Telling it like it is


To those who have been interested in attending ZonieCon, I'm afraid I must announce that we are cancelling the event for general lack of interest.

In large part, this is simply because we have done very little, as a convention, to promote ourselves. And that, in large part, is because I personally do not have the resources as one of the millions of long-term unemployed in this country, to pay for significant advertising out of pocket. Frankly, most of what I've been able to spend has been limited to flyers, plus gas money distributing those around the Phoenix Metro area.

Nor have the flyers been moving in any significant numbers. At Further Confusion earlier this year, I brought 500 flyers to distribute across the numerous areas where they were allowed, but despite an attendance of some 2500 furries, less than 100 flyers moved. Many of those were handed out at a dealers' room table by GoH Mitch Beiro and convention staffer Ted Sheppard.

Locally, there has even been active hostility against the idea of having an Arizona furry convention from other Arizona-based furries. In furry-frequented places where our flyers have been provided, they have subsequently been trashed, and artwork has been posted indicating hostility towards myself (in one prominent instance, dismemberment). I have no idea if this is just a few people or many, since no one has actually communicated any problems to me, but since the flyers are all I can personally do, it's effectively hamstrung my efforts at getting word out.

Flyers, however, were not planned to be our big advertising venue. We were supposed to have an active website up by the end of February, and with this I was planning to network banners with other conventions and popular furry websites. I had said that, if we could not find someone to do the job, I would do it myself, but that my HTML skills are stuck in 1995. In response to this, I was told by one of our core convention staff that they had a qualified volunteer for the website, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

As March rolled past without any sign of such a website or even any confirmation of who exactly was supposedly working on it, I began asking for updates on this and other progress issues from certain of our convention staff --- such as contact information for the volunteers our staff had rounded up. Weeks would pass, and then I would get a "I've been busy" notice, no response to my previous progress queries, and then silence again. Phone calls would go to voicemail and I would never get a callback. IMs went ignored.

I have to admit I was concerned from the outset this might happen: I'm unemployed and in Phoenix, whereas the rest of the convention staff are in Tucson. I do not have the money for gas, or even a Greyhound ticket, just for purposes of finding out what I should be able to learn from a two-paragraph IM or email. And in the past, communications with the same convention staff have been difficult even when I lived in the Tucson area because all of them are used to face-to-face meetings and otherwise easily distracted by the needs of day-to-day life.

Because we have no website and have not moved any significant number of fliers, we currently have exactly two pre-registrations (money orders which will be refunded within the week), and NO hotel room block reservations. Unless things were to dramatically turn around in the next month or so, this convention was nothing but a nose-dive into many of the same problems ZonieCon has always had in the past. And I saw no such indication in the offing.

I therefore contacted our beneficiary, Eric Bitton, to let him know how things stood, and recommended we pull the plug. After mulling the possible options over, Eric agreed. There is simply no reason to rent a hotel at the cost of thousands of dollars for a convention that could just as easily be held at a Denny's.

Given that all of this happened because I once said I would run ZonieCon again given the time and money, I am now retracting that statement. I do not see a future for an Arizona convention which does not have a stronger and more active commitment towards building attendance, or which has a chairman, like myself, unable to provide for its needs.

I would like, nonetheless, to thank everyone who has invested what time and effort they were able. But ZonieCon is simply not to be.

ZonieCon Planned Events

As we hit the six-month-out countdown to Z-Day, here's what we have planned for major events right now:

The Machinegun Shoot (possibly the raison d'etre for the convention to be honest!)
- an offsite shooting range has been secured for your gunnery pleasure. Our experienced ZonieCon staff will be ensuring safe and responsible weapons-handling and also a variety of amusing targets for you to blast away at. Feel free to bring your own firearms, targets for the range, and definitely hearing protection. Some ZonieCon staffers MAY decide to provide some firearms for "loaner shooting", but don't come out with the expectation that this is a given or that ammo allowances for same are unlimited.

1-2-3-4, I Declare NERF WAR!
- the Copper Ballroom becomes a Nerf free-for-all...have at it! Some loaners may be available, but it's always best to bring out your own as well.

Wolf Smith's Ice Cream Anti-Social
- enjoy free ice cream and toppings (also possibly ice cream cake) with one of the fandom's most entertaining bastards. Abuse included at no extra charge!

The Meat Meet
- free burgers and chicken for all ZonieCon attendees!

Steve Addlesee's Chili Massacre and Ponytail Raffle
- one of our three Guests of Honor puts on his chili-wranglin' skills for you! Buy a raffle ticket for a chance to be the one who cuts off his legendary ponytail!

Art Spelunking
- furries take over a storm drain with brushes, paint and lanterns!

Dance, Furry, Dance
- every furry convention has a dance event these days...even us!

Combined Tour of the Pima Air Museum and Davis/Monathan Aircraft Boneyard
- if we get enough interest for this, we'll be hiring transportation to do this amazing tour of historical aviation relics!

And of course, we'll also be having the usual Dealers' Den, Video Room, Art Show, and ConSuite, as well as panels on a variety of subjects such as Inking Workshops and writing for humor! Between our free ConSuite snacks, Meat Meet, Chili Massacre and Ice Cream Anti-Social, you're only gonna go hungry if you don't eat!
ZonieCon 2001
  • zrath

Zoniecon Returns After 10-Year Hiatus

It's true!
The Rootin'est Tootin'est Shootin'est Furry Convention North, South, East & West o' th' Pecos is back!
We're back in Tucson, Arizona, from September 30th to October 2nd 2011.
Con membership for all 3 days is $30 prepay, and $35 at the door.
Single-day passes are available for $15 each.
Dealer's tables are $50 each and include one 3-day con membership.
We accept payments through PayPal at

This year's theme is Camaraderie and in that spirit, we have three guests of honor.
Three amigos if you will:
* inker extraordinaire and Maytag Repairman of Fandom - Steve "Mr. A" Addlesee
* legendary tall person and ribald cartoonist from Iceland - Kjartan "Karno" Arnorsson
* legendary snorer and husband of Minerva Mink - Mitch "Bojo" Beiro

We have a fantastic new hotel, the Hotel Tucson City Center, with excellent room rates and lots of perks:
Hotel Tucson City Center
475 N. Granada Ave.
Tucson, Arizona, 85701

Room Accommodations:
* $69 - Studio King or Studio Double Queen
* $89 - Two-Room Suite
* $99 - Presidential Jacuzzi Suite (based on availability)
* Room rates do not include room tax, currently at 13.05%, or $2.00 city tax

Complimentary Perks (Free Stuff!):
* Healthy Hot Breakfast Buffet
* Daily Social Hour (includes two free alcoholic drinks, i.e., beer and such),
* Free bottle of water
* Free Internet and WiFi
* Free Airport Shuttle
* Free 1-800 and Local Calls.

Origin of ZonieCon

Way back in the early '90s, Furry Fandom was just starting to pick up steam. There was one big convention each year in California, known as ConFurence, and for some years the fandom was small enough (and mostly centralized on the American West Coast) that the one convention was enough.

But the fandom grew, spreading across the country and even the globe with the speed and ease afforded by the Internet. Many ConFurence attendees began to develop issues with how the event was being run and promoted, while for others the travel distance to California was prohibitive. There was a rising call for alternative venues.

And so ZonieCon was essentially founded on a dare.

ConFurence Eight (January '97) was held at Knott's Berry Farm, and was witness to extremely poor behavior on the part of a number of attendees --- many of whom identified themselves as non-furries looking for the uninhibited sex they'd heard our fandom was notorious for. Similar occurrences had happened at previous events, with many resulting complaints by furries in attendance, but these were generally brushed off by the convention's organizers. In part, the fault lay with the organizers themselves, who had been caught promoting the event specifically and repeatedly as an "alternative lifestyle convention" and the fandom itself on basis of "sexual awareness". That this sort of thing continued, even at the Knott's Berry Farm Hotel, was for many the last straw.

Many of CF8's attendees grumbled their post-convention complaints over one of the Farm Restaurant's famous chicken dinners.

This debate was nothing new: Trish Ny had already launched "Furtasticon" and then "ConFurence East" in the mid-'90s, in part due to these very sorts of issues. But efforts to continue CFE were already collapsing by '97. Who could, or would, take its place?

It was in the middle of all this talk that Matt "Milikardo Knights" Henry looked at me and said that if no one else was going to do it, fans like us were going to have to. Merely continuing to complain about the problem would achieve nothing...the dare was out in the open, and I took it. Like an idiot.

I looked back at him, wiped my mouth, slapped my napkin on the table, and said, "Okay. If no one else is going to do it, I will."

Fortunately, a lot of better-prepared people had the same idea. Outfits like Anthrocon and Mephit Furmeet really got the ball rolling with their own events kicking off before '97 was out. I'd also be doing a disservice if I didn't mention Eurofurence, which had been serving EuroFurs unable to get to ConFurence since '95.

Meanwhile, I got together with the "Tucson Mob", Arizona's core of original furry fans, to plan and organize a convention targeted for May '98.

This was where Mike-Scot McMurry came in. He was one of the better-respected folks in the fandom at the time, and well-known as the creator of "Zonie Coyote" ( has a decent archive of various of Mike's published Zonie strips). He had a great sense of humor, was very sociable, and as a result tended to host informal "ZonieCons" where a bunch of us would get together and just sketch and drink and shoot the breeze. We simply took the idea and decided to make an actual convention out of it, with Mike's permission for use of Zonie as our mascot.

And that's how this whole mess started, officer.

ZonieCon Hotel Information!

Hi there! I'm Scott Malcomson, Chairman for ZonieCon 2011.

Here's the details on our venue, the Hotel Tucson, with room prices, reservation info, and guest amenities. Having seen the rooms firsthand already, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you'll be getting for your money!

EVENT SUMMARY (ZonieCon 9/30/11 – 10/02/11)

475 N. Granada Ave.
Tucson, Arizona 85701

Room Accommodations:
* $69 - Studio King or Studio Double Queen
* $89 - Two-Room Suite
* $99 - Presidential Jacuzzi Suite (based on availability)
* Room rates do not include room tax, currently at 13.05%, or $2.00 city tax
* Standard check-in time is 3:00 pm and Standard checkout time is 12:00 noon.

* EXTRA PERSONS, CRIBS: There is no charge for children 12 years of age or younger, providing they share the same room with their parent(s) with existing bedding. There is an additional charge per person for more than double occupancy in a room. Cribs are provided at no extra charge (NOTE: This appears to be at variance with what I was told on-site --- that there was no specific limit on occupancy, or extra charges --- but then again, the room rates quoted at that time were $20/nite higher, too, and $69/nite is pretty damn cheap as it is).

Complimentary (Free Stuff!):
Rates include Healthy Hot Breakfast Buffet, Daily Social Hour (includes two free alcoholic drinks, i.e., beer and such), free bottle of water, free Internet and WiFi, free Airport Shuttle, and free 1-800 and Local Calls.

NOTE: As Hotel Tucson has two shuttle buses, periods of high demand may result in a wait time for pick-up or drop-off of up to two hours. Guests are advised to plan ahead for this possibility.

Booking Reservations
Guests must guarantee with their own credit card, or advance deposit of 1st nights room & tax, by August 30, 2011, and are responsible for room, tax and incidental charges.

Cancellation Policy
72-hour cancellation of individual room reservation prior to arrival date is without penalty. Cancellation within 72-hours is subject to one night charge.

* Copper Ballroom with Stage (Auction, Fursuit Events, Dances, etc)
* Buckley Room (Art Show++)
* The Mission & Pershing Hospitality Suites (ConSuite/Dealers' Room++)

++: Buckley/Pershing arrangements subject to change based on turnout needs)