Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Conventions

At Furry Weekend Atlanta, an academic philosopher wins a job by the power of fandom.

by Patch O'Furr

The human species is diverse, but anywhere you go, there’s job-seekers hungry to start careers. At least one of them is a tennis-playing philosopher with a FurAffinity account, a raccoon fursona and a cool story: WildeCard. (Here’s his personal site.)

In human form, he’s a Postdoc researcher and ethics course instructor at Ohio State University’s Center for Ethics and Human Values. He’s working on a book titled The Environmental Impact of Overpopulation: The Ethics of Procreation, which explores the ethics of slowing population growth. (For humans — no word about raccoons, bunnies or others with prodigious proliferation.)

How did he get there? WildeCard writes in:

“I recently documented how my experience on the academic job market (in philosophy) overlapped with attending Furry Weekend Atlanta 2019. And by overlapped, I mean that I was literally doing job interviews from my hotel room while attending this convention. That part of the story comes near the tail-end of an 8-month search for academic employment, which was ultimately successful.

The relevant (and lengthy) blog post is here.”

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South Afrifur 2019 – Convention Report by Jako Malan

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Jako Malan/Erdwolf_TVL for the guest submission. Compare the update with a look back at Fred Patten’s South Afrifur 2017 con report. And check out the guest articles sent here by Duncan Piasecki for another voice from South African furry fandom. “An exciting tourist destination to international furries”? Lekker place, maan. – Patch

Fursuiters SAFC2019 – Thanks to @FurnixWolf (Telegram) for photo.

In 2018, the local furry convention South Afrifur – then in its second year – had the unexpected privilege of South Africa’s largest Afrikaans magazine doing an editorial on the local fandom. I did not feel it pressed on me to write an official report then. This year the local convention attracted little attention from non-furries, but in a way, I think it had reached critical momentum and I felt inspired to write about it again.

Whereas the question on every muzzle in previous years had been “Will there be another con?” and “Did we succeed?” This year, there was tangible optimism and a sense of achievement. Other questions were being asked. “How many fursuiters will there be next year?” and “How will we fit everyone into the available accomodation?”

The 80s themed convention was held from the 12th through the 15th of July at the Ekudeni retreat about an hours’ drive from Johannesburg. As with previous years, the majority of furries came from the Gauteng province – the economic and industrial heartland of South Africa. The other provinces were represented too, albeit in much smaller numbers. We were also privileged to have four international visitors – Bravura and Aninok from Switzerland as well as Kit and Trace from Nebraska in the USA.

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DJ UltraPup barks about what it’s like to be on stage the first time at Anthrocon.

by Patch O'Furr

(Patch:) It sounds like you had a blast at Anthrocon! I wanted to ask you about your first time DJing a big con. What’s your story and how did you end up there? Was it your first furry con, or just first time on stage at one?

(DJ UltraPup:) I’m a member of the pup community and I have been for quite some time. I am also however a member of the furry community, and one of my big goals is to try and bridge the divide between furries and pups. When a friend of mine suggested I apply to DJ at Anthrocon, I thought why not. I’m well known in the DC area as a circuit DJ and I have 3 club residencies, so I applied, and sure enough they picked me to play Saturday night at 11pm. AC was my first major con. I had gone to FurTheMore earlier this year just to check it out, but this was my first time DJing a furcon, and it won’t be my last.

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Little con in the big city: How New York furries are establishing a convention in the Big Apple

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Rocky Coyote wrote in: “Hi Patch, great work on the furries and commercialization stories! Those were excellent reads. I just wanted to let you know that there’s a new mini con in New York City. I was thinking about submitting a feature about it and the growing furry presence in NYC.”

I wrote back that I have looked for furry presence while traveling in NYC and not found a lot in the past because it seemed scattered, and would love to help. (If anyone has the urge to write, guests get offered thank you tips, which I have to mention out of gratitude about the awesome result here.) – Patch

Little con in the big city: How a handful of New York furs are looking to establish a convention presence in the Big Apple – by Rocky Coyote

For a city referred to as ‘the concrete jungle,’ New York has a surprisingly small furry presence in the United States. Despite living in the biggest city in the nation, furries from the Big Apple must travel elsewhere if they want to attend a convention. A handful of furs looked to change that by organizing and hosting a mini convention on Memorial Day that saw over 50 attendees participate in a day-long event in the heart of Queens.

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A furry resurgence is bubbling up in West Michigan with the Great Lakes Furs.

by Patch O'Furr

Con gone? Tears were shed when Michigan’s Great Lakes Fur Con washed up in 2017. But now, @OrangeYouGlad brings good news of a new group, (Telegram: @GreatLakesFurs), lifting a wet blanket off those in spitting distance. Through hell or high water, furries will keep sailing on. Dam-straight!

First let’s look at how it rained on their parade. (I guess it rained cats and dogs?) From greatlakesfurcon.com:

An Important Announcement

Posted on May 14, 2017

We have a bit of disappointing news to share with all of you. Great Lakes Fur Con will not be taking place in 2017. Recently some of our staff members stepped down due to personal obligations, and while we wish them the best (and they wish us the best as well), this means we do not have the manpower to put on the convention that you all deserve and enjoy.

That’s not too dramatic. It sounds like it just melted away. Dogpatch Press shared a little notice in What’s Yiffin’? – June 2017 edition of syndicated furry news:

Even though there was no official convention this story still has a happy ending, too; the remaining staff of GLFC elected to hold a big cookout/potluck and invited furs in the area to bring a dish and come hang out. Afterwards, everyone went bowling! Sure, it’s not a convention but that still sounds like a hell of a way to spend a day.

Now they’re floating some new plans. @OrangeYouGlad joins me to talk about it.

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How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 3)

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.

Part 1 looked at the roots of fandom, with fans being “fans of each other”. Stigma and undermining showed how the fandom didn’t just follow the path of least resistance, it broke out under pressure. A sense of outsiderness and self determination has stayed ever since.

Part 2 looked at conventions making a platform for industry and expression that keeps the group untamed. Relations with the media got better while making a certain fandom identity (instead of letting others make it). It can even connect to deeper identity of members, because it lets them be who they want to be.

Furries care about fandom identity with a kind of tribalism. When members say they’re prone to “furry drama,” it can come from conflict about who defines it or benefits from it. That’s how The Daily Beast noticed conflict about a luxury “designer fursuit” brand, which usually wouldn’t matter to anyone except furries.

I told the reporter: “I think it really struck a nerve. It really got to the root of this possessiveness that the subculture has about itself and what it built for itself.”

It’s a case for looking at resistance to commercialism. Backlash at the brand was provoked by tone-deaf marketing, where bringing a mainstream approach wasn’t workable with art based on unique personal identity. Also, luxury brands don’t get made from scratch when others go back 100 years. (Fans in-the-know could compare this with furry brand Hyena Agenda, whose stuff speaks for itself without rubbing the wrong way against a certain fandom identity.)

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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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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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