Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

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Magnus Diridian asked for an interview, so we talked about an attack on a convention.

by Patch O'Furr

An unresolved issue

You may know Magnus Diridian (AKA Rob Shokawsky) as “The Confederate fursuiter” who’s banned from furry conventions. What happens after being arrested for trespassing at Midwest FurFest 2017, and featuring in a news article about troll activity? How about a challenge to clear the air and explain things. That is, if a simple case of people being bothered by unwanted behavior needs any further explanation at all.

There don’t seem to be many people asking for it. But long story short, Magnus got in trouble and wanted to explain. I took the opportunity to talk, but not in the way he hoped. Honestly I’m not interested in rehashing what everyone already read about the 2017 arrest. He’ll have his day in court.  Something else was an open and bothersome issue, and I focused on that instead.  The previous article only hinted about it. Now I’m going to be really direct.

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“Confederate fursuiter” Magnus Diridian arrested at Midwest Furfest – what’s the story?

by Patch O'Furr

Update: Here’s an in depth interview discussing Magnus being an FBI crime suspect.

Midwest Furfest 2017 broke the attendance record of all furry cons by the margin of a small con itself. It raised an eye-popping $86,000 for an animal charity that was previously in the red and is now funded for years. Twitter was on fire about the smashing success for the fandom. Among many ecstatic posts by attendees, of course there had to be some kind of drama too. It came with a fursuiter being arrested. Here’s the story pieced together by claims on twitter:

Scene: a hotel lobby. A black, red and white wolf fursuiter with a German WW1 style Pickelhaube helmet is parading around. People taking photos are greeted by offensive behavior like saluting with a “Sieg Heil” and shouting racist things. It causes hotel and/or con security to pursue him, and he flees and gets cornered in some bushes until the police come. They make him take off his suit, and he’s taken away in underwear. He was previously banned from the con and hotel, and the charges involve trespassing and assaulting a staff member before his arrest.

Some of those claims may be disputed (especially the nazi part), so let’s look deeper for the truth. Here’s an arrest record. Associates confirm the fursuiter who matches it is Magnus Diridian, AKA Rob Shokawsky (real name Robert Sojkowski). What is Magnus known for in furry fandom?

  • Fake Lemonade Coyote: At Anthrocon 2014, Magnus gained notoriety with a “bootleg” fursuit made to imitate a furry who died on duty as an EMT. People mourning his death were unhappy about exploitation of his image, which continues in 2017.
  • Confederate flag fursuit: At Anthrocon 2017, Magnus caused more anger with a flag-design fursuit and a Trump sign. It was a protest of takedown of the flags around the USA due to their racist association, following national attention on hate crime murders by Dylann Roof. The story was covered in a Dogpatch Press article: The Confederate fursuit incident shows how you can’t be a troll and a victim at the same time.
  • Grimace McWendy’s: Custom suits show that Magnus puts a lot of effort into these events. If it’s not just calculated to troll, isn’t that’s a loveable quality? The same is said by people close to him who are earnest about defending him as a nice guy. I have to admit that this fursuit makes me laugh and I have to admire the creative humor. (Suiting video).

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Professional mascots and furries – Q&A with Uncle Kage and Kodi of Midwest Furfest.

by Patch O'Furr

The National Mascot Hall of Fame is coming in 2017.  This mainstream event might deserve furry attention. It’s a series here:

1) The beginning of mascots and fursuiting.
2) Fursuiting crossover with pro sports.
3) The National Mascot Hall of Fame.

Could a full time mascot-based tourist attraction include furries somehow?  Maybe they will indirectly benefit.  Imagine an exhibit dedicated to hobbyist costuming, and how it’s an institution in places like Pittsburgh.  If that happened, Uncle Kage would surely be one of the first asked to help connect furries and pro mascots. And it’s interesting that the NMHOF is close to Midwest Furfest (imagine an exhibit coordinated with the con.)

I contacted Kage and MFF about this. Here’s followup to the stories above.

From Raymond Entertainment Group

From Raymond Entertainment Group

Mascot Boot Camp is run by NMHOF founder Dave Raymond (the original “Philly Phanatic”).   It’s in Kutztown PA- 3 days for $399.  Fursuiters, check that out.  And you can hire it to come to you (wouldn’t it be amazing to have such a workshop hosted by a con? Although cost per person would be huge.)  Check Dave Raymond’s group of companies for a look at professional mascot building and more – Raymond Entertainment Group.

Furry sports fans on national TV – have you seen this going around as a popular meme? (Tip: Chakat Shorttail.)

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‘Fursonas’ beats Zootopia as most important furry movie, coming soon on Video On Demand.

by Patch O'Furr

Co-written by Patch and Pup Matthias. Find ‘Fursonas’ on the web and on Twitter.

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2016 has been labeled The Year Of Furry.  Disney’s Zootopia is just the start.  There’s a surprising amount of other films to come with anthropomorphic animals. From Kung Fu Panda 3, Ratchet and Clank, The Angry Birds Movie, Secret Life of Pets, Sing, The Boy and The Beast, and TMNT 2 (yes it counts)… there’s a wealth of films for furries to enjoy (or love to hate) this year.

There’s a film apart from those that has surprisingly flown under a lot of people’s radars.  It’s not a big-budget blockbuster, and doesn’t have massive marketing. (With vast differences in “furry movies”, that’s what the headline references.)  Few have talked about it… but for this tiny fandom, it has special quality above any other.

Fursonas is a documentary directed by Dominic Rodriguez.  It looks at the fandom itself, to clear up fuzziness over what it’s about.

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What will the National Mascot Hall of Fame mean for furries? – Part 3 of mascot series.

by Patch O'Furr

A three part series:

1) The beginning of mascots and fursuiting.
2) Fursuiting crossover with pro sports.
3) The National Mascot Hall of Fame.

mascot-hall-of-fameMascot art, business, culture, and a Hall of Fame to celebrate it all.

Let’s peer into the strange, distant futureworld of 2017.

How much respect do mascots get?  It’s kind of a stereotype that they deserve mocking and noogies from jocks.  Some would say that enjoying mascots too much is like loving the sauce while ignoring the main course.  They might consider it ridiculous to give sole focus for celebration of mascots.

Now there’s a whole institution for that.  The Mascot Hall of Fame was founded by David Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic from 1978-1993. It’s been around since 2005 in online-only form.  Now it’s getting a 25,000 square-foot building in Whiting, Indiana. (With the crowd capacity of this place, imagine a jock giving noogies to so many thousands of mascot lovers- his arms would fall off.) Read the rest of this entry »

When fursuits cross with sports, ‘Stupid Costume Enthusiasts’ go big – Part 2 of mascot series.

by Patch O'Furr

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Edmonton Oil Kings hockey halftime show, January 2015.

A three part series:

1) The beginning of mascots and fursuiting.
2) Fursuiting crossover with pro sports.
3) The National Mascot Hall of Fame.

Good examples of fursuiting crossover with pro sports.

I have to admit not knowing a lot about commercial mascotting.  But here’s some quick comparison with the amateur hobby kind.  At Amazing-Mascots.com, you can get a feel for how major teams and companies commission the pro makers.

Amazing Mascots is a company with a 15,000 foot warehouse, and a team of seasoned professionals boasting decades of mascotting and designing experience. They quote multiplied prices ($4000-12,000) compared to costume makers inside fandom.

Our own fursuit makers charge as little as $2000 and typically do it from a craft room at home.  But their craft often beats the pros, doesn’t it?  They do it for love as much as money.  So value their skills and personal relationships with them, and give them love back.

On to the examples of how hobbyists are reaching the level of pros…

Wolf mascot for Moscow’s Dynamo hockey team – made in 2013 by Mixedcandy.

Even if the Dynamo NHL team was in the USA – I wouldn’t know anything about them. But I would know the work of Mixedcandy. There must be an interesting story about how they commissioned this and why.  I wouldn’t expect a pro team to approach a hobby community just to save a couple grand!  (Pic: LatinVixen on FurAffinity.  More at the Dynamo Instagram page.) 

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 3.37.46 PMwolf

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Exciting times are coming for fursuiting, pro sports, and The National Mascot Hall Of Fame.

by Patch O'Furr

The National Mascot Hall of Fame is coming in 2017.  This mainstream event might deserve attention from furries. Will hobby costumers indirectly benefit from the millions of investment and hype?

Sci-fi costuming and mascots probably developed separately. But some fursuiting is showing up in pro sports. Anthrocon had the San Diego Chicken as Guest Of Honor.  A mascot was a viral sensation of the 2015 Super Bowl.  Can we look forward to more crossover?  Is this part of mainstreaming furries, with stuff like Disney’s Zootopia?

A three part series:

1) The beginning of mascots and fursuiting.
2) Fursuiting crossover with pro sports.
3) The National Mascot Hall of Fame.

I have to admit that sports isn’t my thing.  Ritualistically chasing a stuffed spheroid doesn’t set my curiosity on fire. Whenever I see a sportsball game, it seems quite possible, even unavoidable that one of the teams or the other is going to win.  What’s the big deal?

However, even if the physical spectacle isn’t my thing, I can at least admire the ideals of positive team competition, and strength and bravery.

In ancient times, feats of strength were amazing.  Muscle helped you to build shelter to protect you from hungry lions or the angry gods.  Bravery in the hunt was amazing too.  It was better to feed the tribe with antelope steaks than with bugs and berries.

But in modern times, you don’t need strength for that stuff.  Use a forklift or order a pizza.  Physical feats don’t impress me as much as they should.

Calvinball

Of course, I’ll take an invite to hang out with sports-loving friends if there’s beers and chatting.  I have nothing against a good spectacle or playing outside.  I just have different priorities.

I like creative and intellectual pursuits that help us evolve beyond the stone age, or even the silicon age – towards whatever comes next.  (Like maybe a Mad Max future, where the most popular sport is watching cyborgs with chainsaw arms do gladiator battle.)

Mascots are fun and creative. I like their designs and how they act.  Let’s talk about what they mean and where they came from.  Plug your brain into the matrix, and let me take you back to the Pre-Furry Past… and beyond the horizon of time, to the incomprehensibly distant futureworld of 2017.

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Fursuiters on Food Network, and Cosplay celebrity wants a suit – NEWSDUMP (9/30/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race features Fursuiters.

I’m told that a minute of air time was recorded during a “furry scurry” in Chicago.  (I’m pretty sure I have heard of such an event, but can’t find it at Lake Area Furry Friends.) I hope one day that term replaces “furmeet” for meets that get you out of the house, and maybe involve Street Fursuiting (my favorite thing.)

Cosplay celebrity Jessica Nigri wants to join the Furry side.

Nigri is known as a model/promoter for video games, and interviewer/correspondent at cons.  It’s amazing when a subculture grows large enough to have it’s own hired sub-services… when is it no longer “sub” culture?  (Imagine if “popufur” actually meant anything to anyone besides furries?)  Popularity-wise, I suspect she’s famous-for-being-famous, but I don’t know enough to judge. I just hope this involves interest in what furries actually do.  It’s a new item for the next “Celebrifurry” list:

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Most Embarrassing Google Search, and Furries on Seeker Network – NEWSDUMP (9/7/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

SFGate looked at a map of the “most embarrassing Google searches” in the USA and found me.

(Appeared in photo #9.)  “Furries” is supposedly searched a lot in Wyoming. The map also shows who searched for: Bronies, Nickelback Lyrics, Dog Clothes, Meth Recipe… Who knows if it’s really real data, but you can tell they had fun.  But not as much as I did in the pic. Sorry guys, not embarassed in the slightest!

Playwright fictionalizes the 2014 MWFF chlorine attack, for a story exploring identity.

The sixth Chicago Fringe Festival, opening tonight, brings zombies, victims, and furries to town.”  Here’s the festival page dedicated to the play.  I confess I only had a minute to look into this and the play’s Indiegogo page. I have a rule – I assume that any “furry” story that uses cheap halloween costumes is probably bad storytelling. Misinformed exploitation pieces often aim for humor at our expense, and they fail because they lack authenticity. Well, in this case, I may be proven wrong.  I think this festival is prestigious, and: ‘He’s worked to keep it balanced—”not other-ing the community”‘ – says Corbeau at Furstarter.  (It’s so great to have more than one eye on this stuff – please furries, make more blogs!)

Furry Migration gets a nice feature.

“…Where being weird is a good thing.”  The article’s just a standard introduction, but the video lets several fursuiters speak and dance in a charming way.

Furries at Bubonicon in New Mexico.

A nice exploration by a columnist who investigates the con and meets a lot of different sci fi fan characters, including a few extra fuzzy ones.

A film maker was commissioned to make a documentary for Seeker network- and he started at reddit’s r/furry.

In March 2015, Discovery launched a new network, Seeker. Their programming goes for the mysterious and wonderful fringes of nature and culture.  Now that means Furries.  Their piece is called “Furries Aren’t As Weird As You Think.”

Here was the film maker’s overture to the community on reddit.  Seeker posted it, and then the film maker came back to ask what we think. Getting a well-made, paid for documentary seems yet another sign of rising subculture. Don’t mind the one mistake of the title.

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