Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: February, 2016

VICE looks back on the Midwest Furfest attack, earning kudos for thoughtful journalism.

by Patch O'Furr

You can’t get inside (The Hooded Utilitarian, 1/5/15) is one of the few best “mainstream” articles about furries.  ‘Mouse’ wrote it with the perspective of an insider looking at outsiders who want an inside look:

“Furries are a little ridiculous.  We have an understanding about that.  But every blip of attention, even an attack on our second-most populated convention, investigated by authorities as an intentional act, is an occasion for poking fun.  Midwest Furfest is in Rosemont, Illinois, and this year it attracted 4,571 fuzzy folks.  My wife and I are regular attendees, though this year work obligations found us elsewhere.  Very early Sunday morning on December 7th, someone laid chlorine powder in a ninth floor stairwell.  Nineteen people hospitalized (one of them a good friend of mine), and hundreds endangered and inconvenienced, and all of them odd ducks.  Please remember how odd they are, and that they sometimes have sex, which is odder still.  So the gorge of distrust between our community and the media grows wider.  “We’re just not going to talk to you people any more,” we tell ourselves periodically, when the eye of mainstream culture is upon us.  Mainstream culture then obliges us.  A pity, because insulation from outside scrutiny is poisonous for any human endeavor.  But who is ready to cover us?”

The Midwest Furfest attack was perhaps the biggest spotlight moment for how furries and the media look at each other. The media didn’t come out looking so great. It was strange when a bunch of silly misfits kept the higher dignity.

A new article in VICE (2/11/16) breaks through that recursive mirror.  It’s a refreshingly direct look back, engaging us personally with no giggling about the misfortune of strangers.  It leaves outsider baggage at the door, while reminding us where it is.  The attack is unsolved, but the lack of conclusion doesn’t matter.  It’s about recognizing how impactful the story is. 4_Esv2H4_400x400

CSI Fur Fest: The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention – by Jennifer Swann.

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2015 Ursa Major Award nominations are open until Feb. 29 – nominate now!

by Patch O'Furr

Ursa art by Foxenawolf.

Ursa art by Foxenawolf.

Last year’s Ursa Major awards had something different than usual.  There was a unique spike of mainstream attention (with help from Dogpatch Press).  Depending on your point of view, it was either amazing or the worst thing since Sexy Kitty showed up on CSI.  It came with the nomination of CollegeHumor’s Furry Force, covered with exclusive news here. It led CollegeHumor to lobby their watchers to vote for recognition from the Furry community. Hasbro wouldn’t have paid attention for their MLP nomination, but CollegeHumor was proud to win the award.

Here’s a suggestion for how to make the awards more interesting still.  If furries have a big problem with the media misrepresenting them, they could give awards to the kind of news they want to see.

For that purpose, I suggest nominating the options below.  And at the end of 2016, nominate VICE for their recent article about the Midwest Furfest chlorine attack.  It’s among the top journalism that’s been done about furries.  (Tomorrow’s article discusses this further.)

The 2015 Ursas can accept nominations until Feb 29 – so please go to their website, and…

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Furries are renting theaters for Zootopia meets, and they’re getting bigger than cons.

by Patch O'Furr

zootopia

Nordic Fuzzcon has a Zootopia screening at a theater for 250. That’s the size of it’s 2014 attendance. (Art: Silverfox)

The most anticipated “furry” movie in memory is coming. It’s the #1 reason to call 2016 The Year of Furry.  Zootopia is Star Wars for anthro animals.

This is different from other such events. It’s a fandom pulling mainstream media to itself, despite reasons for the media to resist open ties.  This isn’t Zootopia fandom taking over, it’s furries doing what they already love.

In the San Francisco Bay area, over 200 furries will stuff a theater to it’s limit.  The screening is just for them.  It includes not just a movie, but a whole night of fursuiting.  There’s a changing room in the theater, and the neighborhood will be inundated with fluffy revelers at bars and restaurants.

It’s the size of a small con.  The event was arranged by convincing a theater that it would be well handled and attended.  The response exploded beyond expectations.  A theater with 145 seats was maxed out within days, and had to be switched for one with 225 spots.  That isn’t even enough – the wait list is double digits and rising.  It went out through members-only channels and word of mouth, to serve the most dedicated fans and manage demand beyond the limits.

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Cat Crimebusters and Other P.I.’s On Paws, Part 3 – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Cat Crimebusters, Part 1.

Cat Crimebusters, Part 2.

cat on the edgeThis third animal crime series is what I consider to be the first in which the cats genuinely detect to solve human crimes. No pussyfooting in the background while the human amateur detective solves the crimes. This is the Joe Grey series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy. Joe and his feline assistants Dulcie and Kit are talking cats fully in the human world. They have their human helpers, but they do all the important detecting. There aren’t as many Joe Grey novels as there are Midnight Louie or Mrs. Murphy novels, but there are eighteen; and there will be a nineteenth next February.

Cat on the Edge. April 1996.

Cat Under Fire. November 1996.

Cat Raise the Dead. May 1997.

Cat in the Dark. January 1999.

Cat to the Dogs. January 2000.

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Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers – Book Reviews by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Case of the Cat ShowThe Case of the Cat Show Princess, by Cindy Vincent
Houston, TX, Whodunit Press, November 2011, trade paperback $9.97 (162 pages), Kindle $2.99.

The Case of the Crafty Christmas Crooks, by Cindy Vincent
Houston, TX, Whodunit Press, October 2013, trade paperback $9.97 (170 pages), Kindle $2.99.

The Case of the Jewel Covered Cat Statues, by Cindy Vincent
Houston, TX, Whodunit Press, September 2014, trade paperback $9.97 (242 pages), Kindle $2.99.

The Case of the Clever Secret Code, by Cindy Vincent
Houston, TX, Whodunit Press, October 2015, trade paperback $10.97 (222 pages), Kindle $2.99.

“Cat cozy” adult mystery series in which talking cats actively detect crimes have become very popular, though arguably more with cat-fanciers and some mystery fans (others revile them) than with furry fans. The Midnight Louie series by Carole Nelson Douglas, the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown, and the Joe Grey series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy have made cat-detective fantasies both popular and respectable. Here, then, is one for the kiddies that should also be called to furry fans’ attention, especially since it is not obvious on the Amazon.com listings that these are juvenile rather than adult novels.

These four Buckley and Bogey Cat Detective Capers by Cindy Vincent are attractive trade paperbacks published by Vincent’s own Whodunit Press, “A Division of Mysteries by Vincent, LLC”. They are talking-cat detective novels recommended for middle-grade readers, ages 8 to 12. Frankly, they are overly cute adventures mostly suitable for the younger end of that range, which is why I described them as for the kiddies rather than as for kids. As is typical with the most banal of this sub-sub-genre, all the cats can understand human language. In this series, they even regularly speak English as well, except when humans are listening.

“Of course, the humans aren’t exactly aware of our detective duties. Probably because us cats always switch to cat language whenever humans are around.” (The Case of the Clever Secret Code, p. 2)

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Inhuman Acts: A Collection of Noir – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

51i6Fzbl+wL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Inhuman Acts; A Collection of Noir, edited by Ocean Tigrox.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, September 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (316 pages), Kindle $9.95.

According to the publisher, this is a horror anthology. “Explore thirteen anthropomorphic noir stories about betrayal, corruption and deceit from award-winning authors and up-and-coming writers. Pour your favourite whiskey and light up a cigarette as Stanley Rivets, PI shares with you his collection of case files from dim to dark to downright ugly.” (blurb)

Stanley Rivets, the stereotypical sable P.I. who tells these stories — “A sable in a long beige trench coat sits behind the desk, dark ears perking at the entrance of the newcomer. The wide brim of his fedora raises to see what visitor would stop by this late at night.” –p. vii. He wears his trench coat and fedora while sitting in his office? Well, maybe he’s just returned, exhausted, from a case — appears only in the very brief Foreword and Afterword. Too bad. It would have been nice to get a full story with him.

Rivets tells 13 stories; not cases of his own, but 13 that he’s heard of. Ocean Tigrox has started out with one of the best here; “Muskrat Blues” by Ianus Wolf. It’s specifically a pastiche of The Maltese Falcon, with Mike Harrison, a pig P.I., investigating the murder of his best friend, another P.I. – a muskrat; two prey animals in a grim & gritty city where the prey animals are usually at the bottom of the anthro-animal social pole. But Alex Richards didn’t take any guff, and neither does Harrison. Wolf packs a neat summary of Hammett’s novel (or Warner Bros.’s movie; take your pick) into a taut 25 pages of noir, with enough originality that even if you’re a fan of The Maltese Falcon, you’re not likely to guess whodunit. And enough presence of predator & prey animal traits to make this a satisfying furry story, too.

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New episodes from Culturally F’d: Twisted Tempting Furry Demons!

by Patch O'Furr

If culturallyfdyou’re not reading Dogpatch Press, you should be watching Culturally F’d!  It’s the Furry youtube series that asks:

Where does the love of anthropomorphics come from? How far back can we dig in history and mass media to really get to the bottom of it? Why does every culture across the face of the earth have a fascination with animal-people?

Here’s what’s been going on with Culturally F’d in the past month:

Episode 20: Tempting St. Anthony

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Huntress – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

51z9E3D32yL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_Huntress, by Renee Carter Hall.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, September 2015, trade paperback $9.95 (213 pages), Kindle $4.99.

Leya is a young adolescent lioness in an anthropomorphic African veld who lives in the village of Lwazi. But she doesn’t want to grow up to become just another tribal wife and mother. She dreams of becoming a karanja, a member of the nomadic band of female expert huntresses who hunt for meat for all the villages. Becoming a karanja is a prestigious, almost religious goal, but it means rigorous training and the renunciation of living with men — of ever getting married, or having children.

“The first time she’d seen them, she had been very young. But she hadn’t been afraid. The other cubs, male and female alike, had hidden behind their mothers, frightened by the huntresses’ fierce eyes and sharp weapons. Where the villagers wore beads or stones, the karanja sported necklaces of bone and hoof and claw, and their loincloths were made of zebra hide in deference to Kamara’s first kill, a material only they were permitted to wear.

They were all mesmerizing, exotic and dangerous and beautiful, their eyeshine flashing like lightning-strikes as they took their places around the fire. But there was one Leya could not look away from.

Masika, the karanjala, first among the karanja. Her headdress of fish-eagle feathers stood out from her noble face like a mane, and her loincloth was of giraffe hide, just as their first male wore. Her eyes were sharp and watchful, her every muscle toned and tensed, and like all the karanja, she proudly bore the twin scars on her chest where her breasts had been cut away. Leya sat silently, drinking in Masika’s presence, watching everything the huntress did, every movement, every manner.” (pgs. 10-11)

Leya follows her goal relentlessly, tirelessly as she grows up. She leaves her village to follow the karanja on their outskirts, and finally her perseverance impresses them enough that she is made one of their group.

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Zarafa’s stolen fursuit found in San Francisco, after big support response.

by Patch O'Furr

san-francisco-furry-zaraffa-cable-carHere’s a nice story of community problem solving.

Any time there’s a furry event in San Francisco, Zarafa Giraffe is there. He gets around so much, that he was the featured image (with me too) when SFGate news mentioned “furries” in a silly little story about “The Most Embarrassing Google Searches” per state.

Zarafa is iconic for SF Bay Area furries.  So it was a shock to hear that his fursuit was stolen:

SAN FRANCISCO FURRIES NOW TARGETS FOR ROBBERY.

That’s very nice personal coverage from Broke-Ass Stuart.  He’s a well known San Francisco personality who does travel writing, news blogging, TV hosting, and even ran for mayor.  The news tip came from Smashwolf.  It made great press, counting the city as a place for the wild and creative, and furries as a unique part of it.

Broke-Ass Stuart linked Dogpatch Press.  There was already a story here about the scene of the crime – a crossover between the subculturally hot Frolic furry party, the big party Bootie, and it’s venue, DNA Lounge.

Drag Queens vs. Furries at a legendary San Francisco Party – January 30, 2016.

The fursuit theft happened with a car break-in.  Furries speculated that they were specially targeted, but consensus held that the carry case was a random target.  There had already been high-profile efforts to reduce car robbery in the neighborhood with assistance from night life venues. NBC News reported about DNA Lounge: “After thieves targeted club staff, performers and guests, the promoters chipped in to hire security guard Jonathan Yancey.” (More at SFist.)

As crushing as the loss was, the stage was set for a very visible search.  (The attention shows what I take as a credo… if you don’t like what the media does, Be The Media.) The hunt was on to find a missing purple giraffe.  He’s a good fursona… how many of those are there?

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Scarlett: Star on the Run – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

scarlett_COVERfinalwebScarlett: Star on the Run, by Susan Schade and Jon Buller. Illustrated by Jon Buller.
NYC, Papercutz, November 2015, trade paperback $14.99 (173 pages), Kindle $8.81.

Here is another all-ages novel by Susan Schade & Jon Buller (wife & husband) in their signature format of alternating chapters in comic-book format and in traditional-novel text. (I reviewed their three-novel The Fog Mound in 2007.) It is mostly for 8- to 12-year-old children, but it has aspects that adult furry fans will enjoy. This would be a simplistic talking-animal comic book/novel for young children, if it weren’t for the revelation that the talking animals have been scientifically made intelligent and given speech.

Is Shane Pafco, the dictatorial owner of Pafco Studios, a movie producer/director or a Mad Scientist? What year is Scarlett set in, with futuristic cars and flying spycams? When Scarlett, the cat movie star of Pafco Studios, gets the chance to escape, she is quick to take it even into a snowy, freezing outdoors. She is lucky enough to be taken in by grouchy old Frank Mole, a half-crazy, gun-waving hermit who doesn’t trust any people and hears voices. He believes that a talking cat is only part of his delusion; and when Scarlett finds out that Trotter, Pafco’s experimental talking dog, has followed her, she fast-talks Frank into believing that he needs a dog, too. Scarlett wants to be a natural cat and catch mice, until Frank’s messy, vermin-filled cabin gives her the opportunity to do so.

“I don’t know,” she muses. “Something about all that SKIN and HAIR is making me lose my appetite.” (p. 29)

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