CONvergence Is Imminent!

Drinking with Geeks 2011, photo by Bill Stiteler

Two weeks from today, CONvergence will rock Bloomington, MN. I suspect that nearly everyone who reads this blog (all five of you) knows what CONvergence is, but in case you just stumbled past, here’s a description. CONvergence is a four-day smorgasbord sci-fi/fantasy/music/movie/party convention that strikes every 4th of July weekend. It currently draws around 5,000 attendees, and features everything from people in costumes to live music to panel discussions to live theater to movies to anime to blacklight mini-golf to cricket lessons.

Many of you are also familiar with the fact that I contribute huge amounts of time to this convention. This year, I am going to break the record for sitting on panels. Normally, Programming only lets people sit on a maximum of about eight panels, but for some reason, they let me sign up for pretty much everything. This year, I’ll be on a whopping nineteen panels, beating the record previously held by game designer Kenneth Hite (who did 18 panels in 2008).

Because of this, it’s unlikely you’ll find me anywhere outside a panel room during the weekend, so I’m including my schedule below the jump, along with pithy comments. Stop by and say hello!

(I should also note that CONvergence has a fantastic online scheduling tool. If you want to see all of this year’s events, make your own schedule, and otherwise plot your nefarious weekend plans, that is the place to do it.)

5:00pm Mad Art Lab
  This panel will feature many of the folks who run the Skepchick Network blog named Mad Art Lab. We’re going to bring art supplies for the audience, too! I get to share a table with Jennifer Menken, Ashley Hamer, Maria Walters, Amy Davis Roth, and Emily Finke.
8:30pm Geek Life Live Podcast
  A live recording of The Geek Life, the weekly podcast I do with Richard Brantley, Mike Town, and Paul Comeau. I might try to smuggle in a Special Guest.
 10:00pm Girls Gone Smackdown
  Every year at CONvergence, I help produce the Smackdown event with Christopher Jones and Tim Wick, during which a panel of “experts” debate about who could beat whom in a cage fight to the death. Get in line early, because we fill Mainstage with this one. Expert panelists include Joseph Scrimshaw, Bonnie Burton, Kelvin Hatle, Tim Uren, and Sharon Stiteler.
 11:00am Aliens – In Depth
  Earlier this year, I was approached separately by two different people about running an Aliens panel. Thus, we have gathered a crack team of five movie nerds who are able to dissect Aliens to within an inch of its life. There just might be some Prometheus content, too. My cohorts are Jon Cazares, Mike Hallenbeck, Lex Larson, and Tim Wick.
 2:00pm Dr. Blink: Superhero Shrink
  The team who created the Dr. Blink comic series (John Kovalic, Christopher Jones, and myself) will be joined by our new writing monkey, Joseph Scrimshaw, on this panel about new developments with the series. There might even be a live script reading. There will surely be alcohol.
 5:00pm The Year in Review
  Movie nerds discuss the movies that hit the screens since last year’s CONvergence. Features Brian Salisbury, Lyrae Anderson, Romeo Azar, C. Robert Cargill and myself.
 7:00pm This Model Life: or Genius to Scale
  Want to find out more about the history of special effects in the Toho Studios kaiju movies? This is the panel for you! I’ll be joined by Mark Stegbauer, Steven Philip Jones, and Bonnie Burton on this one (and it’s possible that all three of them know more than I do about this subject).
 8:30pm First Issue: Live Comic Book Review
  Fes Works, Marcus, and I will be doing a live recording of our video podcast, First Issue, where we discuss the first issues of various comic book series. At CONvergence, we will discuss Street Heroes 2005, and then interview its creators: Christopher Jones and Steven Philip Jones. Come see the very first comic ever made by Christopher Jones!
 11:30pm Cocktails with Cthulhu
  We’re mixing booze with byakhee, baby. Cthulhu-themed cocktails, eldritch horrors, and Lovecraftian drinking songs will be presented by Pat Harrigan, Tim Uren, Dawn Krosnowski, Joseph Scrimshaw, and myself.
 9:30am Geeks without God – Live
  I will be the guest on the very first episode of Geeks without God, a comedy/atheism podcast from the minds of Tim Wick, Nick Glover, and Molly Glover. Come see if I survived the Cocktails with Cthulhu panel!
 11:00am The Physics of Super Fashion
  Seriously, why does Power Girl have that boob window on her costume? Watch Roy Cook, Emily Finke, and myself discuss the real world repercussions of all those high heels, capes, and masks.
 2:00pm PowerPoint Karaoke
  Bill Stiteler and I are bringing our monthly Bryant-Lake Bowl show to CONvergence. See panelists give a PowerPoint presentation… for slides they have never seen before! Joining us in this madness will be Tim Uren, Tim Wick, Jen Scott, Sharon Stiteler, C. Robert Cargill, Lyda Morehouse, and Joseph Scrimshaw.
 3:30pm Quentin Tarantino: Feminist Filmmaker?
  We’ll be taking a look at the works of Tarantino, focusing on his female characters. It’s possible that Bill Stiteler, Windy Bowlsby, Tim Wick and I will talk Tarantino in tones that only dogs can hear.
 8:30pm Drinking with Geeks
  This panel fills up ridiculously fast, so get there early. We promise a booze-soaked spectacle. We have no idea what we’re going to do, but we’ll make it up as we go along. I’ll be wrangling the likes of Joseph Scrimshaw, Jerry Belich, Bonnie Burton, Laurie Richardson, Bill Stiteler, and C. Robert Cargill. Fear for my safety.
 9:00pm Art Auction
  Somehow, Programming thought it would be a good idea to make me auctioneer after the Drinking with Geeks panel. Also, I’m double-booked, so I’ll likely stumble in late, reeking of gin. Come see the spectacle! And buy art!
 11:30pm Killer B’s Improv Movie Show
  Returning for its 8th year at CONvergence, the Killer B’s show will feature an hour of crazy film clips (edited by me), accompanied by a live Theremin soundtrack (created by Jerry Belich) and live voice actors. The crazy part is that the performers have never seen the movies before — it’s all improv! Our home team (Joseph Scrimshaw, Tim Uren, Aric McKeown, Kelvin Hatle) will be joined by frickin’ FIRESIGN THEATRE! (Phil Proctor, David Ossman, Melinda Peterson)
 11:00am One on One with Bonnie Burton
  If I survive Saturday, I will surely be awake to interview the amazing Bonnie Burton!
 12:30pm Iron Artist
  Once again, Jerry Belich and I will team up to create improvised art while Chairman Kage glitters on. What ill-advised object will I eat this year?
3:30pm Primates in Fact, Fiction and Folklore
  In another installment of this annual panel series in the Krushenko’s room, Eric Heideman and I will discuss primates in film, literature, and science: King Kong, cavemen, monkeys, and everything between.


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