Dana Piccoli has made a name for herself as “an entertainment writer and pop culture critic, lesbian processor and podcaster,” not to mention moderator extraordinaire. Any Creampuff who had the pleasure of attending the Hollistein panel at ClexaCon 2017 will remember Dana Piccoli, the moderator who gave us those amazing queer scenes between Natasha and Elise. Well, she is back to fulfill the dreams of our little queer hearts at ClexaCon 2018 and we had the exclusive pleasure of getting some insight into what greatness is to come.
What fandoms do you belong to as an individual?
I think I’m probably most closely associated with the Carmilla fandom, love those Puffs, but basically if a show has a queer character that is treated well and there’s a good storyline, I’m a fan.
When you think about convention culture what comes to mind?
My first con was Flamecon, which is this amazing LGBTQ affirming, but smaller con. Then I went to NYCC, which is huge and can be kind of intimidating. I’ve had pretty positive experiences at cons, but there certainly is more of a male and straight focus to them. For someone like me who covers LGBTQ topics, it can be really tough to find things to cover. I don’t think it’s a hostile environment, but cons don’t always feel very inclusive either. That’s why I’m grateful for cons like ClexaCon, Flamecon, and the upcoming Universal FanCon.
What is your most memorable experience at a convention?
Honestly, meeting people. Last year’s Clexacon and this year’s NYCC gave me an opportunity to meet amazing folks who I’ve known from social media. That experience beats all. I had someone yell my name out last year while standing in line and hand me a necklace they made for me. It was incredible, I was so touched.
Have you ever cosplayed at a convention and, if so, what was the experience like?
Ha, I knew you’d ask me this. Usually I’m moderating so I can’t really do cosplay, but I did do Lexa’s hair and makeup for Dragoncon one year. That was fun. I wore an LGBT Fans Deserve Better shirt and I met some cool folks. Seeing other people in cosplay is one of my favorite things about cons though. I admire it so much. If I could, I’d cosplay as Captain Shepard from Mass Effect.
When asked to attend ClexaCon 2018 as a moderator what was your reaction?
Oh I was honored and happy to do it. I had such an incredible time last year, and I was definitely on-board for whatever they wanted me to do. Last year was kind of a fluke you know. They didn’t know me very well, and mostly people just knew I had done the Carmilla finale event. They were very cool to take a chance and let me do my thing. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to moderate these wonderful panels and it really did change things for me, personally and professionally. I even got recognized at a restaurant a couple months ago by someone who had seen videos of panels I moderated. That was a real thrill.
What do you think sets ClexaCon apart from any other conventions you’ve attended?
Besides it being a queer lady utopia? I think it’s a mindset. I know the ClexaCon crew has been working incredibly hard and it shows in the content of the con. There are so many panels I want to go to. It’s not just about seeing your favorite actors. I mean, that’s really cool, but ClexaCon also gives attendees and opportunity to experience perspectives that other cons don’t. I had an incredible time last year and I cannot wait to get to Vegas in a couple weeks.
What are you most excited about/looking forward to in moderating at ClexaCon 2018?
Now you know I can’t play favorites! I’m looking forward to having conversations with some spectacular people. I’ve never chatted with Chyler Leigh, Caity Lotz, Maisie Sellers, or the Lost Girl ladies, so that will be fun to have some time with them, for sure.
What would your perfect convention look like, what guests would be there?
Wow, I guess it would be super women and queer affirming, so basically ClexaCon, ha! I would really love to see the Buffy cast live one day, as well as Xena.
How do you prepare questions to moderate a panel?
Lots of homework! For some panels it’s easier than other. I try to make sure that I don’t ask the same questions they’ve heard over and over again. That makes it a little more challenging, but also can bring about some really interesting conversations. I also go back and watch a lot of scenes and shows so that I’m informed, because I know the audience is for sure. I also ask fans for questions beforehand because I think they come up with some really interesting stuff. This year I have eight panels to prepare and a throughline for the Cocktails for a Change party. It’s a little bit like beating out a scene. I ask questions that I hope will lead to more questions.
Last year you had Natasha and Elise act out scripted scenes from other queer media, what gave you that genius idea?
You guys are too sweet. Because I have known Natasha and Elise for a few years now, I know that they are very talented but also very adventures actors. Both of them are also just a lot of fun and there’s a certain comfort level between us too. They are so great live, that I thought having them act scenes out would really be a delight for the audience and give them a chance to play some iconic scenes. They were such great sports, and I am grateful for their openness and kind-heartedness.
What can attendees expect from the panels you are moderating for ClexaCon 2018?
Me being the reliable goof that I am. Hopefully thought provoking questions and discussions. I really try to make the panels a fun and comfortable experience for all. I have a few tricks up my sleeve. And of course, leather pants.