Yesterday, I posted the following in my personal Facebook page.
Since it’s that time of year, I wanted to say thank you all for being awesome. Some of us have known each other for most of our lives by now. Some of us have never met in person. Yet, you’ve all managed to make the day-to-day drudgery of work a little bit more entertaining. Thanks for the funny little updates about your day, weird videos, selfies and memes. Even your cat pictures and kid updates are cool, and I’m allergic to both. I hope to see more of you in person more frequently soon, but we can talk about that later. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving. Have an awesome weekend and KIT, or something like that.
I wanted to repost and expand on this because the message goes far beyond my circle of Facebook pals.
I’m grateful to live in a world where we can share our life experiences with faraway friends and people we will never meet in person. As annoying as Internet life can be, it’s changed who we are and how we relate to each other.
At its best, this whole swirl of Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr madness can be the push we need to become more compassionate, empathetic people. In the physical world, we’re divided by geography, industries, social circles, age groups. Online, we can get a glimpse inside the lives that we don’t see on a day-to-day basis. When we use these technological gifts to their fullest advantage, we learn as much about each other as we do about ourselves.
All that means is that I’m thankful for you and how your stories have made an impact on this reader/snooper this year. For those of you in the U.S., have a great holiday. For everyone else, hope you have an amazing rest of the week.
I’ve spent the last five years covering fan conventions, both the big events like San Diego Comic-Con and smaller, hotel cons like Anime Los Angeles. As far as reporting to go, these are nearly always my favorite assignments. That’s why I need to dig deeper into it.
Maybe my convention coverage is a little different from what you might expect. I’m not particularly concerned with entertainment industry announcements. Checking out the toys and art and costumes are fun, but they aren’t everything. Mostly, I’m interested in people. This is evident in stories I’ve written for L.A. Weekly, like “A Fan Convention Through the Eyes of a Single Cosplayer,” “The Curious World of Voice Actors” and “Sean Z. Maker: Founder of Bent-Con, the LGBT Pop Culture Convention.” I want to know why you lug your work out to artist alley booths, why you volunteer to run them and why you spend months working on a costume.
Right now, I’m in the beginning phases of a large-scale interview project concerning the world of fan conventions. The goal is to present a series of essays about people from various segments of the convention world. I will be updating this blog weekly with stories resulting from these interviews, essentially the rough drafts for what will, hopefully, become a book.
This where you come in. I’m putting out an open call for interview subjects. It’s imperative that these interviews take place in person, either at a convention or a mutually agreed upon location. Since I’m working with no budget for travel, this means that you have to be from the Los Angeles area. The first interview should take about an hour. We may need to meet for subsequent interviews, depending on the nature of the story. I’ll also need to take a few quick photos of you, so it’s important that you’re not camera shy. Finally, if you want to be considered for an interview, you need to be at least 18 years old. If you’re still interested, email me at lizohanesian [at] yahoo [dot] com with the subject line Convention Interview Project.
I’ve already conducted a few interviews, which you will see as soon as I can get those transcribed. Over the next few months, we’ll start to watch the big story unfold together.
I was Tina Belcher for Halloween. For those who don’t know the reference, Tina is the eldest daughter on the animated show Bob’s Burgers. If you have never watched that show, you should. The inspiration came mostly from my friend, Roo. He’s always sending me gifs of Tina’s antics. It’s also inspired by my husband, who is convinced that I was like Tina at 13. He’s kind of right.
Anyhow, after pulling together the costume with stuff in the closet and a few odds and ends picked up for cheap across L.A., we headed to Club Berlin at Alpine Village in Torrance. It was a great night, probably the best Halloween I’ve had in a while. The crowd was fun and energetic. Some good friends hung out with us, including one who was celebrating her birthday. Plus, I did capoeira Tina-style on the dance floor and in the DJ booth. Yes, there’s video. You’ll probably see it at some point. I get a little too into character on Halloween sometimes.
Thanks to everyone who made last night so awesome.
Check out the set list.
We talk about this a lot. Why is it so acceptable to ask people to work for free? It’s the subject that’s at the heart of a lot of Facebook rants and Twitter storms and, more recently, the New York Times opinion page. You’ve probably read “Slaves of the Internet, Unite!” by now. It’s made a lot of rounds. Tim Kreider’s arguments and advice are sound. The fill-in-the-blank response at the bottom of the piece is useful and explains why you can’t afford to forego pay. It’s also similar to the replies I’ve sent plenty of people in recent memory. Mine are typically “Sorry, I can’t afford to work without pay” or “Sorry, I can’t afford to do the job for that amount.”
It’s a simple, and sort of obvious, response to people who give us line after line about how they can’t afford to pay us or can’t afford to pay a remotely reasonable amount for the work. And, for a lot of us, it’s the truth.
Tomorrow is Halloween. I will be dressing up as my current favorite cartoon character– Tina Belcher– and heading down to Alpine Village where I am set to DJ at Club Berlin. For those of you in the South Bay, this is a great opportunity to get some Halloween partying done without traveling too far. The party runs from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. Cover is $5 and the event is 21+. For more info, and to RSVP, head over to Facebook.
On Friday, I’ll be playing at Meltdown Comics for “The Doctor Is In: A Tribute to the Show.” This is the opening event for an art show featuring 100+ artists and it is free to attend. More info on Facebook.
Next month, I’ll be attending four or five conventions. That’s a lot, even for someone who writes about conventions as part of her job. I went to my first convention in 2008 because I was looking for DVDs. I started writing about them because they interested me. I kept writing about them because people seemed to be reading the stories. I thought that maybe, after a year or two, I would move on to something else. I didn’t. Ultimately, writing about conventions became more than a means of getting paid. Conventions became part of my education.
At conventions, I learned a lot of basics of reporting in the 21st century. I learned how to write fast, how to make the most of technology in places where Internet access is sparse and how to survive on very little sleep. I didn’t simply learn how to report at conventions. It’s inside these massive, crowded venues that I learned how to be a better person
Shadowplay, the monthly goth party I throw with Diana M. and Lawrence G. of Underground, is back this Saturday night. I’m very excited for this event because our guest DJ is Jason Farber. Jason and I have been friends for years. In fact, I played my first big DJ gig at Coven 13 with him. He’s an amazing DJ and a constant inspiration, so I hope you’ll stop by to check out his set.
Shadowplay takes place at the Grand Star in Chinatown. Party starts at 10 p.m. and, if you RSVP, it’s free before 10:30 p.m. Otherwise, the cover is $8.
Thanks to everyone who made it out to Underground last night. Here’s the set list.
I remember the moment when I went from liking The Cure to being, like, totally freakin’ obsessed with The Cure. It’s when I heard Disintegration. That happened sometime in 6th grade. Disintegration was an album that probably really did change my life. It marked a personal change, the beginning of a transformation from being an unintentionally nerdy kid to a defiantly weird teenager.
Sometimes I think that the only albums that really, truly matter are the ones you heard when you’re caught in the midst of puberty. You don’t forget the solace found in those albums that accompanied your teenage meltdowns. You don’t forget that Robert Smith understood you better than your fake friends did.
Just a quick post to let you know what’s been going on this week.
On Tuesday, Titmouse released the animated short “Pinched” via iTunes. It’s a cool flick and I had the chance to interview creator David Vandervoort for Geek Exchange.
“Animated Short ‘Pinched’ Hits iTunes”
I recently had the chance to visit Abso Lutely Studios, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s production company. While I was there, I talked with Heidecker, as well as Eric Andre and Derrick Beckles, star of the new Adult Swim series Hot Package. Read the story for L.A. Weekly.
“Inside Tim & Eric’s Company, Which Is Pushing the Boundaries of TV Comedy”
On the print side of the spectrum, I wrote about L.A.-based artist Ken Garduno for Hi-Fructose vol. 29. This story is not available online, so if you want to read it, make sure you pick up a copy.
Order a copy of Hi-Fructose vol. 29.
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