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FUTURE FURSUITING: furry’s most original creations and the rise of tech-enabled smart suits.

by Patch O'Furr

The most original creations of furry fandom.

Here’s a fun feature about the future.  But first, let me make a bold claim about fursuiting.

Male-Peacock-displayingMascots and costuming have been around forever. But furries are doing something new. They don’t just play with generic icons from myths and media. They add original fursonas and custom craft for everyone. It makes a subculture with personal expression beyond anything else.

Of course, many furs don’t have (or want) fursuits.  But the ones who do make a photogenic face of fandom. Other groups do art and writing like this one, but I don’t think anyone else does costuming in such a specialized and devoted way.  So there’s nothing wrong with the way the fursuiters stand out.  Everything else is imagination – they bring it to life and help to define the tactile name of “furry”.  And the quality is developing beyond anything you can buy commercially.  Some dedicated makers now have careers by fans, for fans, leading a Furry Economy with an exciting future.  Look forward to amazing things.

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Tip Your Makers! Why to pay more for art to improve commissioning and spread the love.

by Patch O'Furr

Missing, flaky commissions suck. it’s a chronic problem that’s only modestly addressed by small watchdogs like the Artist Beware community.

Things should be smoother.  But there’s a reason why commissioning is unpredictable. Things are dragged down by underbidding among artists. Nobody becomes an artist to get rich, and many don’t charge enough for the service they’re doing.

Why ask a customer to fix problems of a business?  I get it… if someone promises something, they should deliver without expecting more than they earn.  But give me a minute… if this is a passion-driven fandom and not a cut-throat market, maybe there’s a little room for common problem-solving and partnership.

Assume good faith.  Give credit to artists for being full of love for what they do.  But it’s awfully hard to get good and be competitive.  That’s how so many of them plan to get things done on a thin margin and tight schedules.  It’s easy for plans to go off the rails, people get sick, there’s unexpected mistakes or accidents, and burnout is common. Then commissioners are left waiting for extra weeks, months… or nearly forever.

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The State of Furry Publishing – Fred Patten gives the inside story of eight groups.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Back in February 2015, Dogpatch Press published a two-part “History of Furry Publishing” by me. (Part 1 and Part 2) Patch has asked me to contact the furry specialty publishers for a follow-up to bring it up to date.

The traditional “Big Three” furry specialty publishers are FurPlanet Productions in Dallas, Rabbit Valley Books in Las Vegas, and Sofawolf Press in St. Paul. They were profiled in the earlier article. Here is their current status.

FurPlanet Productions

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FurPlanet has been doing very well, as evidenced by having 24 new titles at Anthrocon 2016. FurPlanet has had dealer tables during 2016 at Further Confusion in January, Furry Fiesta, Anthrocon, and Rocky Mountain Fur Con, and plans to appear at Mephit FurMeet, Furry Migration, and Midwest FurFest in December. Besides selling books, FurPlanet has established a strong presence and met a lot of great fans, some of whom have been encouraged to become writers in FurPlanet’s anthologies.

FurPlanet prefers to release new titles at the conventions it attends. Further Confusion in San Jose in January and Anthrocon in Pittsburgh in late June or early July are the big release weekends each year, and publications are aimed for those dates. FurPlanet used to have several releases at RainFurrest in Seattle in late September, but with the disappearance of RainFurrest FurPlanet may shift to Midwest FurFest in Chicago in early December. If something becomes ready at a different time, it is released at the first convention it’s ready for.

Some of FurPlanet’s art folios are annuals. Those usually appear at the same convention each year. FurPlanet and its readers can count on two short fiction anthologies edited by Fred Patten at FC and AC, and an annual volume of FANG and ROAR at AC. Other anthologies, single-author collections, comic books, and one-shot art folios appear as they’re ready.

Erotica clearly sells very well. About 70% of FurPlanet’s sales are adult titles versus 30% of “all ages”. Of the 24 new titles at Anthrocon 2016, only 5 were all ages. FurPlanet’s best selling titles are the comics and books with well-written stories featuring adult themes. Rukis’ novels and comics, and the “Cupcake” novella books have been especially popular.

FurPlanet has three tables together at Anthrocon, so it has a much wider display of titles there. At conventions where it has only two or one table, there are about 100 titles, focusing on what is new or still selling well. Titles that are part of ongoing series will stay on the tables much longer.

Convention sales and online catalogue sales are about equal. Sales of FurPlanet’s print books are much greater than of Bad Dog Books’ e-editions. The Bad Dog e-books are not Amazon’s Kindle books. The only difference is that the Kindle books do not have adult illustrations, due to Amazon’s rules on eBooks. The Bad Dog titles are not censored. That is why many of the Bad Dog eBooks do not appear on Amazon.

For conventions relatively near Dallas, FurPlanet drives its stock there and back in its hatchback. For Further Confusion in California and when it was attending RainFurrest in Seattle, FurPlanet shipped its stock there and flew.

FurPlanet regularly displays Rabbit Valley’s and Sofawolf Press’s titles at conventions where those publishers do not have their own tables. There are no arrangements yet with other publishers, but with several new ones appearing, there could be in the future. FurPlanet has stocked a few mainstream books like the American editions of the French Blacksad and Grandville titles, but those are rare exceptions. FurPlanet’s recent carrying of several of Disney’s Zootopia titles has been due to the extreme interest in Zootopia by many furry fans. There are no plans to carry other books related to anthro-animal movies.

FurPlanet Productions is basically a part-time hobbyist mail-order business in Dallas. Everything there is in a large room called the Production Room. FurPlanet’s stock is kept there, orders are packed and shipped from there, and their bookbinding equipment is there. This room is not open to the public, and there are no plans to open a store front.

FurPlanet consists of four people: FuzzWolf and Teiran, the two owners, and their two long-term employees Buck Turner and Zia McCorgi. All four have regular jobs and run FurPlanet in their spare time. All four appear at almost every convention that FurPlanet displays at. They are sometimes joined by their friends Ajax B. Coriander and Andres Cyanni Halden, who have edited anthologies for FurPlanet in the past.

FurPlanet has this to say:

We’d like to thank everyone, our authors, artists, editors, customers, and helpers, especially Buck and Zia, who have made this all possible for the last eight years.

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NEWSDUMP: Four cons for Pacific Northwest, history and scandal in the fandom – (9/15/16)

by Patch O'Furr

Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.comHere’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  

FOUR cons for the US Pacific Northwest? (Tip – Fuzzwolf.)

apkjwqsxFurvana (2018). Anthro Northwest (November 9-12, 2017). Pacific Northwest Fur Con (Spring 2017). And a rebirth for Rainfurrest (under parent organization RAIN, who actively runs other events year-round.)  All of these are intended for one region.  Amazingly they seem cooperative, with none replacing another.

On Reddit’s r/furry, a con staffer explains more about all the activity.

In late 2015 Dogpatch Press looked at five regions for “One Town, Two Cons: Let’s compare and ask organizers about Furry community growth.” It was about fan support, competition and cooperation, with questions about how to sustain more than one central event. But four is unprecedented ambition.

It could only come with 2016’s amazing Year of Furry.  From Zootopia’s billion-dollar success, to Fursonas (the first movie about furries with mainstream distribution), to the continued explosion of cons, there’s much more to come.

Furry party posters from the 1980’s. 

In the 1980’s, sci-fi cons gathered fans of funny-animal cartoons for room parties. Mark Merlino and Rod O’Riley have the Prancing Skiltaire furry house in So Cal that has posted some of their party flyer collection.  There was drama about the “furries” being weird, because that stuff isn’t for grown-ups is it?  So in 1989 they got their own con, ConFurence.  Look at how they multiplied like bunnies. Now it’s too late to stop them. Just don’t let anyone with a time machine go back and change the flyers to send them to Floor 13.

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NEWSDUMP: San Francisco Furry Worries – San Diego Chicken Retires (9/14/16)

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com.

In San Francisco, Frolic Furry Dance may lose historic venue… is The Stud saved yet?

Update for “Frolic ‘the original furry nightclub’ to lose historic venue – community responds.”  

lobo-stud3The SF Bay Area is getting so only the wealthiest can afford to live there. It’s one of the worst places for gentrification and rising costs forcing out culture. The pressure has hit The Stud, a historic gay bar and subcultural landmark that welcomes freaks and artists like no other place.

Frolic furry dance was established by their support. It has had wide influence, inspiring other furry dances to start all over the place.  (See the Frolic tag.)

Frolic took years to gain traction.  Now it regularly maxes out capacity and spills out to the street each month. It will be sad if it loses it’s home and has to find a new one.

There may be hope, but it’s complicated. The building is approved for management by a co-op of artists and community members (the first cooperatively managed LGBT club in the country.)

But do they have a business plan that can meet the steeply rising costs of running the place? They have applied for “historic business” status under new local legislation, but will it be enough?  Reports are unclear.

If things don’t come together within a short time, the plans may die.  The building could be knocked down and replaced by soulless condos. NBC News has a video about 3 local LGBT landmarks struggling with this problem, including The Stud.

Frolic founder Neonbunny posted to the Save Our Stud group:

“Furries have always been the outcasts among outcasts. There’s not alot of venues that accept different cultures, new traditions, and just general going against the norms to express yourself in new ways. Drag may have been like this decades ago, but now you have so many options on every night to dress up as a different gender.

But what if you like to dress up as a different species? Not a lot of options… But yet, The Stud has welcomed Frolic with open arms, shown that there can be a home for the outcasts, for those who don’t fit any traditional norms anywhere.

And for this, The Stud will always have a special place in our hearts. You accepted us, and in return we have embraced The Stud in return, you have become our family.”

frolic

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NEWSDUMP: Stolen Fursuit – Secret Furry Patrons – many media mentions (9/13/16)

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com.

Oreo Wolf’s stolen fursuit makes news in Nevada.

KTNV must have been happy to get 200 retweets. How often does that happen for a video clip about a mere $2600 theft, less than a garden variety car accident? Some things are more important than money. And that’s how the station got to share a little of what the furry community is about. Next time a news anchor thinks about laughing at our misfortune, this could help them to understand.


Fandom is big enough to have a few “Stolen Fursuit Alerts” a year. It’s one thing to retweet, but what works best is for locals to search on the street. That’s how Zarafa’s stolen fursuit was recovered in San Francisco. Here’s hoping for good luck for Oreo wolf.

The Secret Furry Patrons Keeping Indie Artists Afloat.

NYMag gives a thoughtful look at the devotion that makes furry fandom thrive. A community that has benefited others as much as received unfair negativity.

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Professional mascots and furries – Q&A with Uncle Kage and Kodi of Midwest Furfest.

by Patch O'Furr

The National Mascot Hall of Fame is coming in 2017.  This mainstream event might deserve furry attention. It’s a series here:

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

Could a full time mascot-based tourist attraction include furries somehow?  Maybe they will indirectly benefit.  Imagine an exhibit dedicated to hobbyist costuming, and how it’s an institution in places like Pittsburgh.  If that happened, Uncle Kage would surely be one of the first asked to help connect furries and pro mascots. And it’s interesting that the NMHOF is close to Midwest Furfest (imagine an exhibit coordinated with the con.)

I contacted Kage and MFF about this. Here’s followup to the stories above.

From Raymond Entertainment Group

From Raymond Entertainment Group

Mascot Boot Camp is run by NMHOF founder Dave Raymond (the original “Philly Phanatic”).   It’s in Kutztown PA- 3 days for $399.  Fursuiters, check that out.  And you can hire it to come to you (wouldn’t it be amazing to have such a workshop hosted by a con? Although cost per person would be huge.)  Check Dave Raymond’s group of companies for a look at professional mascot building and more – Raymond Entertainment Group.

Furry sports fans on national TV – have you seen this going around as a popular meme? (Tip: Chakat Shorttail.)

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Frolic ‘the original furry nightclub’ to lose historic venue – community responds.

by Patch O'Furr

The future is as dim as the lighting at The Stud, one of San Francisco’s most loved dive/gay bars.  The property is being swept up in a wave of real estate speculation and gentrification that shows no sign of ebbing.  Some luminaries of local culture are just treading water, while many are sinking under. They just can’t afford to live in their own city any more.

One by one, the lights of San Francisco night life are going out.  Now the Stud is set to close.

On every second Saturday each month, furries flock there for Frolic dance party.  It’s the premiere event for their thriving local scene.  The venue loves furries as much as they love each other, so Frolic has been steadily supported since 2010. Their success bore a litter of furry club events across North America that look up to it for inspiration, from Foxtrot in Denver, to Suit-Up Saturday in Minneapolis.

Calling it “the Original” furry dance party may be debatable (credit may be due for a few rave-type events outside of North America) – but there’s no debating its influence.  It will be very sad if Frolic loses it’s home.

It’s a local story, but in spirit, it touches furries anywhere who love to dance and have their own paw-hold in the nightlife.  Having their own established club doesn’t happen easily for an isolated niche of maligned yet super loveable young people.  Frolic set the bar high for that.  It isn’t your average family-friendly daytime convention – its power comes after dark.  Talking animal-people look and feel better to dance with in the magical murk of a club from an alternate fantasy dimension.  Have a drink and hug one for an experience better than drugs. Or pick one up.  Say: “knock knock” – “who’s there”? – “knot me…” Read the rest of this entry »

Who runs furry fandom? Check this list of cons with formal corporate structures.

by Patch O'Furr

All hail Uncle Kage, Dark Lord and Master of Furry fandom… nah, he’s just one very visible and committed fan who wants to set an example for how to run a good con.  The real power is with many con leaders who form a shadowy, secret cabal whose name cannot be spoken.

JL Martello/ New Pittsburgh Courier

They’re watching me. (JL Martello/ New Pittsburgh Courier)

It’s called the Furry Convention Leadership Roundtable.  And now I’m in biiiiig trouble.

I’m sharing a big list of cons below.  Compare it to the participants on the FCLR website – nearly all (with just a couple of exceptions) overlap with the formally incorporated portion of the list below.  It seems like incorporation is for cons that Have Their Shit Together.

Thanks to Fred Patten for assembling and researching the list.  He did it when I asked: is there one resource to show which cons have what structures, and when they started or ended?  It would be interesting to look at their growth over time and learn about defunct cons.  There’s a whole topic about what happens when it’s time to transfer or disband, and why. (With all the drama RainFurrest caused, everyone could learn something from it.)

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Suit Up Saturday – Minnesota’s Furry Club night gives a Q&A for the Furclub Survey.

by Patch O'Furr

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Furclubbing: “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 new kinds of venues, 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 a new event in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It’s yet another one inspired by Frolic in San Francisco, the seed for many new ones across the USA. Organizer Rachel introduces the party:

Suit Up Saturday (2016)

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My name is Rachel, that’s my real name and furry name too. I’ve been a furry for about 15 years now, and I recently moved back to Minnesota from San Francisco, where I lived for 10 years and went to college. When in San Francisco I frequently went to FROLIC, which is run by some friends of mine, and I began to miss it.

While Minnesota has an amazing team running all the PG, all ages events (mnfurs.org, and DRAKE in particular)… There was nothing serving the adult, kink or 18+ community.  Up until that point, any kinky or adult events were held in private homes or we would loosely organize a bar event. Even so, events were sporadic and lightly attended, as there wasn’t even a good way for kinky furs to even connect with each other in this state.

At my current job I do club promotions and events occasionally, so I had a few contacts. I picked a bar that most reminded me of the STUD in San Francisco (where Frolic happens every month), a bar called the EagleBolt here in Minneapolis. I spoke with the owner and manager and they allowed us to throw a trial basis party on January 31st. If that went well, they would be willing to host us every 5th saturday, or more.

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