Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: On the scene

FURALITY: Fandom founder Sy Sable looks at the virtual convention with 15,000 furries.

by Dogpatch Press Staff

F.Y.N.N. The Hologram Fox – Furality mascot by @Spainimation

1980’s furry fans first gathered with room parties at science fiction conventions, until Sylys Sable helped co-found the first convention for furries in 1989. Sy was there from the birth of a worldwide subculture to a new kind of experience with virtual furry conventions today. These offer many of the features of live cons, while accommodating more members across geographic and social isolation. The premiere virtual con, Furality, started in 2020 and soon beat the live furry con attendance record. Sy is the guy to tell us why!

Editor note: Sy submitted his story after the latest Furality event in June 2022, but it was delayed. Since then, a situation with VR as a community (of several platforms) could use explaining. In late July, VRchat implemented a security update that seriously upset their users, causing massive backlash and review-bombing. A statement from the company addressed the situation: cheating and Griefing by malicious users was out of control, and their solution was removal of game modding. But many good-faith users depended on mods, including for accessibility (like for disabilities) and felt their creative work was sabotaged by the update.  

Meanwhile, furries talked about jumping ship to other platforms. A friend of Sy (another old school furry fan and VR user) said that Second Life isn’t officially supporting VR, NeosVR is having a tragic fall from “crypto BS” (a feud between owners, would-be investor control and creators), and ChilloutVR is in “very early days… They are in that scrambling to scale stage.” This makes a cloudy future, but Sy’s story highlights what stands out as the best of the community. 

Furality in the eyes of Sylys Sable.

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Fearless Furries Celebrate 20 Years at San Francisco Pride

by Patch O'Furr

Photo by AniMajor

Sunday, June 26 marked 20 years of furries at San Francisco Pride. (See the 2019 event and history or the Pride tag for more.) The Norcal Furries made a welcome return after no official parade marching for 2 years of a pandemic. They brought their own float, and it all came together so smoothly, it made an incredibly positive memory.

The biggest change from past years was no longer using rental trucks or Burning Man art cars. This year, Norcal Furries built their own float on a trailer. It was a wonderful asset. Using other people’s was always less than ideal (constrained by costs, time and logistics for loading/unloading, and even height with streetcar wires). All of that was easier under self management.

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Furries at Toronto Pride: “one of the largest marching groups of the entire parade”

by Arrkay

Welcome to Arrkay, a member of the Toronto furry scene (home of Furnal Equinox), and the bird who creates and produces Culturally F’d, a Youtube show that explores anthropomorphic artwork throughout history, culture and mass media. See Arrkay’s tag for previous stories. He’s sharing his story today by request of Patch who just marched with furries at San Francisco Pride. Here’s Arrkay’s on-the-scene report from Toronto Pride.

It was a terribly populated affair, with covid still ringing in the back of my head. Pride in Toronto was as busy as ever. Me and my partner just walked the street fair once, which was enough to satiate our curiosity and for me to buy some new sunglasses. It’s a strangely foreign feeling seeing this many unmasked people in one place.

Parade morning

My signs were made, and my flag was bundled up into my tricycle with water bottles, lunch, a vape pen of mint flavored cannabis and sunscreen. My outfit was a second-hand hyena agenda tank top, some compression shorts usually worn for fursuiting but with a complimentary jockstrap on top. I zip-tied a flag and protest signs to my trike. “Learn Queer History” and “Teach Queer History” with taglines “Always been here, always will be” and “No More Shit!” (a rallying cry from the 80’s bathhouse riots in Toronto).

Cardboard signs that read "Teach Queer History, always been here, always will be" and "Learn Queer History, No more shit!"

A crowd of furries accumulated near the group check-in site. Unfortunately it was nowhere near where we were supposed to muster. Not that it ultimately mattered, we wouldn’t be marching for a couple more hours. Navigating the dense crowd with a large orange trike was difficult, but everyone was generally polite and made way for our slow moving group of animal headed queers.

One of the groups we shouldered our way past was the New Democratic Party, with leader Jagmeet Singh visible with his pink turban.

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Furries return to the 2022 San Francisco Pride parade

by Patch O'Furr

Coming Sunday June 26, 2022

The SF Bay Area has the world’s most dense population of furries, but back in 2012, SF Pride didn’t have activities for the love of anthropomorphic animals. They had a parade contingent in 2002-2005, but it needed help to start again. (See a 2002 video or the Pride tag for more history.) 

Whose job is it to make it happen? Everyone’s. In 2012-2019 I was one of the organizers for award-winning floats in the parade, with hundreds of supporters and members. In 2019 (the second year to get an award) we won “Absolutely Outrageous” out of more than 200 parade contingents. The parade was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but finally, it’s here again.

The Nor Cal Furries are going this weekend with a new trailer, built by @Zoren and @MrDisk0Dog and funded by community donations and volunteers to give everyone an experience to remember. (Funds still accepted, anything extra will pay forward.) Here’s how great it was in 2019:

PARADE INFO FOR THE FURRY CONTINGENT:

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Rhythm Bastard and his music: Support your local swole punk rock furry!

by Patch O'Furr

What is Rhythm Bastard? Hardcore Nerdcore Punk Rock. Alternative Laptop Punk. A DIY one-man-band with a furry Florida Man.

“Rhythm Bastard takes the stage armed only with his voice, his guitar and his bandmate, a laptop, playing a mix of punk and garage rock, with music inspired by every thing from video games, anime, comics and everything in between.” – Bio

His newest music is coming on July 1, so let’s hear about it from the Bastard.

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Russian police raid Moscow furry meet – fandom sees rising oppression.

by Patch O'Furr

Furries and freedom are the common topic between an incident in America and one in Russia. This builds on previous stories of anti-LGBT harassment and opposing war in furry news on Dogpatch Press.

Let’s start close to home for many readers. Across America, right-wing attacks have been punching through furries to strike LGBT rights. These attacks are based on debunked hoaxes, but in May, one caused real damage in a Wyoming school district. A board member mocked furries and ignored bullied students while the district removed anti-discrimination protection for LGBT people. This shows the rising stakes for anyone included in Pride month, which many furries count as part of their fandom and freedom. These attacks are starting small to aim for a big goal that already exists in Russia.

Across Russia, LGBT people have no protection. Russia’s government treats LGBT identity as a political stance for just… existing. Meanwhile, they’re threatened and forced to hide. But Russians can’t easily protest for rights without punishment. It’s also dangerous to show anti-war beliefs, especially if a group is already disfavored. Their free speech is oppressed as anti-government.

Under these conditions, police raided a furry meet in Moscow. It was first reported by OVD Info, a human rights org that monitors political persecution in Russia:

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Conventions warn furries of repeat scammer from 2015 “Traceponies” scandal

by Patch O'Furr

Updated with new info (5/9/22)

A scam is targeting furry convention goers and vendors. It’s named Furry Swap Meet. Cons and fandom lawyers like Boozy Badger and Buddy Goodboy are putting out Bewares. The scam is advertising “partner” events to coincide with official events, but there’s no real partnership. It’s trying to use false impressions to rent dealer tables, compete with cons for attendance, exploit their hard work and ride their coat tails.

This isn’t a single-source complaint; it’s a united warning from many official channels. But after you read them, there’s way more to tell you. They don’t connect the history of greedy line-pushing by a practiced serial scammer behind it. You can connect the dots from this furry news story. Even if you don’t need bewares, it’s a fascinating case for how much manipulation a fandom can harbor.

Updated with thread — A gracious thank-you to Buddy Goodboy for research and alerting the public too.

Jeffery Neil Wacaster is the person behind Furry Swap Meet, AKA Hot Fudge Husky / Neil Fox.

Jeffery Neil Wacaster — previously known as “Drawponies” — was rejected out of the My Little Pony fandom in 2015 for his “Traceponies” scandal (more on that soon). He then pivoted to furry fandom, bringing the same old tricks under a new brand. It worked, because furries haven’t reacted or documented things like bronies did. Then came problem after problem after problem…

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Furries in war: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine through the eyes of Tillian The Fox

by Patch O'Furr

Has war ever come to any sizeable part of the furry fandom, in 4 decades of growth for this worldwide group?

There are members who went to fight in foreign lands, or maybe had relatives flee when war happened. I’m just not recalling any place where hundreds or thousands of them had their houses shaken by hostile tanks, jets and shelling.

This hobby writer in California is challenged to cover news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There are furries on both sides. Recent Russian news here leads me to know about Russian furries sent to Ukraine, where they may kill Ukrainian furries. Furries with political aid jobs will help guide refugees to safety. Others face military conscription to fight back.

They see what I see: “the first time in the history of furry fandom that almost all members of one country are in fact combatants / victims of war.”@DimaOusti

The imperialist attack on a fully-accessible European nation feels as personal as the stress of a fursuit maker forced to flee, leaving his suits and bicycle behind.

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5 shot, 1 dead in Portland mass shooting; suspect Ben Smith was right-wing extremist furry

by Patch O'Furr

CNN reports “The Saturday night shooting in Portland, Oregon, that left one woman dead and five people injured started with a confrontation between an armed homeowner and armed protesters, according to a Portland Police Bureau news release issued Sunday.”

It can be hard to trust police accounts if the shooter wasn’t actually a homeowner, and it was a one-sided attack on unarmed targets until one defender shot back. Those are the claims of some sources. The New York Times has a victim’s account that they were volunteering to reroute traffic for safety ahead of a protest, but weren’t protesting when they were threatened. One victim was a woman who walked with a cane. Oregon Live identifies a slain volunteer as June Knightly, 60.

The sources include investigators who identify the suspect as Ben Smith, 43, an outcast of the furry community. There’s also furries who know Smith, and local journalists with a history of reporting against political spin and suppression. Some of them compared this to other chaotic incidents with unreliable official news, delays and failures to respond until authorities were forced to by public protest.

At the time of writing, the police haven’t named Ben Smith, but the media has. People grieving the tragedy are waiting for the arrest.

It appears that this story may be another incident of right-wing violence with a risk of biased official response. And, it’s another incident from a far-right fringe of furry fandom that the main community strongly rejects. It’s been compared to the July 2020 shooting of Garrett Foster by Daniel Perry, a far-right furry who was controversially let go with no murder charges for a year.

UPDATE (Feb 22): Benjamin Jeffrey Smith charged with one count of second degree murder, four counts of attempted first degree murder with a firearm, as well as four counts of assault with a firearm.

The history of Portland shooting suspect Ben Smith (furry name Polybun) indicates his violence was predictable and motivated by hate. The facts may come from independent reporters and even furry news. Some may be pulled from investigator files because of record deletion we’re watching as the news comes out.

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Further Confusion 2022 is canceled, and a volunteer staffer speaks about the experience

by Patch O'Furr

Contract terms and angry messages

The cancelation of San Jose’s Further Confusion, among the world’s largest furry cons, was sad for everyone involved. Hopefully they will weather this and return next year. It must have been maximum difficulty at last minute during an unprecedented spike of the Covid pandemic.

The stakes are laid as soon as a furry convention signs a contract to fill a hotel. They get a block of rooms and are on the hook to deliver hundreds of rentals. It takes special circumstances to get released from the contract. If the terms don’t specify a zombie invasion, expect a bill while sharpening your machete! The pandemic must have given them a dilemma: Face a six figure debt or be a spreader event?

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