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Andrew W.K. to join panel at Brony convention; let's discuss furry con guests

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Bronies: are they furry? Skipping that topic, let me just say this makes me like Andrew W.K.:

The unruly, boisterous rocker will be part of a panel answering the question, "What Would Pinkie Pie Do?"... The king of partying hard claims that he is the living embodiment of the positive, party pony.

In this interview, the rocker known for a bloody-nosed image discusses why he's a Brony, his love for cupcakes, and ponies with "nice, fragrant hair."

Andrew W.K.I feel that furry conventions have done well with literary guests, but they could try to get better or more notable musical guests. Indie pop band Foster the People was at Califur 2011, shortly before "Pumped Up Kicks" blew up commercially. (I was told they played a show, but this tweet indicates the show was a rumor, unless the band was being cagey. Can anyone confirm?)

fosterthepeople:
Just checked into a hotel in irvine and realized they're having a "furry" fetish convention. Peeps in animal costumes.

This isn't meant to slight the talented guests who go to furry cons, but I've only noticed a few DJ's who suit my personal taste there, and no bands. I can't tell if anyone's tried to get any well known ones. (Of course, it isn't fair to compare Bronies vs. Furries. One is anchored by a mass media property, but the other is a grassroots fandom that's left untamed.)

This leads me to repeat a complaint I had after attending Califur 2012. Inadequate attention was given to Tom Sito, President-Emeritus of the world's largest animator trade union, and listed by Animation Magazine as one of the "100 Most Important People in Animation." His Califur panel was mentioned on a blog or forum somewhere, but not on the main website. (I totally would have gone to see him, if I'd known he was there.)

I'd say name-dropping is OK when it's about a community, not for ego, so don't be afraid to add to this discussion.

  • Do you feel that furries could do more to bring famous, notable, or professional participants?
  • How do you think that could affect media exploitation that some furries dislike?
  • If you could pick one famous person to reveal they're part of furry fandom, who would it be?
  • Or is the niche for furries better left as a casual thing among friends and fans?

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

I'm not particularly interested in seeing popular musical guests at furry conventions. What real relevance do they have? Beyond "furry flik" from artists like Hali, we've had no significant impact on music as a genre; we occasionally see fursuit-heavy work like Savage Garden's Animal Song, Grandaddy's Nature Anthem, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's Higher Than the Stars, or Moby's Beautiful, but they're still songs about humans when you come down to it. Adding such bands to our programming would merely bring their fans to furry conventions, which I don't think is in our best interests.

As for whether bronies are furries, you'll see soon enough . . .

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Well, Andrew WK doesn't do music about ponies. He just claims to be a Brony. No bands doing "furry music" doesn't mean that bands can't be invited as furry fans (maybe just honorary). Or what if you had a band with a stage show that crosses over? The Flaming Lips uses costumes and puppets for their shows.

Maybe the Brony convention will be invaded by fans of Andrew WK? I don't expect he's performing there though, he's just hosting a panel, so I doubt it.

That's a pretty good list of music videos. I didn't know of the POBPAH one, and I really liked it and thought the fursuits were super cool and fun (I hope the Cure got paid...)

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I would come to see Flaming Lips. A good band with no Furry songs that I know of, but at least a few fursuiters bouncing around.

But there's plenty of bands who do songs with actual Furry content. Of course, they're mostly retired now.

Once upon a time you could have invited Jethro Tull, who did songs like Bungle In The Jungle, One Brown Mouse, Heavy Horses, and The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles.

Or Genesis, who did White Mountain (about anthropomorphic wolves) All In A Mouse's Night, and Squank (about a little critter who dissolves into tears when hunters catch it.) Peter Gabriel would even put on a fox mask and a red dress to sing to you.

You could have invited Roger Glover of Deep Purple for a performance of The Butterfly Ball.

You could have invited Bo Hansson to perform his music inspired by Watership Down.

Or Viv Stanshall of Bonzo Dog Band to narrate a rock version of Peter And The Wolf.

Heck, you could have invited Andrew Lloyd Webber to stage a performance of Cats.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I think, if you look at some archived con books, you'll find that Furry cons have always had famous mainstream guests. But they usually have something to do with things that Furries are fans of, like The Last Unicorn, Josie & The Pussy Cats, voice actors from Tiny Toons, etc.

I fail to see how bringing in famous bands that don't play in fursuit or sing about Furry characters is going to attract more furs to a con. It will attract outsiders to the con, and that's one thing you do not want to do - lure outsiders into a con via an unrelated interest. That's bad press waiting to happen.

Plus, a con and a rock concert are two different major events. One staff would not be able to handle both. You might take in more money, but the expenses would negate the profit.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Plus, a con and a rock concert are two different major events. One staff would not be able to handle both. You might take in more money, but the expenses would negate the profit.

A major arena tour type concert might be hard to combine with a con, but not a regular show. Look at this list of past guests for Dragon Con... I see some very well known bands on the list.

I'm helping to fund and plan this convention for 2013, and we're discussing what bands to bring and how to get the right venue that can fit 500-1000 audience in 1 room for a show.

A furry who was A/V Lead for a large furry convention just responded to this in my email. He tried to bring in better bands for over 10 years, but never got approval from execs. The music they did get didn't have great billing. I hope he will comment here.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

The more stories like these I read about My Little Pony, the more I'm convinced that this whole MLP:FiM thing is just one elaborate, *wink wink*-style joke.

I don't really care about seeing popular music acts at furry conventions either, for the reason, as GreenReaper already stated, of outsiders attending the convention just to see a band, and with no other interest in anything furry-related; and there are other reasons beyond that.

To be more broad, I don't want to see furry popular to the outside public in general. Very few, VERRRY FEW, people in it would benefit from this fandom going mainstream, if it ever did.

Let the famous (or somewhat famous) musicians and entertainers attend the MLP cons, the more we stay in the shadow, the better. If this MLP-thing somehow grows into a VERY big deal (and I'm not sure it will), bigger than it is now, with some well-known people (and business interests) getting in on the act, we'll get a front-row seat as to why getting big and mainstream isn't all what it's cracked up to be.

Switching gears, there was a good reason the band Foster the People just happened to be at the Califur convention in 2011, but it's purely coincidental. It just so happened that Califur 2011 booked the same hotel the very same weekend a major, local radio station's music festival was taking place, and that same hotel was the festival's designated one. So not only Foster the People was inadvertently at the convention, so were a number of other well-known musicians. In fact, Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots was there too, and rumor has it he tried to crash one of the convention's dances on Saturday night but didn't get in, although that can't be confirmed either.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

I can assure you, it's not a joke.

I mean, if the entire Cupcakes thing was a setup for the punchline at the end of fan video "Epic Pie Time," it would be worth it, but other than that, it's not a joke. Not even Cupcakes, which is actually a good example of a bronie injoke that was, on one hand, a (admittedly very sick) joke, and on the other hand, a dead serious horror story. About ponies.

It's kind of a different thing; most of the adult male fans of the show seem to know it looks like it should be taken as a joke, and they have their jokes, sure, but it's not. Or maybe the best way to put is its a joke where the punchline is its not a joke.

Its kinda weird. We laugh, but at the end of the day, I didn't spend almost 30 bucks on that Princess Luna doll yesterday because I thought it was funny; I spent almost 30 bucks on a goddamn, motherfucking My Little Pony doll because I wanted that goddamn, motherfucking My Little Pony doll. I also bought a Donatello action figure, but that's different.

I used to say bronies scared me because those ponies had too much power over them; now I am freaking terrified because they got me, those motherfuckers got me, I should've seen it coming when they got PoE-News; THIS SHIT IS REAL, AND IT WILL GET YOU. My only explanation is Lauren Faust must have lived up to her family name, except instead knowledge, she asked whatever dark power she made her pact with for her silly pony show to CONQUER THE WORLD.

I hope this was worth her immortal soul for. I know Hasbro is fucking pumped right now, though.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Back in the 80's, I was dropping like $300 a month at Toys R Us and Lionel's Kiddie City on MLP toys. Oddly, I've bought one Fluttershy doll and one Rainbow Dash doll from the new series, but that was it. I haven't even been keeping up with the new episodes. Not that I don't like the new show, or that I couldn't find the money. The fanatical interest just isn't there for some reason.

I have a suspicion it may have something to do with all this Brony nonsense. It has actually distracted from the hook of the show for me. It's like there's something really twisted and wrong tacked onto the show. And, even though I was an adult fan of the show in the 80's, I honestly don't get what the mass appeal is to so many older males.

I think, even back in the 80's, if I'd had to think I had something in common with all these scruffy, rugged guys, I'd have walked away.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I believe that's called being older and wiser; collecting is apparently for us young bucks.

I recently started seriously collecting toys; the big push was the new Syfy show, Collection Intervention, ironically. (Parenthetical disparaging comment about "SciFi Channel"'s decay goes here.) A show about geeky collections ruining people's lives, and I'm all like "Hey, that looks like fun!"

I think you're taking the "bro" thing a bit too seriously; that is ironic. Most of these people aren't scruffy or rugged, but another subset of geeky cartoon fans (though there are a lot of 4chan people, which is a completely unrelated reason you might not be into "bronies").

I don't count myself a brony (or is it bronie? I'm actually not sure on the singular) either, just a furry who likes another funny animal cartoon show, but I have to note you're opting out of a fandom because you don't like the other fans. Which is kind of the opposite of your position on people who like cartoon animals but don't want to call themselves furries.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

1) Yes. Contact Disney, Universal, Pixar or anybody else promoting a Furry movie. Convince them to do a promotion at the con. Why the heck didn't somebody think of that while The Pink Barrettes were touring?

2) It would give the media a clue what we're a fandom for.

3) Richard Adams and/or any member of the Disney family.

4) A fandom is always among fans, no matter how popular it gets. It's still fans over here, movie makers over there. And it's always been too big a fandom for us all to be friends.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Replying to 1.; I once suggested something similar back in the day on the furrymedia lj group; Unc' Kage replied himself saying basically, "We'll have none of that at MY convention." Admittedly, his reasoning was that if you've got Disney or whoever, nobody's gonna check out Joe Schmoe furry's art, which is fair enough.

Replying to 3.; Jesus, keep forgetting Richard Adams is still alive. That would be a get. Don't forget DreamWorks and other non-Disney animation studios; Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 2's director) is a noted anime fan. You could probably get her pretty easy. And I've noted in my last movie award column that I was disappointed to just miss an opportunity to see Rango's director, Gore Verbinski.

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Dang, now I have to lose respect for Uncle Kage. The only guy willing to go on TV and call this a cartoon fandom won't let the toons in the con. Letters of protest must be written. [Gets depressed] But then, why bother? I'm a Furry fan. What I want from a Furry convention doesn't count it seems.

Seriously, I'm supposed to plunk down money to see some sucky modern rock band or pop act that has nothing to do with Furry, but nobody believes I'd sooner plunk down money to see The Pink Barrettes, or Puss In Boots. Give me a friggen break.

As for Joe Schmoe art work, like the art room at an Anime con suffers because Bandai, Pioneer and every other Anime company under the sun is there? The company promotions are in the dealers room, not the art room. And there are Furry artists in there too.

Screw Furry conventions if they insist on being like that. I'll go to Disney or Universal theme parks. Or just stay home and watch the stuff I like alone. Joe Schmoe art work don’t mean nothing to me by itself. I can get that online for free. It’s the overall big show that gets me in there where I’ll see the art, and maybe be moved to care if it’s good enough.

Cons cost up to $1000 or more with admission, lodgings, transportation, food, purchases, etc. That’s 1000 LP’s I could have if I didn't waste the money. That’s two or three computers. A new roof for the house, for Frith's sake. Give me a real Furry convention or forget it, Uncle Kage.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

That doesn't make much sense to me either, competition is a good thing, even if that competition is from main stream sources. How are the people supposed to improve if they can't see how professionals work?

Then again, it could be rather awkward if someone from Disney shows up and then goes looking about and finds out what people like Antimon are doing with their meerkat characters... yeah, that might not be so pretty.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Disney already knows. But you make a good point. American animation companies do not have the tolerance of fans that Japanese animation companies have. But this could be in part because they don't get invited to Furry conventions and have never had an opportunity to develop such a tolerance.

Any type of fan art is essentially illegal, unless it's done in a way that falls under the parody protection clause. They might tolerate fan art if it's not being sold, but if cons were to cultivate a relationship with pro companies, some additional rules about what fan artists are allowed to sell might be part of the bargain.

I expect this is likely the real reason folks like Uncle Kage don't want to deal with pro companies. It's not Joe Schmoe's art work they worry about so much, but Joe Schmoe's ability to bend or outright break the law without being confronted by anyone who could actually do something about it.

Fortunately, Furry artists, for the most part, create their own characters and would not be at risk. Such artists stand to benefit enormously from having their art seen in the same place where the pro companies are displaying their wares.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

I think I'd better step in here and say Uncle Kage's position apparently only applied to companies, not individuals. He's not inviting Disney to set up a booth, but a Disney animator can be invited.

I mean, Uncle Kage is the guy who got Stan Sakai, James Gurney, Peter S. Beagle ... the list goes on and on ... as Guests of Honor.

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Yeah, dealing with companies can be overbearing as well.

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

No because mainstream furry isn't good. Not yet.

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

I'll number my responses.

1. Well, yeah. I mean, that would be cool and all.
2. Never really bought into the "media exploitation" thing. I genuinely believe most of them are probably being genuine when they say "we want to present you in a positive light." The "positive light" they shine just isn't the light furries want. These guys want us to be a weird sex thing, yes, but not for exploitation purposes; but because being fair and unbiased about a weird sex thing gives them mundo journo brownie poinits.
3. Roger Ebert.
4. OH, HELL NO.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Interesting questions. Being kinda on the edge of nowhere I've never been to a big furry convention but I'll answer as far as what I would like.

Do you feel that furries could do more to bring famous, notable, or professional participants?
I'd guess yes but with the caveat from above, that I have no experience with large conventions. Also if the conventions are not large enough it's probably not worth the famous person's attention unless they have a personal stake in the furry fandom. As far as I know there usually are guests of honour that are big furry artists. That might not be much when compared to "real" celebrities but they are the furry equivalent.

How do you think that could affect media exploitation that some furries dislike?
Obviously some people are going to misrepresent the fandom but that already happens. More exposure is better for furs that haven't heard of the fandom and increases the chance of getting attention from someone more than a tabloid. For example, if the brony phenomenon were really small who couldn't imagine it being misrepresented in weird tabloids? Because it's so big when it got mentioned it was in the Wall Street Journal. Furry could get a more accurate presentation if it got reliable sources to be interested in it.

If you could pick one famous person to reveal they're part of furry fandom, who would it be?
I really don't care. Nice as it may be I don't follow celebrities nor do I particularly care for the people that will want to be furs just because some celebrity is one.

Or is the niche for furries better left as a casual thing among friends and fans?
I think that's a false dichotomy. Even if the fandom grew and had big names at conventions (who were furs or from related fields) it would still be about friends and fans, only there would be more of them. Growing and getting media attention does not take away from the fandom is about.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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*comment withdrawn*

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

For the past few years FurFright has had local bands play a set on Saturday night before the Masquerade. They'll often dress in Halloween costumes and makeup, sometimes with ears and tails.

It's *expensive* to book a non-local band for a convention. Transport and lodging expenses for the band members and their equipment, plus the cost of the gig itself -- which would likely be substantial, as for any arena show the band gets a cut of the gate, which doesn't apply for a convention, as well as merchandise sales, which might be minimal. For any band with nationwide recognition, it could easily run into the mid-4- to 5-figure range. Unless there's an extremely strong furry connection, it would be hard for a furry convention to justify that kind of expense. (Dragoncon is an entirely different sort of convention altogether, encompassing a variety of fandoms including music, plus they have an order of magnitude more budget to work with.)

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And for cons such as AC the con itself takes up the hotel space already, throwing a band in would just make that problem even worse.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Local bands can include nationally known bands, though.

Are there bands like this that would be receptive to invites to a furry con? I don't know, but has there been enough effort to find out?

I was told by the A/V lead of a major convention, that the execs were simply unwilling to support the effort to bring in better music over 10 years time. Partly, this seems like a decision to avoid directing programming towards music, and promoting other art forms. That isn't necessarily bad, it's just a conscious choice apart from budget. Of course, among the creators in furry fandom there is a definite segment of musicians. I'd say alternative/indie music genres are generally popular among furry fans, too.

Personally, I can't take the explanation that it's too hard to organize better music at 100% face value. (It's difficult for bands to perform these days, no matter what, with the state of the music industry, but they do it anyways.) It still looks like a gap in furry con programming to me.

The challenge to improve would be to find performers that are notable enough, but receptive enough to be at a furry con. I wouldn't be surprised if there's more notable bands that are especially geek-friendly who would. ("Juggalos" don't get more respect than furries, but they get huge performers who don't care every year... I know their show is much bigger, more aggressively promoted, and music-centric. Still I think furry cons might improve their business skills.)

Why not ask for higher level musicians? Peter Beagle, a world class writer, does furry cons. He even attended a Last Unicorn themed rave! I enjoyed hearing my friend's story about getting him to sign her arm there, a 70-something year old guy among the crazy kids with their crazy rave music. He's a musician too, (folk music) but definitely not connected to that scene!

Some pro musicians who are very distinguished in a tiny genre I love (industrial music) talk about alternative/indie music biz on a forum I frequent... they include a DJ who did Further Confusion. They share a lot of music trade secrets. I do understand how tough it can be to organize a show, and not have enough people show up. I did it with some rock bands once, and sunk in a couple grand of my own money. Music is not easy business.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Furries should invite big named celebrities UF and ONLY if they have done something relevant to the furry fandom. Inviting noted cartoonists, and actors that have created content we are fans of is relevant. But, unless a musical act comes out and does something specifically furry, or their music gets used a the main theme song for a furry themed movie or something, inviting them to a convention would be a little out of place. people coming to the conventions should be there for the sake of the convention, not the band that is playing. Smaller acts seem OK, when they have some furry themed music, and in the case of Heather Alexander, She actually wrote a furry track because of her experience performing at a furry con. the line should probably be drawn when non furries would buy a con membership just for the performance entry to see a performer. At a recent con, there was a rumor that a popular DubStep DJ was at the con, that alone brought non furry DubStep fans into ghost and crash the con. Whether that performer was ther eor not is meaningless, what matters is that the name power alone brought people in. If a con is by furries and for furries, then it's my opinion that the guests need to be vetted as furries, or contributing to furry fandom in some way.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Thanks Smash :)

If Andrew WK said he was a furry and wanted to be on a con panel, would that be cool or not?

He has never done anything for the Brony fandom before. He just says he is one, and relates Pinkie Pie to his own performing persona. It sounds like an unexpected connection to me, but not a huge stretch, any more than it is for grown up males to be into My Little Pony in the first place. I like it. :) Actually, since I have casually spent more time with the show than his music, it makes me want to listen to him more.

I can think of a few bands who have contributed music to shows and things that are not "furry" but definitely overlap with the broad fandom. A specific one is They Might Be Giants doing songs for animation and the Tiny Toons show. I have a feeling that if they were asked to do a furry con (and by some crazy event, they were into it), they would get a very warm reception. Sure, there would be outsiders getting tickets. But I think a large amount of people from the core furry audience would already have appreciation towards that band. Even further, although everyone has their own taste and not all would like them, I would be surprised if anyone objected. I don't see that as a devisive scenario. Maybe that band is too famous to be realistic for such an idea, but they still do some fairly DIY things- you never know.

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Oh guys!!! Look!

http://andrewwk.com/news/andrew-gets-furry

http://www.reddit.com/r/furry/comments/1x26j4/twitter_andrewwk_when_its_time_to_...

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