Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Tag: Pittsburgh

Furry Drama(tic Arts) – The Forgotten History of the Furry Musical, Part 2: Furry Tales

by Patch O'Furr

Patch here, with Part 2 of the story submitted by guest writer Duncan R. Piasecki.

In Part 1, we mentioned the theatrical nature of anthropomorphism: how fursuiting is related to a world-wide love for humans performing as animals. In the mainstream, it’s in musicals like the stage version of The Lion King or Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. Then, as we discovered, there was even a small, overlooked chapter of fandom history with not one, but at least two musicals focusing on the furry subculture.

One of these unique projects was Yiff!/<furReality>, which was fading from memory until we rescued documentation from the director.  It can make you wonder… while the mainstream celebrates anthropomorphic performance, why haven’t such ambitions carried forward as fandom has grown?

Perhaps the ideas may get tried again, with bigger and better resources, stages and audiences this time. Looking into that may get you excited for a certain con in 2018.  More on that at the end. (-Patch)

Duncan R. Piasecki continues with the story of the other musical:

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NEWSDUMP – Fandom News – catchup list part 2 (7-22-16)

by Patch O'Furr

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

There hasn’t been a Newsdump in a long time, so have three updates packed with two months of stuff: 

1. Furries in the Media. 2. Fandom News. 3. Fur-friendly Culture.

Furscience.com releases ebook of furry research.

Furscience-FurbookThe International Anthropomorphic Research Project has a shiny new website since earlier this year.  Here’s a good reason to check it out – a 174-page ebook full of 5 years of data about furry fandom, for the low price of free.  Download it here.

Fred Patten interviewed by Yiffytimes.com.

“My interview with Fred Patten” by Ahmar Wolf and Greyflank. With Fred’s history as a founder of Furry (and anime) fandom, it’s really interesting to hear this:

“Q: Where do you see the Furry Fandom headed?

A: Furry fandom is already a lot different than it was in the 1980s. There is much more emphasis on wearing fursuits, adopting fursonas, and embracing and publicly exhibiting a furry identity. There is also a furry literary community now, which is what I’m active in. A few furry fans who are publishers or fursuit makers or artists are able to make their living in furry fandom instead of it only being a hobby for them.”

Furries at San Francisco Pride.

New furry Whup stepped up in a big way to organize a booth.  (He’s yellow dog in the first pic).  Apart from a big “Bay Area Furries” banner, it was a very informal base for breaks from the sun.  There was a huge crowd to prowl around with on a hot day.  Street Fursuiting is my favorite thing, and street fairs are my favorite place for it, and Pride in SF is one of the most fun and accepting times. (It’s far from the only one – a furry in Edmonton talks about their float full of furries in “A big thanks to the furries out in pride festivals this month!“)

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NEWSDUMP – Furries In The Media – catchup part 1, (7-20-16)

by Patch O'Furr

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

There hasn’t been a Newsdump in a long time, so expect three updates packed with two months of stuff: 

1. Furries in the Media. 2. Fandom News. 3. Fur-friendly Culture.

Pic: Luke Thor Travis, PGH City Paper

Pic: Luke Thor Travis, PGH City Paper

The media gave warm and fuzzy vibes for Anthrocon.

A few worth seeing after the con:

  • WTAE video: The Making Of a Furry. “Daisy Ruth set the scene outside the Convention Center with April, a local fursuiter who created her own suit, and Camille of CF Studios, an artist who creates and sells creature and fursuits.”
  • WTAE – Beyond the Suit: The World of Furries.  “Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 reporter Beau Berman sat down with ‘Clumzy’ to find out what it’s all about.”
Rika and Rusty.

Rika and Rusty.

Anthrocon news topic – Pets.

PGH City Paper: “It probably comes as no surprise, but furries love their pets“.  Four furs are interviewed.  “Some furries say that getting involved in the community that celebrates anthropomorphized animal personas has helped them become more aware of the needs of shelter animals; understand the emotions of their pets; and strengthen their love of our four-legged friends.”

Anthrocon news topic – “Fursonas” movie.

Post-Gazette: ‘Fursonas’ director takes his Anthrocon ban in stride.

Dominic Rodriguez was banned for breaking Anthrocon’s media policy (filming without permission) in pursuit of unvarnished truth that couldn’t be officially filmed for a documentary.  “Fursonas” showed parts that many furries take very personally or feel shouldn’t be suppressed.  It was divisive.  Some took his movie as undermining good work of the con.  Others took his ban as a politicized penalty for PR control that may be stuck in the past. But furry fandom have been around for decades now and it keeps growing.  When will sensitivities loosen up?

“Fursonas” screened at an independent venue during the con.  I asked Dom if he’s interested in doing a guest post about it. Before his trip, he told me:

“Although I’m banned, I have a feeling this is going to be my best Anthrocon yet. I spent the evening hanging out at the bar across the street and then going over to the river to hang with new and old friends. I go to these things mostly to meet people and have cool conversations. I think that’s more fun than anything they have in the convention schedule, anyway.

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Free speech, Fursonas movie, and all the controversy in the media – NEWSDUMP (3-22-16)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Free speech victory led by Vermont Furs.

Fursuiters were banned from costuming on the street, and it was unfair.  Burlington VT had an antiquated anti-mask law to regulate groups like the KKK.  In the 1960’s, the officials who made the law could never imagine the future-people hobby of fursuiting.  Imagine a fursuit parade colliding with the hooded creeps.  It would be like matter meeting antimatter, with an explosion of rainbows and a fallout of fluff for miles around.  To update the law to better serve it’s spirit, members of the Vermont Furs went in front of the city council, and got the law changed. Now it only bans hiding behind masks to commit crime.  Hugging isn’t a crime yet, so thanks guys for setting a great example nationwide.  Fursonas are free expression!

There’s video here, and from Vermont Public Radio:

Last year, two men were detained by Burlington Police for violating the ordinance by wearing masks to a political rally. The detention was controversial, and the head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Vermont chapter questioned the constitutionality of the mask ban.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said that incident, paired with pushback from a community of “furries” – people who like to dress up as furry, caricaturized animals – led the city to reexamine its mask ordinance.

The co-moderator of Vermont Furs got the media to call furries “a collection of artists, writers, animators, actors, and our passion is all things cartoon animals.”  (Notice what they don’t call it.)   On Furaffinity, Zander Stealthpaw noticed that the furs helped much more than their own small group:

You guys help contribute to a very good cause, and I’m sure Vermont Comic Con would be just as ecstatic over this change.

“Fursonas” documentary movie gets a national tour, a pile of press, and spirited discussion.

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‘Fursonas’ beats Zootopia as most important furry movie, coming soon on Video On Demand.

by Patch O'Furr

Co-written by Patch and Pup Matthias. Find ‘Fursonas’ on the web and on Twitter.

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2016 has been labeled The Year Of Furry.  Disney’s Zootopia is just the start.  There’s a surprising amount of other films to come with anthropomorphic animals. From Kung Fu Panda 3, Ratchet and Clank, The Angry Birds Movie, Secret Life of Pets, Sing, The Boy and The Beast, and TMNT 2 (yes it counts)… there’s a wealth of films for furries to enjoy (or love to hate) this year.

There’s a film apart from those that has surprisingly flown under a lot of people’s radars.  It’s not a big-budget blockbuster, and doesn’t have massive marketing. (With vast differences in “furry movies”, that’s why the headline is just to get your attention.)  Few have talked about it… but for this tiny fandom, it has special quality above any other.

Fursonas is a documentary directed by Dominic Rodriguez.  It looks at the fandom itself, to clear up fuzziness over what it’s about.

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Big Beefy Sparkly Tigers, and tributes to furs we have lost – NEWSDUMP (1/18/16)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Zootopia marketing inspires visions of a feature length Orangina commercial. This short article shares a new image and says the movie is having “aggressive marketing”. And Reddit furries discuss hot tigers:

  • “There’s no denying that they know who they’re marketing to.”
  • “Big, beefy, sparkly tigers. They know what they’re doing with stuff like these, and nobody’s gonna tell me otherwise.”
  • “And people still claim they’re not marketing to us. ha. ha. ha.”

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Marketing meets Rule 34.  How Esurance Lost Its Mascot to the Internet.” Not furry, but this will ring some bells.

Puzzle Cheetah in Subway ad (via Greenreaper.) Puzzle is a UK fursuiter. Put this on the list of mainstream marketing featuring furries.

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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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A chat with Uncle Kage about Anthrocon’s amazing achievements in 2015.

by Patch O'Furr

kage

This year, it seems like more great press attention went to Anthrocon than ever before.  Take a look!  (Here’s everything I could find in July.)

Why was there rising attention?  One of the big reasons was the fursuit parade.  For the first time in an almost two-decade history, the con took an amazing spectacle seen in private out to a public street.  A lot of the locals must wonder what goes on behind the doors of the con.  Getting to see it drew an enthusiastic crowd of “normals” almost as large as the convention itself.  Apart from the furry/crowd interaction, this was a big deal because of all the logistics and relationship building behind the scenes.  It promises great things to come.

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Anthrocon Anthrocon Anthrocon! Fluffsplosion of hype. NEWSDUMP (7/20/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. “Local correspondents” wanted to talk about your local networks.  

This week’s Newsdump: Everything Anthrocon!  There was SO MUCH of this news, and it was such a busy month, that I will be playing catch-up for a while with it… I’m not able to read all of these links.  Good job catching all this attention, AC!  Has there ever been this much?  Some of it is national (the Onion A.V. Club and NPR notice seems particularly cool.) It was quite a coup to parade outside on the Pittsburgh street for the first time.  5,000 regular public watchers came out to see the furries, and they went nuts for it.  I hope the crowd doubles in the future.  I’d love to interview Uncle Kage about the planning and reception. (Official Anthrocon wrapup report.)

Onion A.V. Club: Watch almost 1500 furries strut their stuff at this year’s Anthrocon.

The official count of members in the Anthrocon 2015 Fursuit Parade Group Photo is 1,460.  This reminded me of a neat aspect of the con.  All that show value!  These costumes represent so much investment… we could do a few estimates to figure out how much.  In a previous post, “$3 million sale raises furry auction topic”, I came up with an arbitrary $2,320.51 per fursuit represented in Anthrocon’s parade.  Multiply by the count of 1,460 members this year to reach a (rough guesstimate) value of $3,387,944.60 in fursuits.

NPR: The Furries Have Landed — And Pittsburgh Is Giving Them A Bear Hug.

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Anthrocon is upon us – Fandom in China and Taiwan – Woof Washer – NEWSDUMP (7/7/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. “Local correspondents” wanted to talk about your local networks. 

Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

____________________________

In The Media

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cityshirt_0Brace yourselves for Anthrocon coverage.

“Inside the furries: they’re people too”– from WTAE news in Pennsylvania:

Pittsburgh has always been a welcoming, accepting city for this fandom, and here’s to hoping it continues for this year’s Anthrocon. If you happen to see one of these NORMAL people in incredible costumes walking the streets of Pittsburgh, don’t be afraid to say hello.

Ad campaign with “Furries” ad found in copywriter’s portfolio.

A few months ago, this article got thousands of views – Mainstream advertising: “More and more, Furries are being hinted at in marketing media!”  One of the ads for Mini in San Francisco had a provocative mention of Pride month and Furries. I didn’t know much of the context, until I found the entire campaign with brief comment from the writer .  Many ads are in it, but he uses the Furries one as cover image.  He captioned it:  “Staying current on local events is key to showcasing our understanding of SF.”  It would have been amusing to hear the copywriter’s pitch.  I sent a few questions about the reaction, but sadly he didn’t reply. It’s good to know that furries have street cred.

Nasty little mockery of “furries” on Orange Is The New Black TV show.

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