Furries In The Media
Here is an article in the September 5, 2013, edition of Pacific Standard magazine:
It's about therians rather than furries, but I thought it relevant enough to include here. The article is a short interview with Shiro Ulv, who earlier in the year appeared in Logo TV's documentary What?!: I think I'm an Animal.
Here is an article in September 23, 2013, edition of District, the student newspaper of the Savannah College of Art and Design:
It describes the various clubs and societies available to the students, and includes a very brief mention of "The Furries Club, a new addition to the list of clubs this year", with the above photo included.
I was in Magdeburg and ended up meeting Europe's largest Furries gathering . These are people who are converging to dress and behave like animals. Not real animals, but these plush characters from manga, animated films, and science fiction. They sew the costumes themselves, or purchase them, a total of up to several thousand euros. Fur costumes heat up fast, causing some Furries To not wear suits.
I ask one furry what this is all about: - organize the parade, which in they hug and took pictures. "We want more people to smile" - says one man who identifies as a cat. And so it actually looks like. Hundreds of Furriesspend all day in the streets of Magdeburg. One of the official agenda plans is a joint trip to the local zoo. Everywhere they try to act like stuffed animals. Each permit a hug and take a picture.
Those with the greatest commitment prefer not to take off their suits. It's their security asylum to which there is no admission of gray days. The entire subculture is also good business. It's hard to be a furry 24 hours a day, so the community set your calendar from convention to convention. Meetings are highly specialized. Furries meet for racing, hiking, those fond of felines can meet at a convention in the Alps and in the Netherlands at a special techno party for Furries. All conventions cost money. In Magdeburg European Furries parade was held for the last time. The reason is the lack of a sufficient number of hotel rooms. Felines move to Berlin!
Here is an article, of August 28, in the student newspaper of Ball State University (in Muncie, Indiana, USA):
The article contains comments from fursuiter Albert "Seneca" DiBenedetto, Anthropomorphic Art Society President Vance Yaunt, artist Shawna Gardner, and Brock Goodwin.
Albert DiBenedetto entered room 301 in the Student Center dressed in all black. From the tips of his Belgian shepherd ears, to the hem of his dark, denim jeans, DiBenedetto was engulfed in his fursuit.
A fursuit is an animal costume that directly represents his furry persona, or fursona.
His black shirt blended into the black fur of his headpiece and fur covered paws. Adding color to his fursuit is the white border around his eyes, and a plush taco, an accessory DiBenedetto is rarely seen without.
“[The taco] doesn’t really hold a meaning beyond the fact that I just really enjoy tacos,” DiBenedetto said. “It’s just a part of my fursona.”
DiBenedetto, a junior physics major, is a member of Ball State’s Anthropomorphic Art Society (AAS), a club of artists and art enthusiasts who meet weekly to discuss anthropomorphic art.
Anthropomorphic art combines animal and human qualities. Tracing history back as far as the Egyptian’s hieroglyphics of deities with human bodies and animal heads, it’s hard to pinpoint an origin of this art. The history and impact it has on society is one aspect that AAS discusses in its weekly meetings.
The first club meeting had less than 10 people sitting around a small table. Since then, the club tripled their numbers with more than 30 people showing up regularly to weekly meetings.
“The main goal of the club to get together, learn a little bit and discuss the art,” AAS President Vance Yaunt said. “We are such a unique group of people with very different reasons why we love anthropomorphic art.”
After learning about furry culture from a past girlfriend, DiBenedetto started out dipping his toes into the fandom by building his fursona his freshman year of college. It wasn’t until the beginning of August that he started fursuiting as Seneca, the name of his fursona.
DiBenedetto spent months coming up with a story and concept for his fursona. He described Seneca as being “very derpy and goofy” while being “incredibly personable and caring.”
He then started figuring out how much it would cost to get a partial fursuit complete with head, paws and feet. After asking around and coming up with the best price for the quality, he spent roughly $900 on his partial fursuit.
A full body fursuit can range in price anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. After he paid the fursuit creator, he stayed in contact to give insight to his fursona.
After months of planning, pricing and waiting, DiBenedetto received his fursuit in the mail on the morning of Aug. 9.
“When it arrived I pulled it out of the box and immediately put it on,” he said. “I was going to a convention that day, so I really got to put the suit to good use just hours after receiving it.”
His first day in the fursuit, DiBenedetto spent eight hours walking through lobbies and hallways at the convention guided by his handler, someone who helps fursuiters navigate while they are in costume because their vision and range of motion is confined.
He quickly realized how hot the suit can get.
“I definitely sweat a lot in the suit,” DiBenedetto said. “A lot more than I anticipated, but it is well worth it.”
He became a fan of the Headless Lounge, a cool-down room for fursuiters to take off their costume heads and relax.
While DiBenedetto was proudly displaying his new fursuit, Shawna Gardner, a senior art major, was selling her art at the convention’s Artist Alley, which is a place to sell personalized art and network with furry fans.
Gardner has turned her love for anthropomorphic art into a business.
Selling her art to a specific group of people has given Gardner the opportunity to raise her prices and make money through an outlet that she is passionate about.
“Depending on the size of the convention I can walk away selling 16 to 29 different pieces a day,” Gardner said. “It not only gives me the opportunity sell my art, but to continually challenge myself to make something different.”
Gardner started AAS her first semester at Ball State in 2009. She wanted to start something where lovers of the art could meet, create and discuss the different aspects of anthropomorphic art.
“It’s kind of my joy and my treasure, I’ve loved watching it grow and seeing everyone in it,” Gardner said.
To many in the club, it is more than something to do on Thursday nights, it is a place for them to be themselves and meet people they can connect with. For Brock Goodwin, a junior urban planning major, it was an added bonus to his transfer from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind.
Goodwin knew about the club before his transfer, and made sure he attended all the meetings he could as soon as he became a Cardinal.
“It’s a place for us to get together and share something we all love, and in turn find a community that is 100 percent accepting of everyone,” Goodwin said.
The club is out to combat the negative connotation associated with fursuiters.
“We have this link with being a sexual group of people, and it is not true,” Goodwin said. “We have been trying to pull away from that image, and show people that we focus on expressing ourselves through art, not sex.”
AAS meets at 9 p.m. every Thursday in the Student Center. Check out its Facebook for more info about meetings at facebook.com/BallStateAAS.
A soft toy controlled by a Raspberry Pi computer has recreated Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking skydive.
Mr Baumgartner made the furthest freefall in October 2012, from a balloon almost 39km (24 miles) high.
A bear called Babbage has now leapt from a similar height after ascending beneath a hydrogen-filled balloon.
The Raspberry Pi low-cost micro-computer inside Babbage transmitted his position and shot stills and video throughout the flight and descent.......
Read the rest of the story here
Video of the jump
I been following Dave for a while because I think of doing my own High Altitude Balloon mission one day using the Raspberry Pi.
...How 'bout dem bear suits?
Full video here:
They all look like they could be related to PJ Berri from PaRappa the Rapper.
Evidently editorial deadlines are a little tight at Forbes as they grabbed an image off Wikipedia without really checking what it was. In this case a registered service mark of one of the largest furry conventions.
The Forbes article no longer carries the image, just a note that the mistaken image has been removed.
Still... Possibly the first time a furry con has appeared in Forbes? :)
The furries can be artists, writers, puppeteers or any kind of fan who identify with animals "furry
Growing worldwide movement "Furry Fandom". These are people who dress in costumes stuffed animals, and are known as furry fans, furries, or simply furs, all derived from the word furry (which in English means "hairy").
The furries can be artists, writers, puppeteers or any kind of fan who identify with animals "furry" anthropomorphic (albeit with a lot of personality). The most common are cats, dogs and fantastic creatures (dragons or type alebrijes). Many furries congregate in cyberspace enjoy artwork depicting anthropomorphic animals, and especially like to attend furry conventions.
The Furry Fandom community has also developed its own vocabulary, including words such as "fursona" (person who has a furry character) or "fleshie" (a non-furry). They even have the furotismo, also known as furry erotica or pornography, and the "fursuiters" are fursonas who engage in furry pornography.
At the costumes to be used by "fursonas" are called "fursuits" (English "fur" coat and "suit" suit). To make matters worse there is also a WikiFur, where you can see articles and definitions for each term furry.
"Furry Fandom" is a whole way of life and of course huge profits: many furries are dedicated to puppetry, video design, creating comics or perform live shows. And of course, also prepared stripper shows adult furry style.
The movement also follows a legion of researchers, journalists, photographers and artists seeking inspiration from this trend, the same to establish anthropological treatise on the subject, a series of photographs, videos or pictures pornofurries.
The furries are inspired by cartoon characters (like Bugs Bunny), TV shows, movies, video games and even sports mascots and company logos.
Some researchers of the phenomenon "Furry Fandom" considered to have originated in the 1960s, when it became popular anthropomorphic cartoons. Others believe that arise in the '80s, between the conventions of comics and science fiction boom. Some more place the "Furry Fandom" as part of Fashion Cosplay; although the furry trend grew so much that almost became independent, as indicated by furry historian Fred Patten.
The action of creating a fursona is one of the first steps to enter and become known in the furry community: the new member chooses a certain animal that feels particularly strong identification, which will become your avatar or icon within the fandom . Through this character will interact with other members of role playing games online, or appearing in fantastic stories, pictures, forums and communities throughout the world. Another objective is to attend meetings or themed events to meet other members with general or private interest.
The most common fursonas felines (cats, lions, tigers), canines (wolves, foxes, dogs, and even skunks) fantastic creatures (dragons or alebrijes type) and combination of different furries as a "folf" (Fox and wolf) or an "cabbit" (cat and rabbit). Some choose most unique characters such as giraffes, horses, ponies, zebras, bobcats or deer. And while there are all kinds, rarely (if ever) are identified with primates.
Furry Fandom culture has its own art, animation, comics and literature, and many of the activities are carried out online. There is a wide variety of furry files on the network (art and writings), and some are free but some have to pay. The latter include adult-only materials.
In regard to the tendency to meet other furry fursonas, worldwide there are groups that meet regularly. The Anthrocon, held every July in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA) is the most recognized of all, but there are similar events in the UK, Germany, Brazil, France, Russia and of course Mexico. (Twitter: @ rolandolino)
Here is an article from July 31, in the London Community News. (London, Ontario, Canada, not London, England.)
Concerning this weekend's Condition convention, the article is an interview with Condition organiser Ryan "Frostscar" Bruce.
It’s fuzzy, it’s fun and it’s for a good cause.
In the past four years, London’s Condition: Furry convention has raised more than $22,000 for charity and organizer Ryan Bruce is hoping to add to that total when the event returns next month.
The three-day convention, one of three major annual events for furries in southern Ontario, takes place Aug. 2-4 at the Four Points by Sheraton on -Wellington Road.
Bruce said about 300 people tend to come out for the charity auction, games and other events (including a costumed hockey tournament on the Friday), but mostly they’re there just to network with people who have similar interests.
There will also be a sponsor lounge where participants can pay a little extra for Iron Spike beer, food and the themed punch, which this year is called Wasteland Water.
“It should be grey this year,” Bruce said. “The colour is never pleasing, but it tastes good.”
A wildlife expert will be bringing in “ambassador” animals, ones that can’t return to the wild, but are well enough to serve an educational purpose, from the Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Eduction Centre to the convention to visit.
The convention is open to anyone, but registration is required, and minors need written permission from a parent or guardian.
Furries are fans of fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics. Many construct or buy costumes based on characters of their own imagining for events such as the upcoming convention and adopt created names. Bruce’s is Frostscar, for example.
“It’s fun for the same reason people like to ski,” Bruce said. “Because they like doing it. (The convention) isn’t huge yet so that lets us do more personal, local stuff.”
Bruce has been costuming for about eight years. He started in anime-style dress, but switched to the furry dominion because it’s easier to meet people at the smaller events.
“It’s easy to lose yourself at Anime North or FanEx, where there are 90,000 people there,” he said. “Plus you’re not wearing someone else’s character (as is the case with Star Wars costuming). I liked the art and started building suits about six years ago.”
He now builds suits to sell to other furries, having completed about 20 to date.
The convention is open to anime fans as well, and members of the London Rogues Star Wars costuming club tend to show up.
The funds raised by the event go to Salthaven to be used toward the construction of a new centre on donated land north of London.
According to Bruce, Condition: Furry event averages the highest charitable donation per person for a furry event in Canada at about $42 each.
“As good as $10,000 is, it’s a drop in the bucket when it comes to building new facilities.”
Bruce said London furries tend to hold bi-weekly meetings during the year, take part in other charity events, many for children, like the Walk for Autism with the London Rogues.
“There’s nothing really set, it’s just kind of what comes up.”
For the past three years they have held a ski day for deaf/blind children at Boler Mountain.
“Being in a full suit is so hot, the skiing is probably the best thing we’ve done!”
Visit www.conditionfurry.ca to learn more.
"It’s really weird and intimidating to talk to someone though a wolf mask." "Of course it is. That is the appeal."BY NICK KEPPLER
Last week, the 16th annual Anthrocon, the world’s largest gathering of furries, was held in Pittsburgh.
How big a part of your life is the whole furry culture?
A very small amount because I am still very new to the game.
How did you become interested?
This creature right here [points to someone]. We’ve known each other for about four years now. That’s how I was introduced to it to begin with. I had no idea what it was until it was explained to me. The sighting came first and then the explanation.
What do you mean “the sighting?”
I was hanging out with him and his roommate at their house and this was one of the first few times I was hanging out with them, and he just came out wearing these enormous orange feet and I thought they were kind of interesting-looking slipper things. I’m like, “Where did you get those?” and he’s like, “Wait, wait, there’s more!” and he came back decked out in full orange fox suit costume and I was like, “So, were you a mascot in college and this is like a memento or what? What is this?” That’s when the explanation came.
What was the worst date you’ve ever been on?
It was a guy who met me at my work, when I was working at Express. The guy walked in, asked me out and I said OK. We met at a coffee shop. He was a half an hour late and apparently had no idea what your standard latte from Starbucks was, so I had to explain to him all the different flavor types. The whole time I felt like he was just analyzing me but not really listening to anything I was saying. I started looking around thinking, “How do I get out of here?” because I could talk to the wall and it would react with just as much interest as this guy. I think he was just hanging out with me and hoping I’d shut up and go home with him. I started telling particular stories to freak him out. I told him about my one and only experience at a night fetish club, which a girlfriend invited me to.
Tell me about how you found yourself in a fetish club.
I have a girlfriend I have known for ever and ever and ever. She’s always been a punky goth girl. That wasn’t our common point of interest; that was just how she acted, but she‘s a sweetheart. At one point she was like, “You have to go to this club with me. I’m a member,” and I said, “Sure, I’ll try it out. Just don‘t expect me to do anything crazy. I just want to go in and check it out.” It was OK. It was different. It was even different for an experience clubbing. It looks a vampire coven when you walk in. It’s very dark. There are little white candles on the tables. There is a room with an X on the door with a swing in there. I just stayed out of that room.
And you thought this would repel this guy? Because I would think if he was just looking for sex, he’d think, “Oh, this girl has been to a fetish club; my chances are better!”
He was an awkward panda, so no. It made him say, “Oh, look at the time; I should be going,” and I was like, “Buh-bye, get going.”
So based on your experience, should people avoid hitting on someone while they were working on the job?
Because I get blushy and shy when people hit on me, I didn’t know to handle that, other than to say, “No, thank you.” I’ve gotten numbers a couple times while at work and other than the one I haven‘t taken any up on those.
Has anyone ever told you something inappropriate?
Oh, god yeah! I had a group of males come up to me when I was working and they were like, “What’s going on, girl?” and I was like, “Um, I’m folding clothes. Can I help you with anything?” It ended up with, “So, listen I would like to get your number so maybe we could hook up sometime. Maybe you want to hook up or if you have a girlfriend with low self-esteem or low confidence.”
That was the wording?
That was the wording. I looked at him like I was probably going to smack his face clear off. I was like, “If I did, I would not let her ten feet in front of you, pal.”
Where are you from?
What’s the dating scene like in Richmond?
I’m not terribly active in the dating scene, but there are plenty of bars, nightclubs, restaurants. If you’re looking for it, you can find it.
Tell me about the worst date you have ever been on.
There was one that ended in a death of silence, awkwardness and nothing to talk about and two parties departing without so much as a goodbye. Someone would start a conversation and the other would not be interested and move on. It was a very cold type of interaction.
Did you wear that mask? That might explain it.
No, I definitely didn’t wear the mask.
Have you ever dated someone who is into furry culture?
Yes. It gave us a common bond, but it was not the foundation of the relationship. We never dressed up together. I met her through a common friend who does furry art.
What are your turn on and turn offs?
As a general rule, I like strong, independent women. They definitely have to be smart enough to hold conversations with. There of course has to be a physical attraction. And there has to be common interests, but I also like to see variety in the women I am dating, for them to bring something new to the relationship. I tend to go for the creative and artistic types.
At what point in a relationship do you mention the whole furry thing? Is that a first date kind of thing?
I don’t go out of my way to hide it. It’s definitely not a first date kind of thing. But usually it’s introduced pretty early on because it’d be a mean thing to spring late in the game.
Do you get a positive, negative or neutral reaction to it?
It’s always been positive.
It’s really weird and intimidating to talk to someone though a wolf mask.
Of course it is. That is the appeal.
Where are you from?
I’m from Central Virginia, Lynchburg, specifically.
What’s the dating scene like down there?
The pick down there for guys is pretty much OK if you like trailers. That’s essentially what you’re stuck with. From the moment I saw what the selection was, I was like, “No, I’m not that desperate.” I’m not looking for anyone, I just got involved with gaming and after a while stopped caring about the women.
That’s got to be frustrating, I imagine.
No, in some games, I am the woman. You can dress up your character anyway you want, male, female, transgender, both male and female at the same time.
Do you have any crazy date stories?
I haven’t actually been on any dates but I do a lot of online role playing, Second Life and things like that, and I have had some over the top encounters. In Second Life, I try to keep it all in the game. I am not looking for a real relationship but this one guy, who turned out to be gay, started hitting on me and I told him I am not gay, so it kind of got awkward. At one moment he told me, “I’d still like you to hump my gay husky butt,” and I haven’t talked to him in two years. It was before I started playing female characters. That experience alone made me go to female characters. I was like, “Now no more gay guys can hit on me! Because I am a woman!”
So then straight guys hit on you? Is that better in some way?
I feel like I can have more control over that.
What’s the fun of flirting with someone you’re never going to meet?
It’s mostly about the role playing. We create a character. We create a world. You go on and do it for story development. I have had some friends, but beyond that, I shoot everything down if they try.
So there are no past girlfriends you can tell me about?
Never had any kind of relationship. Never cared. Never tried. Everyone is always telling, “Oh, yeah, the sex!” And I’m like, “And?” The only time I ever got close was in high school. I’ve always been the funny guy, the joker, and because of that this, one girl fell in love with me and wanted to be my girlfriend. But she was like the victim person. She had broken up with one of my good friends at the time and she was really emotionally clingy. It was really sad. I kind of turned her down. I was like, “No.”
Would you describe yourself as asexual?
“Asexual?” What do you mean?
I have heard it defined as a sexual orientation in which a person doesn’t want to have sex with anyone.
Basically, yeah. I mean I’ve never really cared. I consider myself straight, but I just don’t care. I’m the kind of person to say, “Too much effort in that thing. I’m going to go level off in this video game. I’m winning in life.”
So do people in your life understand that or are they pressuring you to get with someone?
My brother, he has himself a girlfriend and we get along really great because I’m not held down by anything. I’m the good friend kind of guy. I’m the best friend.
It’s Raptor Jesus!
Yeah, it’s a play on a meme and I‘m bringing it to life as people have done before me and will do after me.
How do people react to Raptor Jesus?
So far, it’s been 100-percent positive. I wasn’t sure at first when I dressed up in this costume that I would have a good response because I was considering the religious folks, and myself being one, but I think it‘s a fun expression.
Drunk bystander: Hey, reptilian! They told me you were Jesus!
I’m Raptor Jesus!
Drunk bystander: You ain’t no goddamn Jesus! Man, you got this fly-ass robe on and your goddamn silk and your nice-ass hat. You ain’t no goddamn Jesus! You ain’t even a reptilian! Man, your goddamn claws ain’t even real. Just let me wear the cross and the robe and I’ll let you go.
You got it.
Drunk bystander: Jesus, let me get right next to you. We gonna be partners. Just see how many customers you get with me standing right here. They‘re scared of me. I intimidate everyone. I intimidate him. Do I intimidate you, sir? You’re shaking right now, taking this.
You’re a good man; you’re a good man.
Drunk bystander: You good, motherfucker! Let me hold the cross for a little while.
How long did it take to get the Raptor Jesus costume together?
Pretty quick. The mask and the claws are Jurassic Park toys from the 1990s.
Drunk bystander: That’s fucked!
And the robe I got from mail order.
Drunk bystander: That ain’t no goddamn Jurassic Park.
Do you have other costumes?
I got a minotaur costume and I got a griffon costume.
Drunk bystander: I just don’t want my religion disrespected, you hear? Are you Catholic?
Let me take it. I’m going to burn this.
Interviewer’s note: The drunk bystander then took out a lighter and tried to light Scotty’s cross on fire. Lacking full visibility and finger motion due to the costume (and seeming like a pretty passive guy), he just moved across the street. After watching someone try to ignite him, I decided it'd polite to just let him be, though he did tell me once again that this was the first negative reaction to his costume he’d ever encountered. It is true that what he does is braver than dating.
Jen, “No, you may not ask me that”
So, you’re married. Is your husband here?
No, he hates furries and everything associated with them. It’s quite a bone of contention.
What is the worst date you have ever been on?
After I broke up with my long-term boyfriend, who I had been with for eight years, I was lonely and needed some action. So, I went out with this guy I met at a concert who was cute and seemed pretty cool. We went to see Neil Young and we went back to his place and I stayed over. In the morning, he wouldn’t get out of bed and he wouldn’t get me anything to eat. He wouldn’t let me get anything to eat because he was afraid I’d eat his roommate’s food. He wouldn’t even have sex with me again, so I walked home from Mount Washington to Greenfield. Longest walk of shame ever. [Interviewer’s note: According to Google Maps, that is a five-mile walk of shame that includes a trek down the steep hillside overlooking Pittsburgh‘s downtown and a walk across a bridge.] I stole some of his stuff.
What did you steal?
I stole his lighter and a blanket.
Did he pay for the Neil Young show?
I think he did.
MikePaws scanned an uploaded a copy of the article to read which I've re-uploaded here. And there's some more photos on the TimeOut London website.
I like how in this one at the very start you can hear someone say "I'll take a million furries over a Steelers fan" LOL
I may edit this later if I find more.
by J.L. Martello
For New Pittsburgh Courier
The Anthrocon convention (or con for short) is dedicated to anamorphic people with animal traits and animals with human traits. The con was started in Albany, N.Y., in 1997 and didn’t come to Pittsburgh until 2006. Anthrocon has grown every year in Pittsburgh with record breaking numbers and has become the largest con of its type in the world.
5-year-old Dra Thompson of Swissvale plays ball with a Dog fur suiter called "Scrubs" outside the Westin Hotel. Dra ran up to many of the furries getting photos taken by his mother of all of the ones he could.
As most people would think, this con is not just about furries and or people dressed up as animals. Suiters, who dress up as different animal-human characters, are the best known. There are several different things that make up Anthrocon. There are artists, cartoonists, video game designers, musicians and comic writers just to name a few.
There are artists who sketch and draw characters--their own they create and other people’s who want what is called a badge (a small drawing with the name of the character on it drawn in a different way than it has already been done).
17-year-old Morgan Taylor from Baltimore, character name "Meri Ympyra," made her own suit and draws other furries as well as many animal human characters. She stands holding the head of her character.
An African-American artist, 17-year-old Morgan Taylor from Baltimore, talks about how she got into Anthrocon saying, “It started when I was young. I used to draw furry critters and stuff like that and I thought that I was the only one until my dad brought me to Pittsburgh last year and I found out that there was a whole bunch of other furries and people like me.”
Morgan made her own suit in about a week and only cost her around $100. Morgan or “Meri” shares how it feels from being herself and how it feels when she gets in her furry suit by saying, “I’m usually shy and now I feel like I am kind of outgoing, I can talk to people, actually, and that is kind of a huge relief for me so I love doing this a lot.”
17-year-old Morgan Taylor from Baltimore, character's name "Meri Ympyra" in her full fur suit.
Known as "Hixbi Fox," a 27-year-old African-American male and "Jazz," a 23-year-old African-American female cat woman, pose for a photograph together.
Many of the furries like to stay in character like a 27-year-old African-American male from Louisiana that goes by “Hixbi Fox” and a 23-year-old African-American female from Boston that goes by “Jazz.”
Hixbi Fox says, “What got me into fur suiting was I come from an Anima background and you dress up as other people and you’re famous for being someone else. In this fandom you are popular because you are yourself. This is my character and I designed it and I am popular because people like that character.”
Jazz is dressed like Catwoman as a joke. She is a fur suitor during the day and a cat woman at night. Jazz explains why she got involved in the con saying, “my friends showed me this con--I am usually a Boston Anima person--but I always felt a connection into being a cat, being like a cat, acting like a cat, doing things like a cat identifying basically with cats and cat people. So this is like, oh, there are actually people who do this for a living where they literary make themselves in the form of anamorphic beings and I said, ‘oh, I am going to find this’.”
Hixbi Fox explains his suit took a month to design and about six months to build and cost around $2,200. Hixbi says, “Only about 20 percent of the fandom is suit, other people support by doing artwork, music, stories--so this is not a big part of the fandom and usually it all comes to a common goal. We are trying to help other animals and have a good fellowship.”
"Jazz" in her fur character.
The Anthrocon Convention picks an animal or animal-related charity to raise money for every year. This year the charity was Equine Angels Rescue who rescues horses from being mistreated. The con roaised more than $31,000 for the charity this year.
The con has so many different parts to it besides what they call suiting. There are several different concerts that help benefit the charity of the con for that year. There are workshops on puppet-making as well as puppetry, table game competitions in full suits, video gaming, panels from designing to making and wearing a fur suit, to animation. There are always special guests and panelists. Some of this year’s guests were Mercedes Lackey, Larry Dixon and Tom Minton.
Artist only known as "Kizzy" holds up some of her work at the artists’ alley.
You cannot see who many people are because of the fur suits, however, there are a large number of Blacks involved in the con at all levels. An artist named “Kizzy” from Sacramento, Calif., was one of the hundreds of artist in what the con calls the Artists’ Alley which is a hall in the convention center set up for artists to draw characters and sell their work.
“Kizzy,” a 23-year-old African-American woman at Anthrocon for the first time says, “My friends said, ‘Hey, you draw and you draw pretty well and you like animals. Why not come down to this furry convention?” So I was a little freaked out by the costumes at some point but everybody here is so fun and nice and I love letting them see my art and seeing everyone else’s art was really amazing.”
Artist Cooper Bogan known as "Keyoki" working on some of her pieces.
Another African-American female artist, Cooper Bogan “Keyoki” who draws characters, designs and makes suits and has come to about five Anthrocons says, “There seems to be more families coming to cons and it is nice to see young people having fun with their families doing family activities and family bonding. You know, it is really nice to see.”
Artist Cooper Bogan known as "Keyoki" holds up one of her finished pieces she has drawn.
Kids with furry "Black Wolf" are, left: Henry, 5 years old, right, Jordan, 7 years old, and being held by "Black Wolf” is Alea Coleman, 4 years old. The kids are from Morningside.
Meri Ympyra, middle, with friends "Ollie", left, and "Quincy" acting playful and funny as they are in character.OH
JUST READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE ON THE WEBSITE, IT'S LIKE 10 WHOLE PAGES -_-
By Kim Z Dale, Monday at 1:44 pm
Anthrocon is the world's largest convention for furries and their fans. Anthrocon is for people who love animal characters with human features and, more notoriously, people who like to dress like such animals. The Antrocon furry convention has been held in Pittsburgh since 2006. Sorry, Chicago. Anthrocon looks like much a lot more fun than our annual International Mister Leather conference. (Although I'm sure the IML participants would disagree.)
I was first introduced to the world of furries with the "Fur and Loathing" episode of CSI. At the time it was just another quirky story line on a guilty pleasure show. When the episode aired I was in Pittsburgh, and the furries were not. Well, I'm sure there were some, but there was no 1,000 person Anthrocon fursuit parade in which to see them.In 2009 my best friend from high school told me she was going to Pittsburgh for something called "Anthrocon." Her husband, a comic book artist and animator, was an invited guest. When I got her message I was mostly disappointed about the fact that she'd be visiting Pittsburgh when I now lived in Chicago, but when I saw her pictures I was also disappointed for missing out on the furry spectacle of Anthrocon.
Later that year I joined Twitter for the second time. (The first time I didn't "get" it.) One of the people I ended up following was @burghbaby. Her blog burghbaby.com is full of amazing pictures. Usually Michelle's photos are of her daughter, her pets, and delicious looking food, but once a year she posts many pictures of the furries of Anthrocon.
Anthrocon first came to Pittsburgh in 2006. I left Pittsburgh in 2005. Like Trader Joe's, Five Guys and Ethiopian food, Anthrocon is one more fun thing Pittsburgh has gotten since I left. If they'd just manage to get better public transportation and taxis that can actually be hailed they may lure me back. Until then I'll just experience Anthrocon vicariously though people like @burghbaby.
I was in Pittsburgh over the Fourth of July weekend, walking along Penn Avenue in what is now called the “cultural district” of downtown. Having grown up in Pittsburgh in the 1970s, I was struck by two sights. First, an unusually large number of people wearing Pirates gear. The Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992, which happens to be the year after the team traded Barry Bonds. It seems like a lot longer since I’ve seen so many adults in Pirates jerseys and caps on the streets of Pittsburgh.
But amid the black and gold, I noticed a statistically significant number of people in full animal costumes. I’d see somebody dressed as a kind of space wolf on one street corner, then a minute later a woman with kitten ears and paws would pass by. I could only assume that they were part of a promotion at the Pirates game. Then I saw this lean, barfly-looking guy with a mildly disgusted look on his face, dressed all in black and threading his way through a throng of Pirates fans in front of a bar. I assumed he was going to get a beer, but he passed right by the pub. He was wearing a huge skunk tail that hung down to his ankles.
I saw another guy having a cigarette outside the convention center. He had fox ears, a matching tail and big fur boots, and I asked him what was going on. He told me he was in town for Anthrocon — a convention for fans of anthropomorphism, commonly known as furries.
It was a perfect alignment of misunderstood subcultures: Pirates fans and furries. The furries’ ascendancy seems the more assured of the two. Although the Pirates had the best record in baseball the weekend I was in Pittsburgh — which hasn’t happened this late in the summer since I can’t remember — Anthrocon was having its strongest convention ever, having grown to more than 5,000 furries since it started in Albany for a few hundred like-minded anthropomorphs in the late ’90s. This year, The Post-Gazette estimated, Anthrocon would bring an estimated $6.2 million to the city. The attendees would also try for the world record for the largest parade of people in fur suits.
I will admit to knowing little about the furries, though when I was there they seemed to be in a better collective mood than the Pirates fans. The Bucs, it must be noted, dropped two of three to the Phillies last weekend.
By Jessica Contrera / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After eight years of grabbing the attention of Pittsburgh, it was time for the "furries" of Anthrocon to make Guinness World Records take notice.
A turnout of 1,162 people dressed head-to-toe in animal costumes walked, danced and cartwheeled Saturday through the halls of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to set a record for the world's largest parade of people in fur suits.
Although there is currently no official record set for fur suit parades, Anthrocon was successfully surpassed its 2012 record of 1,045 paraders. Now, if all goes to plan, the furries will be officially recognized by Guinness.Thousands of furries aim to set world recordAnthrocon attendees attempted to break the Guinness World Record for largest parade of people in fursuits Saturday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. (Video by Jessica Contrera; 7/6/2013)
"This is the biggest furry gathering in the word," said Paul Thompson, a doctoral student from Kentucky. "There's no way we didn't get the record."
Anthrocon is a convention for people interested in anthropomorphism, the practice of making non-human creatures, especially animals, seem human-like. Although the furries are best known for their full-on costumes, fur suits are only a part of their culture.
Most dedicated furries have a specific character, complete with a backstory and personality, that they choose to identify with. Their costumes are rarely basic animals; there are rabbits in leather motorcycle suits, tigers dressed like samurai and foxes who belly-dance, to name a few. The characters can be played out through drawing, computer games, virtual worlds on the Internet, costumes or simple imagination.
"It's identifying yourself as who you really feel you are," Kaitlynn Jordan, 15, of Freedom said.
Kaitlynn, who was dressed as a polar bear, attended Anthrocon with her mother, Shelia Jordan, who donned a zebra costume for the day. After telling Kaitlynn that they were going to a soup kitchen for the day, Ms. Jordan surprised her daughter by taking her to the costume store and then the convention.
It was a sign of support for Kaitlynn's interest in the furry world, which started when she was 8 years old. Her "true character" is a blue cat named Kiachi, but she does not yet own a cat fur suit.
"When I was younger, I was bullied a lot and I needed a way to be myself without being harassed for it," Kaitlynn said. "So instead of being myself online as a faceless person, I created my character. Now I don't have to be scared to be myself."
Stories like Kaitlynn's are common among furries, but Anthrocon executive director Samuel Conway said the interest in human-like animals is different for everyone.
"The idea of animals that walk and talk, this isn't something new," Mr. Conway said. "We didn't invent it, we just happen to like it."
By "we," Mr. Conway doesn't just mean Anthrocon's nearly 5,500 attendees. Furries are truly an international phenomenon. In 2012, there were more than 40 furry conventions on six continents, with names like Furtastic (Denmark), Camp Wildpaw (Australia) and FuRio (Brazil).
But no city receives the economic impact of the furries quite like Pittsburgh. This year alone, Anthrocon's guests are expected to generate $6.2 million in direct spending. More than $758,000 was spent on hotels alone, according to VisitPittsburgh. Anthrocon will also be making a donation to Equine Angels Rescue in Cabot.
And soon, the convention may give Pittsburgh the claim to fame as official home of the world's largest fur suit parade.
Posted by Chris Potter on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 12:53 PM
It's that time again: Like the swallows to San Juan Capistrano, except more elaborately attired, The Furries are coming back to Pittsburgh for Anthrocon 2013. And just when you thought Pittsburghers might be getting a little jaded about the sight of people walking Downtown streets in fursuits ... the Furries are kicking it up a notch. This year, they hope to make the Guinness Book of World Records by staging the "World's Largest Fursuit Parade."
The furries' bid for immortality will take place Saturday afternoon at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, which is hosting Anthrocon July 4-7. (The theme of the 2013 Convention? "The Fast and the Furrious.") The parade is open to convention attendees only -- so please don't dust off that old gorilla suit and expect to become part of history. (At least not at this particular event.) The march will take place entirely indoors.
"It gets really hot in the suits," explains Karl Jorgensen, an Anthrocon spokesman. "You don't want to make people walk for miles outdoors." Especially not in July.
And especially not given the rigorous standards for being counted in the record books. According to the rules for participation, joining in the parade requires "at minimum, a headpiece, hand-paws, foot-paws and a tail (if applicable by species); if using latex and makeup, it must completely cover exposed surfaces. Skin must not be visible when the costume is worn."
And although Anthrocon organizers expect some 5,500 attendees at this year's convention, most members of the "furry fandom" do not wear full fursuits. (As a press release from our local tourism bureau helpfully explains, "The Anthrocon convention attracts artists, animators, costumers, puppeteers and just everyday fans who enjoy cartoon animals.") The parade itself is expected to draw about 1,100 fur-suited participants -- about the same number a similar event drew last year. This time, though, Jorgensen expects Guinness officials to be on hand, counting heads (and presumably other species-applicable appendages).
Which raises the question: What is the current record for "largest fursuit parade"?
"I don't think there is a record currently" Jorgensen says. However, he says, the 2007 Anthrocon -- also held in Pittsburgh -- did warrant a mention in the Guinness book for "largest furry fan club."
I should certainly hope so!
Some familiar faces in there!
Furries Fill Downtown For 8th Year « CBS Pittsburgh
6. Furries : A very unusual subculture explained People - grown-ups - with a fascination with anthropomorphic animals. Furry ones if possible.
Link to the BBC Magazine http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23146086