Confurence 12 - my impressions
Confurence 12. I decided I might as well write up my impressions of it.Overall, I wasn't too disappointed at the con. It could've been better, but it was enjoyable.Specifics first, then more general observations.
Highlights of goings-on:
The fursuit skit between Super Jay-Hawk and his side-kick Huggy Bear, and the purple-and-green reptilian Mr. Big and his mob-suited minions. Bharney
got thoroughly thrashed in true Batman fashion.
Jim Groat attacking the above-mentioned Purple Menace with a pair of
scissors during the walk-around in the dealer's room afterwards. That this
would happen was, of course, inevitable.
Mara, a very well-done werewolf costume, with digitigrade legs that
worked. I'm sure this one will show up in the photos of the con. Congrats to
The marriage of Mitch Beiro and Minerva Mink Friday night. After, of
course, interruptions by spurned suitors and Mitch's other female
characters. And, lest we forget, the legal representative from the studio
that claims to own Ms. Mink. He'd've had better luck if the people who did
up his paperwork hadn't been looking at Mitch's Lola Bunny artwork just
before filling in names. :)
ShiroTora's first story during the Cabaret. I hope he has it on tape,
complete with delivery. Such a lead-up, with much being made of glistening
shafts and slick, white stuff, the shaft sliding in and out between her lips
and filling her mouth with it's white load... and at the end, "If you do it
twice a day, your breath will smell much better. And tomorrow we'll go
and get you a toothbrush of your very own." LOL!
Getting to run into Slipstream, who works only a few blocks from the
hotel. Good to hear his side of the FurrySpace/FSM deal. Not that anything
he said suprised me a great deal, it matched my estimates of what really
Getting to meet Tesla for lunch. Which I was late for, I'd judged distance
based on San Diego freeway scales, and LA sprawls a lot further.
Meeting Ben Raccoon, who lives not very far north and east of me.
Delivering the inevitable Opus the Penguin plushie to Jim, per Roon's
Iron Claw doing an RPG test session in the gaming room. I didn't go to
that one, but it should have been interesting for the gaming furs.
The hotel. The Hilton wasn't bad for an airport hotel. The rooms were nice,
and quiet too ( at least on 5th floor West tower where I was ). The food at
the hotel restaurant was overpriced, but not as badly as I'd expected and it
was good food for the money. I have to thank Doodles for the packet he did
on places to eat around. There's nothing within walking distance but a
large number of places within about 20 minutes drive. If you have wheels or
can hitch rides with other furs who do, you're in pretty good shape for
consumables. And saving grace for those without vehicles, many of the places
apparently do delivery if you can get menus from them in the first
place. Maybe someone can make up a packet of these for the next Confurence?
I'd definitely pay a couple bucks to have that. The layout also wasn't
bad. You had West Tower ( rooms and the main art show room ), covered
walkway to East Tower ( more rooms, Hospitality suite, Internet and video
rooms and such ), and a 20-foot open arcade over to the convention center
building with the dealer's den and major function areas. Even rain isn't too
much of a problem, and the doors on the East Tower are automatic so coming
back you don't have to stop to open the door. All in all the hotel could be
better but isn't unbearably bad. Parking at $7.50/day did add up a bit.
The Internet room. Nice one this year, with Tigerden setting up about 18
Unix terminals and 4 graphical boxes for Web browsing. With all the standard
Unix utilities available it made it trivial for me to keep up on my e-mail
and such. They had a nice satellite link too that only went down once the
whole time I was there.
Hospitality suite. I didn't spend a lot of time there, but it was large and
had a well-stocked snacks table and drinks tub. Well done.
Concession. There was another well-stocked concession stand in the
convention center lobby, near the dealer's den. Overpriced as expected, but
they had a good selection ( hamburgers and hot dogs and mini-pizzas along
with the cold sandwiches and chips and soda ). Soda was $2/can, hamburgers
were like $4, but it was decent quality and they didn't run out. I'd say it
was worlds above the CF11 hotel, and a hair better than the arrangements at
Art show. There were a lot of empty panels at the show, and a suprising
number of pieces only attracted 1 or 2 bids, if any. Only about a dozen,
certainly no more than 15, pieces went to auction Saturday evening, and
fewer than two dozen went to auction at the main auction Sunday. This
probably was due to low attendance. Pick-up, though, was horribly slow. It
started about a half-hour late it seemed, and took forever to get everyone
through. I was there at 3, and it took until nearly 5 for me to get in and
pick up the two pieces I'd got ( neither of which went to auction, BTW ).
Part was just starting late, and part was that a) you had to go and get
your pieces off the panels after they let you in, and b) they only had 1
cashier handling credit cards and 1 handling cash and checks so they were
only processing people 1 or 2 at a time. Guys, you need more cashiers than
that, badly. At least 3 or 4, so people don't have to spend 2 hours standing
in line. And since the art show was closed from noon until the start of
pick-up, would it be doable to have the pieces that sold but didn't go to
auction pulled and sorted into stacks for each bidder so they don't have to
waste time running around getting those pieces? I don't know if that'd make
as much of a difference as more cashiers, but it might help.
The Cabaret. Very nice show. Spark does a very accurate impersonation of
Mr. Bean, 2 sketches on this theme. The opening act was done to 'Puttin' on
the Ritz', 2 others were sword-dances. ShiroTora was one of the MCs, and did
a good job ( including being tempted off-stage many times with chocolate,
drinks, sex and other things during his second story ). They had a 'no
cameras' policy in place for the Cabaret. The announcement of this was
heavy-handed, but I suspect it had to be that way to register with the
people who caused the policy to be needed in the first place. And I agree
with the policy, not everyone wants photographs of themselves at the Cabaret
put up on Web sites and generally spread across the Internet.
The dealer's room. There weren't as many dealers there, only 75 tables or
thereabouts, but I saw a lot of good stuff for sale. The problem was that it
wasn't selling well. The dealers who said they were doing good were the ones
who usually do a land-office business, and the ones who usually only do good
were barely covering expenses if that. The den was in the largest of the
rooms in the convention center, and the staff put the space to good use.
The aisles were nice and wide, the space behind the tables was wide ( which
the dealers no doubt appreciated ) and they'd left openings mid-way along
each of the rows to make getting in and out easier. The only ones who may
have been cramped were the dealers along the walls, who looked to have less
space behind their tables than those out in the islands.
Airbrush makeup. After the start of con, with panels and such on this
already scheduled, the hotel decided to tell Darrel that aerosols like paint
and airbrushes would set off the hotel's fire-alarm system. No airbrushing
or anything in any indoor area of the hotel, period full stop. This caused
some gaps in the programming. I think this was caused by the same sort of
thing that caused the tent situation last year. My advice, Darrel: give the
hotel a list of what'll be happening, based not just on your schedule but
also on the kinds of things that you know will happen at cons like airbrush
make-up and the like, and make the hotel indicate which ones can't happen
and sign off on the rest as acceptable. Get everything in writing. Don't
assume that because they haven't said no that it'll be OK, assume that if
they haven't said yes in writing with a signature that there'll be a glitch
with it. You can do it without being narsty about it, and if you do it far
enough in advance you can have some time to negotiate on things the hotel
has a problem with ( eg. airbrush work restricted to certain areas, instead
of being banned altogether ). It may not keep stuff from being not doable,
but at least it'll be known as not doable well before the start of the con
instead of being a suprise announcement after the con's started.
My guess on attendance: no more than 750, probably in the 650-700 range.
The whole con felt... sparse. The dealer's room wasn't crowded at all. The
fursuit presentation had lots of free seats, and there were only 3
presentations. The Cabaret was only about half full, they had tickets unsold
apparently. I didn't see the huge crowds as at FC. I didn't see notices for
room parties ( 1 for LosCon and 1 for the Yiffnet IRC party was it ). The
regular dance and fursuit dance appeared to be sparsely populated too. The
best way I can summarize it was that it felt like there was more room for a
con than there was con to go in it. The programming tracks felt similarly
thinish. If you liked a relaxed con where you had a lot of chances to
socialize, you'd feel right at home here. If you like energy and activity,
you'd probably be disappointed.
It was also running perennially late. I've mentioned the art show pick-up.
Registration was about 20 minutes late opening on Saturday. The Cabaret was
a half-hour late starting. The fursuit presentations were late starting.
I'm not sure if this was problems with the hotel, inexperience on the part
of the staff or actual problems with co-ordination and not allowing enough
time on the schedule to get things ready. Whatever it was, this needs to be
addressed for next con I think. It wasn't fatal, but it was annoying.