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2018: An Innerspace Odyssey

It might not be as adventurous as getting there by TARDIS or Delorian, but tonight we enter a different place in time, a new year.

Gemmi Galactic Happy New Year Alien Girl

Only in the past few years have I started the ritual of assessing my year-gone-by and making actionable goals for the next. It’s helped me grow as a creative, as a business owner, and as a person, so I highly recommend adopting some similar practice if you haven’t already.

2018 was both an incredible and difficult year. Facing this year’s review with honesty is not easy. Let’s get the hard part over with first so we can move on to what I’m celebrating.

Aspects of my personal and social lives were shattered beyond measure. Some terrible, unresolved issues from 2017 carried over and reared their ugly heads. Some friends proved not to be friends, or even decent people at all. Some good people made some heartbreaking mistakes. I cried harder than I ever have before. I learned many lessons: the integrity of the people you surround yourself with matters; no friendship or relationship is perfect; all interpersonal relationships take work; beware of behavior patterns; depression hurts the people around you too.

But all was not lost. 2018 offered hope in my personal life as well. I became pregnant, which was great news considering the previous failure/loss of that contributed to the problems of 2017. I was forced to find healthier coping strategies to battle heartache and depression since alcohol was no longer in the picture. I felt an incomparable network of support, with so many friends stepping up to encourage and help me. My relationship grew stronger with more openness and renewed energy.

Wow, that was heavy. But it’s necessary to put the jokes aside for a moment and address these things. This is how we grow.

(Live performance photos not watermarked as NecroBlanca Photography or Sheridan Original Photography are shot by Fernie Renteria Photography/LFR Images. Spanksgiving Promo image shot by Wandering Photography.)

Now then… 2018 was great for my creative life! I became an instructor at the Austin Academy of Burlesque, hosted the pub trivia at the Greater Austin Comic Con, started writing much more (healthy coping!), found a great new home venue at Kick Butt Cafe for the Geekgasm Revue with Professor Argo, survived my 5th Other Worlds Austin film festival, grew my Frisky Business Burlesque family with a few new and awesome members, and made some costumes, cosplay, burlesque acts, and accessories I’m really proud of.  I also have quite a few works in progress that aren’t ready for their public announcement just yet. But they are foundations for my work in the next year.

2019 is going to be my craziest year yet! My priorities have shifted. Everything I want to do, work on, and accomplish now has to happen around motherhood. My greatest challenge will be to maintain and grow my creative work as I focus on nourishing a new life. Finding the balance of keeping my creativity and identity alive while also being the best geeky mom ever and a great partner is almost a laughable goal, but a noble pursuit none the less. Oh, and I want to read more, obviously. Always try to read more.

May the new year bring us all good health, endless creativity, strong relationships, good books, transformative introspection, and all the geeky friends, fun, and film we can handle.

 

 

 

The Night Candyman Came for Me

“They will say that I have shed innocent blood. What’s blood for if not for shedding? With my hook for a hand, I’ll split you from your groin to your gullet. I came for you.”

When I was 9 or 10 years old, my parents decided to rent Candyman from Blockbuster for family movie night at my grandmother’s house. Like every Clive Barker film I watched in my childhood, it scared my young mind to its core.

By the time the credits rolled, my mother was asleep on the couch and my dad decided to be silly. “Watch this,” he said wild-eyed, as he crept into the bathroom behind us. He said my mom’s name into the mirror five times and she abruptly awoke. I was certain the hook was coming for us all as punishment for playing around like that. This began a lifetime of avoiding mirrors at night.

Candyman

Fast forward to 2016. My love and I were beyond excited to party with our horror fiend friends at Texas Frightmare Weekend. We walked into the center doors of the main vendor floor and I froze. At the very first table, in the center aisle, was Tony Todd. I was 10 feet away from the towering terror that fueled my Candyman nightmares.

He was smiling, laughing, and hugging fans in photos, but it made no difference to me. All I saw was the hook, the bees, the blood. For the rest of the convention I tried to remember to walk into that room through other doors, but in the excitement of the event, would forget and have to face him again and again.

This summer I was asked to run the pub trivia for the Greater Austin Comic Con. Just days after confirming my spot with the convention I saw a promo post for Tony Todd pop up on the GACC page and my eyes grew wide. I just couldn’t escape him. Candyman was coming for me… Again.

Candyman, Tony Todd, Greater Austin Comic Con

At the first night’s afterparty, an artist introduced me to Tony Todd…

I had just enough vodka to be convinced this was a good idea. My heart pounded louder and faster with each step as we walked to the deck where he and his friends were seated. A lot of things were hazy, but he said something along the lines of “Nice to meet you, Gemmi” as he shook my hand and smiled. Our artist friend told him that I had been scared of him most of my life and he laughed and wanted to know why. After recounting the family movie night incident he looked me right in the eye and said, “Tell your parents I said they never should have let you watch that movie so young.”

Moments later he decided he wanted to take advantage of being in Austin by seeing some live music. He mentioned C-Boys Heart and Soul and causally turned to us to ask if we were going to join them. Obviously, I went.

Tony Todd was the absolute nicest, most laid back and down to earth guy ever. At the end of the night I worked up the nerve to ask him for a photo, and he kindly obliged. I’m sure I’ll still never recite any names into mirrors, but I will always think back to this fun night as the night I faced my fear and hung out with Candyman.

Tony Todd, Gemmi Galactic, Candyman, Poison Ivy, Austin Texas, Greater Austin Comic Con

 

 

Weirdo at the Party

There is something I’ve known for a very long time, and from a very young age. I am weird. For a while I was ashamed and afraid that people would find out just how weird I was so I tried to hide it in many ways. That didn’t really work. First of all, my weirdness wasn’t easy to conceal. Second, I didn’t like who I was when I tried to be someone else to fit in. And honestly, I don’t think I really liked the people I was trying to fit in with.

 

After years of fighting it, I finally gave in to it. And I grew from just finally accepting my weirdness to fully celebrating it. What’s more is that I actually really like the other weirdos I meet. I found entire communities of people who like the same weird things I like and who have ways of celebrating their weirdness too. I fell completely in love with many subgenres of geek culture. Mostly the scifi, comic book, and horror realms and their fans. And even more specifically, my fellow creators in these fields, like writers, directors, artists, and cosplayers.

 

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My Madonna phase circa 1985?

 

So let’s lay down some brief points of my evolution. In my early childhood I liked to play dress up. Mostly, I wanted to be Rainbow Brite and Madonna. I would build big standing microphones out of my Legos, layer on scarves and belts, and strum a fat plastic baseball bat like a guitar and sing. At some point my desire to be on stage took a back seat and I became a super nerd. I just wanted to read. I was always at the top of my class. My interests grew from stories about ballerinas to Nancy Drew. That was about the same time I started crocheting and crafting. In junior high I found my love for art, mostly sketching, and I found Edgar Allan Poe and Ray Bradbury and my life was never the same. In high school my love of horror really kicked in. In college, my first love taught me all about comic books. That was also the time I reclaimed my love for music and started photographing and writing about bands.

 

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My friend’s prom. Princess Leia and a Jedi. 2001?

 

And then I got lost. For a few years. In that place where you try so hard to be almost anybody else that you almost don’t escape with any memory of who you really ever were. Those were dark times. Had I not found cosplay and burlesque performance, two things that are amazing both separately and together, and been led back to a world of creating, I might have been gone forever. Metaphorically and/or physically. I struggled with a lot then, so who knows.

 

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My first Comic Con. 2010. With Catwoman Danae 🙂 Also my first Poison Ivy costume.

 

I am at my absolute happiest when I am creating. It can be anything at all, but making a costume, a necklace, a story, a character…  These things give me life. I want to celebrate that and support others who do the same. So welcome to my party. I’m your weirdo hostess and I’m glad to have you here with me.