Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Category: Personalities

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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Sonicfox Just Won Best Esports Player – and the Future of Furry is Bright – by Tempe O’Kun

by Pup Matthias

Welcome to Tempe O’Kun, author of Paranormal Furry Romanceanthropomorphic-animal Westerns, and a frequent guest of the site.

You might not be into pro gaming. Maybe your interest in gaming is limited to what you play yourself and the occasional piece of fan art. That’s cool.

But let me tell you why you should care.

  • Furries are visible.

You might not have noticed, but we’re rainbow animal-people. Midwest Fur Fest just passed 10,000 in attendance, a world record for furry cons. In some ways, the fandom will always be our weird little club, but we’re not some unknown niche anymore. Not when one of us breaks into the trending topics on Twitter.

So somebody is going to be the face of the fandom—or rather, various people are at different times. And we’re lucky that our two recent high-profile furries (SonicFox at the Game Awards and Bucktown Tiger on Jeopardy) have been really upstanding guys.

And it’s not just a public persona. As it happens, I talked to SonicFox at MFF last weekend. I ducked away from my book launch for a few minutes to say hey. And, even in suit, he made a little time to stop and chat with me. Just as you see in the video, he comes off as a sweet and sincere person. He’s absolutely someone we want as a go-to example of a furry.

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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 tribute to Fred Patten, 1940-2018

by Patch O'Furr

Fred in 1993 at a furry party at San Diego Comic Con. Lizard unknown. Photo by William Earl Haskell.

Fred Patten passed away on November 12, 2018 at age 78, leaving a legacy as historian and founder for the anime and furry fandoms. He was the star guest poster here. It’s hard to think of having no more Fred posts, but easy to say how much he influenced everyone. I’m really going to miss him sending in news tidbits or emails from curious fans, and asking if I can use them, then working out collaboration posts from his prompts. This was one of many, showing how he was sought out as an authority on anime and furry by people as far away as Malaysia.

Fred is remembered by many outside of furry. A memorial post on File770 highlights author David Gerrold calling Fred a “classic old-school fan”.  The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society’s memorial page has Melissa Conway saying: “He was, without a doubt, the dean of Furry Fandom.”

From fellow furry fans, Dronon posted a rememberence of Fred at Flayrah news.  So did Mark Merlino, cofounder of the first furry convention (ConFurence) and organizer of science fiction con parties that paved the way. Shortly before Fred’s passing, I ran into Mark and Rod of The Prancing Skiltaire (the long-running fan house in southern California) at PAWcon in San Jose. They had a table set up to remember gone but not forgotten fans. I think Fred deserves a place of honor in the middle of them all.

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Dogbomb Leads Furry Fandom To Highest Fundraising For ALS Cure Event

by Tuck Tucker

Inspirational furry, Vet Tech, and champion of ALS awareness Dogbomb (Tony Barrett) has led the fandom with a notable achievement for charity.  In the second weekend of November, a small army of furry supporters came out for his Walk To Defeat ALS event in Southern California. Their goal was to raise awareness and research funds for this fatal disease with no cure (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Patch O’Furr spoke to San Francisco Bay Area furry Zarafa Giraffe, after his return from the weekend in SoCal. It drew furries who drove from Northern California and even flew in from other states. Zarafa gave a rough estimate of 75-100 furries at the walk that he estimated as mid to high hundreds – making them a significant chunk of the whole event, as well as a third of the entire donations.

The walk synched with a FurBQ where Zarafa estimated 300 in attendance (perhaps the high end of size for local furmeets less formal than cons). Meeting many new members encouraged him to make more trips to participate. That’s the kind of snowball effect that builds up to bigger things, and gives them power to reach out and make the world better.

That fandom power propelled both Dogbomb and the furry team all the way to the top of the fundraising leaderboard on the alsa.org webpage.

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Jello Biafra’s Incredibly Strange Interview and dance party with furries: San Francisco, 12/1/18

by Patch O'Furr

Info: Frolicparty.com or Facebook – Frolic with Jello Biafra

Are you a man or are you a mouse?
If you love your fun, die for it!
The Power of Lard by Lard

Man or mouse: why pick just one? Furries can have their cake and eat it too. (It’s cheese cake, of course!)

That line jumped out of my car music on a drive to San Jose’s PAWcon, on the day after Halloween. Besides rocking my giant ears, I was geeking out about just doing a 45 minute phone call with Jello Biafra.

Jello is a punk legend, the singer for Lard and the Dead Kennedys, the founder of Alternative Tentacles (one of the longest running indie record labels)… and he’s friendly to this fluffy fandom. Is that punk? Well, will it annoy purists and/or make you laugh? Then it just might be. And will the average furry care? I’d say it’s cooler than the times when furries infested the White House and assimilated Insane Clown Posse. If you could put all those things together, and let the mayhem commence with cute animals and crazy clowns doing a coup on the Capitol lawn, it would only be half as outrageous as this amazing event.

Speaking of Halloween, that wasn’t just a date on the calendar. Halloween is a classic Dead Kennedys song, and Jello referenced it when I asked for his thoughts on furries. The song rages against social regulations and asks why people don’t express themselves like that day, every day? So, furries, you got compared to a classic punk rager by the legend who wrote it. (He also wrote Nazi Punks Fuck Off. By the way, Nazi Furs Fuck Off!)

See why I was so stoked? Getting in that spirit also reminds me of Ministry’s Every Day is Halloween; Jello’s band Lard is a metal/industrial collab with the guys from Ministry. And when I asked what his fursona could be, he gave the punkest answer:

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“Last Mutt Standing”: Dogbomb inspires the world through his courageous battle against ALS

by Patch O'Furr

Dogbomb: Not your ordinary canine is a 2011 profile of a fandom-loved personality written by Kijani Lion. Kijani himself gets love here for bringing excellence to furry news (see his 2016 interview). By request, his Dogbomb article was reprinted with a plan for a fresh 2018 update. It was delivered with this note. (Your fluffy editor – Patch) 

In my 6+ years of journalism this was the most challenging, emotional yet inspiring piece I’ve ever written and I’m very happy at how it turned out. At the bottom I added an additional Q&A with Dogbomb and his friends and also some links. I chose the headline “Last Mutt Standing” as a homage to his favorite artist Jimmy Buffett and his single “Last Man Standing,” I know Dogbomb will appreciate that. I really look forward to seeing this online and it was my honor and pleasure to share the uplifting story of a true inspiration to many in the fandom and beyond! (- Kijani)

Dogbomb (Tony Barrett) and Trip E. Collie share a laugh at Biggest Little Fur Con (BLFC) in Reno last May. Barrett was diagnosed with ALS two months prior and said this would be his last appearance at BLFC. Photo courtesy of AoLun

“Last Mutt Standing”: Dogbomb inspires the world through his courageous battle against ALS

 By Kijani Lion

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but sometimes you also can’t tell a mutt to lie down, even in the face of the most grim diagnosis. For Tony Barrett – affectionately known as “Dogbomb” in the furry fandom – giving up was, and never will be, an option.

After experiencing gradual loss of muscular function about two and a half years ago starting with his feet and lower legs, then progressing into his hands, neck, back and throat, Barrett was officially diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in early 2018. The disease kills motor neurons, effectively blocking the nerve path to the brain that makes muscles work, rendering them weak and eventually unresponsive.

“Walking is becoming extremely difficult, and my swallowing and speech are rapidly worsening,” Barrett said. “With ALS, each day is slightly worse, and it becomes difficult to plan for the future. What is easy today may be impossible in a week or a month, and that’s just frustrating.” 

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Dogbomb: Not your ordinary canine – by Kijani Lion

by Patch O'Furr

Welcome back to Kijani Lion, who I previously interviewed in 2016. Kijani’s bio includes being a con Guest of Honor and organizer for FurLifeNW and their bowling meet that set a world record for attendance. And he’s been a journalist who contributed to Furry News Network, writing profile articles about outstanding fursuiters in 2011-2013. FNN’s articles seem to have fallen off the web in 2015, but I asked to bring this back.

FNN Fursuiter of the Month (August 2011) was Dogbomb. In 2018, Dogbomb has gotten a lot of love from the fandom with a serious story that you should know before moving on to this reprint. I asked Kijani to write a new update, and that’s in the works. Look forward to it soon. – Patch

Dogbomb: Not your ordinary canine (2011)

By Kijani Lion 

As long as he can remember, dogs have always been a big part of Tony Barrett’s life.

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“Don’t dream it – be it!” Interview with Robert Hill about early fursuiting and fandom.

by Patch O'Furr

Art of Robert Hill

Continuing from: Meet Robert Hill: Artist, performer, and history’s first sexy fursuiter.

Furry fandom has many members who were born after Robert Hill’s ahead-of-its-time (but perhaps underrated) role in its late 1970’s-1980’s formation. My previous introduction promised an interview. That involved some convincing to start it (so maybe others wouldn’t have gotten it?) That makes me extra happy to share it now.

For a little more background, you could browse his (very fetishy and hot) Fur Affinity gallery, or his Wiki that mentions successes in getting media notice. Some was for costuming, and some for art (like in the badly intentioned, but well exposed) MTV Sex2K documentary “Plushies and Furries.

When I say “ahead of its time” and mention MTV, the 90’s were a different time than now. Drama raged between furry fans about whether sexy stuff was acceptable, especially in reaction to media exploitation that overemphasized the fringes. A lot of the bad attention came with a nasty streak of homophobia.  In 2018, I think we know who won. It’s not about furries being indecent, it’s about radical self-expression with all kinds of supportive benefits. I’d say change didn’t come from pleading with outsiders to be nicer, but from the power of building a great community within. And the media followed along with some change from exploitation to a gentler view of loveable eccentricity.

All along, there were members who dared to explore what they wanted to express without taming it for outside recognition, but who were fiercely talented enough to get some of that too.

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Interview with Adler the Eagle, who helps you smile with furry animation.

by Patch O'Furr

Adler caught my eye with his animation. It got a lot of sharing on Twitter and helped him build a following of 6K+ (and rising fast) because of how fun it is. Thanks to Adler for taking time for this interview. (If you like this, you might also like How furry animator Jib Kodi found his art or the interview series with many other furries.) – Patch 

Patch O’Furr:

Hi Adler! I really love your vids you have been posting, and your fursona is super memorable. That’s why I got in touch. There’s tons of furs who have cute suits, but it’s easy to lean on the suit or just one talent like good dancing. I like how you round things out like a multi dimensional character who has good stories to tell. The voice acting and performance timing are big ingredients to make things so rad and fun. You kind of remind me of a mascot who hasn’t had a cereal made just for you yet.

If someone made a cereal just for Adler what kind would it be?

Adler Eagle:

Wheat based with little hard sugar bits mixed in. Probably Called Eagle Bites. They would be good, wholesome, and contain low amount of sugar, but a high amount of family fun and value.

Patch O’Furr:

I get the idea you’re into professional animation, maybe with a few years of experience prior to doing furry stuff. And is there any pro performing experience there too? Read the rest of this entry »