The SQUEE moments
I am so very, very pleased to have welcomed both Dev Madan and Mike Kazaleh. I have actually known Mike casually for a few years but it felt good to give him the recognition he deserves as a man who has had his creative hand on just about every facet of comics and animation that we have seen. Dev had a lot of fun and gave me a tremendous compliment: "Thank you for ruining every future convention-guest appearance I'll ever have." We strongly believe in keeping the "honor" in "Guest of Honor" and I am happy to have succeeded once again.
A big, big round of applause to returning guests Andy Runton, who I understand has been in discussion with some Very Important People about bringing Owly to a much broader audience, and to mummeteer Jim Martin, who surprised us all by introducing Gary Gnu Mark II to a whole new generation of fans.
A personal joy for me was meeting the amazing Sardyuon from Japan. I was flabbergasted by the first video of his acrobatic act that I saw on YouTube and had dreamed about some day having him make an appearance at Anthrocon. I found out when he arrived that it had long been his dream to be a guest a Anthrocon. Both of us got our wish in the same day.
Our international delegates
As always, I was thrilled to see my old friends from around the world. My beloved Deutschfurs, the crew from the UK, a whole gang from Singapore, a veritable army of Australians -- welcome all, and I hope you enjoyed our company as much as I enjoyed yours. A positive delight for me was to meet a great group of new friends from Japan. They were headed up by Imuhata-san, who was a tremendous help and who I am overjoyed to have met. He was very patient with my extremely poor Japanese and although he claimed that I spoke very well, I know that he was just being polite.
We were also blessed to welcome Manma-chan from the popular Japanese variety show Sanma no Manma. He might have looked like a big floppy dog, but I watched him break a whole stack of roofing tiles with a single karate-chop onstage. I will be posting further information and maybe even some video links when the episode of "Manma-chan's vacation to Pittsburgh" airs.
The people of Pittsburgh
Something happened this year that has never happened before, and as far as I know has never happened to a Furry convention before. At least three times in the course of the convention, and once by an anonymous phone call from a very sweet 84-year-old local lady, people ran up to say, "Thank you so much for being here!" Where else but Pittsburgh can an entire city literally throw its arms around you and give you a hug? I'll say it again, Philadelphia, and listen good: Pittsburgh has a heck of a lot to teach you about Brotherly Love.
Guys, you rock. For the most part (except for, well, see below), everyone was well behaved. The hotels were very happy and reported only minimal damages and vandalism; I suppose there's no way we can ever really avoid that. The housekeepers were happy and left lots of little thank-you notes for our folks.
Still hard to get my chin off of my chest. A final count of 5179 attendees, 1044 fursuiters in our parade (I counted them personally as they crossed the bridge), more than $20,000 for our charity "Hello Bully"...believe me, we never expected it. We just tried to put on the best convention that we could. I hope we succeeded in that endeavor.
You love him. We love him. Pittsburgh loves him. Many, many thanks to those who helped him through his hardship. I am very happy to announce that while his restaurant is officially closing in a month, the new owner of the building has invited him to return next year for Anthrocon week in order to set up a temporary eatery just for us. He's already planning the menu and is looking forward to seeing everyone's smiling face once again!
Did you like the lasers? Did you like playing Asteroids on the side of the Convention Center? Thank FizzOtter and his laserly genius for that!
When they broke, they at least became stairs. We apologize for the convenience.
Our radios did not work. I was very angry with the supplier for this. I do not care to name them, and I cannot Bear to Comment on it any further, other than to say that they blamed the inappropriately named "Sprint" wireless network. I went much of the convention without proper communication to or from my staff. I always used to hate how much chatter went on in my earpiece; I now know just how critical it all is.
Hey, I have an idea! Let's promise this guy flight times that bring his guest in at a reasonable hour so that everyone can have a nice dinner and relax. Then once we have his money, let's change the schedule to have his guest leave before dawn, sit in an airport for nine hours, and then arrive after midnight. Now let's do that for every one of his guests! He'll love us for it!
We had one particular incident that caused me some heartburn. Loud party, a certain "Mr. A" that made the hotel mad at us, blah blah. tl;dr. Now that I've had some wine I'm not so mad about it anymore, and I smoothed it over with the hotel, so blah.
The Washington Room, aka the Westin Headless Zone
We tidied this up ourselves so that the Westin's long-suffering housekeeping staff did not have any extra work:
This is why we can't have nice things.
The Convention Center is Too Small
We totally ran out of room this year. There was not enough space in the Headless Zone for fursuiters. The panel rooms were packed to capacity. We had to turn some panels away simply because we had no place for them. This had me all bummed out, until Mary from the Convention Center tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hey, you know, we do have an entire 4th floor that you guys aren't using." So guess what? Next year -- Anthrocon moves upward!
And there you have it. All in all, one of the best conventions my staff has ever pulled off. My thanks to everyone, staff and volunteers, especially the STUFF crew who is standing over my shoulder right now with their arms folded, and to you, the attendees. We love you all to pieces, and look forward to seeing you July 4-7, 2013, for The Fast and the Furrious!