Representing furries in 2018 with 10,000 at Midwest Furfest, Dogbomb’s magic, and more (Part 2)
by Patch O'Furr
Being fluffy is its own reward. Fun and creativity don’t need representing. What is this, a religion? But if a spotlight happens, it could be for hard work to help others, a lucky chance, or having the right dance moves at the right time. Chasing attention might not be necessary, but it’s nice to show how cool this group is because that helps make it cooler. So here’s why the fandom is great in 2018.
Part 1 had good media: CNN’s This Is Life with Lisa Ling, Sonicfox at The Game Awards in Los Angeles, and Bucktown Tiger on Jeopardy. For Part 2 here’s conventions, charity, art, celebrities, awards, spending, and more.
Conventions and charity:
Midwest FurFest got the first five-figure furry con attendance! It took 29 years since ConFurence 0 to match the biggest WorldCon (started in 1939, that’s perhaps one of the longest running nerd events, where they hand out fancy awards like the Hugos). Now we’re giving Science Fiction fandom a run for its money. It’s not on Comic Con level and may never be (…good?) but that’s millions of dollars of support to build and share the wealth. And furry is still grassroots with little outside investment and high DIY power.
I, for one, look forward to the year 2097 when #FurFest takes over the world and everyone has a fursona— #1 SonicFox Fan (@DeoTasDevil) December 6, 2018
(Cool chart @tealeafraccoon!) pic.twitter.com/5G2MHgsxwS
Thank you everyone. We are proud to share that this year we have raised (over) $92,794 for our charity, @SitStayRead— Midwest FurFest (@FurFest) December 3, 2018
Holy heck furries are awesome!— Dixie (@dixielioness) December 3, 2018
With adding in @FurFest’s charity this year, y’all have given $619,303 to charities in 2018.
Remember that the next time someone says this fandom isn’t great.
Dogbomb is furry magic. While other furries do charity for cons, Dogbomb is both a reason and a fundraiser on his own. He didn’t just get noticed in 2018 either, there were news stories about him in 2011 when he made fursuiting an outlet to make life better for others. Now in 2018, Dogbomb’s inspirational attitude about being cool and rising to challenges are his way of life. In Southern California, he brought a parade of cute animals for a Walk To Defeat ALS, and blew away all other fundraisers. They told him “we don’t know how you’re doing it, but keep it up!” Furries know how.
- Dogbomb Leads Furry Fandom To Highest Fundraising For ALS Cure Event
- “Last Mutt Standing”: Dogbomb inspires the world through his courageous battle against ALS
It’s a worldwide epidemic!
Confuror 2018 is the biggest con to date in Latin America. It was a first year con. Previously there were more-or-less local meets for Mexico, but it was the right time to go bigger. They got higher than expected attendance of over 500. For 2019, they’re moving to a 4,000-capacity venue, with guest of honor Majira Strawberry. The international beyond-language power of furry is in effect. (An article about Latin American fandom co-authored with Honduran/Chilean furry Rama got a burst of attention from beyond the usual places, and it was one of my best experiences in furry news.)
FurryPinas brought the biggest first time attendance in fandom. This Filipino con passed all others with 1,542 attendees in May 2018, beating previous first-con record holder Biggest Little Fur Con. Then in August 2018, Denfur’s surprise success took the record with 2000 attendees (twice what they expected.) Latin America isn’t the only place bringing more opportunity to meet interesting new species, southeast Asia has it going on too. Apart from furry conventions in Japan in the last decade, since 2014 new ones have been founded in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.
We are now the 12th biggest furry convention in the world!https://t.co/PZCgVCLUWK— FurryPinas @ FurryPinas 2019 🇵🇭 (@FurryPinas) May 22, 2018
Records we broke:
1) Biggest furry con in Asia (By attendance count)
2) Biggest furry con in South-East Asia (By attendance count)
2) Biggest furry con at its first event (By attendance count) pic.twitter.com/SsCX4Tpaix
South Afrifurs are in the news. This part of fandom hasn’t appeared in media I know of until a radio show and feature in one of their biggest magazines. Their own fan-made media has reached out too, and featured friends of Dogpatch Press; Deo Tasdevil and Tempe O’kun. Local organizer Ivic Wulfe told me:
Jako Malan and his book are one of the biggest features to come out recently from South African furry fandom. We’re a small community, still growing and trying to find ways to make it attractive for others to come here. In some ways we’ve probably achieved more in the past 2 years than since between 2008 (when we officially created the forum) to 2017.
Inclusive even for kids
Everyone loves Emma the Tiger. At BLFC a little girl was made fun of. When she couldn’t enjoy the con any more, thousands of furries brought her back with good messages, fan art and photoshoots for her.
Furscience and Moms of Furries reach out to parents. Parents who want to support their young furs, but have concerns and questions, now have a great place to get answers. Furscience is the face of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project. Dr. Gerbasi, Dr. Fein, Dr. Plante, & Dr. Roberts, guest authors Tempe O’Kun & Moms of Furries collaborated to develop a parent-specific FAQ. Moms of Furries got here because of their kids: “They’ve been a big positive influence for young furs, and educating other parents about various aspects of the fandom.” (-Wolfofthenyght)
- FurScience.com: Resources for parents
Camp Tiny Paws and Anthro Northwest do family friendly cons. You can go to any con for a wild party, but if you want something else, it doesn’t have to be a huge face for the entire fandom. These ones are small and focused for a certain slice of people who’d like to bring their kids, like any other small focus that brings new options. ANW organized their con to reverse bad will from loss of a previous con in Seattle, while the whole area could have had trouble getting anything going. It paid off in a relationship with CNN for their “This is Life” show with Lisa Ling. More goodwill could help everyone else do their own style of events.
Awards, Laurels and money
Awards promote the best of fandom. Sonicfox won big outside of fandom as the highest paid professional gamer. (The Oscars even got into it by promoting The Shape of Water.) But inside fandom are the Leo, Coyotl, and Ursa Majors Awards. They highlight exceptional works of mainstream and fandom-made media from the previous year, to help you discover what’s good.
- Flayrah: 2017 Leo Awards winners announced
- Discover the best of furry fandom with the 2017 Ursa Major awards, and 2017 Cóyotl Awards.
- Ursa Major Awards get matching donations from Anthrocon, help wanted from other cons.
Passing the torch to the younger generation. Vicky Wyman, Fred Patten, and Robert Hill died. Vicky was an influential comic artist from the beginning of fandom. Fred helped to found it and was its historian and book reviewer. And Robert was one of the first fursuiters.
- Flayrah: Early fandom artist Vicky Wyman passes away
- A tribute to Fred Patten, 1940-2018
- “Don’t dream it – be it!” Interview with Robert Hill about early fursuiting and fandom.
Fandom supports artists with high sales. The record highest $17,000+ fursuit auction went to MixedCandy. It was the second record set in the year, only months after Made Fur You sold a $13,500 suit. The previous $11,000 record had stood for 2 years.
- A look at furry business with a $17,017 record fursuit auction price, July 2018
- Made Fur You sews up a fandom record with a $13,500 fursuit auction at The Dealer’s Den.
Mainstream notice. It’s new to get crossover non-fandom business. We don’t admire mascots now, they admire us.
- Forbes: Furry Suit Makers Go Mainstream Making Mascot Suits
- Australia’s Lucky Dog Fursuits slurps up a job for Schmackos pet treats.
We have art.
“At Home with the Furries” photo book by Tom Broadbent.
@Broadbentius‘s photo book full of fandom subjects earned nonfandom art world recognition. He exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in the UK, and it’s for sale in art book shops.
Did we mention that At Home With The Furries by @broadbentius was on show at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition? The print of Syrrus and Lupestripe sold out. Why not pre-order the book here and you can keep it furever! https://t.co/hxHfFemlRq #furry #furries pic.twitter.com/yvRnqlQiIy— Stay Free Publishing (@stayfreepublish) September 5, 2018
Rukus movie screens at film festivals. South by Southwest chose this hybrid of fiction and documentary, and it won praise as a unique flight of imagination from director Brett Hanover. It’s about his friendship with a furry, Rukus, who committed suicide but left many memories and mysteries. It’s been to film festivals across the US and in Europe, and at furry cons too.
- Rukus, the indie furry movie, is coming to Furry Weekend Atlanta
- Rukus is a furry movie premiering on Feb 2 – here’s the trailer and a review by Marbles.
- Rukus premiere at SF Indie Fest (2/2/18) – a furry movie says Lights, Camera, Anthros!
We have celebrities.
Violent J of Insane Clown Posse went to MFF in fursuit. He was a wholesome dad supporting his daughter Ruby who got her fursuit first. I got the idea that following her fandom made it more than exploiting or bandwagoning for a minute of marketing. This was a standout name from the music world putting in the effort to engage fandom on its own terms at its own event. His clownface fursona is so him, too.
- Flayrah: Violent J’s furry daughter calls out snaky fursuit sellers OISK
- AV Club: Violent J went to a furry convention in an ICP fursuit
Jello Biafra DJ’s a furry dance. While MFF happened, on the same weekend, this punk godfather and singer from the Dead Kennedys DJ’ed the Frolic furry party on the West coast. The guy who started “nazi punks fuck off” saw it come back with furries and gave it his blessing.
in one weekend, violent j attended a furry con in fursuit to support his daughter and jello biafra DJ'd at a separate furry party AND said "nazi furs fuck off"— merry pissmas (@chxmicalwarfare) December 3, 2018
imagine thinking furries are bad in 2018
This is the best thing I ever have and ever will retweet onto this timeline. It doesn't get any better than this folks. https://t.co/H3xKyxgqG8— California Üwu Alles @MFF (@DezTheOpossum) December 3, 2018
Denfur set a standard for kicking out nazis. They were tolerated to troll Rocky Mountain Fur Con to death in a corrupt way: the CEO favored Foxler, whose look and name means “Fox Hitler.” After a year of no con, Denfur did a rebuild and doubled their expected attendance, hitting the peak of what RMFC would have had if it continued. They had a policy of no nazi-furs on staff, and showed fandom united against hate, with the highest first-con attendance record. Things went smoothly because of a dedicated team despite the extra work. (By the way, Foxler wasn’t kicked out just because they didn’t like him. They had proof that he tried to vandalize the con’s relationship with the hotel.)
Rejecting hate groups. Besides being nice and fun, furries don’t stand for hate and they’re loud and proud about it. After exposure of nazis in fandom, Discord and FurAffinity kicked out hate groups. Denfur made a statement by ejecting Foxler. Eurofurence, the oldest established con in operation, followed Germany’s cultural standard and issued “Nazi Furs Fuck Off” ribbons to all attendees. Then the same saying came from Jello Biafra, originator of “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” in the 1980’s that influenced punks around the world, bringing it full circle.
- FurAffinity updates Code of Conduct, backlash by hate groups promoted by 2 Gryphon
- Discord bans Altfurry hate speech – see what they’re hiding with a leaked organizer phone call.
Reporting abusers. A stain was put on the fandom by formerly prominent Youtuber Kero the Wolf, who reached 100K subscribers before he was implicated as part of a ring of sadistic abusers who targeted animals and children. Grizzly Fatalis led an effort to collect evidence and get it to police with weeks of traumatic and risky work. It paid off with arrests so far of ringleader Levi Simmons in OR, and Ruben Pernas in Cuba. Processing could take years. Grizzly earned applause from police who called the team “rock stars”.
This is an antidote to cynics claiming that fandom breeds corruption. Furries don’t get orders for institutional cover up or have police enforcing limits, and that’s a weakness and a strength. This is community, not corporate, so it’s hard to fire people who get positions built on grassroots volunteering. But at the same time, we’re vocal about this. Grizzly’s work could go unknown because investigation is meant to be quiet and secure, but it belongs on this list for representing what fandom does, recognized or not, to put itself back in balance.
There aren't many "leaders" in furry, more like volunteers who serve as traffic directors or even janitors. That's a good and bad thing. But growth makes a need for more proactive managing. Thanks to those furs who are looking out with eyes on the future. pic.twitter.com/brrlKm9UZO— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 19, 2018
Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2018 is a kinky furry. This was an interesting story I didn’t have time to cover by itself, but matters to those with specific focus on consenting adult expression. In Atlanta, the leather scene had a regional contest for the title “Mr. Eagle”. Contests like these are traditionally part of the leather scene, which includes large events such as International Mr. Leather (IML) in Chicago and Mid-Atlantic Leather (MAL) in DC. Leather bars will often hold a small contest to see who will represent them for a year as part of larger regional or national events. While these can be seen as popularity contests, they maintain a public face on leather/kink culture. For 2018 it was won by a diaper and leather wearing furry suiter, a big multi-way crossover.
Another month, another surge of kinkshaming discourse. I again refer people to this tweet. Your kink and your place have always existed and will outlive those who try to shame you.— Mister Atlanta Eagle 2018 (@MrATLEagle2018) November 4, 2018
You have one life to live, so live it as wild and kinky as you want. https://t.co/IgzN4qa41T
Metal band Periphery let a fursuiter sing for them. That’s something different for their 500K+ followers across Facebook and Twitter.
When you realize you are the destruction and born to destroy #omega pic.twitter.com/U9Y0tvxUkV— Fiyah Liger 🦁🐯 (@Fiyah_Liger) July 27, 2018
From the fans
@OliverGoldie1: If I may, I’ll plug my friend @JoeStrike‘s 2017 book #FurryNation (which shares its title with Lisa Ling’s show). The more people who hear about #furryfandom, the more people will want to read about it.
@CulturallyFd: Furries on YouTube in general? Several fursuit channels broke 100K this year, and there has been more visibility on the platform. Public events like @furrykerfluffle streetcar also make a big impression.
@EmoKiddio: The show Lucifer! It’s changing to Netflix from being on Fox soon but for S3’s bonus episode “Boo Normal” showed a furry con with some ACTUAL FURSUITS, used proper terms & entirely positive. The daughter of 1 of the showrunners is a furry so ensured a good moment in the ep for it.
@DrWildlife and @HiyuMarten have incredible youtube content breaching some great education and entertainment within the fandom! @Adler_the_Eagle never ceases to put a smile on everyones face! And @AshCoyote has some incredibly supportive content for the queer community in furry.— Nasi (@entobird) December 3, 2018
Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these, so please support Dogpatch Press on Patreon to help make it possible.