Andi and Lise are losing their minds over the My Favorite Murder podcast, which is hosted by comedians Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. MFM is a “weekly true crime comedy podcast” in which Karen and Georgia take turns on each episode to talk about a particular crime they researched. They also do mini-episodes that feature stories from listeners. The podcast has taken off and now there are live podcasts to audiences of thousands, and a fandom that operates not only as fans (murderinos), but as a community that launches projects, opens local chapters, and creates lasting connections.
Andi and Lise discuss the annual giant writing event, NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, in which participants hammer out a short novel of 50,000 words over the course of November. They tell you what it is, how it works, what some strategies might be to help you approach your NaNo writing project, offer their own experiences doing it, and remind you not to freak out.
If you’re a novice writer, NaNo is a great way to see what the professional writing life is like, because it requires you to write every day if you want to hit that 50,000-word mark by the end of the month. It also provides structure and a writing community, which is really valuable because you need critique to help you grow as a writer.
Andi and Lise discuss gatekeeping in fandom, and how it excludes many already-marginalized groups from participating in fan culture, including various elements of it like cosplay.
They also discuss how fandoms and pop culture are reflections of the larger society in which they exist, and Lise brings up how that might keep women and other marginalized people from going into STEM fields.
Sadly, gatekeeping isn’t something that is imposed on marginalized groups by a non-marginalized group. LGBTQ gatekeeping occurs, too, and Andi and Lise discuss how that was exemplified by the announcement that gender-fluid lesbian actress Ruby Rose would be portraying Batwoman in the forthcoming Arrowverse crossover event on the CW. Rose was accused of “not being queer enough” and had to leave social media because of the harassment along those lines directed toward her.
For further reference:
Andi mentioned Heather Hogan’s article on Autostraddle about the new Dr. Who. Here’s the link.
Also, Clare McBride at SyFy Wire did an op-ed called “ ‘Not Gay Enough’: Ruby Rose, Gatekeeping, and Toxic Fandom.” Link here.
Lise mentioned a YouTube video by Jessie Gender about gatekeeping in queer culture. Catch the link here.
This week, Andi chats with the owners of Fangirl Shirts, Rebecca Barrick and Sally Heaven, who “make awesome shirts by, for and about women.” They launched the company four years ago as a way to celebrate fangirls and fan culture through T-shirts and other swag, doing cool things like spelling out the word “fangirl” in the font of a particular show title and immortalizing lines from shows or the fandoms on shirts and swag.
Fangirl Shirts is also committed to community works, and a portion of profits go to non-profits that support girls and/or women. They also do special edition shirts that benefit a specific cause or organization (try the Queer Thunder and Peacemaker swaggery, for example) and they’re the organizers of the ClexaCon fun-run, an event they just launched at the second ClexaCon (the largest queer women and allies in media con) held in April, 2018. They’re already planning for the next, and they have all kinds of projects they’re working on, which makes Andi an even bigger fangirl of them.
(Note: Because of the way this episode was recorded, the audio isn’t as clean as usual. Everything is audible, but some of the hiccups that get edited out couldn’t be this time.)
Andi managed to get Lise into the paranormal Canadian awesome that is Wynonna Earp and now here they are doing a talk about Season 2, which gave more of everything that is so good about the show, but also delved even more into the relationships between characters and introduced a few more—one becomes part of our Earp posse, the other proves a nice foil for Doc Holliday and the others prove to be amazing paranormal villain-types.
Both Andi and Lise love how the writing of the show is so strong and weaves so many subplots into the main themes and narratives and how you miss things the first time through and when you re-watch, it’s a richer experience, in some ways, than the first time through because you then see how the threads of the show are woven together so tightly and how the character arcs evolve.
Andi and Lise are really into the webcomic, Stand Still Stay Silent, written and drawn by Finnish-Swedish artist Minna Sundberg. Actually, they might be complete and utter fangirls of it and it was Lise, this time, who turned Andi onto this amazing post-apocalyptic story that has elements of Nordic mythology in it. SSSS is so good that it won a Reuben in 2015 for best online comic (the Reubens are given out by the National Cartoonists Society, and it is the highest honor that the society bestows).
From the website:
“It’s been 90 years after the end of the old world. Most of the surviving population of the Known world live in Iceland, the largest safe area in existence, while the safe settlements in the other Nordic countries; Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, are small and scarce.
“Countless mysterious and unspoken dangers lurk outside the safe areas, the Silent world, and hunters, mages and cleansers will spend their lives defending the settlements against the terrifying beings. Because of a great fear towards everything in the Silent world no official attempts to explore the ruins of the old have been made, and most of the information about it has turned into ancient lore, known by few.
“But now, at last, it is time to send out an research crew into the great unknown! A poorly funded and terribly unqualified crew, but a crew nonetheless.”
The art and story are engaging, the characterization is brilliant, and the artist brings in mythological elements and fuses them incredibly well with the larger story arcs of the post-apocalyptic theme (this apocalypse originating with a disease) and the reclamation of older, pagan traditions that provide a way to cope with and survive in new circumstances.
Find the artist, Minna Sundberg, on Twitter HERE (@SSSSComic) and HERE (@hummingfluff)
Also, in honor of recording this podcast, Andi was drinking Einstök beer, crafted in Iceland, located 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle. In this instance, she was indulging in the Icelandic Wee Heavy. Super delish.
Andi and Lise watched (okay, re-watched because they dig this movie) Thor: Ragnarok (2017), part of the Marvel Universe movie, which means it’s a giant bucket of special effects, awesome cinematography, and epic battle scenes. But what this Thor movie brought – and something Andi and Lise totally enjoyed – was a slightly comedic turn amidst the dark subject matter, and we get to see a lighter side of Thor even as he struggles to get back to Asgard before the prophecy of Ragnarök comes to pass in which Asgard is destroyed.
Particular favorites in this film include Cate Blanchett’s amazing turn as Hela, Goddess of Death (seriously, we could watch Blanchett write a grocery list and be enthralled, but her turn as a villain is awesome!); Tessa Thompson as “Scrapper 142”—a Valkyrie, also from Asgard (more movies with her, please); director Taika Waititi voicing Korg, a being made of rocks who is the world’s nicest slacker revolutionary; and Jeff Goldblum as an earnest and “fun-uncle-ish” despot on Sakaar, a planet made of trash.
Andi and Lise had their minds completely blown by “Nanette,” the comedy show/performance piece by Tasmanian comedienne Hannah Gadsby, currently available on Netflix. In this brilliant and searing examination of comedy and who it serves, “Art, [Gadsby] makes clear—from painting to comedy—does not liberate everyone equally. It can replicate the same privileges and exclusions as the culture in which it was made,” Moira Donegan says in her piece on “Nanette” in the New Yorker.
“Nanette” is a blistering tour de force in which Gadsby lays part of her soul bare and then leaves the audience to grapple with its role in perpetuating the marginalization of those it demands entertain us.
And in the wake of the 2016 election and the #MeToo movement, Gadsby’s indictment of homophobia and misogyny and her dissection of comedy has become a phenomenon and a statement. “I really was writing as though I was throwing a grenade,” Gadsby told Rolling Stone, “and I fully expected for the show to seal me off in the margins. I am so shocked and overwhelmingly stunned. It’s become bigger than me. And I’m happy for that.”
Both Andi and Lise are of the opinion that this is the first major piece of art—a blistering fusion of comedy and storytelling—to emerge since the 2016 elections and will probably come to define this era in ways we don’t yet even know.
Lez Geek Out! is a geek culture podcast that celebrates popular culture with an eye for the woman-loving-woman audience. It focuses mainly on work with lesbian/bi/women-loving-women themes/characters, but sometimes strays into territory where the subtext is strong, and the female characters are stronger.
The covers all forms of media are explored, be they books, movies, TV shows, graphic novels, web-comics, or anything else that fits the bill.