The Con: Westercon 69
The Place: Lloyd’s Center Doubletree Inn
The Dates: 1st – 4th July 2016
Westercon is a roving / regional Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention. In 2016 Portland Oregon won the bid to host the convention. This year, Gearcon, Portland Steampunk Convention. co-hosted . I was very excited to attend a Science Fiction Convection in addition to Orycon. Westercom puts a different face on Science Fiction cons for me. Both my Hello Kitty plushies and Chococat were my Companions.
Friday: Originally I was going to commute to the con hotel first thing in the morning, I was thinking of long lines a la Kumoricon, but a few day earlier I got a request for a job interview. I did the interview rushed hone, ate lunch and grabbed my Kiju Hello Kitty and headed for the bus and Max ride to Westercon. We had 1700 attendees, not the 3000+ I was thinking of. I got to the site around 3:30 and was still enough time to register and attend the What the Furry panel to provide morale support. I also went to the Ham Radio meet up and get some dinner before dogging in and out of the viewing room and checked out some room parties before running out to the max train and making my bus connection home.
Saturday: After a breakfast at Home Town Buffet, I returned to the hotel. I caught the last of the fan film showing then went to the Good, the bad and the Ugly Costuming in Hollywood but was disappointed that they stuck to modern fantasy. I loafed around until the Super Powered Television panel. I checked out the video room and got some dinner then did a Saturday Night room party crawl before hedging home by trimet.
Sunday: I headed back to Westercon after church, I had lunch then I went to Evolution of Fandom. Again I felt something was amiss; that what should be an interesting panel seemed to go off track. Then I finally got to see Alexander Jams in concert; other times I ether forgot or was distracted by a panel. Next up was Steampunk Author Readings 2 and The End is Now: Images of the World After in Popular Media before heading up to dinner then returning to prove moral support for the Furry Terminology panel then room party crawl part two to around 11:21pm before I took max and Uber back home.
Monday: Went back to the con Monday morning. First up was watching the Mer Folks frolic in the pool during the Mer Folk meet and greet. Next up was the Spaceflight and Religion panel. I just eat lunch and lounged around until 7:00pm when Science GOH Bobak Ferdowsi hosted the Juno mission view party. Originally I was going to stay only the introduction but I stayed to watch successful orbiting burn and end broadcast at 9:00pm. The viewing party was the last and fitting end of a Successful Westercon 69.
The good : Mer Folk meet and greet and being a four day convention.
The bad : the panels. some of the panels were good, but my problem is how their were organized at Westercon and Orycon. The panels were organized by programming unlike fan volunteering to do panels at Kumoricon and Newcon. The problem is I heard the panelist, with a puzzled face, ask why are they on the panel too often. Such mismatch, leading to a lack of motivation, drags down the quality of the panel.
The Ugly: Lloyd’s Center Doubletree Inn’s ever expanding no mask rules. There been a change of management . At first they expanded the no mask without telling Newcon two years ago. Last year attendees at Newcon only wear their mask in the meeting areas. Now at Westercon 69 no maks could be worn except to the masquerade. That means fursuits and Ryan Wells work would be out of the question. Good Job Doubletree! With that and jacking up the rates, Orycon and Newcon moved to the Marriot and turned the most friendly fan con hotel to one of the most unfriendly. At least the the Doubletree was not as bad is the down town Hilton.
In spite of the issues I enjoyed Westercon 69. After attending the writer heavy Orycon, Westercon was a refreshing take on Science Fiction conventions.
Click for larger pictures.