Hello, and welcome to The Novel Approach, which has temporarily been taken over by the folks of RainbowCon. If you haven’t heard of us, the Rainbow Conference (aka RainbowCon) is a four-day conference taking place in Tampa, Florida July 16th through 19th this year. Four days of nothing but GLBTQ content geared toward bringing people together over artistic diversity!
We’ve expanded our programming since our first conference in 2014, so there’s a lot of new and exciting things happening in just a month. RainbowCon’s first event took a relatively narrow approach, focusing entirely on the wonderful diversity of GLBTQ fiction, from sweet and adventurous YA books to stories on the fringes of the more adult-oriented genres. We had panels spanning the vastness of fiction to take on light and serious topics alike, but there were also workshops for aspiring or established writers and a couple fun events in the evenings. For our 2015 event, fiction is just the tip of the iceburg!
If you take a look at our schedule online, one of the first things you’ll likely notice is that the topics vary widely. Here are a few sneak peeks!
- Fiction – Yes, it’s true, we still have many panels devoted to fiction. From craft and industry panels to tropes, taboos, genre crossing, and handling criticism. In addition to the wide variety of panels (a couple of which will be making a second appearance from our first con), we have an entire room devoted to workshops throughout the extended weekend. Everything from taking the step from hobby to career to worldbuilding, action, dialogue, or writing awesome bad guys. If you want to add to your skill set as a writer, you’re likely to find a workshop right up your alley.
- Fandom – Because of the lower representation of QUILTBAG characters in various media, fandom is often where fans of television shows, movies, and/or fiction can find a bit more representation of our diverse community. Whether it’s reading Between the Lines of Sherlock or Queering Middle-Earth with fellow Tolkien fans, there are plenty of opportunities to commiserate with other fans at RainbowCon. Sometimes, it’s not just what was in the original media so much as the ripples it made in the community of fans that makes a character or plot so beloved.
- Comics – This medium has an amazing impact due to the tantalizing combination of both storytelling and visual elements. Our Guests of Honor for 2015 are Alex Woolfson and Adam DeKraker, the creator and illustrator of The Young Protectors, an online comic surrounding GLBTQ themes and superheroes. The pair will share their knowledge in a few panels. They even made that custom image above for us, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to encourage visibility of GLBTQ content online!
- Television – From Star Trek to Xena: Warrior Princess to Queer as Folk, there’s no doubt that television has had an incredible impact on the QUILTBAG community, both in terms of visibility and the perpetuating (and sometimes dismantling) of stereotypes. We have a broad spattering of panels that will take a look at the lasting effects of certain television genres as well as specific shows, both past and present.
- Movies – Come on. Do we really have to tell you that we’re also covering movies? While not all the panels single out individual titles, we’ll hit upon topics such as Why Does the Gay Dude Die First?, the Appeal of the Fairy Tale Retelling, and even a lighthearted discussion of GLBT Movies That Sucked (And Some That Didn’t). A little bit of everything!
- Other Media – Other arts can certainly play a role in the QUILTBAG community, and RainbowCon wants to celebrate them as well! GLBTQ content on stage (theatre) and in music can completely captivate us. In addition to that, pop culture provides many instances of actors, musicians, and activists becoming icons, some outspoken and others whose lives in the past are still beloved. Whether you’re a fan of Angels in America or know every lyric to RENT‘s “La Vie Boheme”, you’ll have a place here!
- Education – We’re thrilled to also feature an entire track of panels and workshops aimed at educating con-goers on various topics, from dispelling bisexual myths and understanding genderqueer identity, to coming out and bullying, to queerbaiting and even getting kids reading. There are plenty of opportunities to learn a little something new or share your knowledge with others eager to know more. This part of the programming allows the con not only to be fun but to also make a potential impact.
And, if you can believe it, that’s still just a peek! We have activities for those who want to get crafty at the con, we have GLBTQ games available, and even a field trip out to our official charity, the Tampa Bay Big Cat Rescue. We know it’s a lot of content, but we hope that everyone will find something to enjoy at the con. The very best thing about coming down to a con like ours is that, whether you identify within the QUILTBAG spectrum or just enjoy queer content in various media, you’ll be coming to a safe space where you can express yourself, network, and make new friends. These are your people, this your community, and when we all come together, it really can be a once in a lifetime experience.