Dogpatch Press

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Tag: conventions

Furry Nation: The True Story of America’s Most Misunderstood Subculture, by Joe Strike – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Furry Nation: The True Story of America’s Most Misunderstood Subculture, by Joe Strike. Illustrated.
Jersey City, NJ, Cleis Press, October 2017. Trade paperback, $17.95 ([ix +] 342 pages), Kindle $10.99.

Yes!

Here it is! What we’ve all been waiting for! The book about furry fandom!

Full disclosure: I’m quoted by name on a back-cover blurb, and cited as “a founding father of furry fandom”.

Is it perfect? No, but it’s probably better than any of us could have written. I gave up writing a book “all about” furry fandom long ago. If I may be permitted a moment of “I told you so”, I told those who asked me to write such a book in the late 1990s that it would take me around ten years to fully research and write such a book. They turned from me to find someone else who could do it right away. They couldn’t.

Joe Strike has been in furry fandom since the 1980s. He has been working on Furry Nation for at least fifteen years. It’s full of both his own knowledge and the interviews that he conducted. He has interviewed not only all the earliest furry fans, and the current leaders of furry fandom – Mark Merlino, Rod O’Riley, Jim Groat, Mitch Marmel, Dr. Sam Conway, Boomer the Dog, leading furry artists like Heather Bruton and Kjartan Arnórsson, fursuit makers like Lance Ikegawa and Denali, academics like Dr. Kathy Gerbasi, and so on – but those outside the furry community who have impacted it. The writers of newspaper and TV news stories about furry fandom? He interviewed them. The executives of Pittsburgh’s tourist bureau? He interviewed them. The directors of TV programs and theatrical animation features that have used furry themes? He interviewed them.

What Furry Nation covers: a definition of furry fandom, the influences that gave rise to it back to prehistoric times, the history of how it started, profiles of the earliest furry fans, how the rise of the Internet affected it, a description of furry fandom in North America today, with emphasis on its conventions and a profile of Anthrocon in depth, its artists and furry art, its fursuits, its public perception, an acknowledgement of its seedier side, and how it has grown from a tiny, unnoticed subgroup to an important influence on popular culture today. The book has 189 footnotes throughout it. There are over two dozen photographs and samples of furry illustrations from the 1980s (early fanzines and Furry Party flyers) to the present.

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Making History at the Alamo City Furry Invasion 2017!

by Rune AngelDragon

Rune’s Furry Blog showcases people within the furry community, issues and media plus personal blogging. Rune joins other guest posters here – Welcome Rune! – Patch

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“It’s a sleepy day in the sleepy town of Fur City Bluff…” begins the narrative of ‘The Furry, Furry West’ within the ACFI con-book. It sets the tone, bringing us to a dusty town under the watchful eye of the Sheriff and his team, to a place where there is a fair coming up, and the looming threat of the Red-Mask-Gang.

Boots, badges, masks, and moneybags…this was the stage for San Antonio’s first-ever Furry Convention.

As someone living in Texas, I first heard of the San Antonio community back in 2016. I had just gone to a comic-con in Alamo City to meet the Power Rangers and I took my fursuit head with me. I thought this would be a great opportunity to suit for a little while, and get used to wearing my character in a crowded place…Needless to say that there were not as many furries there as I thought, and I quickly became intimidated. Long-story-short, this got me noticed (after the con) by a local who mentioned the furmeets happening within the area, and she asked me to add her on facebook so that she might invite me to said-events so I could attend.

While I was never really in the area to go to any of the meets (as I live over 2 hours away) I did research on them. This lead me to videos, and photos, to chatting with Adam King occasionally, and it really gave me an idea of what a Furry Community really looked like. Never did I think that such a tight-knit community could evolve into something so much greater…but after this weekend, I realized that myself along with 737 other people made history as we celebrated and experienced San Antonio’s new Furry Convention!

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Furries resist hate, Altfurry Discord logs go public, Casey Hoerth removed by employers.

by Patch O'Furr

Last week, Dogpatch Press linked the alt-right of furry fandom with a violent neo-nazi rally in Charlottesville. It came on a wave of fandom news, synched with the even bigger one in the mainstream.  There’s too much for one update (more is coming.)

Open neo-nazi marching led to nationwide pushback.  It included hate groups being kicked off of many services, from Paypal to Discord. The Altfurries saw it coming in their own Discord group, and soon their group was gone. (Keep in mind that’s not a government act.)

That was a signal for inside leaks to be exposed.  I had access for months but couldn’t talk about it before.  Months of altfurry private communications are now here for anyone to see; what we’ve been saying all along wasn’t exaggeration.  Altfurry really does represent neo-nazi activity they are trying to push into the fandom. It was a huge blow to their pretense of just having different opinions.  The dust will be settling for a long time.

Altfurrydiscord logs get viral sharing and media coverage.

Flayrah covered some of the happenings: ‘Alt-Furry’ suffers blowback after Alt-Right rally leads to death of citizen.

Newsweek interviewed some involved people including Deo, and from the altfurries, Casey Hoerth and Nathan Gate. The journalist is a freelancer who did a previous piece on the alt-right, whose previous experience was writing for Heat Street (a conservative site that recently shut down). I spoke to his editor about reporting with false equivalency. And I spoke to another media source for coverage that isn’t open to talk about yet. Those articles are forthcoming.

Work begins for sorting info.

Confidential volunteers are tracing connections and identities in the altfurry logs. A few sample contents include:

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Get buzzed for Tiny Paws Con, coming to Connecticut in September.

by Patch O'Furr

This con’s theme is “Summer Camp.” Yay for summer camp! How about sweaty, un-air-conditioned bunkhouses? Poison ivy? MOSQUITOS?  Get ready to celebrate NONE of those things at the new Tiny Paws Con. They just have the parts that don’t suck: fun and games, getting together with old friends, and making new ones. If you’re itching for that in September, Tiny Paws has the cure.

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Harassment in fandom needs to be taken seriously – guest post by Lamar.

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Lamar for submitting. His articles on Flayrah include this recommended one: “Furry, not an obscure little fandom any more” – it’s as relevant today as in 2011.

A couple of weeks ago I put out a call via Twitter, helpfully reposted by some high profile people, to see if I could get any first hand reports of how Convention and Security staff handled issues at Conventions.

I had exactly three replies in total. One saying that they had once reported someone vaping inside the convention space. One security staffer who was unable to discuss any details but expressed that incidents of harassment do happen, and have to be handled correctly and with care. And finally, another con staffer who accused me of being on a “fishing expedition” and using rumours to ascribe bad faith.

And outside of twitter I talked to a young member of the fandom, who continues to receive targeted convention related harassment. I’m going to call him Adrian, but that’s not his real name. Adrian shared copies of the messages. They include slurs and rants, including for instance “You ATTENTION seeking c***”. Adrian received this harassment, for speaking out about what happened to him at a convention some years ago. I ask him to talk about it.

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What’s Yiffin’? – March 2017 edition of syndicated furry news.

by André Kon

Good afternoon, Dogpatch Press readers. Last month was pretty big for us – it had our news satire show What’s Yiffin’? debut on this website. Nobody tried to kill us or call us mean names or whatever, so I guess that means it was well received. If that’s the case, then today ought to be a great day for some of you, because we’ve got the March edition of the series ready to go. Thank you for making What’s Yiffin’? a part of your entertainment routine.

AND NOW THE NEWS

More details and some additional insight from the show’s writers:

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Fred Patten’s new book is a first for fandom: Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015.

by Patch O'Furr

51561577Fred Patten‘s Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015 is out.

Until now, if you looked up “furry” at a mainstream book store, you might find a tiny handful of drawing, costume making or novelty books, but little about the fans themselves. You would have to sift the sands of the internet. This kind of recognition has been a long time coming. (We had TV specials in the early 90’s!)

Fred says:

“This is the first study of furry fandom published by a publisher outside of the furry specialty press itself. It indicates that furry fandom is becoming an accepted subject for academic study. Dr. Kathy Gerbasi of the IARP introduces it (she wanted to write a Furword rather than a Foreword.) I worked on this for more than three years.”

Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015 is from McFarland, a well-known publisher of histories and academic reference books.  It’s $39.95, with 242 pages, illustrated in black-&-white and 8 pages in color, with an index and over 50 illustrations of furry con graphics.  It covers all furry fandom conventions around the world, from the first in January 1989 to the end of 2015.

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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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One Town, Two Cons: Let’s compare and ask organizers about Furry community growth.

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks for help from Poppa Bookworm, and tips from Arrkay (Culturally F’ed) and Fuzzwolf (FurPlanet.) 

The newly established PAWcon is coming up on October 30 – in the same place as Further Confusion.  It made me raise a topic

In the 90’s, ConFurence was THE convention for all furries worldwide.  26 years after ConFurence 0 broke ground, the subculture has gained enough steam for some local populations to get multiple cons.  It’s a sign of a healthy community.  Areas or cities like that make great examples to learn from.  Do they succeed?  What does it say about fan support, and competition or cooperation to grow our awesome fandom?

Five places came to mind:

  • San Jose, CA (Further Confusion and PAWcon, since 2014)
  • Columbus, OH (Morphicon and Furlaxation, in 2012-2014)
  • Toronto (Camp Feral! and Furnal Equinox, since 2010)
  • Boston, MA (Maltese Fur Con and Anthro New England, in 2014)
  • Pittsburgh, PA (Anthrocon and Western Pennsylvania Furry Weekend)

Healthy growth can bring a downside.  Cons are growing large and well-attended enough to have critical security concerns.  This month, Oklacon and Rainfurrest both announced dramatic cancelations due to misbehavior.  Bad faith can get between organizers and their venues, and that gets bigger than internal fandom drama.  However, it’s also natural for problems to grow when a population does.  Be optimistic with a con every week, some place in the world.

Consider the hard work it takes to organize a con, and draw people to fly in from far away.  Organizing could be a paid profession.  Furries are lucky and loveable because theirs come from volunteering.  This brings a risk of burnout and decline.  It’s important to understand how and why.  The decline of ConFurence coincided with the start of Further Confusion, which may have unintentionally divided the pool of supporters.  16 years after ConFurence 10 ended, multi-con locations can show examples for how to sustain what we love.

There’s much more than conventions in the hard-to-measure Furry subculture.  They can only draw some members.  But they can be considered to lead it’s growth.  Con-goers, fursuiters, and fursuiting con-goers may be the most committed members of furry social life.  They spend the tourist dollars that float Furry’s best public profile.  Anthrocon’s $7 million tourism draw has earned more and more enthusiastic coverage.  In 2015, it achieved a new benchmark, with their first public parade that was cheered on by 5,000 regular people of Pittsburgh.  This is what the public sees.

Let’s look for insight from organizers.  Dogpatch Press sent questions to ten cons in five locations:

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Camp Feral!: Fifteen Years, 1998 – 2012 (Part 3) – by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Article with Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.  Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Camp Feral! An all-inclusive furry summer camp where the registration fee covers your food, lodging and activities for the most unique and memorable furry experience of your life! Your fee covers all the coffee you can drink, [and] all the breakfast lunch or dinner you can eat.” (from the Camp Feral! 2012 website)

Camp Feral! is the oldest of the recorded outdoor furry conventions, going back to 1998. It is also Canada’s oldest furry event, and the fourth oldest continuing furry convention (after EuroFurence in 1995 and Anthrocon and Mephit FurMeet in 1997). It was started after the oldest furry annual convention, ConFurence in Southern California (1989), gave rise to U.S. East Coast furry conventions in 1995 to 1997 (Furtasticon, Confurence East, Albany Anthrocon), inspiring Canadian furry fans to start their own convention – but with a difference.

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Camp Feral!:  Fifteen Years, 1998 – 2012, Part 3

Camp Feral! X, at Camp Arowhon, was August 27 – 31, 2007. The U.S. financial crisis affected attendance adversely, dropping it back to about 80 campers. It focused upon the Camp’s tenth anniversary. The Feral! Survival Guide featured a retrospective by Terry Wessner titled “It’s Like Herding Cats, Only Moreso”. Registration was now C$325 for regular campers, C$375 for Sponsors, and C$495 for patrons, plus the C$45 bus fee.

Guests of Honour were three Canadian furry artists; Ferris (Chuck Davies), Gideon Hoss (of Club Stripes), and Max Blackrabbit (Malcolm Earle). The FeralCom staff was mostly the same: Potoroo and Patchouli (co-chairs), Verec (registration and logistics), Grex (finances), WilyKat and Growler (security), Dralen (workshop coordiator), Crono (activities coordinator), Cobalt (conbook and activities editor), and Blake, Desertwolf, Khaki Wolf, and Srice (gofurs).

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