Arlington, VA

A convention of furries — a subculture interested of anthropomorphic animal characters — has taken over the lower levels of the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Richmond Highway) this weekend.

The 8th annual Fur the More convention is happening today through Sunday, March 8. Attendance at the convention starts at $55.

Starting today (Friday), the lower three levels of the building are filled with art, costumes and panel discussions of various fandoms. There are a few dozen full-body character suits called a fursuit that has become the iconic image of the fandom, but most of the couple hundred of attendees at the convention’s opening range from Pokémon kigurumi to subtle tails or cat ears sported by hotel staff.

The theme of the convention this year was science fiction, so several costumes blended anthropomorphic animals with sci-fi convention staples like Firefly and Star Trek.

“I like these smaller cons,” said KiwiNiwi, one of several attendees at the convention who goes by a nom de guerre. “The bigger ones are usually rushed. These are chiller. You can talk to friends.”

Many people descending the escalator waved to friends waiting in the ticket line and greeted each other by the respective character names. KiwiNiwi said several people travel across the country to see friends at these conventions. It was KiwiNiwi’s fourth year at Fur the More, which was previously been held in Tysons and Baltimore.

Starla (real name Ashton Spenner) acted as furry liaison for ARLnow and said the main theme among the furry fandom is acceptance. Starla, who also works at other conventions for fandoms like anime, said the furry community stands out to her for its accommodating and accepting nature.

“There are a lot of people here with social anxiety, but fursonas give people confidence,” Starla said. “It allows people to express themselves.”

The anonymity of a mask can also be a problem at conventions. Signs around the hotel remind people to keep their hands to themselves, as the anonymity has sometimes resulted in overly frisky furries. Starla said there have been a few issues over the years, but they’re the exception rather than the norm to what is typically a G-rated environment.

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First Amazon. Now furries.

The Mid-Atlantic region’s “premier anthropomorphic convention” is moving from Tysons to Crystal City this year. Hundreds of fuzzy, costumed animal characters will touch down in the National Landing area in March for the 8th annual event.

The furry convention, dubbed Fur the More, will be held from March 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Richmond Highway), organizers announced. Tickets range from $55 to hundreds of dollars for a VIP “Raven God” pass.

More from the announcement:

The Mid-Atlantic Anthropomorphic Association’s (M.A.A.A., a 501c3 non-profit) premiere event, Fur The More (FTM), has been this connection point in the Maryland, D.C., and Virginia area since 2013.

The annual event is designed to provide educational programing, fandom specific wares/events, and socialization within the furry community and beyond. We invite a new Guest of Honor from within the community each year along with showcasing artists from all over the world. In efforts to aid what our community loves most, animals, each year we sponsor another 501(c)3 charity and raise money/donations to help animal rescues within the local community. So far our event has raised over $55k in charity donations, in addition to bringing awareness to the charity itself.

Crystal City, with its collection of hotels and easy access to the airport and the District, is a popular destination for conventions ranging from dry, industry conferences to more colorful gatherings like Blerdcon, the Anime USA convention, the Nation’s Tattoo Expo, the CatalystCon East sex convention.

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Blerdcon — a comic convention highlighting black nerd culture — is returning to Crystal City and fans of the ’90s anime Cowboy Bebop may recognize a familiar voice.

The convention is scheduled for the Hyatt Regency (2700 Richmond Highway) from Friday, July 12 through Sunday, July 14.

Guests highlighted at the convention include Estelle, a musician and who has a leading role in the Steven Universe cartoon show, and Beau Billingslea, who voiced Jet Black in the English dub for the seminal anime Cowboy Bebop.

The event celebrates both the creative talents of black nerds, a subculture emerging at the intersection of science-fiction/fantasy fandoms and the black experience in America that has historically struggled with a sense of isolation in both communities.

In addition to a focus on the black nerd cultural experience, the event description highlights the convention’s intersectionality with “LGBTQ, the disabled, POCs and the international community.”

Weekend passes to the convention are $55.

Photo via Blerdcon/Facebook

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Break out the dice; it’s board game convention time at the Arlington Public Library.

Demand for the library’s board game collection has led the library to host Tabletop Gaming Day on Nov. 4 at the Arlington Central Library. The board game extravaganza will run from 1-5 p.m.

All ages and experience levels are welcome to Board Game Day. For those who may be new to certain games, staff and volunteers will be ready to help teach the rules. Those with their own board games are welcome to bring them.

Attendees can also join into a raffle to win board games Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 and Codenames: Disney Family Edition donated by ThinkGeek.

The event is free, without any registration required.

Photo via Arlington Public Library

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A gathering called BroCon is coming to Arlington in October, but it’s probably not what you think it is.

The convention, which is taking place in the D.C. area for the first time, is being held from Oct. 10-12 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. Registration costs as much as $500 per person.

BroCon is not, as one might guess by the name and the Arlington location, a meeting of former fraternity members and fist-pumping enthusiasts. Rather, it is a convention for network security professionals and academics.

Bro is open-source software that has been used to monitor computer networks since the early days of the internet.

The three-day conclave is billed as “the most important community event for users, developers, incident responders, threat hunters and architects who rely on the open-source Bro network security monitor as a critical element in their security stack.”

“This year join your colleagues who rely on Bro for technical talks, demonstrations and discussions about the project, its many applications, and its future,” says the convention’s website. “If you’re interested in the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape and how Bro can help your organization by providing better data about network traffic, then BroCon 2018 is a critical event for you.”

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Blerdcon, an anime, gaming, cosplay, comics and sci-fi convention with a focus on inclusivity, will return to Crystal City next Friday (July 27).

Held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy), organizers anticipate between 3,000 and 4,000 attendees.

Blerdcon aims to celebrate “blerd,” or “black nerd,” culture in an environment that welcomes everyone, including members of the LGBTQ community, individuals with disabilities, people of color and international fans.

Guests include artist and jewelry designer Douriean Fletcher, whose work was featured in Marvel’s Black Panther, actor and writer Kevin Grevioux, known for his work on the Underworld series, and actress and stuntwoman Keisha Tucker, whose credits include Black Panther and Ant-Man and the Wasp.

This year’s event will also include a panel entitled Black Heroes Matter, organized by movement founder and comic book creator URAEUS.

Full weekend passes are available for $50 each, with separate tickets required to participate in certain events. Blerdcon runs from July 27 -29.

Photo via Facebook

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Arlington County is up for an award honoring it as a top meeting and convention location in the southern United States.

Event planners from across the country nominated Arlington and the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service for a 2017 Reader’s Choice Award from ConventionSouth magazine.

The county and its tourism authority are one of 47 nominations in Virginia and D.C., alongside hotels, convention centers, other jurisdictions and tourism authorities. Also nominated from Arlington, but separately from the county as a whole, is The Westin Crystal City hotel (1800 Jefferson Davis Highway).

The publication focuses on places to host events in the south’s 16 states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia & D.C. and West Virginia). The annual Reader’s Choice Award recognizes destinations, tourism authorities, hotels and meeting spaces.

An online vote will determine award winners by state, and is open through Sunday, October 15. Winners will be announced in ConventionSouth’s December issue.

More from an Arlington County press release:

With 44 hotels, more than 11,000 sleeping rooms, and nearly 320,000 square feet of meeting space, Arlington offers meeting and group guests monumental views of the nation’s capital, rich history and thriving neighborhoods like Ballston, Crystal City, Rosslyn, and others. Just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., and conveniently central in the capital region, Arlington has hotel rates averaging 20 percent lower than those at downtown D.C. properties. Its unique combination of national history and local flavor also means unexpected fun for meetings and groups.

Courtesy photo

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Morning Notes

Crystal City Hotel Worker Sexually Assaulted — A female employee of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Crystal City was sexually assaulted Sunday morning, according to police. A 34-year-old man from Bahrain was arrested following the assault. [WJLA, Fox 5]

Arlington Man Beaten to Death in Brooklyn — An Arlington resident was beaten to death by a 69-year-old man in his Brooklyn home, in what’s being described as a case of self-defense during a home invasion. Rodolfo Rosa, 48, of Arlington, Va., died after suffering severe head trauma during the alleged break-in and the struggle that ensued. [New York Post, New York Post]

ACFD to Hold Fire Camp for Girls — Thursday is the first day of Arlington County’s annual all-girls firefighting camp, which “introduces teens to the male-dominated career of firefighting” and encourages them to pursue a career as a firefighter or paramedic. [Washington Post]

Slow Drivers in Passing Lane to Be Fined — Starting this past Saturday, a new law went into effect in Virginia which makes it illegal to misuse the passing lane by driving slowly in the left lane longer than necessary. Those pulled over for it face a $100 fine. [WHSV]

No Flag Waving at Arlington Cemetery — It is technically illegal to wave an American flag at Arlington National Cemetery. That is an unintended side effect of — or, perhaps, collateral damage from — a 2006 federal law meant to crack down on anti-gay protests during military funerals. [Washington Post]

Photos: Costumes of BlerDCon — “The inaugural BlerDCon… brought out thousands of cosplayers of color from across the country” in Crystal City this past weekend. ESPN’s The Undefeated has photos of some of the attendees. [The Undefeated]

Photo via @kcristol

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Photo via Facebook / DC Tattoo ExpoThousands of tattoo enthusiasts are expected to flock to Crystal City for an annual expo next week.

The D.C. Tattoo Expo is scheduled to be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott (1700 Jefferson Davis Highway) next Friday, Jan. 13 to Sunday, Jan. 15. This is the show’s seventh consecutive year running.

The event should attract more than 400 professional tattoo artists, including some of the celebrities from Spike’s “Ink Master” and “Tattoo Nightmares,” organizers said. Attendees can sign up to get new tattoos or just talk shop with the tattooers throughout the three-day festival.

“For our seventh year in a row, we have more vendors, more clothing, more tattoos, more craziness and more fun than ever before,” the expo website reads.

The D.C. Tattoo Expo is also set to include body piercing, tattoo competitions and the annual Miss D.C. Pin-up contest. “The Human Knot” and “Mini KISS” are also scheduled to perform.

Photo via Facebook / D.C. Tattoo Expo

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Morning Notes

A weather station in Fairlington

Arlington No. 1 in Public Transit to D.C. — Among suburban D.C. counties, Arlington has the highest percentage of commuters who travel to the District via public transit. In Arlington, 53 percent of D.C. commuters take public transit, while 36 percent drive alone and 8 percent carpool. Montgomery County was second, with 43 precent of D.C. commuters taking public transit. [WTOP]

Vihstadt Campaign Website Hacked? — County Board member John Vihstadt’s campaign website has apparently been hacked by online porn purveyors and its homepage now displays a profane message. That message is also visible when you search for “John Vihstadt” on Google. Vihstadt was elected to a four year term last November and won’t be up for reelection until 2018. [Twitter – NOT SAFE FOR WORK]

County Ranked Top 50 Event Destination — Arlington County has been ranked No. 36 on a list of the top 50 U.S. localities for meetings and events. The District ranked No. 6 and National Harbor ranked No. 35 on the list, from event software provider Cvent. The ranking “reflects Arlington’s appeal as a vibrant urban destination in the heart of the nation’s capital – one that offers the convenience of downtown D.C. with hotel rates averaging up to 20 percent less,” a county official said. [Arlington County]

Columbia Pike Parking Mishap — A car ran partially over an embankment in a shopping center parking lot at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Dinwiddie Street on Sunday evening. [Twitter]

Pike Photography Book — “Living Diversity: The Columbia Pike Documentary Project,” has been published by the University of Virginia Press. The book “is the extraordinary result of a team of five insightful and highly skilled photographers and interviewers portraying the contemporary life of people and sites along the exceptionally ethnically-diverse and rapidly-changing Columbia Pike corridor.” The hardcover version is selling for $39.95 on Amazon. [Preservation Arlington]

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Morning Notes

Sunny day in Glencarlyn Park (Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick)

Booing at Meeting About I-66 Tolling — VDOT representatives were booed by residents at a meeting about the plan to convert I-66 to high occupancy toll lanes inside the Beltway. VDOT wants to have the tolling in place by 2017. In addition to residents, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is skeptical of the plan, worried that it may discourage travel at Dulles International Airport. [InsideNova, WTOP]

Opera Troupe Leaving Arlington — Forced to find a new home due to the closure of Artisphere in Rosslyn, the opera troupe UrbanArias will perform at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE in D.C. during its 2015-2016 season. [InsideNova]

Barbie Doll Convention Held in Crystal City — More than 1,000 collectors descended on Crystal City for the 2015 National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention last week. The event included auditions for a Barbie-themed Broadway production. [Daily Mail]

Marine Completes Hand-Cycle Journey to Arlington — Double amputee Marine veteran Toran Gaal completed his cross-country ride to Arlington National Cemetery this past weekend. Gaal made the more than 3,000 mile journey, which raised money for other wounded Marines, on a hand-cycle. [NBC Washington, Stars and Stripes]

Call For Entries at Arlington Film Fest — The call for entries is now open for the 2016 Rosebud Film Festival. The final deadline for submissions is Nov. 6. [YouTube, Arlington Independent Media]

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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