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Anthrocon 2001 Report

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I was a good news editor, today, and sat down to write out my Anthrocon report. Click below to read it!


That pretty much describes how I feel about Anthrocon this year. I've been trying to attend this convention since its inception, with no success. This year, finally, the planets were in alignment, my star was ascendant, and the fortune teller I spoke to said I would soon be covered in I went. I had a great time.

Thursday was taken up primarily by driving to Philadelphia. We made very good time, however, and arrived at the lovely Adam's Mark hotel by 6pm local time. Almost immediately, I ran into Kim Liu, Ytaya, Crash, and a few other folks, and we made plans for dinner. Eventually, we ended up at the TGI Friday's across the street, where Ytaya, being from England, declared my fish and chips to be completely fake. After trying the dish, I did have to admit it was one of the lousier American incarnations of 'fish and chips' that I've had. Can't win 'em all. We ran into Silverblue back at the hotel--her flight had just gotten in from Australia (via Chicago and San Francisco). I didn't chat long; by this time I was running mostly on sheer willpower after the twelve hour drive. I went to bed.

Friday, I was up and in conspace by 9. In a moment of foresight, I had picked up my badge the previous night, despite the long line, commenting 'It'll probably be worse tomorrow'. It was. I know several people who waited close to three hours for a badge. Opening ceremonies was even delayed a couple of hours, because no one had a badge, yet. There were equipment difficulties, and the sheer volume of people overwhelmed the registration staff. Hopefully, they'll be able to streamline the process for next year.

Both the dealer's room and the art show were vast spaces. I wandered around and collected interesting things, like the new zines from Sofawolf Press, the last issue of Pawprints, and all three decks of the Brawl Catfight set, from James Ernest Games, and a few other books. My dealer's room spending was pretty light; I didn't have hundreds of dollars to blow. I also managed to not acquire any art, though Hedgy had an original, framed, 2'x3' colored pencil piece that seriously tempted me, even with the $150 minimum bid.

Friday afternoon also had me walking around in Robert King's fox fursuit, Tesla, with a sign strapped to my chest, advertising Midwest FurFest. I've never worn a fursuit before, and I sort of doubt that I will again, but it was an interesting experience. I have a new respect for costumers...fursuits are really, really hot. I wore the suit again on Sunday, and after only 45 minutes, I was seriously overheated.

Saturday was much a repeat of Friday. I tend to do a lot of networking (read: socializing) at furry conventions that I go to, and not get to very many programming events. I usually kick myself for this later, but it's all good fun. I did watch the 'Whose Sketch is it Anyway?' event, which was pretty amusing, though Higgins should have done a bit more preparation in advance. Still, artists Bill Holbrook, Hedgy, Platinum, and Susan Packard created some very funny impromptu sketches. Go glitter!

I also found time to interview Jeff Eddy of Sofawolf Press, though I didn't get a chance to snag Bill Holbrook. A transcript of Jeff's interview will appear here on Flayrah when I get time to do the transcribing.

Sunday morning was again spent in a fursuit doing FurFest advertising, and then (after a much-needed shower), handing out FurFest dealer's packets. Sounds like our dealer's room will be a sellout again this year, which is a good thing. Sunday afternoon consisted of a late lunch at a local cheesesteak place, and then myself and a few friends positioned ourselves in the lobby and basically did public Brawl demonstrations. Fun, fun card game. Closing ceremonies was started off by a bit of furry rock filk (interestingly, I picked up a CD single of another furry-related filk song from a guy in the artist alley. Filk is slowly coming to furrydom...), and quickly got boring from there. The gripe session was mainly a nitpick session, with everyone and their brother offering solutions for the registration fiasco. We lit out early to play more Brawl in the Zoo.

A side story here that deserves to be documented. I had to take a friend to the bus station around 10 on Sunday night, so four of us piled into my car and set off. I needed gas right away, and we didn't know of any gas stations near the hotel, so we contrived a dumb plan. We got off at the first exit off of 76, and proceeded to look for a gas station. We exited into a traffic jam (at 10pm on a Sunday!), and proceeded into an unpleasant-looking section of town. With the gas gauge sitting directly on 'E'. Finally, we turned onto 30, hoping it would take us back to 76, which it did, with the benefit of a Sunoco gas station right before the entrance ramp. I stopped to fill up, and was harassed by a black man who politely kept asking me for money. I've dealt with this keep them talking their sob story while you fill up, then escape. I managed, but my friends in the car were sure I was about to get shot. Aiee.

We managed to get back onto 76, and into the heart of Philly, where I got to experience the true joys of driving in downtown Philadelphia. It's more or less a maze of one way streets, and confusing turns. Someone, we managed to drop Poe off at the bus station and escape with our lives, as well as my car, intact.

Overall, the convention was a great success. With 1457 people in attendance, the staff was a bit frazzled, but they managed to pull it off. One interesting fact that I commented on to some friends was that the number of female attendees was awfully high for a furry convention. While it's not a 50-50 ratio yet, we're getting there. Public decorum was generally observed, with only a very few disturbing exceptions, as there are at any convention.

Kudos to the staff, kudos to the attendees, and thanks to those few people who actually realized I run this website. You made my convention. See you all next year!


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I don't mean this as a flame, but I noticed that some of the con reports posted elsewhere had something similar:

Um, Jim, what difference does it make that the person who was asking you for money at the gas station was black? Was his skin color the reason your companions thought you were in danger? Is the fandom so hopelessly white bread and middle class that a comment like this can appear in a report that's had 60 reads and no one even noticed?

Maybe it's time for a commentary...

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Um, Jim, what difference does it make that the person who was asking you for money at the gas your companions thought you were in danger?

Presumably it was the most memorable visual feature of the person Aureth encountered.

IMO, you're reading more into this than is there.

I doubt that any response at all would have been posted if "a goth" or "a punk rocker" had been mentioned instead of "a black man". In all cases, you're striving for something a little more descriptive than just "a man" (or "a person", to be non-gender-specific).


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To answer your question from a psychological standpoint, yes and no. People of another race/breed than ourselves are somewhat alien to us, and therefore scary. As humans we are afraid of what we don't understand. I'm sure that had the panhandler been Hispanic or Asian, or perhaps even a drunk redneck they would have felt uncomfortable in his/her presence and perhaps a little fearful of their lives.

This is what I know of Aureth personally. He is a farmboy, always living on the outskirts of a major city [Chicago] but never directly in the center of one. The center city can be a frightening and dangerous place to be, for anyone.

On the other paw, I also know the apartment complex he lives in has a substantial black population, so I'm sure it was the area he was in, and not the color of the person harassing him that got everyone worked up.

Of course, I could be completely wrong in these assumptions, and therefore Aureth reserves the right to smack me if I am.


armchair psychologist

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Oh, I don't think that Jim is a raving bigot (for reference sake, my father was/is an actual member of the Ku Klux Klan, so I know what a real bigot is ).

The point of my questions is to remind all of us to think about how we word things. I saw several of the AC reports posted elsewhere with somewhat more blatant references ("I was the only white person in the store! I was so scared!" for example), which the vast majority of readers seemed to just accept without comment.

But it's a nice summer day and the end of my work week. I can't really get worked up into a lather right now. And it's a very small thing out of a wonderful report written by a very nice guy about what sounds like a fabulous weekend. So I'll go back to scouring the web for animal news.

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This Anthrocon was likely the biggest and most successful furry convention to date. The fans were also better-looking than usual, with a noticable population of 'bunny-boys', good-looking gay men in daisy dukes.

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