Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: April, 2018

Remembering Kim Wall, a journalist who found the best side of furries.

by Patch O'Furr

Furries are on a list of news articles by Kim Wall:

  • How Cubans deliver culture without internet
  • Inside the Ugandan Mall at the Center of China’s East African Investments
  • Asian, queer and dancing defiance: ‘Everything we do now is resistance’
  • When China’s Feminists Came to Washington
  • Ghost Stories: Idi Amin’s torture chambers
  • The Magic Kingdom Meets the Middle Kingdom in Shanghai Disneyland
  • Tour Buses to Sri Lanka’s Battlefields
  • Can This Tiny Island Restore Haitian Tourism?
  • It’s not about sex, it’s about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures

Does it feel special to be on such an interesting list? It’s on a site for Kim Wall and her work. She was an independent journalist writing about identity, gender, pop-culture, social justice and foreign policy. Tributes from people who knew her paint a portrait of a talented person full of curiosity, who made a warm and lasting impression. Her stories spread that vibe on behalf of their subjects.

This headline understands- “It’s not about sex, it’s about identity: why furries are unique among fan cultures”. The story mentions bad media attention and furries being targets of hate while they celebrate self-expression. In my opinion, we were lucky to get such a good story and it’s one of a handful of the best you can find. This is why to welcome media notice if this little subculture is going to get it.

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High Steaks, by Daniel Potter – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

High Steaks, by Daniel Potter.
El Cerrito, CA, Fallen Kitten Productions, January 2018, trade paperback, $13.99 (373 pages), Kindle $1.99.

This is Book 3 of Potter’s Freelance Familiars series, following Off Leash and Marking Territory. It follows the events in Books #1 and #2 without a What Has Gone Before, so you really need to have read the first two. Or just dive into the action.

Thomas Khatt, an unemployed librarian in Grantsville, PA, leaves a coffee shop (along with another customer) after sending out job résumés. A hit-&-run driver kills the man standing next to him, and Thomas suddenly finds himself transformed into an unanthropomorphized cougar.

In Off Leash, Thomas learns that he has been transported to “the Real World beyond the veil” that is ruled by magic. He is given the power of speech, but that’s all. He is told that he is expected to become the familiar of a wizard or witch; an involuntary magical assistant – in practice, a slave to a magus, for life.

“Yet one thing had become crystal clear; I wanted no part of this world. Losing my thumbs, my house and my girlfriend in exchange for the chance to be sold off to some pimple-faced apprentice did not sound like a fair deal to me.” (Off Leash, p. 35)

To quote from my review of Off Leash:

“Thomas decides to take charge of his own life, even if he is not familiar with the Real World yet. He faces the dangers of our “world beyond the Veil” […], and of the Real World, refusing to join the TAU [Talking Animal Union] or to become bound to a magus – or to an apprentice – as a familiar.”

“To stay off the leash, he’ll have to take advantage of the chaos caused by the local Archmagus’ death and help the Inquisition solve his murder. A pyromaniac squirrel, religious werewolves, and cat-hating cops all add to the pandemonium as Thomas attempts to become the first Freelance Familiar.” (Off Leash; blurb)

Thomas solves the murder and gains an ally; Rudy, the wise-cracking pyromaniac squirrel. In Marking Territory, Thomas becomes involved in magical politics, his werewolf girlfriend is turned into a werecow, and Grantsville is destroyed in the magus’ crossfire. Now it’s eight months later. Thomas and Rudy have led the survivors to Las Vegas – or under it:

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Fluff Party in Salt Lake City: a furry dance at one of the two gay bars in Utah.

by Patch O'Furr

Furclubbing: “A repeat/regular nightclub event by furries for furries.” The concept has been spreading since the late 2000’s. It’s a dance party independent from cons. It builds on their growth but takes things farther. It’s more ambitious than informal meets and events that happen once. Those can stay inner-focused, but this brings partnership with new kinds of venues, and new support for what they host. It crosses a line to public space, so a stranger can walk in and discover their new favorite thing. It encourages new blood and crossover to other scenes. It makes subculture thrive. It’s a movement!

Parties that give a Q&A get a featured article. See The Furclub survey for questions and party list. Here’s Fluff Party in Salt Lake City, from organizer Oaken.


The party launch: 

Fluff Party was started on April 28th, 2017, at Club Try-Angles then known as “Bar Night” in the local Utah Furry group. Fluff Party started out with a sizeable furry group, for a small major city, of around 25 attendees. During the 2017 AWU Convention in downtown SLC, “Bar Night” transformed into Fluff Party. The event, held on October 27th, ended up being the largest to date with nearly 75 attendees from Washington, Colorado, and Idaho. This was later eclipsed by the January 2018 Fluff Party which had nearly 100 attendees. In February 2018, the Party extended the weekend to include a Saturday event with its first ever After Party, held at Area 51 Club in Salt Lake City, an 18+ dance club.

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The Snake’s Song: A Labyrinth of Souls Novel, by Mary E. Lowd – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

The Snake’s Song: A Labyrinth of Souls Novel, by Mary E. Lowd.
Eugene, OR, ShadowSpinners Press, March 2018, trade paperback, $11.99 (210 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $3.99.

ShadowSpinners Press says, “Labyrinth of Souls novels must contain the idea of an underworld labyrinth. The form of the labyrinth and the nature of the underworld are left to the fevered imagination of the author. […] Most stories will lean toward dark fantasy but science fiction, horror, psychological thriller, Noir, mystery, etc. will be considered.” The Snake’s Song is its sixth novel, and its first furry one.

The Snake’s Song is a work of fabulism rather than traditional furry fiction. “The snake sang,” it begins. “The snake sang and mice knew better than to listen. Mice and rats and songbirds and frogs – none of them listened to snakes. Songbirds and frogs sang their own songs; mice and rats told stories. None of them listened to snakes.

And neither did squirrels.

But one day, a gray squirrel named Witch-Hazel stopped to listen to a soft hissing carried on the wind, a susurrus coming from a tunnel, hidden beneath a bush. With melancholy sighs and mesmerizing murmurs, the hissing voice sang a song of days gone by, days long ago when the earth and sky and underground were bound together with a river that flowed in endless, looping circles; tree branches embraced the heavens, and tree roots held the depths in their woody arms; and all the creatures of Earth could make a pilgrimage into the sky to meet the All-Being who had created every animal.” (p. 13, reformatted)

Squirrels don’t listen to snakes, but now Witch-Hazel does:

“‘Tell me about the All-Being,’ Witch-Hazel asked breathlessly.

‘The All-Being is why birds can fly, fish breathe water, beavers are builders, and bees can turn pollen into honey. Each of them reflects the glory of the All-Being.’

Witch-Hazel wondered how she reflected the All-Being’s glory. ‘How about squirrels?’ she asked.” (p. 14)

Is the snake trying to lure her into its underground lair? But she dimly remembers her mother telling her of the All-Being when she was a tiny kitten, and of the Celestial Fragments – the Sun Shard that grants strength, the Star Sliver that grants endless breath, and the Moon Opal that grants flight. Witch-Hazel is too wary to follow the snake into its hole, but she can’t stop thinking about the Celestial Fragments and the All-Being.

“Witch-Hazel pictured a creature with one bat wing and one sparrow wing; a green cat eye and a yellow coyote eye; a long rabbit ear and a round mouse ear; a deer antler and an antelope horn; a hoofed foreleg and a webbed paw; a mountain lion’s golden haunches and a squirrel’s silver tail – because no creature on Earth has a tail more beautiful than a squirrel.” (pgs. 17-18)

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Artists wanted – Hugo the Pink Cat is Artist of the Month, April 2018.

by Patch O'Furr

ARTISTS WANTED! Please share. Artist of the month is a program to commission and promote furries. It’s paid by site funding with gratitude to patrons. There will be a headline post for the chosen furry, and regular comics may be added too. Here’s art that previously appeared, and this month’s banner and comic from Hugo the Pink Cat.

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Chlorophylle et le Monstre des Trois Sources, by Jean-Luc Cornette (writer) and René Hausman (artist) – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Chlorophylle et le Monstre des Trois Sources, by Jean-Luc Cornette (writer) and René Hausman (artist). Illustrated.
Brussels, Le Lombard, March 2016, hardcover, €14,99 (48 pages), Kindle €9,99.

Thanks, as always with French bandes dessinées, to Lex Nakashima for loaning this to me to review.

I am a big fan of the original Chlorophylle stories written and drawn by Raymond Macherot (1924-2008) in the 1950s and 1960s. They have all been reprinted in an attractive three-volume Intégrale set, which I applaud and recommend.

Today Le Lombard is having new adventures produced of many of its most popular comic strips of the French-Belgian “Golden Age” of the 1950s and 1960s, by the most prestigious artists of today. (You should see what has been done with Mickey Mouse!)

Both Cornette and Hausman have had long careers in the French-Belgian comic-book industry as both artists and writers. I will speculate that the main attraction of Chlorophylle and the Monster of Three Sources is Hausman’s detailed watercolor art.

I can appreciate it intellectually. But on a basic emotional level, it seems wrong. It’s like seeing a Donald Duck or Uncle Scrooge story by Jack Kirby or Art Spiegelman in their own art styles – or, contrariwise, a Captain America adventure or a Maus episode drawn in Carl Barks’ art style. But this is being done deliberately.

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Black Friday (The Valens Legacy), by Jan Stryvant – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Black Friday, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, September 2017, trade paperback, $9.99 (226         pages, Kindle $3.95.

Perfect Strangers, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, September 2017, trade paperback, $9.99 (240 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Over Our Heads, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, October 2017, trade paperback, $10.99 (252 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Head Down, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, November 2017, trade paperback, $10.99 (250 pages), Kindle $3.99.

When It Falls, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, January 2018, trade paperback, $10.99 (284 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Stand On It, by Jan Stryvant.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, January 2018, trade paperback, $10.99 (256 pages), Kindle $3.99.

The first sentence of Black Friday is, “Sean looked both ways as he started across the street, not that there was much traffic during the day here at the University of Nevada, Reno campus this late in the day.” The third sentence is, “Mid-terms had just finished and he was pretty happy with his grades this semester, he’d finally gotten the hang of this whole ‘college’ thing, so what if it had taken him nearly three years!” Sean may be a college student, but I’ll bet he hasn’t been taking any writing courses.

Black Friday is the first novel in the six-volume The Valens Legacy. It is one of the five novels on the 2017 Ursa Major Awards ballot for Best Anthropomorphic Novel of the Year. It has 506(!) customer reviews currently on Amazon (most books are lucky to get 10 customer reviews), mostly five-star and 4-star reviews, although I agree more with the first cited, a two-star review: “Entirely avoidable grammatical mistakes, misuse of terms and DEAR LORD the treatment of adjectives!”

The other four Ursa Major finalists for Best Novel are Always Gray in Winter by Mark J. Engels, Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending by Mary E. Lowd, Kismet by Watts Martin, and The Wayward Astronomer by Geoffrey Thomas. I have seen all four of these discussed on furry-fandom websites. I have not seen any indication that anyone in furry fandom has been reading Black Friday. Where did its nominations come from?

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Furry founder Fred Patten saw more partying, less fandom in 2018 with the Ursa Major Awards.

by Patch O'Furr

Fred Patten started off with a message to Patch O’Furr:

This is a rant, as much as anything.  I wrote, as Secretary of the ALAA (AKA the Ursa Major Awards) to the AnthrOhio Committee, to invite it to host next year’s award presentation ceremony.  AnthrOhio is the new name of former Morphicon in Columbus, Ohio. They presented the Ursa Majors in 2008, 2011, and 2015.

I got a very nice reply from Danny Travis, this year’s Director of Programming for AnthrOhio.  He thinks it’s a great idea and has agreed.  But his reply implies that he’s never heard of the Ursa Major Awards, and that he was unaware that they have been presented at Morphicon/AnthrOhio in the past.

This makes me wonder how many of today’s furry conventions are being organized by people who are mainly interested in putting on a big party with fursuits, and little interest or knowledge in furry fandom beyond their own convention, including their own con’s history.  Some like Anthrocon with Dr. Sam Conway and CaliFur with Rod O’Riley (and any con with staffers who have been around for a while) know what’s going on. But how many are being organized by young people who only use the trappings of furry fandom to have a good time?

You have been following not only the conventions but a lot of the smaller furry parties and raves.  Do you get the impression that most attendees are more interested in partying then other active fandom?

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“ISN’T IT EXCITING!”- COMICS AND DEFACED VINYL FROM ERYSHÉ FALAFE

by Bessie

Welcome to Bessie, of Marfedblog, a comics review and criticism site. There’s furry stuff there, and much more, with devoted curation by a fan doing exactly what they love. If you like this, give it a follow. And expect more syndicated content reposted here. (- Patch)

Even in a room full of people wearing cartoon animal costumes, a guy lugging a box of old vinyl to his table is going to stand out, especially when he starts drawing and painting on them. This is what caught my eye the first time I saw Eryshé Falafe, also known as Joe Meyer, at Pittsburgh’s Anthrocon around 2011. I ended up getting one myself that still takes up pride of place in my office, and eventually ended up carting a not insubstantial pile of vinyl across the pond for him to deface on my latest pilgrimage to Pittsburgh. One of them was the bawdily British  “Sinful Rugby Songs” which was quickly snapped up by a commissioner who also saw it’s parody potential.

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ORANGE IS THE NEW FLUFF: Furry Life in Prison – guest post by Farrah “Sisk” Barney

by Patch O'Furr

Before the web, zines were a gateway to subculture. In the 1990’s, one of my subscriptions was to Industrialnation, a zine for music where robots met punk. I never expected the prison-industrial complex to get involved. It offered a free ad for subscribers, so to be silly, I put something like “send pranks and hate mail”. The underground obliged. I got comics, tapes, and a cursed baby doll with monster fangs and one eye popped out (plus spiders, nails and burned nipples). It was gross-out hilarious. But the most unexpected thing was mail from lonely prisoners. A few of the letters needed to get picked up with tongs and thrown in a barbeque, but most were just forgotten people who’d write to anyone with an open mailbox. It was almost like bottling it and throwing it in the sea. They were in no position to hurt me, and just wanted a voice from outside. Now imagine having a family that didn’t communicate well, and a parent intercepting a letter and shitting squirrels about it. I felt misunderstood. That’s how giving an ear to society’s trash can become mind opening.

http://www.saveoursisk.org is the introduction you need for why Sisk is jailed for a sex offense. Please be familiar with “Sisk’s Story” to make informed comments about her guest post.

I don’t claim to know more facts, and I have questions, but here’s some context I found important. For sex charges against an LGBT person, with extradition from Utah to Arizona, one place is Mormon and the other has Joe Arpaio’s “concentration camps”.  It seems like being gay in Uganda and getting sent to Mordor. If this did involve misunderstanding/prejudice, expect railroading. Whatever the case may be, she’s getting what a court deemed to be fair punishment. Here’s what Sisk has to say about it. – Patch

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