Furry Weekend Atlanta moved to a new hotel this year, but kept the same awesome staff, and put on a good con again. Good points first: the dealer’s room ran as smoothly as I’ve ever seen one run. It was huge and spacious, and even though they tucked us into a corner, it was a corner near the front door and they got FurPlanet and Sofawolf and Blotch together with Keovi nearby, so it was a fun corner as well. A+, would deal again (and will next year, in fact).
The lineup of panels was pretty good. I got to do the “Sex in Storytelling” with Rukis, and even the interruption from next door was kind of entertaining (more on that below). Also got to talk about Novel Writing and Character Development and about gay fandoms, trying to get people in Atlanta to go to Gaylaxicon later this spring. And Fuzz and I did our third KnotSheathed, which was recorded by three devices, including my fancy microphone that I haven’t figured out how to work completely yet (after we were done, Fuzz said, “what’s this dial that says “Gain” on it?” which was on the side of the mike facing HIM and away from ME, so I never saw it, but it did explain why the mike was recording at super-low volume… oh well). I was late to the podcast because they scheduled it opposite the dance contest and I wanted to see some of that. The new room for the dance contest is pretty amazing and has a balcony, which was full. The dance contest was also broadcast live on justin.tv/furryweekend, where I think you can still go to see some FWA videos. So that was all pretty awesome.
Also cool was downtown Atlanta with its restaurants and Starbucks. I went to several different restaurants for dinner and had a great meal every night. Wanted to go back to the old con hotel and its restaurant but actually spaced on that the one time I was invited, so…d’oh. I’ll wait to go with Kit (who didn’t make the trip this year).
CCI, the con’s charity, came with a baby binturong this year. She was eleven weeks old and adorable, just all full of energy. CCI was kind enough to open from 9-10 for a private showing for dealers, who otherwise have to be in the dealers den during the hours they’re open. They are great people and I’m proud to be part of the con that helped them (part of each membership goes to their organization, I believe).
And of course, the best part of FWA is the people. I get to see a lot of folks at this con that I don’t see anywhere else, and everyone is super-nice and the hotel had a great lobby to hang out in near the bar. I actually really like the downstairs setup, a large open space where you can hang over the walkway railings and see who’s around below. Stairs lead easily from one floor to another.
Downsides to the con: well, the panel rooms. They were tucked out of the way on a floor you couldn’t even take an elevator to (you had to go up to nine and then up escalators). They were one large room partitioned into three with barriers that didn’t stretch all the way and were very clearly not soundproof. Also, somehow, Saturday morning my panel room had no tables, so BlackTeagan and I just sat and talked to people; Sunday morning the same panel room had all the tables from all the panel rooms in it, some of which had to be removed for other panels. So half my panels were disrupted by loud panels next door, or by furniture needing to be moved in and out. The con has said that the panel rooms will be moved next year.
The elevators were something everyone complained about, but they only really bothered me once, when the elevator decided it didn’t want to go to our floor after all. The light blinked out and we just kept going, past 32, up to 70 before we came back down. I know some people waited in long lines, but there were two banks, 14-45 and 45-70, and I could usually manage to get on one or the other pretty easily. It wasn’t hard to walk down from 45 to 32 if I needed to.
Oh, and the 70th floor–well, 72, really–was amazing. The Sundial Lounge rotates with a 360-degree view of Atlanta, which is a lot nicer than it sounds if you’ve never been there. Atlanta has some really nice-looking and unusual skyscrapers, and the lounge rotates quickly enough that you do a circuit in about 30-40 minutes, I’d guess. It’s a must-do if you go to FWA next year.
And if you do, come by the Sofawolf table or go to one of my panels, because I’m planning to be back too!