ever delightful Himal Chuli with Robyn. Then back to the hotel for pirate slush reading (me) and the hot tub (Jana). After that, I was off to the Twelfth Planet Press Party to learn about their latest and meet up with friends. The party was very pleasant, the friends very welcome, but it was on the second floor of the hotel with nothing around it, so it remained, alas, poorly attended. But check out their website and their new projects because they're pretty awesome.
  • The day dawned with a bright and early trip to the Farmer's Market for sundries, which is always fun.
  • After that, Jana went off to volunteer at the Art Show and I went to roam the Dealer's Room and the Art Show before meeting my friend Brontë for our annual lunch from Teddyweggers.
  • After that, we went off to our respective panels. Mine was Beyond Batty Old Ladies, with L. Timmel Duchamp, Georgie Schobrich and Isabel Schecter. We had a decent discussion and people enjoyed it so I felt like it went well, I plugged the Goodreads list  of books with older female protagonists that we've been nurturing along since Helsinki and my Old(er) Women in Spec Fic list and I've heard that folks are getting some good use from them, so that's all good.
  • There was more slush and more Dealer's Room, in the midst of which I learned that Other Me's (Emily L. Byrne) new novel, Medusa's Touch, had hit the bestseller list for its category on Amazon U.K., which made for a nice lift to the afternoon and evening.
  • Then we met up with Alex Acks and enjoyed a very nice dinner to celebrate the release of Murder on the Titania and Other Steam-Powered Adventures.
  • After that, I went to Elise Matthesen's Haiku Earring Party briefly, then checked out the Comics party for a bit before bedtime.
  • The day began with a lovely breakfast with Caroline Stevermer (who has a new novel coming out in the nearish future!), followed by a stroll back to the hotel for more Art Show (Jana) and sundries (me).
  • Jana and I met up for lunch and were the targets of a homophobic freakout by a woman who may have been tweaked  out of her skull. She threatened us but didn't get close enough to be physically threatening. It was unpleasant, but we survived and she wandered off after her companion. Lunch was quite tasty, at least.
  • I went down to Michaelangelo's for a reading by Monica Valentinelli, LaShawn Wanak, Naomi Kritzer and David Levine. The readings were good, but the coffee shop is a really hard venue to read at - very noisy and lots of traffic, best-suited to humor.
  • After that, I went to go hear my friend Sigrid on a panel on leading women of Syfy, which was fine, though one panelist had some slightly odd and fairly strong opinions about a show she'd never seen. I was hoping to learn a bit more about shows I hadn't seen, but The Magicians doesn't appeal to me and I'd seen the others; always nice to burble about Killjoys though.
  • Shortly thereafter, we met up with Monica for dinner, then went off to go prep for the Queen of Swords Press Party. Reader, we had a blast, once things were set up and I was in my Victorian Matrix gear. There were games and tea and lovely fans and friends old and new. Alex was feted and chatted with. I met up with a couple of fans of my work and they said lovely things. People all retired at 1AM, which was when we were ready to call it a night and cleanup went swiftly.
All in all, we had a good con. There was some friction (which, for a change, I was neither directly involved in or present at) and a certain amount of tension, not surprising given events in the outside world. So we'll see how it goes and how things shake out. Right now, it's on the list for next year.
catherineldf: (Default)
Queen of Swords Press/Release Party for MURDER ON THE TITANIA AND OTHER STEAM-POWERED ADVENTURES by Alex Acks/Alex Wells at #WisCon42 tonight in Room 627! There'll be munchies and games and special guests! Costumes welcome! MURDER and our other print titles, SILVER MOON and OUT OF THIS WORLD by Catherine Lundoff, are available at the Room of One's Own Bookstore and DreamHaven Books tables in the Dealer's Room - get yours signed tonight between 8:30 and 1. Room of One's Own also has Alex's Angry Robot series so you can collect the set!
catherineldf: (Default)
 Other Me (Emily L. Byrne) has her first novel out! Medusa's Touch is a fast-paced sexy lesbian science fiction romance and you can read more about it here. Emily has had a very good week, seeing as it also included the acceptance of her story "Rainbow's End" to Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Vol. 3, the acceptance of "Nights in Red Satin" to Rose Caraway's anthology The Dirty Librarian's Dirty Thirty Vol. 3 and the reprint of her story "Phone, Sex, Chocolate" in Rachel Kramer Bussel's reissue of Candy Lovers.

In short, Emily is currently having a better writing year than Catherine, but we're working on. Catherine is finishing off pirate submissions and sending out a bunch of rejections (sorry!), but will be moving on to acceptances soon. SOON. I promise. 

Otherwise, I'm off to WisCon tomorrow. If you'll be there, please one and hear me on the Beyond Batty Old Ladies panel and come to the Murder on the Titania party on Sunday night. It will be fun!

I'll also be adding a new event in June - updates coming soon.
catherineldf: (Default)
The gearing up for the annual expedition to Madison for WisCon has begun - I've got one panel and a Queen of Swords Press/Release Party for Murder on the Titania and Other Steam-Powered Adventures by Alex Acks. Also, shenanigans. Jana's work will be in the Art Show and our books will be in the Dealer's Room with DreamHaven and A Room of One's Own. The party will feature tea and munchies, some lowkey games, book signings by Alex, me and our special guest Robyn Bennis, for as long as chooses to hang out. Probably other guests too, depending on how things turn out. Stop by and say hi if you're there!

Beyond Batty - Old Lady Characters In SF&F (scheduled)   Sat, 2:30–3:45 pm Wisconsin
Moderator: Timmi Duchamp. Catherine Lundoff, Isabel Schechter, Georgie L. Schnobrich about this item. 
Older folks remain underrepresented as protagonists or major characters in SF&F films, books, and TV shows. Older women rarely appear even as supporting characters, and often only as batty old broads or other stereotypes we wish would go away. What stories break this mold? What stories are there yet to be told for older women in SF&F?
Queen of Swords Press Book Release Party for Alex Acks's Murder On The Titania (scheduled)   Sun, 8:45 pm–Mon, 3:00 am Room 627
Queen of Swords Press (Catherine Lundoff, Publisher) is releasing author Alex Acks' Murder On The Titania And Other Steam-Powered Adventures in April 2018. The party includes a signing by Alex and promo information about Queen of Swords Press' other books, as well as tea and light refreshments.

Good times!

catherineldf: (Default)

It’s some indication of how the last week or so has gone that it’s taken me this long to do a con report. Whee! At any rate, Friday was a mad rush of driving across Wisconsin to land at the hotel in time to rush Jana off to the Art Show to set up, drop off a box of post-surgery Catherine clothes for the Clothing Swap, check in, register and all that.

I should note that this year was a very emotionally fraught for me: I attended WisCon for 25 years in a row, then stopped going for a couple of years after the Frenkel debacle. I lost some close friends over how the convention committee at the time handled/mishandled the situation and its aftermath. Several people that I did programming with or hung out with, including poet John Calvin Rezmerski, writer Ama Patterson and author Mike Levy, died in the last eight months. One or two folks who I would be perfectly happy to never see again for the rest of our lives inevitably showed up. And then, unsurprisingly, there was some emotional processing with other people, about which I still have mixed feels. Given all this, I had a pretty decent con, with a few hiccups.

Friday night was a nice dinner with friends from Boston, a brief collapse and a short party tour followed by my reading with the nice folks who added me to their group. The reading went reasonably well – good attendance, interesting stories and my chocolate emojis were super popular. Some friends from Iowa showed up , as well as some other folks I haven’t seen for a few years so a good time was had reuniting. Saturday morning was the Farmer’s Market tour, followed by the Small Press Publishing panel. I had cleverly noted the time as 10:30 and was late, so I spent my intro apologizing, but apart from that, it was an okay panel from the standpoint of panelist and audience engagement. And I may have picked up a short term consulting gig from it, so that was all good.

Jana volunteered at the Art Show a fair amount, while DreamHaven Books (yay!) ended up taking my books for sale. A Room of One’s Own Bookstore supposedly had the books, but didn’t bring them to the con, which was frustrating. And alas, also not the first time I have had this or similar problems with them. But so it goes and I will go back to not depending on them for any at convention sales and stick with working with other folks instead. It wasn’t a great book sales weekend for me, in any case, which wasn’t too surprising since I didn’t have a big book release and hadn’t been there for a while.

Saturday afternoon featured the Red as Blood: Women in Gothic Horror Panel, which was terrific. I had fun moderating and both the (very full) audience and the panelists were very engaged. See my previous post for recommendations. I definitely want to do a panel on this theme again. Plus, I got to follow it up with hot tub time, which made for a lovely afternoon. Dinner was spent in the pleasant company of a charming couple that I met on Twitter and everything was all good…

Until I got back to the room and opened the program book and noticed that were more numbers than I expected next to my name. Wacky hijinx ensued as I learned that I was scheduled for a presentation on Aging in Speculative Fiction at 8:30 Monday morning that wasn’t on my personal schedule. This also meant that while I had the right laptop with me, I had no connectors for hooking it up, but more on that later. Sunday was a nice day, spent in the company of friends and getting lovely feedback on my gaming tie-in writing for the Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary anthology The Cainite Conspiracies, which I was in last year (and learning that I’ll likely have an opportunity to write more gaming tie-in work soon, which was a very nice compliment). I went to a panel on the idea of borders, physical and cultural, and liminality, which was quite interesting, hung out at the Art Show, visited friends and bought things  in the Dealer’s Room and prepped for my crack o’dawn presentation on Monday. Also, more hot tub which I really needed, and another nice dinner with friends old and new.

Monday was also Jana’s birthday, but she dutifully helped pack up the car and came to watch me attempt a presentation with no laptop connections (I waved my arms about and said ‘Imagine a pretty picture!” occasionally), despite heroic efforts by the convention AV person and the hotel staff. It apparently wasn’t too bad of a train wreck and people stayed and asked questions and giggled at my jokes and signed up for AlterConf in Chicago. We then whisked Jana off to birthday breakfast at a nearby pancake place that the awesome Caroline Stevermer suggested (she was, as usual, quite right). Then it was back for frenzied packing, preregistering for next year and so forth.

The trip home included a stop off at the International Crane Foundation, which is always delightful, and birthday pie and lefse wraps at Norske Nook in Osseo, Wisconsin. We also made it home at a reasonable hour despite rainstorms. So did I make it to any of the big stuff (opening ceremonies, etc.)? Nope. Do I regret that? A little. I was pretty sore and tired when we arrived so I erred on the side of relaxing a bit and working instead of trying to Do All the Things. I still had fun and got to see lovely people, so that made it worthwhile. I’m trying to think of WisCon as a new convention, rather than the same one that I went to for 25 years. It makes some of the holes where people are missing somewhat easier to cope with, and makes the snafus less surprising. I would definitely say that I met more new people than I have met at a WisCon in years and I think that’s good. I am cautiously optimistic about next year! Huzzah!

catherineldf: (Default)
This is the resource list from my "Aging in Speculative Fiction" presentation at WisCon.
Lundoff - 2 part bibliography on older women as speculative fiction protagonists.
“No More Dried Up Spinsters,” Nancy Jane Moore. Invisible 2.
“The Realities of Aging in Video Game Characters” by G. Christopher Williams. Pop Matters
catherineldf: (Default)
Here are suggested books, shows and movies that were mentioned during the WisCon panel, Red as Blood: Women in Gothic Horror.

Gothic Blog: talks about Gothic:

Here's a good primer page:

Your friends at Goodreads:

Gothic Movies:

Some suggestions from the panelists and the audience:


Windward Heights by Maryse Condé

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Affinity and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Respectable Horror edited by Kate Laity

Speaking to the Skull Kings and Other Stories by Emily Cataneo

Voodoo Dreams: A Novel of Marie Laveau by Jewelle Parker Rhodes

“The Specialist’s Hat” by Kelly Link

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson



Films and TV:

Crimson Peak

The Orphanage

Penny Dreadful (TV)

Victor Frankenstein

The Babadook

Salem (TV)

The Woman in Black

The Handmaiden




The Girl from Raw Blood by Sarah Vaughn

Dude Watching with the Brontes by Kate Beaton

catherineldf: (Default)
 Leaving tomorrow for WisCon, where I'll have a late Friday night reading, two Saturday panels, one on small press publishing and one on women and Gothic Horror and a newly discovered presentation on Monday morning at 8:30 on Aging in Speculative Fiction (fortunately, I have mylaptop with me). A Room of One's Own Bookstore will may have copies and DreamHaven Books definitely has copies of my new collection, OUT OF THIS WORLD: QUEER SPECULATIVE FICTION STORIES in the Dealer's Room. I'll have one or two copies on me as well as copies of RESPECTABLE HORROR, and Jana will have boxes and books in the Art Show.

Queen of Swords Press will be tabling and I'll be reading at the Queer Voices Pride Month Book Fair and Reading at the
Minneapolis Central Library on 6/27. They're doing some great programming this month!

The print edition of SILVER MOON is in progress and is going to be purty! And I should have an announcement on the StoryBundle soon. I also got a bio request for the Helsinki Worldcon Program so fingers crossed for panel assignments. In Sirens Conference news, Nivair Gabriel and I have submitted a round table proposal. I'm also waiting to hear back Diversicon and World Fantasy and have other events in the offing.

In other news, weird foot pain is weird and will get medical attention soon, new toilet is glorious and some day, if it stops raining, there will be new asphalt by the garage. Also, hoping to go back to writing new fiction REAL SOON NOW. 

See you at WisCon?

catherineldf: (Default)
I'm headed back to WisCon for the first time in a couple of years. I've got a reading and a couple of panels and will be floating around. I will have the new print edition of Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories with me and will try to make it available in the Dealer's Room as well. Invite me to tea or breakfast ot such. My attention is drawn to shiny things, chocolate and good tea, just saying. :-)

  • 10:30PM - Yes We Are Internet (Conference Room 4) - Group reading by Robyn Bennis, Seth Frost, Aimee Ogden and Catherine Lundoff (I've never met these folks other than on Twitter, so we will be living up to the name)
  • The Business of the Small Press (scheduled)      Sat, 10:00–11:15 am     Conference
Moderator: J. Boone Dryden. Timmi Duchamp, Catherine Lundoff, Michael Damian Thomas
Small press publishers, whether just starting out or long-time owners, come to talk about the challenges of getting started and sustaining the business. What's the nitty-gritty that readers and writers don't get to see? How are contracts drafted? What legal know-how is needed? How do you balance the books?

  • Red As Blood: Women and Gothic Horror (scheduled)     moderator     Sat, 1:00–2:15 pm     Caucus
Moderator: Catherine Lundoff. Emily B. Cataneo, Katie Sapede, Cath Schaff-Stump , Sheree Renée Thomas
Women figure prominently in classic Gothic horror as victims, protagonists, or villains and Gothic horror has had a profound influence on fantasy as a genre (Tanith Lee and Angela Carter, to name a couple of examples.) Television shows like Penny Dreadful and films like Crimson Peak help keep the subgenre alive and appealing to new generations. What makes Gothic tales so appealing? What do we see as the future for Gothic tales and what would we like to see more/less of?
  • Catherine Lundoff, Presentation. Assembly Room, 8:30-9:45AM
  • Aging in Speculative Fiction - Aging is subject to a wide range of magical cures and fixes in the genre as a whole. On the one hand, older characters in genre can be powerful (and/or oppressive) authority figures. At the same time, older characters are subject to sacrificial redshirting or are rendered invisible. Works that include older women as protagonists are still a rarity (and the number of older LGBTQ+ characters and/or older women of color is considerably smaller) despite a number of factors that should have brought greater changes in representation over the last couple of decades.
Come say hi!
catherineldf: (Default)
We have reached the point where I would consider this to be a complete farce, were it not for the very real impacts and the very real damage that has been done and is still being done. The Friday WisCon report appeared  and Frenkel's banned for maybe 4 years or until Tor says he can apologize or forever or not, it's rather unclear. But might be clarified later. Or not. I gather that the Con Com Committee discussing Frenkel (without soliciting any information from the women he harassed or their witnesses or anyone else who reported harassment and other problems with him at this or other cons and using only the reports that they have already said were lacking in key information) has recently discovered the Internet and Google, so more excitement is sure to follow. All of which makes my head hurt and my heart ache and makes me froth at the mouth.

What has so far not followed has been a public apology for the victim-blaming that has taken place (detail here) because, you know, who notices and remembers stuff like that?  *Bangs head slowly on desk* Really kids, it's not like the good old days when one would wait three months for a apazine to come out with the latest news. Stupid shit con runners say and do goes out almost immediately and stays out on the Interwebs FOREVER, something which I thought should be obvious by now, but
apparently not. Were it not for the deliberateness of this tactic, its repetition and the very blatant choices made to value Frenkel's comfort and voice over those of Elise, Lauren and every one else discomfited and outraged by this, it would be easier to dismiss this as colossal cluelessness.

But we've played that card in the past and it's not in the deck anymore. The report about Frenkel was On Every Major SF-related Site and blog and feeds and emails. People making decisions about whether or not he should have been permitted to attend this year or ever again should have been well aware of what happened, should have known that there were other reports, unless none of them had gone near the Web or other human beings outside a circle of 6 in years.  Claiming a lack of information as a rationale for poor decision-making is no more viable than the victim-blaming was. Certainly, the chair of the committee should have been well aware that information was missing, if indeed it was never presented to the committee as a whole.

And so we have a convention that has consistently espoused high ideals with regard to inclusion, accessibility, activism, and, wait for it, safer space. Notice this is not the same as "safe space," but rather "safer." The convention committee has been understandably proud of what they have achieved toward these ideals. Even justifiably proud, in some cases. Remember that WisCon provided the networking opportunities and startup cash for the Carl Brandon Society, Broad Universe, Interstitial Arts and the Tiptree Awards. Remember the quality of the discussions held there, even the acrimonious ones, that have driven a wide range of activism in the field. There are many, many things I would know far less about had it not been for things I learned about at WisCon. It has informed my thinking and my understanding and been my convention home for many years and I am grateful.

But none of this changes what's happened in the last two years. Most of us, outside whatever magical charmed group that has no issues with all this, are left with the option of taking sides: we can either believe that a prominent male pro is capable of what he is accused of and side with his accusers, or we can reject that categorically. Until it happens the next time.
But remember that WisCon is very high profile, and well known for its ideals. Remember that there are women out there right now being harassed and assaulted at other cons. Remember that now they will say to themselves and perhaps a trusted friend, "Well, if WisCon didn't support the women who reported harassment and they had formal reports and witnesses, who's going to believe me?" And those women will be damaged by their experiences and that is the genre's loss as well as theirs. This is #notmyfeminism.

The Friday committee report leaves open the possibility of Frenkel's rehabilitation, of a change down the road. Now rehabilitation is something that would require a sense of wrong doing. Frenkel informed con attendees this year that he was back because he's a nice guy and completely innocent. Rehabilitation would also suggest that this was not a pattern of behavior so ingrained that a single weekend's con going could impact it, could convey the meaning of "consent" so that someone like him could absorb it. Remember, too, that predators tend to be recidivists, particularly when they do not face consequences.

So where does that leave us? And who is us, exactly?
These are important and critical questions. Ideals and trust are very fragile things and when they are broken deliberately, they are extremely difficult to rebuild. Any
rebuilding begins with creating safer spaces and feminist-friendly spaces at other cons and in supporting harassment reporters. But WisCon's ideals were good ideals. We must remember them and we must help WisCon to remember them, and act upon them. The question is how to go about that?

Some thoughts:
I am still wildly angry about how all this got handled. There is simply no way I can attend WisCon 39 at this point and I'm likely to lose some longtime friendships over this as well as a community that has been a big part of my life for decades. Whatever it becomes in the future, it will never be the same. But I can't just let this go. One thing that needs to happen is a complete leadership change for the con as a whole as well as the most impacted areas.  A lot of this crap was driven by people who were too close to Frenkel, too prone to circling the wagons instead of considering the impacts of these decisions and how they would play out. How many of us would be successful running a con for several decades, then turning around and being objective in dealing with this level of conflict? It's time to clean house and step down. Put out a call for volunteers from diverse  backgrounds and ask for help from other conventions to see what has and has not worked for them. Apologize sincerely and publicly for the many fuck ups of this year and last (all of them, not just the palatable ones), and look to make it better. Ask the membership what they want to see, what they are willing to work toward, what they want WisCon to be. ACT ON THAT INPUT TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY.

And while I'm at it, stop saying things in public that make it look you're incapable of understanding the issues you're up against and recognize the need for a tear down and rebuild. Change is hard
, but the utter destruction of ideals, of all the good that has been achieved and could be achieved is much, much harder.

catherineldf: (Default)
The last week has seen a rash of apologies: one for poor record keeping and lack of process on the part of those responsible for safety and security (here) and a new one today from one of the con chairs, Joanna Lowenstein, essentially for poor judgment around letting Frenkel  roam free around WisCon 38. Are these necessary? Yes. Do they address some of the problems? While they certainly answer some questions, they leave a number of others open.

Stephanie Zvan has an excellent post on some of the events leading up to WisCon38 on her blog here, as well as an analysis of how events can and have dealt with similar issues around harassment. You should read it. What I'm going to talk about is what's missing, sticking to those events that have become public knowledge. as much as possible, Opinions are my own.

1. Last year, the information that was circulated by the con com regarding Jim Frenkel was that he was not going to be banned because the con didn't have a process that demanded it and because it was deemed to be a single, isolated incident. This turned out to be untrue on a variety of levels, one of which is recorded in the poor record-keeping apology linked above.
2. By the time WisCon38 rolled around, Frenkel was not merely not banned, he was on the preliminary programming schedule. He stepped down from being on programming EDITED: for reasons still to be fully explained. The fact remains that he was put on programming to begin with despite warnings given beforehand (see Stephanie's post) or just plain common sense based on the experience of other conventions with high visibility harassers (see pretty much anything about Readercon and harassment for examples). He was then permitted to volunteer in the consuite, because what could possible go wrong at this point? Neither of the women he targeted at WisCon 37 were warned that he would be there, let alone volunteering.
3. Somewhere along the line, Story #1 about why he wasn't being banned became "He wasn't banned because Elise had insisted that he not be banned." This story was circulated by multiple members of the con com (one has apologized) at various levels, and was provided as an excuse when the second target of his harassment at WisCon37 asked why he was not banned. Elise had to publicly deny that this was true in order to put an end to it after the con.  It should be noted that this denial had to be issued after she found out that this delightful bit of fiction was being circulated and requested that they stop spreading this around, back in April before the con.

And this is the thing that gets me: this was done deliberately. I don't know who started this story as a convenient excuse and frankly, I don't care. The people circulating it should have recognized it for the victim-blaming b.s. that it was and stopped it then and there. Instead, they opted to throw a long-standing member of the convention community under a figurative bus to protect themselves from the consequences of what they were doing:
protecting someone whose behavior was such that it caused the publishing company he worked for to release him back into the wilds in 2013, shortly after WisCon37. Reporting harassers is hard, reporting powerful harassers is even harder. Punishing the reporters by undermining and spreading rumors about them is, as they say in these parts, a nasty bit of work.

As I've said previously, I've been attending this con for about 25 years. It is one of my home cons. I've released several books there, done multiple panels and readings, volunteered, got my spouse to table in the Dealer's Room and in the Art Show, and talked many, many people into attending. And I can't do that for next year, new processes or not. I feel too angry and frustrated and betrayed over what's been said and done. And I'm not sure what they can do to fix that. I hope they can. That starts with recognizing victim-blaming when it happens and choosing another course.

catherineldf: (Default)

So…at WisCon37,  Tor editor James Frenkel was charged with sexually harassing  a female attendee at the con. The attendee (who I’m not naming right now because she got plenty of crap for it last year and because it is not germane to what should have happened afterwards) immediately reported the incident. She had cause and even witnesses, at least one of whom also got grief afterwards from the awesome troll communities invested in supporting guys who harass, assault and demean female-identified people at cons.  The incident was widely publicized and other women came forward to talk about their experience with both him and others of his ilk (he was long rumored to be a harasser, for the record). By July, he was a former Tor editor.

But here’s the thing: he wasn’t banned from attending future WisCons. Why this came about has to do with sundry convention policies about which I give not a damn except for the fact that they are wildly, wildly wrong in this instance. What matters is the impact. Frenkel was back at the con this year, making the rounds, volunteering in the Con Suite and being generally ubiquitous. If  there was anyone keeping an eye on him and his behavior, they were being quite subtle about it; neither I nor anyone I spoke to noticed any security or con personnel tracking him. He even informed one attendee that he was there to “prove what a nice guy” he is.

The point is that he shouldn’t have been there at all, not after last year. And he is not a nice guy (and yes, I do know he was a GOH at this very con back in 1994). But nice guys do not view women as property,  as objects they can do anything they like to regardless of consent. And this is WisCon, the premier feminist science fiction and fantasy convention, which means the stakes are much higher. It means expectations, an attempt to strive for an ideal. It means an implied commitment to try and create safer space. It means that as women, we should have the right to control access to our own bodies and that the con should be backing that up.

Not banning this man undermines everything the con stands for. It undermines the courage that it took for the women who experienced and witnessed his assault last year to come forward. It undermines every other person who considers reporting harassment at this or any other con by sending  the message that they don’t matter, that their safety doesn’t matter, when compared to that of an entitled jerk who doesn’t think they’re people. 

I have been going to this con for 25 years or so, give or take. I do not think I will be returning for WisCon39, barring a drastic sea change in the policies and an apology to the women he’s hurt in the past. I hate this so very much. This is the con I make time for each and every year. The con I love. If you were at or are normally at WisCon and want to share your opinion (respectfully, please. I suspect a fair number of the con runners were conflicted about letting him come back), the survey is here.

catherineldf: (Default)

So…WisCon, the good parts. Elephant in the room post follows.

We got in on Friday afternoon after an uneventful journey and settled into our room. Jana got her work set up in the Art Show while I left messages for people and went down to The Gathering. It seemed a bit sparse, compared to years past, but there was more programming scheduled against it than in past years, so that wasn’t unexpected. I talked aging parents with several other folks, including my friends Caroline and Warren before heading off to the Dealer’s Room and equivalent. The evening was a blur of dinner at the surviving Nepalese restaurants, running into friends, camping out in the hot tub and hitting a few parties.

Saturday, we had our usual glorious wander through the Farmer’s Market, then the Art Show (where Jana’s boxes and journals got lots of positive attention and sales) and the Dealer’s Room. From there, it was on to lunch with a couple of lovely new writer friends, Monica and Nene, then on to more or less moderate the Unheard Voices of SF/F/H Panel. We did a lively panel on why Broad Universe, the Carl Brandon Society and Outer Alliance exist and what each organization does and how we are working together. And why we all need more members to make an impact. The resource list that I created from the Arisia version of this panel is here, for those looking for more info. After that, I was off to the Outer Alliance Reading, which was a fine, fine group reading this year. I say this as a participant, but when I want to hear more of everyone else’s work, that’s a good thing. After that, I met up with friends and headed over to 43 North, a most excellent restaurant near the Concourse. Then, there was hot tubbing and parties and sleep.

Rolled out of bed to greet the dawn and an 8:30 panel on Corporations as Character, which was quite interesting if not quite what I had in mind when I thought it up with my original co-conspirator. I went to a panel and part of a reading, which is unusual because I often don’t make it to things I’m not on. I met up with friends for lunch, then came back for more hanging out, followed by a panel on Wuxia as a Fantasy Tradition. This was most fun and excellent geekery, with film clips. J Then there was relaxation time, then dinner time, then hot tub time, followed by the GOH speeches, which were well worth listening to, and a few parties. Monday was breakfast with friends and heading back.

I went into the con completely exhausted from Mom stuff/work stuff/health stuff and if I seemed disconnected, I was, particularly on Friday and Saturday. I’m feeling a tad more recharged now. Oh yes, and I came home with a request for a nonfiction book proposal which I will commence working on shortly, about which more later. Plus some other potential nonfictional things on the horizon.

Many, many thanks to the many folks who make WisCon work well for the many things that were quite splendid about the weekend. I mention this because it needs to be said and because my follow-up post deals with the negative aspect of this year’s con.

catherineldf: (Default)
Only a few short weeks away! Should be interesting. :-)
The Unheard Voices of SFF/H participant Sat 2:30 - 3:45PM Capitol B
Kimberley Long-Ewing, Catherine Lundoff, Victor J. Raymond 
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.
Outer Alliance - New Readings in LGBTQ Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror participant Sat 4:00 - 5:15PM Conference 2
Julie Andrews, Autumn Nicole Bradley, S. A. Halkyard, Catherine Lundoff, Warren Rochelle
The Outer Alliance is an organization that promotes science fiction, fantasy and horror with positive portrayals of LGBTQI people and provides a support space for LGBTQI and allies to work together for a more diverse genre.
The Corporation as Character in Science Fiction participant Sun 8:30 - 9:45AM Senate A
Marguerite Reed, Alex Gurevich, Chip Hitchcock, Philip Edward Kaldon, Catherine Lundoff
Science fiction, particularly in films, is full of corporations with evil or morally ambiguous intent: Yoyodyne, Terrell Corp, Umbrella Corp, the list is nearly endless. They may be represented by a single villainous character or by numerous faceless functionaries, but what the viewer remembers / is presented with is the corporation itself as the villain. Is that enough to make the corporation an entity, a "person," in their own right? Are corporations inherently evil? Or simply amoral? How has the depiction of the corporation changed in SF? Is it different in anime or manga, comics, written SF vs media SF? Where do we see that image of the corporation going in the near future?
Wuxia as Fantasy Tradition participant Sun 2:30 - 3:45PM Caucus
  Tari, Wesley Chu, Catherine Lundoff, Megan Moore, Oyceter 
Discuss how the fantastic manifests in wuxia, how it is similar and different to the Western fantasy genre. We can also discuss its historical roots in classic novels like Water Margin and Three Kingdoms, as well as its influences on related genres like modern HK action films.

catherineldf: (Default)
At least the initial exhausted version. :-)

Friday: we got to the Concourse in time for me to run upstairs to The Gathering (a WisCon event featuring numerous activities, including a clothing swap), clutching a bag of clothes. After a few minutes, a very nice volunteer who looked familiar came over to help me sort and was rewarded with my old black leather skirt and a steampunk jacket I wasn't wearing anymore as I have another one that I like better.  She is happy, I am happy, all is good. Then I ran back downstairs and got us checked in and said hi to various folks on the way to our room. We unpacked and headed back downstairs to The Gathering
, where we said hi to more people, got tea at The Interstitial Arts table and I put in a bid on the 1977 Analog Women's Issue, featuring the original publication of Raccoona Sheldon's "The Screwfly Solution," and stories by Joan Vinge, Jaygee Carr and...George R.R. Martin, well-known "honorary woman," among other authors. Because, you know, how could I not? We also checked in with jeweler Laurie Edison and ordered a replacement wedding ring for me. Then it was off to dinner with our pal and roommate, S. N. Arly, and our friend Lynn at one of the Himalayan restaurants on State Street. Wacky hijinx ensue and dinner is a long time coming so we get in lots of conversation, but miss opening ceremonies.

Which is reasonably okay since I had a Mind Meld post due for SF Signal by Monday and had work to do. I compose for awhile, then we were off to the parties. There was yummy cake at Betsy and Matt's reception, catching up with friends at Queers Dig Time Lords and assorted other fun. Then sleep, in a yay for sleeping pills sort of way.

Saturday dawned late, in a waking up from sleeping pills sort of way, and it was off to the Madison Farmer's Market. We bought breakfast and interesting sheep and goat cheeses and tiny yummy fruit breads and jam. I dutifully trotted back to work my shift at the Broad Universe table, where I got to consume my pasty from Teddywedgers (delivered by the Book Artiste of the Year on her way to look at binding magazines at the U. of W. library) and hang out with author/playwright/performer Andrea Hairston. And all the people drawn to the table, because, well, Andrea Hairston. :-) Books and memberships were purchased, and then I hied my way to 
"Burd Janet, Lady Isabel, the Famous Flower of Serving Men and The Female Smuggler - Strong women of traditional ballads." This was one of my spur of the moment panel ideas and I think it went over reasonably well. We talked about ballads as history, embellished history, unique stories, women's resistance to oppression and  related topics. Some favorites included "Yellow Rose of Texas," "The Cruel Sister," " Tam Lin," "Famous Flower of Serving Men," "Lord Baker," "15 Finns" and various versions of "Lady Isabel and Elf Knight." Catherine Crowe, who also makes lovely jewelry, sang some hedge-ballads from Ireland. All in all, a good time: lots of participation and I think we all learned about a few new songs.

From there, I did a tour of the Dealer's Room, where I bought earrings from Catherine Crowe and...a lot of books. The haul included: We Wuz Pushed by Brit Mandelo, a biography of Naomi Mitcheson, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Beyond Gender Binaries, Sofia Samatar's A Stranger in Olondria and Amanda Downum's The Drowning City. Then I went to tea on State Street with friends new and old, before going back to my Mind Meld post. Then we headed out to dinner with writer Kim Long-Ewing and extended family members to the fabulous fusion restaurant 43 North. Oh the deliciousness! I want to eat here forever.  After an excellent meal, which caused us to miss the auction, we headed back to hotel and eventually wound up at the parties.

And then it was Sunday (there was some sleep that happened in there too :-). Our breakfast plans fell through, but we had an amazing breakfast of crepes and coffee at Bradbury's Coffee, so all was well. My first panel of the day was the joint Carl Brandon/Broad Universe/Outer Alliance panel, where we talked to a small audience about our organizations and what we're doing. I think this could have been tighter, but it was the first time we've tried it, and I think we'll get better with practice. In any case, people seemed interested and we all signed up several new members, so I think it counts as a win. Julia Rios and I went off to lunch after that and got caught up, more or less, before the Outer Alliance reading.

I thought the reading went quite well and enjoyed everyone's pieces, which is always lovely when attending or participating in group readings. I look forward to hearing lots more QUILTBAG work at future cons. When we wrapped up, I wended my way off to the Strange Horizons tea party, which was delightful and featured chats and tea and sugar and a wall of noise, that I rode down to my panel on Female Monsters/Monstrous Females. This was, alas, the weak link in my programming schedule. We never quite jelled and we rambled more than I liked, failing ultimately to reach much in the way of a point. Not the worst panel I've ever moderated, but far from the best. I may try a different version of it at a different con and see if I can get it in line with more complicated and coherent version in my head.

After this, I was off to dinner with friends, which quest proved surprisingly difficult. A lot of restaurants were closed or had massive waits, but we did eventually find one with vegetarian options and no wait after substantial amounts of wandering. Dinner was lovely once we found it and a fine time was had. And then it was back to finishing up my Mind Meld post and sending it, just in time for the Sunday night parties and Genderfloomp. We did not do anything interesting by way of gender bending, but we did hit the Nasfic Detroit party and the Steampunk Speakeasy before turning up at Genderfloomp before it quite got going. We did stick around and did some enthusiastic dancing before wearing ourselves and heading out for water, chatting and eventually, bed. Monday featured a birthday breakfast for Julia in lively company, followed by a 5 hourish drive home. I must needs unpack to face another work day.

Thanks for another fun WisCon!

WisCon now

May. 25th, 2013 11:30 am
catherineldf: (Default)
At the broaduniverse table with Andrea Hairston at #wiscon. Come by and say hi. Until 12:45.
Then on to my 1PM panel on women in traditional ballads.
Then onto tea and dinner and the TOTU party tonight.
catherineldf: (Default)
If you're there, please say hi. I'll be at various parties, including the TOTU/Diversicon one on Saturday night, the Broad Universe table and sundry other places.

Burd Janet, Lady Isabel, The Famous Flower of Serving Men and The Female Smuggler: Strong Women of Traditional Ballads (scheduled) moderator Sat, 1:00–2:15 pm Conference 5
Moderator: Catherine Lundoff. Catherine Lundoff, Catherine Crowe, Margie Peterson, Katherine Mankiller about this item. 
Traditional folk ballads are full of depictions of women as victims, but there are plenty of unusual stories about women as soldiers, as fighters, passing as men, robbing stage coaches and all sorts of other activities that get written out of standard histories. Many writers are inspired by ballads, whether as theme or background. Let's talk about some of our favorites and what we or other writers have done with those stories.
The Unheard Voices of SF/F/H (scheduled) participant Sun, 10:00–11:15 am Conference 4
Moderator: Catherine Lundoff.  Kimberley Long-Ewing, Catherine Lundoff, Victor J. Raymond, Julia Rios about this item. 
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 from Broad Universe, the Carl Brandon Society, and Outer Alliance discuss these issues and more in a lively panel discussion.
Outer Alliance: New Writings in LGBTQ SF/F/H (scheduled) participant Sun, 1:00–2:15 pm Conference 2
Julia Rios, Julie Andrews, Megan Arkenberg, Kimberley Long-Ewing, Catherine Lundoff, JoSelle Vanderhooft, Sunny Moraine, Cliff Winnig about this item. 
Outer Alliance is an organization for writers and readers of science fiction, fantasy and horror that advocates positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters. We will be reading from a wide range of fiction that fits this description.
Monstrous Females and Female Monsters (scheduled) moderator Sun, 4:00–5:15 pm Capitol B
Moderator: Catherine Lundoff.  Catherine Lundoff, Zen Cho, Joyce Frohn, Georgie L. Schnobrich, Micole Sudberg about this item. 
What does it mean for a woman to turn into a monster? Or for a monster to turn out to be female? Lamias, hags, vampires, Grendel's mother, Medusa, Lilith, even the occasional werewolf—our dreams and nightmares are full of terrifying women. What can we make of these stories? Do they influence our writing, our readings, our movies? What kinds of female monsters terrify you? What kinds would you like to see more of?

catherineldf: (Default)
Got an interesting line-up this year. :-)
More con info here:

Burd Janet, Lady Isabel, the Famous Flower of Serving Men and The Female Smuggler - Strong women of traditional ballads
Traditional folk ballads are full of depictions of women as victims, but there are plenty of unusual stories about women as soldiers, as fighters, passing as men, robbing stage coaches and all sorts of other activities that get written out of standard histories. Many writers are inspired by ballads, whether as theme or background. Let's talk about some of our favorites and what we or other writers have done with those stories.

The Unheard Voices of SF/F/H
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 from Broad Universe, the Carl Brandon Society, and Outer Alliance discuss these issues and more in a lively panel discussion.

Outer Alliance: New Writings in LGBTQ SF/F/H

Outer Alliance is an organization for writers and readers of science fiction, fantasy and horror that advocates positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters. We will be reading from a wide range of fiction that fits this description.

Monstrous Females and Female Monsters
What does it mean for a woman to turn into a monster? Or for a monster to turn out to be female? Lamias, hags, vampires, Grendel's mother, Medusa, Lilith, even the occasional werewolf--our dreams and nightmares are full of terrifying women. What can we make of these stories? Do they influence our writing, our readings, our movies? What kinds of female monsters terrify you? What kinds would you like to see more of?

catherineldf: (Default)
It continued to be awesome, which was lovely. Best WisCon we've been to, for a variety of reasons.
The Saturday night OA reading was well-attended and everyone did a great job. Considering we were opposite the parties and other events, yay! And it was great to meet so many folks from Outer Alliance.
Sunday was our mellow day. We had brunch with friends then headed off to see S.N. Arly do her thing on the "We are not Contortionists" panel. This featured several women (and a few guys for one setup) attempting some of the poses female characters are shown in on book covers and comics. It was definitely a "kids, don't try this at home" demo and was both hilarious and consciousness raising. Excellent idea (with a nod to Jim Hines, Escher Girls and all the other folks who've been bringing up the more ludicrous illustrations of femal characters recently). From there, it was off to wander for a big then on the latest iteration of "Not Another (sundry coded expletives) Race Panel," which was also hilarious. After that, we were off to dinner, then resting up, then off to parties. We managed to stop by Musecon, which looks like it will be fun, Diversicon and of course, the release party for "Beyond Binary," where Jana whittled up an impromptu bookstand using a recycled beer box. We went off to go sleep after chatting with friends new and old.
Monday morning was a small birthday breakfast for Julia Rios, which was wildly entertaining despite participant grogginess. The Topaz of Worldbuilding will be with me for some time to come.

Then home after a weekend of excellent conversations on topics ranging from the physical impact of hormones used for transitioning, cyberpunk, really bad panels we'd been on elsewhere, books, publishing, promotion, menopausal werewolves, and more books. And Samuel Delaney, the Dakota Uprising and a whole bunch of other things. I didn't get to do everything I wanted to or talk to everyone I wanted to, alas. So if I seemed distracted, I actually was. In any case, thanks everyone, for a terrific WisCon!

I forgot to mention that on the way to Madison, we stopped by the Ephraim Faience Pottery in Lakeville, WI and its associated art gallery - beautiful, beautiful things in both places. Highly recommended as a road trip destination.
catherineldf: (Default)
is pure awesome. And shows every sign of continuing that way. We got in on Thursday morning and got settled in. I went to the reception at A Room of One's Own and ran into a number of folks I haven't seen in ages. Andrea Hairston, Pan Morrigan and Debbie Notkin all did interesting readings/performances. Lots of good stuff there. After the readings, I met up with Outer Alliance organizer extraordinaire Julia Rios and her partner Moss and went back to hang out in the Concourse Bar. We planned for the party until Betsy Lundsten stopped by to fetch me for consultations on clothing and related fun stuff. :-)

Saturday morning was shopping with Jana, Julia and Moss for the Outer Alliance Party, which went well and quickly. Then it off to
Myles Teddyweggers for the annual Cornish pasty consumption. Then back to the Concourse to meet up with Rebecca, S.N. Arly and other friends. Dinner was yummy Nepalese food, then back to the hotel for party prep. After a slightly slow start, a number of folks stopped by to help (huge thank you!) and we got it all decorated and set up. I set up my books and autographing station and we were off! The party was really lively and quite crowded most of the time. There seemed to be lots of good discussion (I know I had several) and we talked to a lot of of folks about OA. Several friends stopped by to say hi and in some cases, to buy books. A number of complete strangers walked in, pointed to the book and said, "Hey, that's the Big Idea Book!" and bought it. My personal fav was the woman who asked me to sign the book but not personalize it because she would "personalize it." She then spent the next ten minutes drawing a sketch of me on the title page! It was quite good, too. :-) I got to see lots of old friends, make some new friends, sold a bunch of books, mine and other folks, and generally had a blast. Thanks, Julia, Jana, Moss, Brackett, Sheila, Autumn and everyone else who did set up and party maintenance as well as everyone who stopped by. Best. Release. Party. Ever.

Except for the whole not sleeping thing. But hey, lots of caffeine later and I've done my cyberpunk panel (well attended, good discussion and my panelist did a great job). Now we're off to dinner, then back for the auction and the Outer Alliance Reading at 10:30PM. And I have new Wraptillion earrings from the art show. Bliss!


catherineldf: (Default)

April 2019

 12 3456
141516 17181920
21 222324252627


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Apr. 23rd, 2019 04:01 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios