Racheline Maltese, Priscilla Spencer and I, contributors all to the anthology Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon and the Women Who Love Them (Mad Norwegian Press), took over the fabulous Brooklyn steampunk bar The Way Station for a Big Damn Reading to celebrate the release of Whedonistas, which goes on sale today!
For geeks in the New York area, The Way Station is a place you should know. It’s a steampunk bar with a TARDIS bathroom. No, really. I went to the bathroom and ended up in 17th century France.
Kidding. About France, not about the TARDIS bathroom. That part’s true.
But it’s a wonderfully designed, geek-friendly place that plays host to any number of events during the week like Steampunk Style parties, live music, variety acts…
…and readings like ours.
The Waystation was packed with Joss Whedon fans, and Maltese was the first to read, regaling them with her essay, “Late to the Party: What Buffy Never Taught Me About Being a Girl,” a humorous and thoughtful piece about the things Buffy taught her about gender, and about her strange, wary identification with Spike. Spencer followed by reading “Brand New Day: The Evolution of Doctor Horrible Fandom,” a inspiring chronicle of Spencer’s journey from Doctor Horrible fan to potential member of the Evil League of Evil. I closed the event with my essay, “Why Joss Is More Important Than His ’Verse,” which not only talks about how Whedon gives a voice to the voiceless, but could also be described as my geek “coming out” story.
The vibe in the room as we read was very much the vibe of Whedonistas itself. As Pink Raygun put it in an early review, “Reading Whedonistas is a lot like listening to strangers become friends as they share what they love about the thing that you love.” Looking around the bar as my fellow contributors and I read our selections, I saw nods and smiles of recognition. There was a warmth in the room as we read, and it was clear that what makes Whedonistas special is that very reaction. Whedon fans can see themselves in this book, as it captures the many facets of their diverse fandom. Maltese focused on issues of gender in her piece, being a woman who prefers “to wear suits and to be addressed by strangers as ‘sir.’” Spencer, a visual artist as well as a writer, focused on the creativity Whedon inspired in others through Doctor Horrible, and on her own relationship with the web series as she examined it both as a fan and as a creator. My piece focuses on how Whedon’s work spoke to me as an overweight, nerdy, Hispanic woman, and how it gave me the courage to embrace everything about myself that’s “different”—geekiness included.
And if those don’t speak to you, there are 24 other essays to choose from, personal tales from all walks of Whedon fandom and written by sci-fi/fantasy luminaries like Seanan McGuire, Elizabeth Bear, Lyda Morehouse, and Catherynne M. Valente. There’s also participation from within the Whedonverse, as both screenwriter Jane Espenson and actress Juliet Landau have done exclusive interviews for the book.
If response to the book at The Way Station reading is any indication,this book is a must-have for any Slayer, Browncoat, or PhDs in Horribleness out there.
Read a review of Whedonistas here on Tor.com
Teresa Jusino is two years older than Buffy Summers. Her “feminist brown person” take on pop culture has been featured on websites like ChinaShopMag.com, PinkRaygun.com, Newsarama, and PopMatters.com. Her fiction has appeared in the sci-fi literary magazine, Crossed Genres; she is the editor of Beginning of Line, the Caprica fan fiction site; and her essay “Why Joss is More Important Than His ‘Verse” is included in the upcoming book Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon By the Women Who Love Them, coming in March 2011! Get Twitterpated with Teresa, or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.