Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Statement about the tragedy in Fullerton, CA.

by Patch O'Furr

Please visit this GoFundMe campaign for expenses for surviving kids.

There has been a lot of talk about a tragedy this weekend in Southern California.

I wanted to say something about these ties:

This is very sad for everyone. There might be unusual headlines about it, but the social connection could happen with a group of workers, students or anyone else. Killing is against everything our little fan group is for. Thanks are due to the OC Register for telling the purpose in the bottom line, with a quote from a local member: “People come to us to get away from the negative stuff in life.” 

This is a niche interest, so when something like this happens, it’s personal tragedy to us beyond just a news story to others. Many members have lost friends or have very close ties to those who did.  Please send thoughts to them, and the surviving kids most of all.

I felt a little responsible for saying something, because of the way things started to happen when news started coming out.  At first, it was just a call to locate a Missing Person (a fur) who was soon located.  I tweeted that and got a high amount of views.

When more came out, I looked into it deeply to write a big story.  I talked to people close to it, with personal knowledge that nobody else had.  Some info came out that was directed to the police.  Then I saw people local to the story asking for space.  They asked for it to be kept as their story, given time to process, and handled by professionals and cops.  That was when I decided this is beyond fan level.  I removed all my tweets and passed on their message.

I think it really is the worst thing that ever happened with ties to this community. It’s not that unusual compared to other crimes that happen in cities, but I think it’s disproportionately big to a niche group.  It might have to do with 2016’s explosion of interest and positive activity as well – things are just growing.

That wasn’t quite the end of it. The OC Register reporter had a lot of conversation with me due to my initial notice.  They were puzzled about what furries are and what they do. Of course they already knew this was part of the story – that wouldn’t be overlooked.  It made a dilemma – I thought that if tabloids were going to exploit this, maybe a real member should say something to real news.

So I sent the best info I could about the definition of “Furry” and referred the reporter to the same local person who I saw asking for space and respect.  I thought he was already doing a good job of handling it.  So when you see Bandit speaking in the piece, it’s not for attention, it’s because he was asked. Remember that he lost friends, like everyone else close to this story, and that’s the real deal.

There were a few missteps from the OC Register piece (nobody said anything about “sensitive” topics,) but Bandit seems to be getting many thank-you’s for doing a good job from local members.  He mentioned turning down other interviews, and I think that’s a good idea. Say it once and let it go.

I have been checking around to see what comes out. I expect tabloids to try riding this, but most of the few I have seen so far seem pretty negligible, and I hope they get little mileage.  They can say there’s weird stuff with misfit people, but nobody did a crime while participating in one of our activities. In the end it’s just between regular humans.

TL;DR: Was going to write a big report. Stopped to let locals and pros process. I think it’s beyond fan level. It’s awful and sad. There hasn’t been anything this bad in fandom before. Let it process and share good words to anyone who lost friends and family.

Wanted: your most embarrassing Furry Trash for a “Mortified” style article.

by Patch O'Furr

UPDATE: This post was written and scheduled to go out before news of a tragedy this weekend posted above it. Please don’t connect the two stories.

grandpa

Do you know John Waters? He’s “the Pope of Trash” – a movie maker, author, performer and beloved icon of freaks everywhere. In the 1970’s, his no-budget, LSD-infused comedy took John and his cast into Midnight Movie superstardom and beyond.  In 2013, at a stage show, I got him to talk about Furries to the audience. My article about it mentioned giving him an invitation to San Francisco’s legendary Frolic fur dance.

trashThis week, that got attention from another creative force, the organizers of Mortified. They were looking for help to invite John to a project.  They reached out to Dogpatch Press and I was happy to hook them up with info.  I wanted to help (with furry hugs on top) when I saw what they do:

Mortified celebrates stories revealed through the strange and extraordinary things we created as kids.

Witness adults sharing their most embarrassing childhood artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, plays, home movies, art) with others, in order to reveal stories about their lives. Hear grown men and women confront their past with tales of their first kiss, first puff, worst prom, fights with mom, life at bible camp, worst hand job, best mall job, and reasons they deserved to marry Jon Bon Jovi.”

I’ll bet that might strike a chord with some furry fans. Do you have an old Livejournal you cringe about?  RP chat logs?  A horrible Durrsuit? A story about wanting to marry Robin Hood? Would you share some of it, if we promise to be nice about it or keep it anonymous if you ask?

Please send your submission for an article! Email: patch.ofurr@gmail.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

ROAR Volume 7: Legendary – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

51vtrw4caklROAR volume 7, Legendary, edited by Mary E. Lowd.
Dallas, TX, Bad Dog Books, June 2016, trade paperback $19.95 (377 pages), Kindle $9.95.

ROAR volume 7, Bad Dog Books’ annual anthology of non-erotic furry adventure short fiction, is the second edited by Mary E. Lowd following last year’s vol. 6 devoted to Scoundrels. It is slightly smaller – 17 stories rather than 28, and 377 pages rather than 394 – but is still larger than the volumes edited by Buck C. Turner. This year’s theme is Legends/Legendary; the legends that anthro animals listen to and live by – or not.

In “Crouching Tiger, Standing Crane” by Kyla Chapek, three Oriental students – a fox, a crane, and a snake – listen to a tigress fortuneteller as she relates the history of their tiger-crane school of martial arts. “The Manchurian government of the Qing dynasty had become corrupt beyond measure. At the same time the Shaolin style [of Kung Fu] had become popular, gaining great respect and power within the martial arts world.” (p. 14) This is the story of how the betrayed Shaolin monks went underground and continued to teach their style, told with anthro animals: The Bengal tiger, snow leopard, and clouded leopard clans, disguised as traveling performers; their meeting the fragile-appearing cranes; marriage resulting despite official disapproval (“‘The Manchu do not look kindly on cross breed relationships, let along cross clan.’” –p. 20); betrayal and death; and the children, foster brothers Hoong Man Ting (crane) and Wu Ah Phieu (tiger), despite their own families’ anthropomorphic disapproval (“‘A crane couldn’t use tiger style because they lack paws with strong digits and claws; conversely a tiger cannot use crane style because he lacks a beak and the stance would be completely unnatural.’” –pgs. 29-30), leading to the climax showing how the two styles were merged.

“The Frog Who Swallowed the Moon” by Renee Carter Hall, tells how Frog used to have the most beautiful voice in the swamp; until one night when he swallowed a bucketful of water that had the full moon shining in it, and everything went dark. He learns what he must do to replace the moon, but that is why his voice has never been the same.

Hall paints an unforgettable word-picture of the pond in the dark night, except when Frog opens his mouth to talk and blinding moonbeams shoot out. This legend is an ethereal example of poetic writing:

“It didn’t seem to be the pond he’d known as a tadpole. In the stark light of his moonbeam, the pale stones led him across an expanse of water larger than he’d ever seen before. Soon there were no more marsh-reeds or cattails at the edges of his sight. There was only darkness and the moonpath, and when Frog dared to look up, even the stars had disappeared. He didn’t look up again after that, keeping his light and his eyes focused on the stones just ahead.” (p. 53)

Read the rest of this entry »

Fragments of Life’s Heart: Vol. 1 – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

41o2zwqenjl-_sy346_Fragments of Life’s Heart, volume 1, editors: Laura “Munchkin” Lewis [&] Stefano “Mando” Zocchi.
Manvel, TX, Weasel Press, June 2016, trade paperback $19.95 (400 pages), Kindle $4.99.

Fragments of Life’s Heart is a new anthology of anthropomorphic stories of Love. “Join us as we explore the many different forms of love—family love, forbidden love, love that embraces what society always taught was wrong.”

This volume 1 contains “seventeen anthropomorphic stories with all different forms of sexuality and relationships, in a journey across genres, worlds, and time.”

“Tending the Fires” by Jess E. Owen features nomadic desert fennecs. Nara, a successful young bard from the Wadi Ocar, returns home for her sister Sarayya’s wedding after six successful years of traveling and learning in foreign lands. Nara looks forward to rejoining her loving family, but although her father, brothers, and sisters embrace her warmly, she is shocked when Arwa, her mother, greets her formally but coldly as an honored guest, not family. Arwa hasn’t even read the six years’ worth of letters that Nara sent home regularly. Nara must discover what she has done wrong in her mother’s eyes, and how to correct it in the midst of a colorful tribal wedding celebration.

Owen creates a rich North African (though it is another planet) setting:

“Nara sat with her family while Sarayya and her new husband made their vows in the blended light of the dying sun, the rising moon and emerging stars, and distant, blue Ocarus.

Time stilled as Nara watched her little sister’s face, glowing, and linked her heart and her life to a new tent, a new family – Nara’s new brother, a whole new addition. Their family had grown. Nara’s heart seemed to swell and expand and encompass the new foxes her sister had come to love, and now, they were all one. As darkness bloomed over them, Nara mingled with the in-laws, rapidly learning names and gossip.

It was not long before the men produced their tablah drums and a stringed rebab, and they broke into long recitations of songs by desert poets, all memorized and passed down for hundreds of years. […]” (p. 33)

In “Transitions” by Mog Moogle, Geoffrey has a secret. Or Freya does. He/she is transgender. The male otter has felt that he was really female ever since puberty. Geoff’s mother has accepted his decision, but his father has stubbornly insisted that he is 100% his son. So Geoff has gone through middle and high school as Geoffrey. Only his best friend, Douglass, a mole, has known his/her secret and has recognized her as Freya – and become her lover. Now that they have both graduated from high school and Doug is going into the U.S. Army, Geoff is set to leave for the university – and he/she’s decided to openly start her new life as Freya. Her mother is supportive, but confronting her father as a girl –

Will his/her father’s love for his offspring transcend his/her sexual identity?

Read the rest of this entry »

The State of Furry Publishing – Fred Patten gives the inside story of eight groups.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Back in February 2015, Dogpatch Press published a two-part “History of Furry Publishing” by me. (Part 1 and Part 2) Patch has asked me to contact the furry specialty publishers for a follow-up to bring it up to date.

The traditional “Big Three” furry specialty publishers are FurPlanet Productions in Dallas, Rabbit Valley Books in Las Vegas, and Sofawolf Press in St. Paul. They were profiled in the earlier article. Here is their current status.

FurPlanet Productions

furplanetbannerweb

FurPlanet has been doing very well, as evidenced by having 24 new titles at Anthrocon 2016. FurPlanet has had dealer tables during 2016 at Further Confusion in January, Furry Fiesta, Anthrocon, and Rocky Mountain Fur Con, and plans to appear at Mephit FurMeet, Furry Migration, and Midwest FurFest in December. Besides selling books, FurPlanet has established a strong presence and met a lot of great fans, some of whom have been encouraged to become writers in FurPlanet’s anthologies.

FurPlanet prefers to release new titles at the conventions it attends. Further Confusion in San Jose in January and Anthrocon in Pittsburgh in late June or early July are the big release weekends each year, and publications are aimed for those dates. FurPlanet used to have several releases at RainFurrest in Seattle in late September, but with the disappearance of RainFurrest FurPlanet may shift to Midwest FurFest in Chicago in early December. If something becomes ready at a different time, it is released at the first convention it’s ready for.

Some of FurPlanet’s art folios are annuals. Those usually appear at the same convention each year. FurPlanet and its readers can count on two short fiction anthologies edited by Fred Patten at FC and AC, and an annual volume of FANG and ROAR at AC. Other anthologies, single-author collections, comic books, and one-shot art folios appear as they’re ready.

Erotica clearly sells very well. About 70% of FurPlanet’s sales are adult titles versus 30% of “all ages”. Of the 24 new titles at Anthrocon 2016, only 5 were all ages. FurPlanet’s best selling titles are the comics and books with well-written stories featuring adult themes. Rukis’ novels and comics, and the “Cupcake” novella books have been especially popular.

FurPlanet has three tables together at Anthrocon, so it has a much wider display of titles there. At conventions where it has only two or one table, there are about 100 titles, focusing on what is new or still selling well. Titles that are part of ongoing series will stay on the tables much longer.

Convention sales and online catalogue sales are about equal. Sales of FurPlanet’s print books are much greater than of Bad Dog Books’ e-editions. The Bad Dog e-books are not Amazon’s Kindle books. The only difference is that the Kindle books do not have adult illustrations, due to Amazon’s rules on eBooks. The Bad Dog titles are not censored. That is why many of the Bad Dog eBooks do not appear on Amazon.

For conventions relatively near Dallas, FurPlanet drives its stock there and back in its hatchback. For Further Confusion in California and when it was attending RainFurrest in Seattle, FurPlanet shipped its stock there and flew.

FurPlanet regularly displays Rabbit Valley’s and Sofawolf Press’s titles at conventions where those publishers do not have their own tables. There are no arrangements yet with other publishers, but with several new ones appearing, there could be in the future. FurPlanet has stocked a few mainstream books like the American editions of the French Blacksad and Grandville titles, but those are rare exceptions. FurPlanet’s recent carrying of several of Disney’s Zootopia titles has been due to the extreme interest in Zootopia by many furry fans. There are no plans to carry other books related to anthro-animal movies.

FurPlanet Productions is basically a part-time hobbyist mail-order business in Dallas. Everything there is in a large room called the Production Room. FurPlanet’s stock is kept there, orders are packed and shipped from there, and their bookbinding equipment is there. This room is not open to the public, and there are no plans to open a store front.

FurPlanet consists of four people: FuzzWolf and Teiran, the two owners, and their two long-term employees Buck Turner and Zia McCorgi. All four have regular jobs and run FurPlanet in their spare time. All four appear at almost every convention that FurPlanet displays at. They are sometimes joined by their friends Ajax B. Coriander and Andres Cyanni Halden, who have edited anthologies for FurPlanet in the past.

FurPlanet has this to say:

We’d like to thank everyone, our authors, artists, editors, customers, and helpers, especially Buck and Zia, who have made this all possible for the last eight years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Demonic Anthology Seven Deadly Sins – OPEN FOR SUBMISSION

by Pup Matthias

_the_seven_deadly_sins_

Art by Open-Face

Halloween is upon us. The air is getting chillier, the leaves are changing, and our darkest thoughts start to bubble to the surface. While this isn’t a Halloween or even fully a horror anthology, this one offers a look at our own twisted minds to fulfill our most primal needs. And isn’t that what Halloween is all about? Thurston Howl Publications is proud to present its new demonic anthology, Seven Deadly Sins and they are open to your submissions.

The theme should already be clear to anyone with a passing knowledge of religion, but for those wondering what to base their story on…

Seven Deadly Sins has been a literary trope for centuries, popularized by Italian poet Dante. They are as follows: pride, greed, lust, wrath, gluttony, envy, and sloth. This collection will be divided respectively into the seven parts. We want to see anthro-animal characters at their darkest and weakest moments: at the whorehouse, at the chopping block, in the morgue, in the dining room with the candlestick.

Edited by Thurston Howl, the inspiration for the anthology comes from his own experience.

The inspiration for this anthology came from a personal struggle. Recently, I felt a smoldering rage toward a close acquaintance of mine who had a particular habit for causing local trouble. Instead of acting on that anger, I tried to pick apart whether what I was feeling: wrath…or envy…or even just an insult to my pride. Gradually, I thought of a couple of short story ideas for a few of the seven deadly sins, and then it hit me to edit a furry anthology with the theme.

Read the rest of this entry »

NEWSDUMP: Four cons for Pacific Northwest, history and scandal in the fandom – (9/15/16)

by Patch O'Furr

Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.comHere’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  

FOUR cons for the US Pacific Northwest? (Tip – Fuzzwolf.)

apkjwqsxFurvana (2018). Anthro Northwest (November 9-12, 2017). Pacific Northwest Fur Con (Spring 2017). And a rebirth for Rainfurrest (under parent organization RAIN, who actively runs other events year-round.)  All of these are intended for one region.  Amazingly they seem cooperative, with none replacing another.

On Reddit’s r/furry, a con staffer explains more about all the activity.

In late 2015 Dogpatch Press looked at five regions for “One Town, Two Cons: Let’s compare and ask organizers about Furry community growth.” It was about fan support, competition and cooperation, with questions about how to sustain more than one central event. But four is unprecedented ambition.

It could only come with 2016’s amazing Year of Furry.  From Zootopia’s billion-dollar success, to Fursonas (the first movie about furries with mainstream distribution), to the continued explosion of cons, there’s much more to come.

Furry party posters from the 1980’s. 

In the 1980’s, sci-fi cons gathered fans of funny-animal cartoons for room parties. Mark Merlino and Rod O’Riley have the Prancing Skiltaire furry house in So Cal that has posted some of their party flyer collection.  There was drama about the “furries” being weird, because that stuff isn’t for grown-ups is it?  So in 1989 they got their own con, ConFurence.  Look at how they multiplied like bunnies. Now it’s too late to stop them. Just don’t let anyone with a time machine go back and change the flyers to send them to Floor 13.

img007

Read the rest of this entry »

NEWSDUMP: San Francisco Furry Worries – San Diego Chicken Retires (9/14/16)

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com.

In San Francisco, Frolic Furry Dance may lose historic venue… is The Stud saved yet?

Update for “Frolic ‘the original furry nightclub’ to lose historic venue – community responds.”  

lobo-stud3The SF Bay Area is getting so only the wealthiest can afford to live there. It’s one of the worst places for gentrification and rising costs forcing out culture. The pressure has hit The Stud, a historic gay bar and subcultural landmark that welcomes freaks and artists like no other place.

Frolic furry dance was established by their support. It has had wide influence, inspiring other furry dances to start all over the place.  (See the Frolic tag.)

Frolic took years to gain traction.  Now it regularly maxes out capacity and spills out to the street each month. It will be sad if it loses it’s home and has to find a new one.

There may be hope, but it’s complicated. The building is approved for management by a co-op of artists and community members (the first cooperatively managed LGBT club in the country.)

But do they have a business plan that can meet the steeply rising costs of running the place? They have applied for “historic business” status under new local legislation, but will it be enough?  Reports are unclear.

If things don’t come together within a short time, the plans may die.  The building could be knocked down and replaced by soulless condos. NBC News has a video about 3 local LGBT landmarks struggling with this problem, including The Stud.

Frolic founder Neonbunny posted to the Save Our Stud group:

“Furries have always been the outcasts among outcasts. There’s not alot of venues that accept different cultures, new traditions, and just general going against the norms to express yourself in new ways. Drag may have been like this decades ago, but now you have so many options on every night to dress up as a different gender.

But what if you like to dress up as a different species? Not a lot of options… But yet, The Stud has welcomed Frolic with open arms, shown that there can be a home for the outcasts, for those who don’t fit any traditional norms anywhere.

And for this, The Stud will always have a special place in our hearts. You accepted us, and in return we have embraced The Stud in return, you have become our family.”

frolic

Read the rest of this entry »

NEWSDUMP: Stolen Fursuit – Secret Furry Patrons – many media mentions (9/13/16)

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com.

Oreo Wolf’s stolen fursuit makes news in Nevada.

KTNV must have been happy to get 200 retweets. How often does that happen for a video clip about a mere $2600 theft, less than a garden variety car accident? Some things are more important than money. And that’s how the station got to share a little of what the furry community is about. Next time a news anchor thinks about laughing at our misfortune, this could help them to understand.


Fandom is big enough to have a few “Stolen Fursuit Alerts” a year. It’s one thing to retweet, but what works best is for locals to search on the street. That’s how Zarafa’s stolen fursuit was recovered in San Francisco. Here’s hoping for good luck for Oreo wolf.

The Secret Furry Patrons Keeping Indie Artists Afloat.

NYMag gives a thoughtful look at the devotion that makes furry fandom thrive. A community that has benefited others as much as received unfair negativity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Helga: Out of Hedgelands, by Rick Johnson – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

41k8zrifsulHelga: Out of Hedgelands, by Rick Johnson. Map.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, March 2014, trade paperback $14.99 ([ii] 583 pages), Kindle $0.99 free with app.

The five volumes of the Wood Cow Chronicles are really only four volumes, published between March 2014 and September 2015; with a 37-page appendix only on Kindle, Dragons: The Untold Story, published as volume 5 for readers who want to know more about the backstory of the Dragons in the story. The pricing is designed to encourage the sales of the Kindle editions. The four volumes are vol. 1, Helga: Out of Hedgelands, March 2014; vol. 2, The Overending, March 2014; vol. 3, Silversion, February 2015; and vol. 4, Willowers, September 2015.

Helga was published in March 2014, but carries a 2012 copyright notice. It begins in a small fogbound harbor town, where a stagecoach is just leaving:

“Just outside, Livery Rats scrambled to prepare the Drownlands Weekly for departure. Travelers loaded quickly as burly Dock Squirrels tossed bags and trunks into the rooftop baggage rack. As soon as the baggage was loaded, the Weekly rolled away from the station with creaking timbers and rattling brass, its freshly serviced wheels smelling strongly of snake grease.

Bouncing along the bare track leading away from the Drownlands station, the Weekly rumbled through the sparsely settled frontier of the Rounds. Except for the Weekly and a few cargo wagons, the bone-jarring road was little used. A river of mud when it rained and a dust-choked washboard of ruts in the dry season, the many stones in the Cutoff road gave its only predictable surface.

Three of the passengers in the Weekly on this particular spring day were creatures we will hear much about in this account of former days. There was a strongly muscled young Wood Cow with soft, thick hair and a lively face. Dressed after the manner of her clan – long barkweave jacket and leggings, lizardskin boots, forest green linen shirt – Helga dozed fitfully, her head lolling against the jostling headboard. Although exhausted by her long journey, a smile played across her face. The sound of the rumbling wagon assured her that she was, indeed, at long last coming home.” (pgs. 2-3)

I’ve quoted this at length to give you a taste of Johnson’s writing. Depending on your taste, it’s either incredibly padded and takes forever for anything to happen, or it’s incredibly rich in detail, so much so that you almost object to the action that sidetracks you from the abundant descriptions of the anthropomorphic world in which it’s set – Helga’s world.

Read the rest of this entry »