Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: history

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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A Brief History of Cartoon Animals Punching Nazis

by Arrkay

Dogpatch Press welcomes Arrkay of furry channel Culturally F’d.

Nazi-panic got you down? It seems these days everywhere you look there seems to be some sour racists ruining someone’s day. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Working on Culturally F’d gives me a great outlet to explore anthropomorphic animals throughout history and media. So after the public twitter discussions about whether or not it’s ok to punch nazis, I recalled some historical examples that helped. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, there was a huge push in propaganda on all fronts. They encouraged spending money on war-bonds, saving fats and scrap metals, starting community “victory” gardens, empowering a new female workforce, perpetuating false-optimism of a short war, warning against spies listening in, and attempting to shape public opinion and spark a sense of national identity. The military’s of the world commissioned animators to help influence public opinion during a time when Nazi Germany was beginning it’s invasions, and it was becoming clear to more and more governments that the Axis powers were not slowing down or stopping.

Propaganda like these were created to help sway public opinion, and to paint a caricature of the enemies. This was at times, incredibly offensive and racist, and it’s important we don’t forget that and that we don’t repeat it again.

We’re going to start with Animated Shorts, which were created to precede or follow newsreels of current events, often part of a pre-show for a larger, longer feature presentation in the movie theatre.

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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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The Furry House – a base for creativity and community.

by Patch O'Furr

Model furry house, the Prancing Skiltaire

The Prancing Skiltaire

Ever been to a furry house

They don’t smell like barns or zoos, with shedding all over the place. But they are full of nerdy games and comics, fursuit parts, and framed animation and fursona commission art on the walls. Sometimes there’s art that might cause awkwardness during a pizza delivery or surprise visit from mom. But it’s not for them. It’s by and for fellow furries when they get together for meets, parties, art jams, and movie screenings as a community.

A furry house is a special place. It’s more immersive than activity by yourself. If you live there, you’ll never get PCD. It’s a dimensional crossroads where the limits of reality dissolve and you can be furry 24/7.

Inside the P.S.

Inside the Prancing Skiltaire.

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Here’s why furries are on a secret list at the California DMV.

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Pup Nacho for his news tip below.  First, let me ask: Are knots funny? 


If you’re giggling like I did when I posted those, you might be Furry Trash.  And you might appreciate how they only make sense for those in the know.

Having unique language is a mark of a fully-fledged subculture.  They call it slang, vernacular, cant, or cryptolect. Fans of fantasy fiction and role-playing might know about Thieves’ Cant (for criminals, beggars and hustlers, traveling performers, and carnival workers); those who study Queer theory may know Polari. (See Atlas Obscura: The Forgotten Secret Language of Gay Men.)  

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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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A brief history of who ruined furry.

by Patch O'Furr

fritz-the-cat-movie-poster-1972-1010196225Many people are to blame for ruining furry. This list isn’t comprehensive, and some of the jerks on it caused multiple problems at the same time.

1960’s – 1970’s:  Artists ruined furry.

Underground comic artists made a plan to stigmatize fans of funny-animal comics by putting adult stuff in ones like Robert Crumb’s Fritz The Cat and Reed Waller’s Omaha The Cat Dancer.  It worked well enough to keep fans from openly using the “furry” name until the 1980’s.

1985-1988: “Skunkfuckers” ruined furry.

It was just starting to be OK to be furry in public. Then some bad apples got us kicked out of respectable science fiction fandom.  Look at these 1980’s convention room party flyers from Lance Rund and Sy – this is the kind of thing that made furries get isolated apart from other fans, with our own private shame-cons.

furpy3

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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.)

qmA0WL7

Furry symbolism – money, flags and coats of arms.

by Patch O'Furr

Anthropomorphism is loaded with symbolism.  Foxes and lions from Aesop’s fables, and fauns and centaurs from old myths represent personalities, emotions and urges.  This influenced modern concepts of the subconscious by Freud and Jung.  In dream symbols, animals are very prevalent, appearing in as much as 50% of dreams of children.  It relates to the way animal symbols spread throughout prehistoric cave art, until today when media is full of animal cartoons.  Anthropomorphism has deep roots in the way people think.

You can read a lot more about this in Wikipedia’s page for Symbolic Culture and the study of symbolic language (semiotics.)  This broad background makes it interesting to look at symbols with very long traditions, perhaps as old as language.  Many furry articles could be written about different categories.

Fred Patten sent comments that lead to furry thoughts about Heraldry (royal coats of arms), Vexillology (flags) and Numismatics (money) – all closely related symbols of nations.

– Patch

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Free speech, Fursonas movie, and all the controversy in the media – NEWSDUMP (3-22-16)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Free speech victory led by Vermont Furs.

Fursuiters were banned from costuming on the street, and it was unfair.  Burlington VT had an antiquated anti-mask law to regulate groups like the KKK.  In the 1960’s, the officials who made the law could never imagine the future-people hobby of fursuiting.  Imagine a fursuit parade colliding with the hooded creeps.  It would be like matter meeting antimatter, with an explosion of rainbows and a fallout of fluff for miles around.  To update the law to better serve it’s spirit, members of the Vermont Furs went in front of the city council, and got the law changed. Now it only bans hiding behind masks to commit crime.  Hugging isn’t a crime yet, so thanks guys for setting a great example nationwide.  Fursonas are free expression!

There’s video here, and from Vermont Public Radio:

Last year, two men were detained by Burlington Police for violating the ordinance by wearing masks to a political rally. The detention was controversial, and the head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Vermont chapter questioned the constitutionality of the mask ban.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said that incident, paired with pushback from a community of “furries” – people who like to dress up as furry, caricaturized animals – led the city to reexamine its mask ordinance.

The co-moderator of Vermont Furs got the media to call furries “a collection of artists, writers, animators, actors, and our passion is all things cartoon animals.”  (Notice what they don’t call it.)   On Furaffinity, Zander Stealthpaw noticed that the furs helped much more than their own small group:

You guys help contribute to a very good cause, and I’m sure Vermont Comic Con would be just as ecstatic over this change.

“Fursonas” documentary movie gets a national tour, a pile of press, and spirited discussion.

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