Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: media

Have you been approached by media producers about making a “dark” furry docu-series?

by Patch O'Furr

NOTE: article topic is not to be confused with inside fandom-made documentaries. Please send confidential tips to: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

In June, Dogpatch Press was approached by a company “developing a documentary that takes place in the world of furries.” True-crime was mentioned. This is something that Dogpatch Press covers — and isn’t a bad thing to ask, by itself.

Whenever media producers make contact, first they are checked to see if they’re real people with a history of solid work. If they are, they may get cooperation and support. I had already checked this company before they contacted me (with advance notice from others they contacted) and got a middling impression. Making some innocuous airtime filler isn’t so bad, because work is work.

I told them: “One long lasting annoyance about furries as a group is their dogma against “the media,” as if Fox News and PBS are the same thing. Actually I started my news site to push back on that. But I will be picky on what outlets I talk to, and look at their work before considering it.”

Then I gave an opinion that their proposed topic had low chances to get fandom cooperation — and got no further reply.

This September I was surprised to hear about more furries being approached by the same company. Here’s a snippet:

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Rukus movie review

by Patch O'Furr

This unusual movie got 5 support articles before I was ready for a personal review. It’s hard to nail down, so the work got really labored over, but it deserves the effort. – Patch  

Rukus was an artist from Florida who committed suicide in 2008 at age 23. He was a mercurial muse to his friends. Linear storytelling about him could make a sad movie, but Rukus comes from many directions. It overlaps documentary of him, with his boyfriend reflecting on their relationship, and his friendship with film maker Brett Hanover. His enigmatic presence weaves through Hanover’s personal life, which goes from trouble with OCD to finding completion in relationships and art. The life of Rukus becomes points on a trajectory of escape from pain.

The directing style frames lo-fi video with dramatized memories, daydreams and fiction from Rukus. They’re re-enacted by younger and older stand-ins for him, and voiced with animation. It’s one of those arty movies that doesn’t easily boil down to one commercial line, but it’s directed with purpose. When the pieces don’t fit together neatly, the negative space holds a chewy assortment of themes.

There’s repressed abuse, disconnection, and love outside of hetero norms. It touches on conflict with anti-gay religion in the Southern US, but it’s more involved with a setting in furry fandom. Furries have a loveably eccentric subculture of fans for talking-animal media that appears in fantasy art by Rukus, internet role-play, a hotel convention, and a stage play. Those feed the human connections in the movie. You also get to see a costumer called a “whore bear” and a moment of tender toes-in-nose contact that turns into crosswired love.

The movie is outstanding for merging fiction and documentary while drawing from a subculture rarely seen in any feature film. It premiered at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival, where furries came for group fursuiting (with full body costumes that make unique “fursonas”). That’s sort of like how Comic Con cosplayers emulate Hollywood superheroes, but those don’t keep their powers when the movie ends.

Rukus casts animal shadows behind misfits who play muses for each other, and delivers bittersweet satisfaction. You can see it now on rukusmovie.com.

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Rukus film maker Brett Hanover: “Furry is a collective art project”

by Patch O'Furr

Watch free online! Public release was announced yesterday with links to reviews and more. Now the director tells how it grew.

See Rukus now at www.rukusmovie.com, or NoBudge on October 17th. “A hybrid of documentary and fiction, ‘Rukus’ is a queer coming of age story set in the liminal spaces of furry conventions, southern punk houses, and virtual worlds”. The person named Rukus was a furry artist who committed suicide, but left many memories and mysteries. His friendship with film maker Brett Hanover (bretthanover.com) inspired this movie. Please share it to other fans and indie movie lovers to support it like the way it was made.

Brett Hanover is a filmmaker and youth media educator from Memphis, TN, whose work explores outsider art, mental health, and queer fan communities. His documentaries and collaborative narrative film projects have been exhibited at venues including the SXSW Film Festival, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and the Cinémathèque Française. Brett received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an MFA from the University of Illinois.

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CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling: Furry Nation – review by Joe Strike

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s a guest article from Joe Strike, a first-wave furry greymuzzle, writer about animation for Animation World Network, and author of Furry Nation, the first history of fandom in mainstream bookstores. His website shows work with TV cartoons you may know. He sent this in around the time of MFF. (- Patch)

Our community had been buzzing for months about the “furry” episode of CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling before it finally aired on November 18th. I kept my fingers crossed; like most other furs I’ve been watching the media get us wrong for years. (The primary reason I wrote Furry Nation was to correct the record; as I occasionally told people, “I’m tired of outsiders getting it all wrong—I decided it was time for someone in the furry community to get it all wrong.”)

But what really piqued my curiosity was that several people told me the episode was titled… “Furry Nation”!

Okay, what’s going on here? Shortly before the episode aired, I emailed the production company to ask, wazzup? how did you happen to borrow my title?, to which they responded:

Thank you for reaching out!  Your book sounds amazing! We actually learned about this community from Lisa’s viewers. It was a suggestion someone sent in. Our research and facts came from FurScience. 

Well, thank you “someone” for the free plug for Furry Nation The Book. (Said title never appeared in the episode by the way; I assume it was only used in the episode’s listings, although a search of cnn.com failed to discover it.)

Lacking cable, I caught up with the episode later via a relative’s DVR. After taking a few days to digest a second viewing, I’m finally ready to share my take on Lisa Ling’s take on Furry.

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Discover the best of furry fandom with the 2017 Ursa Major awards, and 2017 Cóyotl Awards.

by Patch O'Furr

Thank you for helping Dogpatch Press to win the Ursa Major Award for Best Magazine of 2017!

 

Ever have a hard time knowing where to start with furry media? Does the horizon get lost in the digital sands?

Look no further than the Ursa Major Awards.  That’s the Furry equivalent of science fiction fandom’s Hugo Awards, mystery fandom’s Anthony Awards, or horror fandom’s Bram Stoker Awards. The Hugos also have the Nebulas to  complement them – and Furry has the Coyotl Awards for literature, as voted by the Furry Writers’ Guild. That’s not all – furry literature will also soon have the first Leo Awards, to be announced at AC 2018. (What’s the difference? The Leos are fandom-specific and voted on by a panel of judges.) The Ursa and Coyotl winners were both announced this month, so they’re all listed below to encourage you to check out some cool stuff you might not have seen.

URSA MAJOR NEWS

The winners for 2017 were announced at a presentation ceremony at the Furry Down-Under 2018 convention in Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, Australia, on Saturday May 5.  FurDu posted a video of the ceremony including a slide show created by Ed Otter:

There was a lot of talk about it here before they were announced. Fred Patten saw growth in activities like fursuiting competing for attention with fan media, while maybe the awards could use a boost for reach after lower voting this year than in the past. A lack of staffing and funding led to appeals for help, while Anthrocon began offering matching donation to support writers. For 2019, the Awards will be presented at AnthrOhio.

Here’s a few things that stood out about the winners:

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“We Want Politics Out of Furry Fandom” is a political statement, and here’s a good response.

by Patch O'Furr

“We Want Politics Out” is politics.

It’s a popular complaint. This fan group is supposed to be for interest in anthropomorphic animal media and nothing more. That boils down to lowest-common-denominator consumerism. It’s like everyone is a bottom-feeding plecostamus in their own fish tank, and what they consume is just random scum growing on the bottom. Who cares where it comes from? Just be a dumb fish.

An unpopular fursona.

The problem is, reductionism doesn’t tell the whole story. There’s a community attached to the way members consume things. And the complaint often comes with attacking care about how things work there. (Stop asking questions about the delicious scum!)

Everyone who’s here in good faith has some kind of care beyond themselves. It can range from management of websites or cons, to health and safety, or being a loose support network. You see it whenever a member gets help with money or a place to live, or even with complaints about FA’s management. When it’s time to talk about bigger stuff, complaining against politics is half-baked activism for the status quo. Here’s why.

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Vice News and furries, the Fullerton murder story, and “sensational media”.

by Patch O'Furr

Vice’s Furries topic has excellent news reporting. You can find a few missteps, but it has some of the best focused attention that the media has ever given to the fandom, way beyond Furries 101.  One outstanding article is CSI Fur Fest: The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention. Writer Jennifer Swann got an Ursa Major award nomination for it.  Their most recent is Who Makes Those Intricate, Expensive Furry Suits? (Fred Patten and myself were proud to assist writer Mark Hay – I sent a long summary of history, makers, details to investigate, and links.)

Those show that not all media is bad, and talking to them has good results. That’s different from prevailing attitudes against “sensationalism” that blindly treats “the media” as an epithet – as if PBS is the same as the National Enquirer. There’s a world of difference between trashy daytime TV and well-researched long-form reporting. But a fandom grudge persists, for as long as 16 years after stale old incidents we all know and hate. There’s even backlash at members who step out of line. This friend of ours experienced it:

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Furry YouTube, and Previously on “Culturally F’d”.

by Arrkay

Hey there! Arrkay here from Culturally F’d with a special guest post. I want to open right away with a new T-Shirt design poll, closing on Sunday Nov. 29:

Culturally F’d giving some Sh**ts away

SHIRTS that is! Sign up to our newsletter to enter into a draw for the winning design. Here’s what Rusty has to say about it:

Vote here: https://goo.gl/forms/9NJxjVg11GUq7lqy2

Subscribe to Culturally F’ds newsletter at www.culturallyfd.com to enter the draw to win. If the shirts end up in a tie, then both will end up going to print.

Previously on Culturally F’d

Over on my channel, we discuss how we define our community and how a fur might describe it themselves in: Hobby, Lifestyle, Fandom: Defining Furry.

Bandit from The Raccoon’s Den came onto F’d to discuss how he got started, what it takes to become a YouTuber and conquering social anxiety.

Still bummed out about the US Election? Maybe these 19 unlikely cartoon candidates will cheer you up:

A regular YouTube feature – call for submissions

Do you have a YouTube channel?  Right here on Dogpatch Press, we’re looking to fill in a new monthly guest post.  It will feature all the current and best YouTube videos that furries are producing. The primary goal is to expose more YouTube creators from our fandom to more furries. The secondary goal is to create a video creator network to encourage more collaboration between Furries on the video platform. Please message me (Arrkay at culturally.fd@gmail.com) if you have a channel you want us to include or at least investigate. We are looking for YouTube channels that are up to date and posting new content regularly.

Here are some fine channels that you should subscribe to in the mean time:

Betsy Lee – An animator with an ongoing fantasy series “No Evil”. A very impressive production for a small crew, the story reminds me very much of a dungeons and dragons role-play campaign. You may need to watch the back-log of episodes to figure out what’s going on with the cast of characters right now.

Blü – Blu The Dragon is an australian dancer/performer/choreographer, and does profanity infused vlogs about life and furries.

Culturally F’d – Hey that’s my channel! Every other week we discuss anthro animals in culture and mass media. Everything from cave paintings to what the furry fandom might look like tomorrow. The F’d stands for Furry. We also have regular “F’d Up Dates” with Rusty Shacklefur, a rabbit from the moon. I should also mention we have a Patreon and as of Dec 1 2016, a merch store!

EZ Wolf – Professional quality photography and videography. They are responsible for many music videos, dance videos and dramas starring fursuiters that have gone viral.

Furries in the Media – Aberguine carefully dissects instances where furries are represented in news reports or fiction, and grades them on Accuracy and Spirit.

Majira Strawberry – This fursuited vlogger is probably the most popular furry YouTuber with over 44,000 subscribers. Majira specializes in comedy skits, Q&A’s, and collaborating with other fursuiters in his area and at cons.

The Raccoon’s Den – The Docu-Dramadey of the fandom, Bandit and friends explore furry parties of California and dramatizes furry-life outside of the parties. They also have vlog style “Drakes Corner” videos and they produce a podcast “Pawesome”. Check out Patch’s article on them!

Furry.Today – Not a YouTuber, but a great resource for finding new fluffy videos from all sources.

Statement about the tragedy in Fullerton, CA.

by Patch O'Furr

Please visit this GoFundMe campaign for expenses for surviving kids.

There has been a lot of talk about a tragedy this weekend in Southern California.

I wanted to say something about these ties:

This is very sad for everyone. There might be unusual headlines about it, but the social connection could happen with a group of workers, students or anyone else. Killing is against everything our little fan group is for. Thanks are due to the OC Register for telling the purpose in the bottom line, with a quote from a local member: “People come to us to get away from the negative stuff in life.” 

This is a niche interest, so when something like this happens, it’s personal tragedy to us beyond just a news story to others. Many members have lost friends or have very close ties to those who did.  Please send thoughts to them, and the surviving kids most of all.

I felt a little responsible for saying something, because of the way things started to happen when news started coming out.  At first, it was just a call to locate a Missing Person (a fur) who was soon located.  I tweeted that and got a high amount of views.

When more came out, I looked into it deeply to write a big story.  I talked to people close to it, with personal knowledge that nobody else had.  Some info came out that was directed to the police.  Then I saw people local to the story asking for space.  They asked for it to be kept as their story, given time to process, and handled by professionals and cops.  That was when I decided this is beyond fan level.  I removed all my tweets and passed on their message.

I think it really is the worst thing that ever happened with ties to this community. It’s not that unusual compared to other crimes that happen in cities, but I think it’s disproportionately big to a niche group.  It might have to do with 2016’s explosion of interest and positive activity as well – things are just growing.

That wasn’t quite the end of it. The OC Register reporter had a lot of conversation with me due to my initial notice.  They were puzzled about what furries are and what they do. Of course they already knew this was part of the story – that wouldn’t be overlooked.  It made a dilemma – I thought that if tabloids were going to exploit this, maybe a real member should say something to real news.

So I sent the best info I could about the definition of “Furry” and referred the reporter to the same local person who I saw asking for space and respect.  I thought he was already doing a good job of handling it.  So when you see Bandit speaking in the piece, it’s not for attention, it’s because he was asked. Remember that he lost friends, like everyone else close to this story, and that’s the real deal.

There were a few missteps from the OC Register piece (nobody said anything about “sensitive” topics,) but Bandit seems to be getting many thank-you’s for doing a good job from local members.  He mentioned turning down other interviews, and I think that’s a good idea. Say it once and let it go.

I have been checking around to see what comes out. I expect tabloids to try riding this, but most of the few I have seen so far seem pretty negligible, and I hope they get little mileage.  They can say there’s weird stuff with misfit people, but nobody did a crime while participating in one of our activities. In the end it’s just between regular humans.

TL;DR: Was going to write a big report. Stopped to let locals and pros process. I think it’s beyond fan level. It’s awful and sad. There hasn’t been anything this bad in fandom before. Let it process and share good words to anyone who lost friends and family.

UPDATE 9/29/16:

Thank you to the OC Register and reporter Scott Schwebke for linking here.  And thank you to Scott for being professional and sensitive, and doing good detective work.  I believe that Scott’s reporting has helped to stop rumors and confusion.  There was a screenshot of a supposed murder confession that was degraded enough that you could see it was shared hundreds or thousands of times, before it was posted out-of-context on some trashy tabloid blogs.  Scott dug up the source and provided context that I think shows it could NOT have been a reasonable clue of real danger before the incident.  Thank you to everyone in the community who stepped up to provide such info to aid police investigation.  Everyone’s concern will help heal this incident to heal in time.

Fursonas documentary out now – one of the top Furry News stories of the year.

by Patch O'Furr

Here’s one of those media events where a story catches on and gets a lot of coverage at once.  That used to happen very rarely.  Now it’s happening every month or so in 2016, “The Year of Furry.”  The director, Dominic (Video Wolf) is killing it with interviews and promotion.

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