Reminder: Fantastic Vermont Panel and Reading!


A final reminder for the week: we’ll be hosting a panel called Fantastic Vermont, which will look at how Vermont and speculative fiction intersect. Brian Staveley, Brett Cox, Erika Nichols, Aimee Picchi and Kristin Dearborn will all take part. The panel will kick off at 3:30 pm at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington.

Afterwards, join us at the headquarters of the Burlington Writer’s Workshop at 5:00pm, where our panelists will read one of their own stories.

We hope to see you there!

Vermont Comic Con Anti-Harassment Policy


Vermont Comic Con is coming up, and one of the things that we’re happy to see that they’ve put together is a solid policy for conduct at the event. Conventions are increasingly taking harrassment of patrons seriously, and we’re very happy to see that VTCC has taken the time to put something like this together.

You can find the policy on their website.

Here’s what it says:

Vermont Comic Con is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, fandom, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, political background, body size, race, religion, etc.

We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. This includes, but is not limited to: physical assault, verbal harassment, sexual harassment, stalking, unwanted physical contact, unwanted advances, or inappropriate photography. (Inappropriate photography is defined as photography where the subject feels they are being stalked, exploited, degraded, or disrespected through being photographed. While it is reasonable that photographers will be photographing costumers and other parts of the convention, should this photography become harassing or sexual in nature, the photographer will be subject to the above harassment policy.) Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference (without a refund) at the discretion of the conference organizers.

Harassment is defined by the victim. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff immediately. If you cannot find a staff, crew, or volunteer member to assist you, please go to the information desks located near registration or near the entrance of the exhibition floor. Please report to us before taking matters into your own hands (such as personally confronting the aggressor or posting on social media). We have professional security and they are properly equipped for these contingencies.

The individual or group may be:

Warned to cease and desist;
Asked to leave the convention, or;
Banned from the convention for any period of time (without a refund).
Exhibitors in the expo hall, sponsor or vendor booths, or similar activities are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. In particular, exhibitors should not use sexualized images, activities, or other material. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment.

We expect participants to follow these rules at all conference venues and conference-related social Vermont Comic Con events.

We’re happy to see this: it defines what types of behavior are unacceptable at the convention, what steps to take if it happens, and what happens to the offender. This also appears to apply to all participants, whether it’s a costumer, attendee, volunteer or vendor.

As we noted on Twitter when we asked the convention if they had a policy (it wasn’t clearly linked on their website), this is important stuff. Far too often, (and not just at genre conventions), people are made to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable by simply showing up to have a good time – harrassment of all types has been in the news lately, especially in the genre commuunity. Too often, this is pushed aside as being not important. This is a good step.

Geek Things for September 19th, 2014

  • Clifford Symposium – “Transforming the Academy in the Digital Era” , 9:30 am-10 pm, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Tech)
  • Christopher Mitchell – “How Do We Keep Burlington Telecom Local?”, 11 am-1:30 pm, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Burlington. Free; $15 for lunch; preregister. (Talk)
  • Britta Tonn – “An Armchair Tour of Pine Street: Burlington’s Historic Industrial Corridor.” 2 pm, Faith United Methodist Church, South Burlington. $5. (History)
  • Magic: The Gathering, 6-8 pm, Brownell Library, Essex Junction. (Gaming)
  • Sue Morse – “Animals of the North: What Will Global Climate Change Mean for Them?” 6:30-9:45 pm, Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington. (Talk)
  • Burlington Book Festival. See for details. 7 pm, Various Burlington locations, Burlington. (Books)
  • Howard Coffin – ‘Vermont’s contribution to the Civil War’ 7 pm, St. Albans Historical Museum, St. Albans. (History)
  • Young Tradition Vermont & Young Writers Project Coffeehouse, 7 pm, North End Studio A, Burlington. (Writing)
  • Robin’s Nest Nature Playgroup, 9:30-11:30 am, North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier. (Kids)
  • Early Bird Math, 11 am-12 pm, Richmond Free Library, Richmond. (Math)
  • Fall Book Sale, 10 am-5:30 pm, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. (Books)
  • St. Albans Raid 150th Anniversary Commemoration, 10 am-7 pm, Various St. Albans locations, St. Albans. (History)
  • The Magic of Bird Migration, 4 pm, Little River State Park, Waterbury. $2-3; free for children ages 3 and under; preregister; call to confirm. (BirdS)
  • Technology Help, 1-4 pm, Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury. (Tech)
  • Fall Migration Bird Walks, 7:30-9 am, North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier. $10; free for kids and members. (Birds)
  • Queen City Ghostwalk: Darkness Falls, 8 pm, Burlington City Hall Park, Burlington. $15; preregister. (Ghosts)
  • FNM – Friday Night Magic – See our homepage for format, 6pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • “Night Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 3:30pm – 4:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • FNM at Heroes Kingdom, 6:00pm, Heroes Kingdom, St. Albans. (Gaming)
  • Tabletop Sanctuary, 6:00pm – 10:00pm, Crowe’s Nest, Randolph. (Gaming)
  • MTG:FNM Brap’s, 6:30pm, Brap’s Magic, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • FNM at the Book Garden, 7:00pm, Book Garden, Montpelier. (Gaming)
  • Campus Movie: Edge of Tomorrow, 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Dole Auditorium, Webb Hall, Norwich University. (Movies)
  • Basement Book Sale 10AM-4PM, Rutland Free Library, Rutland. (Books)
  • Flames of War Open Play, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Friday Night Magic: Standard, 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Kids)
  • Public Star Gazing, UVM Horticulture Research Center, South Burlington. (Astronomy)
  • Star Parties at the GMO, 8:30pm, Green Mountain Observatory, Hinesburg. (Astronomy)

The Vermont Historical Society Gets ‘Lost in Space’

Of course it's Vermont. Just look at all that plaid! - LOSTINSPACE.WIKIA.COM

Seven Days has a really neat article about an upcoming talk by Amanda Gustin of the Vermont Historical Society: Vermont vs. Hollywood. How has the Green Mountain State been presented in film?

Attendees of the Vermont Historical Society’s Annual Meeting and Fall Conference are encouraged to watch “Return From Outer Space” (it’s streaming on Hulu), the better to appreciate public programs coordinator Amanda Gustin’s talk, “Vermont vs. Hollywood: The Green Mountain State on Film.” The talk will also feature other film and television clips that depict fictional versions of Vermont.

Though Gustin’s talk might be the funnest thing ever to be presented at an annual meeting of any organization ever, that’s not the reason for its inclusion in the event. The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Image and Identity in the Green Mountain State,” a subject that also will be taken up by the keynote speaker, historian and Vermont resident Jill Mudgett. Attendees of the meeting will consider the question of how others perceive Vermont, and how Vermont perceives itself.

You can attend the VHS’s annuam meeting on Saturday, September 27th from 8:30 am to 3 pm. It’ll take place at the Vermont History Museum, in Montpelier. Act soon: registration closes tomorrow, Friday, September 19. ($25 members / $35 nonmembers. Register here.

Watch the episode here.

Geek Things for September 18th, 2014

  • Warmachine / Hordes, 5pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff GAmes, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Woodin Environmental Studies Colloquium Series – Life in the Plastisphere: The Ecology of Plastic Marine Debris Erik Zettler, Professor of Oceanography, Associate Dean, Sea Education Association, 12:30 – 1:20pm, Franklin Environmental Center, The Orchard-Hillcrest 103, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Talk)
  • Clifford Symposium Keynote Lecture: “Born Digital: Teaching and Learning in a Technological Age”, 4:30 – 6pm, Wilson Hall, McCullough Student Center, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Talk)
  • “Night Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 3:30pm – 4:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • MTG @ Rutland Collectiblesm, Rutland Collectibles, Rutland. (Gaming)
  • After School Games – Fairlee, 3:00pm – 5:00pm, Fairlee library, Fairlee. (Gaming)
  • 802MTG Randolph, 5:00pm – 8:00pm, Kimball Library, Randolph. (Gaming)
  • Boardgames are Thursday, 6:00pm – 11:00pm, Winooski. (Gaming)
  • Red Cross Blood Drive, 11 am – 5 pm, Mobile unit in front of Capital Plaza Hotel, State Street, Montpelier. (Blood)
  • Red Cross Blood Drive. 12:00pm-5:30pm, St. Leo’s Hall, Waterbury. (Blood)
  • Magic EDH Casual Play, 6:00pm, Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)
  • The Voices of Vermonters with Wind Ridge Books, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm, The Karma Bird House Gallery, Burlington. (Books)
  • Magic EDH/Commander Night, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • Warmachine/Hordes Night, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • ‘An Iliad’, 8 pm, Moore Theater, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover. $17-40. (Theater)
  • Spider Safari, 9-10:30 am, Green Mountain Audubon Center, Huntington. $8-10 per adult/child pair; $4 per additional child; preregister. (Outdoors)
  • Vermont Natural Resources Council Meeting, 5:30-7 pm, Old Lantern, Charlotte. $10 suggested donation; cash bar. (Environment)
  • Mount Mansfield Scale Modelers, 6:30-8:30 pm, Brownell Library, Essex Junction. (Models)
  • James B. Petersen Lecture, “Drones and Bones: Digital Approaches to Archaeology in Peru.” 7 pm, Fleming Museum, University of Vermont, Burlington. (Archaeology)
  • Fall Book Sale, 10 am-5:30 pm, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. (Books)
  • Generator Membership Orientation, 6-7 pm, Generator, Burlington. $10. (Tech)
  • St. Albans Raid 150th Anniversary Commemoration, 10 am-7 pm, Fri., Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat., Sept. 20, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun., Sept. 21, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Various St. Albans locations, St. Albans. (History)
  • Forza: The Samurai Sword Workout, 6-7 pm, North End Studio A, Burlington. $10. (Workout)

VTCC Guest: Melissa Cowan – Bicycle Girl

Vermont Comic Con announced a new guest to the upcoming convention today: Melissa Cowan – Bicycle Girl from The Walking Dead, will be joining us here in Vermont:

Vermont Comiccon is excited to announce Melissa Cowan – Bicycle Girl from AMC’s The Walking Dead will be attending our convention! We are bringing you the only comiccon in Vermont and we hope you are equally as excited about this news!

Tickets are available here.

Alison Bechdel Wins MacArthur Foundation Grant

This is very cool news: Vermont cartoonist Alison Bechel has won a MacArthur Genius Grant!

From their website:

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. In keeping with this purpose, the Foundation awards fellowships directly to individuals rather than through institutions. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.

Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a reward for past accomplishment, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows, and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.

Her bio from the website:

Alison Bechdel is a cartoonist and graphic memoirist exploring the complexities of familial relationships in multilayered works that use the interplay of word and image to weave sophisticated narratives. Bechdel’s command of sequential narrative and her aesthetic as a visual artist was established in her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For (1983–2008), which realistically captured the lives of women in the lesbian community as they influenced and were influenced by the important cultural and political events of the day.

Garnering a devoted and diverse following, this pioneering work was a precursor to her book-length graphic memoirs. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006) is a nuanced depiction of a childhood spent in an artistic family in a small Pennsylvania town and of her relationship with her father, a high school English teacher and funeral home director. An impeccable observer and record keeper, Bechdel incorporates drawings of archival materials, such as diaries, letters, photographs, and news clippings, as well as a variety of literary references in deep reflections into her own past.

Bechdel composes an intricate, recursive narrative structure that is compelling on both the visual and verbal planes in Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama (2012), a meditation on her relationship with her emotionally distant mother seen through the lens of psychoanalytic theory. As in Fun Home, the images in Are You My Mother? do not always correspond to or illustrate the words; rather, they mutually interpret or often tug against each other, creating a space between them that invites a multiplicity of interpretations. With storytelling that is striking for its conceptual depth and complexity in structure as well as for the deft use of allusion and reference, Bechdel is changing our notions of the contemporary memoir and expanding the expressive potential of the graphic form.

This is outstanding news for a very worthy recipient.

Geek Things for September 17th, 2014

  • ‘An Iliad’, 8 pm, Moore Theater, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover. $17-40. (Theater)
  • Elizabeth Dolci – “Microbial Community Structure of the Vermont Asbestos Group Mine.” 4-5:15 pm, Room 207, Bentley Hall, Johnson State College, Johnson. (Talk)
  • St. Albans Raid 150th Anniversary Commemoration, 7 pm, Various St. Albans locations, St. Albans. (History)
  • Monarch Butterfly Tagging, 3:30-5 pm, North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier. $3-5. (Butterflies)
  • Fall Book Sale, 3-7:30 pm, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. (Books)
  • Magic: The Gathering – Draft – $12 Entry Fee, 6:30pm – 11:00pm, Quarterstaff Gaming, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Pathfinder Society, 6:30pm – 11:00pm, Game Lounge, Quarterstaff Gaming, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • “Night Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 3:30pm – 4:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • D&D Encounters, Brap’s Magic, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Game Night at Local 64, 6:30pm, Local 64, Montpelier. (Gaming)
  • Saratoga: John Scalzi “Lock In”, 7:00 pm, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs NY. (Authors)
  • Game Night, 4pm – 7pm, Milne Room, Aldrich Public Library, Barre. (Gaming)
  • Board Game Day & Night, Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)
  • Young Scientist Program (Session 1 – morning program begins), 9:30 am / 1:00 pm , Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich. Members $175 / Non-members $190. (KidS)
  • D&D Encounters, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • Board Game Night, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)
  • Pokemon League, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH. (Gaming)

Geek Things for September 16th, 2014

  • ‘Wounds of Waziristan’, 7 pm, The Block Gallery & Coffeehouse, Winooski. (Documentaries)
  • Story Explorers: A Good Day’s Fishing, 10:30 am, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center/Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Burlington. $10.50-13.50. (Kids)
  • Home Energy Workshop, 1-2 pm, Montpelier Senior Activity Center, Montpelier. (Energy)
  • ECHO AfterDark/Café Scientifique, 6-8 pm, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center/Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Burlington. $5; free for members. (Science)
  • Technology Forum, 6 pm, Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, Williston. (Tech)
  • Technology Help, 1-4 pm, Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury. (Tech)
  • Knights of the Mystic Movie Club, 8 pm, Main Street Museum, White River Junction. (Movies)
  • Board Game Night, 5pm – 11pm, Quarterstaff Games, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Mathematics Seminar: Peter Schumer, Middlebury College – Points of Interest: An Introduction to Some Math Problems on a Square Grid, 3 – 4:15pm, Warner 202, Middlebury College, Middlebury. (Maths)
  • Author Appearance: John Scalzi, 7pm – 7pm, Concord, NH. (Authors)
  • VAS Board Meeting, 7:30 PM, Brownell Library, Essex Junction. (Astronomy)
  • “Night Sky” Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium, 3:30pm – 4:00pm, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury. (Astronomy)
  • 802MTG and 802RPG Burlington, 5:00pm – 7:45pm, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Game Night in Danby, 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Silas Griffith Inn, Danby. (Gaming)
  • MTG:Cubesday Tuesday, 6:30pm, Brap’s Magic, Burlington. (Gaming)
  • Guided Nature Walk. 9:00am, Barre Town Forest, meet at Brook St. parking area, Barre Town. Info. 476-4185. (Hike)
  • East Montpelier/Calais Historical Societies Meeting/Hike. 5:30pm, Meet at the old carved historical stone on Rte 14, across from Central Vermont Humane Society, East Montpelier. Info. 454-7328.(Hike)
  • Solar Home: Heating and Cooling Info Session. 6-7pm, Hunger Mountain Coop, Montpelier. Pre-register 223-8000 x202. (Energy)
  • Green Mountain Community Solar Meeting, 6pm – 8pm, Upstairs Classroom, Fairbanks Museum of Science, St. Johnsbury. (Energy)
  • Magic the Gathering EDH/Casual play, 6:00pm, Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)
  • Teaching Life Cycles, Habitats, and Seasonal Change with Insects, 9:00 am, Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich. (Teaching)
  • Tuesday Night Magic: Modern, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, Black Moon Games, Lebanon NH.
  • Tuesday Night Fights! Triple Play Games, Claremont NH. (Gaming)