Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Tag: fandom

The ConFurence Archive: a new resource for fandom history, with Q&A by Mark Merlino.

by Patch O'Furr

Dogpatch Press is honored to host guest writer Mark Merlino.  He’s a fandom founder who helped found the first furry convention (ConFurence Zero in 1989). Mark maintains the Prancing Skiltaire house in So Cal, with fellow fans Rod O’Riley and Changa Lion.  Below is his submission, followed by a part 2 with additional questions I sent.  

Mark is announcing a treasure trove of pre-internet furry lore.  Now you can see stuff like the ConFurence Zero conbook. You may love this if you got involved in the days of trading ‘zines by mail (like me), or if you just want to compare what cons do now to how they did it decades ago.  Now we have a thriving subculture on top of the 1980’s fan ways, with unique features like a cottage industry for fursuiting, dance events beyond compare, and cons every weekend around the world.  But some things never change – this blog is basically my ideal 90’s ‘zine, except I’d love to add more art as it grows. ( – Patch)

Mark in 1989 – and check out the ConFurence Zero Aftermath Report.

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March is Furry Women’s Month – guest post by Shining River.

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Shining River for submitting this guest post.

BUST: The Secret Lives Of Female Furries “K2 in her fursuit, photo: Derek Jensen”

In the United States in 1980, a presidential proclamation signed by then president Jimmy Carter designated the week of March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.  In 1987, the Congress of the United States passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as Women’s History Month.

Here in our furry community, Twitter user @SunTattooWolf began the hashtag #FemaleFursuiterMonth two years ago. Much like the hashtag #furryblackhistorymonth from last month which was inspired by the celebration of National Black History month in the United States in the month of February, #FemaleFursuiterMonth aims to applaud the women of the furry community who make the effort to express themselves and entertain the rest of us with their fursuit awesomeness. #FemaleFursuiterMonth does also include transgender women.

Women who fursuit are also featured on the WordPress blog of Rune, sharing her furry enthusiasm with us.

Female furries do much more! The furry community also has the benefit of some talented and prolific female writers. The membership of the Furry Writers Guild comprises some 165 members, of which approximately thirty-two are women and transgender women. Several are winners of the Ursa Major Award and/or the Coyotl Award. Please visit their site for links to where you may read some stories for free and where you may purchase their works.

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Q&A with Sherilyn Connelly, author of Ponyville Confidential: the History and Culture of My Little Pony, 1981-2016.

by Patch O'Furr

ponyvilleRecently, I posted “The history of My Little Pony and thoughts about growing up with cartoons” to prepare for chat with Sherilyn Connelly.  Sherilyn is a journalist local to the San Francisco Bay Area Furries. (She has given them notice in publications like SF Weekly.) Her first book is out this April: Ponyville Confidential, a pop culture history of the My Little Pony media empire. (Please like the book’s Facebook page!)

Hi Sherilyn, thanks for talking about Ponyville Confidential!  Let me start by asking – who needs to read it? Will it be manely for fans?  Will there be parts to tempt furry readers?

“Manely!” I see what you did there. Obviously everypony needs to read it, and it’s by no means intended just for My Little Pony fans; I hope that people who are interested in pop-culture history in general will give it a look as well. And there are many references to the Furry fandom, including shout-outs to Frolic, Further Confusion, and Anthrocon.

I know you as a committed, active fan who comes to Furry events and writes journalism about them (and movies, and more.) Can you give a brief intro about your background and writing?

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was old enough to want to be anything at all. I started writing professionally for SF Weekly in 2011 — within a few months when I started grad school and began watching My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, so it was a momentous year in retrospect — and wrote quite a lot about the the local Furry scene at the time. I began contributing film reviews to the Village Voice in 2012, and became the Weekly‘s permanent film critic in January 2013.

I hear this is your first book, congrats – how excited are you? Would anything surprise you about how it might be received?

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More Furries Are Being Featured in the Media, and That’s Good

by Pup Matthias

drakerogers-furries-in-the-media-with-aberguine

Art by Aberguine

Is it me or are Furries popping up in news stories more? It feels strange to bring it up, but I swear the fandom has been getting more media attention and a good amount of it has been positive. Yes, I know, it weirds me out too. The reason I’m writing this opinion piece is, in part, because of my own history in the fandom. I got involved with the Furry Fandom around 2009. If you were a Furry around that time you were under the shadow of, what I prefer to call, the “Vanity Fair Era”. Named that cause of the infamous article published by Vanity Fair titled, “Pleasures of the Fur”, in 2001. Which presented the Furry Fandom as a sexual fetish and only as a sexual fetish. Along with MTV’s Sex2K episode, “Plushies and Furries,” and the famous CSI episode, “Fur and Loathing,” in 2003 that painted a clear picture of the fandom to mainstream audiences. Supposedly we are about sex and only sex.

Of course that isn’t true. It’s a part of the fandom but it’s not what defines the fandom. Furries are people who love walking talking animals and how they show that love depends on the person. It is as silly for people as it is serious. You can have a fursuit or not. You can create artwork in the fandom or be an observer. It can be sexual for you and it cannot. We all have different levels based around that same love and as long as we are respectful and understand people’s different viewpoints we bring forward a beauty of community the Furry Fandom provides. Anyone who has been in or actually explores the fandom understands that, but with stories like CSI that wasn’t what people were seeing. It’s why for the longest time, and still to a degree, Furries don’t talk to the media because the media has done a poor job with representing us.

Which has lead to moments like the Inside Edition undercover story at FC in 2015 or several smaller press organizations trying to sneak in to get the right sound bite that fits into the ‘Furries as only a sexual fetish’ narrative. I remember when getting involved with the fandom watching those Uncle Kage videos about how to interact/ avoid the media or how he responded when the media went to him. There was no question about it. If you were a Furry under the Vanity Fair Era you were one of the lowest of the low. Someone to be openly mocked and ridiculed. Something you had to hide.

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The Furry House – a base for creativity and community.

by Patch O'Furr

Model furry house, the Prancing Skiltaire

The Prancing Skiltaire

Ever been to a furry house

They don’t smell like barns or zoos, with shedding all over the place. But they are full of nerdy games and comics, fursuit parts, and framed animation and fursona commission art on the walls. Sometimes there’s art that might cause awkwardness during a pizza delivery or surprise visit from mom. But it’s not for them. It’s by and for fellow furries when they get together for meets, parties, art jams, and movie screenings as a community.

A furry house is a special place. It’s more immersive than activity by yourself. If you live there, you’ll never get PCD. It’s a dimensional crossroads where the limits of reality dissolve and you can be furry 24/7.

Inside the P.S.

Inside the Prancing Skiltaire.

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How did Disney inspire Furry fandom? A look at early influences by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

How Disney Influenced Furry Fandom is an artist’s thoughts shared in this week’s Newsdump.323px-Horrifying_Look_at_the_Furries

(Patch:)  Furry artist Joe Rosales focuses on California fandom in its formative years, including fursuiting.  It concludes that Disney should get major credit.  I liked it, but it doesn’t give enough credit for sci fi fandom, and misses early fursuiters like Robert Hill who were not professional (and not G-rated, either.)  The unnamed animator must be Shawn Keller, maker of the notorious Furry Fans flash animation and comic.  (If he didn’t want to be named, he shouldn’t have published “Shawn Keller’s Horrifying Look at The Furries.“)

I sent it to Fred Patten and asked for his thoughts.  In between, a similar media article happened on a psychic wavelength:

VICE: Furries Love Zootopia.

Here’s what Fred wrote in response to the first one.

(Fred:) This is very good, but you’re giving Disney credit for too much influence.

First, define early furry fandom. 1980 to … 1983? 1985? 1990? Don’t forget, by 1980 and for the next decade, Walt Disney and the Disney Studio were pretty much Old History. Carl Barks was retired. In comics, Marvel’s Howard the Duck (Steve Gerber), DC’s Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (Scott Shaw!), and Pacific Comics’ Destroyer Duck (Jack Kirby) were the New Wave; the new influences. In underground comix, there were Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton. In independent comics, there were Steve Leialoha and Michael Gilbert in Quack!.  … (Fred, what about the great Bucky O’Hare comic? – Patch)

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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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Thoughts from the winner of the record-setting $11,575 fursuit auction.

by Patch O'Furr

1428626149.twilightsaint_dsc09619What a price for a fursuit!  On 2/14/15, furries saw their highest auction ever.  It was only a few months after the previous record (I wonder how long this one will last?)

While $11,575 is amazing, I don’t think it should cause drama… some people spend much more money on cars for a hobby.  Hollywood effects costuming can add another zero on the price.  I often argue that higher prices make creativity easier for artists, and art patrons benefit the art form.

There was a lot of notice for my article about the February auction.  Furbuy (host) and Phoenixwolf (maker) commented, but it took a while to reach the buyer, Twilightsaint. We finally connected.

I asked Twilightsaint:

“There was controversy about the auction reaching $14,000 with non legit bids. So perhaps it was a hard contest, and you had luck to win the suit. Do you think it ended up fairly?  How did you feel to win? Art value is very subjective of course – is there any reason it’s worth so much to you? Has there been any other drama?”

Twilightsaint says: Read the rest of this entry »

“Nerd culture” debate reveals agendas

by Patch O'Furr

A spiky debate! – Us vs. “Women” – Princesses to save – “Nigerian princes” who represent us – Yes Virginia, Santa Claus has problems too – Please put down the clipboards

Us vs. “Women”

The always dependable writer for [adjective][species], JM Horse, has a point/counterpoint about “Furry Fandom: All Humans Welcome”. His answer, “Dogpatch Press on Women,” rolls out dishonest agendas in the title. It’s nicely written mischaracterization. It divides us into opposing camps of arbitrary identity, rather than self-chosen participation. It pushes “white knighting” for a subset of us, presuming to speak for that one, with misguided intentions that condescend to ALL of us. (Sorry for that term I’d rather not use. It’s no more respectful than “sexist”, but no other fits.)

“All Humans Welcome” isn’t about women, but everyone who makes a culture. (It also doesn’t respond to specific sources, as much as address “nerd culture” in general.) It’s about how we choose to be. Nobody’s passive, when we’re glued together by interest and DIY creativity. We’re accused of being “inherently sexist”, but is it true? Not any more than we’re inherently evil. Sexism is just one human state of mind… like greed, self-serving protectionism, or tolerance. Whatever you are, speak for yourself.

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Furry fandom: all humans welcome

by Patch O'Furr

Edit: a followup story is here – Why are “nerdy” groups male-populated?  Revisiting a debate full of dogma

“Sexism by numbers” is a faulty premise- let’s respect voluntary association

beware_0

It’s not controversial to say that aliens aren’t among us. It takes bolder attitude to doubt some other faiths in public. But nobody should be afraid to say the emperor has no clothes. This is for furries- but also any nerd fandom, and anyone whose beliefs are developed enough to handle skeptical debates. Let’s start with a pervasive belief…
chase-sm2_0

In furry fandom, men exclude women because there are more of them. There’s more men because they exclude women.

That’s a tautology:  self-reinforcing logic that’s built so there’s no way to challenge it. Circular arguments and religious articles of faith work that way.  It’s a type of fundamentalism- like creationism.

That’s not a straw man. These fundamentalists see a group of largely male members, and make a push-button reaction: there must be something wrong.  Penis = BAD!  With scowls, pointy fingers, and dutiful outrage, they go hunting for evidence to prop up a pre-fab belief that bad behavior shapes the membership.  Counting up a raw demographic number is the basic evidence to accuse this community of “inherent sexism”.  The number is sandwiched with bias-confirming anecdotes, and righteous demands to correct it.  Why aren’t we more inclusive? We need less men!

It’s a faulty premise. A raw number doesn’t show one motivation to cause it, like mean exclusion. What about associations formed by friendly mutual interest? That includes hobbies and open-door clubs.

A gay bar is an open-door club.  You can expect the clientele not to have the same proportions as society at large.  It invites certain interest, but it’s self-selecting.  They don’t screen between gays and straights at the door. (Could that even be possible, unless they invent a literal Gaydar?) Actually, there’s a general sentiment that gay bars are more friendly than other clubs, and they welcome allies of all kinds. That’s what draws many straight people to my local gay bar for our monthly furry dance night. You CAN have a less balanced, more inclusive community.

Exclusion is human. It can happen anywhere.  But despite flaws that are a natural part of society, like crime or evil, it’s easy to contend that furries do it MUCH LESS than elsewhere.

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