Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Tag: 1980’s

“Don’t dream it – be it!” Interview with Robert Hill about early fursuiting and fandom.

by Patch O'Furr

Art of Robert Hill

Continuing from: Meet Robert Hill: Artist, performer, and history’s first sexy fursuiter.

Furry fandom has many members who were born after Robert Hill’s ahead-of-its-time (but perhaps underrated) role in its late 1970’s-1980’s formation. My previous introduction promised an interview. That involved some convincing to start it (so maybe others wouldn’t have gotten it?) That makes me extra happy to share it now.

For a little more background, you could browse his (very fetishy and hot) Fur Affinity gallery, or his Wiki that mentions successes in getting media notice. Some was for costuming, and some for art (like in the badly intentioned, but well exposed) MTV Sex2K documentary “Plushies and Furries.

When I say “ahead of its time” and mention MTV, the 90’s were a different time than now. Drama raged between furry fans about whether sexy stuff was acceptable, especially in reaction to media exploitation that overemphasized the fringes. A lot of the bad attention came with a nasty streak of homophobia.  In 2018, I think we know who won. It’s not about furries being indecent, it’s about radical self-expression with all kinds of supportive benefits. I’d say change didn’t come from pleading with outsiders to be nicer, but from the power of building a great community within. And the media followed along with some change from exploitation to a gentler view of loveable eccentricity.

All along, there were members who dared to explore what they wanted to express without taming it for outside recognition, but who were fiercely talented enough to get some of that too.

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Furry Awakenings

by Patch O'Furr

Where do furries come from? Here’s how ones who answered were zapped. Below: A picture is worth 1000 words. Classics & nostalgia (blame the 80’s!) Born This Way. Self Discovery and forbidden curiosity. A community or even family, and a fascinating hobby. – Patch

A picture is worth 1000 words

Classics & nostalgia

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Meet Robert Hill: Artist, performer, and history’s first sexy fursuiter.

by Patch O'Furr

Come my pelted pals, gather around… and look back to the distant, dusty past Before Furry Cons.  A time when seeing a sexy “fursuit crush” in public was as unimaginable as looking at them on a phone in your pocket. (A phone with the brightness dialed all the way down, of course.)

It was the 1980’s, when apparently everything was written by eye-blasting lasers with no dial-down button, so wear your raddest shades:

Let’s meet a pioneer. It’s not a label anyone chooses, but what else do you call the first fursuiter at the first furry convention? (ConFurence 0… actually a test before the first one). And they weren’t just a generic cute thing you could see at Disneyland, but a *look away kids!* pleather-clad dominatrix deer. Schwing!

Astonishing vintage VHS footage of this Bigfoot-like creature was unearthed by Changa Lion, archivist for the Prancing Skiltaire (the furry house run by the founders of ConFurence in Southern California.) When Changa posted Hilda’s 1989 con video to Youtube, it went viral outside of fandom (with over 75,000 views to date). Then he found an even earlier one that few have seen until now.

In a way, these are like the Declaration of Sex-Positive Furry Independence. (Obligatory disclaimer for subscribers to the squeaky-clean side of fandom: that’s just one kind of furry, not all of them.)

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NEWSDUMP: Four cons for Pacific Northwest, history and scandal in the fandom – (9/15/16)

by Patch O'Furr

Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.comHere’s headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  

FOUR cons for the US Pacific Northwest? (Tip – Fuzzwolf.)

apkjwqsxFurvana (2018). Anthro Northwest (November 9-12, 2017). Pacific Northwest Fur Con (Spring 2017). And a rebirth for Rainfurrest (under parent organization RAIN, who actively runs other events year-round.)  All of these are intended for one region.  Amazingly they seem cooperative, with none replacing another.

On Reddit’s r/furry, a con staffer explains more about all the activity.

In late 2015 Dogpatch Press looked at five regions for “One Town, Two Cons: Let’s compare and ask organizers about Furry community growth.” It was about fan support, competition and cooperation, with questions about how to sustain more than one central event. But four is unprecedented ambition.

It could only come with 2016’s amazing Year of Furry.  From Zootopia’s billion-dollar success, to Fursonas (the first movie about furries with mainstream distribution), to the continued explosion of cons, there’s much more to come.

Furry party posters from the 1980’s. 

In the 1980’s, sci-fi cons gathered fans of funny-animal cartoons for room parties. Mark Merlino and Rod O’Riley have the Prancing Skiltaire furry house in So Cal that has posted some of their party flyer collection.  There was drama about the “furries” being weird, because that stuff isn’t for grown-ups is it?  So in 1989 they got their own con, ConFurence.  Look at how they multiplied like bunnies. Now it’s too late to stop them. Just don’t let anyone with a time machine go back and change the flyers to send them to Floor 13.

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Early Furry Fan Photos – by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Greymuzzle Stickmaker (Rodford Edmiston Smith), an attendee and photographer of many World S-F Conventions and other s-f conventions of the 1980s through the 2000s, has been posting his photos on Flickr since late September.

Most are of interest to s-f fans, but some contain pictures of furry fans at bygone s-f conventions. (I’m in there, but never mind where – I don’t photograph well.)

A fox fursuiter (but the word “fursuit” didn’t exist yet) at the 1991 Worldcon in Chicago.  (link)

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