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Ascendio seeks talented singers and musicians to help assemble a program of music inspired by Harry Potter. Here is your chance to perform your favourite Wizard Rock song, create an original dance with HP music, present a short theatrical sketch of HP-inspired material, or put together an ensemble of “Double Double” complete with croaking frogs!

The Wands by Wands by Wizards revue will be a mainstage event, requiring a couple of rehearsals, but our goal is that most people will arrive prepared and we will not need to use the whole con to rehearse!

Read more!
Programming Session from Infinitus 2010

Leap Day - February 29 - is the deadline for programming submissions! Check out the Call for Proposals, and tell us what you want to talk about!

As at past HPEF events, almost all of our formal programming sessions are attendee-generated, which means that we ask you, the Ascendio attendee, to host discussions, lead round tables, and, if your academic or fannish interests lie in that direction, even present a paper about a specific Harry Potter-focused or -inspired topic. Past programming sessions have included Creating a Byronic Hero: Severus Snape and the Gothic Fathers of Harry PotterCreating Without Canon: Writing Next-Gen Fanfic; Norm-Formation, Inconsistency and the Rule of Law in the Wizarding WorldWhen Fans Become Activists, and more.

We've also been talking about possible Ascendio programming sessions here; topics people are tossing around include a session on Regulus Black, Snape/Hermione, Draco/Hermione, writing about the Next Generation, JK Rowling's women, telling stories and sharing feelings through icons and gifs, and how people are keeping the Harry Potter flame alive.

Happy Beta Readers' Appreciation Day!

October 13 is International Beta Reader Appreciation Day, or possibly International Beta Readers' Day, but never International Beta Reader's Day, as it's a day meant to celebrate all beta readers around the world.

The Harry Potter fandom has been marking Beta Readers' Appreciation Day since at least 2000, when the ZENDOM mailing list hosted a Beta Reader Appreciation Day questionnaire and discussion. By 2002, October 13 found LiveJournal full of authors praising and thanking their beta readers for making them better, more thoughtful writers.

If you're not familiar with the term, a beta reader is someone who reads a draft of your story and edits it for continuity, compliance with the canon (such as the Harry Potter books, or films), grammar, spelling, and, of course, magical spells. Some sites, such as SugarQuill, required new authors to work with a site-approved beta reader before posting a new story, while other sites allowed authors to choose their own beta readers, but would not post fics that had significant grammar or spelling issues.

Cons have consistently provided opportunities for authors to meet longtime beta readers in person, sometimes for the first time. Other attendees find a beta reader at cons, either in a formalized workshop setting or through informal conversations. At Azkatraz, Pokeystar was introduced to C by a mutual friend, and once they were home from the trip - and had caught up on their sleep - they started working together regularly.

If you've been a beta reader, or used a beta reader, why not propose a programming session about an aspect of beta reading, host a workshop to teach others how to be a good beta, or organize a meet-up of beta readers? Our meet-up request form is here, and information about submitting a programming proposal for a round-table or workshop can be found here.

A Changeover for this Comm

It's been a very long time since there were any posts here at Kickin_Azkatraz; it's hard to believe it's been almost two years since we were together in San Francisco at the Parc55.

Many of us from Team Azkatraz are on the organizational committee for Ascendio, HPEF's 8th event, which returns to Universal Orlando and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with an event that will be much smaller than last year's Infinitus, with more of the intimate feel we had at Azkatraz.

Because of the vague similarity between the names, when we were (no pun intended) kicking around ideas for a name for the event's community LJ, we kept coming back to Kickin_Ascendio; to keep the organization's history accessible, while we move forward towards 2012, we've renamed Kickin_Azkatraz so it's now kickin_ascendio.

You can learn more about the event at HP2012.org; please also Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook to keep up with announcements, social networking and more.

During the lead-up to Azkatraz, this community was used for attendees to plan meetups, events, programming proposals, hotel rooming plans, travel arrangements, informal programming, etc., and it's our hope to have things similarly situated this time, again. Updates from the event staff will be posted at ascendio2012, and we're only planning on crosspoting the most important announcements here.

Feel free to ask us questions, here, on Twitter or FB, or via email to info@hp2012.org.

We can't wait to see you next summer!


Searching for a vendor from Azkatraz

Please pardon the utter randomness of this post, but I'm not really sure where else to check. I'm trying to track down one of the vendors from Azkatraz\Portus, and I'm really hoping somebody here can help. It's whoever was selling the silver lightning bolt pendants in the vendor room. I can't for the life of me remember who they are or what their shop was called - just that I got a silver lightning bolt pendant with little crystals on it from them at Portus, and saw them selling identical ones at Azkatraz, so as of a month ago, they still had some in their possession and for sale. I lost my one from Portus and want another one rly badly. If anyone knows who these guys are, and\or how to get in contact with them, t'would be much appreciated. TIA!
Whether you made it to Azkatraz or not - or if you were there but slept through a programming session or three - you can now order the session on CD or MP3 here. We've tested it in Firefox and this should work - and they are going to give an extension through August 7 on the on-site purchase price because of the problems with Firefox display of the earlier version.

Let us know if it still doesn't work for whatever reason....

Crossposted to azkatraz and kickin_ascendio

Have you recovered yet?

gwendolyngrace and I went right from Azkatraz to Comic-Con, where we were on the Harry Potter panel Sunday afternoon with fellow Azkatrazians Leslie Combemale from ArtInsights, Melissa Anelli from The Leaky Cauldron, Dr. Henry Jenkins of USC and Lev Grossman from Time Magazine, so we are just getting over our jetlag and con-drop right about now.

We wanted to send special thanks to all the presenters, volunteers, auction-bidders, raffle-ticket-buyers, those who served warrants and those who were arrested, the bands and performers, the cosplayers, trivia contest participants, life-sized chess pieces, craft fairers, dancers, moshers, artists, round-table hosts, authors, vidders and every attendee, because each of you made Azkatraz happen.

If you haven't already looked at the wonderful photos at our flickr pool, please do so - and upload your own pics, too! Don't forget to tag them with the AZKATRAZ tag, as well as whatever event or activity you photographed.

Team Infinitus is already getting ready for their event at Universal, home to the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter - it's only 350 days away! - and more information is coming soon to the website, their facebook group, hpef_news and the HPEF twitter, as well as the Infinitus newsletter - if you were signed up for the Azkatraz one, you're automatically subscribed to the Infinitus one as well (and unsub instructions will be in the next email).

Your answers to the questions here will help make Infinitus the best HPEF event yet! Please copy the code below and paste it into a comment. All comments will be screened, although they will be shared with and read by the Azkatraz and Infinitus con-teams; you can post anonymously through August 15 (although we will turn off anon posting after that to minimize spam-infections). I've turned off comments to this post just to keep things organized.

Thanks in advance for participating in the survey, and again, thank you all so much for making Azkatraz fantastic.

Click here to take the survey!


Azkatraz Friending Meme!

I made an Azkatraz Friending Meme over here because I can't for the life of me remember the LJ handles of half the people I met. Go fill it out! The more it gets responded to and pimped, the more useful it will be. :D


Azkatraz - Anyone seen my camera?

I brought a digital camera with me to Azkatraz but it was nowhere to be found when it came to check out. Somewhere along the way, I lost it. So if anyone finds a small silver Canon camera in a black case, please contact me.

It's frustrating both in the loss of my camera and in the loss of the photos on it!
Remember - when you check into the hotel, please remind the desk clerk that you are part of the Azkatraz conference; if you've already checked in, they can add it. You can do this even if you didn't get the official Azkatraz rate.

About a dozen of us are already on-site getting things organized for the weekend; the hotel is spectacular, the staff is friendly and amazing, the custom drinks in the Cityhouse bar are delicious and all the secret surprises that we've planned are coming into place!

See you soon!