So this past weekend, June 15th - 19th, I attended anthrocon. Started off, dameonchipmunk drove to my place and then catmandux and stoneliongrowl stopped by and the four of us rode off for Pittsburgh around midnight the morning of Thursday.
Well this was the first con that I participated in the Masquerade. Awhile before the con, swift_fox asked for volunteers to dance in the background during his 'Welcome' skit. Showed up for the practice saturday morning, then found sonicblu needed more people for his 'Welcome to McDonald's' skit so got involved in that also as one of the belchers (lyrics of Welcome to the Jungle were changed for Micky D's - sung by Sonic). There was another skit I probably could've joined in on but figured I'd be too sweaty at that point. Anyways, that night got all together in the headless lounge and discussed all the details and then we were on. Performed in the two skits, lots of fun, then also knew there'd be some couples dancing during the last song - which was sung live by someone (forget who) and I coupled up with mortonfox and we had fun at the end dancing.
Oh, I should also mention that we were informed that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette were there to watch the skits (a news van had interviewed some people and played it on television the day before so I assume that's what caught their eye - and probably nothing else was going on in town :P ).
The Fursuit Parade was just plain awesome. It was long, lasted a little over a half hour I believe, had us walk around a fair amount of the convention center. We stopped off at the outside look, apparently got our pictures taken from way away from someone on a bridge (we'll see how that comes out), waved to people going by in boats; walked over a walkway that looked down on the dealer/artist alley room. Also, got some nifty limited print buttons from Herbie specifically for the 10th anniversary of Anthrocon for those in the fursuit parade.
It, however, was poorly timed - completely conflicted with the closing of the art show (especially considering how long it takes to get from the hotel to the staging area). Also, I can agree with the view that having the parade on sunday means a number of people who can't stay that last day will be missing it.
Only caught the end of the saturday night dance but I really enjoyed it, wish I had made more of them. There was plenty of room so even though it was dark and I was in suit so could see less than anything. Just plenty of room if you could brave the maze of chairs that could not be moved, bounced around with some others in suit - no rhythm or anything, just a blast to explode in movement.
The city itself seemed pretty starved for business, saw a couple signs welcoming our business. Passed a number of people and heard snippets of 'Did you see the furries?' Was just fun walking around in tails, though of course sometimes annoying trying to explain it to people - and you know, sometimes people ask just to be snotty. The big minus was one incident when Cat and I were walking around town, both with our tails on, and some guy driving by yelled (in a quite pissed off voice I might add) 'Take off the damn tails!'
Got some nifty art, none really drop-dead-must-haves but still nice. I bought a really cute fox plushie that one artist had a great idea to do a build-a-bear type sale - so basically dressed him up as I would imagine myself if I were a fox (black t-shirt, black collar, earing). Bought some nice prints as well, though really waited til last minute of last day to get all this stuff... should've bought some paw stickers, missed that chance.
The hotel showers had double headed shower faucets... 'nuff said.
The city is a working city, one without much of a commercial sector. What that means in reality, practically everything is closed around 5pm and very little is open on the weekends. That made getting food difficult outside the small window, there was little there besides the bare minimum. On top of all that, at least a couple places ran out of food because of our con and had to close early, seriously... they did not have enough food to feed our hungry muzzles :P
The hours and timing of events. The con starts on thursday yet there was nothing to do. I got there, I got my badge, and... that was it. What was the point of getting there that day? I mean, I can understand in the past when the con opened on fridays and people would show up to hang out with each other a day early - so it looked like they decided to open the con a day earlier. But then why not do something with that day? Also, I was quite disappointed with the hours of operation. I don't know if it's because of how the convention center works but the dealer's room was not open long enough, at the very least the art show should've been open longer.
I understand that Anthrocon is not a good con to hang out with people, cons in general have that issue - though this one in particular because there are just too many people that carving out some time with anyone in particular is next to impossible. But I saw no one, when I say that I mean the amount of people I really saw I could count on one hand. Add in maybe another hand for people that I spent a few minutes with - even for that con I'd say that was terrible.
For parties, had a great time as always at Sabot & Carol's party plus had fun at the thefrozenoasis party. Though of course there's drama attached to practically everything, a few minutes after I arrived at the Frozen Oasis and before I got my first drink, apparently the next door neighbor was awoken and well... who that person was turned out to be pretty important. So next thing, Dorsai security are outside the door and limiting the number of people coming in, I stayed for a little while before leaving - heard the party didn't last much longer past that.
On top of that, apparently a lot of people's door signs were torn down without any advance warning. Now, that's something that most con-goers do, to announce who's in the room or where a party might be located. To have a con policy to just tear them down without warning or compromise, it kinda limits interaction with people.
The Convention Center was unimpressive. All that wasted space I would say, I would say that most didn't like the distances. Yeah yeah, people should be able to walk but if you have tight deadlines or want to just do something for a short period of time - it really screws that option up. No more just walking down to the lobby or panel room meet some people or buy some stuff, it's now an operation - and forget about those that had to stop by from one of the backup hotels.
Having all of the Dealer's Room, Artist's Alley, and Art Show in one room... it just felt weird and a bit too much like a wholesale store. Kinda took away from the comfortable feeling, made it feel a lot more sterile.
Apparently there were some pretty strict Union rules at this con. Didn't affect me but apparently the union had to move all chairs in center. Heard if a chair was moved more than two feet without their assistance, a $200 to $400 charge was charged to the con. I had heard that this fine was applied at least once to the artists in the alley.
EDIT: The Artist Alley getting fined turned out to be a rumor, I had heard it from a couple different sources so assumed it was true at the time - live and learn. Also, any mess left after closing of the con would create another fine - now this I have no problem with, should be able to clean up after your own messes.
Didn't get a chance to go to the Monroeville Mall (place where they filmed the original Dawn of the Dead). Tried to catch a bus on sunday but then got worried about consistency of transportation, considering how early everything closed and how infrequent it all seemed - didn't want to find out there was no way back.
I had wanted to get drunk at least once this con, kinda let off some steam from stuff going on in life, didn't get to that. Got to this con super tired, that plus the drive there kinda wiped me out - thursday when I should've rested more I alternated between being fine and wanting to pass out. Picked up some sinus medication, which was probably a mistake, during the weekend I got some minor chest pains which I think might've been partly due to that medication. On sunday, after someone basically flipping out on me (that someone apparently got pissy with a number people I had heard afterwards) I was feeling a bit shitty so I went up to the room for a little bit and then found myself feeling a bit light headed and with much more chest pain, so that last night just turned into going to bed rather than seeing people or doing anything.
... and the Pictures
All the parade pictures were taken by catmandux. More pics can be found on my Flickr account.
As it stands, especially with how Anthrocon usually takes place in July and then on top of that the negatives outweighing the positives and overall a downward spiral in my con experiences... highly unlikely that I'll attend next year.