One of the foundations of Arisia programming are panels. These led discussions cover a wide spectrum of topics including everything including Anime, Art, Comics, Communities, Costuming, Crafting, Fan Interest, Gaming, Literature, Media, Music/Filk, Science, and Writing.
A "panel" is usually a small group of people discussing a topic in front of an audience of fans. Often there is input from the audience in the form of questions, brainstorming or other forms of audience participation. Although panels are our main mode of discussion, don't feel bound to that format. Fan-led discussion groups, workshops, lectures, presentations etc. are welcome.
There is a ton of great programming being lined up for this year's Arisia.
Here are just a few highlights for this year:
Anime Cons: Behind the Scenes: Take part in the conversation as a panel of seasoned anime convention staffers discuss how much work it actually takes to put on a successful con. Perfect for people who are interested in staffing or considering volunteering for cons in the future. You're sure to hear some amazing horror stories from cons gone wrong and the lessons learned as well.
What Anime is New Now: Join us as we discover new and popular anime from both Japan and the US. Find out more about titles such as Black Butler, Tiger and Bunny, and others you may have heard of but would like to get to know better.
SF Spaceship Design for Artists: Not just a set of examples of what spaceships might look like and how an artist would put an illustration featuring a spaceship together (well maybe a bit of that too). Spaceships are in free fall but, visual SF (illustrations, TV, film) ships often have a strong sense of up and down-ness. Why? What kind of things would you have to think about to design something so alien? How does current technology affect how we imagine these vehicles?
Judging a Book By Its Cover: What does cover art say about a book or periodical? Often the cover art and the story within seem entirely unrelated. Why is this? How is cover art commissioned? Who has the final word on what gets on the cover? How much can cover art affect the perception of the book and/or sales? How can the match and mismatch of cover art be navigated to help readers find books they will enjoy?
Female Fandom in Comics: Women have always been reading comics and we’re seeing more women becoming involved in the comics industry. This has brought female readers and characters to the forefront, but despite the headway being made by these talented women we’re still seeing evidence of sexism and misogyny in mainstream comics. How do we as readers face these situations? What can be done to rectify them? Let's talk solutions, make observations, and discuss the comics that actually feature well-written women.
Building the Perfect Beast: A nuts and bolts presentation of how cartoonists create their work. Focusing on intangible (storytelling, mood, pacing, research) as well as tangible elements (drawings, inking, page design).
Steampunk and Costuming: Steampunk has been a strong trend in costuming the past few years, and it may still be growing. But what makes a costume "steampunk"? How much Victorian style needs to be retained and how many futuristic elements need to be added?
Wigs for Costuming: To achieve the best look possible, getting the right hair is a must. Wigs are great option, especially when characters have crazy colors and styles. Learn styling tips and the best places to buy wigs.
Monster Mash: Don your best Mad Scientist outfit and create marvelous monsters and creative chimera along with Dr. Meme No/Yes, Master Monster Maker. We will take cute fluffy stuffed animals, hack them into pieces, and then reassemble them in wholly unnatural ways. There will be a $5 materials fee per participant to cover the cost of DNA splitters, splicers, and experimental specimens.
Making Stained Glass: Come learn about doing stained glass and work on a small learning piece. Workshop materials fee is $5. There will only be very limited sign up at con in Program Nexus.
Painted Miniatures Contest: Come view some amazing painted miniatures! This is a judging and awards session, and anybody with a con membership can vote to determine the winners. Contestants will register ahead of time in the Program Nexus. There will be a maximum of 20 entrants allowed. Miniatures are to be brought to the contest room 30 minutes before this session for judging. See our website for rules.
Only a Game: This year, we've seen games become central plot points or even environments for science fiction and its neighbors: Ernest Cline's "Ready Player One", Neal Stephenson's "REAMDE", Cory Doctorow's "For the Win", and Walter Jon Williams' ironically titled "This Is Not a Game" and "Deep State". What is it about immersing ourselves in simulated environments that compels us? How much of our games become "the real world"? What do games mean?
Gender Limitations in SF/F: Often strong female characters are portrayed in such a way that seem to be a rejection not just of traditional gender roles but as a rejection of all things feminine. Similarly, male characters that take on what are regarded as traditional female roles are viewed as emasculated figures incapable of pro-active action. Where are the strong warrior women that can also be compassionate or the househusbands that have a role beyond being the punchline of a joke?
As one of the first cons of the year we're ideally suited for looking back at the year just gone by. We will be having our annual Movie Year in Review and TV Year in Review panels, to discuss what you don't want to have missed.
There will also be a Game of Thrones panel. George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice" has been adapted to the small screen, and it was one of the hottest SF/F media events of 2011. The new season starts in April, so hear's a chance to look back and look ahead. How well does it hold up in the transition? Does it stay true to the source material? Have the changes been for the better or the worse?
Planetary Penetration: Drilling for Mars Life: Presented by Brian Glass, official NASA Speaker. Looking for signs of life will take remotely drilling 1-5m without getting stuck. The proposed “Icebreaker” mission is a return to the regions explored by the Phoenix mission in 2007-8. Another larger mission called “Red Dragon” might carry a bigger drill, more instruments to characterize the Mars environment and maybe a pilot plant for extracting fuel and oxygen on Mars. Learn about these mission concepts, the technical issues around automated planetary drilling, and a Q&A period.
Improbable Research and the Ig Nobel Prizes: Highlights from Ig Nobel prize-winning studies and patents, presented in dramatic mini-readings by luminaries and experts (in some field). Between presentations, members of the audience will be challenged to divine the intended purpose of diagrams from research papers.
Circlet Press 20th Anniversary Retrospective!: Boston is not only home to Arisia but also to the world's only book publisher dedicated to erotic science fiction and fantasy, Circlet Press. In this fun and interactive presentation by founder Cecilia Tan, we'll look back over the 20 years of Circlet's life. Curious about what lessons we've learned over 20 years of mixing up gay and straight, vampires and space aliens? Curious about what we're going to do next? Come find out! There will be door prizes!
My Bizarre Writing Process: Each writer has their own process, habits, and methods for getting the ideas flowing on to the page. Our panelists describe the methods to their madness, tips, and tricks that may work for you as well.