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FurCon Invades San Jose

In Culture
FurCon

The anthropomorphic jamboree that is this year’s FurCon began Thursday and will go through the end of MLK weekend. If you’ve ever wondered about the cultural differences among dragons, how gravity affects various species, or what furries were featured in the Bible, this is the place to find out.

FurCon caters to people who call themselves “furries.” Participants of the lifestyle anthropomorphize their human qualities into their chosen animal character. The organizer of the event, Lee Strom, chose a raccoon named Chairo, for example. These animal-inspired personality types are referred to as “fursonas.” There are plenty of colorful furries at the convention and each brings a unique fursona.

All of this may seem a little bit silly, and it’s obvious that having fun is the furries’ main goal, but there is a more serious side to the whole thing as well. The organization that puts on FurCon is heavily involved in charity work and has donated over $130,000 to various nonprofits. The nonprofits are in line with the furry theme and mostly involve animal rescue and conservation efforts.

There is also an element of outreach, which is obvious from the various workshops offered at the convention. From “Writing in Furry Fandom” to “Become Your Avatar,” furries can sharpen their skills during the long weekend.

Furries are generally cordial and the overall feeling at the convention is pleasant. For a non-furry, the initial shock is temporary as everyone that shows up is explicitly there to enjoy themselves. Some of the costumes are extremely complex, from a woolly mammoth that convincingly walks on all four legs, to various critters equipped with servos that make their mouths move when they speak. The whole event is sophisticated in its organization and execution. As Lee explains about the team that puts the event on, “We have doctors on staff, we have nuclear physicists on staff.”

FurCon 2012 is comfortingly surreal, and enjoyable even to people who don’t anthropomorphize their persona into the animal form. For example, Klingons give an approving nod with their bone-plated foreheads by throwing a raging party that is quickly becoming the stuff of legend.

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