Allow me to take you upon a tour of conventioneering.
I’m not sure if this will be a happy story but what the hell I’ll tell it to you anyways!
Now! Allow me to take you on a grand tour of my life in conventioneering. It’s a magical tour really as I have an entire dresser drawer FILLED with badges from the various conventions of my time.
My very first convention was in Oconomowoc Wisconsin, called X-Con.. I was 7 years old on X-Con 8. I attended X-Cons 8-12, and missed one during them moving to Milwaukee, WI from Oconomowoc, only to witness the demise of the convention at X-Con 14.
From those ashes, came an LLC based convention Triangulum At the Red Carpet hotel, which failed because of a case of insanely bad timing and bad management (they had the entire star trek crew at the movie theatre across from the red carpet but not at the convention? what in the hell?!? )
Approaching the teenage years. I’ve attended, WisCon, WindyCon, CapriCon, MiniCon, MarCon, MarsCon, DemiCon, LinCon, Gen-Con, Rock-Con, Day of CONflict, DragonCon, DucKon.
During these years, I began to see the ‘Furry parties’ at conventiones such as Mini-Con (A.K.A. Convergence) Duckon, DemiCon, CapriCon and so on. Now, these were little room parties designed to get people interested in different fandoms. This has been the age-old tradition of what classic conventioneering is. That a room party wasn’t about just the boozing and the sex. They are designed to inspire, some of them try to in fact role-play with you a little be to intice you to stay, the logic of this is that every person at a convention is there to be entertained first and foremost, but educated as well. A room party was almost like having a miniature convention within a convention.
The furry parties was the very first instance of this fandom at conventions. and it started even before the CF0 days. however, after CF and the whole Silkatare party movement. It seemed to get a little more aggressive, artists actually trying to host room parties. Back then, sketches were given away for free (stupidly) by furry artists just by stopping by the room. I remembered my first party was at CapriCon at the peasant run, You had a guy there was a compaq portable laptop which ran a 386sx25mhz processor and monochrome CGA screen, sporting his brand new ($200 at the time) 14.4k modem logging into FurryMUCK with ease. showing people that back then had access to BBS’s/FidoNet that Ohh shit! there’s life out there! other people interested in what we did. Back then it felt like we were riding a great wave.
These parties grew bigger, at DucKon 3 a Suite room was gutted out and tables were setup between a league of artists on the 3rd floor. Eric Schwartz, Michael Higgs, Ken Sample. There was a few other artists that sort of ‘chilled’ in that room but those were the ones i remembered as they had particularly elaborate setups of their work. DucKon 4 actually had the furry track room which was a film room run by Jay Naylors Wife that simply showed videos and kept people from getting TOO stupid in there. You look at that now a days and think
[quote] WTF?!? we have YouTube! that’s so fucking stupid! [/quote]
Hey! you try downloading youtube or ANYTHING on a 14.4k modem. the only video archive back then is what you could get off of Usenet or the 12 video downloads that were chilling on the old yerf.com servers saved beautiful AVI Intel codec compressed (I think i STILL have that jack salem fursuit video someone did at CF5 ). So to see videos like that, really gave a person like me hope that shit. This is the start, soon there will be animation companies and everything just popping out of the woodwork.
Well, in the greater scale of things. it did and it didn’t at the same time. But oh well, enough shaking my stick at youngsters telling them to get the fuck off of my lawn. And also telling them to stop looking at your best friends ass. Because you simply do not fuck over your friends. It’s rude.
I guess I got into conventioneering for fun . ran lots of LAN gaming tournaments. But my friends got jobs in bars, and suddenly weekends became a no-go thing for them, I tried my hand at other things. like running a convention, in the hopes to maybe rekindle that feeling i once had about the convention being about community.. Only to end up used, burned out, and eventually forgotten, like I’m sure what happened to %80 of the people who stopped reading past the first paragraph of this blog.
I went to Confurence 8.. It was the only convention where I had to take a serious step back and go:
What the fuck am i doing here?!?!?!?
Confurence 8 was an interesting point in the furry fandom where it was proven that real-world politics that was happening in a city can effect the outcome and mood of your convention. And although it was building up for a long time before this point. Confurence 8 was in Orange County California in 1996, right in the middle of the gay rights protest movements. Needless to say with the all accepting nature of the fandom. The lifestyle fandom crowd was born. Because if you can make an entire life around just being gay rather then it being just a fragment of your life. Why not do the same with furry fandom.
Ohh, and for those who Wiki-Fur Confurence 8 and they talked about “Cum Stains in the elevator”. It is my beleif that it was neither cum nor water. But Ice Cream that was brought up to the master ballroom which was located on the top floor of this hotel. I first thought that ice cream would be nice, afterall it was 80 degrees in Janurary and it would be ironic to have some. but when I seen the sanitary conditions of people reaching their hands into the tub of ice cream my mood instantly shifted.
Ohh hell no!
So yes, ice cream was probably taken out of the ballroom and spilled some on the elevator wall. BUT! This is just my personal theory as I doubt no one performed any forensic science on that. But enough of that.
When I returned to the furry convention scene after 10 or so years. I noticed something different right away. The convention book and how it’s shiny and all color now which in apparently is a major improvement. But then I opened them up and began reading. They used to have stories, or comics, or other types of media to get people interested in an artist or a writing style. Now it’s just convention function with a bombardment of advertisement with some splatter of art from the GoH or the few people that did manage to submit their artwork in time. It’s crazy how a fandom can turn into a format that you’d find in a commercial magazine.
Now I’m at the point of my life where I’m convinced I can’t bring back those good times. Time to find something else. It’s over man. Stick a fork in it. It’s done! The economy and more specific inflation is one thing. I mean, when you spend almost a grand to go to a con, you have to step back and go:
Whoa! that’s a car payment.
And the other thing that rages through my head is:
What am i going to see that out of my years upon years of going to conventions i haven’t already seen?
That’s a hard thing to top. Of course most will go:
you can go see your friends.
Well, I don’t think I need to pay a 3rd party to go see my friends. And when or if I do I pay for services rendered I.E. handing me booze. That’s traditionally how I see my friends as of late, a little drunk but since they’re at the clubs and are even DJ’ing at clubs at least the music doesn’t suck ass. I’m sure I’ll get hit with this one:
Just another drunkard crowd.
Well, choose your poison to blind yourself from the really real world. Lube up with some liquid courage to overcome the awkwardness of your nature. and everything will work out.
Read up on Convention Rot for the adverse effects of this problem.
Maybe I -DID- get exactly what I needed and what I deserved, and not necessarily what I wanted. Either way, I’ve decided to take on projects that are non-convention based. And they’re not all that important to discuss right now. just something that gets back to sticking to principles and working from there. Such as this little site that I have on the internet.
Server protect you, and don’t die.
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