2015 ALAA Hall of Fame Inductees

By Fred Patten: The Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association announced the 2015 inductees to the ALAA Hall of Fame at Midwest FurFest 2015 in Chicago on December 4-6. They are —

  • Hayao Miyazaki (person)
  • Walt Kelly (person)

The ALAA Hall of Fame Award was instituted in 2012 to “honor people who were crucial to the formation of furry fandom as what it is today” but it can go to a writer, artist, a favorite character, book, movie, TV series – anything that would make most people say, “Oh, yeah, sure — how could we have overlooked him, or her, or it?”

Hayao Miyazaki has created many fine animated TV series and features, including working on Animal Treasure Island, designing Famous Detective Holmes/Sherlock Hound, and creating the title character of Porco Rosso. Walt Kelly, of course, created Pogo Possum and his whole cast of Okeefenokee Swamp friends and enemies.

In 2012 the first selections to the Hall of Fame were Walt Disney, Bugs Bunny, and Richard Adams’ Watership Down. In 2013 the inductees were Animal Farm by George Orwell, Pride of Chanur by C. J. Cherryh, and the 1973 animated movie Robin Hood from Walt Disney Studios.  In 2014 they were Carl Barks, the novel Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, and Osamu Tezuka.

The ALAA also presents the Ursa Major Awards and compiles an annual Recommended Anthropomorphics List.

Midwest FurFest 2015 had 5,606 attendees and donated $62,020.71 to Save-A-Vet.org, a military and law-enforcement working dog rescue and support organization. The charity auction included a bidding war up to $5,500 for a Blackhawks team-signed charity hockey stick.

Update 12/11/2015: Correction by Fred Patten. Removed Alan Dean Foster from the list of inductees. He was a runner-up.

Authorities Continue To Investigate Gas Release at Midwest Furfest

Little more has been revealed about the chlorine gas release that caused a Hyatt hotel to be evacuated in the early hours of Sunday during Midwest Furfest.

Toby Murono, chair of 2014 Midwest Furfest, says the convention is withholding comment: “Our staff has assisted authorities in their inquiries to our fullest capabilities and we have encouraged our attendees to aid us in this process. At this point in time we are unable to comment further as this matter is a pending investigation by the appropriate law enforcement agencies.”

The internet’s armchair detectives have been theorizing whether the incident was deliberate or could have been an accident. A convention staff member told the Smofs list there is no pool at the Hyatt, eliminating one reason (if not all) for the hotel to keep the chemical in supply.

Murono thanked those who helped with the evacuation: 

…It is noteworthy that during this time of crisis we were aided by many staff members from other furry conventions throughout the world and attendees whom volunteered their services to aid in the evacuation process. Midwest Furfest is tremendously grateful for their assistance and this only illustrates how supportive the furry community is towards helping one another.

People were allowed to return to the Hyatt about three-and-a-half hours after the incident began and the convention returned to “almost normal operations” by Sunday morning.

Fans put a positive spin on it and went back to enjoying the con, according to a member quoted by Redeyechicago

Sean Groomes, an attendee from Eden Prairie, Minn., whose furry alter ego is a tortoise shell calico cat named Further Monigal, said the evacuation made the event one to remember.

“Everyone was really emotional but it didn’t stop us from enjoying our convention,” he said. “As a coping mechanism, we all started laughing about it, saying we had survived the gas convention of 2014.”

CBS has posted a clip of its news coverage shot outside the Hyatt soon after the evacuation.