Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: April, 2015

Dancing With Bears – Book Review by Fred Patten

by kiwiztiger

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

Dancing With Bears, by Michael Swanwick.
San Francisco, CA, Night Shade Books, May 2011, hardcover $24.99 (268 pages).

51wb22YvMqLThis is the first “Darger and Surplus” novel, although it follows two short stories and a novelette; “The Dog Said Bow-Wow”(2001), “The Little Cat Laughed to See Such Sport” (2002), and “Girls and Boys, Come Out to Play” (2005). Aubrey Darger and Sir Blackthorpe Ravenscairn de Plus Precieux (“Call me Sir Plus”) are two charismatic con-men in the postutopian future. Darger is human; Surplus is a dog. To quote the opening of “The Dog Said Bow-Wow”:

“The dog looked like he had just stepped out of a children’s book. There must have been a hundred physical adaptations required to allow him to walk upright. The pelvis, of course, had been entirely reshaped. The feet alone would have needed dozens of changes. He had knees, and knees were tricky.

To say nothing of the neurological enhancements.

But what Darger found himself most fascinated by was the creature’s costume. His suit fit him perfectly, with a slit in the back for the tail, and – again – a hundred invisible adaptations that caused it to hang on his body in a way that looked perfectly natural.

‘You must have an extraordinary tailor,’ Darger said.

The dog shifted his cane from one paw to the other, so they could shake, and in the least affected manner imaginable replied, ‘That is a common observation, sir.’

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Wolfy, the Incredible Secret – movie review by Fred Patten

by kiwiztiger

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

Wolfy, the Incredible Secret. Directed by Eric Omond. 82 minutes. December 18, 2013 in France; March 17, 2015 in the U.S. (DVD).

 51j8S0HiH9L._SY300_Loulou, l’Incroyable Secret was the winner of France’s César Award – “the French Oscars” — in 2014 for the Best Animated Feature shown in France during 2013; not just the best French-produced animated feature of 2013. It competed against the American animated features shown in France during 2013, which was probably all of them. It was also shown at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Berlinale’s Crystal Bear, selected by a Children’s Jury as the Best Children’s Film entered in the Festival, animation or live-action.

Loulou, l’Incroyable Secret is based upon the French children’s book series by Grégoire Solotareff, with hand-drawn animation in Solotareff’s art style. Solotareff, born as Gregory El Kayem in Alexandria, Egypt in 1953 of Lebanese parents, has lived in France since 1960 and been an artist of children’s books since 1985. He has written & drawn over 150 children’s books to date, winning ten awards. He began the Loulou books in 1989, about the friendship between Loulou (Wolfy), an orphaned wolf cub, and Tom, a young rabbit, in the Land of the Rabbits. The series has been favorably reviewed for promoting friendship amidst nonconformity. It was first animated in March 2003 as Loulou et Autres Loups … (Wolfy and Other Wolves …), a 29-minute featurette directed by Serge Elissade. Loulou, l’Incroyable Secret is an original story, not based upon a book, with the screenplay, dialogue, and art design by Solotareff (and others).

Wolfy the easygoing wolf cub and Tom the pessimistic rabbit are now adolescents in the Land of Rabbits, with Wolfy adopted into Tom’s family. Cornelia, a mysterious gypsy (the audience sees that she is more than just passing through) tells Wolfy that he is not an orphan as he has always believed! His mother is a princess in Wolfenberg, the Land of Wolves. Wolfy insists on going there to find her. Tom goes along, despite his misgivings. They arrive at the height of Wolfenberg’s Carnifest/Meat-Eaters’ Festival, where everyone assumes that Wolfy has brought the teenaged rabbit to be added to the menu. Read the rest of this entry »

Bête, by Adam Roberts – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Bête, by Adam Roberts
London, Gollancz, September 2014, hardcover £18.00 (311 [+ 1] pages). download (2)

“As I raised the bolt-gun to its head the cow said: ‘Won’t you at least Turing-test me, Graham?’

‘Don’t call me Graham,’ I told it. ‘My wife calls me Graham. My mum calls me Graham. Nobody else.’

‘Oh, Mister Penhaligon,’ the cow said, sarcastically. We’ll have to assume, for the moment, that cows are capable of sarcasm. ‘It won’t much delay you. And if I fail, then surely, go ahead: bye-bye-bos-taurus. But!’

‘You’re not helping your case, ‘ I said, ‘by enunciating so clearly. You don’t sound like a cow.’

‘Moo, ‘said the cow, arching one hairless eyebrow.” (p. 3)

Graham Penhaligon is a farmer. Farmers traditionally slaughter their cattle and serve them at family meals. So Farmer Penhaligon kills his cow, despite its pleading to him to spare it.

And finds himself arrested for maybe-murder. Which he expects.

Bête is set in the near future, when the animal-rights movement – specifically an organization called Deep Blue Deep Green (DBDG) – is going about surreptitiously raising some animals’ intelligence – specifically, in this case, Farmer Penhaligon’s cattle – to force the courts to decide whether an animal with artificially raised intelligence is a thinking animal no different from a person, and thus a legal person. The courts have declared a moratorium on the killing of such animals while the legal debate goes on; which has been going on for seemingly forever, as such social movements tend to do.

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Furries get best seat in the house for MC Crumbsnatcher’s toilet rap.

by Patch O'Furr

Nerdcore rap and furries: it’s a match made in the demented mind of MC Crumbsnatcher, a guy who taught me a thing or two about how to rock out and be silly.  That’s what I did for his disgustingly catchy song, “Boy I Don’t Think It’s Sleazy (Cuz We’re In a Bathroom).”  The new video is fourth in the ultra-gay, only-from-San-Francisco series that you definitely shouldn’t watch if you’re easily offended.

Fursuiters included Neonbunny, and me as a blinged-out Husky, complete with gold grill.  Todd wore the toiletsona suit.  (Shhh, don’t tell… at 3:09, I got caught drinking from the bowl. Bad dog!)  This video finally lets Crumby marry his penguin boyfriend.  Is that a tear in my eye… or just backsplash?

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Inflatable bunnies, street fairs, Furry Fuel – can we have it all together? Newsdump (4/24/15)

by Patch O'Furr

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

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Mainstream sightings

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Torimitsu

BBC’s “The Why Factor?” will air a Furry story.

“Why do we project our emotions onto animals?” gives a 4-minute clip.  Flayrah has air times for the 18-minute piece.

Growing community of ‘furries’ finds acceptance on campus.

USA Today does “not THOSE furries” apologism.

Meet the Club: The furries.

A 10-member club got a short notice in the student newspaper of Washtenaw Community College in Michigan.

San Francisco’s How Weird Street Fair is this weekend.

The promo vid flashes furries at 0:59, 1:17, and 1:25.  For several years, fur meets at this cool event have marked the start of street fair season in the SF Bay.  It’s the best occasion for my favorite thing, street fursuiting.

On the same day as the fair… Blow-Up: a gallery show of inflatable art.

Not a big news item, but I was taken by the pink bunnies. Artist Momoyo Torimitsu gives a down-to-earth statement on her site.

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French Anthropomorphic Animal Animated Features, Part 4 – by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Series: Part 1 – Part 2 – and Part 3.  This is the last of four parts. Continuing from where we left off …

20521275.jpg-r_160_240-b_1_D6D6D6-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxxBlackie & Kanuto (Black to the Moon 3D), directed by Francis Nielsen. 81 minutes. April 17, 2013.

Blackie (or Blacky) is a black sheep who goes out of her way to be “different”. Kanuto is an exasperated sheepdog who is in love with her. When Blackie decides to travel to the Moon, Kanuto reluctantly joins her. Other characters include Blackie’s loyal followers, Pepe (horse) and Marvin (duck); Fancy, Cloe, and Victoria, the sheep fashionistas who are jealous of Blackie; Theodora, the motherly operatic cow who thinks that Blackie should be a ballerina; Karl Wolf, the haughty lupine fashion designer; Hu Flung Pu, the martial artist spider and his illegal spider seamstresses; the three Patrino Russian canine cosmonauts who have a rocket ship; Rainbow (Grumbo), the macho U.S. Army dog and rival sheepdog who acts more like Rambo; two Bulgarian birds from a singing TV reality show contest; and Pinkie, the sheep who is experimented upon and becomes as large (also as unfriendly) as Godzilla.

Blackie & Kanuto was a CGI Spanish-French-Italian animated feature premiered at the May 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and first released in Spain on February 15, 2013. It was shown in different countries (it was extremely popular in Russia) in different edits. Other titles included Head Over Hooves and Pup. Read the rest of this entry »

Special Features and Top Articles at Dogpatch Press.

by Patch O'Furr

  • Did you hear about President Obama’s meeting with furries?
  • See how our biggest convention draws $7 million in tourist spending!
  • Want to read interviews with movie directors as high as Pixar, as well as the most creative and devoted furry fans?

Dogpatch Press shares hundreds of articles.  Here’s some special ones that got high traffic, drew views for a long time, dig deep to uncover stories, or they’re just quirky personal favorites. They all highlight a thriving subculture.

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THE REGULAR NEWSDUMP:

See the “Newsdump” tag.  These are digest posts of curated links and “list worthy” small stories, from around the web and the border between subculture and mainstream.  They give a look at the state of the community over time.

INTERVIEWS FOR FANS AND FURRIES:

Creators and Doers make a subculture thrive. Whether they build it from grassrootinterviewss, or feed it from outside with stuff we like, they have valuable words to say.

FRED PATTEN PRESENTS:

Check his latest posts.  Fred is our star guest poster, with a long resume as a fan historian and reviewer.

FURSUITING, THE MOST FURRY ACTIVITY.

patch_icon_fursuitIt’s the most original Furry-generated activity, with it’s own coined name.  Fursuiting has a booming cottage industry, and makers are raising the craft so high that they’re envied by commercial mascot designers.  Nobody does it like us, and nothing else represents us so directly as “ambassadors”. Call it the theatrical soul of furrydom.  It’s true that only 20% own this costly wearable art, and other worthy members might be irked by the scene-stealing glamor, but a picture is worth a thousand words.  It’s hard to deny their huggable appeal (proving the touch-based name of this subculture!)

FURRY DANCE PARTIES – A NEW MOVEMENT:furclub

Since around 2010, independent furry dance parties are getting established as urban night life.  They bring new established venue partnerships that encourage support, promotion, and crossover.  They build on the growth of cons, but take their own direction.  Howl Toronto says – Con dances happen once a year, and “that’s just not enough to fill the need!”  

THE “FURRY ECONOMY”: 

economyFurry creators are working fan-to-fan with an internal economy that even supports some full time careers. Cons are expanding at a healthy rate.  Furaffinity is an independent project acquired by a venture-capital funded company.  It’s rising beyond a full-fledged subculture to possible commercialization.  How will it develop?

“PALEO FURRIES” – ANTHROPOMORPHISM IN HISTORY:patch_icon_history

Hidden threads connect Furry fandom to a rich history of art and performance. A “museum of furry” could exhibit works that look like they’re from a parallel universe. Writer Phil Geusz calls it Paleo Furries. A “Panto-animals and Paleofurs” con panel could uncover hidden depth for what we love.

A THRIVING SUBCULTURE.

ideasThere’s furry houses with multi-generations of fans. There’s a fur con somewhere in the world every weekend of the year.  It brings speculation about the future, like opportunities for new organizations, projects and events.

BAD MEDIA, GOOD MEDIA.

Exploitation makes sensitivity about being in the spotlight, but media and furries have a chicken-or-egg relationship.  Terms are getting better, and there’s rising recognition for a self-directed community. It brings power to control access for outsiders or support their good work to tell our story like we want.

THE FURRY ART WORLD

It’s one of the most creative fandoms because all the content is self-generated.  Sometimes it even overlaps or achieves recognition in the wider art world.

THE NASCENT FURRY MOVIE SCENE.

Film and video can be more challenging than other media where furries thrive.  Other subcultures have developed enough to support independent film making. There have been a few attempts at furry features and some outside ones that come close. There are many fursuiting shorts (especially music videos) and animation student work. The holy grail might be a furry-made animated feature.

“CELEBRIFURRIES” AND STREET CRED:

Furries have more influence than they even realize. Advertisers covet the street cred of subcultures. Disney winked at us with Zootopia.  Are there mainstream celebrities who are secret furries?  How do other subcultures overlap?

ANTHROPOMORPHIC POLITICS.

Think Democrat donkeys, Republican elephants, and “Animal Farm”, the political allegory by George Orwell.

LIMITS AND LIBERTIES – HOW A HOBBY BRINGS FREEDOM:

protestAcceptance is a big feature of furry subculture. It draws interests together, but membership is self-defined by anyone who claims it, so nothing represents every member.  Some interests get conservative disapproval. It makes tension between freedom and collective interest. It can involve prejudice, laws, and times for a hobby social group to stand up for itself.

WHEN FURRY MEETS FURRY – INTIMACY AND “THE TOPIC THEY LOVE TO HATE”.patch_icon_furry_love

It’s not an urban legend – some furries get wild. But sex isn’t a definer.  It can be a family friendly hobby too.  Media hypes sex, but romantic themes are part of being human, and furries are just regular people with extra rich imaginations.  Being unusually open and expressive is required for an interest spectrum beyond the default.  It can cause controversy. It also makes first-time visitors call them the most friendly people you could ever party with. This blog is anti-prude and not shy about sex-positivity.

FURRY TRASH!

Sometimes it’s fun to mix satire with news.  Keep Furry Weird.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH FANDOM:

Are there “inherent” problems? Furries have been punching-bags for sensational media exploiting them as freaks.  It comes from bias to only look for the worst in people.  There’s stigma, shaming, scapegoating, and a streak of homophobia.  There are even enemies within who are motivated by authority or insecurity.  But dogmatic negativity doesn’t build anything.  That’s why it’s losing power with time. It calls for pointing out the positive, expressive nature of the group.

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT:

Crime happens in any community.  Sometimes it overlaps with furries.  Most everything they do is harmless and positive, but rare and marginal problems can get sensationalized.  It calls for an eye on biased judgement.

SPECIAL GUEST POSTS BY PUP MATTHIAS:

MORE SPECIAL GUEST POSTS:

Does your fursona have a phone? Google has free, personal furry numbers for you.

by Patch O'Furr

Aggrobadger

(Hugs: Aggrobadger)

Want to set up a fur meet, or check out a new friend you found there?   But are you worried about stranger danger, or crank calls full of murrs and panting?

Give them a furry number.  If you have a google account (and your paws can dial phones), you can get a new number within minutes that rings through to your regular phone.  It’s useful for all kinds of reasons, including protecting your fursona with a memorable personal code.

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Godsfire, by Cynthia Felice – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by kiwiztiger

Godsfire, by Cynthia Felice. Map.
NYC, Pocket Books, June 1978, paperback 0-671-81472-9 $1.75 (264 pages).

downloadI am surprised by how many people have included this book’s cover by Boris Vallejo on their lists of “Only the worst Sci-fi/Fantasy book covers”, or “25 Worst Book Covers of All Time”, or “I Am Judging You By Your Cover” (16 book covers with snarky feminine hygiene comments). I could come up with at least twenty-five covers worse than this with no trouble. And to wax sexist for a moment, can any cover with a shapely naked cat-woman be really bad?

But this is a review of the novel, not its cover art. Planet of the Apes notwithstanding, 1978 was still before intelligent non-humans were common in science-fiction, judging from the book’s blurb: “Feline creatures in charge and humans as their slaves!”

Godsfire is narrated by Heao, the sixteen-year-old protégé of Academician Master Rellar on a planet inhabited by anthropomorphic felinoids. The opening pages make frequent mention of the characters’ sinuous tails, sharp claws, and other feline characteristics.

“I was prepared to leave, but the man had the most mischievous twinkle in his eyes that I’d ever seen. Then the tip of his tail began to twitch. Without the smiling eyes, that twitch would have warned of battle, but now I realized it was an invitation to play. I laughed.” “His boldness was nearly frightening, yet there was no malice in his eyes and his tail was coiled casually around his ice-laden coat.” “Baltsar delicately slit the belly of the choicest fish with his index claw, and, after a slave took away the entrails, he slivered the tender flesh for me.” “I speared a sliver with my eating claw and chewed gratefully.” “His tail was twitching again and he was smiling. Why had he ignored my shaking tail while we ate?” “I smiled, coiled my tail demurely about my waist, and said, ‘Thank you, Baltsar.’” (pgs. 4-8)

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Cat’s Pawn and Cat’s Gambit – book reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

“Dear Patch; Here is an unpublished old review, written years ago for Cubist’s Anthro site and left unpublished when Anthro folded.”

Cat’s Pawn, by Leslie Gadallah.
NYC, Ballantine Books/del Rey, March 1987, paperback 0-345-33742-5 $2.95 (262 pages).

Cat’s Gambit, by Leslie Gadallah.
NYC, Ballantine Books/del Rey, March 1990, paperback 0-345-36478-3, $3.95 (247 pages).

1eb34310fca09d58533ba010.LDespite being action-packed, this duo of space operas is unusually pessimistic, even despondent. Cat’s Pawn begins with a framing story set on Terra centered on Talan, the Oriani ambassador to Terra, glumly failing in his mission to win support from the Terrans in their struggle against the interstellar spreading Kazi. Symptomatic of the problem is that the Oriani do not wear clothes and look like large, bipedal housecats; and what Terran can take a funny-animal cat seriously?

The majority Terran attitude is similar to the American isolationists in 1940 who did not see any need for America to get involved in World War II. Talan stoically watches a TV interview with an average Terran:

“‘Now, you see, that’s just what I mean. They’re not people at all; they’re furry sons-a-bitches. They’re all over the place, trying to take over – furry ones, scaly ones, long ones, round ones, and some with nineteen legs. I tell you, mister, I like my people to look like people. And that’s all I got to say.’ He relinquished the mike, waved at the camera, and strode off.” (p. 11)

Cat’s Pawn opens with Melissa Larkin, a Terran woman who needs to see Talan because, fifty years earlier, he knew her now-dead grandfather, Bill Anderson, one of the few Terrans who ‘went native’ on the Oriani homeworld, Omnicron Orionis. Talan cannot help her, but the query introduces the reader to the Oriani:

“She was determined not to stare, though talking person to person with someone who looked a lot like a big-headed pussy cat gave her a funny feeling. Of course he was rather large for a pussy cat. The tips of his big ears came level with her nose and would have been higher except for the slightly forward posture balanced by the long, swinging tail.” (p. 1)

and

“55 kilos of highly intelligent being with long fangs that hung down below the line of his mouth like ivory daggers was nothing to giggle about.” (p. 5)

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