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27 January 2010 @ 12:33 pm
FC 2010: Your Obedient Serpent's Report!  
Despite the Unusual Circumstances of my life right now, this was a terrific con.

I only attended four official Con events, and only made a couple of turns through the Dealer's Room and Art Show -- most of my time was spent socializing. I spent lots of time with lots of folks, and always seemed to be able to find someone to pester. (Discovering that my phone could send texts to multiple recipients helped a lot there.)

After five straight years of presenting the Not-Adult Dragon Species Panel, I skipped this year, and finally got to see the Masquerade -- the NADSP has been scheduled opposite the Masque for three years in a row, thank you so very much. The Masquerade was fun to see in person for once.

On the other claw, I pitched in at the eleventh hour to help eclipsegryph give the Gryphon Panel, and had a blast and a half. Presenting panels has always kicked up a con into high gear for me, and I'll probably volunteer to take back the Dragon Panel again next year.

(Who went to the Dragon Panel this year? How did it go without Your Obedient Serpent at the helm? I've only heard feedback from one person who heard it from another person.)

I think the best part for me was the new location. I've always liked downtown San Jose, though I don't go there nearly often enough. The new hotel is in a splendid location, and is a pretty decent venue for the con, though I suspect we'll outgrow it quickly.

The afore-mentioned Unusual Circumstances allowed me to take public transit into the con with little difficulty, so I avoided the trauma of downtown parking this year. That's unlikely to happen again next year.

Having decent food and little conveniences like a grocery store and a drug store in the immediate vicinity was pleasant enough for us as attendees, but there's a hidden benefit that a lot of attendees have neglected. Being smack in the middle of downtown -- and the Fairmont is as close to dead-center in the middle of Downtown San Jose as you can get -- gives us the opportunity to become a local institution, to be part of the community in the same way that AnthroCon has become part of Pittsburgh. The local businesses certainly enjoyed our patronage, and the local populace seemed downright enchanted by our brand of madness.

This is an opportunity and an experience that we simply didn't have hiding in the Doubletree, stuck in a part of town that's flat-out dead on the weekends and not overly lively during the work week.

Furries are always worrying about how to improve their media image, and I submit that a goodly part of it is simply to be VISIBLE, being happy, friendly, fun people getting together to have a good time.

I feel: bouncybouncy
Terminotaur: OMGterminotaur on January 27th, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
Hehe, couldn't agree more about location as well as becoming an institution, though I do wish I'd seen you there. Ah well.

Most all the reports I heard about people, how they conducted themselves, and public reaction were very positive. Its really wonderful to hear. I still remember being in the market and overhearing someone "There was someone dressed up as a WOLF just outside!", but said in that tone that's really amused at this bit of silliness they just discovered. Saw cheerleaders and small kids too, and all were having a good time. Apparently even a few police officers.

Having a good time at the con is fine, but having it in such a way that brings a little fun/amusement/happiness to others, there's something so very nice about that.
Baxil: antetarsal chiaroscuro (pic by waywind)baxil on January 28th, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
I was briefly at the NADSP, and got more detailed reports from dragonzuela and zefirodragon, who stuck out the whole thing. It was ... err ... let's just say "uninspiring" and leave it at that. Or segue into a related complaint.

(Please note that this is NOT a passive-aggressive suggestion to Otherkin-ize the species panel. That's not what it's there for. However, the NADSP really could use someone who's passionate about the subject to lead a discussion, instead of descending into an hour of character comparisons.

Please also note that I typically skip the masquerade. I'm not trying to volunteer myself, but if this post sounds like sour grapes, I'd be willing to join in and put my money where my mouth is.)
Your Obedient Serpent: Eye of the Dragonathelind on January 28th, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
Under my auspices, the NADSP hewed pretty firmly to "Dragons In Mythology, Folklore, Heraldry, and maybe, just maybe, Modern Fantasy", with very little indulgence in "tell me about your character".

The main reason I haven't delved much into Otherkinnery in my panels is that, honestly, I don't grok it in quite the same way as you or frameacloud do. The closest I've gotten to it is a discussion of the mythic symbology of the Dragon, which brushes on the periphery of Jung and Campbell.

If I do the panel next year, it would be great to have you join in as well, to give a new perspective on things. I may bring in a more synchromystic approach to my side, which WILL look more at modern pop culture presentations of Dragon than I have in the past, and what deeper meanings those mass-media manifestations might have.
zefirodragonzefirodragon on January 28th, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
I, too, did leave after some time - just in time to see the Masquerade ending.

How you describe your view on this panel was how I'd hoped it to be - so just my bad luck, I guess, for my only visit to FC to get the year when it's different.

Just out of curiosity, what happens at the other species panels, especially the gryphon panel?
Your Obedient Serpent: big ideasathelind on January 28th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
The Gryphon panel runs a lot like the Dragon panel; Eclipse has done a LOT of research on kittybirds, going back to their earliest mentions in ancient Greek lore. He always seems to have something new to add, though.

The other species panels I've attended (and co-presented) have centered around beasties that are, shall we say, less elusive than gryphons or dragons: reptiles/dinosaurs, avians, and bats. Those panels have presented more tangible data about the critters in question, as well as their traditional roles in folk culture. We talked about echolocation in the bat panel, for instance, but we also discussed how bats tended to be sinister in Western culture, but lucky in the East (rather like dragons, that. Hmmmm.).

I'm not sure if that's true across all the panels, though. Maybe the more obscure and arcane critters attract those of a more academic/analytical/geeky bent. Does the Fox panel talk about Reynard and the Kitsune? Does the Canid panel compare and contrast White Fang and The Big Bad, or the contrasting perceptions of Wolf and Coyote? I simply don't know.
zefirodragonzefirodragon on January 28th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the answer.
Those things would have actually interested me quite a lot :)
Baxil: head in handsbaxil on January 29th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
Deeper meanings of pop-culture dragon representations -- i.e., dragon-as-archetype -- sounds like a fascinating topic! I'd be in for that. (And a conversation with the Lovely Wife reminded me that tackling the myth of "every culture has dragons" head-on would be a good adjunct to that. Yes, it's widespread for human cultures to have something that modern westerners have thrown into a melting pot with a misleading single name, but they're not similar enough to give any coherent meaning to "dragon" as a mythological entity. The actually interesting question about this phenomenon is: why do we choose to collect so many qualitatively different myths under the same banner?)

I've pre-reg'd for FC11 -- which is the first time in many years I've decided in advance to attend, and which means that I can make solid commitments for things like panels. Keep me posted as you figure out what your plans are!
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on January 28th, 2010 10:04 am (UTC)
It sounds like you had a really good time. Now I find myself feeling sad I didn't go! D'oh! ;)
zefirodragonzefirodragon on January 28th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
Actually, what I just noticed... I was surprised to find only the dragons had an adult panel, not the other species. And you mentioning NADSP being in the same spot the last years makes me wonder whether the adult version also had been around the last years - and what makes dragons so special, that only they get their round of group porn? (And I'm guessing it's neither spiritual nor that dragons are in general more sexy nor that those attendees are all dragons, who just happened to like the Masquerade more then the other panel)
Your Obedient Serpent: facepalmathelind on January 29th, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
Your Obedient Serpent disavows any knowledge of those activities.