How to Change a Life with $5

DESERT BUS 2019

It’s that time of year again, Desert Bus for Hope. As Halloween ends, the last few candy wrappers are tidied up, the evidence destroyed. The weather gets colder, Starbucks starts pouring beverages in red cups and I find myself on an island in Canada. Victoria, British Columbia to be exact.

Dance Party
Photo by Andrew Ferguson

Almost every year, for the past eight years, I have participated in the Desert Bus for Hope online charity event. This is an annual event that raises funds for Child’s Play Charity, through an online, live-streaming, video game marathon. That’s the cleanest way to explain it, but it is so much more.

These days the internet is not known for its safe spaces, kind voices and supportive environments, but these exist on Desert Bus for Hope. Live-streaming each year on Twitch, the viewers can watch, donate and chat all through the website. If you join the chat you will see thousands of voices with dozens of moderators talking, laughing, sharing pictures and memes. This is a show that can interact with the audience and bring their voice into the room. “The Chat” has become its own character, responding to questions and offering challenges. Depending on the topic, they join in and share their stories.

Photo by Kolin Toney

Child’s Play Charity raises funds to provide games, consoles, toys and grants to children’s hospitals and domestic shelters. They help children and families in trauma, in pain, and in need of support. This is an excellent cause and to truly understand why this means so much to me, I need to tell you my story.

On the week that I turned 11 years old, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer. I was just a kid and did not understand what that truly meant. I was told I would lose my hair, that I may get sick and miss school, that I would probably get tired and lose my appetite. But I wasn’t told how much pain I would feel. How it wasn’t losing my hair that would be difficult, but the way other kids at school would treat me because I did not have any. The pain and discomfort was bad, but the loneliness and the feeling of ‘other’ was excruciating. I was just a kid and just wanted to be a kid.

Radiation Treatment and My School Photo

I spent a lot of time at the hospital. During Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Eve I was sick in the hospital, in isolation. It was during one of these stays that a nurse rolled in a TV and SNES (Super Nintendo). The only game available was Super Mario Bros, but that’s all I needed. Once I figured out how to play, everything was different. I was no longer a sick kid in the hospital, fighting for my life. I was just a kid. Instead of being weak and in a bed, I could run and jump and fly!  For a brief moment I didn’t feel weird, or other or alone. I got to just be a kid. This is the magic and joy that gaming brought to my life.

The Desert Bus for Hope event has raised so much for the kids. This year is the 13th annual Desert Bus and on day three we hit 5.5 Million Dollars lifetime. As I write this we are at $401,000 and on target to ‘bus’ until midnight Thursday night (November 14th, 2019).

Photo by Kolin Toney

Please consider checking out the website, donating, and watching the stream. You can find us at desertbus.org.  The fine folks on stream will dance, sing, tell stories and so much more all to raise money for this great cause. Join a fine community and help out the kid who just wants to be a kid.

My first AV/IT Summit

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago and just now posting after recovering from sickness and moving.

Panlists Bradford Benn, "Dammit" Liz Smith, Margot Douaihy, Sash Harris-Cronin, Joseph Conover, and Tim Boot. On stage for the Intergrated Experiences panel at the SCN ThinkTank.
SCN ThinkTank Integrated Experiences Panel

APRIL 20

I am flying back from an amazing two days in San Jose, CA.  On Thursday, April 19th, 2018, I participated in the AV/IT Summit. This was my first time attending any professional event with such an AV and IT focus and I did not know what to expect. My friend Bradford Benn had recommended me as a speaker for the AV/IT Summit SCN ThinkTank. When the organization contacted me to come on a panel, I felt like I needed to expose my lack of technological knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, and through my years as an Event Manager and Designer I have a fairly strong working knowledge of the AV/IT needed to do my job. But the other speakers for this event included Disney Imagineers, Theme Park Designers, Museum Exhibition Designers and people who physically make the new technology I need to exist to do cool events. Bradford reminded me I was not invited to be the tech expert and I accepted my fate, worried that a mocking crowd of AV/IT elitist were in my future.

Keynote speaker and retired Disney Imagineer, Greg Kadorian.

What I discovered was an amazing geeky community that I could truly relate to. The first speaker was Greg Kadorian, Walt Disney Imagineer and very cool retired guy (complete with Hawaiian shirt). His experience is extensive and spoke on the designs and innovations made at Disney. While discussing one particular theme park ride design and installation, he made comments about technology and cable connectors that I did not understand, but from context understood the joke. Something to the effect of ‘and these guys used THESE connectors, for flexibility but didn’t think about the connectors. So everything is installed and wired and now they have 1000 of these WRONG connectors. Can you believe it? Well, we all know what happens next, hours of replacing one THOUSAND of these connectors that could have been saved had they asked the right question.’  The crowd laughed as they nodded their heads in agreement with almost too keen an understanding, some having been there themselves it seems.

Continue reading My first AV/IT Summit

New Look

Me in Detroit at the Shadows Over Innistrad Debut event.
Liz in Detroit at the Shadows Over Innistrad Debut event. For this design we created three themed escape rooms on three continents, Melbourne, Australia; Bologna, Italy; Detroit, USA.

My website has been neglected for the last year or so. I have a new job and a slightly new focus. With a new chapter comes a new website! Moving forward I will be talking about events, pop culture and general musings.  My new job allows me to work on very cool events, designing immersive experiences for fans of Magic: The Gathering and pop culture. It’s pretty cool.

These past few years I have been able to create unique and innovative designs and I want to tell you all about it. Stay tuned!

LRR Con Recap

LoadingReadyRun Con! Photos by Andrew Ferguson (www.goldengod.net)

 

What started as a chance for the LoadingReadyRun crew to “hang out and play games with our fans” turned into LRR Con, a convention with multiple panels and events spanning 3 days at the Seatac Doubletree.

The hundreds of attendees spent their time in Magic tournaments, watching LRR sketches on a big screen, competing in geeky trivia, and being entertained by musicians and improvisors. When not taking part in a scheduled activity, they got to hang out and play games with LoadingReadyRun. Everyone seemed to have a fantastic time!

Find more pictures from the event on the DammitLiz Facebook page.

LoadingReadyRun Con!

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LoadingReadyRun has been providing us with fun videos for over 10 years, and now they’re going to provide fun for your faces and bodies live and in person!

In addition to working with LoadingReadyRun on the first ever LRR Con (held at the Doubletree Hotel in Seattle, WA on May 10th!), Dammit Liz Productions will be producing the evening show featuring amazingly talented people like Kris Straub, Kyle Stevens, nerdy improvisers, The Doubleclicks, and members of LoadingReadyRun themselves! The show itself is worth the price of the convention, but the fun doesn’t stop there. The convention also includes a gaming room, a LoadingReadyRun panel, a chance to meet your fave LRRers in real life, great merch, and other surprises!

Find out more information at LoadingReadyRun.com.
Grab your ticket for only $25.
Book a hotel room at a special rate so you can join us by the bar Friday evening before the con starts!

Desert Bus!

Desert Bus

Starting with a pre-show on Friday and going until FOREVER (No, seriously, when does this thing end? It could legitimately go on forever), Liz will be in Canada Desert Bussing with the best of them. She will be producing the Prime Time segments (6-10pm Pacific each night) as well as the pre-show event on Friday from 6:30-8:00pm Pacific.

For those unfamiliar, Desert Bus For Hope is an online charity event where individuals play the game “Desert Bus” and do other various silly tasks while livestreaming 24 hours a day. This continues until donations run out. Last year it went for over 6 days and raised over $440,000.

Desert Bus raises money for Child’s Play, an organization that provides toys and games to over 70 childrens’ hospitals. This organization is very near and dear to Liz’s heart, and she wrote a fantastic post about it a couple years ago.

Cheer Liz and the entire Desert Bus team on by visiting desertbus.org. We can’t wait to see what will happen this year!

2nd Annual Dammit Liz Holiday Special!

The Dammit Liz Holiday Special [#lizmas]

Join us for this second annual event, December 2nd at the Triple Door in Seattle. A musical and comedy event celebrating the holiday season with merriment and laughter. An all-ages show! Holiday cosplay strongly encouraged.

Doors at 6:00pm – Show at 7pm

[Tickets]

Host:

Graham Stark

Confirmed special guests:

The Doubleclicks

Kyle Stevens

Joseph Scrimshaw

Super Guitar Brothers

Mike Selinker

Graham Stark Holiday

Our host, Graham Stark, is a member of the internet sketch comedy group, Loading Ready Run. For the past 10 years they have created videos to entertain the masses. Through his company Bionic Trousers, Graham has worked as video director and producer on such projects as Penny Arcade’s Strip Search and Cards Against Humanity’s Deathmatch. He can be found on twitter as @Graham_LRR.

The Doubleclicks

The Doubleclicks are a pair of sisters — Angela and Aubrey Webber — who sing about Dungeons & Dragons, dinosaurs, and Mr. Darcy. They play cello and ukulele. They have been called snarky, geeky, and sweet. Their latest album, Lasers & Feelings, includes songs about Mars Curiosity, meeting people on the Twitter, and their emotions. The Doubleclicks tour the country regularly, playing at game stores, comic shops, and conventions, and have shared bills with Jonathan Coulton, Paul and Storm and Wil Wheaton. Photo by Jessie Kirk

Kyle

Kyle Stevens is the frontman and songwriter for the Seattle based nerd-rock band, KIRBY KRACKLE; a band who writes specifically about comic books, video games, pop-culture, and things that are awesome. KK has spent the past 4 years touring comic cons all over the US and Canada, and just this last April completed their second tour of Australia as part of the multi-media entertainment expo, Supanova.

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Joseph Scrimshaw is a comedian, writer, and squirrel enthusiast. He’s brought his geek-flavored comedy to w00tstock,  SF SketchFest, Jonathan Coulton’s JoCoCruiseCrazy, and more. He’s written for RiffTrax, the radio show Wits, and an episode of Getting On With James Urbaniak. Joseph’s podcast Obsessed has been featured as a “Staff Favorite” on iTunes. His latest comedy album is Flaw Fest: a comedy show about horrible human flaws with a bonus music album of songs inspired by the show. Featuring music from The Doubleclicks, Molly Lewis, John Roderick, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, Mike Phirman, and more. Joseph wastes all his free time tweeting about not having enough free time.

Super Guitar Bros

The Super Guitar Bros are not actually brothers – they’re bros! Steve and Sam met back in 2007 at a local coffee shop where Sam was performing with a mutual friend of theirs. After seeing Sam’s classical skills, Steve knew they had to start making music together. During their first jam session, everything clicked. They’ve been playing together ever since. www.youtube.com/SuperGuitarBros www.facebook.com/SuperGuitarBros www.superguitarbros.bandcamp.com

Photo by Rasmus Rasmussen

Game and puzzle designer Mike Selinker is not going to let his lack of appreciable talents stop him from entertaining the Holiday Special crowd. Mike is known for designing games like Risk Godstorm, Unspeakable Words, Lords of Vegas, and the upcoming Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, often with collaborator James Ernest of Cheapass Games. His puzzles appear regularly in Wired, the New York Times, Games magazine, and on a massive crossword wall at Capitol Hill’s Eltana restaurant. He’s the president of the Seattle design studio Lone Shark Games, leading the creation of massive puzzlehunts around town and at PAX and other conventions. If you don’t know about the prank he’s playing at any given moment, it’s probably on you. Photo by Rasmus Rasmussen

Calling All Interns!

The Dammit Liz Productions Internship Program is now accepting applications!

Are you looking to get more experience working events? Do you like to have fun? Do you enjoy volunteering for conventions? Well, check out the Internship Program. Become a Darnit!

Deadline for applications is October 31st, 2013. 

For more information click the Internship Program tab at the top of the page, or go to:  http://www.dammitliz.com/dammit-liz/internship-program/

 

Chainsawsuit Live!

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NEW SHOW!!!

Watch the metaphorical limbs fly as Kris Straub (ChainsawsuitBroodhollowPenny Arcade TV) and Mikey Neumann (Gearbox Creative Champion, The Returners: Season One, The Ending) suit up and hack away at over two hours of talk and comedy live on stage!

Mikey and Kris are taking their popular podcast to the stage. There will be interviews, fun, laughter, art–this is a show with guests from the world of video games, gaming, geeks, and web comics.

There is so much entertainment, we had to have TWO shows!

Check back soon as we will be announcing guests!

 

Chainsawsuit Live: The Two Iron Thrones Tour

Triple Door, Seattle, WA

Thursday, August 29th, 2013 [Tickets]

Friday, August 30th, 2013[Tickets]

Check out the Chainsawsuit Podcast

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Kirby Krackle CD Release Show!

KK SLY _CD Rease_ low-resThe next Dammit Liz Production!

My friends Kirby Krackle have a new album out and we have teamed up to put on an awesome concert! Come down to the Triple Door on July 14th!

You guys, this show is going to rock. Not only will you get to see Kirby Krackle (for only $15, might I add) but you will also see Molly Lewis, H2Awesome! and The Doubleclicks! And it wouldn’t be a Dammit Liz Production if there weren’t surprise guests!

Hope you can make it!

Sunday, July 14th

Doors at 6:30pm, Show at 8:00pm

Tickets $15 [buy here]

 

The Triple Door

216 Union Street
Seattle, WA 98101
Tickets 206.838.4333

*Every attendee of Kirby Krackle’s “Sounds Like You” CD Release show will get their own copy of the album included in the ticket price.  Band signings will take place immediately after the show.*

 

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 Kirby Krackle

“Fresh of an opening tour slot for Weird Al Yankovic, Seattle based nerd-rock band Kirby Krackle are proud to debut their fourth full-length album, “Sounds Like You” at the Triple Door before embarking on their West Coast tour in support of their new album. Having spent the past five years touring the world and rising through the ranks to emerge as one of the leaders behind the new nerd-rock / geek-music movement, Kirby Krackle returns with another album full of adamantium-laced rock-pop and continues to provide the soundtrack for geek life as it exists in 2013. Whether singing about falling in love over social media, what they imagine might exist north-of-the-wall in HBO’s “Game Of Thones” series, or the excitement of going over to your grandma’s house to a thumping dance beat, Kirby Krackle puts on a show to inspire you to sing along with passion to songs about the pop-culture topics your love, and remind you why being a geek is so awesome.”

 

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Young songwriter Molly Lewis, according to Wikipedia, writes “comedic songs on pop culture topics that trend toward the nerdy.” Her original songs and covers, accompanied by her masterful ukulele playing, have earned her over 4.4 million views on YouTube. Her cover of the Jonathan Coulton song “Tom Cruise Crazy” won her the “Ukulele Video of the Year” award from UkuleleHunt.com, and earned her the attention of Coulton himself. Lewis soon became a staple at Coulton concerts, and on the Internet-culture-based touring variety show w00tstock. Her first album, “I Made You A CD, But I Eated It,” was released by DFTBA Records and received local and national press. Lewis recently blew the Internet’s mind when she was invited to sing her song about wanting to have Stephen Fry’s babies to Stephen himself at Harvard University. http://sweetafton23.com

 

DC photo horz

The Doubleclicks are a self-proclaimed “nerd-folk” duo, based in Portland, Oregon. The band is made of the Webber sisters: Berklee College of Music graduate and cellist Aubrey, and songwriter and ukulele player Angela. In 2011, the band started a “song a week” project, in which they posted new songs on their YouTube channel every week for a year – ranging in topics from superpowers to grammar. Their music, particularly a music video for their “Dungeons and Dragons” song created by Brooklyn-based artist Brad Jonas, boosted the Doubleclicks into position as a songwriting voice of the geek and gamer community. The band has toured to gaming and comic conventions and has shared the stage with Wil Wheaton, Amanda Palmer, and Paul and Storm. Though the tracks on The Doubleclicks’ first studio album “Chainmail and Cello” come from “a geeky place,” reviewers note that the Doubleclicks’ music has a broad appeal that can reach beyond the walls of the local game store. http://thedoubleclicks.com

 

H2Awesome

H2Awesome!

After many combined years toiling away in various “creative” industries, a few nerds decided to get together and try to make “music”. Though their goal may yet prove to be impossible, H2Awesome! is the closest approximation to that dream that all of them will ever see.

And that’s probably very, very sad.

REGARDLESS – H2Awesome! is finally here for your listening “enjoyment”. If you’re a nerd that likes Star Wars or Star Trek or Comic Books or Ninjas, you’ll probably enjoy this band greatly. Or if you’re a fan of mediocre music, you probably won’t be too disappointed either.

So come along for the ride as some nerds pick up instruments and write nerdy songs