Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: November, 2015

Exciting times are coming for fursuiting, pro sports, and The National Mascot Hall Of Fame.

by Patch O'Furr

The National Mascot Hall of Fame is coming in 2017.  This mainstream event might deserve attention from furries. Will hobby costumers indirectly benefit from the millions of investment and hype?

Sci-fi costuming and mascots probably developed separately. But some fursuiting is showing up in pro sports. Anthrocon had the San Diego Chicken as Guest Of Honor.  A mascot was a viral sensation of the 2015 Super Bowl.  Can we look forward to more crossover?  Is this part of mainstreaming furries, with stuff like Disney’s Zootopia?

A three part series:

1) The beginning of mascots and fursuiting.
2) Fursuiting crossover with pro sports.
3) The National Mascot Hall of Fame.

I have to admit that sports isn’t my thing.  Ritualistically chasing a stuffed spheroid doesn’t set my curiosity on fire. Whenever I see a sportsball game, it seems quite possible, even unavoidable that one of the teams or the other is going to win.  What’s the big deal?

However, even if the physical spectacle isn’t my thing, I can at least admire the ideals of positive team competition, and strength and bravery.

In ancient times, feats of strength were amazing.  Muscle helped you to build shelter to protect you from hungry lions or the angry gods.  Bravery in the hunt was amazing too.  It was better to feed the tribe with antelope steaks than with bugs and berries.

But in modern times, you don’t need strength for that stuff.  Use a forklift or order a pizza.  Physical feats don’t impress me as much as they should.

Calvinball

Of course, I’ll take an invite to hang out with sports-loving friends if there’s beers and chatting.  I have nothing against a good spectacle or playing outside.  I just have different priorities.

I like creative and intellectual pursuits that help us evolve beyond the stone age, or even the silicon age – towards whatever comes next.  (Like maybe a Mad Max future, where the most popular sport is watching cyborgs with chainsaw arms do gladiator battle.)

Mascots are fun and creative. I like their designs and how they act.  Let’s talk about what they mean and where they came from.  Plug your brain into the matrix, and let me take you back to the Pre-Furry Past… and beyond the horizon of time, to the incomprehensibly distant futureworld of 2017.

Read the rest of this entry »

In a Dog’s World, by Mary E. Lowd – Book Review By Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

in a dog's world coverIn a Dog’s World, by Mary E. Lowd.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2015, trade paperback $9.95 (181 pages), Kindle $6.99.

This novella is the third book in Lowd’s “Otters in Space” series following Otters in Space (2010) and Otters in Space II: Jupiter, Deadly (2013), although her short fiction “When a Cat Loves a Dog” in Five Fortunes (edited by Fred Patten) and “A Real Stand-Up Guy” (with Daniel Lowd) in Allasso volume 3 (edited by Brian Lee Cook) are also in the same “world”. Humans have become extinct, and uplifted cats, dogs, otters, and a few others have inherited Earth and its space outposts. The cats and dogs are theoretically equals, but in fact the dogs are socially and politically superior, with strong prejudice in both species against the other. Lowd’s protagonists – Kipper Brighton in the two novels, and Lashonda Brooke in the short fiction – are mature cats who are disinterested in the prejudice (in Kipper’s case) or actively oppose it (in Lashonda’s case; she is married to a dog and they both want to adopt children, but are turned down by prejudiced adoption agencies among both cats and dogs).

The protagonist of In a Dog’s World is Katasha Blake, a studious tabby point Siamese cat in an upper-class cat family; a high school senior planning to go on to college. Preferably prestigious Isleywood College of Science and Technology, but she’ll take the local state college that her littermates intend to attend if she can’t get into Isleywood – a dog college. Tash, whose goal is an engineering degree to qualify for the space program, is sure that she’s got the grades to get into Isleywood, since dogs aren’t known for their studiousness: Read the rest of this entry »

Atta; A Novel of a Most Extraordinary Adventure, by F.R. Bellamy – Book Review By Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

“Here is another of my reviews that was published ten years ago, edited in a manner that I didn’t like.  This is my original review, so it’s a bit different from the printed version.”

Atta-hardcoverAtta; A Novel of a Most Extraordinary Adventure, by Francis Rufus Bellamy.
NYC, A. A. Wyn, Inc., September 1953, hardcover $3.00 (216 pages).

         “It is with a singular bitterness that I begin this memoir of my youth.

Here at my table, west of the Mississippi, I can turn in my chair and gaze out my window at sixty acres of green hillside, orchard, and valley. They are the actual scene of the greater part of the adventures I am about to relate, adventures for which I myself can vouch.” (pg. 1)

Two pages later the narrator, Brokell, says these events happened forty years previously. 1953 minus forty years would be 1913, which would explain why he was riding about the countryside in a horse-and-buggy, and why he writes in such an old-fashioned, formal style.

Brokell is waiting in a flowery meadow with a box of candy for his betrothed. She is late, and after a half-hour he notices that red ants are crawling all over the candy. Infuriated (“Darn you, anyhow!” I said aloud.”), he picks up a rock and starts smashing the ants. Suddenly:

“For scarcely had my missile left my grasp before I was conscious of a hitherto unseen dark mass in the sky above me. Even as my own missile left my hand this mass became instantly larger in size and rushed down at me and the earth.” (pg. 7)

Read the rest of this entry »

The Worst Anthropomorphic Movie of the Decade – by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Let’s have a poll.

What is the worst anthropomorphic movie of the 2011 to 2020 decade? Theatrical or on DVD? Animation or live-action?

Let me start off by listing my choices for the five worst so far… and the decade isn’t even half over yet.

Food Fight! ([U.S.] Threshold Entertainment, May 7, 2013)

Food Fight! had a clever idea: license rights to several well-known anthropomorphic food logos like Chester Cheetah and Charlie the Tuna, and bring them to life in an animated supermarket mystery/comedy. Dex Dogtective, a fictional logo, investigates with everyone else as a supporting character. But the result, shall we say, lacked something. Like an interesting story. Like in-depth characterizations and attractive character designs. Like good CGI art. The producer spent almost a decade trying to get a theatrical release before giving up and going direct-to-DVD.

Foodfight!_DVD_cover

Read the rest of this entry »

Costume bans and security, part 3: Want to organize a furmeet for Zootopia? Here’s how.

by Patch O'Furr

nugget

Nugget, fursuit of Salem Wolf

Response to the articles:

There were a lot of great comments!  It does seem like the feeling of high anticipation is true.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 2.05.17 AM

There was one piece of confusion for some readers. Going to the movies in costume doesn’t mean wearing it during a movie. Parts will come off to watch it, and theater rentals may include change space. Members of local meets are interested in a social experience before and after, like a “crawl” around town.

Costuming and security is a much wider issue.  I’ve heard rumors about cons encountering problems with organizing, while making hotel deals and then being surprised by rules against masks in their public space.  Biggest Little Fur Con has to carefully manage no-mask rules on the casino floor of their hotel.  FurTheMore convention moved to Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, in May 2015, where there’s a statewide anti-mask law.  A staff member told me they had to work with police to get a special weekend festival exemption.  The con put out official instructions not to go off hotel grounds in fursuit, or risk arrest.  Costumers will have to deal with the issue in the future.

Interested in organizing your own movie meet – to get trust, and permission for costumes?

You can get a good start by collecting RSVP’s from friends and local members. If you’re able to get several dozen, a whole theater rental may be in your range. Scout around and see if there are local ones that support community events.  Once you’ve proposed and negotiated rates and times, the next steps would be signing a commitment, or collecting ticket/deposit money in advance (depending on how payment is supposed to happen).

Read the rest of this entry »

James, the Connoisseur Cat and James, Fabulous Feline – Book reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

51UHJFFcUML._AC_UL320_SR226,320_James, the Connoisseur Cat, by Harriet Hahn.
NYC, St. Martin’s Press, October 1991, hardcover $13.95 (169 pages).

James, Fabulous Feline: Further Adventures of a Connoisseur Cat, by Harriet Hahn.
NYC, St. Martin’s Press, June 1993, hardcover $14.95 (199 pages).

This two-book set presents a whimsical set of adventures of a very British cat, more aristocratic than James-Bondian.

“I spend a lot of my time in England,” begins the nameless narrator, a traveling art expert. “My apartment in Baron’s Chambers, on Ryder Street, is my headquarters.”

[…]

“I felt wonderfully at home, and then I noticed something new. Sitting on the small table where one usually finds messages and brochures describing current exhibits and events sat what appeared at first glance to be a big, gray, short-haired cat. It was motionless and its eyes were closed, but even so, I felt the power of a rare personality.” (p. 1)

James never does talk, but he makes his feelings plain through pantomime, especially to the narrator.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Familiars, by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson – Book Review By Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

51L8-29eGELThe Familiars, by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson. Illustrations, map by Peter Chan & Kei Acedera.
NYC, Harper CollinsPublishers/Harper, September 2010, hardcover $16.99 (360 pages), Kindle $4.99.

The Familiars: Secrets of the Crown, by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson. Illustrations, map by P. Chan & K. Acedera.
NYC, Harper CollinsPublishers/Harper, September 2011, hardcover $16.99 (374 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $4.99.

The Familiars: Circle of Heroes, by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson. Illustrations by Greg Call; map by P. Chan & K. Acedera.
NYC, Harper CollinsPublishers/Harper, September 2012, hardcover $16.99 (327 pages), Kindle $4.99.

The Familiars: Palace of Dreams, by Adam Jay Epstein & Andrew Jacobson. Illustrations, map by Dave Phillips.
NYC, Harper CollinsPublishers/Harper, December 2013, hardcover $16.99 (323 pages), Kindle $6.99.

The Warriors series of talking feral cats by “Erin Hunter” is known to furry fandom, but most of the other anthropomorphic animal series for the 8- to 12-year-old market seems to be ignored, except when one of them is adapted into a CGI animated feature. The 15 The Guardians of Ga’hoole novels of anthropomorphized owls by Kathryn Lasky, which became the 2010 animated movie Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole by the Animal Logic studio and Warner Bros. distributor, is one example.

Here is another, maybe. The first novel in the four-book The Familiars series, published in 2011, announces “The Familiars will be produced for film by Sam Raimi and Sony Animation.” As of 2015, Sony says the film is still in development, although Sam Raimi no longer seems to be associated with it.

The series is aimed at 8- to 12-year-olds; the upper primary school grades. It is set in a magical world. The three familiars are Aldwyn, a young cat; Skylar, a girl blue jay; and Gilbert, a tree frog.

Read the rest of this entry »

Costume bans and security, part 2: A furry movie theater worker’s opinion.

by Patch O'Furr

This guest post is by a furry and usher for Cinemark, one of America’s largest theater chains.  He asked not to be named for employment reasons.

He raised an international issue I didn’t think of in Part 1. France has had some high-profile riots and political violence. As a result, since 2011, the country has a law making it “illegal to wear a face-covering veil or other mask in public places”. It’s caused interesting enforcement, like banning costumes on Halloween.  Comments wanted from French furries – has this affected anyone personally?

(UPDATE:) This article was completed on November 13, only hours before a mass shooting in France hit the news. Relevant detail: “Julien Pierce, a Europe 1 journalist… has described what he saw: ‘Several armed men came into the concert. Two or three men, not wearing masks…'”  Fans watching the band “Eagles of Death Metal” were shot.  It’s interesting how heavy metal and violent movies have been unfair scapegoats for moral panic in the past.  Will it increase for costumers?  From tiny conventions to large shows, let’s value culture and liberties.  Let’s also send community sympathies to those affected in France.

– Patch

Guest opinion from a furry theater employee about costume bans.

For a second, I thought the US was considering a rule where costumes aren’t allowed anywhere except homes and conventions (kinda like what France is doing).

First off, I think the rule these theaters made are over-paranoid. I’ve taken a look at the 2012 Aurora Shooting (which started it all).  Here are some important facts I noticed that I think Cinemark overlooked when they made this rule.  (PLEASE NOTE: I got most info from wikipedia, so you may want to verify on your own.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Wombats pooping cubes – and a chunky blast of furry news! NEWSDUMP (11/17/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Atlas Obscura – The Fursuit of Happiness Begins With Customized Dog Abs.  It’s a nicely written curiosity piece about what fursuit makers do.  There needs to be a Tip Sheet for Journalists Who Want To Write About Furries.  It would say “quit using that title.”

Austrian “Furry News” site Furry Stammtische shares a long TV feature of fursuiters. Google translate can give you a rough understanding of the story.

Fangcon gets a little slice-of-life mention in Knoxville news.  Writer bumps into fursuiters at an outdoor concert, and gets charmed.

Courting Comedy blog reviews a live talk show in San Francisco, with a special Furry guest speaker. “They defanged prejudices or assumptions about the Furry community, and was cautious to not speak for the entirety of his tribe.” Really happy to see this.

Furry Site Content Statistics – and a possible game changing new art site.  [Adjective][Species] presents comparison of 5 established sites – and Flayrah’s Sonious writes up Furry Network with some details that could be highly worth your attention.

VICE is digging on DeviantArt for unusual furry fetishes.  This fellow fan enjoys expressing “objectophilia”. He has a rewarding relationship with his car.  Thanks for visiting our garden, Vice – lots of special varieties grow here, but don’t poop in it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bad news for fans who plan to see highly anticipated movies in costume.

by Patch O'Furr

In March, Zootopia is going to bring all the furries!

Everywhere furries are, they’re talking about meets for Zootopia’s opening week.  My area has a proposed meet (without even a location) and already 44 are signed up. At this rate, they’ll pack a whole theater of their own (and it’s being arranged.)  Mention the idea, and without fail everyone loves it. Many want to go in fursuit.  I won’t be surprised if furmeets makes headlines.  I feel like this movie will bring Furry Fever like no other.  Is this happening in your area, too?

Why go to the movies in costume?  You’re just sitting in the dark.  Well, for some it’s just a great excuse to celebrate a shared experience with fandom. (NOTE: There has been a lot of confusion about this.  It doesn’t mean to wear a costume DURING the movie.)

Here’s a sign of the hype.  In June, maker Crafty Critters went outside furry preference for all-original characters by making a Nick Wilde Cosplay fursuit.  It appeared astonishingly early after Disney’s June 11 release of the Zootopia trailer – just in time for Anthrocon.

Nobody knows who the owner is.

At Anthrocon. Nobody knows who the owner is.

Buzz kill – Theaters are getting paranoid about security and banning masks. (NOTE: the entire article was completed prior to tragedies in France.)
Read the rest of this entry »