When Anthrocon started in Albany in 1997, the humble gathering went by the name of “Albany Anthrocon”. Two years later the convention found itself moving out of New York State and into Pennsylvania. Through that was learned the first major mistake a fledgling convention could make. Naming your new convention after the city it is hosted in is like someone getting their lover’s name tattooed to their arm. Ironically, it’s a mistake that other conventions still make to this day.
But living through mistakes is what makes one stronger in the end. It has now been about one decade since the largest furry convention had made its home in Pittsburgh. At this point I think it’s a much safer bet to commit to being inked.
As there were 6,389 recorded attendees to this convention, there are just as many stories and perspectives on the convention. So this review will focus on three sections I focused my experiences around: fursuiting, performances, and writing. It is essential to note that reviewing a convention is unlike reviewing any other medium where you can experience a full package. Many panels run concurrently so one has to make a choice, usually based upon one’s preferences.
Anthrocon is exceptionally supportive of furry music. The following performances – by Amadhia, Bucktown Tiger, Fox Amoore, "Bandthro", Matthew Ebel, Pepper Coyote and Rhubarb & Cosmik – can be seen at this year's event, running July 9–12 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Recently your humble ed-otter and his mate, Sy Sable, put up on YouTube a recording of the presentation they did at Further Confusion 2014 (in San Jose, California) celebrating 25 years of furry fandom conventions. That’s right, 25 years ago (well, 26 now!) in January of 1989 the very first furry-themed fan convention and seminar, ConFurence Zero, took place at a little Holiday Inn located in Costa Mesa, California, with a membership of just under 100 and an actual attendance of 65. At Further Confusion last year the co-directors of the original run of ConFurence (Mark and Rodney, sable and mink) lead a well-attended discussion about the early furry cons, how ConFurence came about, and where they’ve been since then. Afterwards, Changa Lion (of Furry.Today) went about creating a slide show and video sampler to go along with the recording of the discussion — and now, it’s available up on YouTube. Have a look — and learn some furry history.
A broken plain glass jar containing a white powder was found in the ninth floor stairwell after reports from room 963 of a strong chlorine smell that forced the occupants onto the balcony.
A standard "box alarm" at 1:03 AM was quickly elevated to a hazardous materials and third-alarm emergency response. The adjoining convention center was used to house attendees until the area was made safe, with the all-clear sounded at 4:21 AM.
The convention was held in the Ramada hotel near the Mall of America and MSP Airport, and the guests of honor were Foxfeather R. Zenkova, Kyell Gold and Jeff Eddy (head of Sofawolf Press). Overall I had a very good time!
All first-year conventions are a bit wobbly, and Furry Migration is one of the least wobbly ones I've ever attented. They ran it really smoothly, especially registration - amazingly efficient. Apparently there was a bit of a last-minute shuffling of staff in the weeks leading up to the con, and there was no sign of it. The only major let-down was the limited sponsor brunch menu (probably due to budget constraints); some panels were unusually under-attended, but you can't blame staff for that.
Despite the attendance of 543, the halls never felt horribly crowded. Friday night was a little slow, while Saturday was a blast - this is definitely a social con! Now all it needs is a zoo or general-purpose lounge, although I'm not sure where they could put one. Aside from the con suite (well-stocked with drinks and snacks), one of the nicest places to hang out was in the fresh air, there was an inner courtyard with lots of chairs. Holding the evening bonfire there went really well, great energy.
Playwright Jeff Goode's Fursona Non Grata is to appear at Fangcon on the weekend of November 7-9 in Knoxville, Tennessee. This play premièred at Wild Nights last year in the Central US, and also played on the West coast at Califur IX. The performance will be a radio play featuring many of the performers in their roles at Wild Nights. There will be some casting, as well as a rehearsal.
This play is just one of the performances the convention will be offering. Fangcon's musical Guest of Honor is NIIC The Singing Dog, who is both a stage and studio performer. He will be presenting his newest album "Instinct". Another musician, Buck (or Husky in Denial) is debuting the album "Kay". These two are just the tip of the iceberg for entertainment. Rhubarb The Bear will be returning to Fangcon; and on stage for their first Eastern appearance is A Dozen Dead Furs - a metalcore band from Oklahoma.
E. Amadhia Albee: On Friday, July 4th at Anthrocon from 3-4pm in room DLCC 319-321, after a short retrospective about where the search for Hollywood funding succeeded and where it failed, we will be introducing the production team behind Kaze: Winds of Change, the new series that chronicles the love between Kaze and 'Bay, and the fall of the Kenmai dynasty.
We will be announcing an open casting call for the remaining parts in episodes 1 & 2 (scheduled for release at FurWAG in early October of this year), and we will be sharing a teaser recording of some of our principal cast doing a read-through of one of the scenes from the upcoming episodes. Close to 4p, we will be sharing a major bit of news that will likely have great appeal to Kaze fans.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declined to register the New York state furry convention's name as a mark in August 2013, after identifying the terms 'furry' and 'con' as "merely descriptive":
“Furry” refers to “fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics.” - “Con” is a “common abbreviation for convention”.
At that time, a "furry" was also cited by the examiner as:
someone who is part of a subculture interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics
Various Wikipedia and WikiFur articles were used as references, as well as George Gurley's "Pleasures of the Fur" in Vanity Fair, the Anthrocon, Furry 4 Life, Furry Fandom Infocenter, Furry Connection North and Georgia Furs websites, and a con report on SoFurry.
On May 2, Rocket City FurMeet CEO KO announced that RCFM 2014 was likely to be cancelled for a second year running. This follows last year's cancellation due to full-face masks not being allowed at the intended hotel.
KO reported that the replacement venue, the Amberley Suites Hotel in Decatur, Alabama, had had a water pipe freeze and break in January, flooding a large part of the building and leaving damage severe enough to render it unusable. RCFM staff were not informed of this development until early April. The hotel did shut down its room reservation system, but RCFM were not told about this either.
RCFM staff have spent the past month discussing other possibilities, such as holding the event at a campground or renting an unconventional arena space, but have been unable to come up with a realistic plan for hosting RCFM this year. They have also had discussions on whether they should simply end RCFM for good, closing the corporate entity and cancelling their 501(c)7 filing. KO stated, "I don't like the idea of never bringing the whole Family back together again, but two years of constant struggle simply to find a hotel we can afford has been very tiring on all of the Staff involved."
KHARKIV, Ukraine, 28 January -- Amid growing disapproval and violent protests that left 4 dead and hundreds injured in the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned on the morning of 28 January 2014.
He and his cabinet will continue in their roles until the President and the Parliament can form a new government to lead the eastern-European nation moving forward.
The protests ultimately stem from the decision of Azarov to imprison former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was one of the nation’s most outspoken leaders in the effort to integrate the Ukraine into the European Union.
Some 475 kilometers (300 miles) to the east in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, the situation has been tense but different. Most of Kharkiv’s residents speak Russian and many do not actively support the integration of the Ukraine into the EU, due to already deteriorating ties with Russia.
A small gathering will be occurring this weekend in Kharkiv, but politics are not on the agenda for discussion. KharCon, a small furry convention that meets several times a year, will take place this weekend, from Friday 31 January through Sunday 2 February.
Fred Patten says,
I am writing a history of all Furry conventions from the first, in January 1989, to the end of 2010, when there were 42 of them around the world. This is 182 pages; almost 45,000 words. Most fans think that it is already too long, so I have stopped with 2010. There were 43 in 2011, and over 60 today.
Here are some sample entries and illustrations:
|Albany AnthroCon 1998 – Here Be Dragons||The Omni Albany Hotel, Albany, New York||July 3-5, 1998 (Attendance: 600)|
|GoH: Jeffrey A. Carver (s-f author), Jim Groat (Furry cartoonist); Fandom GoH: Dr. Samuel Conway|
|Charity: Whiskers, a cat rescue group ($3,092)||Chair: Roger Wilbur (Aloyen Youngblood)|
The activities of the first AnthroCon were repeated and expanded upon. There were special interest group meetings; panels on such subjects as anthropomorphic-animal advertising mascots and “Cleaning Up Our Past”; a puppet show by Steve Plunkett and a Story Hour by Uncle Kage; and a Saturday-night performance by Purple Nurple Live! The previous year’s Moreau Awards were not repeated; the committee considered them a failure since only about twenty members out of 500 had bothered to attend and vote. The 44-page Program Book had a cover by Jim Groat. The AnthroCon had over forty staff members; Roger Wilbur was the official Chairman (CEO), but most of the convention was coordinated by Jonah E. Safar as Organizational Director. The T-shirt was by Jim Groat. There was general agreement that a larger hotel was needed for next year.
What The Fur has finally announced the dates and venue for their 2014 event. After some speculation about what was happening to the Canadian event, the release of information comes just before Christmas. The convention will be held in Montreal, Quebec from the 23rd to the 25th of May, 2014, and will be taking place at the Sheraton Montreal Airport.
We had every intention of keeping FurFright going for years to come. At this year's Closing Ceremonies we dispelled unfounded rumors and told you we'd be back in 2014 and beyond. That was always our intent.
Since that time the Con Chairs have experienced a devastating turn of events in their personal/family life, making it impossible for the convention to continue. All our time, energy, and resources need to be spent healing and coping with the challenges we face. So due to circumstances beyond our control, FurFright has come to an end. 2013 was our final year.
This news was not confirmed through official channels as of Saturday night. However, the convention's website contains no information on future events a month after FurFright 2013, and no response had been made to questions regarding 2014 on Facebook.
Update: Bios (FurFright 2013's Dances coordinator) has tweeted that he is "now personally working with Crowne Plaza Sales Dept signing contracts for #furfright" and that "due to personal reasons Furfright will change a hand [sic] in con chairs for 2014".
There is a small movement right now by FF staffpersons to hold an event in the same timeframe, which is being bandied around on twitter #furfright However, the FF name will remain with the Con Chairs so this new event will also have a new name, should it come about (which we would certainly love to see!).
It is official #furfright will retire its name, but our passion and love for this fandom will live on for 2014 with a new look and name! [Bios]
Update 4 (Dec 4): The new convention's staff have terminated voting "due to infighting amongst the community over name choices":
The name will instead be chosen by board decision tonight, using all previous submissions as a guideline. While vote counts will be considered, they will not determine the winner.
This promotional newsletter was provided by Fangcon. Story written by Nightwolf.
Welcome one and all, to the furriest show on Earth! Come to a convention unlike any you've seen before!
What makes Fangcon stand out from the rest? We've packed this weekend full of activities to enjoy all weekend long by all ages. Test your skill and luck at our carnival corner, with games provided by furries from all over Tennessee. Enjoy the fursuit parade and watch the suiters compete in the fursuit games. For a more refined feel, take a seat in the poker tournament. Relax in the hotel's heated pool before the late night dances.
In a statement, chairman Gir Tygrin detailed the group's struggle to deal with the growth of the organization, and their ultimate decision that the amount of work needed to allow FCN to continue to exist and "not change its core mission":
[…] would be unrealistic and would potentially compromise the integrity of the event.
The organization's supplies and funds are to be donated to other events and charities; the latter have already received $21,299.67 from this year's charity fundraising efforts.