Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: March, 2016

“Furry Film Festival:” thoughts from Fred Patten and Califur’s video programmer.

by Patch O'Furr

Gideon & BuckHopper

“The San Francisco Furry Film Festival” was a fantasy article inspired by many potential reasons for why it could happen for real.  A movie journalist even told me it was an idea “way past due!”

Once put together, it could have built-in audience at any con.  However, the practical work of organizing a festival wouldn’t be too different from making a small con.  With such a special niche, that puts it out of reach unless a team of dedicated movie lovers gather around the idea.  That hasn’t happened yet… but 2016 has brought amazing Furry movie events.  There were sold-out furry screenings for Zootopia, and the furry-made documentary ‘Fursonas‘ won unprecedented notice on the festival circuit.

A furry film fest isn’t so far-fetched.  Here’s hoping it happens.  Meanwhile, below are reactions from Changa, video programmer for Califur and admin of Furry.today (check the site for great videos!) And then Fred Patten.

– Patch

From Changa:

One of the reasons I started furry.today was to keep myself constantly looking for new furry shorts and animations and keep track of them for things like our Parties and the animation festivals I had been putting on at Califur. Here was the play list for the Animation Festivals we showed in 2015.  Warning: Lots of embeds.  I mostly put that page up not linked anywhere as it was my way of handing out a link to people asking me what specific films were after the con.  A dedicated Furry film festival is a great idea (not sure of the logistics.) From your article, I haven’t seen Finsterworld but was aware of Furry Force – they were at Califur, they received the Ursa Major award and it was rather awesome. I do know about your site and it’s cool that you noticed my video blog.

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

Furry Film Festival

The suggestion of a Furry Film Festival makes my mind overflow with potential titles. Such a festival could easily be filled by excellent but obscure features (many foreign).  That would have the advantages of probably being cheaper to rent than those by large American studios like Disney and DreamWorks (which might snub a Furry Film Festival even if it was willing to pay really expensive rentals), and more enticing to the public that might be overly familiar with big American studio “classics” anyway.  Here are some suggestions (emphasizing what I would like to see):

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WiLD party in Mission Viejo, CA – organizer DJ Ear gives a Q&A for the Furclub Survey.

by Patch O'Furr

11659455_1419657931695719_650369260885082143_nFurclubbing: “A repeat/regular nightclub event by furries for furries.”  It’s a New Thing that’s been spreading since the late 2000’s.  This kind of dance party is independent from cons.  This builds on the growth of cons, and takes things farther.  It’s more ambitious than events that happen once, house parties, or informal meets.  Those can stay inner-focused for friends who already know each other.   This brings partnership with venues that aren’t hotels, and new supportive interest in the kind of events they host.  It crosses a line to public space.  A stranger may walk in off the street to discover their new favorite thing.  It encourages new blood, and crossover to other scenes. It makes subculture thrive. It’s a movement!

See the list of parties at The Furclub survey.  Any party that gives a Q&A will get a featured article.

Featured here is WiLD, a new event in Mission Viejo, CA.  So Cal furs have complained of a lack of furry parties.  With Tail! recently started not too far away, WiLD promises to amplify awesome developments for one of the longest existing populations of the fandom.  WiLD’s first venue was lost with ownership change, so it seems like hard work to get established, but their new place looks like it has a lot of potential. LOVE the toony graphics! Party organizer DJ Ear tells more:

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Claw the Way to Victory, Edited by AnthroAquatic – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Pup Matthias

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

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Cover by Jenn ‘Pac’ Rodriguez

Claw the Way to Victory, edited by AnthroAquatic
Capalaba, Queensland, Australia, Jaffa Books, January 2016, trade paperback $17.50 (285 pages), Kindle $5.00.

Claw the Way to Victory is an original-fiction anthology of eleven short stories by nine authors, “each showcasing a different sport and [showing] just how the instincts of an animal matched with the intelligence of a human can help or hurt a player. Scratching? Biting? Against the rules? Not this time.” (blurb) It is published by Jaffa Books in Australia, but printed and also sold by editor AnthroAquatic in the U.S., and was released by him at Anthro New England 2016 in Cambridge, MA on January 21-24; hence the price in U.S. dollars and the Amazon Kindle edition.

In “Descent” by TrianglePascal (gliding), Anthony, a mallard TV reporter, interviews Lacy Gallant, a golden eagle who is about to attempt the first unassisted thousand-foot descent off a cliff into a sheer gorge in history – without a parachute.

“With the camera off, Anthony let himself slouch back into his camp chair, then eyed Lacy again. The eagle was watching the bear and the squirrel [Anthony’s camera crew] with curiosity while she sipped her coffee. She looked impossibly relaxed considering what she was going to be attempting that day. She was dressed in a tank top and a tight pair of shorts, both of them specifically designed to reveal as much of her plumage as possible. It showed off the impressive musculature that stretched from her shoulders down to her powerful arms. Despite how dirty and ragtag the rest of her looked, the flight feathers hanging down from those arms were more immaculately cared for than the claws of most supermodels. There was a healthy sheen about them that bespoke hours of daily care.” (p. 11)

The mammals in the sports camera crew think she’s crazy. Anthony, as a bird but not a hunter-diver, can dimly appreciate what she feels when she’s gliding.

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The Shadows That Linger, by M. Andrew Rudder – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

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Cover by Randy Thompson

The Shadows That Linger, by M. Andrew Rudder.
Dallas, TX, Argyll Productions, July 2015, trade paperback $17.95 (314 pages), Kindle $7.99.

The Shadows That Linger is a superhero comic book in text form, in a funny-animal world.

“Superpowers had begun to appear five years ago, and with those powers came superheroes. With superheroes simultaneously came supervillains, government agencies to try and sponsor, control, or extinguish them, and a different kind of warfare.” (p. 5)

Among anthropomorphic animals or humans. Well, if I suddenly gained superstrength, superspeed, the ability to fly or to phase through solid objects, invulnerability, or anything else like that, I don’t think that the first things I’d do are to design a flamboyant costume and name for myself, and get together with similar individuals to form a club of superheroes – or, if I decided to become a supervillain, to join others in a society of supervillains. But maybe that’s just me.

Let’s see: The Protectors in Seattle are the good guys. They include Thunderwolf, a “muscular wolf” with a “shockingly blue Mohawk crackling with static electricity”; White Magus, an arctic fox with shimmering fur dressed in a tuxedo, “brandishing a ruby-topped cane like a sword”; Pathfinder, the leader, “a husky, tall and muscular, dressed in segmented body armor that gave her freedom of movement while also protecting her from those criminals who preferred guns to lasers” who can track anything; Zahnrad, a diminutive female pine marten with a thick German accent “dressed in functional overalls” who can undo property damage – well, you get the idea. The Consortium are the supervillains, with Puppeteer, “a fox in black leather motorcycle gear” who controls minds; Firestarter, a superfast female dhole dressed in “a tight outfit in red, black, and blue, completed by a streamlined helmet with a tight visor over her eyes”; Dazzlewolf, garishly costumed who can create multiple copies of himself; and others.

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Dudley & Gilderoy: A Nonsense, by Algernon Blackwood – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Pup Matthias

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

517OCb8M0tL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Dudley & Gilderoy: A Nonsense, by Algernon Blackwood.
London, Ernest Benn Ltd, December 1929, hardcover 8/6 (281 pages).

Algernon Blackwood (1869-1951) was a prominent British author who wrote many literary fantasies and ghost stories during the early 20th century. His John Silence was one of the most popular psychic detectives during the heyday of that literary genre just before World War I. H. P. Lovecraft named him as a “modern master” of supernatural horror.

Dudley & Gilderoy, published toward the end of his literary career, is an anomaly. Because it features a talking cat and a parrot, and is not a supernatural novel in the horror sense, it has been described as a children’s fantasy although there is no evidence that Blackwood or the book’s British or American publishers ever considered it to be for children. Everett F. Bleiler, in his monumental The Guide to Supernatural Fiction (1983), describes it as “A moving story, although the tragic ending is disconcerting.”

The novel begins with a quotation from the then-recent The Modern Cat: Her Mind and Manners. An Introduction to Comparative Psychology, by G. S. Gates (Macmillan, 1928):

“an attempt to prove that the cat is a more delicate organism and of a higher order of intelligence than any other four-footed beast … also possesses a language much like the Chinese and possibly derived from it. In the word part of the language there are, probably, not more than 600 fundamental words, all others being derivatives.”

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Victernus, by Baumarius – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

victuernusVicternus, by Baumarius.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, November 2015, hardcover $25.00, trade paperback $14.99 (301 pages), Kindle $1.00.

Here is another grabber beginning.

“Namara drew the hot cell phone away from his face slowly. Shifting his attention to the television across his bright, clean living room, he watched as a fresh feed streamed in on a live news channel. Soldiers under the new administration broke down the doors to his lab and were streaming into the lobby. He grumbled, ‘Lynn…’ as the reporter said that the research done there was going to be repurposed for the public. A familiar voice emerged from below, and he remembered that he was still talking to his friend. He lifted the phone back up, ‘Mahalia? I have to go. Lynn finally did it. No…meet me at the sanctuary. If all goes well, I’ll be there in a few days.’” (p. 1)

But it goes downhill from there. Namara Galvarros, a Puerto Rican, turns himself on page 7 into the anthropomorphic wolf shown on Whiluna’s cover. From there on, Victernus is a fairly typical s-f novel of a tiny group of freethinking scientific rebels vs. an oppressive reactionary government that wants to seize the scientists’ new technology to control the public and to stay in power. The important difference is that these scientific rebels are led by Namara, first as an intelligent wolf, and later as the wolf-man.

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Rat’s Reputation, by Michael H. Payne – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Pup Matthias

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

rat-cover

Cover by Louvelex

Rat’s Reputation, by Michael H. Payne. Illustrated by Louvelex.
St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, July 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (viii + 359 pages).

To pat myself on the back, when I edited the first anthology of anthropomorphic short fiction from pioneering furry fanzines of the late 1980s and 1990s (2003), the earliest story that I chose was Michael H. Payne’s “Rat’s Reputation” from FurVersion #16, May 1989. Rat’s Reputation the novel is Payne’s fixup and expansion of his “Around About Ottersgate” short fiction featuring Rat and his neighbors of the animal community of Ottersgate and environs. It’s his second novel in the “Around About Ottersgate” world, following The Blood Jaguar (Tor Books, December 1998; reprinted Sofawolf Press, June 2012).

“The rustling grew louder, seemed to come closer, and Alphonse [a gypsy squirrel] stopped as the ground started to shake.

An earthquake? He’d been through a couple when the caravan traveled out west, but here?

The shaking grew more violent with each passing second, and he was huddling down, glad he was out in the woods where nothing could really fall on him, when with a crash like a landslide, something tore out of the ground ahead, molten rock fountaining all fire-red and ash-black up over his head to smash into the trees, cracking and falling in a perfect circle around the pit of lava that yawned open, a sudden sulfurous stink plastering Alphonse’s face.

Then everything froze, Alphonse blinking to clear his eyes, a lumpy mass of darkness rising from the pit, its vast golden eyes swinging around to fix on Alphonse. The silence went on and on until a voice spoke, soft and rough as a step into sandy soil: ‘I reckon you know who I am, son.’

Alphonse could only nod.” (p. 7)

When the High Ones call you, you come. When the High Ones give you a duty, you do that duty. Alphonse’s duty is to find the baby rat on the streambank and raise him up. Except that the rat isn’t a baby; he’s four years old.

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Free speech, Fursonas movie, and all the controversy in the media – NEWSDUMP (3-22-16)

by Patch O'Furr

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

Free speech victory led by Vermont Furs.

Fursuiters were banned from costuming on the street, and it was unfair.  Burlington VT had an antiquated anti-mask law to regulate groups like the KKK.  In the 1960’s, the officials who made the law could never imagine the future-people hobby of fursuiting.  Imagine a fursuit parade colliding with the hooded creeps.  It would be like matter meeting antimatter, with an explosion of rainbows and a fallout of fluff for miles around.  To update the law to better serve it’s spirit, members of the Vermont Furs went in front of the city council, and got the law changed. Now it only bans hiding behind masks to commit crime.  Hugging isn’t a crime yet, so thanks guys for setting a great example nationwide.  Fursonas are free expression!

There’s video here, and from Vermont Public Radio:

Last year, two men were detained by Burlington Police for violating the ordinance by wearing masks to a political rally. The detention was controversial, and the head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Vermont chapter questioned the constitutionality of the mask ban.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said that incident, paired with pushback from a community of “furries” – people who like to dress up as furry, caricaturized animals – led the city to reexamine its mask ordinance.

The co-moderator of Vermont Furs got the media to call furries “a collection of artists, writers, animators, actors, and our passion is all things cartoon animals.”  (Notice what they don’t call it.)   On Furaffinity, Zander Stealthpaw noticed that the furs helped much more than their own small group:

You guys help contribute to a very good cause, and I’m sure Vermont Comic Con would be just as ecstatic over this change.

“Fursonas” documentary movie gets a national tour, a pile of press, and spirited discussion.

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Hunters Unlucky, by Abigail Hilton – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

UntitledHunters Unlucky, by Abigail Hilton. Illustrated by Sarah Cloutier. Maps by Jeff McDowall.
Winter Park, FL, Pavonine Books, July 2014, trade paperback $19.99 ([9 +] 672 pages), Kindle $9.99.

“He walked in darkness. How long he’d been there, he could not say. Occasionally, he distinguished the silhouettes of rocks or faint light reflecting off pools of water. He stayed well away from the water. Sometimes he heard noises – rustling, the rattle of pebbles, a soft sigh like fur over stone.

I will not run.

But he walked faster. He was looking for something … something he did not think he would find. He heard dripping, and that was normal, but then he heard a sharp patter, like an animal shaking water from its fur. Another swish, closer this time.

I will not break. I will not run.

Somewhere in the darkness, something began to laugh. ‘Hello, Arcove.’

Then he ran.” (p. 112)

Hunters Unlucky is a collection of Hilton’s five separate novels in that series; Storm, Arcove, Keesha, Teek, and Treace. They were also broadcast on her podcast beginning on November 10, 2014 and serialized two episodes per week through July 2, 2015. But they flow together smoothly into a single novel. Arcove, for instance, ends with a real cliffhanger. Get them all together in one handy book.

Hunters Unlucky has been compared favorably by many reviewers with Watership Down, The Jungle Book, the Warrior Cats series by “Erin Hunter”, and practically every dramatic natural talking-animal fantasy. It is different in being devoted (at first) to two groups of fictitious animals on the large island of Lidian; the ferryshaft, basically intelligent omnivorous furry deer or llamas, and the lion-like creasia cats. Other intelligent animals include the large foxlike curb, the eaglelike fly-ary, the telshee and the lishty, both sea mammals roughly analogous to furry sea lions. There are also many dumb prey animals such as sheep, rabbits, frogs, and turtles, which are sometimes eaten as well as grass by the omnivorous ferryshaft.

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How did Disney inspire Furry fandom? A look at early influences by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

How Disney Influenced Furry Fandom is an artist’s thoughts shared in this week’s Newsdump.323px-Horrifying_Look_at_the_Furries

(Patch:)  Furry artist Joe Rosales focuses on California fandom in its formative years, including fursuiting.  It concludes that Disney should get major credit.  I liked it, but it doesn’t give enough credit for sci fi fandom, and misses early fursuiters like Robert Hill who were not professional (and not G-rated, either.)  The unnamed animator must be Shawn Keller, maker of the notorious Furry Fans flash animation and comic.  (If he didn’t want to be named, he shouldn’t have published “Shawn Keller’s Horrifying Look at The Furries.“)

I sent it to Fred Patten and asked for his thoughts.  In between, a similar media article happened on a psychic wavelength:

VICE: Furries Love Zootopia.

Here’s what Fred wrote in response to the first one.

(Fred:) This is very good, but you’re giving Disney credit for too much influence.

First, define early furry fandom. 1980 to … 1983? 1985? 1990? Don’t forget, by 1980 and for the next decade, Walt Disney and the Disney Studio were pretty much Old History. Carl Barks was retired. In comics, Marvel’s Howard the Duck (Steve Gerber), DC’s Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (Scott Shaw!), and Pacific Comics’ Destroyer Duck (Jack Kirby) were the New Wave; the new influences. In underground comix, there were Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton. In independent comics, there were Steve Leialoha and Michael Gilbert in Quack!.  … (Fred, what about the great Bucky O’Hare comic? – Patch)

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