#ClexaCon Belated Panel Catchup from @kleffnotes

While yes, ClexaCon Virtual 2021 was last weekend I found myself having to play a lot of catch-up for coverage. When the convention has been in person I would typically live tweet panels and then just do a large wrap-up article when I returned from Las Vegas. This year was the first time I covered the convention virtually and I only had a chance to catch one panel on time. This weekend I planned to do a major watch session to get caught up. Now I did already do a write-up in detail of the panel I did attend so this article is more a synopsis of multiple panels I watched in a row. Check out my thoughts on a bit of ClexaCon weekend in case you weren’t able to tune in.

The first panel that I wanted to check out as soon as I had recorded access was Scream Queens: Queer Fear in Media. Dana Piccoli was appearing as a panelist, which was a shift from her typical moderator role, and beyond being someone who inspires me she also has a podcast about queer horror, Horror is So Queer. I did watch this one with a few interruptions, one of which included mounting a tv and also taking care of my dogs. The panel was led by Alyx Bui and they did a great job of moving through questions and panelists. Jane Clark shared her views as a director and creator on a variety of topics and Emily Goss shared her experiences as an actress. Jaclyn Chessen, who inconveniently I can’t find on the guests page for ClexaCon also examined creating horror projects. Dana was able to share her views as someone who writes, but also has spent time researching and critiquing media and in particular horror. I found this panel to be a lot of fun and definitely need to find Bit and want to rewatch All Cheerleaders Die, which I think is on Shudder still.

The next panel I really wanted to catch was the second LGBTQ+ Actors panel. This one took place on Sunday and was moderated by Lyra Hale and the panelists included Emily Goss, Clarissa Thibeaux, Iyari Limon, Vico Ortiz, and Leo Sheng. The only thing about this panel that made it a bit difficult to watch were unexpected and almost constant tech issues. Panelists dropped out periodically and even the moderator was kicked out at one point. This does happen and I really wish it hadn’t, but some things are beyond the control of even the most well planned people. Clarissa Thibeaux had everyone engaged with a project that she wishes she could complete and while she is hoping even if she can’t someone will take it on she did share what she has and asked if anyone would want to help her with this project. I don’t want to share too much just in case someone did actually reach out to start working on this project. Vico Ortiz discussed opening up and creating safe spaces on social media. They were so engaging and honestly I wish I had watched their other panel just to hear more about their work. Emily Goss was a delight as always, I have listened to her on a few podcasts and had heard her on the previously mentioned panel. Iyari Limon shared a bit about her focus on working to understand others and how the pandemic has pushed her to examine finding understanding. Leo Sheng chatted a bit about what working in a pandemic has been like for him and about how he hopes to create more representation for interracial queer adoptees. This is just a brief breakdown of the panel, primarily because of tech issue with caused some audio problems for responses.

The next two panels I am going to cover pretty briefly, solely because much of the work that they discussed either is in the festival circuit currently or were projects that could not be discussed in detail do to their stages in production. The first panel LGBTQ+ Web Series is a panel I have often attended in person at ClexaCon and I have run into the issue of shows being unavailable to stream or watch outside of a festival during the convention. What I loved about ClexaCon in person was the ability to preview or see parts of web series in their film festival. Kathleen Harquail moderated and did an exceptional job of presenting questions to the panelists. These included Shantell Yasmine Abeydeera, Marina Rice Bader, Elishia Constantine, Kristina Pupo, and Ashlei Shyne. The conversation was so interesting that I sort of got swept up in it and took terrible notes. They did discuss how filming had changed and how if you want to create something you should just go for it. There were mentions of having to use what folks had on hand and then having to work to get materials out to ensure everyone had what they would need.

The other panel, which I will admit I again did not take great notes of, was queer television writers. Riley Silverman was the moderator and she is always great. I have had the pleasure of seeing her on in person panels and knew I was in for a fun one. The panelists includedRegina Y. Hicks, Fawzia Mirza, Marja-Lewis Ryan, and Shamim Sarif. There were some great discussions about how the pandemic altered filming especially for shows that would typically have a studio audience. They also shared how they got into the industry, which was interesting. There was also a discussion about stories not having to focus on the queerness of the characters, but rather having queer characters get their own stories that examine them beyond their queer identity. The topic included considering stories that do both and how seeing queer focused stories is beneficial for some viewers and also how seeing stories that include queer people, but don’t use that as their major plot element will help diversify what can be seen by everyone.

The final two were more just for the fun of it panels. The first was The Flame that included moderator Kathleen Harquail and panelists Ellie Brigida, Caitlyn Clear, Leigh Holmes Foster, and Valerie Lohman. I listen to Lez Hang Out every week and have hear about The Flame for ages. Ellie and Leigh are talented singers and song creators and based on bits I have heard this musical should be great. They got to chat along with Caitlyn, who did a great interview with Ellie and Leigh on their podcast a while back, and Valerie Lohman. They shared how the musical came to be, the process for what they have done so far, and their hopes for the future.

The second panel I wanted to check out for the fun of it was the Bering and Wells Reunion. Now I am a huge Warehouse 13 fan and was obsessed with the show. My wife even wound up accidentally getting the full series for her birthday because we had it listed in our joint wish list on Amazon. She didn’t complain because she is very interested in watching it for the first time. One, this panel had Dana as a moderator and then both Jaime Murray and Joanne Kelly were there. This was such a lovely panel. The two panelists were so open about working on the show and also just so sweet together. They are great friends and seeing them interact made my day. Again, my notes weren’t great because I got so caught up in watching that I forgot to take them. It was such a good panel and I now need to watch Warehouse 13 again and would so love that spin-off.

If you took part in ClexaCon virtual I would love to know or if you have your own favorite moments or panels you wish were highlighted let me know in the comments.

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