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Hail To The Fallen

That would be two different fallen; the first would be Michael Payne of which more was said in the Breaking News Bulletin earlier today. The second would be the latest round of cancellations, of which there are two to mention at the moment:

  • You may have noticed that Matt Inman and his compatriots in the Exploding Kittens empire have been planning a boardgame convention in Portland, known as Burning Cat, for the weekend of 16-17 May. Lots of Inmanian weirdness planned — enormous cards to play EK with, a giant vending machine shaped like a fuzzy cat, a two-story tall firebreathing cat monster — and guests including Bill Amend and Sarah Andersen.

    Yeah, PDX, which is kind of right next to one or two of the (as of this writing, based on latest information) worst-hit hotspots of COVID-19&sup2. I didn’t see any estimates of attendance, but any large gathering that involves widespread travel at this point is probably a bad idea; this afternoon, Inman, et al, called it off and the first ever/second annual Burning Cat will be next year. Kudos to them to making it all simple — everybody is fully refunded, this year’s ticket holders will be contacted for early bird purchase next year, pretty much the same deal with exhibitors. That’s how you do it.

  • Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin dropped an update via comment after hours on Friday:

    Not sure that is worth a full correspondent dispatch, but as a complement I can report that Paris Manga, which was to take place this weekend, has simply been cancelled, among many other events in March. Indeed, I don’t know how the authorities are managing the situation on your side of the Atlantic, but on this side the French government has prohibited all events totaling more than 5000 people in a closed space. Application was swift, too: the decision was taken Saturday, February 29th, and as early as Sunday some events had to adapt (e.g. Japan Tours Festival only accepted attendees who had bought their tickets in advance, in order to ensure they would remain under the gauge), or in some cases simply not reopen on Sunday. It goes without saying many creators here are financially affected as well.

    The answer to how authorities are handling the novel coronavirus is, bluntly, not well. Cancellations are left to local discretion and I’ve not seen anything resembling a guidance as to permissible crowd size². Things are happening at the last minute, as a general rule. For example, my wife is in the final semester of her return to university and due to graduate in May; today we got a postcard talking about the time and location of the commencement ceremony, and I imagine literally nobody has any idea if it will actually happen.

  • Also unknown: MoCCA Fest, 4-5 April at Metropolitan West in Manhattan. While the bulk of confirmed cases in New York have been in Westchester County and associated with a single individual, and Manhattan is (as of this writing, etc) sporting approximately 1 confirmed case per half million residents, you never know what could happen in the four weeks. Until we at Fleen hear that it’s nixed, we’re going to report on planned goings-on, including guests and exhibitors, in the coming weeks.

    Just one caveat — last year’s exhibitor list was severely underpopulated, as it turned out the exhibitors had to supply info directly and many apparently didn’t know. If you’ve got a table, be sure supply your info so we can find you.

  • Helping to mitigate even in the face of events getting called off: C Spike Trotman has declared a virtual event will take place with everybody at home, where you can touch your own face (wash your hands first) or shake hands with your roomies (wash your hands first) to your heart’s content. PajamaCon:³

    We’re planning three days of livestreams on the Pajama Con Twitch channel March 13th–15th, 12pm–6pm CST. The livestreams will be like a talk show or live podcast where we feature creators who also had to cancel their ECCC appearances. Joining us so far will be Steve Leiber, Chris Roberson, Lin Visel, Genue Revuelta, C Spike Trotman, Kate Leth, and we’d love to invite more. We’ll also be promoting on the Iron Circus Twitter account using the #pajamacon2020 hashtag, and will update this page with more information as our plans come together.

    We plan to announce a schedule by Wednesday, March 11th, so that is the due-date to apply!

    So, get on that. And, as Spike points out, there are other convention-alternatives, including #VVSN Very Very Shopping Network and Oni Press #ECCC2020 Pop Up Store, plus I’ve seen a guerrilla PDX comics get-together distributed event planned for this weekend, with creators taking four-hour blocks at retailers around town. No fees for exhibitors or attendees to PDX Pop Up Con, but get your application in by end of day tomorrow for possible inclusion on 14-15 March.

  • Finally, if you’re a friend of Freddave Kellett-Schroeder, you should be checking your email. Just sayin’.

Spam of the day:

I don’t want to scare you….
But I do want to wake you up to the fact that corona could be the most dangerous epidemic this country has seen since it started.

Fuck on off out of here with that shit. You don’t care about a godsdamned thing except separating fearful people from their money. Also, you apparently have never heard of smallpox, you fucking parasitoid.

¹ Namely, Seattle and San Francisco. Of course, it’s likely that everywhere has far more cases that have been reported due to the slow rollout and insufficient numbers of tests.

At this point we’re probably better off skipping testing for anybody that’s not symptomatic except for healthcare workers (don’t want to spread it, but don’t want to require self-quarantine and removal from duty on the basis of a casual contact that didn’t take) and so we may never know the true extent.

I’ll tell you this, though — it’s at least two orders of magnitude of diagnosable cases than the approximately 600 that have been test-confirmed in the country so far.

² And as an EMT, I’m getting guidances from both the CDC and the New Jersey state Department of Health, in addition to that of the local hospitals we deal with.

³ Originally announced as ComfyCon, but it was pointed out that’s not a generic term, but rather a specific name used by Danielle Corsetto and her convention wife Randy Milholland for their con-from-home, and has been since 2014. Spike immediately and graciously apologized for the “con” fusion and rebranded.

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