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Category: history

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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Exciting times are coming for fursuiting, pro sports, and The National Mascot Hall Of Fame.

by Patch O'Furr

The National Mascot Hall of Fame is coming in 2017.  This mainstream event might deserve attention from furries. Will hobby costumers indirectly benefit from the millions of investment and hype?

Sci-fi costuming and mascots probably developed separately. But some fursuiting is showing up in pro sports. Anthrocon had the San Diego Chicken as Guest Of Honor.  A mascot was a viral sensation of the 2015 Super Bowl.  Can we look forward to more crossover?  Is this part of mainstreaming furries, with stuff like Disney’s Zootopia?

A three part series:

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

I have to admit that sports isn’t my thing.  Ritualistically chasing a stuffed spheroid doesn’t set my curiosity on fire. Whenever I see a sportsball game, it seems quite possible, even unavoidable that one of the teams or the other is going to win.  What’s the big deal?

However, even if the physical spectacle isn’t my thing, I can at least admire the ideals of positive team competition, and strength and bravery.

In ancient times, feats of strength were amazing.  Muscle helped you to build shelter to protect you from hungry lions or the angry gods.  Bravery in the hunt was amazing too.  It was better to feed the tribe with antelope steaks than with bugs and berries.

But in modern times, you don’t need strength for that stuff.  Use a forklift or order a pizza.  Physical feats don’t impress me as much as they should.

Calvinball

Of course, I’ll take an invite to hang out with sports-loving friends if there’s beers and chatting.  I have nothing against a good spectacle or playing outside.  I just have different priorities.

I like creative and intellectual pursuits that help us evolve beyond the stone age, or even the silicon age – towards whatever comes next.  (Like maybe a Mad Max future, where the most popular sport is watching cyborgs with chainsaw arms do gladiator battle.)

Mascots are fun and creative. I like their designs and how they act.  Let’s talk about what they mean and where they came from.  Plug your brain into the matrix, and let me take you back to the Pre-Furry Past… and beyond the horizon of time, to the incomprehensibly distant futureworld of 2017.

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EXCLUSIVE: Patreon launch announcement for Culturally F’d, with a new episode and preview!

by Patch O'Furr

In July, Culturally F’d was announced here with an episode list. 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?

title_cardNow, host Arrkay shares the latest episode plus a sneak preview made EXCLUSIVELY for dogpatch.press: 

Hey DogPatch readers! Arrkay here with a special announcement from Culturally F’d.

Firstly, we have a new video all about Fursuiting and Drag Queens. The episode features footage from Howl Toronto in July when some friends and I took over the stage in full drag. In the episode we compare the kind of performances put on by Fursuiters and by Drag Queens to find how much they have in common.

(Note: This week’s video features copyright content due to the drag performances. Because of this, the video may not play in all countries or on all devices.)

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Fred Patten Presents – his articles about Furry publishing, animation, and history.

by Patch O'Furr

Discussion of the history of furry fandom with Fred Patten, at ConFURence 9.

Fred Patten is the most valued contributor at Dogpatch Press.  He came here during editor down time at Flayrah, seeking a stable place for his reviews and history articles.  (For those who aren’t acquainted with Fred’s impressive resume as a fan historian and curator, he has spent a lot of the recent decade in a convalescent hospital.  Writing is a major benefit to his life and a good cause to support.)

The “Fred Patten” tag has everything he has contributed here.  

Without Fred’s guest posts, there would be no five day a week schedule here.  Assisting and formatting his articles takes a lot of work, and five days a week makes a very demanding pace.  But I think the promise of regular content should inspire anyone who contributes.  It makes this the most active “Furry News” source.  It’s all non-profit, so thank Fred for doing what few people can do without being paid – and volunteer helper Poppa Bookworm – and (ahem) anyone else who helps, reads, shares or comments to make this a community thing.

Fred recently shared a bibliography listing an incredible abundance of his book reviews.  It covers years of writing and hundreds of posts.  At the very least, it’s worth browsing to get an idea about the variety of Furry published work.

“What the Well Read Furry Should Read”: All of Fred’s book reviews at Dogpatch Press, Flayrah, and Anthro magazine.

The list doesn’t include Fred’s other amazing articles that aren’t book reviews.  Here’s everything else.  You don’t want to miss these, if you’re interested in learning about anthropomorphic art, how furries came to be, and what they do and like.

FURRY PUBLISHING, ANIMATION, AND HISTORY:

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Theatrical Panto-animals, Part 3: History book reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

These “Panto-animal” history articles share a discovery of amazing proto-Furry happenings, in an overlooked era of Pantomime theater in Victorian Britain.  Stunning photos show why the topic is worth uncovering.  From those scarce records, a handful of actor names stood out with wide publication in their time for “animal impersonation”.  They were not necessarily playing specific “fursonas”, a difference from Furries today – but they earn fan author Phil Geusz’s general label, “paleo-furry.” Charles Lauri was mentioned in Part 1 – and Fred Conquest in Part 2.

51R-RcAYq6LFred Patten reviews the Conquest biography, loaned by the LA public library.

The best Pantomime theater actors seemed highly diverse in their talents.  That only included a small amount of animal costuming, although a few like Fred Conquest specialized in that.   This biography was reviewed in hopes of picking out scarce Panto-animal details, which have been forgotten by time, because very little was ever printed about them.

This Amazon.co.uk review of the book earned a quote in Part 2:

Now that it has become respectable to admit enjoying popular entertainment, the story of the Conquest family deserves to be better known. They were one of those colourful theatrical dynasties who flourished from Victorian times until well into the twentieth century. Many of them were actors who, between them, took on everything from Shakespeare to pantomime; my favourite was the one who played the animals or “skin” roles.

Fred did find amazing costuming stories, even if most of it wasn’t of the animal kind.  These shows must have been incredible spectacles, the “big budget movie” productions of their time.  I’m very sad I couldn’t find any illustration for the giant floating demon head! Let Fred explain more. ( -Patch)

Conquest: The Story of a Theatre Family, by Frances Fleetwood; W. H. Allen, 1953; 282 pages.

(Fred:) The book includes many illustrations, both photographs of actors, and reproductions of 19th century engravings of fantastic stage plays of acrobatic actors in grotesque costumes cavorting about.  The plays included many scenes of fairies and demons flying above the stage on wires, and there are many accounts of wires and ropes breaking and actors being seriously injured. Read the rest of this entry »

There’s a persistent rumor that Furry fandom was perverted by a bad ad for ConFurence.

by Patch O'Furr

  • Was Furry fandom turned into a freakshow against it’s will in the 1990’s?  
  • Did the founders of ConFurence, the first Furry convention, run an ad in a “gay lifestyle magazine” that ruined everything?  

This rumor has circulated for 18 years, but nobody has ever shown a supposed ad.  Now, one Furry made the effort to dig up an obscure, rare 1997 publication, to show what’s really in it!

For context, this incomplete history of 1980’s/90’s Furry fandom gives a great look at how freaky, adult content has always been around… and always provoked overheated reaction. And at Flayrah, a poorly-written, half-baked attempt at prudish revisionism shows the kind of reaction that caused the rumor.  The same Flayrah author became a rumor source, in the first quote below.

yiff2

Here’s what the rumor always looked like:

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