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Fluff Pieces Every Week
Updated: 4 hours 8 min ago

A cheesy soundtrack for a furry pizza party

Wed 3 Mar 2021 - 10:00

If you love pizza and furries, VOTE HERE for the Ursa Major Awards! Support furry creators from March 1-31. Love is the best topping.

There is 1970’s country music about pizza. I was obsessed when I found it. I must have played it 7 times in a row. It’s so joyful, who hasn’t inhaled steam from a fresh pizza in the car and been full of longing? I’m pie-ning for some now.

Is there other country music like that? Most of what’s around these days is about trucks and things that don’t fit lyrics about spending $3.99 for a 16-incher because you’re not a penny pincher.

I have no idea when it will be safe to have furry meets again, but when it is, there’s definitely going to be a furry pizza party at my place. It would be picking up where we left off. That was the last thing that happened here before the covid lockdown, after Further Confusion 2020. We only got one started and it was supposed to be regular. Hosting 15 local furries was a nice turnout for a small private low-key night. Just add pupperoni.

Have any plans yourself?

Helped do a pizzacon furry movie marathon shindigaroonie. Not posting the group pic for privacy, but here's my pizzaratsona and art done on the spot by lovely @2ManyStripes. 15 furs came and saw Robin Hood, Animalympics (courtesy of @Skiltaire_Party), Fritz the Cat, and Zootopia. pic.twitter.com/uEenghZvca

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 10, 2020

I have been building a music playlist for the return of good times. It has pizza rock, pizza punk, pizza rap, pizza disco, pizza death metal, and the tasty lyrics of Eddie Rabbitt, one of the most furry country music names I can think of.

Any way you slice it, pizza makes a common doughnominator you can top with anything. Add furries for a guaranteed win.

Don’t forget pizza cocktails and furry drinks.

I made a drink for mice pic.twitter.com/6ez50XN7Cz

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 26, 2021

YES https://t.co/6h00nYMzT6

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 26, 2021

If you see me post anything saucy, I’ve probably been experimenting with recipes and planning for a furpile.

Message me privately for a link to a 50+ song playlist. Here’s a few fun ones.






Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Furry Raiders “Foxler” sex crime case: Jacob Kovar pleads guilty in scheme to frame witness

Thu 25 Feb 2021 - 10:00

Jacob Kovar, and his friend Lee “Foxler” Miller, founder of the Furry Raiders

New court records continue the story of nazi furries and their gang-like crimes.

In 2017, Dogpatch Press broke news that made national headlines. (Rolling Stone: Does the Furry Community Have a Nazi Problem? — Newsweek: Neo-Nazi Furries are Trump’s Latest and Most Puzzling Alt-Right Supporters.)

Telegram archive

The first report covered the Colorado-based Furry Raiders, a group with around 200 online members at this time. They gained notoriety by trolling the community and Rocky Mountain Fur Con with nazi “dogwhistle” imagery, targeting kids and critics, and interfering with hotel room booking. This killed the convention in 2017 through mismanagement by some complicit board members (see timeline at bottom). There was threat behavior that appears again in this story.

Followup stories kept covering more infiltration by hate groups, and their crimes and coverups. The victims and scapegoats need vindication.

In 2019, Denver police arrested Furry Raiders founder Lee “Foxler” Miller. He was charged with sex crimes with a child. New evidence in 2021 shows how Miller’s inner circle tried to undermine the case by intimidating a witness.

Alleged activity by Miller/Foxler at Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2015

The witness would be lured in to a trap, framed for crime, doxed and harassed, extorted and pulled out of Miller’s case. Miller’s followers would bait Dogpatch Press into false reporting against the witness.

A repeat pattern

The intimidation plan proceeded until Dogpatch Press caught on. Investigation gathered evidence of the witness being harassed from internet profiles tied to someone with a con security position. Police were alerted and in late 2019 and early 2020, two Furry Raiders were arrested (with public news about them.)

Court records show that behind the scenes, police traced a threat to the witness sent by VOIP, and found it came from Furry Raiders. (Similar activity had helped to kill RMFC followed by attempts to kill other cons including Califur and Denfur.)

Police also received a forged document claiming to represent the witness in Miller’s case, asking to cancel prosecution against Miller. (It was a sham not unlike a 2017 Sovereign Citizen-style threat letter sent to a critic of the Furry Raiders — the first Dogpatch Press headline about them called it intimidation.)

Facebook.com/snepcity

The investigation led to 8 felony charges for Miller’s right-hand man and Furry Raiders admin: Jacob Kovar, known as Flare, Sneps, and several more names. Kovar used “Dodger” as head of security for a new con in Wyoming that dropped him as soon as Dogpatch Press contacted them with proof. Court records show Kovar used other Telegram account names to pose as 14 and 16 year old boys while trying to lure the witness.

Kovar was already on parole for sex offending while working out of Miller’s house in Fort Collins, CO.

In 2021, a Colorado court resolved charges for Kovar. Evidently a deal was reached, and he pled guilty for felony Attempt to Influence a Public Servant, and Invasion of Privacy for Sex Gratification. The D.A. dismissed charges for Witness/Victim Retaliation, Stalking, Extortion, and Criminal Impersonation.

Kovar was ordered to stay away from the victim, get a new sex offender evaluation, and faces years in jail for new penalties apart from parole violation. Sentencing is set for April 2021.

The charges are consistent with reporting about the Furry Raiders since 2017: they’re a threat to those who report them, they target children and teens, and use “Sovereign Citizen”-style sham documents and gang-like tactics.

Since mid-2020, Miller’s own charges appear to be dropped; but he did not prove innocence with acquittal. From a non-lawyer, the reasons could be (1) gathering evidence to re-file charges, (2) reducing court work during a pandemic, or (3) resting with Kovar’s case and avoiding taking a chance on another one. Miller has not shown an official statement from a judge.

There’s a key rebuttal to claims that the Furry Raiders reputation suffers from false reporting, or “both sides are to blame”. Miller’s 2019 charges had an offense date coinciding with RMFC 2015, long before his group was known by Dogpatch Press, and the crime report wasn’t known here until after his arrest. Police learned from private sources (the witness was protected as a crime target.) And here’s the big question:

If the Furry Raiders and Miller are innocent of targeting children (as they claim) — why would they need a sex offender to frame a witness?

Here’s 28 pages of legal docs for Kovar’s case. (Witness ID is redacted). The arrest warrant shows police recognizing the furry community.

View this document on Scribd

The bizarre forged document sent to mislead police is worth a look, and might entertain lawyers.

The intimidation scheme did not influence the witness to retract claims. Furry Raiders have claimed he is a liar and Miller/Foxler supposedly won his innocence by proving the witness lied. That did not happen. Kovar’s conviction can tell you who to believe.

News review timeline:

  • April 2016 — Furry Raiders grab a block of rooms for RMFC before the official opening, like hoarding pizza at a party and doling it out to friends.
  • Through 2016 — Furry Raiders provoke controversy with nazi dogwhistle activity, including appeals to alt-right leader Richard Spencer.
  • January 2017 — on Twitter, anti-nazi critic (DeoTasDevil) references a big headline that week: Richard Spencer getting punched.
  • The same day — RMFC bans “offensive imagery”, but Deo gets blamed for causing the problem with her tweet.
  • February 2017 — VICE gives early mainstream notice to furries opposing nazis and the Furry Raiders.
  • March 2017 — Controversy leads to RMFC’s hotel giving notice that the con has to add expensive security due to threats from unknown sources.
  • Soon after — Deo gets SovCit-style threat from RMFC’s CEO (Kahuki,) written by his board member friend (Scorch, now an active Furry Raider.)
  • April 2017 — Dogpatch Press publishes the letter with “intimidation” headline, and evidence that CEO Kahuki is a registered sex offender.
  • The same day — RMFC is canceled, and mainstream news reports nazi ties; but Deo is scapegoated for years after in the fandom.
  • In an interview, RMFC’s Chair says threats kept coming from unknown sources. (They were before and after Deo’s tweet.)
  • RMFC owed taxes not paid for years; Kahuki had stepped down as chair 8 years earlier due to being a sex offender, but stayed CEO.
  • Followup finds complicity between CEO Kahuki, board member Scorch, and Foxler/Furry Raiders, with suspicious activity regarding kids and sex.
  • RETALIATION: May 2017 — Califur convention targeted with “swatting” calls to their hotel by nazi furries.
  • Through 2017 — Nazi furries are active with alt-right organizing, including Richard Spencer’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
  • More interference with events by Nazi furries, Furry Raiders are banned from events, Denfur convention is planned to take RMFC’s place.
  • RETALIATION: Late 2017 — Denfur is targeted with a scheme to falsely book rooms so the con will fail; Denfur restarts room booking.
  • An ex-Furry Raider comes out about Foxler leading the scheme to cost Denfur $40,000 with stolen credit cards and ID’s (possibly from RMFC).
  • Early 2018 — Discord bans nazi servers where Unite the Right was planned and sweeps out members, Nazi furries are banned with them.
  • March 2018 — a prominent alt-right troll (Weev) joins Furry Raiders with hopes to bring Foxler to Richard Spencer events.
  • May 2018 — FurAffinity bans numerous nazi-furry accounts with a new policy against promoting hate groups.
  • August 2018 — Denfur breaks attendance records, security marches Foxler out.
  • April 2019 — Foxler arrested for child sex offense coinciding with RMFC 2015, previously unknown here.
  • RETALIATION: Fall 2019 — Furry Raiders team up with a prominent alt-right troll (Milo Yiannopoulos) to troll Midwest Furfest.
  • Followup finds ties between nazi furries and a violent gang (the Proud Boys); Milo wanted street fights at MFF, but he was stopped from going.
  • RETALIATION: Late 2019 — Dogpatch Press targeted with intimidation scheme, reports to police lead to 2 arrests of Furry Raiders.
  • Through 2020 — Dogpatch Press story about violent threats by nazi furries collects the most evidence yet. There’s ties in FBI reports of swatting schemes, violent hate groups recruiting kids, and murders in Charlottesville and Texas.

2019: Kovar and Milo plan for MFF.

Keep your eyes open for these groups. They chase power even with constant consequences for being toxic. More than ever, furries can point to this story as evidence for how to handle them the first time they show up.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Meet Fuzzyfin, a licensed therapist and furry with insider understanding.

Wed 24 Feb 2021 - 10:00

Yesterday’s story looked at finding therapists in the furry community, who might get things like LGBT issues or the benefit of role-play. Meet one.

I am a licensed independent marriage and family therapist in Ohio. My furry name is “Fuzzyfin“.

I have been in the fandom since before I was a therapist. Being in furry actually helped me quiet a bit, as a queer women, to help find myself authentically. I was able to explore and witness things like the leather and BDSM/Kink community (as there is a lot of overlap). In experiencing these things personally, it has greatly helped me as a clinician. Clients want to see someone who “gets it” and won’t pathologize them.

One of the big issues that clients face, is a lot of scrutiny for being involved in “non traditional” interests. I am open on my website that I am involved in the furry fandom, and have been told by clients that it helps them feel more comfortable and not judged. It has also helped me in being comfortable talking about things like gender expression, sexuality, and intersectionality of power and privilege.

I love talking and teaching about furry. I gave a Sexology on Tap talk in January 2020 locally in Columbus. I gave a presentation to MFT students at Akron University late last year. 2019 was my first year as track lead for the Mental Health, Nature, and Spirituality track at Midwest Furfest. It has been great to give presentations on how to find a therapist and how to manage anxiety at a convention.

I am constantly learning, I am a member of AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) as well as the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom. I am currently taking additional courses in sexuality and sex therapy.

The pandemic has definitely created a unique situation. I work with A LOT of couples/polyam folx, which I have noticed the issues within their relationships being amplified by feelings of helplessness and being stuck. It has amplified stress on folks. Honestly, the hardest time during COVID for me as a clinician was during the Jan 6th insurrection. Clients were terrified and I was terrified, things were changing so quickly. I might be a therapist, but I am still a human.

As a mental health professional, I am also exhausted, holding space for folks right now while also going through our own stuff.

Furry is unique in that a majority of the community is online, but the lack of cons has created a massive hole in connection. I know we are all tired and that need of connection is so great right now, while at the same time having that connection leads to a lot of risk. I have a lot of conversations with clients comparing safe sex conversations to COVID risk – and how to talk about risk with folks “in your bubble”. I am thankful things like Zoom and Discord exist, as it enables face to face connection. I know COVID will forever change my profession, it has allowed me to meet people “in their house” by being virtual. I have been able to get an emergency license for KY. I also now am licensed in FL and not just Ohio. It has removed some of the barriers to seeing folks. I am seeing folks I never would have seen before being online.

Fuzzyfin is like many furries — multiskilled and generous about sharing. Here’s hoping to catch one of her talks in the future.

UPDATE: talk shared by Hund the Hound.

Follow Fuzzyfin on Twitter or visit her site.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

A furry look at lockdown vibes and finding therapy

Tue 23 Feb 2021 - 10:00

Fun is good for you. Furries know it. Get a fursona and have fun with art, stories, role play, or putting on a carpet and doing silly voices. How about news reporting with a silly voice that makes dogs flip their heads to the side? (I was on a podcast this week.)

Sick of lockdown? More than ever, people need fun to stay well, but options are limited: “The pandemic has evaporated entire categories of friendship, and by doing so, depleted the joys that make up a human life—and buoy human health.

You can talk to people online, but social media has bad vibes that are hard to ignore. Expecting bad ideas to get neutralized by good ideas is a bad idea at this point. Stoking them can turn into mass hysteria. Or mega-hysteria. (Megascale is a thing now, but here’s some history:)

“Whose turn is it to clean the litterbox?”

OK, I don’t think soldiers should come whip people for meowing (kinky) but there are problems that don’t get fixed with meowing back.

Speaking of mass hysteria, look how a thing like QAnon jumped from online to real life. It’s the conspiracy theory about satan-worshipping pedo-cannibals ruling the world from a “Deep State” who were supposed to get rounded up by the Messiah Trump. What a sentence. I’m just a talking dog, but that doesn’t sound healthy. I have no idea what those people are doing now, but they might need help to come back down to earth.

Sometimes you need professional help.

This started with a friend having the idea of a therapist finder for furries, because if you are one, you might prefer someone who gets your reality. Think of professionals who get common LGBT issues and won’t judge role-playing. I gathered some comments about this.

I'm a therapist! Feel free to reach out!

— FuzzyFin #BlackLivesMatter (@TheFuzzyFin) February 15, 2021

Anon furry tip:

I have a counselor who’s been very open and accepting about the whole ‘furry’ thing, though it took several years to come up. We also spoke about it in the context of something else, and so I ended up talking about how I entered the fandom, what my initial experiences were, and how early interactions shaped me (both positively and negatively). There were a few questions they had to ask more than once, but overall I feel like the fact that they hadn’t known anything about the fandom previously was a big help. I had a similarly positive experience with a hypnotherapist. Oddly enough, both of them were professionals who’d decided to train as counselors later in life.

For therapists with furry clients, from Furscience, via MythicalRedFox:

I was just thinking the other day how it’d be nice to have a therapist that is a furry. Getting a therapist up to speed on furry context has always been a barrier. There is this: Clinical Interaction with Anthropomorphic Phenomenon: Notes for Health Professionals about Interacting with Clients Who Possess This Unusual Identity.

Finding help online might not be as easy as you think, says Furscience:

A big challenge is the restriction on therapists to practice only in the state they are licensed.

— Furscience! (@furscience) February 15, 2021

A caveat from Hero of None:

I don’t know many furry therapists, but I’ve certainly seen several that aren’t. Discords and Telegram chats, just like twitter, are not good places to discuss mental health issues, especially in “anonymous” help channels. Always seek accredited & professional therapists! I think we’re both familiar with at least one furry group that promotes said ‘help’ to furries, just to boost their membership numbers and with no accredited therapists on its constantly shifting staff list. =\

Reassurance from Horrible Horse and more furries:

This reminds me of work with my therapist, where we’ve discussed Furry Fandom often; everything from him having a little knowledge about BLFC to my unadulterated joy at Foxtrot (furry dance), how Furry helped me embrace my gayness, and how anthro deer are the epitome of men I find attractive.

I have a sex therapist too. He's the most understanding one I've ever met regarding Furry culture.

— Scrimno (@Scrimno) February 16, 2021

That’s a good start… but what would therapy be like for various animals?

  • Therapy dog: “Nobody ever asks how *I* feel…”
  • Housecat: “I get in trouble for sleeping around.”
  • Owl: “It feels like I’m always watching my back”.
  • Groundhog: “I can’t get one day for myself without people expecting things from me.”
  • Porcupine: “I’m working on less prickly relationships.”
  • Sheep: “Is it OK if I’m attracted to farmers and Scottish people?”
  • Bear: “My parents were overbearing and I’m learning not to panda to them.”
  • Cow: “I’m getting help for a moo disorder.”

Tomorrow, check out what Fuzzyfin has to say about being a furry therapist!

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Bearly Furcasting Feat. Taebyn Podcast story.

Mon 1 Feb 2021 - 10:00

(Patch:) Welcome to a guest article about a furry podcast that rocks! 

I’m a frequent podcast listener, and almost everything I follow is scripted, not unproduced/free-form. My list has documentary, history, arts & culture, tech, journalism, interview shows, and true crime. Some have playful concepts. Timesuck has history and true crime told by a comedian. Excuse Me, That’s Illegal is a delightful snack instead of a deep dark murder show, with absurd little stories of softcore crime. Radio Rental has creepy true stories that are like the Twilight Zone with a “crytpkeeper” host. 

Most furry podcasts didn’t do it for me by using unproduced style, and rarely in fursona. Then I heard Bearly Furcasting Feat. Taebyn. It’s playful yet produced, with great curation. Every show is a treat because of a different notable guest from the fandom. They have hosted two pettable guests from this site: Summercat and Moi. 

Bearly Furcasting is up for the Ursa Major Award nomination (for the Magazine category, and if you nominate them we all win!) Go nominate NOW, the deadline is February 13. Now here’s Taebyn and Bearly’s own story!

In 2017 Taebyn and Bearly began a collaboration to make entertaining YouTube videos for Taebyn’s channel. Their very first YouTube together was a Storytime with Taebyn where Taebyn read the story Playful Puppies. Story Time With Taebyn #1 – Playful Puppies.

They were pretty successful in putting out content on a regular basis. They produced Storytime videos, Cooking videos, Helpful Hints, Math Vids, Product Reviews, Poetry, Songs/Drumming, and con vids.  Then COVID struck, and they were unable to get together due to the various quarantines. So while video production is on hold for now, they hope to get back to them as well as the podcast once the restrictions are lifted. In January 2020, at Further Confusion, (the last con they attended before the pandemic), they had talked about doing a podcast and so they felt the time was right to get it rolling.

Funny thing is, neither of them had done any podcasting before, and while videography is fairly straight forward, podcasting takes an entirely different skillset.

With all the best intentions in the world, they plunked down the money for hosting and equipment and jumped in the deep end with both paws.  At the time of this writing they have published 40 episodes.  New episodes of the podcast are published every Saturday.

Furry podcasting, it turns out, isn’t that unique. Much like furry YouTube videographers, there are many furry podcasters out there.  Each has their own style, their own spin, and their own niche.  Bearly and Taebyn have talked to several other podcasters and most don’t do a ‘produced’ show like ours.  A ‘produced’ show means it is pre-recorded and the content edited to make it flow and ensure some consistency. Pre-recording allows for moving the audio around if something is forgotten or needs to be added later.

Like many podcasters, episode #1 was short, tinny, and not very polished. When they started they just chatted with each other, talked about their lives, and shared a few jokes, and the episodes were only about 30 minutes long. After a few episodes, they started inviting guests on the show. They thought they would never get any real high power guests, but were gladly mistaken. They have had well known authors, artists, Con chairs, fursuit makers, musicians, entertainers, and more than a few notable furs.  With guests, and all the regular segments, the podcast episodes run between an hour and an hour and a half.

Around episode 5 they decided to give a section to any fur that could log in to chat with them.  It is called; Five Minute Furs for Fun!  It has seen a limited success because they only put the link out on their Fan chat on Telegram: BFFT Chat.  It is open to anyone in the chat, and that chat is open to anyone to join. They invite the readers to join them there.

The format for the show seems to be working for them and they hear good things from those who listen. Taebyn and Bearly are serious punsters and bad joke aficionado’s so they spend a lot of time sharing really bad jokes, and in fact there is a section of the show devoted solely for those jokes.   There are other on-going segments in each episode, such as “Furries in the News” and either a “Storytime” or “Math With Taebyn”. Early episodes saw Bearly asking Taebyn some This or That questions, but over time Bearly ran out of choices, and now will ask Taebyn Trivia Questions.  The format is evolving and it is hard to say what the podcast will sound like a year from now, or even a few weeks from now.  They are constantly coming up with new ideas!

The Podiverse is a strange collective. Podcasts are like the old radio shows of the golden age of radio, there are talk shows, scripted shows, game shows, and variety shows. The only difference is that now all is electronic, and anyone with a computer and a microphone can create content. One person can record themselves for a bit and publish it, and that is the most basic and simple aspect.  Other shows have full blown studio’s actors, and huge budgets, that is the other end of the spectrum. Bearly and Taebyn’s little BFFT podcast falls closer to the basic level, but has grown over the weeks. They now have a staff of two associate editors, a music associate, and a talent director.  BFFT is unique because of it’s format, being furry-centric with lots of notable furs in the fandom, and that Taebyn is on it – he’s quite a crazy puppy.

Every Saturday is a new podcast on all pod platforms and YouTube. If you want to interact with other fans and staff of the podcast, you can join our telegram chat: BFFT Chat https://t.co/3JHnCjm6Bw

— Bearly Furcasting (@furcasting) December 5, 2020

Behind the Mic:

Taebyn is a pup, a mere 4.5 years old, but he was born with an innate sense for math and humor. His timing is impeccable, but his lack of concentration often leaves co-host Bearly trying to corral him into the subject matters.  Taebyn is the epitome of a Friendly Fur and a wonderful ambassador for the Furry Fandom. He is always positive, always friendly, and will hug just about anyone, anyfur, or anything!

Bearly came to the fandom as the valet for Taebyn. After meeting him for the first time it was apparent he needed adult supervision at most events, and while Taebyn’s husband can sometimes do that, Bearly took up the reins and spends time ensuring Taebyn gets things done in a timely manner when at cons and when doing the podcast. Bearly has often joked he was going to run a panel on how to be a Fursuit Valet!

Bearly does most of the behind the scenes work for the podcast including editing, finalizing guests, directing the podcast, and producing the content, he does this with the minimal training in mass media and broadcasting that he learned at the local community access channel in Salem, Oregon, as well as tapping his experience in creating online training content for his full time employment in the Normy World.

Taebyn is, for lack of a better term, the face of the podcast.  He always refers to it as the Pupcast, and the episodes as Pupisodes, even though Bearly has never called it either of those. Many guests come to the show because they love Taebyn and his crazy antics.

barkwags! This week, we chat with the curator of the "Furry Library" SummerCat @Bengaley ! He's also a fur from way back and even attended some PrancingSkilitaire parties! And other big words and jokes and info happen in this pupisode! https://t.co/1sDOR75JpV

— Taebyn (@TaebynPup) January 30, 2021

Notable furs on the show:

All the guests they have had on the show have been marvelous, and they hate to single out any one fur, but they were both surprised at the number of downloads of Episode 8. That was the episode with Paco Panda. They had no idea just how popular he was and the downloads show it! That episode is still being downloaded today and the numbers keep going up, that episode is their most listened to. Paco even drew a picture of Taebyn and Bearly during the interview and that is what is on the banner of their Twitter.

Taebyn points out that all the guests have been great, though one unique moment was in episode #25 when he played Jeopardy with BuckTown Tiger.  BuckTown was a Jeopardy champion, so this was a great experience for Taebyn.  Checking out their WikiFur page, you will see the list of all the notable furs they have had on the show. Chatting with all of them has been an honor and a pleasure, they wouldn’t trade that for anything.

At first the guests were approached because they were well known to Taebyn and Bearly, or because they were fans of the guest.  As time has gone by, they have tried to get a mix of furry contributors that make up the fandom.  Past guests sometimes suggest others to be on the show, while other times they discover notable furs on various media and invite them to be on the podcast. As of this writing they have guest bookings 8 weeks in advance! They are trying to get some of the charities from the various Cons to come on the show and talk about their organizations, however this seems to be harder than getting furs on there.

bark! New pupisode! This time, I interview Patch O'Fur, founder of @DogpatchPress FurryNews! And also, more horrible puns and jokes as always! Join us fur the fun!https://t.co/3EPOyIZsgf

— Taebyn (@TaebynPup) August 29, 2020

To the Future:

Taebyn and Bearly are hoping to start video production soon after the pandemic is over and will continue to do the podcast as well. They really like being contributors to the furry community and love that so many furs find fun and friendship with their podcast.

While doing a podcast is a lot of work: two recording sessions a week, guest bookings, equipment maintenance, editing and all the other adjacent details that go along with it, Bearly and Taebyn wouldn’t give it up for anything!

If you would like to hear the episodes or know what was on every episode you can visit the Bearly Furcasting Wikifur page or their podcast’s website: http://bearlyfurcasting.buzzsprout.com/. The podcast is available on all major podcast platforms or can be downloaded through direct RSS from their webpage.  You can contact them at Bearlyfurcasting@gmail.com, on their Twitter: @Furcasting, or on their telegram at BFFT Chat. Find them on Youtube: Injured Nerves Productions and Taebyn.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Ursa Major Awards and 3rd annual Good Furry Award are open for nominations

Wed 27 Jan 2021 - 10:00

DUTY CALLS FOR THE FANDOM! The Ursa Major awards are coming. Every year, furry creators (and mainstream creations) are up for nominations. For 2020’s movies, art, books, news magazines, and more… which ones will the community choose as favorites?

Nominate HERE for the Ursas, but don’t wait until it’s too late! February 13 is the deadline.

Furry ancestors spent ages of building temples for these works (well, there’s a website at least). Please support those who you want recognized with pets and praises.

Since 2001, these awards have been run with long hours of work by volunteers. They would appreciate any support you can give to defray costs for a website, making and mailing awards, and more.

The Awards committee could use help! Want to be on it? Leave a comment to be contacted. 

Categories:

  • Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture
  • Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work
  • Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Series
  • Best Anthropomorphic Novel
  • Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction
  • Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work
  • Best Anthropomorphic Non-Fiction Work
  • Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story
  • Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip
  • Best Anthropomorphic Magazine
  • Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration
  • Best Anthropomorphic Game
  • Best Anthropomorphic Website
  • Best Anthropomorphic Costume (Fursuit)

2021 GOOD FURRY AWARD – Nominate furries HERE.

The Good Furry Award is run by Grubbs Grizzly to recognize furries who make outstanding positive contributions to the fandom. The first one in 2019 went to Tony “Dogbomb” Barrett. In 2020 the award (and a $500 check) went to Ash Coyote (read about her on the site.) Her movie The Fandom: A Furry Documentary is on the Ursa Majors recommended list and got a review here.

Grubbs explains on the nomination page:

The Good Furry Award is about community spirit. This is not an award for who is the best fursuiter or artist or writer. It is not about being the most popular or being the furry who is seen on news broadcasts. It is about furries who do good works to promote and sustain the fandom and who represent the best in furry. Examples might be a person who does extraordinary work as a furcon volunteer, or who runs a charity, or who has done a lot to help furries in need, or who does something to promote a positive image of furries to the mundane world. I’m sure you understand the phrase “community spirit,” so nominate people based on that concept. The same goes for groups of people, organizations, and even businesses that help out furries.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

2020: A year of loss — Fundraising and fursuiting for charity in the midst of a global pandemic — by Joe G. Bear

Thu 31 Dec 2020 - 10:00

Joe Goria (Joe G. Bear) last wrote about the 2019 ALS Walk.

Furries have done annual fundraising for ALS patients and families in honor of Dogbomb, raising several hundred thousand so far.

Charity events canceled: “What A Difference A Year Makes…”

That statement couldn’t have been more truer than THIS year. I don’t believe any of us would have predicted that 2020 would plunge us into a global pandemic not seen in over 100 years, and that our way of life – our ‘normal’ would change so remarkably in a short period of time. To be honest, this year has brought me closer to my own mortality, so I’m grateful to be safe and healthy (so far…)

As the COVID-19 Pandemic hit the United States in early March, affecting all major in-person events from concerts, sporting events and for many of us in “The Fandom,” furmeets and furry conventions – the most devastating casualty of this pandemic have been to people’s jobs and their own livelihoods. We all know someone or an entire family who has suffered greatly these last few months, and it’s heartbreaking. We should also mention those who are employed in our healthcare system, especially furries who have worked under extremely difficult circumstances in hospitals across our nation. “Thank You” for your dedication and service.

Even with the promise of important vaccines being rolled out this month and well into 2021, the after-effects of 2020 will still be with us for some time – especially for one major aspect of our society that can never take a backseat. Charities and Non-Profit organizations like March of Dimes & The ALS Association have been hit particularly hard as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the cancellations of in-person donor drives and events like “The March for Babies” in Los Angeles and “The Walk to End ALS” in Orange County, CA.

Hardships inspire a personal commitment to help.

The “2019 Walk to End ALS” was Joe Bear’s first major charitable event. The success of Furries coming together to remember and support one of our own, Tony ‘Dogbomb’ Barrett was the light that brought a purpose to fursuiting beyond a weekend convention – an ‘enlightening’ that gave me determination to continue the cause. It would be supporting the amazing folks at The ALS Association, and the upcoming 20th Anniversary “Walk to End ALS” in November, 2020. Plans were being finalized for the event when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in mid-March.

One recent Gallup poll surveyed giving trends since the pandemic began. Though donations from corporate sponsors and foundations have increased, donations from individuals and families have plummeted as result of financial concerns and/or job loss. Approximately 40% of Americans reported direct financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

Many charitable organizations like The ALS Association were affected by the abrupt cancellations of spring and summer events. As the pandemic raged through a late summer surge – “The Walk to End ALS” would change from an ‘in-person’ walk to a ‘virtual’ event online. The loss of in-person events can be very disappointing to any charitable organization, as it affects overall financial goal planning for much-needed services to those suffering from this deadly disease. (ALS is also named ‘Lou Gehrig’s Disease’ after the beloved Major League Baseball player who succumbed to it in 1941.) The work of The ALS Association can never take a break, as their services are always needed for people suffering from ALS – especially during a pandemic. It has to be extremely stressful not just for the patient, but for the families and loved ones involved.

I felt THIS year was the one year to get more involved to really make a difference, to make a larger impact than 2019.

November 2020 at the ALSAOCC in Southern California

Encouragement from a friend outside the fandom.

I was more fortunate than others who had experienced job loss, as I work for a major telecommunications giant that kept the offices open. We were deemed ‘essential,’ and believe me – we were quite busy taking calls since March for customers needing ‘Fiber Internet’ installed in their homes, as many would be ‘working from home.’ I would work alongside my co-worker, carpool partner and friend, Gale Ballard.

I knew Gale for almost 20 years, dating back to when I started working for the company, then known as Pacific Bell. We both had a lot in common that surprised me. We were both proud graduates of Long Beach State University (B.A. 1994), and we were involved in Associated Students and Greek Life on Campus; I was Acacian (Acacia Fraternity) and Gale was in Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Ballard supported March of Dimes with a passion – each Spring I would donate to her fundraiser for “The March for Babies” drive as she walked alongside her friends, family and sorority ‘sisters’. Gale was my ‘best friend’ at the office, she kept me smiling and she was one of the first to accept me as a ‘Furry’ with no judgment in 2014 (after I explained to her with facts about our Fandom). She supported me completely being dressed up as a ‘Big Bear’ for The 2019 ALS Walk.

Gale Ballard admired ‘The Fandom’ for it’s generous contributions to various charities, especially when I shared a YouTube video of Furry Weekend Atlanta 2019’s closing ceremonies. It highlighted the convention Chair ‘Tiger Paw’ presenting a supersized large check donation of $50,000.00 for FWA’s designated charity “The Conservator’s Center.” Gale realized Furries were ‘pretty cool’ after hanging out with me, and admitted that she LOVED all the colorful ‘costumes. She wanted to attend a local SoCal Furmeet one day and meet some of my pals. She was a good friend of mine.

Shocking and unexpected news.

As we both live in Los Angeles County, and our job is in Orange County – Gale and I would often carpool to and from work. In mid-October, while I was on a week-long vacation Gale carpooled with another L.A. Area employee into work. Later that week, our office was hit with a Coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ event, one that affected 46 employees and managers. Gale got sick while I was away. By the time I returned to the office on October 19th, she messaged me that she wasn’t feeling well and would stay home.

We would never carpool again.

As the office outbreak forced me to take a vacation day on Friday, October 23rd to see my doctor and perform my first COVID-19 test in Torrance, the events of late Friday would change my life and break my heart. Our company announced the Tustin office would close for two weeks, through Monday, November 9th. Late Friday, I received a call from a good friend of mine and Gale’s, ‘George’ who worked with us for 19 years and recently retired. He didn’t mince words to me, and told me the somber news that Gale had suddenly passed away. I was in complete shock! I’d never expected to hear this news, as I just chatted with her the day before. I couldn’t believe it, I was in denial.

Gale was my ‘sunshine,’ she was there for me, supported me and cared for me. She was there for me when my Mom died in June, 2018 and supported me with my involvement with The ALS Association. She helped me get the word out for The 2019 ALS Walk, and helped gather donations from fellow coworkers. Gale Ballard was a very loving person that I miss every day. On November 4th, I personally said my “goodbye” to Gale at a pre-funeral viewing in Long Beach, attended by many. I finally broke down and cried. We also lost another employee a few days later, Darrell Harper. This was a nightmare for all of us who work in the office, because we are close knit… like family.

Joe remembers

Help from a community to rise above losses.

Gale Ballard’s sudden death made me determined to finish my goal: to participate in this year’s event by raising more donations than last year.

I knew fundraising in 2020 would be more challenging than 2019, as the pandemic had made it difficult to personally meet and talk to my fellow co-workers. Approximately 50% of my office would eventually ‘work from home.’ Many who did donate last year were simply not there, including those in the business department and certain Human Resources staff. Also, due to social distancing, we were not allowed to mingle and or be near other employees.

So, I used the power of social media messaging apps like Telegram to communicate to certain co-workers and retirees to help, and they came through! Nancy Hinh in HR, CWA 9510 VP Peter O’Brien, and even my former co-worker and ‘our’ good friend George Fields came in with generous donations. I say ‘Thank You!’ My family came through too, especially my Dad who has supported me graciously the last two years. He’s truly my ‘best friend’ and I love him very much!

Lastly, I can’t forget my friends in the Furry Fandom who came through with their support – Including those who donated in larger amounts this year, which was beyond AMAZING! One of my dearest friends in this fandom is a Blue Wolf from L.A. named “Truce,” who donated a whopping $800.00 to TEAM TONY and I’m forever grateful for his generosity. Truce knew ‘Dogbomb’ like many of us, and wanted to make a big difference this year. Well, he certainly did! San Francisco Furries ‘Rasher Boar’ & ‘Blue Badger’ chimed in with a hefty donation. There was a generous donation from a fellow Bear that I got to finally meet (and Hug) in Dallas during Texas Furry Fiesta 2020 just two weeks before the pandemic – Zio Bear. Thank You! Even our team captain, Trip E. Collie received multiple donations from “Blue,” totalling $1800.00 for TEAM TONY. “Blue” also donated $800.00 for the microphone set that helped with the virtual broadcast for those who couldn’t attend the “ALS Walk & Roll” Drive-Up by car. These were Furries who delivered the difference, despite the pandemic.

THIS IS WHAT WE DO, THIS IS WHAT FURRIES DO – HELP OTHERS! This couldn’t be more truer than at a pivotal time like today, in the midst of a global pandemic.

Rolling out a new kind of event.

In mid-October, The ALS Association of Orange County came up with an interesting concept. ALSOC Chapter Development & Operations Coordinator Denise Greek expanded the planned virtual ‘Walk’ . It would include a “Drive-Thru” event in front of The ALS Association offices in Tustin, and very close to my office. ALSOC is located in a business park across from METROLINK Tustin train station with expanded driveways to accommodate ‘Tent Stations’ for easy drive-up to pickup merchandise and an ‘Exit Tent’ to provide bagged lunches. I thought this was a great idea. There would be live music from a local DJ, prize giveaways, and above all – I could fursuit in a safe matter while attendees would remain in their vehicles. It would be my way to be involved in a ‘in-person’ setting while putting a ‘furry smile’ for the drive-up attendees.

On Saturday, November 14th we had “The 2020 Walk & Roll to Defeat ALS” Drive-Thru event in Tustin. It was something I’d never experienced before, but it was fun & memorable.

I arrived early with my friends & ‘Fursuit Handlers’ Ken Murata & Guadalupe ‘Junior’. With the blessing from Denise Greek & ALSOC Executive Director Natalie Villegas – I was able to use one of the storage rooms to ‘Suit Up.’ Our team captain ‘Trip E. Collie’ did not fursuit (I love his fursuit, FYI) as he handled the virtual broadcast of the event. He was hidden ‘Behind The Scenes’ handling master control inside the offices, while presenter Bonnie Yu and cameraman Dave Hsiung would report on the festivities outside. Tents were positioned across the long business park driveway near the ALSOC Offices. The main ALS Association Donor Table was near the front of the office entrance, alongside the DJ booth near the drive-thru ‘Balloon Archway’ that would identify the finish line.

I wouldn’t be the only fursuiter in attendance during “Walk & Roll to Defeat ALS.” My good friend and someone who was very close to Tony ‘Dogbomb’ Barrett named “Whiskey Foxtrot” joined me. We were ‘The Mighty Furry Duo” throughout the event, as we both waved and cheered on as attendees passed under the Balloon Archway in their vehicles. Later we handed out bagged lunches at the ‘Exit Tent’ to attendees in their cars. Imagine trying to hold a lunch tray wearing bear paws with hard resin claws – it was a challenge I must admit.

Whiskey Foxtrot and Joe G. Bear

Success in excess

After fursuiting for three hours, dancing away to the music while waving and thanking so many attendees in their vehicles, our work was done. I had a fun time, participating in something that was quite different from the ordinary but also very important. We weren’t going to let the pandemic stop us from showing how much we care for those in need. ZOOM virtual app was nice, but the drive-up charity concept was a great alternative and safe too.

I was humbled when I got so many ‘THANK YOU’s from people. The smiles from all over appreciating us for just being there were quite touching. I especially enjoyed being in ‘selfie’ shots alongside Whiskey. It’s something I’ll cherish for a long time.

In the end, we held our hands and paws up high! The ALS Association of Orange County held a successful hybrid virtual/drive-thru charity event with safety in mind. Thanks to my donors, I was able to not only meet my modest goal of $1000.00, I was able to exceed my goal by 161.5% with a total of $1615.00! I crushed my 2019 numbers by almost $700! TEAM TONY was a small, but MIGHTY group of 9 Furries led by the amazing Trip E. Collie – and exceeded it’s goal by 117.7% with a grand total of $5885.00!

I’m proud to be involved with The ALS Association and looking forward to 2021 and beyond, post-pandemic.

‘Dogbomb’ and Gale would’ve been proud.

9 furries joined Team Tony for the 2020 fundraiser.

Joe’s page

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The mystery of the National Police Organization: why is it mass-blocking furries?

Tue 29 Dec 2020 - 10:39

It came up so randomly.

Some say the fans of My Little Pony are furries, because the colorful ponies are talking animals. What about members of a certain profession? What if they’re pink with hooves, blue uniforms, and lots of them think white is the best color… those are the colors of a certain Pride flag, but I suspect the similarity ends there.

We could ask the National Police Association, but it isn’t talking.

On December 27, Twitter user @EnnexTheFox first noticed being blocked. Lots of puzzled furries chimed in to say they were blocked too. 90 minutes later, @satansmoustache blew it up with the (currently) highest-seen post about the organization which seems to officially represent police.

Only it doesn’t. So why is it blocking? The answer may come from the way it gets people to blow things up.

The National Police Association (@NatPoliceAssoc) is doing a targeted mass-block of furries, that's fucking hilarious

— Satan's Moustache (@satansmoustache) December 27, 2020

Damn, also my account @FurryToday which just tweets out furry related videos every weekday and doesn't engage in comments was blocked.

— Changa Husky (@LurkingGrue) December 28, 2020

Most likely. Lots of LGBTQA+ individuals are also advocates for progressive policies, so we're seen as a threat.

— ⸸ SATANIC SAETHYR ⸸ (@SaethyrS) December 28, 2020

Apparently the so called "National Police Association" is now blockchaining trans people, furries, and any other group known to be sympathetic to minorities.

Definitely not a white nationalist group masquerading as a more innocuous organization.

— Celestial Emily (@Celestial_Emily) December 28, 2020

Yeah it's probably not just furries on the list!

— Satan's Moustache (@satansmoustache) December 27, 2020

I saw that high profile feminist and trans accounts are also blocked

— Kanab (@kanab_farsen) December 28, 2020

Sorry everyone it's my fault pic.twitter.com/pIscz5o4nR

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 28, 2020

Lots of speculation, and some answers.

As Twitter shows, people can run away with their own stories. A little research finds some facts in Indiana news from 2019.

(IndyStar: This Indianapolis charity says it helps police. Police chiefs say it’s a scam.)

  • People in many states got sensational letters about crime to raise donations — the fearmongering almost sounds like a protection racket!
  • Donation money didn’t go to police, it went to a newly registered nonprofit that police didn’t know about.
  • Police departments in four states issued “scam alerts” for misleading messages.
  • IndyStar: “The National Police Association, which was formed in 2017, is not a membership organization. Its only physical presence is a P.O. Box in Indianapolis. With no paid staff, the nonprofit is run by three volunteers.”
  • The nonprofit’s treasurer: “The NPA utilizes a third-party company to conduct fundraising”.
  • Direct Response Consulting Services does mail and “email marketing, web, social media, and telemarketing”.
  • The funds seemed to be intended for crime prevention, but went to politics.

This leads me to some observations.

(1) This organization heavily relies on marketing service because they make hundreds of thousands in donations from it.
(2) The Twitter isn’t run by police looking at protest, it’s run by social media managers looking at engagement.
(3) Marketing may use mass-blocking for anything that doesn’t suit good P.R.
(4) Somehow a lot of furries ended up on a commercially used list.
(5) Remember Tony the Tiger? In 2016, he mass-blocked furries because they kept asking for his cummies.

Yeah, I’d go out on a limb and say this whole thing isn’t because police don’t like furries. That may be projecting more awareness than there is.

It’s more likely because furries are highly active for… not the most corporate-friendly reasons. Not activity that would raise donations to police, and it might lower them. (Besides P.R. or harassment concern, an A.I. sorted list could tie furries with #BLM and far-left activism even if the marketers don’t know it.)

Now, for other animals, furries donate millions in charity.

There’s one thing the news didn’t notice about The National Police Association that perked up my ears. IndyStar said the new org was registered in 2017 (and Guidestar confirms it). But they joined Twitter in 2010. Or at least, an account was made under some name, and who knows what exchanges were made?

No matter how many furries are blocked, they may be a tiny percent of 96.9K followers, and the NPA surely has a lot going on that we don’t see.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

2020 update for the Ursa Major Awards and The Good Furry Award for Ash Coyote

Mon 14 Dec 2020 - 10:00

Something cool just came in the mail. It’s better than a Christmas present. It’s the Ursa Major Award for the year’s best anthropomorphic magazine!

The Ursa Major Awards are for public voting for the best furry movies, books, comics, art and more from the previous year. If you know of good 2020 works to share, the Recommended Anthropomorphics List is open NOW. Tell them what you love: recommended@ursamajorawards.org. Check out the list if you’re looking for good stuff to watch and read. Nominations for the next awards will start later in January 2021.

The most recent winners were decided a while ago, but it took time for everyone to get awards in the mail just recently. The awards depend on volunteer work by Rod O’Riley, the co-founder of ConFurence (with Mark Merlino). Rod and Mark run the Prancing Skiltaire house in Southern California and have been together for 40 years.

2 of the best things in the fandom! https://t.co/hhyRR8osYK

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 27, 2020

2020 Good Furry Award for Ash Coyote

News about The Good Furry Award was waiting so I could share these together. The award is run by Grubbs Grizzly to recognize furries who make outstanding positive contributions to the fandom. In June, the award (and a $500 check) went to Ash Coyote and she made a video about it.

The Good Furry Award site has more about Ash Coyote and how she features furries on Youtube. Her full length movie The Fandom: A Furry Documentary is on the Ursa Majors recommended list and got a great review here. It’s full of archival video from early fandom times when Mark and Rod were starting the first furry con.

More furry news

Mark Merlino sent a story to publish soon about hosting Alan Dean Foster as a guest at ConFurence. Foster is the accomplished science fiction author who recently got mainstream headlines for being unpaid by Disney and fighting for his rights.

In Mark’s story, their small furry con got Foster to attend when he turned down an invitation from Worldcon. I also got replies from the producer who optioned Foster’s Spellsinger series for a movie and announced it at a furry con back in 2011.

The Dogpatch Press SPECIAL FEATURES AND TOP ARTICLES page is getting long-due updates to list over 6 years of stories. One is the mega-list of Furclubs around the world (independent night club parties for furries). Their history is the topic of a long piece shared on Patreon. It was written for a book that came out in 2017. Now it can be seen online for patrons.

I just shared a 5400 word story for the special cool $5 and up patrons at https://t.co/vv4jWFjLCW. pic.twitter.com/8Zho80wlkQ

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 29, 2020

Check out Rod O’Riley’s own news site, InFurNation which covers movies, books, comics and more with furry appeal.

Freshly posted on Twitter: my literary rabbithole thread about a 1920’s LGBT proto-furry who influenced science fiction.

Photos requested with the award.

I’m so proud to get notice from Rod, the award volunteers and you if you enjoy any of the stories and helped vote for this. There wouldn’t be good furry news without you.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news, r/furrywriters, or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Despite COVID-19, hamster mascot back for Christmas

Fri 11 Dec 2020 - 10:00

Welcome to Dutch furry guest writer Jack Newhorse.

Albert Heijn is the biggest supermarket chain in The Netherlands, a country of 17 million people in northwestern Europe. Its hamster mascot is often seen in video ads and in the weekly circular. And for those who don’t mind seeing a (toy) hamster being ripped to shreds, it’s even available as a squeaky dog toy.

The Dutch word for hoarding is hamstering (“hamsteren”): The mascots were created for promotions that encourage consumers to stock up. You don’t “squirrel it away” there, you hamster it away!

But the “AH” hamsters were forced back into their burrows when the wordplay that brought them to life became grim. As hoarding led to depleted shelves in the first weeks of COVID-19, the grocery’s “hamsterweken” (hamster week) sales seemed inappropriate. Within a few days, the hamsters were gone.

Now they’re back to celebrate Christmas. As a company spokesperson told NU.nl (English translation), “The hamsters are once again for sale in the store as a stuffed animal and a Christmas ornament. They’re also giving a bit of color to this week’s print ad.”

Online, the store offers several ornaments, including one with the hamster in a kigu-like moose onesie. The store’s collection of plushies — which the Dutch charmingly call knuffelbeestjes, or “cuddle beasts” — includes a “Hamster Piet“. Thankfully, a non-racist version.

Despite the hamsters’ anthropomorphism, Dutch furries surveyed for this article were mostly blasé about them. Mike Nighthowl said he finds them “Slightly annoying. Yet I miss them as they’re kinda iconic. Without them advertisements get even more bland and therefore almost seem more interrupting.” And Kuva Klik (aka DJ-Code Y) writes, “The hamsters are quite funny. I remember seeing some commercials featuring them when I was younger. [But] I don’t watch regular television now, so I wouldn’t have known they were missing if it weren’t for the news article about it.”

——

Jack Newhorse is an American-born writer in The Netherlands, furry since 1998. He runs the coronavirus-postponed event Otterdance.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news, r/furrywriters, or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Music review: the fantasy soundtracks of Baumarius Remastered

Thu 10 Dec 2020 - 10:00

A review request came in from Lucas Masoch:

My new album Baumarius Remastered is an 85-track, 5-hour-long compilation of my work over the years, featuring music that falls within the realm of avant-garde, psychedelic, orchestral soundtrack, epic trailer, post-rock, and world music; often a combination of these. You can listen to the album here on Youtube.

As a confirmed night owl, most of my work happens between midnight and dawn. This is the chilly season for Northern California fog, so I work with a lit fireplace and dogs lounging on fluffy covers nearby. When I put Baumarius on, the cozy level was off the charts.

5 hours of music is great for immersion, but a lot to review. So I used it as background for working with occasional extra attention.

Baumarius Remastered is packed with arboreal, pagan, and fairytale vibes to summon furry creativity. For more than personal listening, it would also be good for a chillout or cuddle space at a party, an art exhibit, a moody video game, or a group art making session. Another Youtube mix of it is labeled: Calming Fantasy & Adventure Music for Writing, Sleep, & Emotional Inspiration.

Art by RavenGearProduction / SheilaGrace

Even with 85 tracks to pick from, the whole album is very consistent — all of them are a few minutes long, using a familiar palette of smooth, digitally-perfect orchestral sounds. I could slide in like a warm pool and never get distracted while soaking it up.

What can I say about it critically? Don’t expect anything like pop singles. The transitions from piece to piece are seamless and the whole experience meanders, but it’s like playing hooky to wander in the woods because you want to. Between overly pompous or trivially whimsical extremes, I think it hits the right balance without overstaying its welcome. I like some avant-garde music (Cabaret Voltaire is one of my forever favorites) and I would classify this as more like comfort food than experiments with itchy dissonance and sound collage, or signature production style. Not that I’d expect it to be what it isn’t; it’s the opposite of funky, but sometimes your ass needs to settle down so you can think. As a non-musician, all I could ask for in future work is to go beyond playing with a nice palette of sounds, and emphazise compositions with direction and solid motifs that your ears can grab. There’s a lot of forest, but can we see the trees?

Notes on a few tracks:

  • 59. Finding Self. A dissonant ending.
  • 61. Dreaming Together. Hiccup strings.
  • 62. Losing Paradise. Nervous energy and clock chimes in a speedup tempo.
  • 66. Mindhacker. Slippy slidy whistle and cello.
  • 68. Ghostwing. Stormy weather.
  • 69. In Control. A bit all over the place actually, with a piano crash thrown in.
  • 73. Into the Heart of the Beast. Arresting opening like a slightly ominous chorus of swamp creatures at night.
  • 77. The Escape. The echoey string layers give it extra space.
  • 80. Thunderstruck. Electricity buzzes, crackles and surges.

Try making art with this on and share it to the musician, I’m sure it would get a great response!

Artist bio and links:

Lucas Masoch is a Puerto Rican multimedia artist and synesthete who specializes in creating avant-garde orchestral soundtracks and music-based synesthetic visual effects. He has two musical acts, known as Baumarius and Syamori, which have influences from genres such as trailer and soundtrack music, psychedelic music, trip hop, and EDM. He began his creative journey in self-isolation at the age of 14, exploring mediums such as writing, inking, digital art, 3D modeling, and virtual reality in an effort to find ways to express himself. That journey eventually brought him the courage and opportunity to leave his family at 19, ditching their doomsday cult to live among strangers halfway across the United States. Recovering from the environmental and social deprivation the cult provided was no easy feat, but now he thrives among friends and resides in Pennsylvania with his partner Marroh.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news, r/furrywriters, or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

They Are Smol: creating a fan community — guest post by TPH.

Tue 24 Nov 2020 - 10:00

The genesis of a community is today’s furry news. TPH (TinyPrancingHorse) asked if I could cover his humorous science fiction series that features several anthropomorphic species. I sent back an offer: Let’s see your own story that covers — (1) The content that makes the community’s backbone — (2) Proof of how it gets support like money or views —  (3) Nuts and bolts of how it got going — (4) Earned experience from doing it. I hope this inspires YOUR creation. (- Patch)

They are Smol has a main page here, and the first chapter can be found here.

What’s it about?

When people think of their favorite series – be it Star Wars to Tolkien, Discworld to Dune – there’s always a sense of mystery and nobility to how those series began. It starts with Men and Women, taking their life experiences, war stories, deep thoughts and desperate hopes, and pulling from that mysterious aether of the “could be” and bringing it into the real world.

Then there’s my series, Smol.

They are Smol was not created out of the desperation of homelessness, the pain of war, the desire to preserve culture, or any other number of excellent and moving reasons. They are Smol was created during a mental breakdown at work, where the author – on a throwaway reddit account – ended up tapping into something interesting in the human psyche.

All too often, in popular media – games, movies, books – humanity is depicted as this ascendant demigod given form, and they often have a cute sidekick character to play off of and highlight these traits. Think Rocket Raccoon, or if you’re in the Monster Hunter universe, the Palicoes. Something cute to headpat, something small to protect, yet noble in their own right.

Make our species that cute.

They are Smol simply reverses roles to consistently comedic effect, putting the reader in the position of the adorable yet terrifyingly effective sidekick. The story takes place in the near future after a disastrous first contact and the subsequent accidental invasion of Earth. Humanity is on a rapid uplift schedule. Partly because our alien neighbors feel guilty, partly because having another allied species is a boon all around, and partly because it took us something like 150,000 years to learn how to plant grain.

…look, nobody ever said we were clever. Humans, as a whole, oscillate between abject fear at the otherness of our friendly (if confusing at times) alien neighbors; and the frustration that they keep putting everything way up high on the top shelf.

Show me some metrics!

  • As of writing this article, They are Smol has produced 5 books ranging between 35K – 50K words each, distributed to a 20,000+ strong readership base.
  • They are Smol has also expanded, grown into a horrific megacorporation that has ~150 patrons who are generously supporting the project to the tune of $730/mo.
  • This has allowed the team behind They are Smol to produce a bi-monthly podcast, a visual novel, plushies (still in the works), meme artwork and many other things.

How did it start?

As a content consumer, I’m the kind of person who binges. I enjoy taking in whole series of things, and then going back and picking them apart and turning it over in my mind – honestly, I don’t know if I was hurt by an abandoned story as a child or what, but it is what it is. I do the same thing no matter the type of content, be it Chernobyl from HBO or the entire Discworld series of books by Pratchett.

So, when I was bored one day at work (in a doomed position, no less) I stumbled back across Reddit, and more specifically their /HFY/ board – shorthand for “Humanity, Fuck Yeah!” With literally nothing else to do but count down the clock, I opened up a couple of stories and began to read.

And just didn’t stop.

We are talking dozens and dozens of individual universes. Stories that – after consuming 200K words over the span of a week or two – ended up following the same tired tropes. Mankind = best. Aliens = worst. All enemies are cardboard cutouts and we can windmill through space doing nothing special or amazing in particular. It was… boring, after a while.

When I had my mental breakdown at work, I sat down at my laptop and wanted to write the anti-story to this entire genre while still staying within the genre. Humanity, people, they’re amazing not because of what they are but because of what they can do and the choices they make. So the first chapter was cranked out in a 100% stream-of-consciousness flow, submitted with absolutely no editing or re-reading, and I went on with my lunch break.

An hour later and 900+ upvotes, it looked like there was some desire for more. Another stream-of-consciousness outpouring, zero formatting, and a fight for your right to party netted roughly 750+ more upvotes. Chapter three – 820+ upvotes.

It seemed the game was afoot.

They are Smol started to get fanart, it started to get some traction on social media, and for giggles I ended up putting together a Discord server so people who liked the story could talk to me directly. At the behest of someone in the comments section, I was told to put up a Patreon – and within it’s first few days, it shot up to $150/month.

“Oh dear.” I thought. “This is now a thing, isn’t it?”

Fan art

How is it managed?

One thing that comes with things being a thing is that you need to keep momentum going; communities will wither and die if there isn’t a steady stream of new coming in – be it new people, new content, or new fan works. As a creator, you have to carefully manage that universe you’re creating, both in your own mind as well as in reality – for your fanbase is the most important thing you have going for you.

Management is key, as you can’t fix what you don’t measure. This means walking down the decision funnel™ and figuring out what you can handle yourself, what needs to be automated, and what needs to be delegated (if you’re working with a team). The Decision Funnel™ for those who don’t know is pretty simple:

Take thing that needs to be done -> See if it can be automated. If not -> See if it can be delegated. If not -> do it yourself.

So in my posts, for example, I link to all my media, website and community locations. In all of those places, I try to automate as much content as I physically can. I explicitly tell my fans that they are welcome to make any art, music, writing, etc – any content at all – as long as I can share it with the world at large, and I stuff the meme pipelines full of fan-created works.

They are Smol is a community effort, and cannot sustain itself without the work and love of everyone involved, both officially and unofficially; so remove the friction between your fans and the work itself and everyone profits, everyone participates, and everyone gets to enjoy the thing that is now becoming a thing.

Social media calendar and more fan works.

What keeps members together?

One note on community building – you must be intentional while doing it. You have to have a community charter that your fans can see and abide by, and a second charter of higher standards for those you trust to staff and manage your community in your stead. It is the most important thing when it comes to building a fanbase that you have everyone who wants to participate acknowledge and agree to that charter, as it puts everyone on a level playing field, explains what behavior is acceptable, and sets the tone for the community at large. (See Culture Code Notes below.)

Even if you have a fanbase of a couple dozen people it’s important to create that living culture document. They are Smol has it as a prerequisite to join the community server, and in doing so it automatically vets out the people who are not interested in being good members of the community.

I can point to this community statement – both the actual laws and the cultural guidelines – as the sole reason why we are able to build a non-political community that (to my knowledge) has members of every single political party, both radical and centrist, without it devolving into a gigantic dumpster fire. The cultural guidelines are why we have a self-help/ask-for-help channel where people can go to work on their own selves, as well as get questions answered on anything from finances to art, writing to cooking. They are Smol’s community builds each other up and recognizes the inherent humanness of everyone, and because it’s baked into the charter of the community from the ground up it only magnifies and amplifies itself in a virtuous cycle.

We are smol, but getting bigger.

All these things build on each other and allow me – and my team – to focus on multiple projects at once.

I’ve been able to host multiple panels at various conventions (talking about storytelling and business practices) because I’ve been given the bandwidth to learn and grow and not deal with infighting or drama.

We have multiple writers working on side stories and new IP, partner-artists building a visual novel as well as various other goodies (such as finger puppets! What other series has official finger puppets, huh?!), and the community is encouraged to interact with us as they desire.

We would love to have you as well.

They are Smol has a main page here, and the first chapter is here. Get exclusive content on Patreon, interact on Discord, follow the newsletter or on Twitter.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Try these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for news, r/furrywriters, or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Miss shows and music? Melt your face with Algerian Furry Death Metal from GLÒZÓNE.

Mon 16 Nov 2020 - 10:00

remember going out to shows and having a social life? pic.twitter.com/jkuawhleoI

— SINS (new account!) (@snafuqd) November 14, 2020

In March I had tickets to see Lords of Acid. They’re the industrial-rave act known for their 90’s banger I Sit On Acid. Furries with special taste may know it from the eye-popping video “Sexy male bunny fursuit striptease” from Albany Anthrocon 1997.  (Thank you Silfur Bunny for making furry weird. I love the video so much, and it deserves the fame that John Oliver gave to 90’s rat porn. r/industrialmusic thinks “it should just be the official video at this point.”)

Covid killed my plan to go fursuiting at the Lords Of Acid show. It killed the whole club. That was Slim’s in San Francisco, which hosted some of my favorite events. It was in the city’s night life hot spot with DNA Lounge, where furries, raves, drag, and goth all melted together for some of the best times I’ve had. Missing good shows is frustrating, and watching their venues die is a tragedy!

This made me think about hungry musicians needing work. I realized if you aren’t spending money on shows… you can make your own band. Yes, there are musicians who can work with you to infest other people’s eardrums. You can bring the rock like you can be your fursona. That’s how the world has this:

Press release for Glozone.bandcamp.com

GLÒZÓNE is ALGERIAN FURRY DEATH METAL. From the toxic ooze of a shattered planet crawls a hybrid creature. Redouane Aouameur is a musician from Algeria and veteran of the North African underground with his band Lelahell (Facebook.com/Lelahell). Patch O’Furr is the furry from San Francisco who runs Dogpatch.Press. Brutal yet gonzo, GLÒZÓNE will rock your face and tail.

BORN TO GLOW came from a plague ravaging the globe on Halloween in social isolation. Patch wrote lyrics in the spirit of Pungent Stench meets Ween in Dethklok’s dungeon. They appeared in an unholy dream for Redouane that compelled him to rock.

Patch says: “Furry Death Metal sounds like a shitpost, but this is a sincere tribute to the joy of being irradiated by the blasted monoliths of intersteller doom. In some conservative countries, it’s illegal and blasphemous to to be an LGBT furry. Metal and rebellion go together, and metalheads and furries are labels we use to rule our own lives. Perhaps the project is a bastard and that means we owe our dignity to nobody but ourselves. It comes from paying dues with money and flesh, from my whiskers to my tail and our mutated souls. I hope you laugh but also hear the diversity in our brutal music.”

It started with one track but there’s a batch written. It’s exciting to work with Redouane, who helped start a metal scene in North Africa. Algeria isn’t the most free country and it’s been through civil war, and he even had a manager assassinated years ago according to a band documentary. As bad as 2020 has been, things could be worse — so I say don’t wait for the world to get normal again. Lean in and make it weirder.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Use these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Protests in Poland “a premonition for what will happen” if LGBT rights are lost in the USA — Q&A with furry artist Jeanwoof who does charity for rights in Poland.

Mon 2 Nov 2020 - 10:00

The 2020 U.S. election is in progress, the future is at stake, and a tipper sent me this story. “It may be a premonition of what will happen here if abortion and LGBTQ rights are suspended by the supreme court.”

Thousands of people defied coronavirus restrictions to protest against a near-total ban on abortion in Poland in the largest show of defiance against the new law so far https://t.co/egFJz9RiCL

— SkyNews (@SkyNews) October 31, 2020

Maybe you’re sick of relentless gushing doom about politics. Sorry I can’t make it stop with the fabulous power of furry news reporting. But I can make a story for furries in and out of the U.S., and help you think about protecting rights everywhere. This won’t just tell you to vote, it’s about using fandom power!

Soatok Dhole explains why it matters.

Politics? In My Fandom? 

It’d be great if we lived in a world where I could opt out of political discourse entirely, but that only exists when you have the systemic advantage in our imperfect society. And since me being LGBTQIA+ is unavoidably political, and we’re a minority, opting out of politics means submitting to whatever dark fate toxic people decide I deserve.

Soatok says “The furry fandom – which you can think of as the largely queer sector of geek culture – has a problem with negative peace”; and it’s hurt by the Trump administration’s effort to overturn marriage equality plus 33 more steps to push anti-LGBT hate worldwide.

The problem is not just about Trump — it’s about ultraconservative attacks on rights everywhere. You can’t get peace from it by turning off the news, so to make better news, let’s meet a furry who does art charity to advance people’s rights in Poland.

Hi Jeanwoof, can you give a brief bio about yourself?

Hi, I’m a 26 year old woman living in Northern Poland. I’m very active in the fandom — drawing furry art for 6 years, and for 3 years I’ve been doing a small furry convention (Kungfur) with friends. I attend local conventions and sometimes you can see me at Eurofurence in the Dealers Den or Artist Alley. I’m a fursuiter too, but I don’t wear my suit as often as I want to.

by Jeanwoof

Can you talk about your art, and how to see it or reach you for commissions?

Recently I’m most known for military art, but I do simple animations and NSFW art as well. I always try to find something non-usual to do, that’s why I started to make detailed pieces and focus on guns and army-related themes, which seem to not be that popular still, ha! My style is headed more towards realism, but I’m fine with drawing some toony styled art such as Telegram stickers as well! I’m posting my art in my Telegram channel and I do have a Patreon page. You can find me on Twitter and Furaffinity as well.

Can you talk about furry subculture where you live?

Furry community here is way smaller than in western countries such as Germany or the U.S. but we are very active and social — we do lot of parties, fursuit walks and events. We have fantastic artists, joyful fursuiters and amazing conventions, even if it’s 3 per year currently. Fandom is growing every year, and many young people are joining the community! I still consider myself new to the fandom, or maybe I had so much fun over those years I didn’t realize how long I’ve been here?

Let’s talk about Poland’s Abortion Dream Team:

Poland has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the European union, and in practice, it’s all but banned. But four women, nicknamed the “Abortion Dream Team,” are pushing back, holding workshops around the country teaching women how to obtain and self-manage a medical abortion. With Roe v. Wade at risk of being overturned in the U.S., is their story a cautionary tale, or a possible roadmap for American women?

The ruling conservative party, Law and Justice, backed a 2016 effort to ban abortion outright (the government backtracked after millions of Polish women and men poured into the streets, in what became known as the “Black Protests.”)

What made you do a charity benefit for the Abortion Dream Team, and how did it go?

I’m against abortion restrictions and I want every woman to decide about their bodies! We want to be free, we want to be safe, especially when the government is not willing to help you much after you give birth to the child, especially a disabled one. I really wanted to do something, but I’m still not sure about going out to protests because of the Covid — I was thinking about a charity livestream, and what motivated me to do it was MissDako who texted me first about the idea! That was amazing to see that someone has similar thoughts about it — we talked to other artists and made a stream with Tevayra and Drakness as well — we had many watchers and grabbed some commissions.

“We are doing art for ADT (Aborcyjny Dream Team) – an organization who fights for women’s rights and legal abortion and helps women to get a safe one as well! Link to fundraiser — Poster made by Tevayra, thank you!”

Even if the situation in the world is tough, some people were kind enough to help. For the first stream we gained 460 PLN (~$116 USD) and the next (with a team of me, Tevayra, Wasylthefox and Eldritch Beast) even more – 550 PLN (~$140 USD). I didn’t expect a lot of money from it but it was so awesome when people started to sign the petition, spread the word, and stay aware about the situation in Poland. I was flattered with the amounts anyways and I’m glad we did the streams. Talking via Discord in the meantime with other people with same thoughts and fears was very calming and wholesome and I am very glad I could be part of that. We plan more streams too!

Another thing is I saw a lot of YCHs and Commissions offered by other artists who were gaining money for ADT and similar organizations and fundraisers – like CyjanekAxie or PredatoryDuck, and I’m very proud of them! Fandom is more and more educated about the situation, and we all are trying to help each other!

The protests in Poland seem like part of conflict between right-wing and progressive beliefs around the world. How much awareness of it is there in the furry fandom?

With how far I spoke with others about the situation, I think almost the whole furry fandom is against new restrictions. Most of us are pissed off at the government moves, especially when they attack LGBTQ+ community with hateful speech in media and more! More and more people unite with each other against the same enemy. We are scared but we are strong — we are the young voice against old traditionalists and we try to fight the government which contains mostly old, cis-males, very strict catholics. This years election was a blast, so many young people voted, we all want change! Protesters want better laws and more tolerance, they want to be who they want and love who they want and especially decide about their own bodies. Even if there are people who are not liking how the protests are going, we all hope for better times and try to help each other — educate our grandparents, talk to our friends to assure them they are not alone! We do charity events, peaceful marches and more! We care about each other and try to cheer ourselves up in times when it’s hard to keep jobs, earn anything or even go outside safely.

Thanks Jeanwoof for talking, and I hope this inspires furries wherever they are to vote, and use their talents and communities like you do.

Underneath the power of the light

Work Hard, Play Hard

Why try harder

I Am Not Enough

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Use these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

How the furry fandom gained a new artist — Lux Operon, weaver of light

Tue 27 Oct 2020 - 10:00

Welcome to Lux, with a guest post about what she does when not hosting furry movie pizza parties. – Patch 

On a beautiful fall morning in Reno, the edge of sunrise starts to paint the desert mountains. The color in the sky is just right. I rush to my balcony and put on my glowing pup hood for photos, which I will share to a majority audience of people with fuzzy wolf characters. I am profoundly happy.

Electroluminescent wire is a sister material to LEDs. They look similar, but they’re functionally quite different. An LED is a diode that emits a single point of light, but EL wire works like a capacitor. Since it has no resistance within, it doesn’t heat up when lit. An exposed end might give a small shock if it touches your skin (but it won’t kill you, or I’d be dead). It’s flexible, continuously lit throughout its length, and has many applications to create an amazing glowing costume.

Like any wearable electronics, EL wire has limitations and can be finicky. Its battery packs (drivers) are each rated for a different length of wire. Knowing how to troubleshoot your costume is integral to being a fiber artist with this material. It’s easy to learn but very hard to master.

The technology has been around for some time, but it wasn’t until the late 90s and early aughts when the folks at FunHouse productions in Oakland, California decided to really develop the platform. EL wire is the unofficial signage of the Burning Man event, where you can often find people in these costumes wandering around the playa as strobing neon silhouettes in the dark.

This art was largely contained to their scene in Black Rock City until dance troupes started popping up on America’s Got Talent. For the 2012 season, Team Illuminate put together dance routines and nearly went all the way. By weaving EL wire and using the interplay of darkness to create floating shapes and coordinated blinking, they made the world aware of wearable neon, including me.

At that time, I was a cosplayer in exile after 3 years of dedicating my life to the steampunk scene. Before that I was an overweight gay woman floating through college, dissatisfied with the meager results that came from hard efforts in academia. Steampunk offered a gateway to discovering femininity, permission to love my body, and an excuse to sew as many materials into a costume as conceivably possible. Insecurity about art prowess and my body led to leaning into the Christmas tree effect: adding so many layers to a costume that it’s hard to pick out one individual flaw and everything becomes kind of cohesive.

My costume was originally made to wear at the Michigan Renaissance festival. My parents were huge Rennies and they wanted me to have my own costume to wear there. I definitely caught people’s eyes by walking down the muddy trails and tipping my top hat adorned with a pair of raver goggles. I was invited to the blossoming steampunk scene in Michigan, where we showed up at an art gallery and drank whiskey while listening to Depeche Mode and wearing a lot of leather and belt buckles. Eventually conventions grew from this. They were fun to go to, but not sustainable. People in Victorian garb would stroll around hotels, looking at merchandise without buying, and skip panels that didn’t have much to do with the event. The few talent performances were novel, but they were never really enough to keep it going.

I had another excuse to leave. Friends that I brought into the scene were the kind who never have anything nice to say. That grew clear when I put together my magnum opus: The mobile jubilation station. A mobile steampunk DJ backpack that played music and was covered with fun gizmos. I was ready to take it to TeslaCon in Madison, WI, but I was bullied to not bring it. That’s when I decided to quit my airship crew, and steampunk altogether. My costume was packed and stuffed in the furthest corner of a closet and it was time to move on.

Jumping into my studies felt fruitless, because Natural Resource Management has little opportunity to spare. One night while blowing off lab work on my computer, I stumbled across a video of Team Illuminate dancing in the dark and became obsessed. A little voice in my head whispered “I bet you could do this”.

I ordered some wire and started experimenting. I remember when I first lit up a strand and held the little piece of neon in my hand. Bending it around my finger, making it wave in the light, I wondered how far could I go? I was encouraged by my dear friend Morgan, who runs Detroit leather company (a fellow steampunk expatriate.) I vaguely mentioned experimenting with glowing wire, maybe to make a costume, but running out of money. Morgan didn’t hesitate to help me with thousands of dollars so I could afford 10 fresh spools and start my business, studio Lux Operon.

Early experimenting. This was actually the first costume that I ever threw together. 

I miss those skeleton arms so gosh darn bad but they were too fragile to continue to use. I’m hoping to remake them someday with fiber optics.

It was a struggle to find a home for this studio. I remember my first convention sitting in a little corner, selling goggles and trying to push electroluminescent panels that I had woven by hand. That year was humbling. Weaving really was my passion and no one seemed interested in the pieces I put together, but I noticed that My Little pony was very popular with cosplayers. I wove up a batch of EL wire cutie marks to keep in stock. Then Morgan and some other friends invited me to a science fiction convention in Chicago. I was halfway there when I learned the name of it was Midwest Furfest.

Oh God, not furries! I’m an alumnus from the Something Awful forums, so I thought I knew what the furry fandom was and wanted nothing to do with it. Reluctantly I set up my display in the dealer’s den and prepared for a parade of weirdos.

I was not prepared for the experience. Yeah, people were weird, but also kind, generous, excited, and fully willing to support my art. I walked out with almost as much money as I had made at an anime con five times the size. I decided to do a trial by fire and walked through the artist rooms and a room party. The sense of community I felt in steampunk was there, but like a fine aged wine compared to bitter vinegar. Everyone seemed to know who they were and what they wanted. This would be my new home.

Sometimes I wonder whether I’m furry enough for the scene. It’s been 8 years and I own a fursuit, know the language, host events and have many friends, but when I think about my character, I’m a neon demon who walks on the bottom of the ocean. My other characters don’t have a tuft of hair between them. I’m a bio nerd and my inner story revolves around the idea of microbial symbiosis and bioluminescence.

My fursuit, and friends at the Frolic furry dance party in San Francisco.

The anxiety is purely internal because I’ve never felt unwelcome. This fandom lets me be who I need to be, and give my art back to the community. Sometimes I give things away for free if I can for someone who can’t afford them. Otherwise my prices range from $30 to $120, which helps me appear at conventions, develop personal costumes, and push my craft further. I recently launched woven EL wire badges, developed from t-shirt panels I used to weave. I’d like to put them in the paws of as many furries as possible.

I’ve now spent enough time paying my dues that I felt like weaving EL wire might get people’s interest, and it does. This fandom is finally giving me the excuse to do something that makes me incredibly happy.

Once in a while my parents ask if I want to get back into steampunk. We are close but I guess it’s a higher art in their minds. They mention other places I can promote my work, and I say why bother? The furry fandom has support I need and people I want to hang out with. This is a gift that I think no other scene could give, and I’m proud to walk around my with badges in non-furry spaces and represent this community.

If you like the story, please follow me on Twitter, buy something if you want to, and never stop being as bold and beautiful as you want to be. We owe our happiness to no one but ourselves, and I hope that with or without costumes and art, you discover who you were always meant to be.

You were born to glow.

Lux Operon can be found at Borntoglow.co or on Twitter as @luxoper0n. (Extra thanks for this classy badge, and try asking for one like it.)

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Use these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Monster Force Zero: loads of fun and furries in a movie out just in time for Halloween.

Mon 26 Oct 2020 - 10:00

You’ll want to show Monster Force Zero at any furry party night if you love midnight movies. This new release went through a few years of production with crowdfunding and shooting in Colorado at Galaxyfest. Furries are included briefly, but with love. Catch it on Amazon or other services above.

The setup: a nerd convention opens with all sorts of Star Wars, comic and cosplay fandom. A team of cosplaying artists is representing their own comic at their booth with dismal results. Suddenly, they’re accosted by arrogant rivals. It turns a dealer’s den into locker room bully turf. The bullies challenge the heroes to a cosplay competition that might reward their comic with new fans. They’ll find out more if they can get into a 13th floor party suite, to which they are guided by the hotel’s wise old janitor, played by Pat Tanaka. He returns to guide them at key points but has a dilemma of his own. Behind the door, the rules are laid out by a jury with a furry and two others who may not be what they seem. Then the furry turns them loose into a deliriously raving party.

That’s where you get the most of the all-too-brief furrybait. Anyone watching for it will have a big goofy grin when the heroes are swarmed by a choreographed fursuit dance. The teams have to figure out how to find their special powers and the main stage for battle action, presided over by a loud robot MC. The good guys advance, and that’s when things get weird.

Monster Force Zero delivers exactly the fun advertised on the label. It has pew-pew action to the max with a laser-eyed dinosaur. It makes the most of a modest budget by splashing everything with glowing CG lasers and graphics, sleek costuming, and a soundtrack by 20SIX Hundred that burbles and zaps with excitement. (Synthwave acts Occam’s Laser and Bourgeoisie were already on my playlists too — good choices!)

My pick for best-looking character: the mysteriously silent Yeti. The acting varies but does the job with dialogue that won’t tax your brain. It could benefit from a few more specific character moments, like when an introvert makes a move with a love interest, or a bad-ass cosplayer confronts a touchy jerk. It’s fine for kids and the crew can be proud of making a good light-hearted party watch. Order some pizza and queue this up.

Support Monster Force Zero as an indie production:

  • Watch and leave a review.
  • Share with everyone, and ask friends/family to leave a review.
  • Like and share on social media.

Official siteFollow on Facebook and TwitterReview at IMDB

It’s uncommon to see indie movies including furries on their own terms, rather than outside takes with cheap costumes. Of course the more campy it is the less it matters, but the fandom did support this production. If you want more, try this: Furry Nights movie review – a crowd pleaser for lovers of campy indie horror.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Use these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

The Dealers Den plans to rebuild with unprecedented features and Blockchain technology

Thu 15 Oct 2020 - 09:45

Help vote for success for the only furry auction site!

For over 20 years, furries have had their own specialized auction sites serving the “Furry Economy”. In 1999 there was Furbid and Furbuy. In 2015 we had Furbuy and The Dealers Den. Now only the last one is standing — and thriving. It may be poised to leap ahead of big corporate sites with an ambitious plan.

The Dealers Den is a furry-owned marketplace that brings outsized benefit to sellers and users. They don’t have to use Etsy, Ebay or Amazon. They can efficiently reach each other within their own niche. It keeps things in the “fandom family” without corporate middlemen and control. Ask users what the site does for them. (“Very surprised and very grateful”: fursuit maker Beauty of the Bass talks about a $14,000 sale.) It makes big support for independent art.

But for any niche community, there are downsides. Keeping things personal and relying on trust can be risky. Anywhere in the fandom, scam sellers can come back under new names, or good sellers can be hurt by false bidding or cheating on pay. It’s hard to scale up for new features — like a verified purchase review system, payment processing, or escrow protection.

Enter the Dealers Den rebuild plan.

Sites like Ebay and Amazon can pivot as slowly as giant ships. But furry fandom is a good lab for experiments. Ask Dealer’s Den admin Vitai Slade. He’s devoted to Bitcoin and blockchain tech that allow decentralized, peer-to-peer markets. In his vision, it’s key to the site (and the fandom’s) future.

These will be features of the new plan (register an account to read the whole thing and vote for it!)

  • SALES: “A peer-to-peer system for businesses and individuals to buy/sell merchandise to one another in a verifiable way.”
  • CATALOGING: “Tracking ownership of one-of-a-kind costumes, artwork, and merchandise on a public blockchain.” (Like fursuit databases already in use.)
  • COMMUNITY: “A social platform and phone app that rewards positive interaction with others and promotes sales.”
  • ACCOUNTABILITY: “Built into the platform will be Positive/Negative incentivization… rewards for purchases, achievements for repeated good behavior/order completion, customer/business reviews, and strict penalties for non-payment that attach to each user account.”
  • MEDIATION: “an honest and vibrant marketplace… at low-cost and with high security over their funds and identity, while allowing our administrative team to monitor interactions and settle disputes between parties.”

Furries who are native to the internet will probably already be familiar with virtual currency. The specific blockchain tech is on the Cardano platform (info). My browsing saw it ranked next to Bitcoin and Ethereum (I couldn’t name better names.) To my understanding, users would cash in and cash out by exchanging dollars for equivalent tokens that exist in the global blockchain. Tokens would have to use site features, so you have to play fair and can’t just run off with money. One rule is requiring 10% collateral with auction bids, so you can’t do frivolous bidding without paying.

Vote to help make the plan happen — the deadline is October 20!

VOTE HERE AND SHOW THAT FURRIES WANT A FANDOM ECONOMY WITH EXCITING NEW FEATURES. (Add a Kudos number above the title.)

The plan is on Project Catalyst — a Cardano initiative to develop their entire concept. It’s like a crowdfund except all you have to do is vote. The Dealers Den is one of many proposals and Cardano will share millions in funding for those who win approval. I think it’s a test for whether Cardano will get used. THIS IS A RACE FOR APPROVAL BY OCTOBER 20 — DON’T WAIT!

Why join a plan like this? Look at the track record of The Dealers Den. It’s the foremost furry auction site that stays as close to free as possible. And this plan comes with decades of strong fandom growth, that can meet a leading edge of tech.

I’m working with modest knowledge as a non-techie, but can share a critical opinion: I’m not very into cryptocurrency in general. It reminds me of this joke: “imagine if keeping your car idling 24/7 produced solved Sudokus you could trade for heroin.” Wide adoption of Bitcoin raised a problem with excessive energy use. But Cardano uses “proof of stake” math, not “proof of work” like Bitcoin. It takes a fraction of the energy, making faster and more efficient transactions without sacrificing security. This peer-to-peer tech may just keep things in the fandom family and allow market mediation that is otherwise hard to develop.

There’s even an X-Factor on my mind; the power of adult art to help a fandom grow against mainstream judgement. There simply is demand for art that corporations won’t make, and fans serve it to each other. But it’s under threat by corporate power that serves a “war on sex” from conservative lawmakers. Payment processing is withheld, accounts are frozen, communities purged, and laws are changed to suppress it. In 2018, SESTA/FOSTA carved out an exemption to the standard of websites not being liable for adult content posted by users. Now only the biggest can afford compliance. As a result, Tumblr was purged, Craigslist killed its personals section, and furries suffered the loss of their dating site Pounced. Decentralizing could protect these things.

If blockchain tech is applied well, it has potential to raise power and freedom for the fandom.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Use these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Q&A with Finn, founder of the Fuzznet Music netlabel for furries.

Wed 14 Oct 2020 - 10:00

“World’s first furry-centered, full-service music distribution netlabel.”

A new netlabel for furry music has been announced! When I think of a label, especially on the small indie side, I think of curation for a certain sound or scene. (Example: a Q&A is coming soon with a fur from Sri Lanka where I asked about Goa Trance.) Here’s one I’ve been enjoying: Numero Group is a reissue label. Imagine digging through thrift store junk and finding a weird one of a kind record that sounds amazing — that’s everything they put out. They specialize in the history of unsung niches, local scenes and their heroes. It makes richer music history than the well-worn stuff on classic rock channels.

Specialty and indie labels make diversity. With that in mind I talked to Finn.

A music style for furries? 

From Fuzznet Music so far, I saw lots of EDM and electronic. Finn says: “That’s just the biggest amount. But we have classic, vocal and orchestral as well.” So will support for artists always be the main purpose or could there be more curation as it grows?

(Finn:) Yeah support for the involved artists is definitely the main goal. We don’t aim for a specific style or genre, but rather take in anyone that fits streaming requirements, sounds cool and wants to join. We define “Furry music” as anything that is made by furries, although there are a few furries who make songs with lyrics specifically tailored to furries, too. The idea is, by having all under one roof, if someone finds a song by our label the chances are high that they might check out the others and make a snowball effect.

If furry became attached to a certain style, what could it be? Imagine a cartoon world where Raccooncore is music from trash instruments.

I think apart from songs featuring furry lyrics (Fox and Pepper, NIIC, Nos Hyena etc.), music is a very broad and varied concept. I mean if the album cover, title or profile picture doesn’t feature an anthro character, there’s nothing that really “makes” it furry. A specific “furry sound” doesn’t exist, which is part of the reason it’s a less popular form of media inside this community. Personally I sure would be a fan of “Raccooncore” though. ;D

Further ambitions?

A label can back a scene, for example some are attached to record stores and festivals. It would be neat to have a con attract furry musicians. (There’s already a furry film fest — put ’em together!) You have ambitions to launch music, but do you foresee anything like that coming out? Is it just a matter of “time will tell?”

I think “Time will tell” fits best here. We’re still getting comfortable just launching and promoting music (I might add we also officially curate songs and artist that aren’t in Fuzznet via Spotify Playlists consisting only of Furry Musicians of various genres that are displayed on our Profile). Although we already have one small “gig” offering a few of our tracks to an upcoming furry-themed Minecraft con/event that has DJs playing live music. Doing similar things is something I’ll keep looking into.

Music Careers, Nuts and Bolts, and the Team

Well known musicians like Fox & Pepper or NIIC Dog built names by hard work on their own. Can you say more about working with a label, what a netlabel does, how it’s set up, the potential benefits of doing it for furry talent, and how artists or writers benefit from working together? Have you noticed anthology or collab projects that made an impact for musicians (like film scoring)? Is there a team collaborating with you?

The job of a traditional label ranges from management over distribution to marketing, or securing deals with other artists and projects. Though that often comes at quite a cost and turns increasingly less popular due to price and the fact that self-distribution becomes easier and cheaper each day (with the added benefit of keeping all your revenue to yourself). Same goes for promotion via social media if you know what you’re doing. Most furry musicians I know of run things by themselves for these reasons.

In terms of collab projects there’s the The Fandom documentary that has a completely original score by Fox & Pepper. I’d love to secure gigs and opportunities like these for our label.

A Netlabel is a rather new thing in the industry (obviously growing traction by growth of the internet itself). But it’s a rather loose term. Typically a netlabel is a small record label or brand name that almost exclusively exists in digital form and is run by a considerably lower number of people compared to a traditional label. Additionally artists often retain their copyright and more control over what happens with their music and data. Netlabels are often passion projects and tend to utilize guerrilla marketing rather than traditional means of promotion.

That’s pretty much the case for us. As of now, I run this whole project by myself, artists retain all their rights, we only distribute digitally and there’s no contractual limitations or obligations to speak of. I have a job in social media and online advertising so I put my profession to work, and mostly do it simply because I enjoy doing so. As of now we have 25 artists on board, and we communicate via our own chat group and frequently exchange ideas, opinions and updates.

How to Get Involved

Fuzznet has a Patreon. How else can potential members to join or support? What do you need? Are there any tips for what to avoid or how to stand out?

For people interested to join the project:

Officially sign ups are closed (there was more interest than expected and I’m working through backlog) but I’m still on the lookout for artists that seem particularly interesting or work outside the all-encompassing EDM/Electronic genre. We also prefer people who are not yet published on Spotify and other streaming platforms other than Bandcamp or Soundcloud. So if anyone reading this happens to still be unreleased and produces any genre that isn’t EDM (and I really don’t mean this in any bad way, I LOVE electronic music) I would be delighted to have a conversation with you!

For people interested supporting the project:

The easiest way to support would sure be to simply stream, favorite or add our music to your personal playlists on any streaming platforms we publish on. You can find all our main platforms here.

Otherwise we can always use more money (haha who doesn’t) for paid promotion, paying for tools/plugins and funding our online presence. We could also always need people just sharing our posts on Twitter and Instagram, or fellow people that know their way in the marketing world.

Tell me again where to find the music?

Our main links are fuzznet.world/music (landing page) and music.fuzznet.world (streaming links). Both pages include all the information about us, release dates, artists and social media links. We focus our main efforts on Spotify, as that one is the globally biggest platform to work with. For our Furry Musician playlists (for ALL furry musicians, in or outside of Fuzznet) we have playlists.fuzznet.world.

My main homepage is fuzznet.world where you’ll find all the various other projects I have to offer.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Use these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Dysfurria: A Manifesto — by Alec Esther

Fri 2 Oct 2020 - 10:00

Welcome to Alec Esther, a new media theorist and aesthetic scholar. Alec uses “affect theory” to  investigate how people find belonging and becoming in group spaces. Alec’s undergraduate thesis was about Porter Robinson’s Virtual Self project. Now here’s a critical personal reflection about the furry fandom, and the feeling of distance between internal self and external fursona.

I. Pentagon Dust

 
“Wait a second,” my bunny-eared DJ buddy stopped us mid-walk. “You don’t actually HAVE a fursona, do you?!”

We were hopping along the San Jose Doubletree halls to find refuge in a PAWCon room party when the question arose. I’d hoped to dodge his accusations at least before a drink or five, but my neck was barren of badges sans my con admission. I guess that justified his suspicion: what kind of furry would frolic about a convention without a testament to their fuzzy side? Yet the remark only reminded me of the discomfort of human skin, the way it bumps and tingles at the first sign of trouble. My DJ name was on a flyer of his creation, advertising the very same party to which we strode. He knew who I was. Was there a part of me that mattered more?

I stashed this question in my carry-on and flew it back to my then-home in Arizona, a state in which I’d just partied the weekend prior at Arizona Fur Con 2019. I had only 48 hours before I’d be on another flight to an even greater challenge: a weekend in Florida spent with a furry mentor and his friends. Loath am I to pass up an adventure, but the thought of being surrounded by more “established” furries filled me with a hollow dread. More intimidating than the social falsehood of “popufur” status was the feeling of self-fulfillment that I knew I lacked. From the moment of my arrival in MCO, I’d be a fursona non grata in the inescapable form of isolated flesh.

It was not yet the weekend when I landed in Orlando. The others would touch down on Friday, and Thursday had yet to wreak its temporal terror. That day I took my mentor’s offer to accompany him to the UCF campus as he took his Thursday classes. I sought comfort in the arts building, just as I often did during my Midwestern education in art history, and admired the great works of UCF’s aesthetes until one peculiar project tackled my stomach to the tile floor.

Londoño, Marcela. El Caballero del Fútbol. Woodblock print. 2019, Visual Arts Building, University of Central Florida. mlondono.com.

Across from me hung a woodblock print of a tiger pawing a soccer ball. The slight slant of his eyebrows signaled an immeasurable depth of worry. Above his back a condor spread its wings, holding a #2 jersey with placid pride—and only a faint mountain range in the background seemed to connect this athletic accolading to a place past the hall in which I witnessed it.

Passersby warped around me as I internalized its every line. Messy graphite in the margins titled the piece El Caballero del Fútbol, a reference to the late Colombian athlete Andrés Escobar and his contemplative playstyle. But beyond the boundaries of real-world referentials I knew this tiger. I saw in him the essence of my favorite text-based roleplay character whom my mentor had met in an elsewhere long abandoned. This tiger was the reflection of countless jockish moodboards and visual collages stashed in my dusty Google Drives. And the question of his jersey-clad existence was one I’d ask myself in lieu of commissioning artist friends. Each contour of that printed tiger’s nine-shaped tail was a reminder of the striped soccer player that had existed inside of me for so long, yet could never quite come out at my call, stuffed inside the never-unpacked travel bag I called my grief. For so long I had wanted him out of me—and here he was, an omen of my current discomfort, intensifying and yet deconstructing all that I knew about my desires to become something greater than myself.

I opened Telegram. “Hey,” I texted my friend. “When you’re out of class, come to the art building. I wanna show you something.”

We beheld the image together for a millisecond upon his return, the hallway quieting as if in mourning. “It’s good,” I spoke through the silence. I knew he would understand, that his eyes would trace each pentagon and the ridges of his paws, making the connection to a self only he had seen in actio-

“Yup,” he chirped. “You ready to go?”

I blinked. “I mean, I just want a moment with this- there’s…” I forced the feeling out of me, upset that the tiger’s company couldn’t do so alone. “Just, the emotion in his face…”

My mentor squinted. “Yeah… What little there is of it, anyway. Okay; shall we go?”

Just like that we returned to the car, he from his classes and I from a funeral for my future self. I was unsure of what had just occurred, but I did know that I was still in waiting, breath bated in hopes of reconstructing the immediate intimacy I had felt with the tiger just prior—and how insidious, the following invalidation. But the invalidation of what? My friend hadn’t done me any harm. No one had. Had they? So why did I feel as heavy as wood myself, cut and spliced into plaintive shards, dripping from the eyes with painted anger?

El Caballero was an affective cataclysm whose tremors I could not quite grasp. The tiger felt as guarding as he was guarded, grounding me in his presence long enough to bring me closer to him. But I could not shake the feeling that, in that moment of reciprocity, I had confessed in no uncertain terms an inner self for which I reflexively longed. That tiger… I wanted him to pull me out of myself and thrust me back inside the person that he and I could have been, and I wanted my mentor to behold that person, too, and I did not know why I wanted any of these things at all.

This memoir-manifesto hopes to address that which has led to my personal furry friction: the problem of the fursona and its identitarian distance. I draw upon Brian Massumi’s theory of “affect,” part of the experience of feeling something, to argue that the fursona is a dysphoric object that does not constitute open identity so much as it enforces identity’s dead-end nature within the furry fandom at large. I conclusively claim that furry processes of “homecoming” all too often require displacing the same self that needs a home in which to heal. I end this manifesto with a call to foster furry belonging that pivots from the notion that we must find home in others, including the others that we make for ourselves.

One example of “affect”: the power of music to make an involuntary reaction in the limbs of a patient who lost the ability to move them, before it’s felt or emoted.

II. Fellow Feelings

 
Most of us enter the furry fandom through the funny feelings we get from those of fuzzier persuasions. We find animals evocative: their forms of play are exciting, their aesthetics sensorily appealing. Critical theorist Brian Massumi defines this fuzzy logic as “affect,” or the sense of feeling something, through which we move into a new state of being.[1]   Our becomings as furries start with a sensation — like a fursuit hug, a tear shed to a Disney film, or maybe an erotic reckoning. While these moments “move us” in the emotive sense of the phrase, Massumi argues that this “movement” is actually a literal shifting of our subjective states. If we have an affecting encounter with art or objects, then the “affect” of that encounter leads us to conceptualize new ways that we might live or be. For some, Simba’s smirks or a fursuit performance have no fundamental importance. For others, their affect is transformative, begging questions of identity, resonance, and fetish whose answers to which the affected subject feels their way.

The most important part of affect is that it doesn’t tell us what those answers are. Things that affect us open the door to new understandings of ourselves, but it’s up to us to move through that door, and there’s no one on the other side of it that defines what we’ll be when we get there. We make sense of ourselves through these encounters without conceding to a greater sense of culture nor purpose, venerating our experiences in ways entirely our own.

What does an ineffective affect look like? Consider the outrage of fans when a band presumably “sells out.” Suddenly the ways that the band shepherds us to self-understanding have been compromised. Their affect returns a new value that dominates our interpersonal contact with them, now inescapable from the green hue of major-label marketing. Massumi calls this feeling “stasis,” or the point where affect can’t move us anymore. Anyone who’s experienced the frustration of stasis knows that it’s all in their heads. It’s an affect, not a provable science. Yet our ability to intuit how outside actors “trap” affect is crucial to our becomings. Affect’s autonomy relies on its indeterminacy. If we feel that the affect guiding us has “something else” to it that’s on the tip of our tongues, affect loses its efficacy.

To move with affect again, we need to make a space in which the door is a collective gateway to our greater selves. Affect doesn’t direct us to a higher power. Affect moves us towards ourselves and others, such as those who define in their own ways what furry affect means to them. The things that activate our fuzzy feelings create points in which we find each other equally transformed—and through the mediation of these emotional charges we create our so-called culture.

In other words, furriness is a state of mind that we collectively create through our individual emergence. We enter the fold of furriness by folding into each other’s affected states.

Affected by art: pioneering Disney animators learned to capture emotion starting with just the eyes. Their quality defined the studio style that others aspired to reach.

III. Static Machine

 
Maybe it’s no coincidence that Massumi’s best example of “becoming” starts on the soccer field. According to his theory, we become soccer players because the ball mobilizes us with its appearance.[2] The goals catalyze our movement, sanctifying the ground on which we run. These connections mold us into players — yet we, the affected ones, are the masters of what that play looks like. Our becoming as “Soccer Players” is really just a conversation between our bodies and a polyvinyl presence whose screams of “kick me!” we are obliged to answer. Wrapped in the goals’ embrace, we translate all that we feel in the ball into an activity to which we intentionally belong.

In my mind’s eye I stand before my favorite tiger on one of those fields, guarding the goal to which the youthful feline looks for an opening. My tiger prances about the pentagons with a determined demeanor, hungry to score just as I’m hungry for his sense of self-satisfaction. His sweat-matted hair spikes in fluffy triumph as he wipes his forehead with the bottom of his shirt. His black stripes contrast not with brilliant orange but instead a purplish-white hue, as if a shadow spread across his snowy Bengal fur. And though he’s never told me his name, I know him as well as I know myself, the person staring in somber delight at his feisty, fearless form.

Any other furry would know this tiger as a “fursona,” or a character created either to manifest oneself in anthropomorphic likeness or simply as a fun exercise in animalistic design. Surely my tiger befits a bit of both descriptions. He’s the visual ideation of an alternate path of my former youth, one where I might have run my interest in soccer into the very dirt below us. Each grass stain he bears on his jersey is one I avoided on my journey to academic success. I won’t sugarcoat this part, either: he’s skinnier than I am. Plenty about him screams “self-insert,” a fetishistic wish fulfilled within the confines of my life story. But he’s his own person, too, whose individuality underlines an identity beyond mine. Just as some see their fursonas as characters with no bearing on nor stake in their creators, my tiger straddles the line between fictionalizing my reality and calling pure fiction his home.

So why can’t I call myself a part of his? Why does seeing him hurt so much?

I think of the tension between us as I gaze upon his playful posture. I want to play with him. But “wanting” is a logical term here: he would not traverse this field at all if I didn’t want him to exist. And I want my tiger to exist because he materializes for me the journey I’ve taken along my furry path. I’ve constructed him to tangibly demonstrate furriness’s impact on me, and that demonstration isn’t just for others. As long as he exists in my mind or otherwise, I can witness in the third-person my becoming in the fur. It doesn’t matter if I want to be him or not. What I want is his demarcation of my own internal transformation. So long as I behold him, I always have a reference for the continuum of sensational experience that brought me to him in the first place.

Yet witnessing my transformation through his presence defines him as an object of my desire. He’s an object that I “want” to see, to experience, to take into myself. If I can’t see him, I lose sight of my becoming. I want what he has, or at least what he means to me, because he consecrates the generative energy that created him. But my desire for him reinforces our distance. If I were living an openly affected life, I wouldn’t need a referent for that transformation in order to feel realized. I wouldn’t have to want him. His “being” is contingent on my desire to see him, but I only desire to see him because he inversely validates me, the harbinger of the affect that gave him this existence.

Zabivaka, the soccer mascot who furries couldn’t help loving.

The tension that comes from this desire is dual-pronged. I cannot validate my becoming without his presence, but his externality increases the distance that I feel from my presumably transformed self. In other words, I can’t return the value of my becoming as a furry without my tiger’s presence, but he solidifies that value as oppositional to my own. My desire to find myself within furriness is captured in his fluffy exterior, a becoming that is always in-progress yet stuck in his place: not mine to feel, but mine to observe. Affect can’t actualize me as a furry without me staying in that state of longing. I can only affirm my affected state through my unresolvable desire to see it in action.

My tiger is static. He has unwittingly captured what I’ve wanted for myself—a way to be seen as becoming and belonging—inside of him. It’s not that he “overshadows” me, nor that my human flesh is “secondary” to him within a culture beyond this soccer field. My belonging to furriness is instead predicated on him because he is the only way I can affirm to myself the emergent powers of furriness at all. I am always staring into the abyss of a self in flux that should have been me from the start.

The soccer ball hits my leg, shaking me from my thoughts. I watch the ball slow to a gentle roll from my back-left, gliding along the grass until it plants a peck on the goal’s firm netting. My head swivels from the sign of my failure to the tiger before me. He’s cheering with his fists up. Gotcha! his body says with the faded varnish of a fever dream, his smiling eyes begging to receive my own.

I’m not sure that I can reciprocate. I pick the ball up with a weary smile and punt it towards the setting sun.

IV. Shepherd (He Heals Everything?)

 
In 2018, the Reno-based convention Biggest Little Fur Con pulled off an impressive feat. It’s typical for American furcons to feature annually rotating “themes,” or adventurous aesthetics that dominate one’s registration badge, souvenir T-shirts, and the hotel’s hallway decor. BLFC 2018’s theme was that of the Broadway musical. In addition to the standard fare that filled the schedule, the con’s creative staff teamed up with furry rockstars Fox & Pepper to honor the theme with a live musical of their own, “BLFC: A Musical Tail.”[3]

Thistle and Clover at BLFC 2018

“A Musical Tail” follows Thistle, a starry-eyed canine who’s excited to experience a weekend of firsts: his first flight; his first furry convention; and his first love, having fallen for jaded con vet Clover with which Thistle rooms for the event. Clover attempts to control Thistle’s naivete as the dog dotes on fursuiters, misconstrues the erotic arts (“A ‘pup play’ panel? I love puppies!”), and eventually unravels at the unprecedented depths of his own sentimentality. When the two separate at a Saturday-night shindig and Clover leaves Thistle’s frantic texts on read, Thistle succumbs to his ever-growing pile of frustrations — his ruined plans, his screwed-up schedule: “Every dollar spent on this is feeling wasted!” he laments on a rooftop as the party rages on below him.

Yet through his wailing Thistle realizes how much of his frustrations rest on his unrequited feelings for the other man. “You were supposed to be my perfect iteration!” he angsts through song. “You were supposed to solve this crushing desperation!” Thistle’s mourning of what-could-have-been evolves into grief for what he wants Clover to be: the conduit for the home that unfolds around Thistle as he belts his pain and anger. Thistle’s belonging isn’t in the party nor the people at it. Thistle needs a rock, and nowhere is this need more clear than in his climactic cry: “You were supposed to be the thing to fix it all!

Overanalysis may do a disservice to the obvious. Thistle’s got it bad, and no amount of theory can handwave his love away. But Thistle’s slip of the tongue — that Clover is the thing that was supposed to fix Thistle’s tensions — points to Thistle’s internalization of Clover as the key to a kingdom that couldn’t possibly be without a lock. Despite Thistle’s demonstrably independent identification with the furry fandom, his failure to find fulfillment in his surroundings leads him continuously back to Clover. In every word, the poor puppy becries his burgeoning sense of belonging and the limerent bind that makes its actualization impossible. Thistle’s implicit realization is that, if home is where the heart is, it can’t beat in the furry fandom proper. Thistle needs Clover to tangibly embody the ephemerality of furry homecoming so that there may be something to come home to after all.

My Floridan mentor’s TV rolled the recording of “A Musical Tail” on the final day of our weekend outing. The six of us sat on a couch as wide as I was lonely, swapping stories of the show’s production while it played. I turned to my laptop to ease the growing rift between myself and the play, ostracized by its glorification of a communal experience that I still couldn’t grok. Meanwhile, the past words of fellow furs echoed through my mind: you’ve brought this isolation upon yourself, you know. The proof of my belonging was in the pudding of our friendship. I was there, on that very couch, listening to stars of the show recall with harrowing hilarity the project’s planning process. What room did I have to speak of social discomfort when those around me had already let me in?

Thistle’s soliloquy transmitted my troubles back to me. As soon as he opened his muzzle I knew his pain. His anguish defined how it feels to be so trapped in one’s state of longing that home becomes an elsewhere of its own, just as I had to internalize my furriness to seek comfort within it. Furry affect wasn’t a limitless field of potential to me. It was a wrestling match between the unstoppable force of my desire and the immovability of myself, which unveiled the greatest paradox of all. I could only partake in the couch’s communion so long as I reconciled that the way we realized each other would ruin me. What made it feel like home was its acceptance of my displacement: I could be anything I wanted to be so long as I stared my liminality in its static face. But if I did that, then how liminal could I really be? The deposits of my desire were too deep to be contained in a singular entity that only fulfilled me through my opposition to it. Thistle’s need paralleled my longing for a home that I had to materialize away from myself, not within myself, because I could only find “home” in furriness through my own undoing. I could be blind to the home inside me or long for the mirage before me. Either way, my heart would tear in two.

Therein lay the real friction between myself and the rest of the couch: furriness couldn’t bring me towards them so long as furriness’s final frontier returned for me the same hollowness from which I supposedly emerged. Everyone else could use the fursona to make a home within themselves and each other, but I was doomed to succumb to its static shocks, desperate to verify the potency of my unfolding at the expense of setting myself truly free. And even if I rejected the fursona myself, I would always long for the evidence of my affective evolution. Just as Thistle languished in his need for another, so was I unable to escape myself without the double-bind of an existence so distant and strained.

The musical number ended. I excused myself, slipped on my shoes, and hit the pavement of the Orlando suburbs, hoping to leave my heartache behind for a moment. I only returned when the clouds began to weep with me.

V. Goodbye to A World/Unison

 
On the penultimate evening of PAWCon 2019, I encountered a YouTube livestreamer while working at a friend’s vendor booth. It was easy to hear him coming: the giggles of his roving gang would’ve put a hyena to shame. Despite the species similarities, however, the first words I heard from him were that he didn’t belong. “I am not a furry,” he said to his virtual audience as he walked past my booth. “Fake news, I swear.”

Minutes later he returned to my table, his camera pleading for my attention. “Hi,” he waved. “You have something to say to YouTube?”

I put a hand over my heart, faux-flattered. “Wow!” I gasped. “What have I always wanted to say to an audience of people…?”

“Take your time,” he replied.

I fell back into silence as a cacophony of incoherent thoughts filled my head. There were so many things I wanted to tell him. Most important of them all was that I understood his proclamations of opposition. Yes, even as I sold furry merchandise at a furry convention, I knew how it felt to question my place within it all. After all, opposition is one of the easiest ways to occupy the space between yourself and what you love. Why bother with the pain of a broken heart when you could just break it with your own hands instead? I didn’t know if this streamer’s heart beat in time with the rhythm of my pain—nor if he even cared to investigate it—but in his vocal objections I saw the same aches that plagued me even as I sat in the booth before him.

The irony of his approach was so heavy that it robbed me of my voice. I answered with a non-committal meme, he laughed, and I watched him turn his back on our silently shared antagony.

All too often I, too, openly reject furriness—despite my ten years being in and around it—because claiming it reignites the distance that I feel from other furries. On the days that I do claim furriness, I do so in hopes that my contributions to the fandom encourage others to find themselves within my work. This manifesto isn’t a cry for pity. It’s a call for furs to reimagine how they create community and to “flesh out” what more furriness might mean to them. In what ways are we fostering creative self-expression that moves us beyond the rigidity of our desires? Does the mythological allure of home fuel our collectivization, or is the tension between our inner selves what causes us to long for it in the first place?

I’ve heard many furries argue that the fursona’s externality is what embodies them. Some of the fursona’s reconstitutive powers can be healing, especially for trans individuals, queer furs, and fellow body dysmorphics. Nothing I’ve written is meant to oppose those perspectives whatsoever, nor do I believe that affect theory is prescriptive. The fursona is so unique because it’s one of the only technologies that constructs a home that one can see for themselves. Dismantling that home altogether is fruitless. I hope, however, that this analysis has centered another kind of marginality: the ones for which the fursona is not an escape, but a sacrifice, the final nail in a boarded-up property built by dysphoria’s raking claws. Some of our paws are simply too worn to justify pulling back the planks from it any longer.

That’s why my own paws stroke these keys until I hear someone knock on the door to my dingy domain. From my window I see my tiger shivering; he’s seeking shelter from the falling snow that pushed him away from his ultimate purpose.

I can’t help but shed a tear. Each of us is a place, and yet he’s come to rest in mine. I rise from my writing desk, unlock the entrance, and warm us both by a fire that may free us from colder flames.

~

  1. Massumi, Brian. 2002. Parables for the Virtual: Movement, Affect, Sensation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 72-82.
  2. Ibid, 72-77.
  3. Biggest Little Fur Con. 12 May 2018. “BLFC 2018: A Musical Tail.” Youtube. Accessed 2 September 2020.

BIO: Alec Esther is a community advocate in Madison, WI who promotes civic engagement, critical inquiry, and radical social change. When he’s not cooking up a spicy Cephalid Breakfast in Magic: the Gathering, he spins all things bright and special as “DJ REDACTED” on Datafruits.fm. You can follow his local organizing and theory work on Twitter @highestwinds, contact him on Telegram @redacteds, or reach out via email at outsetleca@gmail.com.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Use these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News

Interview with a Sleestak, the scaly monster that stalks the streets of Portland!

Wed 23 Sep 2020 - 10:00

Photo by Samantha Swindler

Beware! Get scared! There’s a Sleestak on the street tonight!

This scaly, green, bipedal creature was originally from the 1970’s TV show Land of the Lost. (A live action children’s adventure show mixed with claymation animated dinosaurs, about a family trying to get home from an alternate universe.)

Through some dimensional portal, one Sleestak recently appeared in Portland, OR. He was then discovered by the news. Read a story about him from The Oregonian: The Portland Sleestak wanders the city for scares, smiles and general weirdness. Another from King5: Brent Marr pays tribute to a 70’s classic and reminds his hometown it’s fun to be weird.

I saw the news linked by Bawdy Storytelling. (A show for kinky stand-up performers, which often has furries like me.) Sadly, I must disappoint friends at Bawdy because the Sleestak is family-friendly and can’t go on stage with spicy stories. But he did answer a Q&A.

I was curious about the Sleestak’s inspirations, and why he appears on the street where you’d never expect a scaly creature. It reminds me of street fursuiting (my favorite thing.) Enjoy our chat about it.

Hi from Dogpatch Press! I love your look and want to know how you got it. Can you talk about your background and your art influences?

(Portland Sleestak): I originally thought that I would end up being a comic book artist but never really found the motivation to pursue it seriously, so that evolved into portraits in graphite and charcoal, Primarily male nudes. I had some success with that but eventually eating became a priority and art went by the wayside.

I’ve always loved Halloween and over the years have made some great costumes. From a mash up of the twins from the Shining and Batman and Robin, to Heat Miser/Snow Miser, The Child Catcher, and Pinhead from the Puppet Master movies. Costumes have become a great outlet for creativity. (There’s a photo album for those on my personal Facebook page.)

I decided that I wanted to wear a Sleestak mask with a leisure suit as a Halloween idea but none of the masks I found were of any quality (no one was making Sleestak masks commercially).

I decided to try to make my own. I got a mannequin head and some modeling clay and began trying my hand and sculpting… the head ended up coming out so good that it stole my credit card and became something else… so I built a body too and that’s part of how I got here…

How does becoming the Sleestak feel when you’re in the moment doing a Sleestak attack?

Scaring each other was like a game in my family growing up, for me it’s fun to be startled, and it’s fun to scare people. That’s the main goal of the Sleestak Attacks, but certainly smiles, laughter, and nostalgia are great consolation prizes.

At Witches Castle at Forest Park

Do you have a monster family (helpers, people you will go out performing with, hosts for events, or bands you go on stage with?) What are they like?

I have a small group of mostly friends but sometimes volunteer fans of the Facebook page that help with everything from getting me into the suit, to taking photos and videos. As well as communicating via com system and providing me with security.

Beyond that, I only had just completed the second suit in January and was still doing test runs and trouble shooting when the pandemic began. We did a live appearance at a local bands Leap Day event but, clearly exploring what to do with this thing hit a snag so as you can imagine. I’m anxious to find out what we’ll do and where we’ll go.

Can you talk about the process of making him (and do you have any documenting, photo/video etc besides the short Oregonian video?) I thought it was especially creative to use security camera domes for eyes.

There are 2 photo albums on my personal Facebook profile page (Brent Marr) Sleestak Project and Sleestak Project 2.0 — I did the best I could to provide commentary and there are a few videos and tons of pictures.

Like Dr. Frankenstein’s lab.

I think your work could really inspire some furry fans who stick to a colorful cartoon aesthetic. Could you tell them anything about making different or more monstrous creatures than their usual kind?

Sleestak are all I have made so far, I had not used modeling clay since I was a child but had never attempted to really sculpt anything. I watched hours of mold making and countless other videos to get the end result. I traveled down several paths that had to be abandoned and rethought. And I ended up with a great suit that was very difficult to wear, so ultimately I made a second one from scratch and applied what I learned, with good success.

Are you content being the Sleestak or will you do more creatures?

I’m a fan of many things, and of course I’m tossing options around in my crazy head for future costumes, Sasquatch, Wendigo, and Murder Hornet are 3 at the top of my list.

I’m curious about your place in Portland… with the weirdness and protests in the troubled times we’re living in. How do you feel about being there?

It breaks my heart to see Portland in such turmoil. Why is working towards tolerance and coexistence so difficult? I don’t know the answer to that, but we have to push forward each day as if the earth will continue to spin.

Portland is strong. And is, by and large filled with hopeful, hard working, courageous, and good people that believe everyone should be able to live and love without fear.

So, if I can provide a moment of joyful distraction here and there until we reach the other side of this crisis, than that’s what I’ll do.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on PatreonWant to get involved? Use these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here. (Content Policy.)

Categories: News