Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Red Is The Darkest Color and The Devil Was Green, by Brett A. Brooks – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Red is the Darkest Color, by Brett A. Brooks
Atlanta, GA, Pandahead Publishing, June 2016, trade paperback, $15.95 ([4 +] 280 [+ 2] pages), Kindle $2.99.

The Devil Was Green, by Brett A. Brooks
Atlanta, GA, Pandahead Publishing, January 2017, trade paperback, $15.95 ([3 +] 278 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Pussy Katnip owns and is the popular chanteuse at the Kit Kat Klub in Mutt Town. But she’s not reluctant to step outside her club to help someone in need – especially if this involves clashing with an old enemy:

“With more than a slight jag to his turn, Todd looked back at the stage, and then back to the bartender. ‘Does … well, that is to say, do you know if Miss Katnip ever sees any of the people who come to see her?’

Robby snorted softly. ‘Depends on who it is and what they want. You a fan?’

‘I … truthfully, I’ve never heard Miss Katnip sing before.’ He picked up the scotch and took a small sip. ‘I was hoping that I might …’ There was a moments [sic.] pause, followed by Todd taking a much larger sip and then looking Robby in the eye. ‘I’ve heard that Miss Katnip can help people. Sometimes at least. I was truly hoping that she might see me tonight.’

‘Oh.’ Robby nodded. ‘Well, y’see, Miss Katnip tries to keep a low profile, y’know? She’s not the type who goes out and gets in trouble herself.’ Casually, Robby scratched under his chin. ‘But, just for conversation purposes, what is it you was wanting to talk to Miss Katnip about? You got law troubles?’

‘What? No. No, nothing like that.’ Todd sat up straight. ‘The police and I … they haven’t been an issue. In fact, they haven’t been willing to talk to me much at all.’” (Red, pgs. 4-5)

When Todd Crocker comes into her club looking for help against a mob boss who is threatening him, he is told not to worry. Boss Dogg and his chief enforcer Mugsy are familiar adversaries. Pussy visits Boss’ rival night club, the Dogg House, during the day when it’s closed and persuades him and Mugsy to leave Todd alone:

“Faster than the eye could follow, Pussy grabbed the chair and raised it up, smashing it against the brute attacking her. Splinters of wood showered down as Mugsy flew up into the air, landing hard on the ground.

She was on him instantly. Grabbing him by the shirt, she spun around, flinging him over ten feet into the seating area. The table and chairs he met did not respond well, and the sound of cracking wood filled the space.

Pussy looked to Boss. ‘Don’t move.’ He didn’t.

[…]

‘Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to drop everything that Mr. Crocker owes you. You aren’t going to bother him, or even remember that he exists. Your dealings with him are through. Am I clear?’   She stopped inches away from him.

‘Yeah. Yeah, sure.’ He nodded rapidly.” (Red, pgs. 20-22)

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Intimate Little Secrets, by Rechan – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Intimate Little Secrets, by Rechan
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, March 2017, trade paperback $9.95 (163 pages), ebook $6.95.

Intimate Little Secrets is a collection of nine “sensual” short stories by Rechan, published for Furry Fiesta 2017. The book is publisher-rated NC-17, for adult readers.

Robert Baird describes the nine stories in his Introduction as “alternately touching and titillating; tantalizing and tender. They invite us to explore the inner lives of characters consistently defined firstly by their refreshing believability.” (p. 7) Some of these stories originally appeared online, on Rechan’s SoFurry and FurAffinity accounts.

Indeed. I have complained before about authors whose characters are only funny animals; animal-headed humans. Rechan never lets that happen. His characters are anthropomorphic animals; a blend of humans and the species that they are described as.

“Fanservice” features Robin and Dean, two shy young mink, office workers on their first evening date. Robin dresses as Veronica Tamas, a TV actress she knows Dean likes. “Part of the problem was Tamas, as a deer, had wonderful legs put on display by the mini-dress lab coat and the sleek knee high black boots. With the longer torso and shorter limbs of a mink, Robin wasn’t pulling it off.” (p. 9)

Robin tries to make it up in other ways:

“For a moment Dean only squeezed her shoulder, then his digits inched up to graze her throat. A faint chirr bubbled up as he stroked her so-soft fur, and she reached out to caress his wrist and forearm.

When his touch moved up to her cheek and muzzle, Robin closed her eyes and tilted into it, a soft breath escaping from her. The scent of him drew her in, her body easing closer to his until they bumped.

That caress lasted only a moment longer before he cupped her cheek, her whiskers brushed his, and she instinctively moved into the oncoming kiss.

Their teeth knocked together.” (p. 14)

They eventually get it right. They never get out of their office that evening. The most unrealistic aspect of “Fanservice” to me was that Robin would go all the way on a first date.

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Ground control to Major Paws – Space Camp party is coming in March.

by Patch O'Furr

Furclub: “A repeat/regular nightclub event by furries for furries.” It’s a dance party independent from cons. The concept has been spreading since the late 2000’s. It’s a movement! See the list of parties at The Furclub Survey. Featured here is a new event in Alameda, CA. 

Space themed costumes, dancing, DJ’s, fursuiting, craft beer, and waterfront views on San Francisco and the Bay Bridge! This is happening at a massive 1200+ person hangar converted to a brewery.  There’s 10,000 sq. feet of indoor fursuit-friendly naturally cooled space, free secure parking, and a huge outdoor patio with food trucks. Space Camp joins Frolic party, Wild Things, and Party Animals as events for SF Bay Area furry night life.

For San Francisco Pride 2017, I organized with the Burning Man art car “Unaverz” to be our furry float in the parade. They’re coming to Space Camp as a mobile sound system with DJ and upper deck hang out space. Not just furries, but Burners and anyone who wants an amazing party should come check this out. Tell your friends!

@NachoHusky (contact on Telegram or Twitter) is the organizer. Roman Otter, the volunteer coordinator, wants to hear from anyone interested in volunteering. (A short shift gets free entry – sign up on the main site). Those interested in doing photos or videos should get in touch.

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Magnus Diridian asked for an interview, so we talked about an attack on a convention.

by Patch O'Furr

An unresolved issue

You may know Magnus Diridian (AKA Rob Shokawsky) as “The Confederate fursuiter” who’s banned from furry conventions. What happens after being arrested for trespassing at Midwest FurFest 2017, and featuring in a news article about troll activity? How about a challenge to clear the air and explain things. That is, if a simple case of people being bothered by unwanted behavior needs any further explanation at all.

There don’t seem to be many people asking for it. But long story short, Magnus got in trouble and wanted to explain. I took the opportunity to talk, but not in the way he hoped. Honestly I’m not interested in rehashing what everyone already read about the 2017 arrest. He’ll have his day in court.  Something else was an open and bothersome issue, and I focused on that instead.  The previous article only hinted about it. Now I’m going to be really direct.

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Why furries should care about politics in 2018 – guest post by WhiteClaw.

by Patch O'Furr

There seemed to be a tipping point when outsiders started looking deeper into furry fandom, more than tapping on the zoo window and making lazy jokes. They started writing things better than “those freaks” or “Furry 101”. Then there was a change beyond warmer media (whose approval isn’t needed, anyways). Members started standing for a growing and more grown-up community by ditching some excess baggage. It was the best of both worlds – people caring more and all the fun and freedom too. Of course failures tag along when you have more people getting involved. For example, at Midwest FurFest 2017, there was drama about one guy being arrested for trolling. But that was just one. The real story was about success of the con heading towards 10,000 happy attendees.

Making room for more and better things means caring in many ways. Here’s a look at one way. Thanks to Whiteclaw for the guest post. (- Patch)

Why furries should care about politics – by Whiteclaw.

Politics + anthropomorphism = great art

“Keep politics out of furry.”

You’ve probably seen this type of comment. Maybe you’ve made it yourself. Given its polarizing nature, talking about politics is a fast way to lose friends and make enemies. And that’s just with regular people. So why bring it into the fandom?

Furries are a group of people that love anthromorphic animals. But the key word there is “people.” Because behind every fox/wolf/cat/badger/dragon/etc. is a person. And that person is affected by politics. The fact that we roleplay as animals online doesn’t change this.

“Furry is an escape. I shouldn’t have to talk about politics here.”

There’s a valid point here in that we can’t and shouldn’t be focused on politics every second of every day. Yes we sometimes need to take a break from the awfulness of the world and furry is a great way to do that.

But an escape in this sense implies a break or a time-out. It suggests that we’re involved in dealing with these issues at some point. And if we never do, if we’re always “escaping” politics, then furry isn’t an escape, it’s an excuse.

More than that, furry doesn’t have to be just something you do, it can be something you are. In the 1990’s there was a split between fans who only looked up to professional artists, and ones they looked down on as “lifestylers” for acting like their own community. Now it is one. Politics affects our community the same way it does any other. The sheer diversity of the fandom means that, in some ways, it affects us more.

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Rukus premiere at SF Indie Fest (2/2/18) – a furry movie says Lights, Camera, Anthros!

by Patch O'Furr

RUKUS at the 20th annual SF Indie Fest

February 2, 7:00 PM / February 5, 9:15 PM

Roxie theater, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco

RSVP at Meetup to join the furmeet – 2nd showfest info

Rukus – a fiction/documentary hybrid by Brett Hanover

Birth of an indie furry movie scene

Videowolf’s documentary Fursonas [2016] was a landmark, even if it split watchers between love and hate. (Wag your tail if good movie making comes before “does it make the fandom look good?”) It wasn’t the first feature-length indie production by furries – that was the only-fandom-seen Bitter Lake [2011].  It wasn’t the first high quality movie that had them in it – that was the German arthouse gem Finsterworld [2013].  But it was a movie that broke through to more than only a “furry movie” by aiming for a thoughtful, critical look at subculture and identity. It just happened to be directed by and about furries. Now they don’t just follow behind mass media that many claim not to depend on. They also make it and play on bigger screens.

At roughly the same time, Zootopia [2016] was a huge event. Animation may be the holy grail for furriness on screen, but a behemoth budget from Disney is light years from the cottage industry where fandom gets its strength. Zootopia was merely a “furry” movie, as in, one whose directors won’t let you call it that. Journalist Joe Strike had a story about that in his book Furry Nation (another first for publishing in 2017.)

I was invited to a Zootopia press junket the week before the film premiered and was granted one-on-one time with Byron and his directing partner, Rich Moore. I immediately — and perhaps not too wisely — asked if the teaser was a “dog whistle” to the furry community. Howard deftly dodged my questions, and not long after the interview I received an email from my upset editor, who’d been contacted by an upset Disney PR person. – (Joe Strike, Furry Nation, p. 333)

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Mascot Fur Life – movie reviews by Rex Masters and Flash Hound

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Rex and Flash for their reviews! Dogpatch Press welcomes community access writers – get in touch. – Patch

A review of Mascot Fur Life

I have just watched a film titled Mascot Fur Life (2016 German with English subtitles). To be honest I was a bit apprehensive to watch another “furry film/ documentary” – the last one I watched left me feeling betrayed and hollow inside. Anyway, on to this film.

The main character is a Lion named Willion Richards.  Willion’s dream is to be the mascot of a soccer team.  He trains very hard with the help of his coach Berk.  Life is difficult for Willion, who struggles as a greeter in a large hardware store.

The film is professionally made, with excellent editing, good camera angles, great sets, and most scenes being shot on location.  I’m sure none of us will argue that the costumes aren’t first rate!

Can Willion make the tryouts?  Will this lion be happy, or forever doomed to work at a hardware store?  Will he overcome despair and the prejudice against him? Can he even pay the rent for his flat?

I found this film to be most enjoyable; in fact, I highly recommend you see it!

It most assuredly receives a Five Paw rating from this old dog.

– Rex Masters

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Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, by John Crowley – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, by John Crowley. Illustrated by Melody Newcomb.
NYC, Saga Press, October 2017, hardcover $28.99 ([4 +] 442 [+2] pages), trade paperback $16.99, Kindle $7.99.

This is the story of Dar Oakley, “the first Crow in all of history with a name of his own” (blurb). It is told by a nameless human narrator in the time of death, when both humans and Crows are all dying. The narrator’s wife Debra has just died, and he is sick, delirious, and alone in his country house. He finds a sick, obviously dying Crow in his back yard:

“I approached it warily – those bills are sharp – and heard from several directions the calling of other Crows, so close I thought I ought to be able to see them, though I couldn’t. The sick one made no attempt to get away, and didn’t even watch me come closer. Or so I thought then. It would take me a long time to understand that Crows, courting or walking a field together, never turning heir heads to observe one another, aren’t indifferent to or unconscious of their neighbors. No. A Crow’s eyes are set far apart, far enough apart that he can best see very close things out of only one eye. Crows beside one another are, in their way, face-to-face.” (p. 4)

The narrator brings the dying Crow into his house on a shovel. But the Crow does not die, nor does the narrator. During the next two years the Crow and the narrator, always alone, both get well, and the narrator learn to talk to the Crow. The Crow, Dar Oakley, tells him his life story. All two thousand years of it:

“He tells me now that he can’t remember much at all of the worst days of his sickness, and the story that I tell – the backyard, the Crows, the shovel, the bathtub – will have to do for him as well as for me. The one thing he knew and I didn’t was that he wouldn’t die. That would take more than a bout of West Nile, if that’s what this was.” (p. 6)

Ka pages 13 to 442 are Dar Oakley’s story. It starts long before the days of Julius Caesar, in the lands of the Celts in northern Europe. One day the Crow who would become Dar Oakley was boasting to a wandering Vagrant Crow:

“‘You’d probably not believe me,’ Dar Oakley said one day to the Vagrant, ‘if I told you how far from here I’ve been.’

The Vagrant, poking in the mud of a pond’s edge for larvae or Frog’s eggs or whatever else might turn up, said nothing in response.

‘I’ve been where there are no Crows at all,’ Dar Oakley said. ‘None anywhere but me.’

‘No such place,’ the Vagrant averred,

‘Oh no?’ said Dar Oakley. ‘Go as far as I have,’

The Vagrant stopped his hunting. ‘Listen, fledgling.’ He said, in a low but not soft voice. ‘Long ago I left the places where I grew up. I was run out. Never mind why. Always between then and now I’ve been on the wing.’” (p. 17)

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2017 Ursa Major Awards nominations open now!

by Patch O'Furr

On Sunday evening at Further Confusion, I chatted with Mark Merlino and Rod O’Riley of the Prancing Skiltaire furry house, founders of ConFurence, the first furry con. We talked about how a certain fandom controversy today is dragging on one that started all the way back with the divide between fans and “lifestylers”. That is, people who only liked furry stuff – vs. people who dared call themselves Furries, with a community beyond simply being a consumer for anthropomorphic animal media. It looks out for its members like any other.

This community recognizes contributors with annual awards. The awards are funded by Rod and Mark, and they need help. It’s a modest 3-digit cost… but still the help has to happen. We discussed the monthly model of Patreon vs. a one-time cost of GoFundMe or IndieGogo. Expect more info on that soon. Furry readers: is this something you would contribute to? Please speak up in the comments! – Patch  

Fred Patten tells more about those awards:

Nominations for the 2017 Ursa Major Awards opened on January 11, the first day of Further Confusion 2018. The awards celebrate the best anthropomorphic literature and art first published during the previous calendar year.

Visit their site to participate: http://www.ursamajorawards.org/

The awards are selected through a two-stage process of nomination and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the twelve categories. The top nominations in each category are then presented for a public vote.

Award categories:

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Arcana: A Tarot Anthology, Madison Scott-Clary, ed. – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Arcana: A Tarot Anthology, Madison Scott-Clary, ed. Illustrated by Joseph Chou.
Lansing, MI, Thurston Howl Publications, November 2017, trade paperback, $17.99 (xi + 423 pages).

The tarot cards, according to the Preface by editor Scott-Clary, were introduced to Europe in the 15th century. They have been used for fortune-telling since the 16thth century, if not earlier. There are four suits of 14 cards each, plus 22 “major arcana” cards. The arcana have individual names: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Hierophant, and so on. Arcana: A Tarot Anthology presents 22 stories, one for each arcana card, featuring anthro animals. Each is illustrated by a full-page portrait in the style of an anthro arcana card by Joseph Chou.

The first story, “The First Step” (The Fool) by editor Madison “Makyo” Scott-Clary, is less a story than a tutorial on how tarot fortune-telling works. Avery, a shy young mountain lion, is sent by his mother to a nameless older badger fortune-teller by his mother. Avery, the narrator, is just about to leave home for college, and his mother insists that he find out from the tarot cards what the future will bring. The motherly badger is as much a lay psychologist as a fortune-teller. “The First Step” is unusual in being narrated in the present tense:

“She leans in close to me, stage-whispering, ‘I’ll let you in on a secret. None of the cards in the swords suit – in any suits – show blood. Death, yes. Change, definitely. But no blood.   It’s hardly hacking and slashing.’

‘But they’re still –‘

She holds up a paw. ‘They’re still swords, but they’re tools. Swords show work. Strife, sometimes, sure; striving toward a goal. But what they is show work. These swords aren’t working right now, they’re just standing there. So where is the striving?’

‘Behind them?’ I ask. “They figures are all facing away from something.’

‘Or toward something.’

‘So,’ I say hesitantly. ‘I’m going to go on a journey?’” (p. 11)

“Cat’s Paw” (The Magician) by Mut is narrated by a nameless desperate were-dog who accosts a lion-man wizard and his date in a bar to get his curse removed. But nobody is what they seem. Very sardonically amusing:

“So here’s the secret to spotting a wizard: look for the one with a body that’s just too perfect. There’s a stud who’s six three, muscles fighting to escape his shirt, not a hair out of place? Wizard. Or a porn star, maybe, but probably a wizard.

[…]

I’d been trawling through bars for a wizard all evening, ad it was getting close to the deadline. I’d found a couple of almosts and one obvious poseur, but nobody with real magic. This guy, though, he was unmistakeable. He hadn’t even bothered to keep it human – too green to know better, or too powerful to care. He was a lion, with a mane and golden fur and whiskers and everything. There was even a tail flicking away under the barstool.” (pgs. 21-22)

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