Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Current events

What’s Yiffin’? February 2017 edition – now syndicating the monthly furry news program.

by André Kon

Greetings, readers of Dogpatch Press. I am André “Dracokon” Kon. Maybe you’ve heard of me as I’ve made my rounds in the fandom over the past decade.  If not, here’s the fastest crash course I can give you. I began as a purveyor of written reptilian smut, got invited to speak at a couple of conventions, was admin of the late Herpy website, had work read in an NYC art show, was briefly on SoFurry’s staff, joined the musical stage act Attractivision, and became the host of a livestream called Gatorbox.

With Gatorbox, I’ve helped spearhead a new breed of entertainment through Twitch. With the assistance of my long-time writing counterpart Rob “Roastmaster” Maestro, one show we brought to this channel is What’s Yiffin’?. What’s Yiffin’ began as a one-off bit in September 2015.  The viewer response prompted us to bring it back the following month… and the one after that. The show has been a staple of Gatorbox ever since, with a brand new installment rolled out almost every month.  Now I’m honored to have the series syndicated, adding bonus commentary just for Dogpatch Press.

ENJOY THIS MONTH’S EPISODE

We usually don’t lead with self promotion, however since the Ursa Major Awards have just now opened for nominations, this month’s video lets you know we’re eligible for nominations in the “Magazine” and “Website” categories.  For a good many of you this is probably going to be your first exposure to us and I’m simultaneously excited and profusely apologetic for that. In the name of good journalism, I’d like to provide you with the show’s official playlist on YouTube to give you a better idea of our scope and coverage over the past two years.

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On February 17, don’t go to work – go fursuiting for a General Strike in the USA.

by Patch O'Furr

Political Animals.

animalfarmWhat does Furry have to do with politics?  Nothing. Or a lot.  (Kinda like kink). It’s up to you. Maybe you just like talking-animal media.  Or maybe you like media that’s inseparable from a culture that’s cracking apart.

This group is about talking animals, but it’s made of people, and we don’t exist in a vacuum. (The vacuum is just there to pick up all the shedding.) So for those who care… Let’s recap some previous stories that relate to this, then see what’s up now.

Start with the San Francisco Bay Area.  It has the world’s most dense population of furries, and it’s the epicenter for a rent crisis. That big trend hit the local group when their premiere monthly event, Frolic furry dance was pushed out of it’s home.

Across the bay, on the day Frolic restarted, the Ghost Ship warehouse fire killed 36 fellow party goers at an electronic music show.  It instigated a national purge of underground cultural spaces.  This blog is written from one of those spaces, and narrowly escaped being forced out in a wave of evictions.  Economic class issues are personal here.

Go back to 2012 and the East Coast.  Money, sex and politics crashed into furry fandom in a mini-scandal of “fake news” with the New Jersey FurBQ Hoax.  Looking back now, you might see some of the sparks that turned into 2017’s political dumpster fire. I’m talking about the way the group was split up by dishonesty and xenophobia, and manipulated as pawns for politics.

Furries got scapegoated for having a harmless party. It made me say: “Fun is serious business because it has to do with liberties.”

There’s some examples of how furries have long experience with fake news, they can be vulnerable as a subculture, and they can share a common cause with other marginal communities. (Don’t forget their sizeable queer membership.) You don’t have to agree about politics, but there are good reasons to pay attention. From anti-mask laws, to anti-LGBT legislation and anti-kink moral panic, furries will be part of many fights to come.

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More Furries Are Being Featured in the Media, and That’s Good

by Pup Matthias

drakerogers-furries-in-the-media-with-aberguine

Art by Aberguine

Is it me or are Furries popping up in news stories more? It feels strange to bring it up, but I swear the fandom has been getting more media attention and a good amount of it has been positive. Yes, I know, it weirds me out too. The reason I’m writing this opinion piece is, in part, because of my own history in the fandom. I got involved with the Furry Fandom around 2009. If you were a Furry around that time you were under the shadow of, what I prefer to call, the “Vanity Fair Era”. Named that cause of the infamous article published by Vanity Fair titled, “Pleasures of the Fur”, in 2001. Which presented the Furry Fandom as a sexual fetish and only as a sexual fetish. Along with MTV’s Sex2K episode, “Plushies and Furries,” and the famous CSI episode, “Fur and Loathing,” in 2003 that painted a clear picture of the fandom to mainstream audiences. Supposedly we are about sex and only sex.

Of course that isn’t true. It’s a part of the fandom but it’s not what defines the fandom. Furries are people who love walking talking animals and how they show that love depends on the person. It is as silly for people as it is serious. You can have a fursuit or not. You can create artwork in the fandom or be an observer. It can be sexual for you and it cannot. We all have different levels based around that same love and as long as we are respectful and understand people’s different viewpoints we bring forward a beauty of community the Furry Fandom provides. Anyone who has been in or actually explores the fandom understands that, but with stories like CSI that wasn’t what people were seeing. It’s why for the longest time, and still to a degree, Furries don’t talk to the media because the media has done a poor job with representing us.

Which has lead to moments like the Inside Edition undercover story at FC in 2015 or several smaller press organizations trying to sneak in to get the right sound bite that fits into the ‘Furries as only a sexual fetish’ narrative. I remember when getting involved with the fandom watching those Uncle Kage videos about how to interact/ avoid the media or how he responded when the media went to him. There was no question about it. If you were a Furry under the Vanity Fair Era you were one of the lowest of the low. Someone to be openly mocked and ridiculed. Something you had to hide.

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36 dead at warehouse party fire in Oakland – community mourns, fears backlash.

by Patch O'Furr

Help here: Relief Fund for Victims of Ghostship Oakland Fire

fireGhost Ship” was the name of the warehouse in the inner city of Oakland, California.  I’ve often visited the neighborhood under the booming overhead trestle of the BART train.  The warehouse was zoned for business, but harbored a live/work space that was built under the radar of building inspectors.  It was funded by parties and rent from people living in RV’s parked there.  It was home for a collective of artists and musicians from the cultural underground of the San Francisco Bay area.  Many were pushed out of previous homes by pressure of rising rents. These most expensive costs in the country are making a crisis for culture.

Friday, December 2, was the date for an electronic music show.  Golden Donna was headlining with the L.A. label 100% Silk.  It wasn’t a rave just for dancing and fun, but a deeper connection of creativity.  Many watchers were themselves into producing music, or making big-scale art for festivals like Burning Man.

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SITE UPDATE – The first fursuiter, and Otaku Trucker: Furry Road.

by Patch O'Furr

You might see less posting here for a week – I’m busy writing for a book. That’s Furries Among Us (part 2) from Thurston Howl Publishing. (The Ursa Major Award went to Howl’s first book of essays about the fandom, so they made a new “nonfiction” award.)

My chapter is “The Furclub movement – independent furry night life is thriving!” Furry dance parties happen around the world, so if you see new dances start anywhere, please send info for the list.  (To San Francisco furs, I can’t say anything now, but expect some good news soon.)

It’s Furry Book Month, so check out some more of the fandom’s awesome creativity. Flayrah finally started approving new posts about that. Their slowness might have to do with a big rise in great reader comments here.  And so does this…

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Is this news editorial cartoon about furries making fun of a tragedy?

by Patch O'Furr

Please help children of the tragedy in this post: Support the Yost family and In Loving Memory Of Billy Boucher.

News tip thanks to Spottacus.  Below is his post about an editorial cartoon in the OC Weekly about a triple homicide in Southern California.

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Spottacus Cheetah: “Making fun of murdered family is so offensive.”

“…I imagine the family, somewhat devastated by the murder, seeing two people in costume speculating with happy smiles about what the killers were wearing. That just seems to belittle the tragedy.

In contrast, consider the post-massacre Hebdo cartoon, of a saddened Muhammed grieving over the deaths there.

(Paris, 2015: “4 Cartoonists Killed In Attack On Charlie Hebdo Newspaper“.)

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Statement about the tragedy in Fullerton, CA.

by Patch O'Furr

Please visit this GoFundMe campaign for expenses for surviving kids.

There has been a lot of talk about a tragedy this weekend in Southern California.

I wanted to say something about these ties:

This is very sad for everyone. There might be unusual headlines about it, but the social connection could happen with a group of workers, students or anyone else. Killing is against everything our little fan group is for. Thanks are due to the OC Register for telling the purpose in the bottom line, with a quote from a local member: “People come to us to get away from the negative stuff in life.” 

This is a niche interest, so when something like this happens, it’s personal tragedy to us beyond just a news story to others. Many members have lost friends or have very close ties to those who did.  Please send thoughts to them, and the surviving kids most of all.

I felt a little responsible for saying something, because of the way things started to happen when news started coming out.  At first, it was just a call to locate a Missing Person (a fur) who was soon located.  I tweeted that and got a high amount of views.

When more came out, I looked into it deeply to write a big story.  I talked to people close to it, with personal knowledge that nobody else had.  Some info came out that was directed to the police.  Then I saw people local to the story asking for space.  They asked for it to be kept as their story, given time to process, and handled by professionals and cops.  That was when I decided this is beyond fan level.  I removed all my tweets and passed on their message.

I think it really is the worst thing that ever happened with ties to this community. It’s not that unusual compared to other crimes that happen in cities, but I think it’s disproportionately big to a niche group.  It might have to do with 2016’s explosion of interest and positive activity as well – things are just growing.

That wasn’t quite the end of it. The OC Register reporter had a lot of conversation with me due to my initial notice.  They were puzzled about what furries are and what they do. Of course they already knew this was part of the story – that wouldn’t be overlooked.  It made a dilemma – I thought that if tabloids were going to exploit this, maybe a real member should say something to real news.

So I sent the best info I could about the definition of “Furry” and referred the reporter to the same local person who I saw asking for space and respect.  I thought he was already doing a good job of handling it.  So when you see Bandit speaking in the piece, it’s not for attention, it’s because he was asked. Remember that he lost friends, like everyone else close to this story, and that’s the real deal.

There were a few missteps from the OC Register piece (nobody said anything about “sensitive” topics,) but Bandit seems to be getting many thank-you’s for doing a good job from local members.  He mentioned turning down other interviews, and I think that’s a good idea. Say it once and let it go.

I have been checking around to see what comes out. I expect tabloids to try riding this, but most of the few I have seen so far seem pretty negligible, and I hope they get little mileage.  They can say there’s weird stuff with misfit people, but nobody did a crime while participating in one of our activities. In the end it’s just between regular humans.

TL;DR: Was going to write a big report. Stopped to let locals and pros process. I think it’s beyond fan level. It’s awful and sad. There hasn’t been anything this bad in fandom before. Let it process and share good words to anyone who lost friends and family.

UPDATE 9/29/16:

Thank you to the OC Register and reporter Scott Schwebke for linking here.  And thank you to Scott for being professional and sensitive, and doing good detective work.  I believe that Scott’s reporting has helped to stop rumors and confusion.  There was a screenshot of a supposed murder confession that was degraded enough that you could see it was shared hundreds or thousands of times, before it was posted out-of-context on some trashy tabloid blogs.  Scott dug up the source and provided context that I think shows it could NOT have been a reasonable clue of real danger before the incident.  Thank you to everyone in the community who stepped up to provide such info to aid police investigation.  Everyone’s concern will help heal this incident to heal in time.

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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