27 | Male | Single | Straight | Canada | Nature | Crafter | Gryphon/Dragon
TL;DR: Anthrocon 2016 was, wings down, the most epic, enjoyable time I've had at any convention in all the years I've done them. The days were simply packed, the company was magnificent, we got a lot done, the parade was beyond compare, and I rocked the dance floor with my wings to the very end of the Saturday night dance. Surprisingly, I didn't hang out with the folks I expected to hang out with, and missed panels and shows I'd considered must-attend, but met and had great times with many new friends I hadn't expected to hang out with.
Day-by-day chronicle follows.
What Thursday? The plane to Pittsburgh went DERP and sat at the gate for one hour. Arrived Pittsburgh Friday morning 0010 hrs. Twilight and I happened to arrive at the same time and took a cab ride to the Westin through sketchy backroads and neighbourhoods having flashbacks of Kage's story about the GOH being driven to a burnt-out crackhouse. We did get to the Westin and hauled our massive fursuit-laden bags up. When we got our room, we discovered to our great surprise and happiness it had a refrigerator and cot bed set up! Perfect! Third roomie Furtitude arrived from her epic 28-hour journey from Australia just as Starrik, Prism and Piper joined us for an impromptu mini room party. Went out on the streets to hunt for hydration at 3am and found a 7-11 several blocks away. They inexplicably gave me a free can of sour cream n onion pringles. Score!
Slept in a little, then Glitch and Sniper awakened upon the convention and killed people with adorableness while I followed their trial of devastation. Pre-reg badge pickup was instant! Jumped the line to the dealer's den early like a boss with my shiny supersponsor badge, gave out some chocolate and picked up a respectable stack of commissions and art! Sandy gave me her original inked sheet of Sora from a commission last year, I picked up a huge and absolutely stunning commission from Windfalcon and several prints besides. Only sadness was I couldn't find Heather, despite walking through several times. The den was so massive I wandered for over an hour. Picked up my new EZCool vest and Crystumes head from Nambroth's Table!! <3 Vantid also had Laura's badge commission for me. Thank you all of you!!
Spent rest of day assembling EL wire wings for anticipated street rave music video shoot, which totally did not happen as hoped due to the unexpected scene prep times needed. Also, I ran out of materials. Instead, met with Kiba our amazing videographer/director/producer and hashed out a new plan. We'll do the big outdoor shots next AC. Got all the smaller storyline scene shots done though with a great cast including four of the most adorable Angel Dragons ever.
The rave music wasn't to my taste, called it a night around 1am and hung out with roomies after de-suiting instead.
Slept in by accident - our alarm didn't go off, woke cutting it close at 11am! Sniper was out the door before Glitch and I could suit up, that Angel Dragon is FAST. No time for supersponsor lunch, I shoveled food into my mouth with ice tongs and then summoned my inner bird and headed straight to the fursuit parade gathering. The sheer number of suiters was craaaazy! Met Tyrrlin, pretty much my gryphon fursuit head crush! Found Tierce and Guin and we formed a gryphon and bird contingent, next to the angel dragon and clockwork creatures contingent. It took what seemed like 2 hours before we set out and when we finally left the hall, it was a massive traffic jam. A lot of standing with only elbow room between the suiters behind and in front. To satisfy some adoring fans on the other side of the parade I split from my group to a different fursuit line and became a lone gryphon with a good size stage. Suffice to say, this was the most exhilarating, amazing parade ever. The cheers, the wing-fives, the children so wide-eyed with wonder. So much pride.
Right at the end of the parade, my head fan stopped running, fogging my eye lenses up - the wire broke. Cue break for dinner, and then my roomies headed to floor wars while I broke out the toolbox, fixed my fan, and installed a new fan in my new crystumes head. That done, I visited the dealer's den to meet up with GOH Tracy Butler of Lackadaisycats and her companion Jay, a non-furry close friend of mine from army days nearly a decade ago and half the world away. Apparently he'd been talking about my suit with Tracy and Uncle Kage! I had to run to a photoshoot but promised them I'd come back around in-suit. Next up - the Crystumes/Nambroth photoshoot on the roof! That was super fun, I love that location! The wind was lovely and there were many boats going by on the river down below noticing me and waving and honking their boat horns at me to wing-wave back. There was this chick with the most amazing crow partial ever and we were all fawning over each others feathers. It was revealed that she was none other than the amazing Rah-bop! Who couldn't believe we all recognized her name - this was pretty much her first big furcon and she almost never went to cons so she was pretty much incognito. Her partial corvid costume was detailed as all get out and is a real inspiration.
I attended the Masquerade in suit, and the performances were great! I found myself giving more than one standing ovation, which is kind of hard when you have wings. Couldn't see it all though as I had to head over to the waterfront for more music video scene shooting with Kiba and some neat nighttime photoshoots.
Saturday night rave was epic. I only caught the last 1.5 hours but the music sang to me and I went all out. I don't know how to dance and probably looked like an epileptic chicken, I'll probably cringe at any video footage people dare to post, but I didn't care, that experience was like none other. THIS is what I suit at raves for.
How on earth did it get to Sunday already?? Suited up again, checked out the dealer's den, got in line for my fursuiter badge, and then hit up the dance competition in suit to show support for friends and contenders Sniper and Prism! Considering they were wearing the most massively padded suits, they did amazing, and I loved Sniper's music choice which had been kept secret until then. Right after that we were hoping to get to the AC photo booth but alas not enough time - instead went up to chill on the roof and doing photoshoots with nightdragon and DAD friends. De-suit for closing ceremonies, where I said good-bye to Jay and Tracy, and then joined the AZN crew (or just "Asia" according to Ronnie) for dinner at the golden palace chinese buffet. The food was good! Hung with Singha, Alu and many other new friends comprising the AZN paparazzi at the end of our table, and the Japanese contingent.
Back to the hotel and Kiba's photo-shoot. We were filming in a suite with Sniper, Ruru and Glitch. An angel dragon posse hung out with us like stage audience so we had a very strange low-key room party with lightsabres and a very large amount of candy while filming XD Hit the waterfront and streets for filming, then it was over to the Renaissance with Glitch to visit other friends for late night pizza and chillin'. We crashed around 4-5am.
The convention is over but the adventure wasn't! Unshackled from our schedules my room decided to have brunch in the hotel lobby. Before long more friends joined in and we ended up with critical mass of over a dozen eaters and I was introduced to the "archangels", or a group of Dutch Angel Dragons who helped organize and moderate the DAD community. Now I've heard some faint rumours about drama related to angel dragons, but that's not my circus, I don't take sides or join fandoms. I evaluate character as they come, and I love meeting good thoughtful people I can respect and be happy to associate with. These are fine folks. We ate, talked, made merry, then piled into two cabs and headed for the zoo. Zoo shenanigans ensued. They were legion and I shall not bother to list them but this crowd was awesome. Just the right amount of diversity and madness to enjoy every moment and have so many laughs. We all had some very excellent meatballs with "Government Cheese" after that. I was in particular introduced to Boylan Root Beer by Riley. Holy pants that stuff is good. We headed to Ben and Jerry's after that for ice cream... which was closed! That's holiday opening hours for you. Undeterred we hit up 7-11 for ice cream and settled down back in the Westin lobby for noms, then headed over to perch on a bridge to watch the July 4 fireworks. I'm pretty sure they were spectacular fireworks but we couldn't see 80% of them! The smoke from the fireworks just hung around thick so it was just a big cloud flashing here and there occasionally.
Thusly journeyed, we made plans for chilling the rest of the night and a few of our crew had to move gear over to the Renaissance so we all grabbed a bag each and trooped down towards the hotel on sixth street... ...and suddenly, I noticed half of our group was missing. We turned around and they had stopped a distance back with some strangers, and there were shouts. We took off like missiles back towards them and my brain was cycling through possibilities and how I should respond to them - a mugging? Molestation? Someone fell and injured? No, it was an AC staff member who looked pale as a sheet. He was keeping calm and speaking in measured tones but there was a hint of panic. He told us we shouldn't go that way, someone is shooting people on Seventh street, everyone was running. Well, shit, that was between us and the hotel. I thanked him for the info and he wished us safety. We took an alternate route that hopefully put two blocks between us and where the shooting was going on, running from cover to cover. A part of me felt we were out of danger, there were cops swarming the place blocking traffic, but it was hard to be sure. It was all very exciting. In our excitement we ran into the wrong hotel! We got to our room safe but some of our friends were a little distressed. Hanging out was cancelled under the circumstances and some of us would remain behind and get some rest while I trooped back to the Westin with others. We said our goodbyes, got back to the Westin, packed, and turned in.
More check-outs and goodbyes. With not enough time left to check out the National Aviary, I hung out in the lobby instead with Glitch and Leone. We talked random stuff and dancing for several hours and admired some of her dance videos, then Leone took off for her greyhound and Glitch and I headed to the airport, had lunch, and parted ways. My flight left for MSP on schedule but - surprise! - "weather happened" and Minneapolis airport was shut down. Our plane joined a swarm of others circling over the storm clouds but fuel was running low so we diverted to the small city airport of Appleton, Wisconsin along with two other planes. The airport had maybe four gates and a single bar past security, which was experiencing a sudden boom in business as over a hundred thirsty hungry displaced travellers lined up. There were two other folks wearing anthrocon shirts there so we had Airport Con 2016, mostly chatting about past ACs (I love hearing good con stories) and going through con photographs and social media. When we were finally able to get to MSP again, I sprinted right off the plane and several terminals over to get to my connecting flight which had also thankfully been delayed. I made it home safe and very, very late. Thus ends my AC 2016 saga.
I hope to get back in touch with all the excellent folks I spent time with at the con.
Already the planning for MFF has begun.