Dragon Con Greeting in Virtual Space—with Imp!

Author with imp

Dragon Con Virtual is underway this weekend! As a scheduled program participant for the torpedoed-by-pandemic real-life con, I was asked to shoot a two-minute video greeting about why I love science fiction and Dragon Con. It’s probably up on their site somewhere, but blast if I know where, so I’m posting it here.

In the course of shooting the video, an imp appeared in the corner of my screen during one take. Where’d she come from?? It wasn’t my best take, but the imp was too charming not to keep. So here’s the Outtake—with Imp:

Or directly on YouTube: https://youtu.be/oY6WWvkOtZY

If you want to see my actual best take, here it is (but no imp, alas):

https://youtu.be/L9R4RRL1w5A

Clarinetist Anthony McGill Takes Two Knees

Following the Boston Pops musicians-at-home tribute to COVID-19 first responders, I was blown away today by this solo performance at home by the New York Philharmonic’s principal clarinetist Anthony McGill, of “America the Beautiful”—beautifully and subtly re-tuned to convey Mr. McGill’s sorrow and anger at racial injustice. Watch and listen to it on a device with good sound; it’s worth it. McGill ends the piece with… well, I’ll let you watch and see.

McGill’s statement inspired this haunting and inspiring rendition of Sebelius’s Hymn from Finlandia, by music students and faculty from four different music schools, all taking two knees in protest of injustice.

The story appears on NPR’s Here and Now, with an interview by WBUR radio’s Robin Young. The interview is well worth a listen:

 

Summon the Heroes!

Summon the Heroes - Boston Pops at Home

Could you use some uplifting music for these strange and distressing times? Couldn’t we all? Here’s the Boston Pops Orchestra performing a special edition of “Summon the Heroes,” by the incredible John Williams, in honor of COVID first responders everywhere. This was recorded before the stress of the pandemic was compounded by the specter of racism, but if anything I feel even more keenly the need for a bit of uplift. Continue reading “Summon the Heroes!”

Rage. Fear. Center.

Toward the end of April, as people began to plan WisCONline — the virtual WisCon — I got a notice that my academic paper for the con had been accepted and that they wanted a video presentation.

About the same time, I saw that Story Center was offering an online class in using WeVideo. Although I took one of their classes in digital storytelling about four years back and learned the basics of WeVideo, I had a lot of gaps in my knowledge since I hadn’t done any new videos.

I decided to sign up for the class with the goal of making a video for WisCon. That way I could do something besides a talking head of me reading the paper.

There were two problems with this plan. First, the 15-minute presentation would be considerably longer than the usual 2-3 minute videos Story Center works with.

Second, the paper wasn’t written yet. Once WisCon decided to cancel the in-person convention, I hadn’t expected them to want a paper. Also, in my previous academic papers for WisCon, I had still been putting the final touches on the paper the day of the presentation.

But I felt inspired and signed up for the class, even told the teacher my grandiose plan at the first meeting. Continue reading “Rage. Fear. Center.”