Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Journalism

Hindsight is 2020 — Top 20 furry news stories of last year (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

Yesterday was Part 1 of a list for articles at Dogpatch Press. These stories aren’t just from 2019. There’s some older ones that had revived or ongoing interest in the year. They’re not ordered by most viewed on top (some of them are deeper dives into brief/specific stories) — but these were the top 20 listed in a way that makes a snapshot of a subculture.

11. Mainstream crossover. Margaret Cho barks about furries, pride, and costuming on The Masked Singer.

This is right on the line drawn by queer/weird power that keeps furry fandom independent. Here’s one of the bigger names in mainstream entertainment who has openly mingled with furries. She takes pride in supporting misfits, was Grand Marshall of a pride parade, and was in The Masked Singer as a singing robot poodle. This article with her drew mainstream news to ask for furry opinions of the show. Expect more because the Australian edition has costumes built by furry makers, and the UK edition had fursuits in a sponsor’s ad.

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Hindsight is 2020 — Top 20 furry news stories of last year (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

My chihuahua was amazed when I sneezed and fireworks exploded over the city. She stopped shaking and did a head tilt, like “did you do that?”

It was New Year’s Eve, and catching a plague kept me from going out. But pets like attention when there’s scary noise, and it made time to write.

This list is for articles at Dogpatch Press. That’s not the only way to get furry news, but how easy is it to get? Trust 1132 published articles here. It takes tons of work that few will do. Or ask those who start new sites, because great intentions often only last a few weeks. (RIP Good Fur News, Jan-Feb 2019).

This site has 6 years in service because it’s about DIY power, like a little sneeze really has power to make fireworks. It starts with one fan, but it needs everyone who sends tips, support, or guest writing, and makes art and events. That’s why 2020’s plans include supporting Moonraiser’s furry blog, a regular guest roundup of furry comics, and too many projects to ever finish (the site has hundreds on file).

These stories aren’t just from 2019. There’s some older ones that had revived or ongoing interest in the year. They’re not ordered by most viewed on top (some of them are deeper dives into brief/specific stories) — but these were the top 20 listed in a way that makes a snapshot of a subculture.

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A Tale of Two Kickstarter Campaigns, and the Selling of Identity by Artworktee

by Patch O'Furr

Is your identity a stretch goal?

On Flayrah, Sonious wrote two articles about Artworktee, a popular furry t-shirt company with many happy customers. In May 2019, he wrote a positive story about their charity benefit campaign. Now in November 2019, a shirt selling campaign is not so positively covered. The difference — no charity this time.

After being asked to write, Sonious felt conflicted about giving them “blatant advertisement” as news. It could have been turned down, but wait; there’s more. He found reasons to criticize their campaign launched on October 22: “Furry and Proud Shirts! Show your furry pride with ArtworkTee’s new line of LGBT+ shirts!” On Kickstarter as I write, it has 396 backers pledging $24,758 — likely in the top few percent of furry crowdfunding.

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Underrated furry news sources

by Patch O'Furr

So, you want to know what’s up in furry news. There’s that site from the dog with holographic pants, but it’s blabbing about obscure art movies and being too sexy to handle. There’s that site that smells like carrots, but their comment section is toxic waste. Maybe there’s a more respectable site ready to grow. Hmm… nothing but a merchandising front here, and a spam blog there… why hasn’t this need been solved yet?

Writers have lives, and fandom won’t pay for 1/10th of the cost for ones willing to slave over a hot keyboard all day. Social media can make reach, but has negatives like users who bite the hand that feeds. If you find anything decent, it’s like a gift given despite the costs. You won’t find it for sale in the mainstream.

When it’s a labor of love, think of this oxymoron: “unbiased fandom.” That’s self contradicting, and it’s possible there will never be a news source for furries that isn’t run by some agenda (personal passion is a fine agenda). Don’t hunt for a unicorn, just go find the ones that do it well. There’s stakes too. When “sensational media” is blamed for image problems, the solution is “Be The Media”. That’s how fandom works, so be a fan for the little ones with potential.

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Furbuy goes offline, fandom organization issues, and a need for constructive criticism.

by Patch O'Furr

Flayrah covers a tech problem with a longstanding fandom auction site: FurBuy down for ‘months’ after spat with security researcher.

Furbuy says they’ll be back with a completely new site. The old one relied on software mostly written in 1999, offering a service that drew some complaints for security problems or less-than-modern functionality, complicated by some conflict with a site owner about expected handling of complaints.

Furbuy also offered a valuable free service, accommodating fandom high points like record auction prices for creators without taking a cut like nonfandom markets. (It earned some donations, but not as much as it cost to run). With a hobby/not-for-profit project, accommodating demands might not always be fast or easy or welcome to the providers. Still, security issues can’t be dismissed and complaints can come with feelings about less-than-professional standards.

Sound familiar? Like every complaint ever about management of Furaffinity, the biggest fandom art site.

I think it’s a structural thing. It comes with the benefit of a decentralized fandom, where most commerce is self-owned and fan-to-fan without middlemen, with DIY-ness for love as much as money. Making a living that way is rare, and rarely enriching, and it makes limited resources to do better. Professional service is a must in many ways but “pro-fan” can be an oxymoron. It’s a furry paradox.

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Fandom is big business in the mainstream – but furries have their own place apart. Why does this fandom grow independently? Let’s look at unique expression at the heart of it. Of course furries do a lot more things than this story can look at, but one aspect brings insight about decentralized structure.

Some subcultures rise and fall with media they consume. But the influences seen in Part 1 didn’t make one property in common for every furry. They didn’t rise with a movie like Zootopia. Instead, this fandom is fans of each other.

Part 1 looked at the roots and growth of their conventions. Furry cons make a platform for the specialized craft of fursuiting, with bespoke, full-body mascot costumes that cost thousands. They’re uniquely original expressions of identity. They’re tangible, huggable products of imagination. They put the fur in furry.

A lot of the fandom’s rock stars are fursuiters, who give it a photogenic face. Unlike stars of other fandoms, their original characters usually aren’t promoting something else — and fursuits can’t be downloaded or easily pirated — they’re for live experiences. It matters because online community can be temporary, but live events glue it together. They can show why this fandom is independent, here to stay, and not tied to certain media.

Rather than naming great works tied to their activity, you could say that the group is its own greatest creation. And if writing, art, or other creativity in the fandom didn’t rise out of a certain type of event, fursuiting did.

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

Furry fandom often has DIY ethics (intentional or not). That can mean nonprofit volunteer-led events, and directly supporting each other’s art instead of just consuming corporate products. A Daily Beast reporter asked about it and I shared lots of info that didn’t all make the news — so here’s a followup in 3 parts.

Why is commercialism a topic for an often disparaged subculture? Compare furry fandom today to its roots. Times change, and hindsight can help to see why. Let’s look at how industry and media influenced the American roots in the 1970’s, how it grew, and changes that come with bigger scale than ever.

The 1970’s could be a hungry time for fans with a taste for comics and animation of the 1940’s-50’s Golden Age. As it faded, funny-animal comics died off while the business suffered under the Comics Code. In movies, the fall of the studio system contributed to a dark age of animation. Hanna-Barbera reigned on TV with cheap formulaic product. Disney’s feature studio almost went bankrupt with barely any new artists hired for a generation. Robin Hood (1973) spread the furry virus before it had a name, but the movie wasn’t well loved by the studio. Then a new wave of artists (such as Tim Burton and Don Bluth) came out of Disney while it had a rebirth, peaking with The Lion King (1994), which launched a thousand furry projects. But by the early 90’s the furry fandom was already fully fledged to take off on its own. It happened under the influence of the ups and downs of industry, but also in spite of it.

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The conspiracy of Beto O’Rourke, AOC, Sex, Politics, Furries, Hackers and the 1980’s internet.

by Patch O'Furr

Announcement: Until March 31, vote for the Ursa Major Awards to support the best works of furry fandom!

Hang on, this will be a weird ride. Start with recent furry news about this guy:

The story goes like this – this dude was deep in Jesusland and high on snake venom and arm-wrestled The Zodiac Killer, and … OK, I can’t do serious writing about political battles here, but Beto almost won a Senate seat from Ted Cruz in Texas. I think it’s kind of unusual for a Democrat to do so well there. It’s unusual enough that he joined the 123547 people who want to unseat Trump in 2020. That made some Republicans want to embarrass him with typical anti-sex, anti-gay stone age bullshit, so they dug up an old video of him wearing a sheep costume on stage when he was briefly in a punk band, and called him a furry with insinuation about freaky sex. (Like that’s bad? Could anything else make him seem cooler? Yeah, wait for it…)

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Representing furries in 2018: Good news on CNN, Sonicfox, and a tiger on Jeopardy. (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

In 2018, fandom had so much going on that this needs two parts. Part 1 has the media, and Part 2 is for conventions, charity, art, celebrities, awards, spending, and more. 

Pic: Cecil Shepherd (center) with Mr. Disko and Patch

Ever been on an aircraft carrier? The USS Hornet, in Alameda CA, is docked across the bay from San Francisco. It’s a fearsome wedge of rust-flecked metal bigger than most city blocks, and bristling with guns, planes and artifacts from WWII to the Apollo Space Program. Now it’s a national historic landmark and museum, but if you walk down the cavernous hangar deck and look at photos of Pearl Harbor in flames, it almost tingles with the smells and sounds of a global struggle against the evil of fascism. It made me think of my grandpa in the South Pacific, taking islands from Japan. It could make the world’s biggest hippie feel a sense of pride and humbleness from the history there.

Look ahead a few months, when this ship will be full of furry animals throwing a rave. That’s the cutting edge of turning swords into plowshares!

The second Space Camp Party is coming. On 12/9/18 it started with a photoshoot on the ship that drew a whopping 130 fursuiters just for a pre-planning meet. Previously in March 2018, over 500 went to the first party at Faction Brewing (a converted aircraft hanger on the same navy base). From early demand, the followup is likely to reach the size of a single-day con.

While I was doing silly poses in my rat suit against a giant ship anchor (does Bad Dragon make one of those?) – I thought of furries taking over the ship and conquering the nation. Next, the world. Then the blue skies above, and then the moon.

2018 is an intense year with many furry news stories topping ones that just happened. It’s too much to easily keep up with, and Fred Patten’s death affects publishing here, but on the plus side, I’m now paying for articles. Get in touch about submitting your story. And check out how much cool furry stuff there is to share.

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CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling: Furry Nation – review by Joe Strike

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s a guest article from Joe Strike, a first-wave furry greymuzzle, writer about animation for Animation World Network, and author of Furry Nation, the first history of fandom in mainstream bookstores. His website shows work with TV cartoons you may know. He sent this in around the time of MFF. (- Patch)

Our community had been buzzing for months about the “furry” episode of CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling before it finally aired on November 18th. I kept my fingers crossed; like most other furs I’ve been watching the media get us wrong for years. (The primary reason I wrote Furry Nation was to correct the record; as I occasionally told people, “I’m tired of outsiders getting it all wrong—I decided it was time for someone in the furry community to get it all wrong.”)

But what really piqued my curiosity was that several people told me the episode was titled… “Furry Nation”!

Okay, what’s going on here? Shortly before the episode aired, I emailed the production company to ask, wazzup? how did you happen to borrow my title?, to which they responded:

Thank you for reaching out!  Your book sounds amazing! We actually learned about this community from Lisa’s viewers. It was a suggestion someone sent in. Our research and facts came from FurScience. 

Well, thank you “someone” for the free plug for Furry Nation The Book. (Said title never appeared in the episode by the way; I assume it was only used in the episode’s listings, although a search of cnn.com failed to discover it.)

Lacking cable, I caught up with the episode later via a relative’s DVR. After taking a few days to digest a second viewing, I’m finally ready to share my take on Lisa Ling’s take on Furry.

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