Jarroc's Dragon Den
Jun 13, 2013
Before I go further, I need to explain what a 'furry' is, to some of those that do not know. Simply put, a furry is a person that enjoys anthropomorphics, which gives human-like characteristics to non-human beings. Characters like Bugs Bunny, Starfox, and even sports mascots all are humanized cartoon characters. Furries celebrate their interest in these characters by writing stories, drawing art, or creating costumes, most often times of their own inspired characters. If you want to know more, my essay 'The Rough Fluff on Furry', and the soon to be released "What is a..." section will give you more detail.
With that out of the way, onto the convention! Things already started with a bit of a downer as the convention hotel notified its guests that the main lobby of the hotel was under construction. A good quarter of the con space was blocked off, and it was problematic even more so as it was the primary gathering spot for the attendees. However, with the quick thinking of the con staff, they designated the pool lounge as the main lounge. The adaptation worked on the whole, especially with the incentive of snow cones that were being given out on Saturday.
After the small displacement of the lounge, the majority of the con was highly enjoyable. One of my greatest privileges was to learn from and listen to an amazing writer, invited as Guest of Honor to the convention. Maxwell Alexander Drake, a quickly rising writer most popular for his 'Genesis of Oblivion' saga, hosted several hours of writing panels, aimed at helping beginning writers get a foothold on creating plot and developing amazing stories. Those who were in the panel all seemed drawn in by his wisdom, laced with humorous references and sharp wit. He is a great man that probably inspired many like me to pick up a pencil or a keyboard and start writing their passions.
There were many other panels and meetups available at the convention too, that had something for everybody. There were artist and drawing panels, hosted by the other Guest of Honor, the wonderful Necrodrone. I wish I had gotten to see her, but I never had the time to attend one of her panels. They also had meetups for Canine characters, Feline characters, Reptile characters, Mythical characters, Furries with Pets, and even Furry Folk Singers. They had games, both electronic and tabletop, that put people together to have fun or clash head to head in competition.
It's incredible to me, really, how immersed I was with people I didn't even know, bound mainly by a sense of community and interest. It's a strange but welcome feeling to sit down at a table, say hello to many different people, pick up a few cards, and jump straight into a delightful game with them. Yet, what people don't realize is that conventions bring people together. They unite fans over their interests, and in a way, help create friendships that can last a lifetime. I even made a new friend during my time, and I will say, I'm glad that I met him and got to share my enjoyment with him.
Mid-way during the con, I was surprised to find out that Jeff Goode, the creator of American Dragon Jake Long, was scheduled (with his voice acting crew) to present a new play for us. Goode has been associated with the fandom for about eight years, especially with the community present at Califur. Because of that, it inspired him to create a one-of-a-kind play, the first ever 'Furry play'. Titled "Fursona Non Grata", the play is aimed for parody, while keeping a few true roots to the fandom's origin. Personally, I believe it was an amazing debut, even if there was no physical acting. The screen reading still had enough power to make me laugh, cringe, and grin stupidly, all the while keeping the idea of the fandom intact. It has the right balance of comedy and realism to it, to make me recommend it even to non-furs, to experience a laugh to remember. Its only drawback is that it ended, and won't be fully released until Spring 2014. Still, it was a powerful way to bring the excitement down to a close.
The last day was uneventful, but memorable. Even before I officially left the con, a condition called 'Post-Con Depression', or PCD, began to kick in. I realized that for 48 hours, I've had the most fun and excitement then I ever had in a month, and that excitement was going away. It's also the same reason why this review took so long to write. I couldn't help but feel sad that this amazing con, filled with happiness and cheer and playfulness, was fading, not to appear again till next year. It hit especially hard since it would be my last year in California (more on that soon), and that I may never see it again. The power that this con had was astounding, the way all of the joy and fun that I had made me want to hold onto it and never let go. And, as I left, I tried to find a way to cope with the sudden lack of excitement and pure excellence that was Califur...
Then I realized... I'm going to Virginia! Anthrocon is four hours away!
So with that in mind, I finally was able to reminisce upon the amazing time that was Califur IX. Sure, it had a few shortcomings (especially with the lack of a lounge), but the execution of the convention was perfect! The lines weren't long, the guests of honor were great, the community was amazing, and everything turned out to be even better than last year. There are tons more stories I have about this con that I just can't include in this post due to time space, so if you ever want to hear more, feel free to send me a message about it, either as a comment or on twitter. In conclusion, Califur IX had more great moments then poor, and I know for a fact the convention will continue to grow and thrive, bringing happiness to all of its fans all over Southern California.
Links for EVERYONE!
Maxwell Alexander Drake: http://www.maxwellalexanderdrake.com/
Jeff Goode: http://www.jeffgoode.com/
All characters and costumers are claimed and owned by their respective owners. Apologies for not knowing the exact name of each character. Califur is owned by FENEC Adventures, 2013 All Rights Reserved.