Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Conventions

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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New Zealand’s Southern Paws Fur Con – Q&A with Votter, the con chair

by Patch O'Furr

https://southernpaws.org.nz – now open to register for their event at Waipara Adventure Centre.

Recent world news made me interested in featuring New Zealand furry news. That’s how I found their new con, leading to a positive story with Votter.

Australian and NZ furs have a fairly active scene. Some of the first activity I found in the fandom was 1990’s furry zine South Fur Lands from the late and beloved Marko Rat (site kept by Bernard Doove, prolific creator known for Chakats and the Ursa Major Awards).  And I often love seeing what the Ozfurs do with their annual float in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade (street fursuiting is my favorite thing, and I’d call it one of the best examples in the furry world.) Even so, news from Down Under may not reach overseas. I haven’t written much about it (but for previous news, there is this story about animation and a successful fursuit maker.)

When Votter sent thanks for noticing Southern Paws Fur Con, he said: “I never expected to get international attention. It is honestly kind of exciting – we want to try to bring some joy and positivity to the world.”

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Going to Anthrocon? All aboard for a party on rails with Anthrotracks.

by Patch O'Furr

From New York City, get transport and lodging together – not just a ride, but a furmeet with sleeper cars staying blocks from Anthrocon.

Info: www.anthrotracks.com

I have a delightful memory of talking with a retired driver for the San Francisco Bay area’s BART system. He would watch videos of trains in Poland for fun, and talk about the wobbly tracks and the persistence of maintaining a rural system with little money and lots of engineuity. I told him about visiting Prague and taking a train to Munich, and how the shaky Iron Curtain system got smooth and fast at the border. He was so into trains, that he made a forge in his backyard and built his own engine. That’s rail fandom.

Railfans (AKA rail buffs, or train buffs) have loveable personalities. Compared to those who chase cars (woof), they have a different love than the freedom of racing or being a lone wolf on an open road. I think it has more of the beauty of coordinating a system to reliably serve many people and places. Can you imagine “train rage” instead of road rage? Instead, you get people into solving problems like this: Japan Built These Adorable Tunnels to Help Turtles Cross Train Tracks. Some notable railfans included Walt Disney, and it’s part of how he made a magic kingdom with talking animals.

Of course furry fandom crosses with EVERY fandom, so there are furry railfans. One was mascot for a train museum, and there’s this super-photogenic fursuiter in the Czech Republic. (They even do a furry train ride there.)

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Galactic Camp sets record with 742 furries, a San Francisco Bay warship and a Soviet time traveler

by Patch O'Furr

“A breathtaking view of the San Francisco skyline from the deck of the USS Hornet at Galactic Camp. Featuring the extra fluffy Bandit Raccoon” – Muffle the Fox. (Previous story: A furry con takes flight on the USS Hornet, Feb 23, 2019)

Galactic Camp showed how nobody has weird fun like furries.

Photo by Orzel

Lucky Fox (Udachny Lisa), a 1970’s Soviet Podpolkovnik (Lieutenant-Colonel), was traveling through time on a mission to explore the future of fully automated luxury gay space communism. Unfortunately, due to budget shortages, his time machine was missing a few pieces. When he arrived, instead of seeing moon communes, he was astonished to be on The USS Hornet aircraft carrier surrounded by rainbow animal-people.

The future was a silly place. But Comrade Lucky Fox wouldn’t abandon his mission. It was time to sample alcoholic beverage drinks and dance for science and the glory of workers. (Worry to Glorkers!)

The uniformed time traveler made a furry party on a warship even weirder. But to those who already know him, he’s loved for running 10 years of “The Communist Party” annually at the Further Confusion convention in San Jose CA. (His party isn’t for politics… it’s for themed celebration of culture and donating to a Russian LGBT charity.) He was happy to do a Q&A about it below.

Mixing weird ingredients makes incredible events, and that’s why furry activity is steadily growing.

Galactic Camp set a record for biggest one-night event ever in furry fandom.

The furries who danced with Lucky Fox totaled 742 (corrected for double-counting of ticket upgrades and staffers.) Attendance of 742 sets a fandom record, according to some who helped make it happen.

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Galactic Camp: a furry con takes flight on the USS Hornet, Feb 23, 2019

by Patch O'Furr

*** Get tickets here for the event in Alameda CA ***

Article photos by Loboloc0 and Amenophis.

How do you describe a one-day, space-themed furry convention on an aircraft carrier? It’s such uncharted territory, you might need a satellite view.

Galactic Camp was formerly Space Camp Party, their first event on the San Francisco Bay waterfront in March 2018. The name was changed to avoid a trademark conflict. Besides a shiny new name, it’s back with the same crew, and ambitions that go as high as putting pawprints on the moon.

Here’s Chatah’s video from the first party:

What to expect at Galactic Camp: A dance with spectacular production including a video wall and stellar DJ lineup, food trucks, Burning Man art cars, and a top-shelf craft cocktail menu better than any furry event has had before. And the biggest feature is the venue, the USS Hornet. It’s a floating museum and visitor attraction, even before you throw a horde of colorful party animals on top.

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Corgi Events Is the Fandom’s First Convention Management Company – By Grubbs Grizzly

by Patch O'Furr

Grubbs Grizzly is known for his “Ask Papabear” advice column, and Greymuzzles group popular among the original generation of fandom. He’s at work on The Furry Book and made The Good Furry Award for furs who demonstrate outstanding community spirit. Nominate one for a $1000 prize! Thanks to Grubbs for this guest article.

Corgi Events appeared here for their con Aquatifur. They made the fandom applaud in August 2018 when Denfur filled the vacancy left by RMFC. All eyes were on them when Denfur’s first year beat attendance estimates by double, as high as RMFC would have grown if it still existed. More than a mere numbers success, it represented fans rejecting bad behavior that ruined its predecessor, and embracing the ideal of a community. For that I would give Corgi Events all the support I can.

(Update: a twist in the story shortly after publishing makes me modify this to say I support fandom and its members, volunteers and community that makes cons happen for the love of it.) – Patch 

Corgi Events Is the Fandom’s First Convention Management Company
By Grubbs Grizzly

The history of furry conventions is an interesting one indeed, one that was recently written about by the late, great furry historian and book critic Fred Patten in his Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015. As anyone who has read that book or is familiar with convention history knows, it all started with Confurence 0 in Costa Mesa, California, in 1989. After a couple years, new conventions started opening their doors. The phenomenon has snowballed until now there are nearly 100 conventions worldwide.

Up until recently, one thing fur cons had in common was that they were operated independently of one another. Often these would be organized by local fans, perhaps sharing crew with other events, but based in one community. Each would be organized by—typically—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the United States.

But the other day my attention was drawn to a company called Corgi Events LLC, when I heard its announcement of a new fur con in Irvine, California, to be called Golden State Fur Con. GSFC is debuting next year, along with another Corgi-created con, the Painted Desert Fur Con in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Reading this, bells started ringing in my fuzzy bear ears. Was Corgi trying to replace Califur, which failed to hold a convention this year, and may or may not in 2019? And Phoenix (Scottsdale is a suburb) already has the young Arizona Fur Con. Next, I saw that Corgi also runs DenFur, which has effectively replaced the failed Rocky Mountain Fur Con. The chosen locations look strategic, and multi-con management over distance is a departure from the furry norm.

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A financial fuss about FurFlight – can it fend off a fandom fiasco?

by Patch O'Furr

Distressing news has come out about a furry-organized travel service, which appears to be in trouble with some big financial obligations at the moment. The fur is flying, and not in a good way.

FurFlight bundles furries together for group air travel from highly-active fandom regions to highly-attended conventions, most notably from Seattle and San Francisco to Midwest FurFest. The idea is to improve the boring parts and the endpoint arrangements. It happened successfully in 2017. (As far as I know, no fellow travelers complained about fur allergy flareups or the plane smelling like a zoo – score for fandom image!)

FurFlight isn’t affiliated with Midwest FurFest. One of the con staffers told me about previously advising people not to buy in because of no accountability for an independent operation. Trusting other fans comes with risks known to anyone who’s been burned by bad art commissions.

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Furries You Meet at Camp Tiny Paws (August 2018)

by Patch O'Furr

When you’re tiny, less is more. When you’re a real-life 4-legged guinea pig named Tiny, having a convention named for you is a big honor. And for a moderately sized community, a smaller con can bring outsized fun.

That’s the vibe I got from my trip to this 2nd-year convention in Danbury, Connecticut. It drew around 300 attendees. Where I am in the San Francisco Bay Area, “the world’s greatest concentration of furries per square mile” (wikifur) has casual monthly meets that bring hundreds. It can be too much to keep up with. Do you ever get that feeling? Try events where furries are less dense. It’s like a throwback to a fresher, younger fandom.

Organizers K’gra and Nobody bring lots of positive energy for that. It cuts through negativity of current events like a rainbow laserbeam. They laughed about me being a mild, laid-back California dog person, and said “I can’t believe you came all the way here for this!” I said, “I can’t believe you invited me!”

Being a Guest of Honor came with a duty to support the con. The panel I did on self-employment (and DIY power of fandom) was well attended.  Other well-known furry names gave support too. Meeting Uncle Kage and Boozy Badger made me appreciate them for bringing their mix of long experience and newer yet super vocal membership. And not just themselves, but their family and friends.

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One con, three predators – what this says about furry fandom

by Patch O'Furr

Want some scorekeeping about Dogpatch Press? The site is getting close to 1,000 stories in 4 years, with quadruple readership since 2017 and tons of positive news about fun and cool accomplishments furries keep doing.

Then there’s stories that expose hate and abuse from the fringes. People who don’t follow what the site does like to misrepresent it as nothing more than a source for “drama”, muckraking, “fake news” or angry mob “witch hunts”. These attacks often come from a vested interest in keeping things nice and quiet.

Here’s an example of such a story. (This one started before Dogpatch Press existed, so attacking the messenger is pointless.) This sheds light on the motivation of a former fandom celebrity who fell into disgrace:

(Links in here): Why doesn’t 2 Gryphon tell the truth about how his partner went to prison? Why does he attack abuse victims just like he Protests Too Hard against “SJW’s” and “witch hunts”? Why is he no longer welcome on convention stages?

An honest look at the links will find the answer. It’s complicity by a Quisling who doesn’t give a shit about this fandom. Complicity is a theme for this article, and solutions too.

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Wat ‘n Wolhaarstorie! – A South African Article on Furries – and a radio show.

by Duncan R. Piasecki

Submitted by guest Duncan R. Piasecki – don’t miss his articles The Forgotten History of the Furry Musical – and Talking Animal Films In South Africa (Part 1) and (Part 2.)

As some of you might know, South Afrifur happened quite recently, the biggest one yet. Unusually for furries from this part of the world, however, was the media coverage: the convention was featured in an article in the Afrikaans magazine Huisgenoot, in their July 26th issue. Of course, being Afrikaans (quite an obscure language outside of this country) means the readership potential is limited internationally, but it’s a pretty big deal for local furries: the magazine is one of the most popular in the country.

So, for all the international furries out there, I present to you a reproduction of the print article, and then my own translation. Please keep in mind that Afrikaans and I don’t agree (it was my worst subject in high school), I’m very far from fluent in it, so this was done with Google Translate, a dictionary, and my own extrapolation. The results might not be exactly accurate, but I feel they give the general idea if not the exact translation. As you will see, some things just don’t cross-translate.

But first, a new development: furries on the radio.

A couple of the people covered in the Afrikaans article went on to one of Pretoria’s biggest radio stations to talk about being a furry (it sounded like it was because of the article, in fact), and I thought the interview went quite well (if ticking off a few of the usual boxes of annoying “but it’s a fetish, right?” questions the media loves to ask). Quite weird, this sudden boost in interest, considering everyone’s ignored this community in this country before now.

Article: https://www.jacarandafm.com/shows/scenic-drive-rian/furries-take-over-scenic-drive/

Videos of the interview:

I ripped an audio recording of the whole interview. It comes to about 24 minutes and has quite a bit more than the videos (a lot is not in English). Here’s a Google Drive folder of it, including videos from Facebook: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Rkcm6dNAIxfe0p-lMj9WdtcwzY3AuNU5

Tweets:

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