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:
Everything awful dot com (Furry Tales)
Strangely enough at about the same time as Yiff! was happening, another musical about furries was in the works, but completely unrelated and covering slightly different ground. A lot less was done with it, though, so there’s a lot less to say about it, unfortunately. This one, however, you’ve more likely heard of – at least if you’ve gone to Anthrocon consistently for the last decade or so.
In 2007, to coincide with Anthrocon’s first day, a musical was performed in Pittsburgh, at the CLO Cabaret theatre. The musical was titled Furry Tales. There was hope from writers Bill Medica and JC Carter to have furries around, and have them give input. (They were Pittsburgh residents themselves, and had seen many an Anthrocon come and go, though never been to one themselves).
Medica (left) and Carter (right) at the premiere.
The story of the musical was basically that a journalist for a slag rag website named “everythingawful.com” (a play on Something Awful, who are… not exactly fans of us) goes undercover at a furry convention. His mission was to go all Vanity Fair Pleasures of the Fur on our collective tails/nubs/whatever you have attached there, and expose the weird, kinky, sordid details about our sexual deviancy. (Apparently, even if you hate us, being in the middle of it doesn’t contaminate you if you’re there ironically – once a philosofur, twice a furvert? Sorry, Voltaire). He meets three others – “Gorillanator”, “HuggyBunny” and “MisoKitty2”. Music, and stereotype-breaking-down, ensues. By the end, our grand troll protagonist, who calls himself “BlueWolf22”, finds his people, and The Truth of the Furry Fandom™ (dun dun dunnnn)… or something to that effect.
Something sticks out to me personally as interesting: one of the characters in this musical was a gorilla. When was the last time someone met an ape furry, or was one? I mean, there are primate ones, but even the IARP doesn’t have any apes listed in their research on fursona species. It’s an oddity that sticks out a bit. I’m sure there probably is one somewhere out there, but I think it speaks to the lack of proper research at the time about who was what species.
(Note from Patch: here’s esteemed greymuzzle superhero Ultra-Gor meeting Nichelle “Uhura” Nichols!)
Now, reaction to this musical is a lot more visible than could be found for Yiff!. Furries apparently liked it well enough, giving it a standing ovation, but Anthrocon’s board members were less convinced. Uncle Kage himself was in attendance and was… not totally happy, to put it in simplest terms. I’ll paraphrase, but the gist is that he while he felt they had good intentions, tried to be sensitive, and the performance was well done – they were misinformed. It seemed they were relying on misinformation common in the media at the time especially, so their attempted sensitivity was a misfire due to the misinformation (as he put it, the story was about “four losers trying to get laid”). He invited them to come to Anthrocon and get a good look for themselves at what all this fuss was about.
Nothing more seemed to happen after that, as far as I can tell – nothing more seems to have ever been said or done since that performance. I can’t even tell if they took up Uncle Kage’s invitation.
Unfortunately for us, it seems that no files of this exist anywhere, unless someone somehow recorded it. As best I can tell, the creators never released anything, and the musical was never performed ever again. The writers are also quite hard to track down nowadays, which doesn’t help either (I mean, you can find people with their names, but it’s really hard to tell if they’re the right people, or someone who simply shares a name and broad location). Plus, the website was heavy on use of Flash, so it didn’t archive at all, making finding primary source information nowadays really hard. So this one’s a bit of information and not much else, unfortunately. I wish there were more to say.
We are the fantasy generation
So there you have it: a small part of furry cultural history you might not have even known existed, represented by Yiff! and Furry Tales. It’s a pity really, it’s quite interesting in my humble opinion just for how weird it is as a cultural artefact. Good, bad, in the middle, whatever you feel about these things, I think we can all agree: this was something unique and worth preserving at least the memory of. More desirably, it would be helpful to archive the full content, if just for interest as an odd, short-lived, and (so far) unsuccessful sub-branch of the broader story of the Furry.
– Duncan R. Piasecki
Patch here: Are we missing anything to mention? There was a stage show (but not a musical, I don’t think, I haven’t watched it) by Chris “Sparf” Williams:
But now for that 2018 news I was teasing at the beginning.
A Furry Musical Con!
Biggest Little Fur Con has grown, in a few short years, to be one of the highest-profile cons. Their 5th annual event in 2017 shot into 3rd place among largest cons (behind Anthrocon and Midwest Furfest.) By reputation, they are supposed to be one of the most fun and most well-run of all cons for several reasons. One is their location at the Grand Sierra resort in Reno Nevada – with Go Karting, bowling and more on site. Another is their attention to organization and theme; their “Big Brother is watching” style dystopian theme several years ago was praised as one of the most well-done anyone had seen, with the pervasive “propaganda” and interactive element of a “resistance”.
When they announced 2018’s theme is “Furry Musical,” I heard it from a con guest of honor who is a professional in theater. I believe they are helping to produce it. I’m going to check in for a followup article to coincide with some important BLFC news. Stay tuned for that and stay fabulous.
On behalf of any furry who likes musicals, thank you very much to Duncan for his extraordinary effort to research and present this fandom history. I hope it may inspire those excited for BLFC, and those who bring the idea back to life after years of gathering dust. (- Patch)