Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: May, 2017

The ConFurence Archive: a new resource for fandom history, with Q&A by Mark Merlino.

by Patch O'Furr

Dogpatch Press is honored to host guest writer Mark Merlino.  He’s a fandom founder who helped found the first furry convention (ConFurence Zero in 1989). Mark maintains the Prancing Skiltaire house in So Cal, with fellow fans Rod O’Riley and Changa Lion.  Below is his submission, followed by a part 2 with additional questions I sent.  

Mark is announcing a treasure trove of pre-internet furry lore.  Now you can see stuff like the ConFurence Zero conbook. You may love this if you got involved in the days of trading ‘zines by mail (like me), or if you just want to compare what cons do now to how they did it decades ago.  Now we have a thriving subculture on top of the 1980’s fan ways, with unique features like a cottage industry for fursuiting, dance events beyond compare, and cons every weekend around the world.  But some things never change – this blog is basically my ideal 90’s ‘zine, except I’d love to add more art as it grows. ( – Patch)

Mark in 1989 – and check out the ConFurence Zero Aftermath Report.

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Alamo City Furry Invasion: The Furry Furry West – New con for October 2017.

by Patch O'Furr

Registration is open for the Alamo City Furry Invasion : The Furry Furry West, October 6-8, 2017.  Follow on twitter: @FurryInvasion

Yay for a new frontier of fun in Texas!  The well-established con is Furry Fiesta in Dallas. The new Furry Invasion is a 4-hour drive south, and thoughtfully scheduled 6 months after.  This fandom IS big enough for the both of them.  That bodes well for success, and it already seems to be going great. They sold out their original hotel (the Marriott), and upgraded (with transfer of reservations) to a nicer place.  Now it’s at San Antonio’s El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel.

What’s cool in the southwest furry scene?  Besides cons, I previously posted about independent efforts to start furry dance parties (a small series by Whines, and FurNightATX by Haven, who is also the founder and fursuiter mascot of HavenCon.) Haven is one of the Guests of Honor at the upcoming ACFI, along with Telephone, Omnom, and Thorgi.

Did I say cool? This con is so far south, I think fursuiters will be glad it’s in October.  So mosey on up to their registration page, and get deputized with a badge for fun.  (-Patch)

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Animalis, by John Peter Jones – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

Animalis, by John Peter Jones
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, October 2014, trade paperback $12.99 (330 pages), Kindle $0.99.

Animalis begins with 17-year-old pod pilot Jax Minette, his same-age best friend and commanding officer Hank Schneps, and two other pod pilots being launched into low orbit to intercept a space plane controlled by a rat Animalis.

“At the end of the sparring field, the path turned and joined a road running through the middle of the small base, passing the armory and storehouse. Jax tilted his head up to gaze at the launch shaft of the base’s airport disappearing into the clouds. It was used to sling space planes almost to low orbit, saving thousands of pounds of fuel. It was a magnificent sight. The honey comb pattern of the beams started wide at the brightly lit base and rose up to a slender point a thousand feet in the air, like a giant had pinched the metal and dragged it into the sky.

The view was cut off as they entered the hangar beside the launch shaft and continued walking toward the Hornet. The barracks, the mess hall, the officers quarters, and the command center were all part of the Hornet – a monstrous space plane with two pod bays, four turrets, and room to house forty men.” (p. 8)

Mankind is fighting for survival against the Animalis. The Animalis are all vicious killers.

“Arena fights – Two Animalis fighting to the death. Not just to the death, but till the loser was devoured. Or worse, till the body was thrown into the crowd of Animalis watching in the stands, and they devoured the loser. The Animalis were still mostly animals, and animals needed to hunt. It was better than Animalis hunting on the streets, as long as you didn’t have to watch it.” (p. 21)

The Animalis are supposed to be savage, feral animals. Then how do they build arenas? How do they build space planes and put them into orbit? But they are clearly hostile to humans:

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What’s Yiffin’? – May 2017 edition of syndicated furry news.

by André Kon

Welcome back, Dogpatch Press readers, to another installment of What’s Yiffin’! In the introduction to last month’s update, we mentioned that due to the manner in which this series is produced, some “big” stories (such as the quagmire surrounding Rocky Mountain Furry Con) are forced ahead one month.  Fear not, in case you were hoping for some “hard-hitting” fake news coverage of what is pretty much yesterday’s news by now, look no further – because the What’s Yiffin’ news team has you covered! Without further ado, here’s all the news that’s fit to yiff! Four stories to either amuse your brain, or make you sigh and lose even more hope in the fandom. Or both.

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The Time He Desires, by Kyell Gold – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Time He Desires, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Kamui.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, December 2016, trade paperback $9.95 (113 pages), Kindle $7.99.

Kyell Gold’s novella The Time He Desires and novel Love Match have been written simultaneously, so neither one is a spinoff of the other. Aziz Alhazhari, the cheetah protagonist in The Time He Desires, is the father of Marquize Alhazhari, the protagonist’s best friend in Love Match.

Both are set in Gold’s anthropomorphic Forester University universe. Aziz is a 45-year-old Muslim from the nation of Madiyah who immigrated to the Union of the States with his wife Halifa and his young son Marquize two decades ago. He settled in Upper Devos (read: Brooklyn), bought a pawnshop that grows to a chain of four pawnshops, joined a mosque, became active in the community, and has been living more-or-less happily ever after.

Now he is confronted with a major cultural change combined with a midlife crisis. His son, now a teenager, has declared his homosexuality and walked out. He and his wife have been drifting apart; they are still friends but are no longer in love, and have developed separate interests. Aziz is interested in his pawnshops and his mosque – he goes there for evening prayers every day – while Halifa has gotten active in local charities.

Most importantly, and what brings the crisis to the present, is that the Vorvarts group, a huge developer, has been moving into the community. Vorvarts had previously bought two whole blocks for an Upper Devos Homeporium super-mall, “a six-story blue glass and chrome monster” that clashes with the old brownstone apartment buildings and small shops of the neighborhood. Vorvarts had to get approval from the Upper Devos Business Council, the local homeowners’ association, which had been easy. Vorvarts had promised that the fancy Homeporium would bring lots of new shoppers and trade to the community.

“But that had been five years ago, and as it happened, the people […] who’d been forced to find somewhere else to live when their buildings had been bought, they had been part of the neighborhood not easily replaced. The people who lived and shopped at the Homeporium generally stayed there, not venturing outside to quaint old Upper Devos, and when they did come into the pawnshop, distinctive in their clean, crisply cut clothes, they gawked about with the air of tourists visiting a historical monument. Aziz’s business had fallen off; few of those people were hard up enough to have to pawn their possessions, or interested in buying someone else’s memories.” (p. 1)

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Ponyville Confidential: The History and Culture of My Little Pony – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Ponyville Confidential: The History and Culture of My Little Pony, 1981-2016, by Sherilyn Connelly
Jefferson, NC, McFarland & Co., March 2017, trade paperback $18.99 (x + 254 pages), Kindle $8.99.
Order at McFarland’s Website – order line 800-253-2187

Ponyville Confidential doesn’t contain any artwork. That’s a tipoff that this book has not been authorized or approved by Hasbro, the copyright holder of the My Little Pony franchise.

Connelly emphasizes and re-emphasizes in her Introduction that although she is a fan of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic TV program and the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movies, she is not a My Little Pony (note the lack of italics) fan. As a child in the 1980s, she hated being talked down to, particularly as a girl-child, and this included all of the girls’ TV cartoons of the time; Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake and especially My Little Pony ‘n’ Friends. She didn’t watch it. She didn’t start watching My Little Pony until Friendship Is Magic in mid-2011 (after Season 1 had finished its initial broadcast), when friends had told her, “Hey, it’s a girl’s toy commercial, but there’s something here.” By then Connelly was a film critic for The Village Voice and SF Weekly (an alternate newspaper for the San Francisco Bay Region, not science-fiction), so she was prepared to study the entire My Little Pony phenomenon, including the Bronies, as both a professional outsider and as a fan – of the post-2010 MLP:FIM, anyhow.

“This book is divided into five parts. Part 1, ‘Family Appreciation Day,’ looks at the history of the franchise from the release of Generation 1 in the early 1980s through the late 1990s, showing how long after both the toys and cartoons had ceased production, My Little Pony continued to be criticized in the media as the worst of children’s entertainment in a way that similar brands marketed toward boys were not.” (p. 4)

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Nova Seed movie review- a rare find of sci fi animation.

by Patch O'Furr

Gonzo, trippy, visionary sci-fi is a rich mine for cult movies. A new gem has come to light.

Nova Seed is a great hand-drawn cartoon. You can’t tell from the high quality, but it was animated to feature length (63 minutes) by just one guy in 4 years. (There were a few helpers for stuff like music).  I’m writing for furry fans, and furries love art that’s not mainstream but is full of guts and talent. That’s how this movie works inside limits to exceed expectations.  If your animation gold standard is a blockbuster like Zootopia, gold is common compared to a gem like this.

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Civilized Beasts Poetry Anthology, 2015 Edition – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

Civilized Beasts, Poetry Anthology, 2015 Edition, editor-in-chief Laura Govednik.
Manvil, TX, Weasel Press, December 2015, trade paperback $8.99 (86 pages), Kindle $2.99.

This small, slim volume has four Editors and an Editor-In-Chief. Editor Jason Huitt (Lunostophiles) explains in his Foreword that poetry has an image problem; that it “is hard to sell to the masses.” (The other three Editors are Altivo Overo, Televassi, and George Squares.) I agree with his reason that it has a cultural stereotype of being ‘for the elite’. I would also say that it’s too short and plotless.

Civilized Beasts, 2015 Edition contains 55 poems by 33 authors. Most are a single page or less long. That makes Civilized Beasts best for reading in short bursts, a few poems at a time. The anthology is a charity for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “All proceeds from this anthology go towards the Wildlife Conservation Society.”

It is hard to get really “furry” in one page. Only a couple have what might be called a furry plot; notably “Two Thieves on a Bluff” by George Squares, and “Why the Coyote Is: A Legend I Mostly Made Up But Is Undeniably True” by David Andrew Cowan. Most poems are about the beauty of nature; wild animals fleetingly glimpsed, animals frozen at night by a car’s headlights, animals’ eyes glowing at night, and so on. There are several about “trickster coyote”, but almost all are about real coyotes:

“Brown and gray

Sand in a desert sunset

Golden eyes laughing at and with you

Here and gone”

from God’s Dog by BanWynn Oakshadow

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Call for help with the Fullerton Murder story; and The Furry Code Of Silence.

by Patch O'Furr

Furry reached new heights in 2016. Disney came to our party.  There was a low point of a chemical attack on Midwest FurFest that turned into a high quality Vice News story.  Notice the title, “CSI Fur Fest” – I’d like to think it was chosen to make up for the other CSI, who did us a disservice. But this time “the media” earned a nomination for a 2016 Ursa Major award.

It was cool that Vice did that story. The media was on our side.  That’s the theme of this post.

In 2017, there was the unreal experience of Furry Nazis grabbing the wheel for a minute and making us swerve into no-man’s land.  Maybe we’re getting back on track, but don’t relax.  Those headlines were rough, but rougher ones are coming.

Look at California, where you might say Furry Fandom really got started. In SoCal, the Skiltaire House is where you can hang out with the founders of the first convention and have a friendly night of fursuiting or watching animation.  That’s where Jennifer Yost was known as a mom to others, including her daughter Daydreamer Fox. They went together.

One day in the fall of 2016, Daydreamer went missing. The Skiltaire put out an alert. I shared it and got contact from a reporter. Then Daydreamer was found. It wasn’t a missing person alert any more. The Yost parents and a family friend were dead and two other kids were orphaned.

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The Earth Tigers, by Frances Pauli – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Earth Tigers, by Frances Pauli
Moses Lake, WA, Gastropod Press, February 2017, trade paperback $7.99 (165 pages), Kindle $0.99.

The Earth Tigers is Star Spiders, Volume One. Pauli considers it to be s-f, not furry, but it has talking spiders in it. Volume Two, tentatively titled Sky Fires, will be published in 2018.

The Earth Tigers is dedicated:
For all the eight-legged beauties, big and small.
Without them, we’d live in a much less friendly
environment.

Unfortunately for reviewing, The Earth Tigers begins in the midst of deliberate confusion and only gradually reveals what is going on. So any traditional plot synopsis would be full of spoilers.

It starts with a spider, Horatch, who is looking for a human to become a “candidate”. He (there is a reason for him to be a male rather than a female spider) choses Milyi, a young girl alone in a forest.

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