Dogpatch Press

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Tag: midwest furfest

A financial fuss about FurFlight – can it fend off a fandom fiasco?

by Patch O'Furr

Distressing news has come out about a furry-organized travel service, which appears to be in trouble with some big financial obligations at the moment. The fur is flying, and not in a good way.

FurFlight bundles furries together for group air travel from highly-active fandom regions to highly-attended conventions, most notably from Seattle and San Francisco to Midwest FurFest. The idea is to improve the boring parts and the endpoint arrangements. It happened successfully in 2017. (As far as I know, no fellow travelers complained about fur allergy flareups or the plane smelling like a zoo – score for fandom image!)

FurFlight isn’t affiliated with Midwest FurFest. One of the con staffers told me about previously advising people not to buy in because of no accountability for an independent operation. Trusting other fans comes with risks known to anyone who’s been burned by bad art commissions.

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Furflight! West Coast to Midwest Furfest – sign up by Sept. 21

by Patch O'Furr

Sign up to fly: https://canisvulpes.com/furflight/

Super organizer MikeFolf/Canis Vulpes got in touch to share his project of herding an airplane full of furries all the way to Midwest Furfest, taking the good vibes of the con much farther than one city. If you want to go, don’t sleep on this, the seats are filling fast!

He says:

FurFlight is a series of group flights on existing commercial aircraft that extends the convention experience to the journey. That reduces stress of travel there, and eliminates PCD on return, with a lot of friends along for the trip.

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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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VICE looks back on the Midwest Furfest attack, earning kudos for thoughtful journalism.

by Patch O'Furr

You can’t get inside (The Hooded Utilitarian, 1/5/15) is one of the few best “mainstream” articles about furries.  ‘Mouse’ wrote it with the perspective of an insider looking at outsiders who want an inside look:

“Furries are a little ridiculous.  We have an understanding about that.  But every blip of attention, even an attack on our second-most populated convention, investigated by authorities as an intentional act, is an occasion for poking fun.  Midwest Furfest is in Rosemont, Illinois, and this year it attracted 4,571 fuzzy folks.  My wife and I are regular attendees, though this year work obligations found us elsewhere.  Very early Sunday morning on December 7th, someone laid chlorine powder in a ninth floor stairwell.  Nineteen people hospitalized (one of them a good friend of mine), and hundreds endangered and inconvenienced, and all of them odd ducks.  Please remember how odd they are, and that they sometimes have sex, which is odder still.  So the gorge of distrust between our community and the media grows wider.  “We’re just not going to talk to you people any more,” we tell ourselves periodically, when the eye of mainstream culture is upon us.  Mainstream culture then obliges us.  A pity, because insulation from outside scrutiny is poisonous for any human endeavor.  But who is ready to cover us?”

The Midwest Furfest attack was perhaps the biggest spotlight moment for how furries and the media look at each other. The media didn’t come out looking so great. It was strange when a bunch of silly misfits kept the higher dignity.

A new article in VICE (2/11/16) breaks through that recursive mirror.  It’s a refreshingly direct look back, engaging us personally with no giggling about the misfortune of strangers.  It leaves outsider baggage at the door, while reminding us where it is.  The attack is unsolved, but the lack of conclusion doesn’t matter.  It’s about recognizing how impactful the story is. 4_Esv2H4_400x400

CSI Fur Fest: The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention – by Jennifer Swann.

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Fur fun in video and photo – gypsy bears and Chewbacca’s sex roar. NEWSDUMP (12/21/15)

by Patch O'Furr

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

Midwest Furfest 2015 – More than 5,000 gather in Chicago. (Via Furrymedia.)

The International Business Times has tons of great fursuit photos. You may find a few more in a slideshow from the same Reuters photographer. Enjoy a con video from Vox Fox and a music video from Kiba Wolf.

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Buzzfeed’s worst of 2015, Furry Chic in 2016, and Fred’s birthday. NEWSDUMP (12/18/15)

by Patch O'Furr

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

Fred Patten’s birthday was December 11 – Happy 75th, Fred!

300px-Fred_PattenRead an interview with Fred about the founding of Furry fandom, by esteemed novelist Phil Geusz.  Thanks Fred for bringing so much content that helps Dogpatch Press to put out Furry News every week day.  Sorry that this went out too late to share Furplanet’s weekend birthday discount sale for Fred’s titles.  But check them out:

“Accidental Guests of the Midwest Fur Fest” – outsider appreciation gets viral views.

This personal blog post got lots of love.  The Healthy Not Nuts blog covers a husband and wife’s thoughts on recipes, diet, health and photography.  It’s lovely when Furries add spice to the mundane!  “…how can you not love these creatures that look so cute, cuddly and happy all of the time?”  The post earned 267 comments.  The writer shared an appreciation letter for the post, where he mentioned getting over 20,000 views.

Furries in Buzzfeed’s “The 50 Worst Things On The Internet In 2015.” (NSFW)

Use this archive link (so they get no incentive to publish unforgivable crap).  Furries are in items 14, 20, 31, and 46.  There’s also bonus bronies, puppy and pony players. Whether it’s love or hate, at least things are never boring…

Goodbye to Furnation.

FurnationFurnation was one of the first visible Web presences for Furry fandom. It helped many to discover their fursonas in the 1990’s. Reddit calls it “the end of an era.” Flayrah gave it a feature under it’s tag for collected coverage. Social network Furrtrax made a generous offer of free hosting to keep it online.  I tried helping, but got the feeling that Furnation’s admin was too burnt out with health problems to devote an ounce of effort for community moderation. I also assume the build of the site might be antiquated and burdensome (perhaps technical, or with copyright for content built by individuals.) It’s influence lives on in places like FurPlanet (formed from Furnation Magazine), one of the 3 main Furry publishers.

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Abandoned Places – Book Review by Fred Patten

by kiwiztiger

 

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer – with pawesome assistance from Kiwi Tiger.

abandonedplaces_webThis anthology of 16 original furry horror stories was published to debut at Midwest FurFest 2014 on December 5-7. Each story has a full-page frontispiece by Silent Ravyn. To quote FurPlanet’s blurb:

“From stories about being abandoned in the heart of civilization to stories about forced abandonment for the sake of science to how abandoned places affect the mind; the stories in this anthology cover a large range of genres and types of abandoned places.
Each one with their own little piece of personal horror laying among the ruins, ready to strike when you least expect it.”

“Empathy” by Rechan doesn’t say so, but it is obviously inspired by the Kitty Genovese incident in 1964. Morty, an old man, falls on an icy sidewalk during winter and breaks his hip. He calls for help, but everyone who passes just ignores him – except the hungry rats in the garbage. The talking rat that taunts the dying Morty is what makes this a furry story. Nice but too slight.

In “Belief” by Bill Rogers, Fosse (badger) is hired by Alexander (bear) and Nicky (doe) to take them into a “spooky” abandoned mine to get video footage that can be sold to the Haunted Places TV show. There is a cave-in and Fosse is trapped alone in the black tunnel. Does he see real ghosts of miners killed long ago, or is it just his imagination? “They can’t hurt you if you don’t believe in them…”

In “Stared Too Deeply” by Tyler David Coltraine, four college students – Rick (wolf), Rodney (Rottweiler), Bella (rabbit), and Dave (raccoon) – explore an abandoned long, dark, underground service tunnel. At least one of them is not what it appears. This story should not have been placed so closely to the one before it. Read the rest of this entry »

Furry Merry Christmas, media relations, RISK!, animal blessing… Newsdump (12/22/14)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Story tips are always welcome.

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Around Furry fandom and in the media:

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A Furry Merry Christmas To One and All – from Tom Broadbent, documentary photographer.

Tom takes us to the Londonfurs annual Christmas party.  “Retro gaming was the theme and it was hosted at the Amber Bar in Moorgate.” (More about his art.)

London Furries Winter Ball Read the rest of this entry »

Everyone knows the FurFest chlorine story – but did you see Tommy Bruce’s documentary blog?

by Patch O'Furr

Midwest FurFest was hit by poisonous gas. I rushed out a short notice, and had tips sent in by friends like Mordi. Soon, the news was everywhere.

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