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!

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.

ScrimshawHeadshotSketchFest2014

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!

smallbannerfnl

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

podcast_title

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.*

 

20130523_KirbyKrackle-164_Color1

 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.”

 

cropped-mollylewis-print-209-copy1

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

New Project! The Tabletop Deathmatch.

Deathmatch

Dammit Liz Productions is proud to produce the TableTop Deathmatch at Gen Con Indy 2013!

From Cards Against Humanity:

“Cards Against Humanity will host a one-of-a-kind independent tabletop game design challenge at Gen Con Indy 2013.

Unpublished independent game creators will present prototypes to a panel of industry-leading designers including Mike Selinker (Lone Shark Games, Wizards of the Coast, Avalon Hill) Luke Crane (The Burning Wheel, games project specialist at Kickstarter), Shari Spiro (Founder, Ad Magic), and the creators of Cards Against Humanity.

The most promising game presented will win $7,500 towards the production costs of a first print run with Ad Magic and a table on the floor at Gen Con Indy 2014.

“We exhibited at Gen Con last year, and one of the most exciting things we saw at the convention was the playtest hall with these incredible cardboard prototypes,” said Max Temkin, co-creator of Cards Against Humanity. “We’ve received so much help with Cards Against Humanity from the gaming community and we’d like to pay that debt of gratitude forward.”

Luke Crane, game designer and games project specialist for Kickstarter, said, “Gen Con is the genesis of tabletop gaming as we know it. The Gen Con Tabletop Deathmatch continues the tradition of hackery and innovation that birthed this crazy hobby in 1968.” He added, “Please submit your games so I can judge your soul apart!”

Shari Spiro, founder of the game printer Ad Magic said, “We’re excited to partner with Cards Against Humanity for this contest. Ad Magic has printed Cards Against Humanity from the beginning and we would love to help give another game the same start.”

Eli Halpern, co-creator of Cards Against Humanity added, “I couldn’t be more excited by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to crush the dreams of independent game designers.”

Prizes are furnished by Cards Against Humanity, Ad Magic, Gen Con LLC., and Maxistentialism Inc. The Deathmatch design contest is produced by Dammit Liz Productions.

Applicants can learn more and submit their game at CardsAgainstHumanity.com/deathmatch.

Cards Against Humanity is an independent card game that was initially funded on Kickstarter. It’s now the top selling, best rated, and most wished for item on Amazon.com. The entire game is also available as a free download at CardsAgainstHumanity.com.

Desert Bus for Hope

This week I am particapting in a special online event called Desert Bus for Hope.

If you are unfamiliar with this event, it is a sort of online charity drive with proceeds going to Child’s Play Charity, a charity that gives money, toys, games and video game consols to chicldren’s hospitals.

Last year I posted about my own personal experience and way this cause is so important to me.

This year I told my story to wired.com

To check out the crazy entertainment as they stream live for 24 hours a day for the next few days or to donate to the cause log on to  desertbus.org

 

The Dammit Liz Holiday Special

 

I love Christmas. I love the whole holiday season. There is magic in the air. Lights are hanging from trees. Holiday movies speak of the importance of friends and family. There are gifts!

This season has inspired historic entertainment moments like the Star Wars Christmas Special and A Colbert Christmas.

Thinking about this season got me thinking, maybe I should put together a great geeky holiday show! And I am! I’ve invited my friends to help out. On December 1st in Seattle, at the Triple Door, there will be holiday nerdery! This is going to be one crazy and awesome night. Hope you guys can come and celebrate the season with me, geek style.

Special guests! Molly Lewis, The Doubleclicks, Stepto, Kyle Stevens….and more?

More on the show

Tickets