Eurofurence 14: "From Dusk til Dawn" full con report
The hotel: I've gone to many conventions in many hotels, and I do not think I have ever seen a more fantastic effort on the part of the staff. The managers were always there -- I could not tell when they slept. Surely the most memorable is Andre, the bartender from last year who has since been promoted to beverage manager (I think that's the nearest U.S. equivalent). He is a veritable dynamo: filled with energy, bursting with enthusiasm, and eager to make his customers happy any way he can. On Friday night after my performance, Andre threw open the bar and offered "Frei Bier!" (Free Beer!) to everyone with Eurofurence. He really is a credit to his profession and I am really looking forward to seeing him again.
The con staff: Top-notch. They are an unbelievable team, and they treated my parents and me wonderfully. Speaking of my parents, they once again gathered together "the Eltern Brigade," all the parents of furries who got dragged along by their kids, and they spent most of the nights partying in their room...without me!
Tani da Real saying "Nobody messes with MIKA!": OMG. *melt*
The Autobahn: This year I decided to give my parents (and myself) a treat. We rented a nice Mercedes Benz and headed out onto the open highway. I got it up to 180 kph (about 112 mph) before I started to get nervous. On the way home my father drove, and got it up as high as 170 kph. The roads there are magnificently engineered. Even at that speed the ride was perfectly smooth.
2 the Ranting Gryphon and Jibba the Foxcoon: I warmed the crowd up on Friday night for these two. Jibba went first, and within minutes he had the whole con hooked on his trademark "Owww!" 2 was in fine form, and even though I'm usually immune, he "broke" me at one point and I just fell out of my chair gasping and clutching my sides.
The Pawpet Show: Oh my God. Oh my freakin' God. A funny yet heartwrenching drama in three acts, with sophisticated lighting effects and some wonderfully-designed puppets. It followed the horror theme with vampiric bats and dreams from which one could not awaken. And damn them, they made me cry again. Second year in a row.
Alexander James Adams: The best spot to enjoy that man's music is right up front, sitting on the floor at his feet. I can't tell you why. Maybe it's because the magic in his music brings out the kid in you, no matter your age. I was enchanted, as I always am with his performances. Also got to hang with him in the bar and share dinner with him at one point.
Watts Martin and Steve Gallacci: I was honored to be asked to host a panel introducing these two fine men (although I was shamefully late for it). I've known Watts for years and have the most immense respect for him as a writer. Steve is...well, he's Steve Gallacci for Heavens' sake! The man behind Albedo, and probably one of the most important forces in the creation of Furry Fandom as we know it.
Fursuit Parade: Holy mother of fur. I don't think anyone counted, but there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 suits in the parade. The con itself had 777 attendees. At about 1 in 3, it has the highest percentage of fursuits of any con I know. I did not have a fursuit to wear in the parade, but staff member Reesa had taken one of the orange plastic "Jaegermeister" tablecloths from the lobby and within a few hours had fashioned it into a lab coat for me. I wore that instead, and since I was so bright and orange, I sort of became the "safety man" for the parade. As we went outside a car was coming into the hotel. The fursuiters, many of whom were horror-themed, surrounded the car like a gang of maddened zombies. It was funny at first, but when they started rocking the car I ducked in and put a stop to it, then cleared the way and let the car go. Good thing, too -- I don't think the people inside were con attendees! They took it in stride, though, even after about 30 suiters ganged up behind and pushed their car up the hill.
Dealer's Room: Not their fault at all. I wanted to sell the newest Uncle Kage Story Hour DVD, but somehow I managed to pack the wrong box and had no DVD's to sell. Oh, well. It was kind of nice to have the extra time to enjoy the con.
Sunday dinner: Again, not the con's fault. Some of us wanted to go out for dinner, and well, you know how things like that work. We tried to keep the group small, but by the time we were done some 75 furries descended at the same time on a little restaurant called "Crazy Horse." On duty was the boss, two waitresses, a bus-girl, and one cook. The kitchen was about as big as my kitchen at home. They made a valiant effort to serve us, but we completely overwhelmed them. After more than two hours many of us still did not have our food. Some of the staff still had to load up a truck and they had no choice but to leave as we came up on the 3 hour point. With Jibba's assistance I tried to keep the mood light, but as people started to leave one of the waitresses started to cry. I felt really awful, and Jibba did, too. We concentrated our efforts on trying to keep the staff from going crazy at that point. When the meals finally came there were seven extras. Jibba and I tried to eat them ourselves, but....urf! Instead, I paid for the uneaten meals myself. My thought was to leave them with a positive view of furries, even after what must have been a nightmarishly stressful night for them. I also left them with advice: "Next year at this time, you must say, 'Seating by reservation only!'"
I also learned how to wash glasses in a restaurant, but that's another story for another day.