Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Mainstream

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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Great accounts to follow: Unintentional Furries

by Patch O'Furr

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

If you’re a talking animal on social media, Furry Twitter is the place to be. And if you aren’t on there yet, or if you’re new, it may seem like a perplexing jungle of stunning art, cute fursuits, drama, social commentary, memes, nature videos, hitting on corporate mascots, and crazy happenings with a huge fandom of friends who have fun like nobody else. Finding the good stuff could use a guide to bushwhack through the wilderness. Wouldn’t it be cool to get an article series about entertaining and well curated accounts?

These will ask the account owners a few short questions about what they do. Enjoy whether they’re new, or you like learning more about stuff you already love.

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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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Sonic the Hedgehog artist injured by hate crime; life can be prickly for struggling artists

by Patch O'Furr

Milton Knight has a hand in works of animation and cartoon art seen by millions. For the 1993 Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog TV series, he did storyboards and animation and is credited with design for the villain Robotnik. In nearly 40 years as a pro, he’s made countless fans happy. But on February 25, he was hospitalized with “cuts, a broken nose, and more” at the hands of a racist stranger. Knight described enduring 15 minutes of provocative hate speech before it exploded with “endless punches to the head”. The attacker injured his fist and was jailed for battery.

Knight’s creative drive is inspired by retro style from the Golden Age of animation, and traditional ink and paint. As a pro since 1980, he got into animation on Ralph Bakshi‘s Cool World and The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. In comics, he worked on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mighty Mouse. Like his inspiration from untamed 1930’s cartoons, he also did mature work like Heavy Metal and his own indie comic Midnite the Rebel Skunk. A fact that readers here may like is that he experimented with “extremely adult furry” work in the independent spirit of 1980’s fandom. In the network where pros, fans, and art curators meet, he has done archiving for the International Animated Film Association (whose president Jerry Beck was very close to “fandom founder” Fred Patten.)

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Margaret Cho barks about furries, pride, and costuming on The Masked Singer

by Patch O'Furr

Dogged persistence seems necessary to win success as a standup comedian. In school, the class clown might not be who you expect to become a household name. That’s why one like Margaret Cho can be extra fascinating among mainstream celebrities. She’s got layers. Fabulous, fluffy layers. 

Live touring, TV, movies, fashion and music are all part of her creative canvas, with a palette of adult humor colored by mentors like Robin Williams, 1970’s San Francisco childhood, 1990’s alternative culture, Korean-American experience, female and LGBT identity, and enduring love for non-conformists. Her bio includes Grammy and Emmy nominations, accolades from the New York Times, and awards for representing the LBGT community among other activism for social progress. With such an arsenal of badassery at her disposal, she still graciously got on the phone with a little furry blog. 

Research for our chat turned up a few interesting facts: The show format (guessing the hidden performer) originally came from Korean TV, and she was tuned in to it before being cast. Despite the comedy label, her background includes burlesque and serious study to create comedy music on the level of pros like Weird Al or Flight of the Conchords. You can watch her on Season 1, Episode 4 of The Masked Singer on Fox.comEnjoy – Patch

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How Yamer won a contest, a job, and the love of fandom by smuggling furry into the mainstream.

by Patch O'Furr

A Mazda dealership in Fort Wayne, IN, set a trap. Their mascot is a cute sheep-thing… but he isn’t just an ordinary mascot like the Carfax Car Fox. This one has the secret power to set off your Fur-dar. Look at those cute eyes… how can you resist them?

Those susceptible to his gaze can tell he was crafted by furry paws, even if he was smuggled out of fandom under cover of an ordinary ad campaign.  I’d say the difference from other mascots is he isn’t just a general character… he’s a fursona!  Leinado is his name, and he was chosen by an art contest in 2013. He’s been spreading the magic to the public ever since.

In January 2019, the trap sprung on a furry who was just there for ordinary car repair. Sharing the discovery “in the wild” won thousands of likes for Leinado on Twitter. With fur-dar tingling, furries began sniffing around the company website to trace his origin. They found the designer, and then she was revealed as a wielder of furry art magic under the name Yamer.

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Josh Acosta Sentenced for life in Fullerton Murder

by Rune AngelDragon

Rune’s Furry Blog showcases “people within the Furry Community… their characters, life, thoughts, and beliefs”. It also covers furry issues and media plus some personal blogging. Rune joins other guest posters to Dogpatch Press like Tempe O’Kun and Arrkay (Culturally F’d). Welcome Rune. – Patch

Acosta sentenced to life for triple homicide

Frank Felix (left) – Josh Acosta (right)

On September 24th, 2016, media outlets blew up with the news of a triple homicide in Southern California. Now known as the “Fullerton triple homicide”, the highlight of the headlines following the incident was that there had been a murder among “Furries”. Despite the hate and jokes that circulated due to misleading titles and information, the fandom itself was broken over this loss.

The victims were Christopher Yost (34), Jennifer Yost (39), and their friend Arthur Boucher (28). The loss ran deep as those involved were very active in the Furry community. They were known through several local groups, including the La Habra Fur Bowling social group, and as attendees at the Prancing Skiltaire monthly parties (the long running furry house owned by some of the founders of 1980’s fandom.)

For the local Furry populace, Jennifer Yost was seen as the “Mom of the community,” thus her nickname of Jen-ma. She was known for her kindness in listening and helping others with their problems, and her crafting… making clothes and stuffed animals for her children. It was her youngest child (then 6-years-old) who called the police to tell them that their parents were dead that morning.

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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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MAD Magazine and the “Lighter” (?) Side of Furries – guest post by Joe Strike

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s news from Joe Strike – you may have seen his recent piece for Flayrah about “stealth fur.” Joe’s Furry Nation book got a lot of love here. He seems to have a sequel in the works (not sure how much I’m supposed to say, but there may be a chapter from a certain dog’s paw!) Joe saw an article making fun of furs in MAD magazine, and sent this piece. With so much going on in the news, I think it’s a bit refreshing to get gentle joking. Honestly, I want outsiders to just laugh a little while we can be like this… (- Patch)

From graphic designer Chris Piascik (I don’t think he’s a furry… yet. The outfit got us right though.)

MAD Magazine and the “Lighter” (?) Side of Furries

By Joe Strike

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Furries vs. Evil: Habits in geek social spaces

by Patch O'Furr

This was written as introduction for a planned series. I edited it to stand alone in response to recent events of bad things being exposed. Expect to see it reposted in the future to fit a series. It’s kind of a thinkpiece to provoke open ended conversation. Let’s start with a weird question… (- Patch)

Q: How are furries like Catholic Nuns? 

Aside from silly headgear or being anthropomorphic penguins… this isn’t about being moralistic, but it involves contrasting black-and-white appearances.

Do nuns make you think nice thoughts about The Sound of Music or Mother Teresa, with harmless ladies playing guitar and taking care of orphans?

For a huge contrast, now think of scandals with abusive priests, where churches shift them from diocese to diocese to cover it up. It’s easy to assume nuns don’t do abuse like that. Until news comes out that they do, but the church hasn’t been accountable. This news may be loaded with a certain counterintuitiveness that increases the WTF factor. But in both cases, it’s dishonest to blame individuals for an institutional problem.

Furry fandom is made of loose federations of groups. Almost all of them are super positive and friendly and it would be gross exaggeration to suggest an institutional problem like above. It’s not a church with a pope. At worst, dramatic stories like a ring of abuse in Pennsylvania was limited to personal friendships that didn’t go as far as alleged. (Lupinefox, who was accused of hosting it at his house, was found not guilty on all charges in court.)

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