April 25th, 2006

New Look

Mountain View Parade 2006 and fursuiting sabbatical

Last Saturday we had the last of three major fursuit gigs in three weeks, this time the big Mountain View City Parade, on the main street in downtown Mountain View. I was worried as hell that we were going to get unceremoniously rained out like at Easter, and that things were going to go badly since so many people couldn't make it. But things went really well and I want to thank huggy for helping out with things on the City of Mountain View Side, Ultra-Gor for helping haul tons of equipment and supplies, yippee for his help setting things up, and everyone that escorted and fursuited at the gig. There were some tricky moments during the whole set, but we got through them all, and we lucked out with the weather this time.

Here's the group shot, inside the main rotunda of Mountain View City Hall:

Now, that may look like a lot of characters, but look how many there were in 2005:

We had a really good breakroom this year, thanks to Brad getting us into the room early and all the people that helped set things up. I had brought lots of food, lunch meats, chips and munchies, fursuit towels, fans, and 40 lbs. of ice in a big bucket to recharge ice packs. The tricky part was getting fursuiters access to the card-key-secure bathroom, and getting everybody back to the changing area. Thanks to Penh, Loran, Hoof, GriffinWolf, and everyone else that provided their cars for FTP (Fursuiter Transport Protocol) back to the tent area.

Some pictures, courtesy of FJ McCloud:

Staircase of Fursuiters
Uck's Rock-Climbing Adventures
Pay No Attention to the Man Under the Towel

My very first fursuit gig I had anything to do with was the 1999 Mountain View Parade, shortly after I was introduced into the fandom. This parade marks my 7th anniversary of fursuit gigging, and my last one, at least for awhile. I'm officially on "fursuiting sabbatical" for awhile to get my life together. I have neglected my home and professional life for too long now and need to spend more time working on me, and on my family, especially as my Dad just ended up in the hospital again.

The gigs have become too many and too involved to keep up with, and while I was able to keep up with 8-10 gigs a year in my late twenties, I definitely can't keep pace with 20+ gigs a year in my mid-to-late thirties. The Critters have enjoyed tremendous growth in the last seven years at fursuit gigs... back in 1999-2000, six or seven characters was considered "a lot" and there were eight gigs a year. Now there are gigs that have 20+ characters, and there are months where there are eight gigs in that month alone. (Like Halloween month and Christmas month !)

I have had the amazing opportunity to run with and help out some truly awesome fursuit performers in the last seven years, people that raise it to a high art. I've seen the magic that they weave and spin for wide-eyed kids and wanted to do everything I could to make the flame of that magic continue, whether in the breakroom, as an escort, or as a fellow fursuiter. I've seen the instantaneously profound effect that these characters have on people, time and time again. I have done everything I could to help kindle and protect the magic, because I know how rare and precious it is in a world full of sorrow and mundanity. The little kids that are entertained by a funny animal that gives them a hug might well remember it decades later when they're in a rest home. Or, they might choose to take up the fuzzy mantle themselves, I've seen it happen. Such a pure group of artists that go to such lengths to express their art form I've never seen before.

I held off on this until getting through the major gigs of the spring, Dragons at Calaveras, two Easter gigs, and the Mountain View Parade. I hope to take my break and come back much stronger, but I likely won't be at summer gigs. I've got lots of cleanup to do, debts to pay down, and other aspects of my life that I've been blowing off. For those of you insane enough to put on fursuits in the Central Valley this summer, you have my deepest sympathies.

I would like to thank brokkentwolf, yippee, penh and especially crocodile who got me into this whole fursuit gig thing in the first place.
And of course all the others that have been there for me, especially the master photographer kreggan (who will be leaving us soon), terraluna_bat, Hugg E. Bear, fjmccloud, Orzel, kiteless_dragon, flipperanubi, foofers, minnieme4rl, akseawolf, nukufox, aaron_raccoon, chairoraccoon, crosscheck_fox, and even more people that I can't think of now .

I was glad to run with everyone while I could, hopefully I helped out in the whole cause and everybody had a great time.... and I hope to be back someday.