Interview with Antonio Linyear, Awesome Con Volunteer

Awesomeon Con 2014 Coverage

This is Legendary Women here at Awesome Con, interviewing one of their awesome Brute Squad volunteers that has kept everything running. We are going to ask about being an Awesome Con volunteer as well as strong women in genre. So please tell us your name first.

AL: My name is Antonio, Antonio Linyear, and I live in Bowie, MD.

LW: Okay, and first had did you get involved within Geekdom. What’s your fandom and what really drew you in within Sci-Fi?

AL: Ooh, that’s a difficult one. I guess I would say I started with Spider-man and a little of the X-Men. I do some of the niche things. I’m a big fan of the tv show Charmed and how it has transgressed into the comic book area as well. There’s Avatar: The Last Airbender, but those are really the cornerstones of my personal geekdom.

LW: Oh then you’re a great person because Charmed has so many characters to choose from. So how did you get involved with working with AwesomeCon as a volunteer?

The original three ladies of Charmed.

AL: Well I started actually with doing conventions while I was at school, like NACA, and I started working specifically with them. I almost went to San Diego Comic Con to talk about “Critical Theory of Pop Culture,” but, unfortunately, I had to bail out of that. Some things came up, so when this came up as an opportunity [Awesome Con DC], I decided to jump at it. Now I am here at Awesome Con.

LW: What is your main area within the volunteering?

AL: For the volunteering, my main area is panels and programming, so prior to the Comic Con that’s logistics, making sure things run smoothly, a variety of things to do, different people to see. Nothing that’s repeats as a far as programming. The day of, it’s just keeping the lines straight when you have twenty thousand people coming in and just making sure people know where to go. Taking questions if people have any of them. Making sure people like it and that their questions do get answered.

LW: Exactly and I did notice that the panels that we were covering, which were amazing, that there was a “Violence with Women in Geekdom” and “Women in Comics,” like with the comic strips and also “Representation in Comics.” How did you guys…you guys were just a lot more conscientious than I’ve seen at other Comic Cons. How did you all keep that diversity as an idea you wanted to follow?

AL: Yes, Yes and that was a big thing. We actually talked about that at length in our orientation. I forget the young lady’s name…she’s in the [program] book, but she’s been to a lot of cons and been working very diligently on it. She’s actually been…she’s a survivor of harassment at several cons so that’s why she made it a priority. We were pushing it so much more because we had someone on our staff who work with our programming who’s very adamant about those things being addressed.

LW: Which I think was great because it was amazing to be able to go by in the visitor and dealers’ room and be able to see “Cosplay =/= Consent” group from Hollaback Philadelphia.

The volunteers of Cospkay =/= Consent making their point.

AL: Yes, she brought them on. They wanted to have a panel, and she made that happen. She’s been so good throughout the entire process.

LW: I think that’s something that definitely puts Awesome Con above places like even San Diego Comic Con with forward thinking. So for you personally, who would be some of your favorite strong women or role models within genre? I know it’s hard to pare down.

AL: I have so many, but I’m going to go with the one I mentioned earlier, going to have to go with Charmed. I’ve just recently gotten back into it. It’s just the idea of having three strong women and how they work together. I think especially that in comics there’s usually one strong woman and they create this hierarchy, but what I loved about Charmed is that there were three of them and they had to work together to create that strong bond and that communication. So I have to go with all three of them.

LW: Since I actually watched all of Charmed, I have to ask your personal favorite.

AL: Don’t do that!

LW: You have to have one.

AL: You know what I’m gonna say, and a lot of people are probably going to beat me up, but I’m going to say Paige, even though she wasn’t one of the original Charmed Ones. I think it’s very important for her because she came late to the craft [magic]. She represents two very different sides of the Charmed universe with the White-lighter [guardian angels of a fashion] and witch side. That new frontier of growing for young women. They don’t have to put themselves in a box, they can be anything they want. They can be very strong, and she was one of…well all of them struggled with their identity being charmed, but she struggled and suffered extensively being a Charmed One and a white-lighter and having her own, other things she had to deal with. I guess if I have to, I’ll say Paige.

Rose McGowan as Paige Matthews, the “lost/late-coming” sister on Charmed

LW: We know it’s reluctant because you loved them all, and they’re all like your sisters.

AL: Yes.

LW: Why do you think that strong women role models that you can get here in sci-fi and genre…why do you think they are so important?

AL: Because women in culture are so important. I mean, that’s one-half of humanity. Period. Women will always be important to society so when it comes to the way to consume culture and the way that we interpret culture and the way that culture comes up in any form or aspect, you have to make sure that women are represented in so many different ways because that’s just who they are.

Antonio Linyear — thanks for a great interview!