I’m sort of the godfather of one of the oldest, smallest and least-known pseudo-conventions in furrydom, the TSA-Bash. While the TSA-mailing list that gave birth to the Bash is indeed very much a reader/writer related thing, and while being largely a group of avid (and mostly furry) readers and writers we do from time to time talk about writing and fiction at every conceivable level, this really isn’t a writing event per se. Rather, it’s more a three-way cross between a family reunion (featuring what I consider to be some of the best, most thoughtful conversation on the planet as well as frequent pun wars of considerably more dubious provenance), sleepover party, and gaming get-together. While up until now we’ve deliberately not advertised very widely and kept things small and close, this year is special so I’m making a posting here as well.
For those who are as of yet still unaware, there will be a total eclipse of the sun visible across a wide swath of the United States on August 21, 2017. One of the places it’ll be visible is in Middle Tennessee, home of the original TSA Bashes. For this reason, the annual TSA-Bash is therefore going to be held in my former home town of Columbia, TN from August 18-22. So, all FWG members reading this are invited to come and help us put out the sun in a fur-friendly atmosphere.
The TSA Bash was originally held in about 1997 or 1998 as a get-together for all of us strange folks who like to read and write TF fiction online. It’s been held every year since (along with, most years, a similar event centered around the January 1 holiday) all over the USA and once in Canada, with varying degrees of participation. (We’ve had attendees travel from four continents to be there so far.) We spend the time playing games, socializing, and generally smiling a lot, as well as sometimes seeing Really Cool local stuff (like, this year, a total eclipse of the sun). Since we share a server and many other interests with the folks on the Furry-Lit mailing list, we’ve invited them too in recent years. Generally speaking, a good time is had by all.
Some special arrangements are being made this year due to the eclipse. Because we know and like the Richland Inn in Columbia, TN— we’ve held two New Year Bashes in it— and because the prices and such are tolerable there, we’re going to hold the event itself there even though it’s not quite in the zone of totality. The plan is to, on Eclipse Day, get up early (for Bashers) and travel to Demos’s Restaurant in Hendersonville, where the time of totality is near-maximum, for brunch. (A reservation has already been made and accepted.) We plan to leave very early in order to leave nothing whatsoever to chance— the restaurant opens at eleven, and the eclipse will be at roughly 1:15. I hope to have us there waiting when the doors open, just to minimize all risk of traffic trouble, car trouble, etc. Hendersonville is a highly typical suburban community, in this case of Nashville, and I’d estimate about an hour away from the hotel at typical traffic volumes. It should be noted that we’re talking August in the south here— the odds are overwhelming that it’s going to be as hot and humid as can be. It’s also possible (but statistically unlikely) that there may be cloud cover or even rain. That’s possible anywhere; sorry, no refunds.
So far, probably due to the eclipse, attendance looks to be the highest it’s been in ages— folks we haven’t seen in years have been in contact with me and been making inquiries. I would request that if you’re considering coming, please pm me. I intend to begin making a list of names, and from time to time posting it publicly on the TSA and Furry-Lit (unless someone specifically asks me not to include them). The most common question I get is “Who’s coming?” and posting such a list is the easiest and most convenient way to answer it. (I’d also suggest that potential attendees at least temporarily subscribe to at least one of these lists, as attendees often post relevant comments and information there. Keep in mind that we’re very small, not a “real” con at all and don’t want to be, with no staff or web-page specialist or anything like that. So, we make use of the mailing lists we already have for important communications. Besides, both mailing lists are chock-full of furry-fiction goodness anyway. Please, humor us in this.) In the past we’ve found this list of attendees to be extremely useful for coordinating room-shares, carpooling, and airport ride-shares— indeed, for this reason I’m hereby officially asking permission to post planned arrival and departure information alongside the names when and where possible.
I currently plan to arrive Thursday and leave Wednesday. Your mileage will of course vary. If there’s sufficient interest, I’ll add another day on the conference room so that we can maybe keep it until Wednesday if we choose. If there’s a lot of interest, I’ll officially extend the Bash through Wednesday.
For those of you who’ve never Bashed, it’s not anything like a modern furcon-- more a throwback to the fandom’s earliest meetups. While alcohol is permitted, it’s to be consumed only in moderation. (So far this has never been a problem, and we’ve never yet in almost two decades needed to give a Basher the boot. But don’t doubt for a moment that we can and will, to maintain order. This year, we’ll for the first time ever have small children in attendance.) You should consider bringing games in addition to your traveling gear, and make arrangements to feed yourself for the duration of the event. (We eat out a lot, but there tend to be frequent grocery runs, etc, if you want to save money and put together meals in your room or something.) We generally get together and buy snacks and fill coolers with soda, but it should be noted that this is an act of charity by those who make these purchases, and Bashers who are financially able are expected to give as well as take. It should also be noted that rides to and from the airport or bus station are also acts of charity and friendship— they should be prearranged as far ahead as is reasonably possible, and also lumped together with other pickups/dropoffs as much as possible. This is going to be a large Bash with much demand for shuttle work— blessed, blessed, blessed be the Basher who volunteers to pick up and drop off his fellows! Also— There will be no formal Bash fees assessed. But the conference room will cost me something like $100 a day— I forget the exact figure. And I’ll gladly accept donations towards this cost. If you want to know about how much to give, look around the room, see how many attendees there are who are potential donors, and keep in mind that the bill is going to be $400-$500.
Once we get about 40-50 folks I’m going to have to close the invitation; our conference room is only just so big.
So, if you’re interested PM me!
Fun Bash Facts…
The nearest (and only practical) commercial airport is Nashville International, BNA. The airport is roughly a 45 minute drive from the Bash hotel, so whenever possible trips to and from will likely be combined. Some people may be asked to wait at the airport until others arrive so as to save trips back and forth. Also, it’s polite to append an airline name and flight number to a pick-up request, not just an estimated arrival time. It’s also polite to provide a working phone number, etc in case plans are scrambled. This happens all too often.
The nearest Amtrak stop is roughly 150-180 miles away. Travel by train is therefore probably a non-starter.
The nearest Greyhound stop is in Nashville, about 50-55 minutes away from the Bash hotel. Again, people may be asked to wait there in order to allow several Bashers to be picked up at once.
The Bash Hotel is the Richland Inn, at http://www.richlandinncolumbia.com/
Columbia, TN is a semirural, heavily Christian and most definitely southern town, complete with all the good and all the bad that’s associated with that. Be advised. We’ve never had anything even resembling this sort of trouble yet, but there’s always a first time and the potential is definitely there.
In recent years the Spring Hill area just north of Columbia— many of you will likely drive through it— has experienced explosive growth. Traffic there is often nightmarishly snarled, especially at rush hour, and they are notoriously free in their traffic-ticketing practices.
Hope to see you in Tennessee! And thank you, Chipolte, for allowing me to post here!