Programming and the Performer Lineup Changes

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AsheValisca's picture
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As some of you are aware, KP has transitioned away from the programming department and is now the Director of Public Outreach. With this transition, I have taken his place as the Acting Director of Programming. This change of leadership has caused a change of management, perspective, and vision within the department. Anthrocon is entering into its third decade, and many of the events that we host in the main ballroom are events anchored in tradition.

Tradition affects our convention in many ways that are both positive and negative. As a positive, it gives us a sense of continuity and comfort, but as a negative, it hinders growth and change. The Main Ballroom schedule has changed little over the years; the same shows are scheduled every year at the same times. This limits opportunities for new talent to take the main stage and meet a larger audience.  As we are a self sustaining fandom, that nature requires that we learn and that we strive to grow, change, and adapt. Breaking tradition allows us to bring new wonders to life. The whole programming team has embraced this vision, and we are working to grow, change, learn, and adapt to provide you with the best convention possible. We plan to bring Floor Wars, Fox and Pepper, and other events to the main ballroom this year.

We ask that you bear with us and give what we are doing a try. We ask that you trust us, and give us a chance to show you what other performers in the fandom have to offer. 

-- Ashe

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Ron Bauerle's picture
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With all due respect, but I can't think of a tactful way to ask this:

Is this the only explanation we're going to get behind no more 2 Gryphon performances,
or is that an unrelated issue?

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AsheValisca's picture
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This posts is in regards to a number of changes that are happening in the convention programming including but not limited to 2.

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Request for clarification...

I have seen a lot of speculation coming from a lot of different people and I'd like to be able to correct misconceptions when I encounter them, so I would appreciate the answers to a few questions.

1. Is the official reason 2 is not on the schedule "There's a new programming director and he is just trying other things,"?

3. Will there still be a charity show with someone other than 2, or has the charity show been cancelled entirely?

4. Was there a board decision that feels 2 is no longer appropriate to the theme of AC, or was this a decision made by programming alone?

5. If there was a board decision to remove 2, what were the reasons that he was deemed unsuitable?

6. Is 2 off the schedule just for this year, or is this an ongoing change, or has that decision not yet been made?

You may notice the question numbers go from 1 to 3. In deferrence to the issue at hand, I have removed 2 from the list.

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AsheValisca's picture
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I will admit my feline curiousity makes me want to know what question 2 was. But I do appreciate you sticking to the topic at hand.

  1. That is correct. Programming has decided that we would like to refresh the schedule and we believe that these changes will be beneficial for the convention as a whole.
  2. There was no question so there is no answer.
  3. The charity show will continue with some changes - we will not deprive our charity of the pleasure of seeing a show dedicated to them.
  4. This decision was made by the board, and it is being executed by the Programming department. We have decided to, due to popularity, to move Floor Wars to the Main Ballroom. Based on resource allocations (room/chair resets) and scheduling this required shuffling of events and the removal of others.
  5. Please see my answer for 4.
  6. That decision has not been made at this time. All programming is subject to review yearly.

Hopefully this answers all your questions.

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If this is just a fact of Reasources and available time. Then why isnt he Allowed in the the Charity Show.

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I find the reasoning for outright removing 2 as stated above to be unsatisfactory. You cancelled him to "bring Floor Wars, Fox and Pepper, and other events to the main ballroom this year." But I fail to see how that warrents the outright cancelation of 2 the Ranting Gryphons show. While tradition can hinder growth, it also forms a basis for that growth, and while I agree that moving popular events to the big stage is a good thing, is cancelling another very popular even also a good thing, because that seems to contradict the very statement that was made. While I agree with the display of new performers I HEAVILY disagree with the simple cancelation of the old ones. I feel as though losing the joint act of 2 and Uncle Kage, an Anthrocon Staple, is detrimental to the Con as a whole, and that rather than simple cancellation of all of 2's acts, the Ranting Gryphon could have been given smaller rooms for his acts.

 

In addition this statement fails to address this recurring question, "Why did the board vote to cancel 2's acts?" It isn't as simple a matter as the post makes it out to be, and it certainly isn't a simple question of tradition. Could 2's acts not have been rescheduled and relocated, just as other events, such as Floor Wars, Fox and Pepper, have been to take his time and location slots. those moves alone would leave open slots in other locations would they not? I feel as though the staff is hiding something by not providing a reason for this cancellation, and I feel very hesitant to spend my money and sponser next year if that is the case. I hope that the concerns I bring up here are not simply ignored and can be addressed in a fashion that sheds light on the board's reasoning and thought process, and that the con will reevaluate it's reasoning before I have to choose whether I should sponser with AnthroCon, or one of her competitors, such as Mid West Fur Fest.

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I believe MFF made similar programming decisions regarding this performer 3 years ago.

That said, MFF like all furry conventions is much more an event in our family and not at all competition. Please feel free to sponsor them if you feel it's worth your money! I encourage it. MFF and AC share plenty of staff and have a good relationship!

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OmegaGreyWolf9's picture
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You missed the point...

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Protocollie's picture
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Nope!

The honest-to-god bottom line, speaking as an attendee and not staff (and even as staff, I have no insight into this specific decision) is that this doesn't require or warrant a big or in-depth explanation. Memberships to anthrocon have never been a membership to a specific individual show, but tickets to an event as a whole designed to serve a large number of people with varied interests. Music festivals book different acts some years, GOHs come and go, main stage performers will change over time, as well.

Programming has to change to suit the event. The registration ticket needs to feel equally valuable to everyone holding it. As such, decisions will be made over time to make better use of the space available. Really, it doesnt need to be any more complicated than that. I'm sure you're personally disappointed, and I can surely understand that, but you're one of over 6,000 people who attend the convention, and many people from different backgrounds may have differing opinons of what they value.

If the vast majority (or even a substantial percentage) of people coming to Anthrocon were doing so on the basis of 2's performance, I'd highly advise that he negotiate with a Pittsburgh venue to set up a show for those people willing to travel there to see him, where he can likely offer a lower ticket price and also reap more of the benefits of selling said tickets.

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I feel that the Board of Directors and their staff have handled this situation poorly, and by appearences continue to do so. I feel that the reasons they have provided to us for the cancellation do not warrent it. Downsizing, relocating and rescheduling perhaps, but the cancellation seems heavy handed, hasty, and unwarrented. It is for this reason, amongst others, that my opinion of AnthroCon has been affected in this way. I feel that the board has acted too quickly in this case, and fear for the future of other traditions they may deam "get in the way of progress" and close down under the excuse of "Shrinking attendence" without providing solid numbers. How long until things like Kage's Story Hour are just memories for old furs to tell their cubs, and Fox Amoore isn't allowed to make music on the stage? I'd understand if his show was downsized and moved to a side room, but cancellation was VERY premature, and far from warrented. Unless of course the board has other reasons that they won't share with their clients.

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BlackJack's picture
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The answer given was that it was a BOARD decision, and Programming is proceeding along in light of this decision of the Board-along with all other decisions the Board makes, same as always. That's how Programming works.

The Board made a decision. Based entirely on how Boards work, I can tell you what I know of this decision (I have no knowledge of this specific decision other than what's been posted here publickly.)
A) Boards exist to maintain Operations for an organization. They must handle the short-term, as well as plan for the long-term. They must make decisions for the present and for the future, always with the organization in mind. This will not always be the POPULAR decision, nor need it be. A Board needs to think with cool heads, not knee-jerk reactions that are designed to please the noisiest handful. That also means a Board works hard for little or no thanks and lots of criticism.

B) ANY response posted by the Board will be responded to with anger, derision, and full-blown tantrums. Each of us thinks WE know the best way to run AC, when in reality, WE do not. (That's why there's a Board and we're not on it.) Even in a Board, there's not always unanimity- but that's why there's a Board and not just one despot-so one person's preferences don't hobble an organization. So, don't expect there to be any more detailed response. It won't be welcomed and will be the object of tirades much worse than we're seeing now.

C) AC's Board, like AC's Staff, think it's good that there are other conventions in operation now. So, if you really would rather go to another convention and nor attend AC, well, we all wish you the best time possible at the other convention. (Even those of us who are not Staff-like me.)

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MOST AC ATTENDEES DO NOT WEAR A FURSUIT OR ANY FORM OF COSTUME.

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A good enough reason and it wouldn't fan the flames as you claim, but rather quench them. and frankly I am a firm believer that a board that doesn't trust in its clientel to accept a good reason is more likely to hide flawed reasoning, and make poor decisions.

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BlackJack's points were spot-on. 

Anthrocon's board is a closed entity, so none of it's reasonings are intended for public consumption regardless of how much we might want them to be. That has nothing to do with trust or distrust. It has everything to do with freeing the board members to consider only the effects of their policies on the con and not who is going to get thrown under the bus for any given reason. It shields them from criticism, but it does so in order to give the board a more-or-less safe space to work. Most private organizations that have a board work the same way. 

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Just because it's common doesn't make it right. 

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We arnt asking for WHO suggested a reason. We want a REASON why he was removed.

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Kiric's picture
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I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just what it is. They're a closed board. They don't tell us why they decide things as a general rule. It's just how they've chosen to work to be able to put on this con for 6k+ people every year. *shrug*

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I have a feeling that Number is going to be Lower this year. . .

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I doubt it.  There are a variety of other factors that were likely to lead to a big upswing in membership this year, even if every single person that attended 2's show boycotted the con, total attendance will be up, just not by as much as otherwise.

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OmegaGreyWolf9's picture
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But it's THAT SILENCE that is causing the current problems, without breaking their silence it seems like the Board isn't acting for the benefit of the con, but instead hiding something from them, which is shady.

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Kiric's picture
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You may be missing the point here... "that silence" is not a new thing. This is how the AC board has always worked. From the beginning. Of course they're hiding their reasoning, that's exactly how a closed board is supposed to work. It has nothing to do with being shady. It's closed. That's literally it.

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I do find it hilarous that the official statment is the sort of non-answers that polaticians give when they wish to avoid a question. Tthe board should realize exactly how frustrating this can be for the large numbers of fans Gryphon has. It isn't that much to ask "why", and there's hardly any reason not to say why. It's not like it's national security.

 

Edit: I am not exactly a fan of closed boards anymore, bleah

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All we've seen is a lot of vauge non-answers.  That's not going to do anything other then sow further mistrust and animosity.

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AsheValisca's picture
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We originally withheld this information as a professional curtesy to 2, but with the ongoing debate, it has become pertant to make public. Programming has reviewed the overall attendance of 2's shows over the past several years. Based on this data we have decided to remove him from the main stage in order to offer more popular programming that requires the more substantial space. Given the continual reduction in attendance over the past several years at his shows I have decided that it would not be an effective use of programming space given other events that are currently planned for the convention. 

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Why, then, the total cancellation instead of a reorganization into shorter shows in smaller rooms? thats a partial answer. It explains only the changes you want to while evading the questions you don't want.

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THIS QUESTION WAS NEVER ANSWERED!!!!

Why, then, the total cancellation instead of a reorganization into shorter shows in smaller rooms? thats a partial answer. It explains only the changes you want to while evading the questions you don't want.

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Chill dude, you barely gave Ashe 34 (corrected) hours at this point with your repeated question. He has a job outside of the con.

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He had plenty of time to say all questions were answered in another thread, I was simply marking the error in hopes of rectifiying it. 

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There's no need to jump on a dude after only 4 hours when he's *volunteering* his time and services. Which is what staff are, volunteers. We don't get payment for helping run the con.

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There's no need to totally cancel a dudes show because attendence has gotten marginally smaller and its a tradition either. which is why I feel the question is valid enough to warrent attention

Edit

I apologize for getting a bit nippy but I feel like lately AnthroCon has been ignoring any questions with teeth, I just feel the question is valid and deserving of an answer.

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I am not part of the board, nor in any way privy to their decisions. Full disclosure, I'm a new staff member this year (and long time volunteer for several years now. With the Video Games staff, which is a part of Programming as a whole.) So, I cannot answer the question.

Ashes is also not part of the board, if you'll notice under his avatar, he only has the staff ribbon. So it's entirely possible that's all the information he has available. I do not know if that's true, obviously, but it's entirely possible. We also, as you have noted, don't have the full story from 2 either. He may have been offered a smaller space, said no, and then gone to twitter with a different story. Will we know if that's even the likely scenario? No, because that wouldn't benefit 2. So after this whole explosion of furor today, do you think the board would want to tell the whole story, would you believe them?

On a personal note, I have no problems with their decision, to be entirely honest. I was a fan of 2 in the past, and feel his routine has gotten stale and stagnated in the early 2000s, back when Foamy the Squirrel was hot and new and hip. And not the rantings of a guy stuck...well, back in his prime. Which is how 2's material comes across to me. I welcome the changes to the programming... even if I honestly don't take part. Because I come to see my friends and hang out in the video game room. Not for Kage's stories, the parade, the masquerade, etc. Friends, good food, and checking out the dealers room are my biggest priorities for the con. But I have friends who are thrilled by having more space for the dance competition, as one particular example.

The video game room is also getting more space this year, since we've continued to gain attendance. Since people love their Smash, and Rock Band.

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THIS QUESTION WAS STILL NEVER ANSWERED!!!!

Why, then, the total cancellation instead of a reorganization into shorter shows in smaller rooms? thats a partial answer. It explains only the changes you want to while evading the questions you don't want.

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Okay, but then why was he also denied a place in the charity show as well?

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Thank you for the update. Looks like another lose-lose situation:

Keep silent and let the rumor mill run wild, or

Provide the actual reason (diminishing interest) which is arguably more painful to a performer than displeasure at his content.

I don't know whether something like the following might've worked better: tell 2 it was because of the diminishing interest and let him decide whether to make that public, and tell the rest of us something like "it wasn't due to his content (assuming that really had no bearing on the decision), but out of professional courtesy we will provide no more details, other than we decided to move in a new direction to maximize the facilities available to us" (the last part of which you're already said).

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Also I highly doubt that that information is accurate, but oh the well, not my con, and I don't have evidence to the contrayry

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How many rooms were unused last year? Surely 2 could have been pushed to a smaller room if attendance was a concern.

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It has been brought to my attention that I made a typo when posting my original post. I apologize for the error in the original statement:

We originally withheld this information as a professional curtesy to 2, but with the ongoing debate,...

This typo was a result of my attempt to provide quick responses to concerns regarding this matter. The statement should have read:

We originally withheld this information as a professional courtesy to 2, but with the ongoing debate,...

Thank you for helping me identify this error. I apologize that it happened in the first place.

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I've seen people spell worse, much worse. I can be a bit of a Grammar Nazi sometimes and it does annoy me when I see things like "my breaks need to be replaced" and others.

 

This omission I probably wouldn't have noticed but it's good that you can admit even the slightest spelling mistakes Smiling

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Too bad we can't edit our posts once others reply to them...

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That could lead to some confusing nests if the posts are rewritten to the point that the responses don't make sense.

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Good point; most people won't think to add "edit" with the changes described...

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SURELY a closed board can break it's silence to give general details as to the reasoning behind their decision, which would quell the rough seas they've caused. Frankly it is shadey for a large change like this to remain silent, regardless of closeness of the board and it's policies.

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I can take that answer, not a pleasent one, but it's better than what many have feared.  Hug appreciate it

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Fine, I accept your anwser. I still how ever question why He isnt part of a Multiperson show on the Charity Show.

I really thought that 2 got bigger audience every year. I guess I was mistaken.

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That comes directly from the first statement. We are revitalizing programming and that includes making changes to the performers at the charity show.

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The way I see it, the board is allowed to make decisions as they need, as they are the ones who run the con. They're the ones in charge of the con, and if they make decisions, it's a majority vote on things they think will make the con better, for one reason or another. Sure, not everyone is gonna be happy with all decisions made, but as it turns out, that's how human nature is. I'll tell you that if anyone knew a way to please every single person on earth, that would be the richest person alive.

There are people who are happy with 2's upcoming absence, as are people who are unhappy. All of this anger over the subject just seemed really out of place for this forum, and to me, that just proved that maybe this change WAS necessary, because of how much everyone started to take this one thing for granted, resulting in an outrage when it changed. It's honestly kind of embarrassing to read some of these comments that I saw.

And everyone rating the comments that disagreed with what they wanted to see as 1 star just further added to the pettiness of the whole situation.

EDIT; And as expected, I got voted down too. Oh dear me, how people react when people don't say what they want to hear.

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Good. I finally have your attention.

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In response to your edit... isn't that the point of the whole voting system? Seriously people act like its not there for that reason and it suprises me more all the time.

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Taking something for granted isn't an acceptable reason to remove it. Does that mean we're going to lose the Parade? I think it's better to plan these things years out so people know in advance and have time to adjust.

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*sighs* Alright, I'll take that answer for now.

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Jaded, angry neutral/good mom-friend dragon

Silverpaw's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-05-15 06:15:50 pm
Posts: 12

Thank you. I feel better finally knowing the real reason. I'm still upset, but I'll accept your reasoning.

3.666665
Average: 3.7 (3 votes)
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OmegaGreyWolf9's picture
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Joined: 2017-03-16 02:11:16 pm
Posts: 61

I still feel like full cancellation was hasty, unwarrented, and not fully explained, but as I am sure that no one will give a straight answer I will accept this for now... begrudgingly. so far as I am concerned the Board of Directors has made a mistake and should be more open with their decision making process, so as to be under the scrutiny of those to whom they provide a service.

2.615385
Average: 2.6 (13 votes)
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