Howling Great Time at HOWL CON 2012

Author’s note: This post was revived from the archives. It originally published on October 15, 2012.

As I said back in September, I am going to HOWL CON, a werewolf-themed convention happening at the Monarch Hotel & Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. The location is convenient for me since it is four miles from my home in Milwaukie.

I show up on Friday night for the meet-and-greet. I purchase my weekend pass for admission for all three days. The turnout at the meet-and-greet looks a bit a on the bit light side. The experience meeting new people with similar interests and lollygag all evening, however, makes the evening worthwhile.

Saturday is the first full day of HOWL CON. Guest speakers, panels, games, workshops, and dancing fill the schedule. Two events, one at Main Stage and one at The Den, typically happen within the one-hour block. This means one needs to decode on which event to participate. The missed events will have to wait for next year.

I join Jess Hartley for the “Short and Sweet (or Scary!)” discussion on writing flash fiction, microfiction, and other short works. I am learning something new here: people Tweet their fictional stories in 140 characters or less. I will stick with a website (and save myself from any further un-follows on Twitter), and prevent unwanted emergency calls if one thinks the fiction is reality.

Special guest Silas Weir Mitchell entertains the audience with his discussion during a Q&A session with host Jess Hartley.  Mitchell plays the wolf-like creature called a blutbad in the Portland filmed-and-set television series Grimm. Mitchell explains that a blutbad is not a werewolf, but a blutbad.  During the discussion about a bookstore experience, he raises a large book titled “The Werewolf Book” above his head. Mitchell sticks  around after the discussion to sign autographs on a Grimm poster before moving on to the next discussion “Lycanthropes and Lawyers?” with Rev. Dr. Phillip A. Bernhardt-House.

By then it is 1:30 p.m. and my stomach growls for food.  I walk over to Red Robins next door for a burger to satisfy my hunger.

I return to the convention to join the “Werewolves in the Movies: Silent through the Seventies” discussion with author Nic Brown. I take notes here because there are some classic gems I must check out, such as “Wolfblood” and “Le Loup Garou.”

Not everything at HOWL CON is based on fantasy, mythology, or fiction. Wolf Haven International representative Skie Bender presents a report on the wolf conservation and recovery progress throughout the U.S. when wolves nearly became extinct.  I felt this is one of the most important presentations at the event, because wolves are completely helpless and voiceless when it encountering man. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife killed off the Wedge Pack using a sniper in a helicopter. I find that humans are the most barbaric predatory animals on Earth.

I join Nic’s discussion “Werewolf Movies: 1981 through last Tuesday” (last Tuesday being Oct.9, 2012, the release of Werewolf: The Beast Among Us) in progress near the conclusion.

Steve Coker presents a trailer for Varsity Cheerleader Werewolves From Outer Space, an independent movie similar to what Stripperland does for zombies in the Portland-area. I see the school’s exterior and the interior and it looks familiar because it is filmed at my old high school in Vancouver, Washington. Cheesy campy movies are so much fun to watch.

“Writing the Modern Werewolf” panel features J. Anne Fullerton, Rhiannon Held, Nic Brown, Jason Andrew, and Satryos Phil Brucato. It is intriguing to hear about the different uses for werewolf characters in stories.

The convention’s small size and attendance gives it a relaxed and informal feel. This also gives it greater opportunity in engagement during panels and discussions. Meeting new people, carrying on a good conversation, and leaving with new information and ideas makes HOWL CON a success. HOWL CON needs to return for 2013!

I give my special thanks to all the panelists, vendors, guest speakers, and most of all to Stephen Couchman for making HOWL CON possible!

On one note: On Saturday night, a personal matter came up and I had to leave town on Sunday, therefore, missing the evening events Saturday and all events on Sunday. I am looking forward to attending again next year.