after reading much discussion on the old elJay about Califur, and reading the few entries posted after the con, I decided to weigh in.
This was my first Califur, and it may be my only Califur, sad to say.
A lot of you were surprised that I, a Floridian burd, was sitting in the Artist Alley in sunny Irvine California this past weekend.
Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of one Statik and many other friends, Califur became a possibility and I could not be more greatful <3
now, I've done a lot of conventions. 18 to be precise. So I suppose I have a pretty decent understanding of what works and what does not. I'm not calling myself an expert by any means, of course.
- when we pulled up to the hotel thursday night, I thought to myself, huh. no suiters in the lobby or outside? weird.
upon closer inspection i could see why. What a swank freaking hotel! The boxing match in the convention space was epic. So was the garden party with the ice sculptures. I sort of had A Feeling about things.
now, i've been told by mundanes at conventions before that i look more... approachable than your average con goer. So, that may be the reason why the hotel staff treated me just fine. I didn't get any inkling of snottiness or shortness from the people I interacted with, and I always said thank you to the doormen, blah blah etc. I did, however, overhear another Hotel guest on Sunday complaining about "the rif raf" in the hotel.
I thought there was a large double standard as far as the black curtain goes, because they were to keep us out, but non con attendees kept wandering in. Twice I caught "normal" people in the Artist Alley with their small children. My tablemate Zotter and I also had a sad encounter with another hotel guest who came into the Artist Alley and wanted to know "where to sign up to be a professional Furry, because we could pay her to dress up as Catwoman". And I've heard plenty of horror stories regarding drunken noncongoers being belligerent, room signs being stolen, etc. In my opinion, they were the hostile ones.
as far as con Staff goes, all were quite kind to me. The one negative experience I had was with a drunk person who had been removed some Staff earlier in the day, so I don't hold them accountable for his behavior. I'd love to pass along his name to any current Staff member to see him removed from future Califurs. What he said to me was pretty disgusting.
- Con Suite. A big plus for me is a con with a Con Suite. Thanks to all the volunteers who did such an excellent job in there. I left a tip whenever I could. Epic spread was epic, and the caffeinated gum was muchly appreciated. There was one fellow who appeared to be a volunteer that I tried to thank more than once, but he was either ignoring me or didn't hear me when I thanked him.
-Artist Alley is where? Now, I didn't have any real issues businesswise at Califur, but I wasn't too thrilled with the Artist Alley, aka the Artist Box. I felt completely blocked in by those pillars and planters. Not exactly the best location. On Saturday, 2 tables (4 spots) were taken away for "autographs" according to a sign on the table, but they remained empty and unused the entire day. A garbage can or two would have been nice, too. I do my best to keep my artspace clean when I am done for the day, and I had to constantly go find garbage cans. At one point I brought one into the Alley, but it was removed by midday. Glen was quite helpful, and I made sure to show up bright and early every day to claim my spot. There were certain grey areas, such as what time the Alley opened/closed, and I'm not sure if people actually checked those little sheets Glen handed us, or if they just plopped where they found a spot.
- Registration : clusterfuck, but I find that to be true at almost every convention I've attended. There is always some last minute problem with the computers or whatever, hehe. I waited about an hour to register. I showed up at 9am friday because the sign on the door said 9am. I was told to come back at 10am. I came back at 9:30 to find a huge line had already formed. Prereg line appeared to have approximately the same waiting time as at the door Reg, which may have made them upset. Dunno. Didn't really care to have my IRL name on my badge, so I'm glad there was an option to keep it off. Loved the running with matches badge art.
- Filming without consent. The Rabbit Hole thing, and finding out well after the fact what it was, really pisses me off. Attending a convention does not mean I want my likeness plastered on film. I found myself on camera several times throughout the weekend, and knowing now what it is for gets me fuming. I'm a private person by nature, and I do not give my permission, period.
-Fursuit parade : appeared to last about 5 minutes. Huh?
-Con Programming : did not attend a single event, just sat and drew. I didn't notice any programming schedules in with the con book, and that is normally when I decide I want to see something.
- Innapropriateness. Now, I'm not a Suiter, so this isn't firsthand experience, but I heard of a saddening number of friends getting groped at/touched inappropriately while in suit. I wonder if people at conventions ever stop and think about boundaries.
- Guy who ripped me off. I know who you are, buddy. And I know you can read.
- Dea(d)rum Shenanigans : i thought it was kind of strange that a party that was previously discussed with hotel staff months in advance was shut down early for mysterious noise complaints. We didn't even remotely approach the decibel level of FC's parties, or so I'm told, because I arrived just after it was shut down :-P Still, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who worked so hard and put their blood, sweat and braaaaains to make this party happen.
- Overall : Califur seemed like a quiet convention to me. I overheard boredom being proclaimed by more than one person. I can't claim boredom, as I had a lot of work to do and friends in proximity to keep me amused. It did seem rather like there wasn't as much to do as your average con. I didn't attend any dances, as the only DJs I were interested in were spinning at the Dead[D]rum Party. I didn't browse the Dealer's Room or Art Show because I was working. The Hotel and curtains made me a hair uncomfortable, but that may have just been me being self conscious like I am.
So, I suppose in conclusion I'd love to attend again, if certain issues get resolved. Thanks and big love to everyone who said hi, stopped by my table, gave hugs, bought art, gophered diet coke my way, or just took the time out to say a kind word. Especially huge thanks to the lion, who made my whole California Adventure possible.
Yeesh, I hope this post doesn't sound too bitchy; thats not my intention :)