Time Flies….

May, June, and July were very very busy months for me. I attended four science fiction conventions (Spectrum, ConQuest, SoonerCon, and Contemplation) and an academic conference on the literature of science fiction (The Campbell Conference). I participated in two art shows (ConQuesT, SoonerCon). I took a road trip to Arkansas to celebrate with the good folks of Yard Dog Press. We celebrated two national holidays with friends, saw a couple of musicals at Starlight, and saw a movie or two or three. My husband had surgery, I was a bit under the weather for a bit myself, and we had house guests. The renovation team finally finished our kitchen and got the heck of our house, and we’re STILL unpacking boxes of kitchen stuff and purging 15 years of acquired clutter. I cleaned my office, rotated my seasonal wardrobe, built a website (ConQuesTkc.org), and then built it again with new, improved graphics and such. Yep. I’ve been a tad busy.

 

My SoonerCon Schedule

Here’s my schedule for SoonerCon, June 27-28 in Oklahoma City:

Friday, June 27

3 pm —Tut, Tut Mummy!
Why this strange fascination with the dried-up husks of dead people? You don’t see movie franchises about Mayans or the Inuit. Why have other myth systems been left behind in the (mummy) dust?

5 pm — A Game of Thrones: A Fan’s Addiction (moderator)
Is the series a dark fantasy or rather, a soap opera with swords and incest? Which character do you hate the most? Who should die next (because probably, they will). Panelists discuss everything Game of Thrones from the books to the television series. *Spoilers may be unavoidable

8 pm — Art Reception

Saturday, June 28

11 am — Dragons: Myths Across the Miles
There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons; the European dragon and the East Asian dragon. How did the legend of the dragon make its way across the continents in the ages of minimal communication and cross-continental travel? What cultural truths can be explained by the similarity of the various dragon myths and forms?

3 pm — Dr. Who: The Anti-Antihero
The Doctor is the best person, er, Timelord ever. Sure, he makes some mistakes but things seem to work out as they were meant to in the end. Is the Doctor’s ultra-goodness his best appeal? What gives him such cross-generational staying power?

4 pm — Yard Dog Press Roadshow

Sunday, June 29

10 am — Koffee Klatch
Meet guests of the convention and enjoy coffee and casual conversation.

12 pm — The Inspired Artist
Artists discuss their real-world inspirations used to create works of SF/F art.

3 pm — Why So Grimm? (moderator)
A gruesome look at the original Grimm’s fairy tales. The dark ’n’ gritty older versions of the folktales that Disney sanitized. Were kids really lulled to sleep hearing about how Cinderella’s stepsisters hacked off their toes to fit the Prince’s slipper?

My New Business Cards

Last week, I decided it was long past time to get professionally printed business cards. You know what they say: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. I’ve printed my own cards for years, but I’ve never been happy with the quality of inkjet on perforated Avery 10-per-sheet card blanks.

Instead of a traditional size business card, I ordered Moo mini-cards. They’re about half the size of a standard business card — about the size of a stick of gum — with a full-color image on one side and my contact info on the other. I chose four related images to use on the full color side. On the other, I’ve included my name, my tag line (Author, Artist, TV Addict, Geek Princess, Cat Servant… not necessarily in that order), my email address, and my web address (AllisonStein.com).

I received my order on Saturday, and they are dangerously adorable! After years of printing my own cards, I’m excited to have something that looks this nice.

I’ll package one with each piece of art I display at ConQuesT, SoonerCon, and Archon this year. I’ll also keep some handy to use when networking at other events, like Spectrum Fantastic Art Live this coming weekend, and the Campbell Conference in June.

My Moo Cards

My SoonerCon Schedule

I’m looking forward to attending SoonerCon this weekend in Oklahoma City. I will have art in the art show, including several new small multimedia pieces. Yard Dog Press authors and artists will be there in abundance! Look for the bright yellow fedoras, and ask us for Coupons of Great Value to receive discounts on our books at the Yard Dog Press table in the Dealers Room.

One thing I truly love about SoonerCon is the programming. The fine folks in charge have put together a thought-provoking selection of panels and assigned me to several intriguing topics:

  • FRI 4PM-B – Metropolis, A Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451: The Foundations of Cyberpunk. Angela Lowry-M, Cyn Burton, Allison Stein, Tim Frayser
  • FRI 5PM-F – Out of Darkness: The Iterations and Resilience of Gene Roddenberry ‘s Star Trek. Larry Nemecek, Zo Leavy-M, Neal Hallford, Allison Stein, Evan Wardwell
  • SAT 2PM-A – OBEY: Everyday Propaganda. Marci Bull, Allison Stein-M, Caroline Spector, Mark Finn
  • SAT 3PM-Theater – YARD DOG ROADSHOW
  • SAT 4PM-E – But Is It Art? Felix Matos, Cyn Burton, Alain Viesca, Dell Harris, Scott Zrubek, Allison Stein-M.
  • SUN 11AM-E – Digital Art as the New Norm. Alain Viesca, Larry Latham-M, Angela Lowry, Scott Zrubek, Allison Stein, Dell Harris

While I could talk all day about cyberpunk, Star Trek, and art, I’m especially looking forward to moderating the session on propaganda, which is especially relevant today when everyone has an agenda, a message to sway you, and the means to distribute it worldwide with a click of a button. The power of propaganda to influence thought and behavior fascinates me, and its ubiquitous use in modern society chills me to the bone.

If you’ve ever copied a status update as your own that challenges someone to “copy this status update” or “share this photo” if you believe in [the cause of the week], you’ve been both a victim of propaganda and a purveyor thereof.

Every message you encounter — from your info-tainment provider of choice, the memes and pages you “Like” on Facebook, and the article and video links you choose to follow and share — uses propaganda techniques to attract your attention, build your trust, separate you from your money, influence your thoughts, and direct the choices you make.

Fox News is notorious for using proven propaganda techniques such as fear, prejudice, flag-waving, half-truths, loaded language, distraction, repetition, and others. Even our local Kansas City news channels use these propaganda techniques to build viewership: one uses fear (of crime, of bad weather, of being ripped-off); another uses authority (claiming to be the metro’s news leader and have the most accurate weather forecast). And on Facebook, there’s the previously mentioned challenges to “copy this status update” or “share this photo” if you believe in [the cause of the week].

That’s why critical thinking skills are more important than ever. If you can’t recognize when propaganda is being used to influence you, you won’t recognize that you’re being manipulated. Don’t be sheep. Consider the source of the message, and learn recognize the propaganda techniques the source is using to mold your thoughts and motivate your actions.

Want to learn more about propaganda? Start here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_techniques

My Soonercon Schedule …


It’s going to be an action-packed weekend at SoonerCon in Oklahoma City this weekend! I’ll have art in the show, and lots of programming to participate in with some awesome co-panelists:

 

FRIDAY

5 p.m. —  Can Art Change The World? (D. Cherry, B. Hodgson, A. Viesca, T. Trammell, A. Stein)

9 p.m. —  Yard Dog Press Party in the Con Suite Always a good time, but beware the Hurling Monkeys!

 

SATURDAY

1 p.m. —  Can it be fine art if it’s SF? (B. Foster, A. Stein, A. Viesca, B. Hodgson, D. Cherry, T. Harvia)

2 p.m. —  Artist’s Quick Draw Contest (C. Conrad, K. Hopkins, A. Stein, B. Foster, T. Harvia, B. Hodgson)

3 p.m. —  Yard Dog Road Show Always a good time!

6 p.m. —  Setting the Scene: Placement and Composition (A. Stein, B. Young, P. Charlifu, T. Harvia, M. Wytch)

 

SUNDAY

noon —  Artist’s Jam (A. Stein, P. Bradley, B. Foster, C. Conrad, A. Viesca)

2 p.m. —  Self Promotion and Alternate Marketing for Artists (A. Stein, K. Hopkins, M. Wytch, A. Viesca, P. Chariflu)

3 p.m. —  Fine Art vs Illustration – Is There A Difference? (A. Stein, P. Chariflu, D.L. Anderson, T. Harvia)  BTW: I might not make this panel – it’s a long drive back to Kansas City!

Tonight I need to finish my art show prep and paperwork, and then pack for the weekend.Tonight is my last chance to get it all done. Why, you ask? Because my sweetie is taking me to the STYX / REO Speedwagon / .38 Special concert! Rock and Roll!