Penguicon 2019 – I was Anime Track Head and a Featured Guest

I love doing programs and panels. In 2019 I did 7 hours of Anime programming in one weekend for Penguicon! I helped start the anime track back in 2015. Here’s a list of programs I’ve done so far, and most of these were my proposals:


Anime-Adjacent BoF :
Let’s get together, talk about, and discover other things in the Asian entertainment universe besides anime. Manga, Light Novels, Tokusatsu- live action special effects, Chinese Donghua, Korean Aeni and Manhwa, what else? Come tell us about it!
(Paul Kemner, A. Carina Spears, Margaret Moon)

Anime for Cat Lovers:
Anime featuring pet cats and their owners! Cassandra Morgan (author and cat nutritionist), hasd’t watched anime before. Paul Kemner- author and trainer of feral cats, has watched anime for decades. Join them as they review some great cat-oriented series, talk about cat behavior, and the storytelling in the shows.
(Paul Kemner, Cassandra Morgan)

Pretty Cure BoF:
Pretty Cure is arguably the most successful magical girl series, almost unknown in the US. Now in its 20th season, with 900+ episodes and 30+ theatrical movies, it’s founded on the principle of “no reason why girls, boys, children, and adults can’t like the same thing if it’s done well”. It’s a combination of hopepunk, charming slice of life, and thrilling battle choreography. Stop by to find out what it’s all about, or share your favorite season and Cures.
(Paul Kemner, Margaret Moon)

Anime Sakuga – Stunning Animation and Artistry
When the director, storyboarder, and key animator ramp up the quality beyond all reason to heighten the excitement and emotional impact of important scenes, that’s Sakuga. Let’s unlock this world where artistry unites with storytelling.
(Paul Kemner)

Sharing Anime Discoveries BoF
Watched any great anime recently? How about manga and light novels? Let’s get together and talk about our recent finds, and see what others recommend.
(Paul Kemner, Margaret Moon, A Carina Spears)

Rocking Your DIY With a Vintage Sewing Machine
Do you need a sewing machine for cosplay or other fun projects? New machines can be expensive, but you can find cool, capable treasures for next to nothing! See how to evaluate that thrift store find. Learn which things are easy to fix and which might need expensive parts. Hear us geek out about what these heavy-metal gems can do.
(Bagel Garrison, Paul Kemner)


Cardcaptor Sakura: More Than Meets the Eye – Art @ ConFusion
The women of CLAMP have produced some great manga and anime, with intriguing themes and distinctive art style. Sakura may appear to be just another Magical Girl series, but we’ll discuss what makes this 92-episode gem a must-see.
(Paul Kemner, A. Carina Spears, Star Stramel)

There Be Dragons- In Anime! Art @ ConFusion
We’ll share our favorites from series worth watching, featuring dragons as major characters and open the discussion for audience suggestions too.
(Paul Kemner, A. Carina Spears, Star Stramel)


Anime Fantasy-Romance – Anime @ Penguicon
Anime romance is in the air! Wait, there’s magic too? Let’s look at clips and explore some of the best shows in this genre, leaving lackluster “notice me sempai” far behind.
(Paul Kemner, Star Stramel, A. Carina Spears)

Anime Director Spotlight: Satoshi Kon – Anime @ Penguicon
Kon wrote and directed four movies and a TV series before his tragic death. His highly-acclaimed work has been described as “gritty, intense, and at times even nightmarish,” with themes of obsession and illusion vs reality. We’ll check them out, discussing themes, styles, and what makes them worth watching, ending with an open discussion.
(Paul Kemner)

Super-Violent Anime that is Totally Worth Your Time (Trust Us!) – Anime @ Penguicon
Anime can seem shockingly violent to people who think “cartoons” are for children, but anime is created for adults too. But what to Watch? Our bloodthirsty fan crew will share their favorites, with an emphasis on gripping stories and intriguing themes.
(Paul Kemner, Cassy Sinke)

Supernatural Anime: The Creepy, the Scary, and the Fun. – Anime @ Penguicon
Japan has the widest and weirdest menagerie of supernatural beasties and ghosts, and they haunt the world of anime too! With influences from Shinto and Buddhism, folk tales, and urban legends, you’re never quite sure what will happen next. We’ll geek out on our picks of what’s worth watching and why.
(Paul Kemner, Star Stramel, A. Carina Spears)

Five-Minute Anime: Face-Off – Anime @ Penguicon
Tiny anime jewels: these series are silly, senseless, bizarre, or creepy, with episodes only five minutes long! We’ll show our favorites, and you’ll pick Penguicon’s Best for 2019!
(Paul Kemner, Star Stramel, A. Carina Spears)

Black Butler AMV Tea Party – Anime @ Penguicon
Reapers work hard and party harder! Come join Ronald Knox, Abberline, Ankou D Undertaker, and William T. Spears as they light up the night as only grim reapers can! Sample a bevy of non-alcoholic drinks. Enjoy Japanese snacks and mingle as we watch videos, run a few games like the best Tsundere turn-away, and dance the night away. Space is limited, please sign up in advance near Ops!
(A. Carina Spears, Star Stramel, Paul Kemner, Natasha Kidwell)

Lizzy’s Garden Party – Anime @ Penguicon
The reapers of Black Butler cordially invite you to join us for an elegant midday tea. Come and learn about the finer points of the Victorian era, from the arts of etiquette and parasol dueling to the languages of fans and flowers. By the end, you will be able to charm most anyone! Limited seating, formal dress is welcome, please sign up in advance at Ops!
(A. Carina Spears, Star Stramel, Paul Kemner, Natasha Kidwell)


Author Reading with Paul Kemner & Diana Kathryn Plopa – Literature @ Penguicon

Trigger Happy Anime! – Anime @ Penguicon
In this panel we’ll talk about firearms in anime! What are the most powerful, unique, or unrealistic guns? Guns that are actually peopld (like in Soul Eater)? We’ll also talk about some of the most relistic guns (such as in Black Lagoon). The possibilities are endless!
(Cassy Sinke, Paul Kemner, Claire Winn)

Teams & Types – Literature @ Penguicon
Whether you’re assembling a starship crew, raiding a dungeon, or planning a heist, you need a mix of personality types to compliment (or conflict) with each other. Duos, trios and more can follow different patterns. How do you classify them? Action/Emotional/Intellect, D&D alignments, classical temperaments, or Hogwarts Houses- which are favorites, and which are getting old and stale?
(Paul Kemner – moderator, Christian Klaver, Amal El-Mohtar, Cassandra Morgan, Steven Lake, Mary Anne Mohanraj)

Offbeat Anime – Anime @ Penguicon
Tired of the same old anime tropes? Boys in fighting tournaments, endless school dramas, samurai a go-go? Already seen classic favorites like Cowboy Bebop and Ghost in the Shell? Ready for a change? We’ll share our unique hidden-treasure favorites! Be prepared for the beautiful, intriguing, inspiring, or just plain weird.
(Paul Kemner)

Marvellous Magical Girls – Anime @ Penguicon
You know the drill- a cute critter offers you magical powers and a kawaii battle outfit in exchange for saving the world. But magic doesn’t make homework go away, and it doesn’t simplify relationships either! Is there a catch? Could things not be as they seem? Are there magical boys too? We’ll explore the roots of this genre, discuss themes and which series are worth your time as an adult.
(Paul Kemner – Moderator, Christine Sunu)

Five-Minute Anime: Face-Off – Anime @ Penguicon
Tiny anime jewels: these series are silly, senseless, bizarre, or creepy with episodes only five minutes long! We’ll show our favorites, and you’ll pick Penguiconn’s Best for 2018!
(Paul Kemner, Star Stramel)

Religions vs. Spirituality: Where’s the Line? Life @ Penguicon
More and more people are finding a spiritual practice that fits them. Sometimes this means taking pieces from other religions and splicing them together. How much of this is spiritual practice and how much of it is taking from other cultures without truly understanding it?
(Derek, Paul Kemner, Miranda Falcon)

Clamp Studio: Anime Deep Dive – Anime @ Penguicon
The women of Clamp have produced distinctive and successful manga for almost 30 years. We’ll sample anime based on their work, talk about their unique approach, and how they use themes of love, relationships, gender, and changing your fate.
(Paul Kemner- moderator, Carina-Shinigami Kami, Star Stramel, Myla Riffle)

Supernatural Anime: The Creepy, the Scary, and the Fun – Anime @ Continuum
Japan has the widest and weirdest menagerie of supernatural beasties and ghosts, and they haunt the world of Anime too! With influences from Shinto and Buddhism, folk tales, and urban legends, you’re never quite sure what will happen next. We’ll geek out on our picks of what’s worth watching and why.
((Paul Kemner – moderator, Angela C. Spears, Star Stramel)

Things That Go Bump In The Dark-Eastern Lore – Anime @ Continuum
Kitsune, Vampires, and Yokai, Oh My!! Come join us for a lively discussion of Oni and other spirits. Find out which ones are helpful, harmful, or just plain bizarre! Learn more about these fascinating beings that are often depicted in Anime and other media. Legends, lore, and more on this obscure journey to the exotic Far East!
(Star Stramel, Paul Kemner)


Anime in spaaaace! – Anime @ Penguicon
Are you a hard-SF fan who can’t watch a movie without picking it apart and yelling at the screen? We’ll survey some great anime set in the vacuum of space and made with an attempt at accuracy. No space fighters banking around making vroom vroom noises here!
(Paul Kemner – moderator, Scott Scheraga, Daniel Dugan)

Anime Fanservice- Where Do You Draw the Line? – Anime @ Penguicon
Discussion of fanservice in anime. Lately, serious discussion of fanservice in anime is taking place. “Gratuitous sexual titillation” is one aspect. Is it appropriate in some genres but not others? Is it possible to have too much fan service? We’ll also include a discussion of ‘non-sexual’ fan service as well.
(Paul Kemner – moderator, Cassy Sinke, Carina-shinigami Kami)

Retro Anime: Classics that Still Shine! – Anime @ Penguicon
We’ll talk about some of the best retro anime series out there. This will be a highlight of the classics. We’ll explore what is great about them and why they remain must-sees even to this day.
(Paul Kemner – moderator, Star-Shinigami Kami, Myla-Shinigami Kami)

Author Meet and Read – Literature @ Penguicon

Ancient Egypt Q&A – Science @ Penguicon
Join U of M Egyptology professor Dr. Terry Wilfong and Egyptology geek and author Paul Kemner as they answer questions and chat about one of their favorite subjects. Dr. Wilfong has published and lectured extensively on topics related to gender, sexuality, and religion in ancient Egypt. (Hint: Stargate is not a documentary!)
(Dr. Terry Wilfong, Paul Kemner)

Mechanics of Magic in Fantasy & SF (repeat by request) – Literature @ Penguicon


Character Problems – What’s an Author to Do? – Literature @ Penguicon
A main character needs to start out annoying, boring, or unappealing. (they have to grow from somewhere!) Your readers say ‘ugh’ and set your book aside. What’s an author to do? How do we avoid this? Examples?
(Paul Kemner – moderator, Mary Lynne Gibbs, Emmy Jackson, Cindy Spencer Pape, Jeff Pryor)

Reading/Signing: Paul Kemner & John David – Literature @ Penguicon

How to Poison Your Muse: The Toxic Twins of Talent and Art – Life @ Penguicon
We’ll discuss how common ideas about talent and art sabotage our creativity. What are these traps, and how can we avoid them? A discussion for artists, authors, musicians, and anyone else who wants to create good stuff.
(Paul Kemner – moderator, Michael Cieslak)

Tools for Outlines: M.I.C.E. & Three-Act Structure – Literature @ Penguicon
Is your story about Milieu, and Idea, a Character, or an Event? Figure out what sort of story you want to tell, and see which elements are most important, how you might want to structure the story, and how to tell if you’ve reached the end.
(Paul Kemner – moderator, Ericka S. Kahler, Eric S. Raymond, Michael K. Elliot)

Mechanics of Magic in Fantasy & SF – Literature @ Penguicon
Does a magical system for a story need rules? Costs, unintended consequences, social factors? What about reliability issues? How can we avoid worn-out tropes? How should magic in an RPG and story differ? Is some of the tech in SF ‘magic’ and should the same considerations apply?
(Paul Kemner – moderator, Ericka S. Kahler, Eric S. Raymond, Andrew Zimmerman Jones)


Friendship at the Speed of Sound – Life @ Penguicon
Meeting people can be difficult and sometimes impossible to do as an adult. This is especially true if you find social setting overwhelming. Come to thie panel to meet other attendees in an informal setting. Find people with similar interests to hang out with at the con. Conversation starters will be provided.
(Jessica Roland, Carol Thomas, Paul Kemner)

Polytheist Religions for Writers – Literature @ Penguicon
Many fantasy (and SF) worlds have their own religions. However, we often assume that religions with more than one deity work the same as more familiar monotheist ones, or we rely on simplistic retellings of mythology or “shaggy god stories”. Which writers do a good job weaving ‘the gods’ into their stories? How did different polytheist cultures interact? What features of historical (or current) polytheist religions can we use to enrich our worlds and generate plot points?
(Paul Kemner, Ericka Kahler)

Story Structure : What Is It, and Can It Make Your Writing Zoom? – Literature @ Penguicon
Got a story that doesn’t move, or just seems a bit flat? Can’t figure out what comes next, or how to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion? Maybe it needs some structure! What’s the story type- Milieu, Idea, Character, or Event? Will a Three-Act arrangement give some shape, or would the Hollywood Formula make more sense? We’ll look at different story structures, using movies we’ve all probably seen as examples.
(Paul Kemner- moderator, Ericka Kahler, Suzanne Church, Clarence Young, and Charlie Jane Anders)


Victorian Death Culture, Taphophilia, ‘n more! – Teslacon – Madison Wisconsin
Was there ever a culture more obsessed with death than the Victorians? ( Other than the ancient Egyptians and my fellow hearse-owners?) This panel features mourning and the mourning-after! Death watches, funerary practices, the changing role of the undertaker, embalming, coffin fashions, funeral services, photography, going to the graveyard in style, graveside gatherings, formal mourning garb, a veritable smorgasbord of thanatological treats to delight the most gothic of sensibilities! And don’t forget the bier!
But wait! There’s Taphophilia too! Cemetery design, epitaphs, mausoleums! And did I mention monuments and tombstones? We will look at unusual, odd, and baffling monuments, and decode the symbolism behind the designs.
(Paul Kemner)