“New concept for furry events” brings enthusiastic response in San Francisco.
by Patch O'Furr
Just your average San Francisco art gallery opening! pic.twitter.com/dhuUmbi2Qr— Further Confusion (@furcon) November 8, 2014
Last week, San Francisco had a series of back to back events: a street fursuiting “crawl”, a furry photo gallery opening, a fetish party, (a private special interest thing not representing others), and Frolic dance party. The series drew more furries than my butt attracts fleas.
It was first-time fursuiting for Sketchywolf. He attended all of the events, and posted about it:
I’ve never seen so much love for furries from random strangers! So many photos! So many smiling faces! … Fursuiting turned out to be even more fun than I imagined it to be! I love the reaction of others when they see a suit. Walking over to Frolic suited, and back to the hotel and the end of the night, I was stopped by people wanting to take pictures! I danced, I partied, I hugged EVERYBODY. Oh! I had SO MUCH fun!
Before the events, I posted: “Independent shows and festivals offer new concept for furry events”. Each was organized separately, but with loose ties. They used special venues and locations to add character beyond the “sterile/consumer” vibe of a hotel (like one comment said). I called it a model for growing beyond cons, and proposed a new, free-range fair or festival concept. Judging by the enthusiastic response, the idea was more than hype. It’s a sign of a burgeoning subculture. Let’s look at how things went.
The Embarcadero Fursuit Crawl
Zantal reports about it – in Renegade Fursuiting, A Retrospective:
This was a coordinated event, a “fursuit crawl” where we walked through the heart of downtown SF on a Friday night, right at one of the city’s busiest social times, to visit an art gallery that was debuting an exhibition of fursuit photographs.
Zantal loves public fursuiting: “Almost all of my most enjoyable memories of fursuting come from that context.” (It to his appearance in the album from his favorite band, Dandy Warhols.) He describes “the best single moment / comment of the whole night”:
Various people said things like “Great suit” and “man, you are really rocking it!” and “I want to go where he’s going!” as I walked past, but there was this one guy, who followed that up with “Man…I love the city.”
That reaction just elates me. Those of you who know me well will know I’m really deeply in love with SF and its culture. That I could be that element of harmless, fun, happy weirdness, that thing that represents the heart of what makes the city such a stimulating and crazy and fantastic environment to be in…that just absolutely means the world to me. As they say in Portland and Austin, we have to keep SF weird!
Ron Lussier and Bobby Pin’s “Furries and Despair” photo gallery show
Dozens of non-furs came to the show of fursuiter portraits. When the crawl arrived and fursuiters crowded in, imagine their amazement. You don’t often get a live attraction to energize the vibe of ordinary gallery shows like that. Such a successful opening isn’t easy to pull off. Bobby Pin reports: “At one point we maxed out the gallery space and we had to hold people downstairs until folks were ready to leave. Wow!”
Photos tell it better than words. (I’ll post a new story soon about new events it spun off.)
Wild Things fetish party
This party isn’t representing furries, but a special section of individuals expressing themselves in an accepting private space. They’re careful to respect boundaries, as the Meetup event page comments say. It makes interesting comparison to drama about “clean” events. (Who causes that? Not these members:)
The first time party was a better than expected success. Attendance was around 70 and expected to grow. It was invited back by The Citadel club to continue every three months.
The organizers did a lot to bring friends. Many people hesitated to go, out of shyness and being afraid to do anything, but they went anyways because of personal encouragement. People who seemed pre-decided about having a bad time didn’t.
Coinciding at the same time as unconnected, outside activities helped it work. Future organizing will plan like that to encourage opportunity to attend. Their next party is in 3 months (February).
Frolic also drew a usual crowd of hundreds for a successful night. The most established event here, it’s already known as a monthly “mini-con.”
Imagine this kind of lineup as a regular coordinated thing:
- A social meet out and about in public.
- An art happening.
- A sexy party for special interests that happens nowhere else in the world.
- A dance and music party.
The series can use many venues and locations for their own strengths, instead of a standard hotel. It can be timed over a few days to attract visitors to invest their weekend. Call it a festival, and give it a name. I’d love to see that develop as a new concept for furry events. The response to this weekend suggests high potential for success of such a plan.