Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Interviews

Q&A with Sherilyn Connelly, author of Ponyville Confidential: the History and Culture of My Little Pony, 1981-2016.

by Patch O'Furr

ponyvilleRecently, I posted “The history of My Little Pony and thoughts about growing up with cartoons” to prepare for chat with Sherilyn Connelly.  Sherilyn is a journalist local to the San Francisco Bay Area Furries. (She has given them notice in publications like SF Weekly.) Her first book is out this April: Ponyville Confidential, a pop culture history of the My Little Pony media empire. (Please like the book’s Facebook page!)

Hi Sherilyn, thanks for talking about Ponyville Confidential!  Let me start by asking – who needs to read it? Will it be manely for fans?  Will there be parts to tempt furry readers?

“Manely!” I see what you did there. Obviously everypony needs to read it, and it’s by no means intended just for My Little Pony fans; I hope that people who are interested in pop-culture history in general will give it a look as well. And there are many references to the Furry fandom, including shout-outs to Frolic, Further Confusion, and Anthrocon.

I know you as a committed, active fan who comes to Furry events and writes journalism about them (and movies, and more.) Can you give a brief intro about your background and writing?

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was old enough to want to be anything at all. I started writing professionally for SF Weekly in 2011 — within a few months when I started grad school and began watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, so it was a momentous year in retrospect — and wrote quite a lot about the the local Furry scene at the time. I began contributing film reviews to the Village Voice in 2012, and became the Weekly‘s permanent film critic in January 2013.

I hear this is your first book, congrats – how excited are you? Would anything surprise you about how it might be received?

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EZ Cool Down vests are a major business for fandom and beyond – EZ Wolf tells why.

by Pup Matthias

Thanks to Matthias for writing for our mission: to show that furries don’t just dream, they make things with awesome DIY power. EZ Wolf’s shirt says it all. – Patch

Wearing a fursuit is a pain in the tail. I wouldn’t know myself, since I would like to have a roof over my head for the next month. However, ask anyone who has had the joy of bringing their amazing characters to life, and they’ll tell you it’s like wearing your couch. There’s a lot of sweat and heat that goes into bringing the magic to life. But one member of our fandom has gone out of his way to battle this problem, and has developed one of the most successful fandom businesses. I’m talking about the EZ Cool Down vests created by well-known photographer and video maker, EZ Wolf.  Here’s what he told me.

EZCD_logoIntroduced in 2013, the vest has become a standard for many Furries to stay cool under their fursuit.

(EZ Wolf:) “The EZCooldown Performers vest is specially designed for actors, cosplayers, LARPers, fursuiters, and other costume performers.

This cooling vest provides hours of cooling comfort and prevention against heat stress thanks to four special PCM inserts which provide comfortable cooling relief for up to four hours, even during strenuous activities in high-temperature environments.

Each vest has four inserts made of phase change material.

The four inserts contain biological phase change material (PCM), which retains cold.

The PCM inserts can be quickly activated in your refrigerator or freezer or by putting them in ice water, and they can be reused over and over again. Once activated, the PCM maintains its temperature for a long period, providing comfortable cooling relief.

The EZCooldown Performers vest is made out of thin yet durable polyester mesh, which won’t add a thermal insulating layer to your outfit.

The four inside pockets can house four PCM inserts: two on your chest and two on your lower back.

Our vests come in three sizes and can be easily adjusted with the six Velcro straps to fit each individual wearer perfectly.”

Unlike fursuit making, this is a step up from the process of custom handiwork.  EZ Cool Down does not make the vest themselves.

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Tales From the Guild 2: World Tour is OPEN FOR SUBMISSION

by Pup Matthias

tales-from-the-guild-music-to-your-ears-edited-by-anthroaquatic-67102“Our world is one rich with diversity and culture, but how would civilized animals change that?”

That is the question Ocean Tigrox asks for you to write about in the upcoming anthology, Tales From the Guild 2: World Tour. Building from Tales From the Guild: Music to the Ears, the purpose of Tales is not just to have another outlet for Furry stories.

…we want to showcase great furry stories and show what we as a guild support. In addition to that, we want to help fund the guild while paying authors for their hard work. Thirdly, we’re using the anthology to help teach others about what goes into working a slush pile and editing an anthology.

This is what the Furry Writers Guild uses to help support themselves and showcase what they are all about.

In the words of the Guild itself, “The purpose of the Furry Writers’ Guild is to promote quality writing in anthropomorphic fiction and to inform, elevate, and support its creators.” The guild is there for others to come together to learn and support each other in our craft as well help promote our work and what we love about furry literature.

But how did the theme World Tour come about as the next entry for the book?

Because it was the guild anthology, we let the guild help out in choosing what theme to use. We had members of the guild suggest themes and voted on it. It was a very close vote with the runner up being “The Beast Within – Species issues within a modern world” which could be used for the next Guild Anthology theme.

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Furry YouTube, and Previously on “Culturally F’d”.

by Arrkay

Hey there! Arrkay here from Culturally F’d with a special guest post. I want to open right away with a new T-Shirt design poll, closing on Sunday Nov. 29:

Culturally F’d giving some Sh**ts away

SHIRTS that is! Sign up to our newsletter to enter into a draw for the winning design. Here’s what Rusty has to say about it:

Vote here: https://goo.gl/forms/9NJxjVg11GUq7lqy2

Subscribe to Culturally F’ds newsletter at www.culturallyfd.com to enter the draw to win. If the shirts end up in a tie, then both will end up going to print.

Previously on Culturally F’d

Over on my channel, we discuss how we define our community and how a fur might describe it themselves in: Hobby, Lifestyle, Fandom: Defining Furry.

Bandit from The Raccoon’s Den came onto F’d to discuss how he got started, what it takes to become a YouTuber and conquering social anxiety.

Still bummed out about the US Election? Maybe these 19 unlikely cartoon candidates will cheer you up:

A regular YouTube feature – call for submissions

Do you have a YouTube channel?  Right here on Dogpatch Press, we’re looking to fill in a new monthly guest post.  It will feature all the current and best YouTube videos that furries are producing. The primary goal is to expose more YouTube creators from our fandom to more furries. The secondary goal is to create a video creator network to encourage more collaboration between Furries on the video platform. Please message me (Arrkay at culturally.fd@gmail.com) if you have a channel you want us to include or at least investigate. We are looking for YouTube channels that are up to date and posting new content regularly.

Here are some fine channels that you should subscribe to in the mean time:

Betsy Lee – An animator with an ongoing fantasy series “No Evil”. A very impressive production for a small crew, the story reminds me very much of a dungeons and dragons role-play campaign. You may need to watch the back-log of episodes to figure out what’s going on with the cast of characters right now.

Blü – Blu The Dragon is an australian dancer/performer/choreographer, and does profanity infused vlogs about life and furries.

Culturally F’d – Hey that’s my channel! Every other week we discuss anthro animals in culture and mass media. Everything from cave paintings to what the furry fandom might look like tomorrow. The F’d stands for Furry. We also have regular “F’d Up Dates” with Rusty Shacklefur, a rabbit from the moon. I should also mention we have a Patreon and as of Dec 1 2016, a merch store!

EZ Wolf – Professional quality photography and videography. They are responsible for many music videos, dance videos and dramas starring fursuiters that have gone viral.

Furries in the Media – Aberguine carefully dissects instances where furries are represented in news reports or fiction, and grades them on Accuracy and Spirit.

Majira Strawberry – This fursuited vlogger is probably the most popular furry YouTuber with over 44,000 subscribers. Majira specializes in comedy skits, Q&A’s, and collaborating with other fursuiters in his area and at cons.

The Raccoon’s Den – The Docu-Dramadey of the fandom, Bandit and friends explore furry parties of California and dramatizes furry-life outside of the parties. They also have vlog style “Drakes Corner” videos and they produce a podcast “Pawesome”. Check out Patch’s article on them!

Furry.Today – Not a YouTuber, but a great resource for finding new fluffy videos from all sources.

Interview with #FurryBookMonth Creator Huskyteer

by Pup Matthias

fbm-logo-800Through out the month of October you may have been seeing a special hashtag around twitter of people talking about Furry books more then usual. That is because we are in our first official Furry Book Month. A way to both celebrate the Furry writer community as well as promote just how diverse the community has gotten. You would be amazed how some people still only view the fandom with only three publishers: Sofawolf, Furplanet, and Rabbit Valley. But we have expanded to around eight with newcomers like Thurston Howl Publications, Goal Publications, and Weasel Press; bringing with them new voices and new stories with the same fluffiness or scales or feathers we love.

The Furry we have to thank for getting this event off the ground is Husykteer, a well-known and active member in the writer community since 2010. She began by posting stories on SoFurry, but by 2012 got published in both Roar 4 and Heat 9. Since then she has continued to put out quality work.

So far, I’ve had short stories and poems published in a number of anthologies; most recently Gods with Fur, Claw the Way to Victory and Inhuman Acts. My short story ‘The Analogue Cat’, which appeared in The Furry Future, won the 2015 Ursa Major and Cóyotl awards for short fiction.

I’d love to get some books out there with my name, and mine alone, on the cover! A novella, Peace & Love, should be coming out from FurPlanet soon.

But how did the idea of Furry Book Month come about? Anyone who has been around the FWG forums knows that the writer community, while growing, is still under appreciated in many aspects. So there has been a growing want to promote the community more to get people to check out their work.

In 2015, Furry Writers’ Guild member Rechan challenged the FWG forum to read a furry book, or several, during October. This grew into the idea of promoting books in the wider furry community during October 2016.

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Fursonas and Furries: A Tail of Two Docs (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

(Continuing yesterday’s Part 1.)

Here’s the thing – most of the anger towards Fursonas is because it wasn’t the doc we expected, or to some, what they wanted.

A lot of that comes with the general history of the fandom. How media took our hobby and portrayed it as a pagan cult of sex crazed orgies, by animal-suited maniacs.  From Vanity Fair, CSI, MTV, etc portraying us as a fetish rather then a community of artists, writers, dancers, and more.  The way they just don’t get what we are about is what many members in the fandom have been fighting to overcome for years.

And it’s been more or less a success, even with the press, as the fandom evolved to what it is today.  To how we see each other, what we believe in, and just enjoying the weirdness that we are.  After newly turning that corner, perhaps Fursonas could threaten to bring back all the negative old things they been working to overcome.

But that’s not what Fursona is or ever tries to do.

fursonas.8649

[DR]: My movie is meant to question what a “negative view” of the fandom is. While furry is definitely an accepting place, I do think that there’s a double standard in this community. People want to be accepted for themselves, but sometimes find it hard to accept things that are outside of their own comfort zone. I see this all the time in communities and I see it all the time in furry. Just look at babyfurs, and how plenty of more “normal” furries don’t want to have anything to do with them.

I love this fandom so much that I want it to be better. I think if we’re going to keep patting ourselves on the back for being so accepting, that means having to ask some difficult questions of ourselves—how much do we accept? What is the price of individual expression in the fandom? What is a “good image” and much is it worth? I still grapple with these questions all the time.

This is something I agree with. Our fandom does have a double standard. I know it because as a gay man I’ve seen how a community that views itself as open minded and accepting of all walks of life is also filled with selfish, shortsighted, rude, or even despicable people. Same with the kink community, with it’s view of itself as open minded and accepting to all walks of life, only to see some sides view other sides as inferior or even taboo.  It’s the very same with the Furry fandom. We’re a community that is open minded and accepting, and guess what I’m going to say next.  We’re also regular flawed humans.  It’s not hard to see a pattern when you’ve seen it repeated many times.

This is what Fursonas talks about, and it’s not what everyone in the fandom wants. Which is why many have seen Furries as the preferred doc, with its more positive view of the fandom over Fursonas criticisms.

But here’s the other thing, Furries wasn’t made for the fandom. Let me ask you a question: if you’ve seen Furries and are a member of the fandom, what do you learn from it?  What information does it provide that hasn’t already been discussed time and again from other members of the fandom?

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Fursonas and Furries: A Tail of Two Docs (Part 1)

by Pup Matthias

(Note from Patch: thanks to the site’s valued long time contributor, Pup Matthias. As site manager, I don’t put a leash on writing, and this came from his self-motivated effort. Therefore, I’ll add a disclaimer that Matthias is sole author, independent from my previous posts and relationships or understandings with others. I had considered doing a followup about poorly-done mainstream Fursonas coverage called “furry is not a cult,” but then decided that enough conversation was already happening.  Uncle Kage, Dominic, Eric Risher and Matthias are all friends to me and all of them are doing great things for this community. If you only get to hear part of the story, let that say the rest. – P)

1462807202946This has been an incredible year for the Furry Fandom. Zootopia crossed over a billion dollars, fur con attendance continues a healthy rate of growth, more positive news about the fandom has been coming out, and Furry Network has entered the Furry website game. And we’ve got not one, but two documentaries exploring the fandom made by people inside the fandom itself. Yet it’s the last part that has brought on some of the biggest debates in the fandom.

Since the release of the two documentaries, Fursonas and Furries, there has been a lot of praise and criticism towards both, although Fursonas has been getting the more vocal criticism of the two.  Which isn’t surprising.  Fursonas features a lot of topics that depending where you stand, can be seen as exposing an issue most would rather hide, or a sensational attack that continues the negative image of the fandom we’ve been working for years to get over.

The reason?  In the second half of Fursonas, we see director Dominic Rodriguez get pulled over by Anthrocon staff, and he was subsequently banned from Anthrocon for breaking their media policy. The rest of the doc then paints the con chair, Uncle Kage, in a negative light criticizing his practices both with media relations, how Furries should interact (or not) with the media, and the way he “censors” certain figures and topics to make the fandom more acceptable to the mainstream.

Now to make things clear, I like Fursonas. I like that it brings forward issues I believe we should discuss and come to terms with. I think some of the criticism doesn’t come so much from the film itself as that it’s a film the fandom didn’t expect. I’ll go into detail about that later, but this article is not a Fursonas defense piece.  It’s about exploring the topics and reactions that have become clouded with all the drama surrounding the two films. I love that we have two Furry docs that explore two different aspects of the fandom. I’ve even talked to both directors, who wish to express their own thoughts about everything going on. This isn’t trying to end the conversation. It’s to add more and make sure what we debate about is what needs to be debated about.

So let’s first examine the main issue, Dominic Rodriguez being banned from Anthrocon. This bit of information alone has been the deal breaker on whether people should watch the doc. It’s as if because Anthrocon saw fit to ban a film about Furries, then it can’t be worth watching in the first place. When you watch the film, you see the topic of being banned brought up, but also the main reason for them to be banned was because they didn’t agree to a Production Agreement, which would have given some form of creative control over the film to Uncle Kage.

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Interview with a Secret Furry animator inside a top movie studio.

by Patch O'Furr

zootopiaRemember when everyone went nuts about Zootopia’s animators talking to furries, and even nutsier when it came out that they were intentionally marketing to us?  They noticed us!  

But could the conspiracy go even deeper?  Have you heard other furs wondering if we have insiders in the media (even celebrities), or Secret Furry animators making movies we love?

Here’s an interview with one of those animators. For obvious reasons, identifying details are protected.  I can’t reveal where they work, but I can tell you that they have animated characters in some of the biggest movies ever, as well as having a quiet presence on popular furry sites.  If I told you more, it could make your eyes pop out.  Please excuse me for keeping things vague and teasing you about juicy secrets for me to know and you to find out.

(Patch:) What’s your job like, and how do you like it?
(Secret Furry:) I love what I get to do for a living. It’s hard work and long hours at times, but each project brings new challenges and opportunities that keep things fresh, and help me better my skills. For as long as I’ve been at it, I still feel lucky and appreciative to get to do this every day.

Can you share a favorite movie, and a favorite furry artist?
Pinpointing a favorite movie is too hard for me. I’m an action, sci fi, and horror junky. Some films that I love include Die Hard, Aliens, Predator, Starship Troopers, and Hellraiser. I could go on and on, but you could probably see the direction I tend to lean. On the animation side, Aladdin, Lion King, Spirited Away are some of my faves. As for particular artists I can’t say I have a favorite as of yet. There’s so much great work floating around out there in so many varied styles.

Can you tell the coolest or most silly thing you have seen at work?
I can’t get specific here, but occasionally a celebrity will waltz though. I always kind of geek out when that happens. As for the “silly things,” they happen all the time.  It’s part of what makes the job light and fun even when the pressure and deadlines are on.

Can you tell the coolest or most silly thing you have seen in furry fandom?
I love walking around the open areas of cons, and just people/furry watch. There is always something funny going on, be it a furry on the ground covered in doughnuts, or furs doing fun a creative and spontaneous mini skits to entertain. At this years BLFC there was a guy walking around with a giant die, handing out prizes. Two thumbs up for that!

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Dogpatch Press and Adjective Species covered by The More You Know podcast.

by Patch O'Furr

The More You Know is a new video podcast hosted by Victor Dimitroff. Season 1 Episode 4: Media in the Furry Fandom talks to guests Pup Matthias (David) from Dogpatch Press and Makyo from [Adjective][Species]. While Victor is still in the beginnings of building his channel, I see a lot of promise in his approach to finding guests and planning notes for good conversation of interest to furries. Take a look.

This is about media by furries, not outsiders.  Specifically the kind that covers what’s going on within the subculture.  There’s much more than you would realize just from talking to friends.  That’s why it’s so fun to start and run your own channel.

Victor comments about how Dogpatch Press seems to find endless stories to fill our regular posting schedule. So how do we find them all?

For the answer, watch Victor’s Q&A and then read our site(s).  You see, it’s a bit of a secret recipe.  But the foundation of everything everyone does in this fandom is about participation and loving what we do. That’s not really a secret at all.

With all the stories out there about furries deserving to be known, and all the dislike for the trashy kind in the mainstream, I take it as an informal mission to Be The Media. I am furry fandom, and so can you!  (Ha).  Check our About pages for how to share your story tips or guest posts. We want you.

Thanks very much to Victor, Makyo, and Pup Matthias.  Everyone had in depth chat the whole time.  I wish I could have been present to give more details about the site founding, mission, and investigating stories (I’ll be there in the future.)

It’s a watershed year for furry stuff, and it’s going to be fun to look back in 2017.  Hope you look forward to many great stories to come.

More from The More You Know:

  • Episode 1: The Tech Trio (using Google Hangouts on Air.)
  • Episode 2: Zootopia (with guests November and Kristofur.)
  • Episode 3: About the Host.

The Raccoon’s Den – The First Docudramedy Series in the Furry Fandom.

by Pup Matthias

See The Raccoon’s Den on Youtube. Thanks to Bandit and Pup Matthias for collaborating on this special guest article.  

When I say the word ‘creator’ in the furry fandom, what do you think of?  Mostly likely TRD_2016 Poster (sml)you would think of artist, writers, musicians, animators, game developers, fursuit makers, etc.  One type that doesn’t cross most people’s minds are video creators.  There are examples like EZ Wolf and Duke the Dog with their shorts and music videos, Culturally F’d with their educational videos, and this year has brought us Dominic Rodriguez and Eric Risher with their respected documentaries exploring the fandom. But it’s a relatively small pool compared to the others.

Part of that lies with platform. Most furry sites don’t offer a way for video creators to showcase their work and build a presence like the others. They’re always having to link to YouTube or Vimeo and hope someone will click the link. Furry Network looks to be the only one working on offering video creators a player to support them.  Time will only tell on that front.

(Note from Patch: the medium also brings challenges.  That’s why our ‘Special Features and Top Articles’ just added a section about THE NASCENT FURRY MOVIE SCENE.)

What’s truly sad about this is the way video creators have the best opportunity to explain and showcase what our fandom is.  Capturing the moments of celebration, joy, hardship, misunderstanding, and exploring what makes the furry fandom what it is.

There’s a series for that already. It’s been going on for over seven years, with almost one hundred episodes that explore what the fandom is. That show is The Raccoon’s Den.

Christopher Parque-Johnson, creator of the Raccoon’s Den, is better known as Bandit in the fandom. He was introduced to the fandom from a fan-made forum for the film ‘Over the Hedge’, which inspired him to have a raccoon fursona after the title character of the film.

I got into the furry fandom after seeing “Over the Hedge” in 2006, joined a fan-made forum and a friend on there made an RP account for RJ the Raccoon on MySpace (back when people used it). I joined the fandom on July 20th and up until 2009, I was just another person on the internet who liked being part of the community. I felt welcomed and accepted for being myself here and that was something I wasn’t able to feel outside of it.

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