I had heard of the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, but never attended. Yesterday, after my Book Club was postponed, I decided to go. A couple of authors I like were there, they were going to have some stuff about 24 and in fact, my online friend Elliott Serrano was moderating a panel called 24 Reunion. Also. Lots of Star Wars stuff.
Note to Self: It takes for freakin’ ever to take the El to McCormick Place.
When I arrived, I went straight to the Expo floor. Bad idea. It is very easy to lose track of time that way. When I finally thought to look at the program, I saw that I had plenty of time to make a panel discussion of sexism in Geekdom called, “Glass Ceilings, Missing Stairs and Gatekeepers: Geeks Still Deal with Sexism”. I am posting this link so that I can look up the panelists that have blogs. I liked them a lot and one side of the table was definitely talking more than the other. I was at least 20 minutes early for the panel and the line was snaked around the hall. I got in pretty easily, but am certain that people were turned away.
The session was pretty good, but there was only one example that I hadn’t heard before and it surprised me and it really shouldn’t have: I believe it was Dawn Xiana Moon that told a story of being at a conference and wearing a Speaker badge and someone on the expo floor or something asked if that was really her badge or if she had borrowed it from a friend.
I have not had these really bad, sexist experiences in Geekdom. To be fair, I don’t live there. I am not a Geek Blogger and am not active in the Fantasy/SciFi fan community. But I really like to visit. When I first became acquainted with my geek friends, I felt like they were really glad to have more girls in the room. So the first time I heard of a lady getting a rape threat for posting something online, I felt sick. Of course, I knew that stuff was happening to women online. But I had been under the impression that Geekdom was a relatively safe place for girls. The panel made the point several times that just because it isn’t happening to you doesn’t mean it isn’t happening and everyone ought to step up and ensure that bad behavior isn’t happening in the community.
On to happier topics:
I missed Mary Robinette Kowal, but there were two autographed copies of her book left at Anderson Booksellers booth so I bought one. After I decided that I need to stop buying fiction and use my library, Shades of Milk and Honey was the first book that made me say, “Damn! This is why I need to buy books!”
After wandering the floor a bit longer, I went to the 24 Reunion, where actors Louis Lombardi, James Morrison and Carlos Bernard met to swap stories. They took a few minutes to warm up, but Elliott got them talking and there were a lot of laughs.
By the time that session was over, I was done. 18,000 steps that day, thank you very much. I snapped one picture on the way out.
If I were to attend again, I would have a strategy before showing up. C2E2 has an app where you can build a schedule. That might be more structure than I can stand, but the point is there are tools to ensure that one doesn’t lose the day staring at drawings of Darth Vader.