Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: March, 2015

Community > Commodity, and the value of WTF. Part 3 about the FurAffinity sale to IMVU.

by Patch O'Furr

A series of three articles:

 

  1. About the FurAffinity sale, and the issue of trade-offs.
  2. IMVU does a Q&A with me.
  3. Community > Commodity, and the Value of WTF.  Long live furries.

The conclusion brings it all back to commercialization.  I’ve reported this for a while:  Measuring the Furry Economy. – Mainstream advertising: “More and more, Furries are being hinted at in marketing media!” – And the recent $11,575 record fursuit sale and $17,500 top price. Also try: Furry, not an obscure little fandom any more.  I often say that the thriving growth of this subculture is built on WTF weirdness that can’t be digested by the mainstream.  Will that stay true?

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3) Community > Commodity, and the value of WTF.

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You could write a whole book about a subculture’s place in the larger culture.  (There’s a “Furry coffee table book” waiting to be written.) Here’s a very loose topic about it, with a point:

Commercialization makes some furries fear losing what they love.  But the normals-scaring, freedom-raising, limit-pushing, WTF part of it may save the rest.  The more fringe it is – the more it holds Furry back from acceptance, but keeps it strongly independent. More notice could be a win-win.

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IMVU does a Q&A with me. Part 2 about the sale of FurAffinity.

by Patch O'Furr

A series of three articles:

 

  1. About the FurAffinity sale, and the issue of trade-offs.
  2. IMVU does a Q&A with me.
  3. Community > Commodity, and the Value of WTF.  Long live furries.

The conclusion brings it all back to commercialization.  I’ve reported this for a while:  Measuring the Furry Economy. – Mainstream advertising: “More and more, Furries are being hinted at in marketing media!” – And the recent $11,575 record fursuit sale and $17,500 top price. Also try: Furry, not an obscure little fandom any more.  I often say that the thriving growth of this subculture is built on WTF weirdness that can’t be digested by the mainstream.  Will that stay true?

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2) Speaking with IMVU.

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FurAffinity just posted a Q&A with IMVU’s CEO Brett Durrett.  A furry responded: Ashamed for the fandom; an apology to CEO Brett Durrett. 

While seeking graphics, I just noticed they tweeted me from Fur Con in January!  (Not endorsement, just spreading furriness.) Yay! Can you spot me among the eye-blasting pink, sparkles and rainbows? I was in camo.

My Q&A started:

This is for both IMVU and Dragoneer (Mr. Piche). I assume that some details may be kept private. I’ll build a news article from the answers, aiming for positive information not gossip. I’m curious to know:  1) The story of how IMVU and FurAffinity came together.  2) Terms of ownership now.  3) The future and your roles in leading users.

They responded to my long list:

Attached is the interview completed by Sean Piche, Fur Affinity Community Leader, IMVU; Kevin Henshaw, SVP Business Development, IMVU; and Varsha Pande, Director, Community Experience and User Safety.  You’ll note a few of your questions were left unanswered as a matter of company disclosure policy.  Thanks for the opportunity to talk about the Fur Affinity acquisition.

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Fur Dance news – musicians and authors discover furries. Newsdump (3/29/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips are always welcome. 

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Fandom News

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San Francisco and “Furclub” activity.

Organizers let me have an inside view of the second Wild Things party coming up in April in San Francisco.  November’s first event caused high traffic here and was a great success. Look for an update soon.

There was talk about Frolic dance party attracting furries for 5+ hour driving from Southern California. They have the long running Prancing Skiltaire house party, but they say they don’t have anything like Frolic.  Carloads have been coming more and more often.  They’re considering getting a bus.  Every month, 300+ attendees have been packing the dance to capacity.  The “furclub” movement is growing all over the place.  Organizer Neonbunny is open to lend the name to anyone who wants to use it.  In Europe, Cologne Fur Dance is said to draw 5-600 goers for two dances a year since 2008.

download (1)Author of “Funnybooks” learns what Furry Fandom is.

Fred Patten’s review got back to the author:

And for a review of Funnybooks written from a different perspective, that of “furry fandom,” let me refer to you Fred Patten’s review at this link. What is “furry fandom,” you may ask? I’m really not quite sure how to describe it, even though the phenomenon has attracted growing media coverage. Best you visit Fred’s “Dogpatch Press” site and explore “furry fandom” for yourself. Fred says of Funnybooks that it’s “the story of the comic-book publisher whose works did more than any others’ to inspire furry fandom,” and that should give you a clue as to what “furry fandom” is all about.

Remember Shawn Keller’s Horrifying Look at the Furries?

It’s been a long time, but he’s making new animation. Gorgeous!  Check his history to see a cartoon series he started 7 months earlier.

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Blue Horizon: The Captain’s Journal, Book 1, by Ted R. Blasingame – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Blue Horizon: The Captain’s Journal, Book 1, by Ted R. Blasingame. Revised edition.
Raleigh, NC, Lulu.com, April 2014 trade paperback $18.99 (391 pages).

My clearest memory of mail-ordering the one-volume compendium of all Blue Horizon storiproduct_thumbnailes back in 2003 is receiving a massive “telephone book” tome that was almost too large and heavy to lift. And it was in small type, too! Now Ted Blasingame is revising and expanding the stories, and is wisely dividing them into four more-easily held volumes. He is also omitting the illustrations by Eileen Blasingame & Steve Carter that, while pretty, were amateurish and added unnecessarily to the older version.

The earlier edition, first written between 1996 and 2003 and published together in December 2003, included only 31 stories. It listed Ted Blasingame, Eileen Blasingame, and Steve Carter as co-authors. Now Ted Blasingame is the main author, with assistance by the other two. He gives a more complete history in his Introduction. Blue Horizon was an exciting fannish project of the three and their readers, starting online in 1996 and printed in 2003. It went on until 2009, but the newer stories were not printed, and everyone gradually moved on to other interests. Now, Blasingame has gone back to revise the entire series, rewriting the earlier stories and adding those from 2004 to 2009, for a new total of 45 stories.

These are the voyages of the interstellar freighter SS Blue Horizon PA1261. Book 1 contains the first 11 stories: “Drug Running”, “Unexpected Partners”, “Out of the Frying Pan” (by Steve Carter), “Vexed of Kin” (by Steve Carter), “A Little Liberation”, “Recruitment” (by Steve Carter), “Lost, Distant World”, “Dragon, Wolf & Tiger”, “Vixen’s Nightmare”, “The Blood of Aris”, and “Blue Horizon Down” (by Steve Carter). Although each story is distinct, they flow from one to the next, so the book is more like a novel than a collection of short stories.

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FurAffinity’s new ownership makes a turning point. Should fans fear commercialization?

by Patch O'Furr

(Via Greenreaper):

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 6.46.18 PM

From 2008.  Anthrocon has grown to generate $7 million in 2014.

From 2008.  Anthrocon has grown to generate $7 million in 2014.

A comment from 8Chan:

The furry community is loaded with cash compared to other niche internet communities and it’s been exploding in popularity over the last decade. Nowadays it’s becoming more apparent with kickstarter and patreon making the figures public and internet companies are starting to move in on their turf to get a cut before it really goes mainstream.

And for those doubting that it’s about to enter the mainstream just wait until “Zootopia” from Disney comes out in 2016. Even Marvel giving prominent roles to a furry character in their recent major Hollywood movie would have been unthinkable 10 years ago, people who study the furry phenomenon are expecting it to explode soon. Universities and marketing groups are preforming surveys and studies on the fandom, this is considered a legitimate field of study.

A series of three articles:

 

  1. About the FurAffinity sale, and the issue of trade-offs.
  2. IMVU does a Q&A with me.
  3. Community > Commodity, and the Value of WTF.  Long live furries.

Read the rest of this entry »

Housepets! Don’t Criticize Your Lovelife – comic review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Housepets! Don’t Criticize Your Lovelife (Book 5), by Rick Griffin
North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, November 2014, trade paperback $13.95 (52 pages).

Does Book 5 have a real title page? After five volumes!? (Gasp! Choke!)

THUMBNAIL_IMAGEYes, Book 5 has a real title page! However – well, my reviews of the first four books have all recommended that unless you have them all, you should start with an earlier volume to get to know the cast. That is particularly true of Book 5. It begins with the dogs and cats of Babylon Gardens “imaginating” their own version of Guys and Dolls by Loesser, Swerling & Burrows. If you’re familiar with the Broadway musical and with Peanut, Grape, Tarot, Max, Sabrina, and the other housepets of Housepets!, fine. If not, Book 5 is a really confusing one to start with.

Fortunately, practically all readers of Dogpatch Press already follow Housepets! regularly don’t you? Housepets! is an online Monday-Wednesday-Friday comic strip that began on June 2, 2008. It has won the Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip for every year since 2009. The four previous collections are Housepets! Are Naked All the Time, Housepets! Hope They Don’t Get Eaten, Housepets! Can Be Real Ladykillers, and Housepets! Are Gonna Sniff Everybody; all previously reviewed on Flayrah. Housepets! Don’t Criticize Your Lovelife (Book 5) starts with the online strip from June 6, 2012 and ends with that from June 3, 2013. These are the story-arcs #56, “Let’s Imaginate Guys and Dolls” to #69, “The King and I”, plus one-off gag strips between those.

Housepets! is the story of the dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and other pets of Babylon Gardens, a typical residential suburban neighborhood – in an alternate universe. The animals are larger than in our universe (but not human-sized), can talk, are usually bipedal, and address their human owners as “Mom” and “Dad”. Their status is somewhere between pets and children. Points established over the years are that humans can bequeath their belongings to their pets, who do not need a human guardian; human storekeepers are not allowed to sell catnip to cats; human police forces have an auxiliary of Police Dogs who are not all police dogs; the pets comment sardonically on how they can go naked in public but their human “parents” can’t; and – lots of other stuff. Read the rest of this entry »

The Labyrinth, by Catherynne M. Valente – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Labyrinth, by Catherynne M. Valente. Introduction by Jeff VanderMeer.
Germantown, MD, Prime Books, April 2006, hardcover $29.95 (181 [+1] pages).download (3)

The introduction and blurbs emphasize this slim novel’s surrealism. Publishers Weekly reviewed it as, “…a female Theseus details the bizarre landscape of the Minotaur’s maze and its unique flora and fauna. […] Readers who luxuriate in the telling of a tale and savor phrases where every word has significance will enjoy the challenge of this fantasy. Others may find its maze of language an impenetrable mystery.”

You can put me among those who find its maze of language an impenetrable mystery. The jacket-flap blurb is, “A lyrical anti-quest through a conscious maze without center, borders, or escape–a dark pilgrim’s progress through a landscape of vicious Angels, plague houses, crocodile-prophets, tragic chess-sets, and the mind of an unraveling woman, driven on by the mocking guide who seeks to destroy as much as save.” The book’s murky cover by Aurélien Police fits it wonderfully. Can you tell what this is about?

But The Labyrinth is undeniably richly anthropomorphic. The nameless (or manynamed) narrator wanders through a maze filled with Doors. Each opens into a different dimension that threatens to sidetrack her from the Labyrinth’s end. And many are inhabited by an anthropomorphic animal.

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Chat with Strypes, Edmonton Oil Kings mascot performer and fursuit referee.

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s a followup post to:  Edmonton Oil Kings hockey hosts fursuiter race. “It’s looking hairy at ice level!”

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On January 2, 2015, the Edmonton Oil Kings hosted a fursuit race at their hockey game.  The “Frantic Furry 500″ entertained the crowd during intermissions.  It was organized by Strypes, (AKA bcbreakaway). It was incredibly cool of Strypes to answer my questions about the event and his furry activities.  I was surprised to find out that he seems to have discovered this fandom only two years ago – and he’s a professional mascot who already had the spirit inside.  Give him a high-paw for being an amazing example of why Furries rock! 

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A small story about being sexually assaulted in fursuit.

by Patch O'Furr

Or should I say “manhandled?”  Nah… Dogpiled. That’s more like it.

This story is no reason for alarm.  It’s just a P.S.A. to say “hey guys, look out for each other!”

With this story, I’m assuming:

  • You’re a furry, or at least you don’t hate them. (It’s in-group stuff.)
  • You don’t hate hearing about adult activity, with a disclaimer that it’s a special sub-interest that doesn’t define furries.

The fur was flying at a party that was very loud, crowded and gay. Muffled music was coming through my fursuit head. I was bouncing around and giving hugs to everyone, from “just friends” all the way to grinding if they wanted.  People know I’m into that (in the right time and place,) even if they come up behind me and I can’t tell who it is.  Basically, “if you see my fursuit, that’s my consent.”

A guy shoved up in the darkness, and I thought he was a regular.  He started pawing my junk, and his friend crowded in and yanked my belt off.  She got rough because I had suspenders on it holding up my tail.  That’s when I got surprised and flustered, because furries aren’t aggressive. Even when there’s “instant consent” with ones I can’t see, they’re respectful, but this was rough handling by outsiders.

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IMVU’s big buy-in. These messages sponsored by hugs and scritches. Newsdump (3/20/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips are always welcome. 

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Fandom News

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FurAffinity sold to 3D social network IMVU.  

downloadYou heard, right?  FurAffinity is the shaky but most active anchor for furry socializing and art.  Naughty stuff on it can’t go without mention.  That makes it a haven for freedoms that make the community what it is, for good or ill (depending on how prudish you are.)  The sale to IMVU comes as a surprise.  It’s a bold move for a company to partner with a community with stigma attached.  How well will this work?

In January, IMVU reached out to me. They got an article about their appearance at Fur Con.   (It was before today’s news was public, but apparently around when FurAffinity was sold.)  I got back in touch with their rep, and have a confirmation that they’ll answer my questions.  Everyone’s yapping about it – more soon in a followup article.

4 fursuits stolen from Jakedashep. Send hugs.

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