Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: history

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.)

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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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New episodes from Culturally F’d: Twisted Tempting Furry Demons!

by Patch O'Furr

If culturallyfdyou’re not reading Dogpatch Press, you should be watching Culturally F’d!  It’s the Furry youtube series that asks:

Where does the love of anthropomorphics come from? How far back can we dig in history and mass media to really get to the bottom of it? Why does every culture across the face of the earth have a fascination with animal-people?

Here’s what’s been going on with Culturally F’d in the past month:

Episode 20: Tempting St. Anthony

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Cultural Appropriation in Fandom – guest post by Akhetnu.

by Patch O'Furr

Guest post submitted by Akhetnu.

Anubis_standingFurry is a unique exploration and interpretation of the human experience, warts and all, through the lens of animals both real and fantastic.  Many of these creatures are unique to certain parts of the world, especially the imaginary ones that form part of the mythological archetypes of the cultures other than our own.  When it comes to looking at humanity, we also tend to investigate these various cultures as they existed and continue to exist throughout time. 

As a result, there are many fursuits, fursonas and furry art of beings such as dragons from East Asia adorned in silk kimono, wolves dressed as Navajo warriors, and raptors wearing uniforms of the imperial Prussian army (that was a shameless plug for myself, incidentally).  Still others may adopt a small piece of a cultural artifact such as a ying-yang symbol, Alpaca poncho, or a Chinese character tattoo.  Furries may even refer to their fursonas as ‘totems’, at least if that concept is in the popular consciousness of their society.   

Many of these furries are not themselves descendants of the cultures portrayed on their fursonas or suits.  This had led to concerns over cultural appropriation, which is believed by many to be problematic in that is dehumanizes the people of other cultures and robs them of their own identities, as and hence is thought to represent Western white oppression of minorities. 

An example in the real world was at Yale University where a letter was circulated urging students not to adopt Halloween costumes portraying other cultures, as it was allegedly harmful to others of those cultures.  An art exhibit wherein people could try on the kimono used in a painting by Monet was shut down after protests accusing the art gallery of cultural appropriation.  A Columbian student in Canada was told not to wear his own Columbian poncho and hat for Halloween, not because it was him culturally appropriating (can you appropriate from yourself?) but because other students may have mistaken it for such.

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CALL FOR INFORMATION: Furry Convention History, by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

IF YOU HAVE HELPED TO ORGANIZE A FURRY CONVENTION, PLEASE COMMENT BELOW.

Fred Patten wants to put your con in a fandom history book from an academic publisher. (See previous articles from “Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer“.)  There are pieces of info lacking from many cons – Fred can make it clear what’s needed from which ones.  He’ll report it like this example, the history of RAINFURREST.  – Patch  

Fred’s message:

For the last two years, I have been compiling a history of all furry conventions throughout the world from 1989 through the end of 2015.  It has been accepted by a publisher, McFarland.  It covers 112 furry conventions in North and South America, Asia, Australasia, and Europe.  The manuscript is 277 pages. My deadline for finishing is March 1, 2016.

Many convention committees have given full information; others have not answered at all.  Also, I am trying to get at least one illustration for each convention — art such as website logos, conbook covers, posters, illustrated membership badges, illustrated hotel room keys; whatever a committee wants to submit.  McFarland says that none of the illustrations on the Internet are of high enough resolution for book publication, so I cannot just framegrab an illustration from the Internet.  They need an electronic file of 300 DPI or better.

I suspect that some lack of replies are due to a committee member who is not answering or passing them on.  So a public announcement might reach a committee member who wants their convention represented in my book with all questions answered.

Here is what I have on one convention.

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What will the National Mascot Hall of Fame mean for furries? – Part 3 of mascot series.

by Patch O'Furr

A three part series:

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

mascot-hall-of-fameMascot art, business, culture, and a Hall of Fame to celebrate it all.

Let’s peer into the strange, distant futureworld of 2017.

How much respect do mascots get?  It’s kind of a stereotype that they deserve mocking and noogies from jocks.  Some would say that enjoying mascots too much is like loving the sauce while ignoring the main course.  They might consider it ridiculous to give sole focus for celebration of mascots.

Now there’s a whole institution for that.  The Mascot Hall of Fame was founded by David Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic from 1978-1993. It’s been around since 2005 in online-only form.  Now it’s getting a 25,000 square-foot building in Whiting, Indiana. (With the crowd capacity of this place, imagine a jock giving noogies to so many thousands of mascot lovers- his arms would fall off.) Read the rest of this entry »

When fursuits cross with sports, ‘Stupid Costume Enthusiasts’ go big – Part 2 of mascot series.

by Patch O'Furr

OIL_8042

Edmonton Oil Kings hockey halftime show, January 2015.

A three part series:

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

Good examples of fursuiting crossover with pro sports.

I have to admit not knowing a lot about commercial mascotting.  But here’s some quick comparison with the amateur hobby kind.  At Amazing-Mascots.com, you can get a feel for how major teams and companies commission the pro makers.

Amazing Mascots is a company with a 15,000 foot warehouse, and a team of seasoned professionals boasting decades of mascotting and designing experience. They quote multiplied prices ($4000-12,000) compared to costume makers inside fandom.

Our own fursuit makers charge as little as $2000 and typically do it from a craft room at home.  But their craft often beats the pros, doesn’t it?  They do it for love as much as money.  So value their skills and personal relationships with them, and give them love back.

On to the examples of how hobbyists are reaching the level of pros…

Wolf mascot for Moscow’s Dynamo hockey team – made in 2013 by Mixedcandy.

Even if the Dynamo NHL team was in the USA – I wouldn’t know anything about them. But I would know the work of Mixedcandy. There must be an interesting story about how they commissioned this and why.  I wouldn’t expect a pro team to approach a hobby community just to save a couple grand!  (Pic: LatinVixen on FurAffinity.  More at the Dynamo Instagram page.) 

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 3.37.46 PMwolf

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