Belic Bear (bearknight) wrote in furfright,
Belic Bear
bearknight
furfright

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The Con Bear Report (I Am Exhausted And So Can You!)

*a VERY tired, sore grizzly bear gingerly crawls out of bed and lumbers to the bathroom, where he leans down to splash his face and promptly falls asleep with his head in the sink* Oh God . . . the Tarter Control Crest is burning my eyes . . .

Trying to express all the emotions and experiences of this year’s FurFright is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. We spent a year’s worth of sleepless nights working to improve things and make this con something special for you furs, and, when the time came to bring FurFright alive once again, it all seemed to pass in a single wonderful moment. As I sit here, trying to recall what feels like a lifetime, I can’t help but get a little emotional. So many people worked to make FurFright a reality, and when I think of what they sacrificed to make all this happen, and the support you attendees extended to us at the con with your kind words, hugs, and applause, it brings tears to my eyes. When you pour your heart and soul into something that’s meant to make people happy, there’s a horrible fear that you’re going to fail. That failure is a very real possibility, because it’s a fact of life that you CAN’T make every single person happy, and yet that’s what we try to do every year. My time at the convention is usually so hectic that I don’t know if people are having fun or if the con is a success. But this year was different. It somehow felt “right”. I heard so many heartfelt words and saw such happiness . . . and that made all the work and struggle worthwhile. I’ll be honest, there are times when blood, sweat, tears, stress, and pain of putting on a convention is overwhelming and the light that inspires and sustains us fades. And yet each year you bring that light back to life by reminding us that all our hard work makes a difference. It makes people happy. Then the weariness and doubt disappears and we happily vow to do it all over again. As I always say, FurFright is YOUR con. You make it possible in more ways than you know. Without you, there is no joy or purpose. Without you there is no FurFright.

Thank you for all your kind phone calls, emails, Live Journal entries, and comments. They mean more to us than you could ever know. *engulfs everyone in a big, warm bearhug* I love you furs . . .

*wipes the tears from his eyes and smiles* Okay, now that I have that out of my system, let’s have some fun!

How’d the con go? Weeeeell . . .

To be honest, I have impossibly high standards and see everything that goes wrong behind the scenes, so I’ve NEVER thought a FurFright went well . . . until this year. If you’ll pardon a bit of biased cheerleading . . . it freakin’ ROCKED! I have NEVER been happier or more proud of our attendees, staff, and hotel!

This was by FAR the best Con Staff we’ve ever had! Every single person behind the scenes was kind, helpful, reliable, hard-working, and had a great attitude! They busted their tails to make sure we all had a great con! I couldn’t be prouder!

You Attendees are the best! You had a blast but still watched out for one another and behaved, and that made this year’s con virtually trouble free! THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!

And the Hotel Staff welcomed us with open arms and bent over backwards to keep the con running smoothly. We couldn’t ask for a better hotel and crew! Please drop the hotel a kind email and thank them for their service and hospitality, and mention how much you’re looking forward to having FurFright there in the future! They were awesome to us, so show them the love!

Now of course no con is perfect, so we’re already working on upgrades for next year. Here’s just a few of the things we have in store...

Improvements for 2008:
-- The hotel will be renovating all the guest rooms and all the convention space, so it’ll be even nicer next year!
-- New Registration/Con Ops hours so people arriving late will still be able to register.
-- We’ll have a LOT more food for our FrankenSponsor/Dealer Social (we ran out of food WAY too quick, so we’re gonna make sure that never happens again)!
-- Halloween-themed balcony decorating contest (need someone to organize this).
-- Room-to-room trick-or-treating!
-- Fursuit Halloween Costume Contest! (need someone to organize this)
-- Do a better job making sure events start on time.
-- Better stage lights.
-- We will allow responsible drinking in Atrium (though it will still be prohibited in the convention space).
-- Dead Dog Party is going to run later.
-- More decorations and focus on Halloween theme (need someone to organize this).

And a LOT more!


If you have any ideas how we can make the con better, or want to be on staff, PLEASE contact us!

Photography/Video:
If you have any photos or video of the con, PLEASE send it in so we can use it for our FurFright Scrapbook and DVD! Photos should be high resolution and burned onto a CD or DVD. And with video we would prefer you send us your camera tapes (we’ll return your tapes or reimburse you), but a high-res raw format is also acceptable. Mail all footage to:

FurFright
Po Box 264
Durham, CT 06422-0264

Bear’s Breakdown (emotional and otherwise) Behind The Cut

Pre-game show (the weeks leading up to the con): I rushed to finish my work way ahead of time, so I was pretty relaxed the week before the con. All I had to do was pack, bake and bag 9000 cookies for the Dealers (with Nekomon’s help of course! *big bearhugs for the little tiger), and scream into my pillow. *grins*

Thursday: I slept late (that was the last decent night’s sleep I had), then loaded the box truck with the help of Brun, Nekomon, Nitro, Fire, Riismo, Runtt, Silvermane, Kiffa, K’gra and my brother bear Kody (if I forgot anyone, please forgive me!). We have a crap-load of equipment, and loading took a lot longer than we thought. The caravan to the hotel was the usual disaster. 2005: the truck gets lost and arrives 2 hours late. 2006: our craprific U-Haul truck is falling apart and won’t go over 35 mph, which turns a 40 minute drive into a 1 hour and 40 minute drive. Which brings us to 2007. We’re all equipped with FRS radios and lined up bumper-to-bumper. I know how to get to the hotel, so I lead, calling out all the upcoming turns on the radio to the cars behind me. We’re all in line on the highway, going straight, everyone accounted for. Then, for reasons I can’t even BEGIN to fathom, our truck turns off a random exit and takes the 4 cars behind him (who don’t know how to get to the hotel) WITH him! I watched the rear view mirror in horror as they peeled off one by one, like the Blue Angels at an air show. And then they were gone. Swallowed whole by the Waterbury Triangle. A few thousand obscenities later, we arrive at the hotel where we’re greeted by a group of people waiting to help us unload . . . and no truck. Luckily, Narcolepsy Nitro and the rest of our crew took a “shortcut” and arrived a few minutes behind us! *laughs*

And then there were hugs, hellos, and much lifting of heavy objects. A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped us unload the truck! You furs rock!

Because of some Satanic Pajama Party, we can’t event begin setting up the Main Ballroom until 10:30/11pm, so I stay busy helping other departments setup. An hour before our staff meeting we realize we forgot some key equipment, so we race home and back, arriving at the meeting fashionably late with a ton of pizzas and drinks, and absolutely no idea what I’m supposed to tell the staff. *smacks head and groans* But hey, ‘free pizza’ seemed to be enough. *smiles*

Before the staff meeting I got a chance to meet the new FurFright Security Team, and I have to tell you, they are the nicest group of folks you could ever hope to meet! I am VERY happy and proud to have them aboard! Now let me set the record straight about FurFright Security. We had some issues and shortcomings at past cons, so, for the safety of the attendees and the very survival of the convention, we needed to hire experienced, reliable personnel to run security, so we hired three members of the Dorsai Irregulars. Half the security team was hand picked by K’gra and I, and the other half was hired by the DI (half Dorsai Irregulars, half FurFright Fuzz. *smiles*). Now I’ve heard the rumors about the DI at other cons, and while I can’t speak about other people’s experiences I can speak about my own. I’ve attended several Anthrocons, and do you know how many times I’ve seen, heard or experienced the DI being anything less than polite and professional? Zero. Zip. Nada. Nil. K’gra and I explained to the DI that the most important thing to us was to have our attendees treated with kindness and respect and to keep things safe and enjoyable for the hotel and everyone in attendance . . . and that’s just what they did. They were a joy to work with and showed all us furs a great time! Hell, they were joking with everyone and handing out ear tags to us fursuiters! We couldn’t be happier with them!

After the staff meeting I helped with Reg and Ops, hanging signs, setting up tables, and doing a million other things. Then around 11pm they let us into the ballroom and we start thrashing. At about 1:30am we have the stage and sound almost done, but I haven’t even started with the lighting. Then, my friend and savior, Bios, says the following words, “Go to bed, Bear, I’ll take care of the lighting.” I freakin’ LOVE that wolf! *hugs Bios tight*

Friday: Following a bad nights sleep, I’m up early and back in the ballroom, trying to finish up the lights and sound for the opening. Somehow it all comes together and I spazz my way through Opening Ceremonies. It might not have been entertaining, but I had a lot of fun goofing on stage with my friends! We welcomed everyone to FurFright, gave a shout to our Guest of Honor, Sara “Caribou” Palmer, and crowned our Attendee Guest of Honor JD Puppy! Then we got the party started with our opening promo video!

The rest of the day was spent trying to fix and tweak the ballroom problems. We kept popping circuit breakers. And the stage lights, when they weren’t tripping the breakers, looked like crap. So we did the best we could with what we had. Runtt, Bios, Cliff, Glen, Tibor, Equin, Molten, Rex, and everyone else who lent a paw are rock stars! You saved the day!

With minutes to spare, I rushed back to the room and got ready for the Frankensponsor/Dealer Social and Friday Furpocalypse. The dinner was a lot of fun, because there were friends, food, and I could finally sit down for a couple minutes! The food was excellent! And Watcher "The Titanium Chef" Tiger showcased his culinary skills by offering a beverage pairing of delicious teas for all the guests (and hosted a tea social in the Atrium Saturday after the Masquerade. Thank you for all your hard work, Watcher!). The only problem was that we ran out of food too quickly. Next year, I promise there will be a LOT more! Following the soiree was Friday Furpocalypse, a physical challenge/game show extravaganza for one and all! It’s the perfect place to meet furs, have fun, and start your con right. Punk Tiger ran one of the best organized events I’ve ever seen at FurFright (or any other con for that matter)! It was a freakin’ BLAST! We split the crowd up into 2 teams (team “Beans” and team “Spam”. *rolls eyes* Don’t ask. *grins*), then had them battle head-to-head in Scooter Death Race 9000, Basket Case, The Furry Feud, and Match Game FurFright, with points being awarded for each. The Match Game was out of control! It was a spectacle of sight, sound, polyester, enormous glasses, bad wigs, and inappropriate behavior! The “celebrity” panel was made up of Loretta Twit, Sweat Somers, Charles Nelson Zero, Fanny Wag, Richard Awesome, Captain Stubbing, and Bob Sedge-a-doo on bass. The score had gone back and forth all night, and the game came down to the last few Match Game questions. In the end, Team Beans were victorious!

After the dust settled, I ran back to my room to suit up and shake a tail at The Amazing Broccolini’s Dance Party! I danced all night long and had the time of my life! Yeah, yeah, I shirked my Con Bear duties and had fun. So sue me. *grins* Oh! Did anyone see that little 5 year old girl running around the dance holding a glow stick? Wasn’t she the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?! Silvermane and I were dancing in suit, talking about how adorable she was, when I decided to go say hi to some friends across the dance floor. Half way there I feel my knee thump against something, then hear crying. Oh . . . my . . . god. I ran over the little girl! *winces and whimpers* I bend down to pick her up and apologize profusely to her parents. When I look back she’s dancing away again, a big smile on her face! *wipes brow* Whew! *smiles*

Sweaty, tired, and hungry I lumbered back to my room, downed some Vitamin Water, and passed out.

Saturday: I’m up at some ungodly hour, in a Karate stance, ready to start the day. At 8:30am (*groans at the thought*), I head down to Masquerade rehearsal, which goes very well. We have a lot of great acts! Some of them literally make me fall down laughing! It’s gonna be a great show!

Rehearsal ends sometime after Noon, and I stay in the ballroom to work on the stage and lighting. I’m starving, and on the way back to my room I have my first real “meal” (that isn’t trail mix) since Thursday. A tuna wrap. Kickin’ it old school with the tunas. *grins* Whatever happened between the tuna and the Fursuit Parade I honestly don’t know, but at some point Tibor and I run back to the room to suit up for the march of the giant beasties. The Fursuit Parade was awesome! The route was just stupid fun, with a stroll through the Dealers’ Dungeon, down winding hallways, through the forest-like atrium, and outside for a group photo. A few points of interest: Nekomon and Panda stole some razor scooters and proceeded to zip through the parade like fruit flies. At one point the line stopped and Nekomon mowed right into the back of me! *growls playfully at the tiger cub* You and Panda are grounded! Go to your rooms! *laughs* And my Mom and Sister showed up to watch the parade (much to my surprise . . . and horror. *grins*)! They LOVED the con, and thought you furs were nothing but kind and fun (which you are)!

After the parade I jump out of suit, shower, and relax a bit before I head down to the Masquerade. I go over some final instructions with the acts, then suit up and joke around as we wait for the show to start. Our panel of judges is Sara “Caribou” Palmer (our Guest Of Honor), Emma (Sara’s daughter), and Nekomon (the Axe-scented tiger who is subbing for our Attendee Guest of Honor, JD Puppy, who’s doing an act). For someone with stage fright, I’m surprisingly relaxed before the show, which is a welcomed change from my usual ass-clenching terror. *laughs* Finally the lights go down and we hit the stage. The response from the crowd is awesome! To everyone who was at the Masquerade, you guys are the best! You made all the acts feel welcomed and appreciated, and we love you for it! Now, as usual I have no idea what I’m going to say when I get on stage. I just say whatever goofy crap comes into my fuzzy little mind. So I have very little recollection of what happened during the show, and I apologize if the MC’ing was a train wreck. *grins* Two things I do remember are: embarrassing Sara Palmer’s daughter Emma. About 3/4 of the way through the show K’gra calls me over and whispers, “Emma needs to take a potty break.” So idiot me, without thinking, says into the microphone, “Emma needs to go to the bathroom.” Which makes her crawl under the judges table in embarrassment. *winces* I’m SO sorry, Emma! But it turns out to be a good thing, because -I- have to go “Doctor Tinkles” REALLY bad too, so we turn it into a race (“The Spraytona 500”). My other memory is the crowd saluting The FurFright Stage Ninja. Our Stage Ninja is heading overseas to fight, risking his life to protect our freedom to be furries. It doesn’t matter what your politics is, he’s one of our own, and I wanted him to know just how much we love and appreciate him and all the men and woman who protect us. The ovation you gave him was truly beautiful. Thank you.

It was our best Masquerade ever! A HUGE thank you to Bios (our sound wolf and DJ), Fire (our stage manager), Jack (our curtain ninja), Tibor (my fellow MC), Kinshasa and K’gra (our feline scoring team), The FurFright Stage Ninjas, our Judges Sara, Emma, and Nekomon, all our acts, the audience, and everyone who helped and supported us in any way!

List Of Masquerade Acts:
1) JD, Dex, & Jimmywolf’s Dance
2) Stupid Coyote Tricks (Coyote & Snow Husky)
3) The Autoharp Returns (Punk Tiger)
4) Silverfox: The World’s Worst Standup Comedian
5) No Ideas (Kemeeleon & Amadeus)
6) Instrumental Solo (Lucius Appaloosius) **3rd Place Winner**
7) How To Handle A Fanboi (Silvermane & Runtt) **1st Place Winner**
8) Give Me $5 And I’ll Go Away (Wag!)
9) Jack & the Raccoon (Magnus & Brun Bear)
10) Starry, Starry Night (Kit & Chronocoon)
11) Super Happy Fun-time Guide To Personal Hygiene (Wag! & Silent Wolf)
12) Dance Of The Autumn Rain (Lucky Starhop) **2nd Place Winner**
13) Nobody’s Watching Me (Kiffa Kitmouse & Sedge Hare) **Con Bear’s Honorable Mention**
14) Dancing Through Life (Cadpig Junior)

**Frankenfursuit Winner: Team Pirate**

The most talent-filled Masquerade ever! You guys were awesome!

When the Masquerade was over it was time to jump in suit and dance at DJ Biohazard and Cliff Husky’s Shake-A-Tail Dance! And then it was time for drunken cards in the Atrium . . . but we won’t get into that . . . except to say that Ruckus Husky is my hero (and the father of my child)! *laughs*

Sunday: Wake up and head on down to help out with the Fursuit Massacre. The Ballroom is setup wrong, so a group of us thrash and make it right (thank you all for lending a paw!). Then the games begin, with The Red Bandits (Team Captain: Nekomon), Green Goblins (Team Captain: Panda), and The Violent Pansies (Team Captain: the entire team) squaring off in FurFright Stadium! Punktiger and Tibor run the best damn Fursuit games in the business, and I had a blast watching Belly Ball, Basket Case, Scooter Death Race 9000, Charades Of Death, and FurFright’s evil creation, Criss Cross Crash n’ Burn (i.e. musical chairs that don’t suck. *grins*)! The games ran really smoothly (except for a few hooligans . . . *cough* . . . Kwisa, Runtt, Panda . . . *cough* . . . sabotaging the games at every turn! *smiles* In the end The Red Bandits were victorious, and the crowd went nuttier than a cheese log as the teams lined up for the medal ceremony. A big thank you to every fursuiter who took part! I hope you all had fun! And if you have any ideas how we can make the games better, please let us know!

After the Fursuit Massacre, I was dead on my paws, and hungry (as usual). I limped into Starbucks and met my pal Creedence. We both ordered a scoop o’ tuna (they didn’t have any wraps or sandwiches left) and begged the woman behind the counter to find us some bread. While she was gone I put my head down on the glass case and almost dozed off. When she returned I went to pay with my credit card, completely forgetting that the hotel’s phone lines, and credit card service, was down. I didn’t have any cash, so I was screwed . . . until my friend and angel of mercy, Creedence, stepped in and hooked me up. I love ya, sweet dog! Thank you! *BIG bearhugs*

I had 2 free hours until closing ceremonies, so I trudged back to my room to lie down. I was beyond tired. I laid down and dozed while my friends talked and ate pizza in the next room. After an hour of tossing and turning, I woke with a start, not feeling well at all. I had reached my physical and emotional limit. So I wandered into the next room, lay down next to some friends, and sobbed into a bath towel for a half hour. Then I headed down to Closing Ceremonies. I was very tired at that point, and did a horrible job of thanking everyone. I am VERY sorry that I couldn’t remember or mention everyone who helped out over the course of the con. I should have just giving the mic to Xander and had him do it! *laughs and hugs him tight* Please know that even if I’m brain dead with a microphone in my paw, we still appreciate everyone’s generosity with all our hearts.

When all was said and done, I shared many wonderful moments with friends both old and new. A fur from Britain (whose name escapes me at the moment) lifted a tired ol’ bear’s spirits after Closing Ceremonies. And a tall blond-haired fur named Ark moved me to tears with his heartfelt words.

Runtt Wah and all the furs who contributed to our Dead Fur Party did a stellar job! It was the best Dead Fur Party FurFright’s ever had!

While folks danced, I packed up equipment, then ran back to my room to suit up for the Dead Fur March (our second Fursuit parade). Our Attendee Guest of Honor, JD Puppy lead the way, with the Bear Knight in tow. A quick observation. When a big, menacing, lumbering knight follows a bouncy little puppy, he can’t help but bounce and dance too! *face smack* Damn you JD! *laughs* Quick story. During the parade I said to JD, “I’m following one of the best fursuiters in the fandom! I’m gonna learn a lot!” So what did I learn? Well, I learned that when you compliment a puppy and give him a big head, he’ll dance around in circles for a moment, get disoriented, and walk head first into a stone wall! *LOL* Oh my god that was priceless!

My con ended like it always does, face down at the bottom of the pool. *grins* I want to thank my pal Triggerfox (love ya, cutie! Go Bruins!), Silvermane, Tibor, Hux, Wing, Nekomon, Kody Bear, Tiberious, Skruffs, Sedge, Kiffa, and everyone who swam with us! The pool, and my life, is dirtier because of you!

A BIG thank you to everyone who helped us load/unload the truck Monday morning! I know physical labor is the last thing anyone wanted to do after a con, but your many paws made light work!

Stats:
Attendance: 717 (thanks to you, FurFright is now the 5th largest furry convention in the world!)
Charity Money Raised: $3,000

Biggest Regret: Not being able to spend more time with all of you at the con. You’re all dear friends and like family to me, and I wanted to give each of you so much more time and attention than I did. As usual, there were a mountain of issues I needed to run around and tend to, and I had very little free time. I’m sorry. PLEASE know that I did my best.

Most Embarrassing Moment: Uuummmm . . . how shall I put this. Inspired by my friends Silvermane, Tawny, and Ayulf, and their Roman Soldier costumes, I tried giving a Roman “salute” to several people during the Fursuit parade. Only problem was, I didn’t really know how to do it. *blushes* I knew to pound my chest with my fist, but after that… *whimpers* Let’s just say that in the depths of my ignorance I accidentally made the end of the salute look like something . . . uhhhhh . . . else. This was COMPLETELY unintentional, and I apologize profusely if it looked offensive. All other embarrassing moments took place when I had a microphone in my paw. Most everything I say on stage is improvised, and I don’t remember any of it. Though I’m sure when I watch the video footage I’ll want to shoot myself. *smiles*

Quotes Of The Con:
Bear: ‘Can I have a moment?’
Tibor: ‘We don’t have time for moments!’

‘I believe in you. I believe in your ability to make people feel like crap.’ –Fire

(Drunk Ruckus at 2am): ‘Let’s go to Costco and get a hot dog.’

‘Sometimes when I get excited I stop breathing.’ –Unknown

Bear: ‘God I’m hot! Not in a sexual attraction sort of way, just temperature wise. Though I have been working out.’
Beetlejuice: ‘Yeah, you can totally tell.’

‘I don’t know what to say. I love you? Bye? I don’t know.’ – Kinshasa

‘The voicemail lady talks wicked fast!’ –Ruckus

Bear: ‘Sedge, tell ‘em about the dance music!’
Sedge: ‘Yeah . . . it’s solid gold.’

‘That bitch at the phone company cut me off!’ – Ruckus

‘It’s okay everybody! He’s a cheerleader!’ --Tibor

‘What happened? Where did it all go wrong?’ -- Nekomon

‘Fursuit rule #1: Don’t shove Jesus.’

‘Fire’s rigged like a carnival game.’ –Ruckus

‘Velcro the camera to his head and see what he does when he’s not irritating Bear.’ –Tibor

‘I’m gonna strangle him with that stupid freakin' mustache!’ --Runtt

‘Murr purr churro.’

‘Thank you, Sergeant Buzzkill.’

‘I taught my cat to open the cupboard doors…’
‘And what, slap candybars into your mouth while you sleep?’


There were FAR too many wonderful people and experiences to mention in one report, but that doesn’t make them any less meaningful. Thank you ALL for making FurFright 2007 one of the best experiences of my life! I love you furs! Keep in touch and I'll see you next year!

Peace, love, and furriness to all! *gives every beast a BIG bearhug*

Belic Bear
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