Episode 42: Gatekeeping in Geek Culture

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.

For more information on what Andi and Lise are geeking out about right now, check out Orc Haven by Beryll and Osiri Brackhaus, and The Gifted on Fox.

Episode 41: Interview with Fangirl Shirts

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.

Find Fangirl Shirts:

Website (BUY!)

Twitter — @fangirlshirts

Instagram — @fangirl_shirts

Pinterest — @fangirlshirts

Episode 40: Wynonna Earp: Season 2

(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 talk about Season 1 of Wynonna Earp

Season 2 trailer HERE

Watch Season 1 and 2 on Netflix (US and Canada).

Watch Season 3 live or stream episodes on SyFy (US) and Space (Canada)

Episode 39: Stand Still Stay Silent

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 Stand Still. Stay Silent HERE

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.

Episode 38: Thor: Ragnarok

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.

See the trailer

Cast list

Episode 37: Nanette

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.

Hannah Gadsby’s “Nanette” on Netflix (US; check your local Netflix site if you’re not in the US).

Gadsby’s just released memoir, Ten Steps to Nanette is available at various booksellers. Check your faves.

Rolling Stone interview with Gadsby

Moira Donegan at the New Yorker on “Nanette”

The WIRED crew on “Nanette”

Sophie Gilbert at The Atlantic on “Nanette” as a radical, transformative work of comedy

Episode 36: Dread Nation

Andi and Lise RAVE about the book Dread Nation by author Justina Ireland, which is billed as YA but really, EVERYBODY should read it. It’s an amazingly evocative tale of American race relations set against the backdrop of the Civil War but with a twist—zombies. Or, in the parlance of the times, “shamblers.”

From the book description:

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

The book deals with race, racial hierarchies as defined by skin color, and how a zombie apocalypse didn’t re-align race relations, but rather simply grafted them onto a new backdrop. The protagonist (Jane) is amazing and the story is well-crafted and you’re swept up in it immediately. READ THIS BOOK.

Justina Ireland’s website

Dread Nation is published by Balzar + Bray (imprint of HarperCollins)

Here’s the Amazon link

Episode 35: Interview with Amanda McLoughlin of the Join the Party podcast

Andi and Lise totally fangirled over Amanda McLoughlin, but they still did manage to chat with her about one of her cool-ass projects, “Join the Party,” a collaborative storytelling and roleplaying podcast in which four friends create a story together, chapter by chapter. Everyone from seasoned players to total beginners can enjoy this Dungeons & Dragons gameplay, with adventure, intrigue, drama, magic, and the chance to follow diverse characters.

According to the Bello (podcasting) Collective, Join the Party has “gargoyles, robots, queerness, political intrigue, and a whole lot of sound design.” JTP also has introductory episodes to teach new listeners how to play D&D, and they also have interviews with innovators who are pushing the game forward.

Amanda McLoughlin is a producer, founder of the production collective Multitude, a business builder, and old-school internet creator from New York who some of you may know as one of the co-hosts of the fabulous mythology, folklore and legends podcast, “Spirits.”

Hit the link to visit the awesome:

Join the Party

Other D&D podcasts you might dig:

The Adventure Zone

Venture Maidens

Dames & Dragons

Episode 34: Ocean’s 8

This week Lise and Andi lose their collective minds over the movie Ocean’s 8 because: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rhianna, Awkwafina, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, and Anne Hathaway. Also, they both LUUUUV a good heist, and Ocean’s 8 delivers AND passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors.

The writing is tight (SO important in a heist plot!), the woman power is stellar, the humor is spot-on, and holy crap the chemistry between the cast and especially Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett…Andi is shipping them hard. Ocean’s 8 is part of the Ocean’s franchise, and Bullock’s character is Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny Ocean.

Plot summary:

“Five years, eight months, 12 days and counting — that’s how long Debbie Ocean [Bullock] has been devising the biggest heist of her life. She knows what it’s going to take — a team of the best people in the field, starting with her partner-in-crime Lou Miller [Blanchett]. Together, they recruit a crew of specialists, including jeweler Amita [Kaling], street con Constance [Awkwafina], suburban mom Tammy [Paulson], hacker Nine Ball [Rihanna], and fashion designer Rose [Bonham Carter]. Their target — a necklace that’s worth more than $150 million.”

Ocean’s 8 website

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