Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Mainstream

17 years of progress with the Norcal Furries at San Francisco Pride.

by Patch O'Furr

Followup to Get furry at San Francisco Pride 2019. See the Pride tag for much more.

Photo by Zenith

Photo by Wusky Husky

For the 2019 San Francisco Pride parade on June 30, the Norcal Furries had their biggest turnout yet. A hundred members made the street their stage with cheering audiences on both sides. They won the “Absolutely Outrageous” award out of more than 200 parade contingents, their second year to get an award.

“Once again we beat corporations who spend thousands on their floats with just a bunch of GoFundMe donations, and a couple of people looking very fuzzy!” (- Vance)

It’s rare to get a public spotlight like this anywhere outside of convention hotels. There was no cost for just showing up to join. It was the first Pride for many members, and it wasn’t just about queer visibility, but also engaging allies and freedom of self-expression for all. It looked like a party but the reason for it wasn’t forgotten. 50 years ago, Stonewall was a riot against hate, but fun without fighting is an answer to the question — what did they fight for?

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“A book about joy:” the publishing of Tom Broadbent’s At Home With the Furries

by Patch O'Furr

“At Home With The Furries” is at US-based Amazon sellers now.

Sent by Tom via Furplanet

In early 2018 I wrote about a Kickstarter for a book of Tom Broadbent’s furry photography. These aren’t your usual convention photos. He stages them with characters in their homes like storybook pages. As soon as I saw what he was up to, I knew this would make extra special art. One publisher he approached was someone I knew, who I had already tipped that someone should do a furry photo art book. My copy sits on my desk where I write up crazy happenings in the fandom. Let’s hear from Tom how things went. – Patch

Hi Patch,

The book was officially published on 30th September last year. At the time I thought the Kickstarter was hard in terms of raising the backing. Producing the book was a whole different story, I could not be prouder of the finished product but it took a lot out of me. Essentially with the Kickstarter reaching its target I buried myself last year into producing the book to the absolute highest standard I could do. Not only because I felt a deep responsibility to the backers, but also the furries themselves, the furry community and ultimately myself. It’s only going to be published once after all, and it’s out there forever, sitting on people’s bookshelves, in bookshops, museums and a variety of National libraries (some of which I’ll come to shortly.)

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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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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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