Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: fursuiters

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dogbomb: praise for a furry hero – from the ALS Association, Orange County Chapter.

by Patch O'Furr

ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a fatal disease that needs a cure. In a call with the Executive Director of the ALS Association of Orange County (California), I asked if they would like to join furries in the San Francisco Pride parade in June to represent their cause. Plans are in progress, but so far the answer was an enthusiastic “count us in!” This is the ongoing legacy of one inspiring man.

Dogbomb (Tony Barrett) was the reason for our call. He was a furry fan who some called “Mister Rogers with a beer,” and an ALS patient represented by the ALSAOCC. Thousands of fandom members united for his cause, bringing six figures in charity donations — (another story for another article this week.)

After Dogbomb passed away, Furry Twitter was filled with profile pics gone black with a rainbow lei to represent him. Hashtags, toasts, memories and plans were shared in his honor. There was hardly anywhere in the fandom where his presence wasn’t felt. But because his work directed this positive energy far outside of the group, here’s a story about effects that may not have been seen, as told by ALS patient advocates.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Goodest Boy – Dogbomb’s victory lap against ALS

by Rune AngelDragon

Rune’s Furry Blog showcases “people within the Furry Community… their characters, life, thoughts, and beliefs”. Check out her tag for more. – Patch

Vet tech, runner, fursuiter, grease monkey, motorcycle hysteric and full time nutjob. ALS can kiss my fuzzy butt. I ain’t scared! – DogBomb

Words on a profile aren’t even a shadow of the figure that Tony “DogBomb” Barrett would create when he was diagnosed with ALS in March of 2018.

Furries, for all of the negative stereotyping they receive from time to time, have often spread light in many ways throughout their communities. Whether that be placing smiles on the faces of adults and children alike, raising money for animal organizations through their conventions, or, in the case of Tony (DogBomb), raising money and awareness for a very serious disease… Furries have always been there to lend their helping paw.

Tony not only shed light on his condition by documenting it as it happened, he also showed how something so devastating did not have to bring a person down. ALS is a very real and serious terminal condition… but Tony never let it stop him from loving and living his life in the only ways he knew how. Wherever he went, he continued spreading positivity and love, while educating the public on why taking action and pursuing research was important and even crucial to find a cure for future generations.

He took a terminal condition in stride as he continued to walk, boat, ride, and sit down with friends, all the while confessing that he shouldn’t be doing such things, but he had a point to prove, even with his doctor’s disapproval. Through laughter and moments of honesty, and even a few moments of vulnerability- DogBomb had nothing to hide from the community he loved so much. All he ever asked is that we pay it forward, and keep shining that light after he had gone.

“No one should be broken up over my passing. Sadness or anger at ALS is appropriate, but there is nothing to grieve about when you consider the ride that I was afforded. Wag every day, please. Hug your dogs and your friends. Smile when you think of me. No regrets.” – DogBomb

Read the rest of this entry »

“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.” 

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

More coverage of San Francisco photo gallery show opening, “Furries & Despair”

by Patch O'Furr

Please help answer the question at the end of the story!

“Furries & Despair” happened on 11/7/14. It was super successful. It featured portraits of fursuiters from Further Confusion by Ron Lussier, and Bobby Pin’s urban decay photos from Detroit. The show was packed with people having fun in and out of costume. You don’t often see such energy at a gallery.

Courtesy of Bobby Pin:

Thank you again for everybody that came out and supported our work. We hope you guys had a great time. It was great seeing everyone.
BAMM did an amazing job filming the opening night. Please give them some love.
Check out the wonderful video they did for the Furries & Despair Show:

Read the rest of this entry »

This week in San Francisco: Independent shows and festivals offer new concept for furry events

by Patch O'Furr

unnamed

wild things poster2frolic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four events are back to back in San Francisco:  Fursuit crawl – Furry portrait show gallery opening – Wild Things fetish party – Frolic dance party.  

On Friday 11/7/14 is the “Embarcadero Fursuit Crawl“.  The street fursuiting fun will move downtown, to a grand entrance at the gallery opening for Ron Lussier’s Furry portrait show.   Ron’s creative partner, Bobby Pin, shares:  More Press for the upcoming ‘Furries & Despair Photography Show’!

Saturday has the “art and sex” party – Wild Things.  This furry fetish and petplay party has gotten tremendous response. (It’s for a special interest and adult activity doesn’t represent furries in general.)  Afterwards is Frolic dance party: the monthly “mini-con” that attracts several hundred attendees, and helped influence spin-off parties across the USA.

The San Francisco Bay Area has so much activity, that furries often have multiple events to choose from at the same time.  On Halloween there was a cosplay dance party, a house party, and a street costuming meetup.  Consider what it says about developing subculture.

Read the rest of this entry »

Furries & Despair photography show – “An event people are going to love and talk about”

by Patch O'Furr

The show “Furries & Despair” features Ron Lussier’s fursuiter portraits, and Bobby Pin’s photos of Detroit.  The gallery opening is Friday, November 7 in San Francisco.  The press release has gone out, announcing a fursuit crawl to meet at the gallery.  This is an excellent event to support and have fun with the public!

unnamed

Bobby Pin tells me:

40 People already got tickets to our show through Eventbrite.  23 People are coming to the show through Facebook and 32 are maybes.  I think it’s gonna be an event people are going to love and talk about for awhile 😛

More about Ron’s portraits:

Here’s a press release to share as PDF:

Read the rest of this entry »

“Further Confessions” photo project puts fursuiting in an art gallery, and does FUN right.

by Patch O'Furr

keagos / further confusion 2014

“Further Confessions” gallery opening

Canessa Gallery in San Francisco.  November 7, at 7PM – 708 Montgomery Street.

Portraiture of fursuiters can be tough to pull off with as much energy as in person.  That’s why I love promoting “Street Fursuiting,” and candid photos of it.

Fursuiting appeals when it engages viewers to interact.  It’s animated and tactile.  Staging their play can dull that down.  Less-successful efforts can look like a diorama of stuffed toys. Cartoony suit design may not blend with surroundings, turning long views into eye-straining barf.

But no matter how they’re executed, they make memories with meaning to those who were there.  If you’re furry, you get it. Art for the uninitiated is just a different purpose.

Ron Lussier’s “Further Confessions project overcomes the “stageyness” barrier in a compelling way.  He juxtaposes portraits with personality expressed in hand-written statements.  They reach through the frame, and greet you as personally as a hug.  This stuff does FUN right.  I have to say it’s the best fursuiter portraiture I’ve seen, and I think it’s an honor to have Furries featured this way in an art gallery.

Fursuiters are invited to the opening!

Read the rest of this entry »

Controversy and success: San Francisco’s Frolic party – interview with Neonbunny part 4

by Patch O'Furr

02Interview series:  Artists, animation directors, DJ’s and event organizers, superfans, and more…
Neonbunny is founding DJ and promoter of Frolic. The 90 minute interview has 4 parts, with one a week posting this month.

4) Controversy and success – Music, DIY culture, Furry events, sex, drama, and more.

 

For many furries in the world, the San Francisco Bay Area is the place to be. For many in the Bay, Frolic is THE most furry place. It isn’t the only center, but it’s an influential one. It’s not just the best Furry party… I’d call it the best party San Francisco has, period.  Check out Frolic’s website, and read about it in The Bold Italic magazine.

Neonbunny, founding DJ and promoter of Frolic, met me for a long interview over dinner. His partner Jody who handles tech, lighting and animation was with us.  It was a year ago, just after they got back from 2013’s Burning Man event in Nevada.  Neon’s early trips to Burning Man led to discovering Furries in the early 2000’s, and making friends to help throw parties.  It turned into a scene connected to local counterculture.  Since Frolic started in 2010, it’s had nice success.  We talked about the wide roles of such events and their makers:

___________

lobo-neon

(Patch:) I thought DJing would come before promoting shows, but it’s the other way around for you.

(Neon:)  I’ve always been musically inclined, just like I was inclined to wear animal costumes. When I was a kid, for Halloween, it was always a cat costume. My parents got me keyboard lessons. I was in a high school band, played drums, messed around with a punk band with some friends, and always into new music.

I pay attention to lot of electronic music, and gothic kind of stuff.  I hang out on a forum that has people who are almost legendary. It’s like, “I was listening to your album when I was a kid.”   This week I saw Gary Numan and met the guy from Cold Cave.  Some is going strong since then, some is having kind of a renaissance. 

I was into a lot of that in high school.  I was always into punk rock as a kid. Electronic music has some of the same aspects, it’s about self publishing – there’s a DIY aspect.  You don’t need a record label – it’s people publishing their friends.

Read the rest of this entry »