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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The media gave warm and fuzzy vibes for Anthrocon.
- Smart Business Pittsburgh: “Furry Fandom” (two-page spread with video).
- WTAE video: Fursuit parade vid
- WTAE photos: 2016 Anthrocon fursuit parade.
- PGH City Paper: Furries show off their finest ‘fursuits’ to the public in Anthrocon’s annual Fursuit Parade
- PGH City Paper: Pittsburgh gives the furries its annual warm welcome
- NEXTpittsburgh: Anthrocon turns 20, Fursuit Parade open to public
- Post-Gazette – The ‘Roaring Twenty’: Furries celebrate 20th anniversary of Anthrocon
- Palm Beach Post: Furries are back! Anthrocon is underway in Pittsburgh
- WPXI News: Anthrocon is underway in downtown Pittsburgh
- CBSPittsburgh: Furries Take Over KDKA Morning News
- Triblive.com: Furries expected to be financial boon to Pittsburgh during convention
- Hastings Tribune: Furries hold 20th annual Anthrocon Convention in Pittsburgh
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.”
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.
Anthrocon news topic – Public Image.
WESA (local NPR affiliate): Furry Community Grapples With Identity As Anthrocon Grows. Dominic may have been banned, but he was a go-to voice about the community at large:
“There’s the idea that we have a nice thing going, and any attempt to go out and show ourselves in the media is only going to be bad for us,” Rodriguez said. “But I’m more optimistic about that. And I think that the world is changing and different lifestyles are becoming more accepted.”
VICE covers furries.
At BLFC: Photos of the Fastest Growing Furry Convention in America. And interviews with 5 furs: Furries Explain How They Developed Their ‘Fursonas’.
South America’s Columbiafurs in the Bogata Post.
Seven years of fluff in the city: “The movement gained momentum in Colombia in 2009, when a group of furries met online and began to meet up and socialise in person… there are about 500 furries in Colombia today, and this number continues to grow… Being a furry is all about socialising, dancing and enjoying life.”
INVERSE: What Furries Can Teach Us About Sex in the Kinky, Avatar-Filled Virtual Future.
Headline changed to: Furries Are Having Future Sex. “What happens when you use a borrowed body to take someone to bed?” Actually not a bad or trashy article. (Author Emily Gaudette previously wrote ‘Disney Prepares to Cash In on the Furry Demographic with “Zootopia”‘.)
“I adore furry porn,” says The Dog. “I much prefer it to images of real life humans. I think it’s worth mentioning that furry porn tends to have more humanity than a lot of ‘regular’ porn. Since it’s a drawing, the artist has to bring emotion and humanity into the image in order to make it relatable on some level.” Furry porn endeavors toward emotional narratives, and most mainstream pornographic films still don’t employ that strategy.
“Fur Sure: Furry Calls Into Kojo Nnamdi Show To Talk Fashion”.
Story on DCist blog. “In a radio segment exploring whether D.C. takes enough sartorial risks, one listener called the Kojo Nnamdi Show with a particularly hairy comment on his personal style.”
“Good afternoon, Kojo! I am a furry,” said Alexander of Herndon, Va. “I routinely go downtown looking like a giant walking plush toy. I am a tiger-striped skunk.”
Furry arrested for shooting at driver.
You might call him one of the “black sheep” of the fandom. WILDWULF/DangerDoberman has been in deep trouble with the law before. Now he’s in the news for shooting at a driver in Arizona. His passenger, known as Pokeypony, had his own dramatic allegations involving Bad Dragon.
Trashy gossip: “Nick Jonas Talks Sex Fetishes — Is He Into Getting Spanked, “Furries” & Being Tied Up?!”
At Toofab.com. “What about “furries,” which is having sex with someone while wearing a furry animal costume? Surprisingly, Nick didn’t turn it down…”
AMAZING FURRY NEWS COMING SOON – Fursecution Declared Hate Crime In #7!
Doorman At Furry Club Rejects Lame Visitors With Clip On Bunny Ears— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 30, 2015
5 Words That Mean Dirty Things To Furries But You Can Put Them On A License Plate— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 30, 2015
6 Things You Should Never Do While High On Catnip— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 30, 2015
Top 12 Underrepresented Animal Dicks In Furry Art— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 30, 2015
7 Shocking Things That Furries Do When Nobody's Looking— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 2, 2015
Hotels Hate This Weird Trick That Helps You Crash Free At The Con!— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 2, 2015
Heh, “unvarnished truth” is hardly the term I would use to describe the content of Fursonas now that I’ve seen it, since it does put a lot of varnish on the furry community too, it’s just a different kind of varnish from that used by the Anthrocon staff. Anthrocon doesn’t want to show the RL sexual aspects of the furry community to the media; Fursonas doesn’t want to show the artistic side of furry nor the truly weird and controversial aspects which might scare off the identity politics crowd which is the target audience of the movie. Neither source gives an honest portrait, and in fact the subtle direction devices used in Fursonas to manipulate the audience into disliking Uncle Kage on a personal level (such as insisting on his insult to Chewfox in order to imply he’s a mysoginist, without framing the insult in the comedy routine it was part of) are as unethical as the cover ups they want to denounce.
Uncle Kage has his flaws of course, but I’m willing to cut more slack to him because he has very tangible reasons for enforcing “white lies”: one really bad press accident and the party would be over. In the last year or so two major furry conventions and several smaller events have been kicked out of their venues due to PR incidents. This fact alone should be enought for all furries to realize that we can’t make our own rules yet. Conventions are the place where furry ideals overlap the most with real world complexity, and if we don’t play by common PR rules then we’ll be sent to be ourselves somewhere else. Which for many of us means nowhere else. As things stand today the choice is between coming to compromise or losing everything, it’s not quite as easy as absolute freedom vs. censorship.
This said, Fursonas does get some things right too. For instance I loved the portrayal of Boomer the Dog and the focus on his philosophy of bringing the best childhood emotions alive. I think this is the core idea of furry as a whole, and Kage’s reaction to him does come across as excessive to me, since I can’t see anything so shocking with Boomer. He’s endearing and as family friendly as furries can get, but he is also a good example of the geekiness which in my opinion is a necessary ingredient to furry creativity.
“Furries Are Having Future Sex” is a fantastic article which I’ll be saving and keeping. It is the kind of honest and competent analisys of furry creativity I’d love to see more of.
I guess the “unvarnished truth” would be Dom’s intention anyways.
I love the movie. To be honest Dom is a friend, but that didn’t happen until after it was covered here so I’m not saying I love the movie because of that.
There are many kinds of movies – a dry “textbook” kind can be the be-all end-all authority about something. Fursonas wasn’t that kind, wasn’t trying to be… That’s a job for a different movie.
I gotta disagree with complaints that expect it to be that way. There’s even hard core complainers who refuse to see the movie but insist that this “misrepresents” the fandom. But it’s about people in it who represent themselves… you can’t misrepresent yourself if you’re not lying.
Instead of being a textbook thing, it’s narrative driven about people. And I don’t think it ignores the artistic side – you can see each character has custom-made art for the movie – it just doesn’t have time to show much of it. It looks at what people want more than what they do. Boomer is a character representing free-spirit expression – look at him making his suit and radio show, even when people don’t want him to, isn’t that the artistic side at it’s best?
Is it really lacking truly weird and controversial aspects, when it has Varka demonstrating the cumlube? That’s like the money shot of the movie, but it’s to emphasize Varka’s speech about expression and puritanical society. It’s a really fine line to do that. If it was just gratuitious, then the movie would be accused of trashy exploitation.
Kage is given two sides – he first speaks for everyone with a stirring, positive speech. Then you see the other side – but it doesn’t invalidate the first part. I don’t think the movie is made to dislike him but to question the ideas he’s representing about public image. It’s just duality. I like Kage and I also like this movie.
It’s all in his own words, too – as best as they could be represented since he wouldn’t personally appear in the movie. The one place where Dom directly talks to him, has been called a “gotcha” – a totally dishonest accusation in my opinion. Dom told me he truly had no idea what would happen, it was a chance for Kage to be human. He asks Kage a neutral question (“do you think you were hard on chewfox and boomer”) without any certain goal in mind, and Kage could have said something fair to them but he didn’t. It’s his real opinion.
The “one bad accident and the party is over” thing is just what the movie is questioning. There have been a couple of cons closed but look how many have opened. It’s all part of growth. The fandom is bigger than it’s ever been with more events, and it didn’t get that way by being meek but by being bold and doing away with oversensitivity. (The most adult-friendly art sites have thrived and the one that tried to be tame died long ago). The “furclub” events I keep covering are part of that – those are definitely not for minors.
I also liked the “furries are having future sex” article – one of the anonymous furries in is Dom giving “honest and competent analysis.” 🙂
Haha, ok, I feel rather owned by the last line. 🙂 Mind you I’m not saying “Fursonas” is a bad movie, far from it, it’s very professional and it raises the bar quite a lot for future documentaries about furries, which is a big achievement. I guess I’m just a bit hurt that no visual artists were interviewed and no art matters discussed in what is becoming a very influential depiction of the fandom.
The spotlight on Boomer is the highlight of the movie for me, but his struggle is quite different from the struggles faced by furry visual artists. For instance secrecy is pretty much a necessity for many USA furry artists, because they do furry art on the side of day jobs as professional animators and illustrators and their day job would be at risk if they were openly associated with furries… unfortunately the industry still seems to have a lot of prejudices against us (which in turn stem from commonplaces and prejudices of the gamers culture – it’s a sad and complicated matter with no easy solution in sight). Plus adult furry art hasn’t been disclosed and somewhat explained to the mainstream public the way fursuits have by now, so it is much more likely to stir troubles in one’s life. Some of it is even borderline illegal in some countries/states. I suspect that because of these reasons furry artists are more likely to agree with strict media policies than other categories of furries, even though personally I would love to see at least the PG-13 section of convention art shows open to the general public.
I stand my point that the treatment of Kage was unfair though. It’s not a matter of what was said or not said, it’s a matter of how it was said. There are several direction choices which came across as deliberate emotional manipulation of the audience to me, and they stand out as stains on an otherwise very professional movie. I’ve studied a thing or two about staging and direction and I’m ready to discuss the technicalities with Dom if he’s interested, since I understand they might be involuntary slips that he might want to avoid in future films. The question to Kage during the wine stream and the inclusion of his reaction didn’t bother me at all; the way Dom showed his own attitude and reaction did.
I hear you about wanting to see more of the art… I guess they just had to focus down to the core of what they had, and that left plenty of other stories that could each get their own movie.
Like here’s a great idea to pursue: “secrecy is pretty much a necessity for many USA furry artists, because they do furry art on the side of day jobs as professional animators and illustrators”
Since this one is influential, I think it helps to remember it’s from a first-time maker about a topic that no documentary before it has done justice. Well, not in a way that grabbed people outside of fandom or earned art cred (like awards). He started it as a labor of love, not a smart way to make a movie that nobody was asking for. How could the reaction have been predicted?
Also there’s always a question of what responsibility does a creator have to obey wishes of watchers… Consumeristic entitlement might be dismissed with “go make your own damn movie.”
When I talked to Dom he told me about how the movie went through several cuts. The one you see is very unlike previous ones. That’s good editing, he set out to make a movie without any goal in mind and it came out of the material. That requires difficult decisions to cut really good stuff and trim the fat all the way.
Kage and Boomer’s roles bring the sort of paradox about self vs. community, which I think needed someone iconic for each idea. They are excellent representatives because of the recognition/notoriety each one has, and the way they can impress someone in the public who hasn’t been familiar with them. Just show some news clips.
I’m not so sure that’s easy to do with furry art. If you can pick the most extremely interesting characters in this fandom who do this art (it’s already interesting that it’s subcultural thing highly kept within the group)… and might represent some idea about it (like, distinguished in both the secret stuff and their professional mainstream art)… who would it be?
What furry art has a personality behind it that would really make a big impression? Or carries a lot of meaning (like comics winning awards) besides just having followers and being technically good?
You could start with a list, and try to tackle the movie about furry art that way. (Shawn Keller comes to mind, but he’s long left furries behind and I doubt he would say anything.)
I’m not sure it would be easy to do. And there might be a medium problem. Like, making a movie about writing might be as boring as conventions that are all dedicated to writing. Showing someone typing isn’t exciting. Reading their work is more interesting. So don’t make a movie, make a book?
That could make a worthy challenge. Try to answer the “fursuiting movie” (well it’s not, it just a movie with fursuiters) with a movie about art and writing, the drums and bass to the rock star frontman.
About Kage, I think he is well meaning and truly devoted to caring about this group. I think it showed in his speech in the beginning of the movie. I think he got a bad deal, not so much from Dom’s depiction but more from the reviews and articles from outsiders who aren’t part of this group, who exaggerated things Dom didn’t say (like comparing this to a cult.)
OK, so I might not completely blame how he was shown, but I can definitely understand how it could make him hurt about good intentions.
I wanted to do an article saying “furry is not a cult” as a followup, but that wouldn’t honor Kage by muting things.
I hope to see more movies coming out of this fandom, that would be so exciting.