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Updated: 3 hours 23 min ago

South Afrifur 2019 – Convention Report by Jako Malan

Mon 12 Aug 2019 - 10:00

Thanks to Jako Malan/Erdwolf_TVL for the guest submission. Compare the update with a look back at Fred Patten’s South Afrifur 2017 con report. And check out the guest articles sent here by Duncan Piasecki for another voice from South African furry fandom. “An exciting tourist destination to international furries”? Lekker place, maan. – Patch

Fursuiters SAFC2019 – Thanks to @FurnixWolf (Telegram) for photo.

In 2018, the local furry convention South Afrifur – then in its second year – had the unexpected privilege of South Africa’s largest Afrikaans magazine doing an editorial on the local fandom. I did not feel it pressed on me to write an official report then. This year the local convention attracted little attention from non-furries, but in a way, I think it had reached critical momentum and I felt inspired to write about it again.

Whereas the question on every muzzle in previous years had been “Will there be another con?” and “Did we succeed?” This year, there was tangible optimism and a sense of achievement. Other questions were being asked. “How many fursuiters will there be next year?” and “How will we fit everyone into the available accomodation?”

The 80s themed convention was held from the 12th through the 15th of July at the Ekudeni retreat about an hours’ drive from Johannesburg. As with previous years, the majority of furries came from the Gauteng province – the economic and industrial heartland of South Africa. The other provinces were represented too, albeit in much smaller numbers. We were also privileged to have four international visitors – Bravura and Aninok from Switzerland as well as Kit and Trace from Nebraska in the USA.

Gardens at Ekudeni Retreat

There were many firsts at South Afrifur Con 2019. A marked increase in the number of fursuiters justified a headless lounge for the first time. There was a furry rave on Sunday evening. Measured against the number of furs who didn’t plan on attending (but did) and a noise complaint lodged by the neighboring farm, it was a success. Sketchbooks had floated around at previous cons, but they were much more prominent this year. (Locals have finally caught up!)

Yukon’s Scavenger Hunt and Pop Quiz returned and was well received. There were two panel discussions on Sunday afternoon. “How did you find the fandom” by Jessica Collie and a panel on “Diversity on the Fandom” presented by Ivic Wulfe. The latter stirred a healthy discussion and much participation from the audience.

The Artist’s Alley, which was officially held on Saturday morning, extended throughout the remainder of the weekend. It was bigger and more varied than ever before. Offerings were no longer limited to artist commissions from only a handful of local artists. There was a good selection of books, prints, stickers, jewelry… even fudge for sale. Two of the dealers had underestimated the demand and had run out of stock long before the convention was over. Sales were very good.

The social highlight was a braai at Zonki-Shebeen – a township-themed bar at the venue. Furries mingled around fire pits chatting, smoking and having drinks. Free-roaming Zebra, Springbok, Rooibok as well as other unseen night creatures watched from a careful distance as the furries talked and socialized under the southern night sky.

When time came to say goodbye on Monday morning, at least half the con’s attendees lingered – long after checkout – to help pack up Furnix’s sound system and clean the hall. The sadness was palpable. Unlike those in the other parts of the world, it would be literally a year before this particular group of friends could get together again to celebrate everything furry. In Africa.

There is talk of increasing the size of the organizing committee, with tasks needing to be delegated for the first time. Ekudeni was at about three-quarter capacity in 2019. There is talk of making use of an overflow venue (on the same grounds) should the numbers double as they did over the past two years.

The total number of attendees were fifty three. There were sixteen fursuiters (counting only full suits and partials with heads.) Though the numbers are still being calculated at this time, charitable donations to our chosen charity (Husky Rescue in Kwa-Zulu Natal) is likely to be in the early ten thousand ZAR. (About $650.)

Numbers aside, I think the 2019 convention took the first steps in bridging the gap between the different factions in the local furry community. Three times’ a charm. I think there is no longer any doubt that South Afrifur has the means, reputation and passion to pull off a successful convention.

Having silenced the skeptics, their next step would be to draw in those who’ve been actively critical of the organizing committee. There will always be clashes of personality in this fandom, but as far as furries go, there is always a greater good to account for.

A personal quest of mine would be to market South Africa as an exciting tourist destination to international furries. I’m hoping to drum up enough interest next year to fill a carriage (or bus) with furries travelling to the con from Cape Town.

On a very personal note, I was privileged enough to experience fursuiting for the first time this year. Basil Caribou was kind enough to lend me his Doug Ramses (ala Zootopia) suit. It is a well-made, good looking suit, but not one well suited for extended wear anywhere outside of Antarctica. I had a good sweat walking around with this uncooled padded ram. I participated in the Fursuit Games (organized by YoteFox) and posed for a group photo, too. Though early to say it was an awakening, it was definitely special. Also was seeing ElectroCat (EC) for the first time in about ten years and commissioning him to do a picture of me, my wife and my two kids.

Sadly, all cons come to an end. The venue was (eventually) cleared and the sweaty fursuits hung out to dry. As I crossed the Great Karoo by train on my way back to my mundane life back home, I was left with fond memories, bruised ribs (from excessive hugging) and massive amounts of inspiration my own writing. I can’t wait to see what Visionary-In-Chief Ivic and his team have in mind for next year.

– Jako Malan

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.

Categories: News

Ironclaw: The Book of Monsters, by Tempe O’Kun and Ursula Vernon – Review by Sha

Tue 6 Aug 2019 - 10:00

Welcome to Sha of Red Furros — the Spanish language furry news site out of Mexico City, founded in 2009. Some articles will be translated for other readers to enjoy, with light editing to make it smoother. – Patch

Here’s an addition to our articles about Ironclaw, the anthropomorphic role-playing game in it’s 20th anniversary. Recently, Ironclaw’s “The Book of Monsters” was presented at Anthrocon. It’s a bestiary for the base game.

This book originally began its Kickstarter on Aug 21th, 2018 where it quickly reached its funding goal.

It’s a collaboration between Tempe O’Kun (Windfall, Sixes Wild) as the writer, and Ursula Vernon (Digger, Dragonbreath series) for illustrations.

For Sanguine Games Book Of Monsters, Tempo and Ursula reimagine the world of Ironclaw with the premise that in a world where animals can talk and form societies, why wouldn’t plants be able to walk and hunt?

Imagine a tree that can walk and transform into any other character, or fungi that attacks using toxic mist. These imaginative scenarios can make for very funny situations (like being chased by a maniacal, murderous onion), to very creepy ones with a tree-clone of a recently-deceased loved one following you around.

Ironclaw is a very immersive game, more focused on the diplomatic side, that invites you to interact with the civilized world around you (even when it’s about animals). However, this new expansion adds more interesting enemies and adventures that some of the critics of the game found lacking.

While I was reading this book, I couldn’t stop thinking of the Ghost of a Tale videogame, and the excitement I felt scurrying around as Tilo, in a dungeon filled with rat guards.

I think Ironclaw, and this new expansion, are a great way to play a bit more interactively with fursonas that are a bit reminiscent of the old Furcadia MUCK.

Ironclaw is a game with a difference from other pen-and-paper games. It doesn’t use the hitpoint system, and it’s more based on placing status onto other characters based on successful dice-throws. This may be a bit confusing or off-putting at first for old-school players of more complex games like D&D, but it quickly becomes fun and immersive due to it’s complex societal and diplomatic relationships and stories.

I think it’s the perfect games where RPG veterans can introduce newbies to the RPG world, in a way where they also have to manage more complex stuff (like the gifts or managing the status hierarchies.)

The design of the interior is pretty good and has a nice continuity with the base Player’s book. The cover art might benefit from a more modern look since it looks a bit dated even when it’s just been released. However, that part also helps to keep that feeling of continuity with the entire series.

Ironclaw is a game by furries for furries. (And not just for furries, of course). It’s very well made and very fast to start playing as it doesn’t take a lot of setup to start from your character sheet (it even has some pre-made) to begin the adventure itself.

You can get your copies of Ironclaw and “The Book of Monsters” on DriveThruRPG.

– Sha

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.

Categories: News

Frolic Party gets crepe-y news about a furry food tradition.

Mon 29 Jul 2019 - 10:00

“Fast food meets slow news day”

San Francisco’s original furry dance party is a thirsty place. Besides for watching Fluke Husky and panting. (Or being pantsless… like an innocent toon character of course). Every first Saturday at The Eagle, I get sweaty from jumping around in a big rug with sweet tunes. It makes me need a Squirrel Pop or five to cool off.

Then it’s drunken feasting time. That’s when food tastes like it looks in cartoons, where mice dive into bowls of jello and eat cheese wheels from the inside out.

At 2 A.M. when you’re still bouncing out the door, if the booze in your belly needs a friend, Crepes A Go Go is the go-to place. (Or was.)

That junky parking lot with a flat-tired truck, and a tattered awning over furniture that shouldn’t live outside… that was the gate to heaven. A smoked salmon, basil, tomato and cheese crepe was my staple.

One time I was going to town on one of those bad boys all doused in hot sauce. That salty, fishy, spicy, juicy treat was getting stuffed in my pie hole so hard, I didn’t notice it got crunchy. Whoops. That was my tongue. Well, it would get better. I kept going, finished the first crepe, got back in line for seconds, and savored how extra… juicy… and salty… whoops again. Fish, tomato and hot sauce had just the right chemistry with the blood in my alcohol stream, that I didn’t notice my tongue had been gushing blood in my first crepe and second one too.

It got kind of scary. I could spit it like a creature from a zombie plague movie, or make a pile of napkins look like a crime scene, but it didn’t want to stop. I headed home so they wouldn’t have to put up biohazard warnings, and drove with my mouth open for 30 minutes to get some air on it. That sealed things up and it was OK.

Gross huh? But that’s how good those crepes were. They made pain feel good. I’d ignore a sucking chest wound for one. They’re going to get mourned, because Crepes A Go Go got pushed out to make some stupid office building. Everything in San Francisco is on the gentrifier chopping block like that.

Well summonabithc. Here's what happened to the crepe truck for @FrolicParty https://t.co/FxsqH6bOkF

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) July 22, 2019

I chatted up DJ Neonbunny, the Frolic Party organizer. Could a food truck park outside the Eagle? That would be a good time for everyone. Maybe Grilled Cheez Guy, or the Royal Egyptian truck, who did the Galactic Camp party and became more or less honorary furries?

Neonbunny told me: “We got a food truck to come outside the Stud a few times when Frolic was there! But after a while, they moved on. The Eagle has a few connections for trucks too. But there’s a lot of construction right now, and one has to be willing to go through a heavy permitting process.”

Nacho Husky of Galactic Camp told me: “The other thing is the Eagle will let you bring a BBQ and sell food if it’s for charity. I’ve done it with them. If someone wanted to bring a BBQ, they have a food permit.”

Well that would be fun! Until then, there’s a couple of sub-par overpriced pizza places or hot dog pirates on the sidewalk.

Last things: Does anyone know of any aging-rockers-turned-DJ’s in California who might be hireable for a special Frolic? (Like Jello Biafra last year?)

And for October, look out for a sweet music video release party. I was a rodent in it, and there was cheese!

Recently a music video was shot for "Squirrel At The End of the Bar" https://t.co/LfpeACuqPj with @Zarafagiraffe @Catprowler12 and more. Here's a photoset by Candy and a few with my rat. https://t.co/LiO1Ln9n4J @fakedansavage wanted it in @humpfilmfest. Maybe @FurFilmFest too? 1/ pic.twitter.com/fWn48Rso38

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) July 18, 2019

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.

Categories: News

A chat with Meru Tenshi, Filipino furry artist for the new site banner.

Mon 22 Jul 2019 - 10:30

(Patch:) Hi Meru! thanks for the cool art – the site is starting to commission regular new banners and feature the artists. There’s a particular interest in lesser-seen artists from the world outside of American fandom. The last featured artist was Ligoni from Mexico. Want to share your social media links?

(Meru Tenshi:) Hello there. I’m Meru Tenshi, nice to meet you!  Regarding on my social links. I’m very active on my Twitter (@MeruTenshiArt) and Facebook (Meru Tenshi). I have a Furaffinity account (Meru-Tenshi) but it’s pretty outdated. For now, I’m prioritizing other stuff until I can update it.

Can I ask where you live, and a profile about yourself and what you do?

I live in Calamba, Laguna, Philippines, and I’m 22 years old.

I’m a wolf-tiger hybrid (A Wiger,) pronounced as a “Wayger”. About my fursona:
He mostly resembles me in real life being all funny and serious at the same time.
Meru has two brothers.
-Rouka Tenshi is his big brother.
-Koushiro Tenshi is his younger brother.

I started drawing when I was in Grade 2 where I drew Pokemon a lot. In my high school days, I started watching anime and “Bleach” was my favorite anime series. This anime was the reason why I discovered the furry fandom.

My favorite anime character from Bleach was actually a furry creature named “Komamura Sajin” and I was such a big fan of him back in my high school days. Whenever I browsed him on Google, I kept seeing fanart of him as well, being involved with different furry characters from Deviantart and Furaffinity. This made me curious and eventually, when I was 17, I discovered the fandom and become a furry artist!

Do you do furry things in real life, like going to meets and cons, or just online?

In my school days, I had never been to furmeets. I just kept posting my art on FB and my social life mostly ran through online. But last year, I graduated as an IT (Information Technology) graduate and become free. That’s when I started being active with the fandom where I post art and join furmeets more often.

FurryPinas 2019 was my first fur con I got involved and it was very awesome. I met a lot of cool furries and fursuiters who were very kind and nice.

What kind of art do you do, and what’s your favorite thing about making art?

Talking about my art life, I’m a Furry Digital Artist with sort of a Kemono style. And I love drawing furries because I really see them being awesome and badass and it makes me all excited whenever I draw them. I can pretty much draw anything but I mostly draw furries all my life.

My favorite thing about making art is drawing furries involving their stories made by their respective owners. It’s such an honor for me to make a story of an OC, even just a little part of it, bringing their imaginary life to reality through my art.

Also, my motto as an artist is “Art takes time.” I’ve been living with this after I graduated from college. It’s short but wholesome.

I love how this fandom brings people around the world together who might have no other reason to meet. Can I ask, how does it feel to be you, besides just a furry online? What’s going on in your life?

Regarding my current life, my work is making commissions as a furry artist after I lost my job last December. I feel discouraged to be honest, and get stressed about how am I supposed to help my family with our current financial state. We’re not rich to be honest, we’re just living life with hard work, and without it we’ll starve. But the furry community gave me hope and I would like to thank all of my friends, supporters and commissioners for supporting me whenever I’m in a financial crisis, I could cry to be honest hahaha.

As of now, I’m still drawing commissions and about to get a new job soon after I pass my civil examinations in August, hopefully.
And I’m SINGLE XD, just saying wahaha.

My inspiration is my family because I’m a family-centered guy and I love my mom so much for being there for me no matter what, along with my big sister and big brother.

Thanks Meru, and I hope a lot more people check out your art and help you have success with everything.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.

Categories: News

Arrest of Growly brings feeling of vindication for furries with safety concerns.

Mon 22 Jul 2019 - 09:23

The LAPD Juvenile Division, based solely on their website, handles cases involving the exploitation or harm of children. pic.twitter.com/8FIGyAVlVo

— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) July 16, 2019

In regards to Mr. Llamas, the Los Angeles County Superior Court updated their online docket yesterday to show Mr. Llamas has pled "not guilty" to two counts of California Penal Code 311.11(a), relating to the possession of pornography of persons under the age of 18.

— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) July 19, 2019

A problematic record.

Growly, a long time Southern California furry fan (named Daniel Llamas in many public sources), was arrested on 7/10/2019.

(An update link was added to a section about him in a previous broadly-related article: R.C. Fox arrested for child pornography, furries question fandom connections.)

Little is open about what happened so far besides charges. It’s a little unusual to give a headline to an arrest, and people are presumed innocent in court. Summarizing Growly’s history is also hard to do with calm about laws and policies and incentive to rehabilitate. But there’s a lot of background making it worth sharing.

The main points start with a sex offense record from 2001, shared with another offender. Then in 2009, Growly was banned from FurAffinity following inappropriate messaging with a person claimed to be a minor (which left some facts murky, such as their identity.) Growly’s statement about it was posted to Wikifur.

The 2001 conviction led to serving over two years in jail, completing parole, and working to re-enter the furry fandom. A very active presence at events included volunteering as staff or running panels.

That background happened before I was active in fandom.  I didn’t know who he was when he chanced to ask me to pose for a photo at one of the first few cons I went to. It was taken by a furry known for thousands of similar photos.

It helps to have context to avoid chasing clout with out of context photos. At BLFC 2014 a stranger asked me to pose for a sec. Sadly I'm not psychic, but I didnt do cons pre-2012 and wasn't in fandom when he got in trouble. I think @LostWolf321 took the one of thousands like it. pic.twitter.com/iEOU0T05c8

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) July 17, 2019

Misinformation and knee-jerk reactions

If you look into attacks about a photo with a stranger at a con — you can see how calm understanding gets trashed by misinformation, panic, and malice with no intention to solve problems.

A decade after Growly finished parole, a conviction 18 years ago began to raise more, not less outrage (perhaps fed by a boom in new young members). While blunt criticisms rose on social media, it could frustrate a quieter section of event organizers.

There were concerns about rehab. How does that happen if people won’t let it? There were objections that attacking Growly’s attendance at 18+ adult events with no kids had nothing to do with safety for kids. There were opinions that PG-rated panels in full view of everyone had oversight. There were claims that his volunteering involved buying favor, but people who wanted him gone weren’t taking his place while getting volunteer’s work. The more aggressive it was, the more it was called bullying or clout-chasing — which had merit when alt-furries made him a stalking-horse to snipe at con hotels. (That’s pointless because hotels don’t care to interfere on behalf of non-customers, according to secure info I was tipped about Growly and Anthrocon.)

Why is this hard for cons?

On the other hand, objections about convention policies being too lax — and erring on the side of careful process instead of safety — have a compelling case following this new arrest.

Which leaves a standout question: why don’t cons err on the side of safety, and ban anyone with an offense?

I’m not a lawyer or con staff, but I can reveal a part in this. I didn’t take credit to avoid feeding trolls. In December 2018, Fur Con made the first con policy that I know of specifically banning people with a history of pedophilia or sexual violence. It came from a report I sent about a related issue (confirmed in secure info kept on file — because people get doxed and threatened for acting, at the same time as harassed for not visibly acting, as I’ve experienced while secure action happens behind the scenes.)

We have clarified and updated our Code of Conduct regarding membership eligibility and conditions. The new text appears under the "Membership" heading on https://t.co/eheSwKvsuA, and will be in effect for FC2019. Please contact chairman@furcon.org with any concerns.

— Further Confusion (@furcon) December 18, 2018

Their wording:

“AAE and FurCon do not permit membership or attendance by any individual who is a convicted sex offender, or appears on any federal or state sex offender registry. In addition, AAE and FurCon reserve the right, at the board’s discretion, to deny membership or attendance to anyone with a documented history of sexual violence, including inappropriate conduct towards minors.”

Personally, I support cons that refuse to be shouted down by angry mobs, where individuals can ban other individuals. That’s how you get:

  1. Religious/moral zealots taking illegitimate power to police spaces for consenting adults.
  2. Trolls weaponizing “think of the children” concerns to ruin events altogether, like Califur.

I’m all for working for a calm, organized, platform-level change in policy instead, like Fur Con did.

Unfortunately, corruption can happen and sometimes management won’t care.

That’s another topic, so I’ll leave the last word to informed sources. This issue can be a Catch-22 for cons by their nature. Being volunteer-based and run on a shoestring means lack of resources to do better, under threat of fatal liability. Con-goers have fun times and low costs because of the way things run. To ask for better, save callouts for last, and volunteer and pay them first.

But the real questions are a lot tougher to answer: Is that guy really dangerous, or is he just really unpopular?

You don't want your con to become like that TV show where the audience can vote anyone off the island.

It's a suuuuuper delicate questions.

— he/him/himbeere ???? (@cheetah_spotty) July 16, 2019

So cons have to go all or nothing. Which is why FC and TFF’s wording is basically “if you’re on the sex offender registry.”

They’re not making a judgement call there. It’s already been decided by a judge, however imperfect that system is.

— FuzzWolf (@FuzzWolf) July 16, 2019

I’m not making that assumption, the law is. The registry is highly flawed, but that’s not a liability cons can afford to take. They could be sued out of existence.

— FuzzWolf (@FuzzWolf) July 16, 2019

The choice cons have is either ban 100% of people on the SOR or 0%. That’s the only choice. Anything between those two extremes burdens the con with the legal concept of “duty of care” which puts them in a ton of legal liability. Might be different over there though.

— FuzzWolf (@FuzzWolf) July 16, 2019

Cosmo, a UK furry and con staffer, says:

“I think it’d be worth adding some context to Cheetah’s commentary. That conversation between him and Pepper strikes me as two sides of a coin – rehabilitation vs. punishment.

It makes even more sense when you factor in that, say, calling the police in a European city and asking “is <name> on the Sex Offenders Register” will likely get you a stern “I’m not telling you for legal reasons”.

In an EU member state, you’re not likely to find out about a furry engaging in crime unless it was serious enough to get printed in the newspapers.

And he’s very right about “a system where sending a nude pic to your 17yo partner” – UK has had that exact issue, and it’s entirely possible that someone who was 16-18 could have been convicted of a CP offence for sending a nude selfie to their then-partner of a similar age.

It doesn’t seem terribly fair to punish someone for their entire life for a stupid mistake they made as a kid.”

Whatever the story is with Growly this time, a lot of people can feel like they saw it coming. It will surely be part of any discussion to come, and perhaps organizers won’t be quite so forgiving again.

Shared by Joe Bear

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.

Categories: News

DJ UltraPup barks about what it’s like to be on stage the first time at Anthrocon.

Fri 19 Jul 2019 - 10:54

It's going down on Saturday at the @AnthroconDances so catch me all week during @anthrocon in the mean time check out my mixcloud and other links. Preview Set coming soon!

Special thanks to @TimeSuppression for making the poster. pic.twitter.com/YpqspZQm7R

— DJ UltraPup (@DJUltraPup) June 24, 2019

(Patch:) It sounds like you had a blast at Anthrocon! I wanted to ask you about your first time DJing a big con. What’s your story and how did you end up there? Was it your first furry con, or just first time on stage at one?

(DJ UltraPup:) I’m a member of the pup community and I have been for quite some time. I am also however a member of the furry community, and one of my big goals is to try and bridge the divide between furries and pups. When a friend of mine suggested I apply to DJ at Anthrocon, I thought why not. I’m well known in the DC area as a circuit DJ and I have 3 club residencies, so I applied, and sure enough they picked me to play Saturday night at 11pm. AC was my first major con. I had gone to FurTheMore earlier this year just to check it out, but this was my first time DJing a furcon, and it won’t be my last.

Congrats for that. Are you newer to furries? How did DJing at AC compare to your usual gigs?

Thank you, this is actually a funny question when I look back on it. For the longest time I’ve been furry adjacent. A lot of my ex’s were furries, so I’ve always been familiar with the fandom. I went to my first con earlier this year for one day at Furthemore, and that was really cool. It was there that one of my friends suggested I apply for AC.

I come from the pup community, and after my gig at AC, the furry community has embraced me and welcomed me in as one of their own, and more or less adopted me. So now I’m happy to say I’m officially part of the fandom. I even have a partial fursuit now.

I’ve been very lucky to have been given the chance to play so many gigs and venues all around the east coast and the D.C area. For me, having residencies in D.C means I get to do what I love for a living. That being said, playing AC was one of the coolest events I think I’ve ever been a part of. The stage was amazing. The crew was incredible. My fellow DJ’s were awesome, and went out of their way to support me DJing in a pup hood and making me feel welcome.

As for the actual event part, I can’t put into words what it’s like looking out on the dance floor from the stage, and seeing the stage packed with furries and the floor packed with furries, all in fursuit jumping and dancing to your music. It’s impossible to put into words, it’s just something I’ll never forget.

The moment I broke @AnthroconDances and @anthrocon went crazy. Also the moment I introduced myself to the fandom and they welcomed me in. #Anthrocon2019 #Anthrocon #AC2019 pic.twitter.com/VBb164GITJ

— DJ UltraPup (@DJUltraPup) July 8, 2019

Will you DJ more furry cons now? 

I will DJ more cons. As a matter of fact, I have confirmed one or two more at least, and will apply for a few other large ones. I’ll be at IFC, WPAFW, and Furrydelphia. I also applied for MFF.

Do you organize events yourself? And how would you say this compares to more mainstream event or music business? It seems to me that there’s few people getting paid for the effort, and more of a sense of doing it for the love of it.

As for my own events, I’m working with another DJ in the community named Pilot to launch a joint event for puppies and furries that will run once a month in D.C.

Being a DJ by trade for work, I’ve played both mainstream club events and cons and everything in between. I would definitely say that those who DJ the furry cons are doing it for love for the community, or love for music. I applied for AC out of love for the music and the puppies and furries. I knew I wasn’t going to get paid but I wanted to DJ in my pup hood and try to bridge some of the divide between them. Watching the amount of effort that my fellow DJ’s put in was amazing, to see the passion we all had for what we do, and you could clearly see it in the product that was presented.

The many sides of Ultra that you will see at @anthrocon and @AnthroconDances pic.twitter.com/T5qdvTKPWp

— DJ UltraPup (@DJUltraPup) June 26, 2019

The coolest part of getting to DJ @anthrocon and @AnthroconDances this week has been the massive outpouring of support I've been shown by the community. I can't wait to make history with you all tonight. No matter what always be you ❤❤❤ #Anthrocon2019 pic.twitter.com/Nb1IWCAvDV

— DJ UltraPup (@DJUltraPup) July 6, 2019

I didn't mean to break @anthrocon my bad ???? sorry @AnthroconDances next time I will just play an hour of sandstorm ???? special thanks to everyone who came to the dance/rave! #Anthrocon2019 #Anthrocon #AC2019 pic.twitter.com/wua4fgv8pu

— DJ UltraPup (@DJUltraPup) July 15, 2019

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.

Categories: News

A chat with Gemini De Chant, furry at The Satanic Temple.

Wed 17 Jul 2019 - 10:00

Hot off the press! Yesterday’s article about furries and Satan was inspired by the documentary Hail Satan? — available online next week, July 23.

I saw it in May and mentioned it to Deo Tasdevil, who surprised me with a story about being welcomed by The Satanic Temple to fursuit at their Baphomet unveiling party in Detroit. They even specifically welcomed animal costumes.

Watch the movie to see their Baphomet statue made to be placed at Oklahoma’s capital. It was a free speech/equal access counter action to a Ten Commandments monument that was put on public property despite separation of church and state.

Deo Tasdevil. Did she sell her soul to them, or did they sell theirs to her?

I’d tried to reach them with a media request. It seemed like a possible story of kinship with a hairy goat-man with a sensationalized lusty reputation, who rebelled against conformity and the mainstream to be himself.

Then Deo told me: “a friend of mine, also a furry, works at the Temple of Satan in Salem, MA.”

I said: “I’m dying, this is so funny. Furries are EVERYWHERE. Even in Satan’s lair.”

Learning that Gemini De Chant worked there made a great opportunity to talk. (Better the devil you know…) Their subcultural spectacle was fairly new to me, but of course we would get along great.

Debauchery Level: Satan. (At Folsom Street Fair, a gated adults-only fest for such antics.)

(Patch:) Hi Gemini, thanks for talking and I’m glad Deo introduced us! 

(Gemini De Chant:) So, anything you’d like to know? In the fandom I’m Sanita Squirrel. http://www.furaffinity.net/user/sanitasquirrel/

I’m curious about how furries and Satan go together. Want to talk about experiences, gossip, philosophy?

Tons! I’m pretty open about being both a Satanist and a furry.

I liked hearing about fursuiting at the Baphomet unveiling, is that common?

As far as I know Deo was the only one that had a fursuit at the Detroit event (the Unveiling). However, there are a bunch of furries in the Satanic Temple aside from just me. I know of a few down in Arkansas, two in Boston, one in San Marco, and a couple in Kentucky.

Gemini with the Baphomet Monument in 2016

I loved the Pink Mass to turn Fred Phelps’ mom gay in the afterlife. (Phelps founded the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church of “God Hates Fags” infamy.) I’d love to stage a furry hug-in at any hate demonstration where it would be safe. I organized one for a threatened Westboro protest.

A hug-in would be a neat idea but the Third Tenet means that it would have to be with people that gave permission and wanted the hugs.

Would you like a little background on my involvement?

Oh yeah no surprise hugs, more like with each other. And sure! Before I knew of furries involved, I thought it would be fun to do an article about how Satan was the original furry. His goat legs, liberation, sexiness etc.

Interesting though that depiction is lifted from the Green Man of old Celtic area lore.

Neat. I’ll bet there was quite a bit of mixing with old Satyr myths, etc.

Quite a bit. Satyrs are also mentioned in the King James version of the Bible along with unicorns.

So, I got involved with the Temple in 2015 after Deo told me about it. I knew about the Church of Satan but the whole ‘might makes right’ philosophy they had really didn’t sit well with me. Their founder, Anton LaVey had some squirrelly ideas and this is coming from someone whose fursona is a squirrel.

So I looked them up and found a chapter in my city. I arranged a meet up, did some research before the meeting, and hit it off with the Maine Chapter.

When the Maine Chapter was still active in 2016.

Unfortunately the Maine Chapter had to go inactive because the Chapter Head had way too much going on in her life at the time. However, before hand we took a ‘field trip’ where I got to meet the Temple’s Lucien Greaves in person.

Lucien is good on camera, especially with the fundie senator he was trolling by photobombing in the movie. I really dig the live in person active vibe. Street fursuiting is my favorite thing, better than tame hotel conventions.

He is really down to earth in person. When the Salem HQ was getting ready to open I helped them out and have tried to do so every October since. Salem gets crazy busy around that time.

He seemed candid on the camera too, like not a practiced actor. A bit awkward but smart, it’s disarming.

Since then I have been doing a lot of studying on Satanism. For a religion (Modern Satanism) that is relatively new (just over 50 years old) there is a surprising amount of history.

He’s got a degree from Harvard in neuroscience. Also he will destroy you in werewolf movie trivia.

Werewolf trivia with Lucien sounds good. I love pulp horror. Lovecraft or whatever, eldritch monsters driving you mad or making bargains for your soul. Have any animalistic crossover, talking squirrel visions, furry temple tours, or fandom interest stories?

We did have a group of Boston furries roll through and I was doing my best not to ‘out’ myself while at Salem but eventually I was able to nudge the one wearing a blue wolf partial fursuit and dropped a hint that I was furry too.

Just use a dogwhistle.

That was a night when I brought a gallon of mead to the HQ. Since I was working the weekends I’d get to stay over night.

Would you say “The Satanic Temple welcomes furries” and could fursuiting could be part of another event?

The Satanic Temple totally welcomes furries! Hell, Deo is the one that introduced me. Also I need to say that while I am a member of the Satanic Temple I don’t speak for them.

It’s great talking to you! Anything else to share?

A few Salem pics.

This is me after last year’s Black Mass, Oct 2018. I’m drinking mead from a skullcap.

This was during Walpurgaist Nacht 2017

Thanks to Gemini for sharing this look at surprisingly not-too-evil activity. If you think “Keep Furry Weird” is worthwhile, I’m glad to help. – Patch

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.

Categories: News

Hail Satan: the original furry

Tue 16 Jul 2019 - 09:57

Recently, furries are debating about appearing in ads, with fear of commercializing like a devil’s bargain with corporations. They’re saying “Keep furry weird“. Let’s help.

Pride month just passed. Yay, now it’s time for all the other sins!

Hey furries, go Envy some cute costumes. Have Greed for art you don’t need (but you deserve it). Be a Glutton for hugs. Lust for a fursuit crush. Give Wrath for bigots. Enjoy Sloth after a furry con. Why not? Does anyone actually want to go to heaven, the eternally boring place for goodie-two-shoes with no good parties?

Hell is where to find real fun and friends. It’s like a furry convention. If you go there for doing just ONE sin… you might as well go for broke.

Satan calling 

Of course those places are fairy tales. Bronze-age sheep herders made invisible friends to herd the masses to serve powerful elites. Superstitious storytelling is only as worthy as the meaning it brings. (Bibles can be good story sources, no argument there). That’s one skeptical opinion, anyways.

That’s why Satanists we’re talking about today don’t worship a deity. They’re just atheists with a grin, and pranksters with a point. Satan isn’t real, but they’re all about owning the power of a symbol.

He stands for rebellion against hypocrisy, nonconformity towards injustice, individual freedom, and Luciferian enlightenment. Religion vilifies disobedience, but it’s healthy to think for yourself. If a serpent gives you an apple, go ahead and take a bite, because you know what they say about an apple a day.

If you think about it, furry fandom is based on symbolism and totemism. You can even say Satan is the original furry.

The Devil and Daniel Mouse: furry animation about a musician’s bargain

Hell has a fursuit lounge

The Rebel Angel has rocked a fursona since they wrote the bible. He’s a baaadaaass goat or a ssssweet ssssnake. He was despised in mainstream media of the day (sermons, scriptures and art commissions for royal patrons), but his symbolism grew hairy legs to carry it far and wide. It’s hard to keep the devil down when he has all the fun, fashion, music and sex. Satan is a sexy beast. If you play heavy metal backwards, they don’t say 666, they say Yiff Yiff Yiff.

The furry fandom also thrives against mockery, with freakitude that keeps it independent. Furries are used to being vilified (often a socially-acceptable excuse for bullying). Meanwhile they do lots of fundraising for charity at their conventions. The Satanists I’m talking about are nice to animals too (sacrificing them is against their tenets.)

Fandoms have drama, and it’s no different for Satan’s fans. A little history is in order.

Until recently, “real Satanism” was mostly a fake accusation by overzealous Christians targeting anyone they called enemies. That caused Satanic Panic, a pop-culture influenced literal witch-hunt of the 1980’s. It was a generation after the rise of civil rights for minorities, with growing class division and fear of The Other. “Women’s lib” had both parents at work with new worry about “latchkey kids” and Stranger Danger, while kids discovered Dungeons and Dragons, heavy metal, and mature comics and cartoons (and lots of them turned into furries!)

The panic was a sensationalized distraction from unrest in society and at home. There were no sacrifices to Satan of course. The real victims were scapegoats:

In the 1980s, allegations of ritual abuse at a preschool in Southern California led to the longest, most expensive trial in U.S. history. The McMartin Preschool case  which resulted in zero convictions  became emblematic of a much more widespread phenomenon known as Satanic Panic. – Gizmodo

Fake scandals stoked conservative Think Of The Children fear-mongering. (Furries may sympathize… Yiff Panic? Judgement in a Connecticut town shows it’s still not safe to be openly furry.) Meanwhile, popes protected pedophile priests. The projection, hypocrisy and power abuse inspires protest by modern Satanists.

The Tentacles of Satanic Beliefs

That’s context, and now let’s look inside modern Satanism. It has a split between Theists who actually believe in a spiritual being, and Rationalists who follow tenets popularized by 1960’s counterculture icon Anton LaVey (who wrote the atheistic “Satanic Bible”).

Another split is The Church of Satan vs. The Satanic Temple. The Church gets criticism for being lame, irrelevant supporters of fascist-like misanthropy. (UPDATE: Thanks to Troj for sharing a better informed opinion to say don’t judge so fast.)  The Temple eschews that to focus on entertaining, artistic stunts, shows and protests for actually liberal goals. Their Satan isn’t just a symbol for shock value, he stands for positive action.

Reddit looks at the humanism behind the symbolism.

The Satanic Temple acts for free speech, separation of church and state, and enlightenment. Their After School Satan program uses equal access by law to school facilities, to spread free-thinking against Christian evangelism. They protested a Ten Commandments monument at Oklahoma’ capital as unfair use of public property for one religion. Hilariously, they built an amazing sculpted bronze Baphomet monument to put next to it. The IRS counts them as a tax-exempt religious organization!

To be honest, this all used to strike me as “edgy” as heck. I’m not an edgelord (shhh, don’t tell anyone about the shirt I wore in the 90’s that said “Smoke Crack and Worship Satan”.) Then I saw the absolutely delightful documentary about The Satanic Temple that came out in 2019.

When I saw it, my one criticism was wishing for more in-depth looking at the 1980’s Satanic Panic, perhaps by interviewing victims — but of course that would take more time and budget than just a small glance in a very well made movie.

Go see the movie. It inspired me to chat with a Satanic Furry who is actually at the Temple in Salem, MA. Come back tomorrow for that. Or else.

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.

Categories: News

17 years of progress with the Norcal Furries at San Francisco Pride.

Fri 12 Jul 2019 - 10:00

Followup to Get furry at San Francisco Pride 2019. See the Pride tag for much more.

Photo by Zenith

Photo by Wusky Husky

For the 2019 San Francisco Pride parade on June 30, the Norcal Furries had their biggest turnout yet. A hundred members made the street their stage with cheering audiences on both sides. They won the “Absolutely Outrageous” award out of more than 200 parade contingents, their second year to get an award.

“Once again we beat corporations who spend thousands on their floats with just a bunch of GoFundMe donations, and a couple of people looking very fuzzy!” (- Vance)

It’s rare to get a public spotlight like this anywhere outside of convention hotels. There was no cost for just showing up to join. It was the first Pride for many members, and it wasn’t just about queer visibility, but also engaging allies and freedom of self-expression for all. It looked like a party but the reason for it wasn’t forgotten. 50 years ago, Stonewall was a riot against hate, but fun without fighting is an answer to the question — what did they fight for?

It’s spreading. This weekend there will be a new furry float at San Diego Pride. The organizer told me about wanting to bring it to LA Pride and draw Norcal furries there too. (Look for a story about that soon.)

After the parade, the Norcal Furries regrouped at the back of a tapas restaurant that was reserved just for them. Paella sizzled and sangria splashed while core supporter Spottacus stood up to speak.

Spottacus said the float didn’t just exist to get on and ride it. It happened because every one of them made it go, almost like they pushed it with their own paws. They were pushing change over time too. The enthusiastic turnout was way different from the first time furries were in San Francisco Pride.

The Absolutely Outrageous award that the furry float/contingent won at the San Francisco Pride Parade today, thanks to Bay Area Furries, @Zoren, @RelayRaccoon,@Spottacus, @patch_packrat and others pictured at the after parade dinner celebration. pic.twitter.com/HSEUAKNLow

— Spottacus Chee (➡ CC, EF, Burn) (@Spottacus) July 1, 2019

https://t.co/oWpE2L29OT #FlashbackFriday #SFPride 2002 Pride Parade Furry Contingent pic.twitter.com/Y5AzMolpcF

— Brigus St. John (@brigusdawg) July 5, 2019

In 2002, the community was torn by infighting. Nobody was more against it than other furries. They didn’t even want the group name to be used with so-called “sexual” implications, as if that should be dictated by outsiders with no interest in what the group does. It was documented on the local mailing list. (Brigus, an original organizer, told me he wants to dig up key documents to show it.)

After 2005, furries stopped being in the parade due to low resources — every helping paw matters if the burden rests on a few. Then another original organizer, Bos’n Otter, helped my effort to bring back a float. He was proud to have others pick up where he left off. (I’ve been helping to organize Pride meets since 2012.)

If you ever hear complaints that Pride doesn’t matter any more, that’s the sound of dead weight holding you back. Some people would even stop you from openly using the name “furry”. If you can’t enjoy something as simple as your hobby, what more is on the chopping block?

Good crew today #SFPride pic.twitter.com/KT2llkANSR

— Ringtailed Pan of Bi-Shaped Fun (@RelaxingDragon1) June 30, 2019

View this post on Instagram

#NorCal #furries #pride #sfpride #sanfrancisco

A post shared by Alexa (@alexadotphoto) on Jul 1, 2019 at 12:28am PDT

Another good video from Tamara of #Norcalfurries at #sfpride2019 @sfpride pic.twitter.com/7BM89OUwGt

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) July 12, 2019

Here’s how the 2019 parade looked for Candy, a first-time marcher with the furries:

“The streets of downtown San Francisco were lined with tens of thousands of people for the 50th annual Pride parade. The Norcal Furries contingent had over 100 members with around 35 riding the float.

My favorite thing at the parade was the fursuiters interacting with the crowd. A dragon/shark-esque creature was zooming around on his scooter, doing laps around the group. A purple bunny with a matching purple backpack was going around giving high fives and hugs. A pink bunny, a tiger, an alligator and many more creatures were bouncing on top of the 14 feet tall Bounce Car which was adorned with elephants holding disco balls on the sides and pumping party music.

At one point we were worried that things like antler horns or big fluffy ears might hit the overhead cable car wires that San Francisco is known for. Can you imagine a cute bunny just going POOF! and turning into the Energizer Bunny?

There were tigers and lions and bears (oh my!) and dogs and wolfs and cats, and so much more! The fursuiters were well received by the spectators and many high fives and hugs were given out along the parade route. Much of the crowd was decked out in rainbow clothing, flags, beads, hats, makeup, bandanas and boas. The theme of this year’s parade was Generations of Resistance. And furries showed how to resist hate with the freedom of self expression. The contingent even won the Absolutely Outrageous award! (Last year they won the Absolutely Fabulous award.)”

– Candy

@GiaGunn from @RuPaulsDragRace and JT from #NorcalFurries at @sfpride. JT's not on Twitter so I'm passing on some fluffy hugs! Photo by Candy. #sfpride2019 pic.twitter.com/AApBV8ZwmU

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) July 2, 2019

Spottacus was energized to spread the magic even better next time:

“Heya furry marchers: this was the 6th year of consecutive pride floats… And the best one yet. But instead of sitting still, let’s all think about how to up the game for next year. There are options for expanding, and if we have a compelling, exciting plan, we could be even more impactful. The crowd loved our exuberance, our variety (from dancing floatsters to paw-pressing street furs to scooter-riding sharks to charity-promoting suiters and friends, we were fun and interesting to watch). We’ve even been ribboned twice now.

So, we’re asking for ideas, and volunteers, to expand the art, the energy, the relevance. Let’s make next year even MORE fabulous and outrageous.”

– Spottacus

Want to get involved? Leave a comment here, or message @ZorenManray or @Spottacus on Telegram.

Here’s the full clip from yesterday!
????️‍????????????#furrypride #FurryFandom #owo #fursuit #fursuiter pic.twitter.com/c7HwsAWVtG

— Cody ???? Boopers ???? MEGAPLEX (@CodyBoopers) July 1, 2019

VarekWolf tells why his first time was so special:

“SF Pride 2019 wasn’t just my first Pride march, it was my first Pride event of any kind. I’d recently arrived at the realization I was Ace and probably bi-romantic as well, so Pride was naturally a way to celebrate my newfound confidence in myself. When our contingent turned the corner onto Market Street and we were surrounded by cheering spectators, masses of colorful flags, and exchanges of “Happy Pride!” I felt connected not just to other Aces but to a vast, supportive, and diverse community of individuals all across the LGBTIQA+ spectrum. Pride was one of the most personally meaningful things — as well as one of the most strenuous fursuit outings — I’ve ever done. I’m looking forward to SF Pride 2020.”

– Varek

Member photo galleries:

From the Telegram group for furries at Pride, I organized pics and vids into this channel (plus some interesting reactions): @sfpride2019. Here’s some selections.

Brigus and Soulfire Jackal – Photo by Super Jayhawk

Archai and Microdile supporting Dogbomb. Behind from the left: Natalie from the ALSA, Trip E. Collie, Soulfire Jackal, and Trip’s husband Direwolf in cowboy hat. — Photo by Walter Ringtail

“Just wanted to say, can’t thank all of you enough for the warm welcomes and hellos today meeting you! Really glad I was able to say hi to a few of you and meet ya (more glad our Disney float was right next to yours). Thanks again for being so sweet everyone. It was bittersweet for me leaving back to L.A. today. Made me miss living up in the Bay Area in general but more so because I got to meet some of you amazing, friendly and fun folks. You REALLY made my pride beyond memorable.”  – Wusky Husky

“Thanks for the volunteers who put this event together! This my first time going to Pride and I totally loved it!” – Bill Trail Horse

“Thanks to everyone who put this together. This was my first time and I had an awesome time (though my ears are still ringing).” – Ryu Raccoon

“I had so much fun. Thank you everyone for organizing and setting all this up! All the contingent monitors deserve huge props as well, trying to organize us, and checking up on the suiters!” – Opda

“Thanks to the organizers and the volunteers running water around and cooling off suiters with leaf blowers. ” – Aidan Jackal

“It felt amazing to see a non corporation float. You all are life savers!! We need 5 more furry floats! Thank you for the fuzzy feelings.” – Jessica

“I like how our contingent looks so chaotic and diverse. Very non corporate and non regimented.” – Amenophis

“Isn’t it beautiful? I love the non corporateness and pure creativity.” – Joe G. Bear

“It was beautiful, and such a huge juxtaposition to the overly corporate floats with their big logos and color coordinated T-shirts.” – Tizzy

“Also thanks to all of you for being there. It is all of you who truly won the absolutely outrageous award. Combining it with the prior years award that means we’re Outrageously Fabulous.” – Zoren

“Thanks a bunch again, organizers and volunteers. I had a great first time at Pride, despite being a bay area native.” – Ray Ting

“I’d like to express my amazement, respect and heartfelt gratitude to everyone. To the organizers: it’s no small feat to coordinate all this, believe me I know. You did an extraordinary job. The float was awesome, the sound was badass, and the setup/teardown/operations crew obviously had their shit together. To the folks running around with water, straws, leaf blowers (best idea ever!), and just generally checking up on us: you were essential and AMAZING. To the folks guiding us crowd-focused, half-blind, mostly-exhausted furbags, your always-friendly-but-insistent direction/wrangling was extremely necessary and helpful. Thanks for the excellent work and PATIENCE! To the wheel monitors, you kept us from DYING! (OK, all the contingent monitors did that one way or another, tis true.) And to everyone who marched, you ALL did a bangin job of showing Furry’s best and most outrageous side to San Francisco, the LGBTQ+ community, Twitter, the Internet and the world (maybe?). Obviously the crowd and the parade itself loved us. This was my third time marching in the furry contingent in the pride parade, and the last time was 16 years ago. I gotta say, we’ve come a long way baby, and it was a joy to participate. So many good vibes and positive energy. Keep being who you are and be proud! I know I am.” – Brigus

Special thanks: to organizers Zoren, Clinton, Groggy, Trip, Roman, Mr. Disk0 and Buster for working with The Bounce Car and crew, Kado Husky for art, Spottacus and Relay for hosting and dinner, every Gofundme donor, and Natalie and Denise (ALSAOCC director and manager) for coming in honor of Dogbomb, and the supporters who made it possible (especially those who came from far away or aren’t furries but allies.)

Photo by Aidan

Photo by Takula

Photo by Soulfire Jackal

Photo by Christina. “Thank you everyone!! My daughter had a blast. We will never forget this day.”

Like the article? These take hard work. For more free furry news, please follow on Twitter or support not-for-profit Dogpatch Press on Patreon.

Categories: News

What’s Bred in the Bone: Not Quite Reaching Liftoff — book review by Enjy.

Tue 9 Jul 2019 - 10:00

A request came in for furries to review a non-furry author’s book. Many thanks to Enjy for offering her thoroughly attentive writing. Find What’s Bred In the Bone at Amazon, see the author’s art and writing at her site or read a brief cover summary and another short review in the Twitter thread. (- Patch)

I love contacts like this. A nonfandom publicist wrote in seeking a reviewer for a book that looks like it hits the sweet spot for a fun genre piece. Police mystery with sci-fi intelligent dogs in space. Anyone into getting a free copy and writing about it, DM me. pic.twitter.com/jnm2peYzgc

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) June 16, 2019

Enjy’s review:

Cover art by Jody A. Lee

What’s Bred in the Bone is a novel written by Jan S. Gephardt, a multi-talented artist and author who has been in the science fiction fandom for most of her long life.

The story, which is the first part of a trilogy, centers around canine police officer Rex Dieter-Nell and his human partner Charlie Morgan as they attempt to solve an explosion on a ship. Rex is a sort of genetically engineered canine resembling a German Shepherd, but much larger, called an “XK9”. Through harrowing and abusive training, he and his Packmates, the other XK9s, gain insane amounts of intelligence alongside their normal dog abilities. This all takes place in a campy future setting, as shown by the cover art done by Jody Lee. It has an aesthetic that reminds me of the old Mega Man boxart from the NES, so this sci-fi is less Alien and more Logan’s Run or Flash Gordon. It has outlandish alien species, gadgets like brain links and vocalizing collars for the dogs, and outfits for the higherups that are described as garish and colorful, Fifth-Element style.

While these ideas can all combine into something great, Gephardt leaves a lot of ends loose to the point where it can leave the reader feeling left behind as we are zoomed from half-idea to half-idea.

Indeed, Gephardt has put quite a bit of effort into world building. Aliens have their own pronouns, there are inter-stationary politics abound, and the author does an excellent job of setting a scene visually. One of the most frustrating things holding back this world building is that it does not seem that we, the reader, are ever allowed an explanation for things Gephardt knows, but we do not. For instance, she is very gender-inclusive in the book, in one instance having Rex address a gathered assembly as “Gentlepersons”. However, this also leads to a sense of confusion with the other aliens, with pronouns like “k’kir” and “nem” that are never fully explained and hard to keep track of. On top of this, there are concepts like a capital-F Family that seems to differ from what we now consider one, although how I could not tell you because it is not explained, and also an “Amare,” which I assume is someone you love, but this is also not delved into.

Indeed there is a full on bestiary forming here, but as a reader we cannot fully grasp what exactly is being shown to us. Why Gephardt would spend 3 pages detailing a conversation in a car, but not so much as a glossary for all of the police abbreviations and self-made terms she uses, leaves me scratching my head in wonder. I must be honest and say that I had to double-take between the book and Google sometimes to understand what was going on, and this pulled me out of the world. This isn’t to say that the author is bad at detailing. In fact, it’s one of her strongest points. From painting outside scenes to correctly stating the effect that space radiation has on scents, it’s clear that she has some amazing chops, but focuses them in strange and confusing ways.

This book is quite obviously a passion project, but in order for its grand scale to move out of the nebula for the rest of us, the author needs to let us in, and she did not do so great of a job.

This inability to focus on the cohesive ideas that form a great story manifest themselves in a couple of other very puzzling choices as well. One that stuck out to me as the most grievous was the use of a server-rack full of deus-ex-machinas. Scent profiles can tell Rex what a person is thinking just by smelling them. Every canine and their human partners have a brain-link that lets them talk and type to each other telepathically, and even feel each others’ emotions. Rex is a superdog who has perfect photographic memory, even from when he was a puppy. No conflict or situation felt terribly scary or bad, because it was understood (and indeed proven) that one of these all-encompassing tools would be used to solve whatever issue the two were going through. On top of this, the focus on using these features as catch-alls for problem solving in a minute sense seemed to blind the author to the larger implications of these powers. How did the doctor who created the XK9s get away with abusing them for so many years if there were almost 150 of them and they all could have their minds read?

“Doggie-Back Rides” by Lucy A. Synk

There is an entire section of the book somewhere near the middle where Rex goes off alone after his partner is harmed in the line of duty to do “community policing”. I had never read a book with what I would call a “filler episode” before this one, and I feel like if that chapter was removed and replaced with one where the author took a little more time to flesh out the universe, all of these questions and many more could have been answered with the skills she’s proven she possesses.

It is also quite difficult to stay involved in a story that does not stay involved within itself. Gephardt’s refusal to commit does serious damage to the narrative she tries to craft, and nearly every chapter we are whisked off to somewhere else, or someone else. One of the big draws of the book is the relationship between Rex and Charlie, and for reasons that escape me, Charlie is absent for a literal 90 percent of the story after he gets injured. He is put in a type of stasis and so outside of the first few chapters, we are never allowed to explore the relationship between these two titular characters. We are also taken into the life of Rex’s mate Shady, in what is probably one of the only engaging character relationships in the book. Shady loves Rex, but her owner is Charlie’s ex-girlfriend Pam. This leads to fights and misunderstandings that unfortunately peter out as soon as they begin. Instead of diving into how that can affect Rex and Shady’s relationship, it results in petty squabbling like whether the dog should use her paycheck to help pay Pam’s rent.

Why this bothers me so is because I know from reading this story that Gephardt has the talent and skill to dig deeper into what she’s created, but instead of being allowed to walk inside of a diorama of her universe, we are forced to watch from behind the glass.

Of course this book has positives as well. One scene in particular that tickled me was getting to hear Shady arguing with Pam after she was locked in a room while Pam’s new boyfriend was throwing a party to watch a sports game. If you’ve ever wondered what your dog could actually be saying while they whine and scratch on the door, Gephardt does a fantastic job of putting us inside of these animals’ heads. Every action they take makes sense for an animal, and you get the feeling that she truly understands what makes our canine friends tick. She also has a great sense of humor, with some pages making me giggle as I read them, such as Rex gaining access to a back room by asking to use the toilet. The secretary at first refuses, but then as he lifts his leg near the water fountain, she hurriedly lets him in. This is something only possible for a dog, and Gephardt uses this to great effect as she crafts her story. It is quite the shame that she did not put this level of detail towards the rest of her novel.

Development Image of Charlie and Rex by Jeff Porter.

All in all I can see great potential from this author, but this effort falls quite flat, and to be brutally honest, I really had to push myself to finish. There are more than 300 pages of this book and it feels more like a compilation of personal stories than a steeled unit. Every seed that was planted for a great idea wilted before it ever broke ground. Yes, the XK9s are sentient beings which puts them above being animals, but in a world with every type of alien and where even a cybernetic consciousness and a race of gryphons are recognized as such, why is this such a contentious thing? Why does Charlie’s injury only concern Rex for the space of two chapters, then take a backseat to his strangely meteoric rise to the top of the police ranks through mundane things like talking to people and doing his regular job?

In order for a story to stand strong, it needs a strong foundation. That is woefully absent in this book, leaving Gephardt’s universe to slip and slide confusingly in whichever direction she decides to point the camera. I sincerely hope that the author really sinks her teeth in, like I know she can, in her next two books. This is a universe the reader would love to get lost in, but we are never given the chance. Space is in reach, but the thrusters just will not fire. Greatness is in view, but we are constantly held back from experiencing it. Gephardt’s engines need calibration, but if she focuses her immense writing talents in the right direction, this story could truly reach for the stars.

I give “What’s Bred in the Bone” a 5/10.

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Categories: News

What if furry fandom had a Central Fursuit Supply?

Mon 8 Jul 2019 - 10:00

Furry auction site Furbuy recently went down. It left a gap now filled by just one comparable site, The Dealer’s Den. (Read more at Flayrah — FurBuy down for ‘months’ after spat with security researcher.)

Loss of a long-time specialized service brought up a fandom paradox. People want more professional services, but there’s a conflict in the way fandom is organized. Furry websites and “institutions” depend on volunteering and cooperation without high resources or efficiency. That’s like every socialistic organization ever. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it can make more access with less elitism. Would you rather have a rag-tag fandom full of freewheeling freaks, or a cleaned up corporate Mickey Mouse Club? A subculture or a fad? It’s a tradeoff when The Fans control their Means Of Production. (Read more — Furry Socialism: You’re Soaking in It! – by Tempe O’Kun and Dralen Dragonfox.) 

This fandom can work like a social lab. That’s why a few furries had a round-table chat about a thought experiment. What if services (like Furbuy) were more centralized for furry makers, but still independent under fan control?

A very social lab: Tempe O’Kun’s character drawn by Nyaasu.

(Patch:)

Sometimes it’s hard to tell popular fursuit makers apart if they crank out lots of work. What if there was some kind of pedigree system where each suit is registered? It would make it easier to tell who made or owns what suit. Then collecting or commissioning could be more fun (yeah, a pricey hobby, but compare fursuiting to collecting cars).

One fur started a fursuit supply business, Fabric Mountain… Not a bad idea but I’m not sure there could be that much margin in the supplies to make it really worthwhile… Maybe if you invest and stockpile a lot. I’ll bet the best margin would be in having rare stuff that goes out of production.

A business like that could be a place to host some kind of fan friendly registry. You could charge a fee to keep it up by providing something like custom art certificates, a library of reference art, a library of tutorials, or design templates to inspire people to make stuff and build a community. That would be a cool niche business. I think there’s been attempts to make sites like that without a supply business attached?

There’s this fursuit database, but I don’t hear much about it. https://db.fursuit.me/ I could make a good article by collecting reference sites, supply sites, etc. Collecting makers would be really hard and I’d leave it separate, theres too many quasi active ones who don’t last long.

(Dalton:)

The problem with people wanting to maintain databases of whatever in the fandom is that people don’t contribute to the ones that already exist. Each person wants to be the one that created and owns their own database, so you have dozens of unaffiliated ones, each missing swaths of info, but rather than coordinate and compile them, people just get bored with their pet projects and let them gather dust.

(Patch:)

Yup, that’s an open source fandom in general. I think the effort is easily dropped if it isn’t self sustaining with some sort of revenue attached. Look at Furbuy being such a long lasting service that seemed to be MacGuyvered from basic ingredients. It always solicited donations and never paid for itself, and fell apart. FA itself is like that except for IMVU backing it. That brings up the dreaded commercialism topic.

(Dalton:)

You have things like Wikifur. Open Community projects like that can totally work, but people have to be willing to contribute to the greater good and not have their name plastered all over it you know? If it’s all about ego and revenue, of course none of the projects will last.

(Tempe:)

Wikifur seems like it’s doing pretty well.

(Dalton:)

If I had a dime for every furry who has tried to create a database of fursuits, their owner and their maker, without coordinating that project with others who are doing the same thing…

(Patch:)

How many have there been? Imagine if the Dealers Den, the Fursuit Database, a library of reference art and maker tutorials, and a Fabric Mountain type of supply business were all one thing. Rating makers and customers would become much more reliable, and fly by night scamming a lot harder.  Kinda monopolistic but also convenient? And I don’t think you could easily monopolize anything with an imaginary Central Fursuit Supply when the real product the fandom revolves around is individual art labor.

(Tempe:)

Not a literal monopoly but more like how FA “monopolizes” the free furry art posting market.

(Dralen:)

Circle the wagons, make the furry community a completely closed ecosystem.

(Patch:)

Furries owning their con hotels, staffed by anarcho-syndicalist labor unions. That’s the logic of that kind of idealism. Gotta love it. ????

(Dralen:)

People are concerned about the mainstreaming and commercialization of “Furry” but furry is an enormous fandom. There are furries in every industry, there are furries in law, law enforcement, industry, IT, travel, retail, owning restaurants, whatever.

(Aristide:)

I feel like the concerns about ‘mainstreaming’ are focused on who owns cultural production, not how large or how visible furries are. Currently we basically own it all – cons, media, cultural production in whole – for better or worse, we have complete ingroup ownership over our fandom. (IMVU’s investment in FA notwithstanding, as it’s still furry-run).

(Dralen:)

Other fandoms are an industry, too. Of course they mostly started as media events or properties. Take a look at the Star Trek fandom. It’s a huge industry with books and comics and games and themed restaurants and cons. Furry has all of that, but mostly it serves all of those things to itself. Books and comics published by in-fandom publishers. Games made by furry indie game devs. Cons, obviously run by fandom members (for the vast majority).

Themed restaurants and bars seem like something I could see emerging soon. Already there are venues who are welcoming to furries, usually because we host events there and they get to love us.

I love the venue where we run Howl Toronto, and they love us. The head of security has gone fully native and is halfway to wanting a suit already. I think a place like Toronto could support a hot club that was furry inclusive, and had furry infrastructure in place (headless lounge, secure suit storage, etc…) but I don’t know anyone with the capital to open a venue.

(Deo:)

The Fursuit Database has inputs for who owns the suit, previous owners, makers, and front/back/side photos of the suit itself. It’s just not as heavily used as it used to be. It’s also searchable by owner/maker/species. And there’s these: furaffinity.net/user/fursuitreview/fursuitreview.com/

(Cosmo:)

Scritch.es is apparently making headway and may take over from FSDB, depending on who you talk to. But mostly it’s just got screen scraped data going for it, and a lot is wrong… but the idea is making it easier to find them and exchange photos. “Hey swip, here’s a photo of you from EF” sort of thing.

(Goku:)

I’ve been adding some photos on there, and it’s a tad clunky, but I like it — I know it’s in infancy, but I hope it gains traction and gets more refined.

https://t.co/BZqTSRAhOh

— scritch (@pixelscritch) May 10, 2019

(Patch:)

It seems like the fursuit database idea could go farther. I think the fursuit making market has some big gaps in it, like the commissioning process is really complicated and could be smoother. I think you have to be pretty dedicated to start a commission.

(Oscar:)

Yeah. I think a better idea would need to be made in association of makers.

(Enjy:)

Creating a database of everyone who owns a fursuit huh. It could be a good idea. A momentous undertaking to be sure.

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Categories: News

Interview with Ligoni, Mexican furry and artist of the summer banner.

Mon 1 Jul 2019 - 10:00

Welcome to Ligoni, newest artist in the Dogpatch Press Featured Artist and Banner Gallery.

 

For a while there have been plans to change the site banner regularly with new artists each time, but it hasn’t been regular. Now it’s getting more budget to pay artists, with support from Mexican furry fandom. (It’s a win-win with good cost and introducing fandom outside the USA.) A long-time Mexican site supporter is coordinating it, who helped commission Ligoni and translate an interview between Spanish and English.

Find Ligoni and his art here:

(Patch:) Hi Ligoni thanks for the art, I love it! Let me ask you, where do you live and can you say a little more about yourself? How long have you been an artist? What’s your favorite character in any entertainment? How did you find furry, and what’s the fandom like where you live?

(Ligoni:) Aaah thank you my friend. I live in México, Mexico City. Previously was known as “Mexico State” but now the whole area is called “CDMX.” The names of my fursonas are: “Ligoni Exe (the black wolf), “Zell Goat” (Alpazelle goat) and “Allegro Duo’Oreo” (racoon). I’m 19 years old and I’m gay.

I remember drawing since I was 2 years old. I found the furry fandom in 2012 and back then I created my fursona Ligoni. I started drawing digitally when I was 14 years old in 2014. It started when I was in high school. One classmate used to send me games and emulators of Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Advance. In these games was Star Fox 64 and Megaman 64. I played Star Fox and liked it a lot, especially Wolf O’Donnell.

My favorite characters are:

    • Megaman all Sagas
    • Megaman
    • Megaman X
    • Megaman EXE
    • Megaman Legends
    • Megaman Zero
    • Megaman ZX
    • Megaman Starforce
    • And Wolf O’Donnell from the Star Fox series.

After I did some research about them I always ended up on furry art sites. I didn’t know they were furry. Found the comic “Dog’s Day of Summer”, from Blotch with ‘Diego’ dingo and all that stuff. Then I found furries under their names in Facebook. But I only got in these network when I was 15. I introduced myself in Zootopia furry groups with some traditional drawings.

I haven’t had the chance to go to any furmeet or Confuror (The Guadalajara furry convention) or any other event. But they look very great. I managed on my own to meet some furry artists and fans here in CDMX. Unfortunately for me, I still live with my parents and they are a little bit overprotective. I only have escaped 3 times to visit furry friends.

I talked to a friend in the USA who traveled to Confuror and said that it was one of the best and most friendly cons that he ever went to. It gives me an idea that furry fandom in Mexico is a little closer to the earlier days of US fandom before things got so big. I bet there are a lot of fans who haven’t met each other yet there. I also met the popular artist Senor Nutria at Further Confusion 2018, it was his first visit to a con!

It’s in here: https://dogpatch.press/2018/02/20/latin-american-furry-fandom/

If you get a chance to go to any cons, are there any besides Confuror that you would pick to visit first? Can you tell me anything about what it’s like to talk to or make friends with other furries in Mexico? Is it mainly because of gaming, or art, or other things?

Also would you welcome anyone to come visit from outside of Mexico and who would you invite first?

If I have a chance at some point, I could go to a meet that is organized in the center of Mexico City. The other would be Confuror de Guadalajara Mexico
although it is somewhat more expensive. If I anticipate I could get an early bird reservation (for hotels.) And I see that the Furcan de Puebla Mexico are also very popular. Some of the artists who were there were Sora, Dez, and Wolffox.

I’m still not certain which one I would go to first but I’m close to the CDMX Furmeet. Although I commonly see artists in ComiCon Mole like Gab Shiba.

3 things (art, games and other) are main talk topics in Mexican groups. There’s a lot of videogames especially oldies like Banjoo-Kazooie (who, by the way is now in Super Smash Bros Ultimate) or Crash Bandicoot. But the gaming also covers current games like ‘League of Legends.’ I only talk about Megaman and Star Fox, but they also share their favorite games and make conversation.

In art, I personally learn a lot about others. A long time ago I stepped away from traditional drawing and have a year without doing it. I may start drawing again with ‘Inktober’ this year.

Getting back to business, when talking with friends they share their physical drawings and school is always a topic. For the rest, we talk about couples, LGBT things, anime and random things always pop up. Actually, I only have contact with 5 people outside the virtual world. I’m new in this and would like to have more of these real experiences. If I could live alone or in my own house or had enough money.

I would invite first… Tough choice. I would invite Jale Swiftpaw from Chile, or JC Fox from Germany.

The main reason I don’t go out is because my parents. That aside I don’t have anything in the way.

Thanks Ligoni for sharing your awesome skills, maybe we’ll meet some time because I would love to visit Confuror myself.

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Categories: News

Panique au Zoo; Une Enquête de Poulpe et Castor Burma, by Frédéric Bagères (story), Marie Voyelle (art), Jerôme Alvarez (colors) – Book Review by Fred Patten

Thu 1 Nov 2018 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Panique au Zoo; Une Enquête de Poulpe et Castor Burma, by Frédéric Bagères (story), Marie Voyelle (art), Jerôme Alvarez (colors).
Paris, Éditions Delcourt, June 2018, trade paperback, €23,95 (187 [+ 5] pages), Kindle €16,99.

Fred Patten and Lex Nakashima strike again!

“Built in 1740, at the far northern end of the isle, the Canon Zoo is the oldest and greatest zoo in the world. Founded in the XVI century by the monk Sylvestre Marie, it is today managed exclusively by its occupants.

“Aimed at an instructive goal, it offers its visitors, through its presentation of natural habitats, the chance to see how they have lived, over the centuries to the present, “animals in a state of nature”.” The sign is defaced with a graffiti-scrawl saying, “Obey!”

The first pages, a general meeting in the director’s office (a tapir), establish that things are different today. (Also that the dialogue is full of French puns and double-entendres.) Something is causing some of the animals to mutate into forms that are embarrassing at best, potentially fatal at worst. The director has hired two private detectives, Octopus and Beaver Burma, to find the reason and stop it.

“Eight months ago, some employees began showing the first symptoms. I think the otters were the first.”

“What do you mean?”

“They became covered with spines.”

“Like porcupines?”

“Exactly.”

“Like ‘otter-pines?’”

“If you like. They’re incapable today of running their stand in the zoo.”

“What are they selling?”

“Balloons.”

[…]

“Next it was the turn of those that your colleague would call the ‘polar urchins’, who are living today in the canteen’s freezer.”

“Then the ‘cat-pony’ that we put into the Asian animal enclosure.”

“And the ‘oyster-constrictor’ who spends his days trying to swallow the ‘rat-engale’ trying to find its voice.”

“The affair took a nasty turn when we found the “serpent-pie-thon’ dead, of self-asphyxiation. The animals began to get scared.”

Octopus and Beaver Burma start questioning the animals in the zoo. Did the otter-pines notice anything different at the time they began growing needles? Yeah, it was right when Maurice, the oldest animal in the zoo – a dodo – retired.

Do you have any idea what’s caused these changes?

Pollution! Nuclear radiation! Allergies! Satellites! Picon beer? [a popular French beer] The ozone layer? Egyptian water! [one of the ten Biblical Egyptian plagues] Progress! Wi-Fi! Extraterrestrials! Graffitti? Black magic? The OGM? [Genetically Modified food] My Aunt Hortense! God?

“What’s next on the list?”

“Two species quarantined because their metamorphoses has ostracized them. They’re in the vivariums: the anacondoctopus and the pengoctopus.”

“Will you stop with the stupid species names?”

“I make no promises.”

The pengoctopus guesses that the zoo is built over a haunted bison grave, while the anacondoctopus is sure it’s a plot of the veterinarians, one of whom (“A charming man.”) is named Doctor Moreau.

Well, this is only up to page 25. Have a good time in the remaining 162 pages seeing all the animal combinations, figuring out who the villain is, and the motivation for the plot. I’m not a fan of Voyelle’s artwork, but Bagères’s story is very funny.

Fred Patten

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Categories: News

A Peculiar School, by J. Schlenker – Book Review by Fred Patten

Wed 31 Oct 2018 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

A Peculiar School, by J. Schlenker.
Olive Hill. KY, Binka Publishing, September 2018, trade paperback, $11.95 (326 [+ 2] pages). Kindle $4.99.

“Miss Ethel Peacock strutted and proudly displayed her plumage as she paced around the waiting room of Mr. Densworth Lion. She had come unannounced, but she was so excited about the idea she had received in a dream, that she dared not lose any momentum. She could have called ahead, but what if he refused to see her? No, she decided not to risk it.” (p. 3)

This is an animal fantasy, but not a furry one. The peacock plumage is on the male, but hey, this is a fantasy. Besides, Jerri Schlenker knows that.

“‘A peacock? A peacock, you say? What is a peacock doing here?’ Mr. Densworth Lion asked his secretary, in disbelief.

‘Technically, she’s a peahen. Her husband is a peacock. That is, if she has a husband. I don’t think she does as she introduced herself as ‘Miss’. But together: they would be peafowl,’ his secretary [a lioness] corrected.

Mr. Densworth Lion uttered a slight roar of impatience.

‘She’s a teacher at the aviary,’ his secretary added.” (pgs. 3-4)

This is at Cub Academy, run by principal Mr. Densworth Lion, in a nature preserve. The animals are civilized; Mr. Lion wears eyeglasses and sits at a desk with papers and a candy jar upon it.

But not too civilized. Or, not into the 21st century:

“‘What I propose. Mr. Densworth Lion, is that we use your school as a model – a model for a bigger school, a university of sorts, one that houses all animals.’

‘All animals?” he roared. ‘We teach cubs here – lion cubs. Such a proposal is ludicrous.’” (p. 11)

Mr. Lion will not even listen to Miss Peacock’s proposal for a school in which all animals are treated equally. Well, maybe not the animals domesticated by humans, like dogs and cats. They’re different:

“The dog barked for a good solid hour almost every night. What was he trying to say? Since dogs had taken up with humans, their language had become garbled and unrecognizable. It was obvious the humans didn’t understand them either as every night the human came out on the porch and yelled something to the dog in the scrambled tongue of humans.” (p. 13)

The human is a zookeeper, of a zoo at the edge of a forest in which the Cub Academy is located. The next day after her turndown by the lion principal, Miss Peacock – or Ethel, if we may be informal – is visited by her friend, Miss Luce Pigeon. Ethel tells Luce more of her dream of an animal school than she had the chance to tell Mr. Densworth Lion; perhaps luckily, because peacocks come from India, and Ethel’s dream of an animal school was vaguely Hindu led by an enlightened Yuga.

“‘Such a school would certainly be an enlightened thing.’ Ethel sighed. ‘Maybe I’m just a silly old peahen. Me. Densworth Lion said it was not in an animal’s nature to get along, in fact, quite the opposite.’

‘He’s wrong there.’ Luce said, reaching for another macaroon.

‘I would truly like to believe that is so. Do you really think so, Luce?’

‘I don’t think so, I know so,’ Luce said with a satisfied smirk.

[…]

‘I don’t understand. What do you mean? How do you know so?’ Ethel asked with a puzzled look on her face.

‘There is a whole group of animals, different ones, living and working together where I live in the city – some old, some young – a badger, a tiger, a hyena, and an orangutan.’

Ethel sat motionless for a full moment, not believing her own ears. These were the animals she saw staring down at her from the moon. Truly this was a sign, but erring on the side of caution, she asked, ‘Is this gossip, hearsay, some wild fantasy, something perhaps made up during a drunken spree with the bongo player?’” (p. 31)

Luce explains that the animals (also a polar bear) are escapees from the city’s zoo who are hiding out together in the tunnels under the city. They have been forced to cooperate to survive, but are miserable. Ethel is sure that this group is meant to become the nucleus of her dream school – if she can get the flighty Luce to introduce her to the filthy, sullen animals, if she can clean them enough and encourage them into enthusiasm for her school, if she can present them to Mr. Densworth Lion as a symbol of success, if, if, if

I’m unsure if A Peculiar School is supposed to be a comedy or an exercise in frustration. Or both. Everything that can go wrong does, but Ethel perseveres. There are also Unexpected Surprises.

The reader has to ignore how much the animals are not living close to nature, and how blind the humans are to not be aware of them. Here Ethel decides to bring a present to the hiding animals (she comes from a Hindi culture where you always bring a small present when you go visiting):

“‘I don’t know what I have they would like. We will have to make a stop. We will take a little side trip to Squirrelly Emporium. It’s on the way. Well, nearly on the way.’

‘The squirrels have an emporium?’ her friend asked.

‘That’s what they call it. It’s not as big as the shops in the city, but it winds in so many different directions. They have been squirreling away various trinkets for years. They have a rather large inventory.’

‘An inventory of what?’ Luce asked.

‘Oh, of this and that. Mostly that. Things discarded by humans, a lot of arts and crafts, a lot of things made from nut shells. Believe me, you can find about anything there. Things you would never expect to find.’” (p. 40)

In the emporium, they hear of an owl that is trying to translate Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone from English into Animal, but is stymied by “Some new language he is not used to humans using.” (p. 45) Comedy plus frustration.

The cover of A Peculiar School is by the author; an exercise in Photoshop of animal photographs, two taken by Chris Schenkler, the author’s husband, at the Cincinnati Zoo. The book has the air of a family project. Sometimes it seems overly cute; Schenkler has a fondness for alliterative names for her minor characters: Mr. Sebastian Squirrel, Mr. Oliver Owl, Mr. Filbert Fox, Ms. Rhonda Rabbit, Mr. Ronald Raccoon, Mrs. Betsy Bear. On the whole, though, it is an enjoyable read; good for all ages. Recommended.

Fred Patten

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

Civilized Beasts Volume III, Editor-in-Chief Laura Govednik, Editor Vincent Corbeau – Book Review by Fred Patten

Tue 30 Oct 2018 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Civilized Beasts volume III, editor-in-chief Laura Govednik, editor Vincent Corbeau.
Manvil, TX, Weasel Press, September 2018, trade paperback, $8.00 ([vii +] 109 pages).

Here is the third annual volume of animal poetry from Weasel Press. It contains 98 pages of poetry, of mostly one page or less. Several authors have two or more poems. There are far fewer familiar furry fan names this year than there was last year; other than the editors, I recognized only Michael H. Payne. There are five poems by Larry D. Thomas, the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate.

Civilized Beasts is popularly advertised as an anthology of furry poetry, but it is almost all about realistic animals or the wonders of nature. Many authors have written poetic portraits of their own dogs, cats, horses, or goldfish. To be fair, it’s hard to write a work of furry fiction of one page.

There are some rhymes and a lot of blank verse. The cleverest poem graphically is the one chosen to end the volume: “Telltale” by Ruth Sabath Rosenthal. It’s in the shape of a wagging tail.

Civilized Beasts volume III (cover again by Darkomi) is another charity for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “All proceeds from this anthology go towards the Wildlife Conservation Society.”

Full disclosure: I have five poems in this.

Fred Patten

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

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

Fri 26 Oct 2018 - 09:15

furflight.com

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

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

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

Mike Folf is the organizer and principal of Canis Vulpes LLC, FurFlight’s corporation registered in 2018.  Nobody else appears on the paperwork (although I’ve seen references to unnamed other team members or execs.) Mike goes to my local events and I’ve liked knowing him as a friendly furry guy. (I have no business relationship with the service). I’ve also seen many good recommendations and social media posts about the trips. So I was happy to host Mike on the site as “community access” so he could promote it:

Now that a problem has reared its fluffy head, I’m guessing that the September timing may have involved pressure to increase signups and income. That unfortunately synchs with a LiveJournal post by Aloha Wolf made on October 24.

If you entrusted FurFlight with your money and your tickets, you need to know that you’re likely going to need new travel plans.https://t.co/lbxb8iRhnt

— Aloha (@alohawolf) October 25, 2018

Aloha Wolf reports that shortly after the Dogpatch article went out, Mike told him there was an imminent travel booking deadline with Alaska Air, and difficulty with the bank limiting a payment over $10,000.  On October 9, Aloha Wolf was convinced to advance a credit card payment of over $35,000 to cover costs. Making the deadline would keep FurFlight on track to honor obligations to paying users (113 of them).

One can see the pressure that led Aloha Wolf to help in an emergency – and the trap he got into if FurFlight’s finances can’t match promises to repay the credit. On October 20, repayment from Canis Vulpes LLC to Aloha Wolf bounced, leaving him holding a major debt, at least for now.

A trusted tipper and FurFlight user sent me a chat log showing the events. Mike admitted to misleading about repayment ability, so he could secure the $35,000 in credit – which I can’t read as anything but criminal fraud. (Edit: I’m saying this to clarify rumors, but not sharing the doc because I would say it’s up to others to decide how to resolve it.)  The tipper also gave further info about loan requests that supported a desperate lack of funds.

Fiduciary Misfeasance is my guess, which is different from fraud. It can best be described as "robbing Peter to pay Paul." Although the allegation they induced someone to pay on a credit card with a promise to reimburse when there was no ability...that's fraud if true.

— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) October 25, 2018

There’s more info about how things went downhill. According to Aloha Wolf, his casual review of records showed insubstantial budget or accounting, and flights were being sold at a loss. He judged the company planning as unsustainable if things can’t turn around. Commenters judged the prices as “too good to be true“.

Where did FurFlight’s income go? According to the chat log, company setup included costs of thousands for Twitter marketing, costs for Mike Folf to visit places being marketed to, and GSuite software. There was merchandise planned to earn funds but production time extended into 2019.

Flights were being sold for 2019 to cover 2018 costs – which social media observers compared to a Ponzi scheme. That synchs with FurFlight’s October appeals for more signups for new service to new conventions:

Ahoy mateys! While you eagerly await to set your anchor in @FurryWeekendAtl this weekend, come set sail with us on our lovely furry-filled airships? https://t.co/u4M94ZrOmY #FurFlightATL pic.twitter.com/0sBV10aDly

— FurFlight (@CVFurFlight) October 18, 2018

Signups and details for #BLFurFlight are now open! Fly to @BiggestLittleFC with all your fuzzy friends from either Seattle or SoCal! https://t.co/Qo8WR5mEwJ pic.twitter.com/683CFJgxm9

— FurFlight (@CVFurFlight) October 16, 2018

The more I read, the more it makes me think there was months of time where Mike Folf knew and didn’t address a looming problem before what looks like using false pretenses to buy more time. I wish I’d known this before promoting FurFlight.

There were some people with closer involvement who saw this coming. I don’t know if there’s more to know about why Aloha Wolf was convinced to pay so much, but Asic Fox corroborates being misled to cover $5000 in FurFlight costs. (Most of that debt is paid down, but he claims it was caused by malfeasance.)

one is an abnormality, two is a pattern, seem furflight had issues last year with funding as well @DogpatchPress can you assist with digging in to this? https://t.co/BvE5BruEbK

— Pumpkin Spice Fox (@Just_fionna) October 25, 2018

Scaleup problems are often a dramatic way that apparently successful ventures derail (remember Fyre Fest, where fraud just got prison time for its organizer?) Luckily, this didn’t hit hundreds of travelers en route, perhaps leaving them high and dry – just two creditors, so far.

It doesn’t help that the personal @MikeFolf Twitter account was just deleted. However, I haven’t directly spoken to Aloha Wolf or Mike Folf about this yet, so this is where things stand. It could be possible for things to turn around – perhaps with additional funding appeals.

Personally, given what I saw Mike Folf admit in the chat log, I can’t see this happening without his position of responsibility going to someone else. He would be very lucky if it ends there. It would be nice to see a formal statement (I’d be happy to host one.)

Time will tell if repayment is made, obligations are honored, and FurFlight’s public problem is smoothed over. Travelers may or may not get what they expect.

Our main event organizer has been out on medical leave for the past 24 hours and communication is slow. We, the rest of the FurFlight team, ask that you please bear with us as we get through this and get FurFlight back on track. We are currently look at all of our options.

— FurFlight (@CVFurFlight) October 25, 2018

An article is circulating currently, Has been a lot of goings on but as of now FurFlight is being honored by the airline and we are on-track to deliver. We've hit a speed bump but the team is still making it happen.

— FurFlight (@CVFurFlight) October 25, 2018

UPDATE: Boozy Badger has his own take with the bluntest headline ever, about state law of licensing for travel service.

FurPlanet’s Furry Friday: FurryAir – At Least It’s Not Pet-Screwing https://t.co/Y1GLIXwAMn

— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) October 26, 2018

UPDATE: a closing message from FurFlight on Telegram. Also I spoke to people close to Mike Folf and would personally suggest sympathy for someone who got in over their head.

@DogpatchPress please update your story #furflight is dead https://t.co/qJpJdBmdPW

— Pumpkin Spice Fox (@Just_fionna) October 29, 2018

Follow up to Furflight:

As I said on a panel last nigh, I represent a number of small businesses. In my experience, the majority fail not from intentional wrongdoing but from financial mismanagement, ignorance of the requirements, and inexperience.

While by no means good /1

— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) October 29, 2018

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Categories: News

Mechanical Animals: Tales at the Crux of Creatures and Tech, Edited by Selena Chambers and Jason Heller – Book Review by Fred Patten

Thu 25 Oct 2018 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Mechanical Animals: Tales at the Crux of Creatures and Tech, edited by Selena Chambers and Jason Heller.
Erie, CO, Hex Publishers, November 2018, trade paperback, $19.99 (417 pages), Kindle $5.99.

This is not a furry book, but an anthology of 22 stories and articles about mechanical animals, including a cyborg. Most of them are about mindless clockwork robots. There are a few that feature self-aware AIs in the form of animals. These are close enough to furries to warrant Mechanical Animals to be reviewed here.

Mike Libby, in his Introduction, talks about being fascinated by mechanical animals from his childhood. “When I was ten I wanted one of those battery-powered motorized dogs you would see outside Radio Shack, that was leashed to its battery-powered remote control, and after a couple of high-pitched barks, would flip backwards, landing perfectly, ready to repeat his mechanical trick.” (p. 9) Jess Nevins, in his 13-page “Mechanical Animals”, summarizes them in literature from Homer in The Iliad to real examples in history (“The German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Müller von Königsberg, aka Regiomontanus (1436-1476), was reliably reported to have constructed a flying mechanical eagle for the Emperor Maximilian in 1470.” – p. 29), to the present.

“Two Bees Dancing” by Tessa Kum is the first story:

“Focus. This pain is old and familiar. It is not important. Focus on what is important.

‘We aren’t going to hurt you.’

It is on the table before you. Small. Antennae relaxed, wings spread, legs locked and unmoving.

‘We need your help.’ (p. 33)

A nameless government drone pilot on permanent disability is kidnapped and forced to fly a reprogrammed bee for criminal purposes. Instead, the reprogramming puts him into mental contact with the HiveAI and into a whole new world.

“Brass Monkey” by Delia Sherman is set in a clockwork late Victorian London. The characters in Jenny Wren’s Doll and Mechanical Emporium are elderly, crippled Mrs. Wren, the shop assistant Miss Edwige, and Mrs. Wren’s adopted daughter Lizzie. “If Mrs. Wren was the heart of the emporium and Miss Edwige its back and legs, then Lizzie was its inventive mind.” (p. 53). When the emporium becomes especially busy at Christmastime, “The door opened and out came Lizzie in her leather apron, her magnifying spectacles pushed into her cloudy hair, and on her shoulder a small capuchin monkey, such as commonly accompany organ-grinders, wearing a little scarlet vest.” (p. 54). The monkey is Annabella, Lizzie’s clockwork invention, made to help sort out the beads and ribbons and coins of the business day. When Annabella proves skilled enough to tell real coins from counterfeits, the three women set out to find the counterfeiter – but it’s Annabella who solves the case.

“The Rebel” by Maurice Broaddus and Sarah Hans takes place in modern America. “Garrika Sharp hunched over a tray of gears, scrounging through pieces like a scattered metal jigsaw puzzle.” (p. 74)

“Her critics dismissed her first forays as steampunk taxidermy. All about recycling and repurposing, she once sourced roadkill for skeletons, combining preserved remains with machinery. Like stuffed pets with bionic parts. Her favorite from back then was a squirrel whose spine had been replaced by a series of gears and winches so that it looked like its vertebrae had unzipped. Its head dangled at an odd angle from a broken neck. Her mother, fearing her a necromancer, waited until Garrika was at one of her treatments, gathered the mechanized corpses, and threw the desecrations away.” (p. 76)

Garrika’s friend Phonse is a street artist whose taggings include rune magic. His magic and the weed she smokes bring her constructs – Eagle, Elephant, Rabbit, Lion, Unicorn, Giraffe, and more – to life.

“Exhibitionist” by Lauren Beukes, a story about an art gallery featuring a meat art exhibit, is the first story that’s not furry at all. It’s good; it’s just not furry.

The protagonist in “Stray Frog” by Jesse Bullington is Schiller, a truant officer of the future. He’s also the villain, a doped-up sadist who uses his pipa to over-narcotize (to death?) the prep-schoolers that he thinks may be playing hooky from school. His pipa gun is the mechanical animal here:

“‘There, there,’ Schuller murmured to his pipa, the veiny grip pulsing in his palm as he dipped the fingers of his free hand into its slimy holster, smearing it with hydrating ichor. The weapon croaked its appreciation. He made sure to work the goo into the freshly emptied divots in its back, and applied a far lighter touch to the live pockets that were still bulging with narcotic eggs. His little shootout with these thugs had used up half his ammunition. He’d have to feed it as soon as he got back to his desk to make sure it laid new rounds before their next shift.” (pgs. 113-114)

There is much more detail on just what a pipa is. It’s not intelligent, so this isn’t a furry story, but it is fascinating.

In “The Hard Spot in the Glacier” by An Owomoyela, Ayo is part of a research expedition on Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons. She is looking for Parker, another explorer who may have been injured in a moonquake, when a series of quakes endangers her and her mechanical centipede. She must decide whether to continue the search for Parker, or give him up for lost and return to base. The centipedes are programmed to offer balanced advice, but Ayo thinks that her centipede sounds scared. Is it, or is she reading her own emotions and desires into its speech?

“‘What do I do?’ she muttered, mostly to herself.

She was surprised when the centipede answered.

((I don’t like this. I think we should go home.))

Irrationally – because she’d had the same thought, after all – Ayo felt a surge of anger. She was out here, and she wasn’t complaining. What right did this idiot piece of equipment have?

But it wasn’t programmed to complain. It was programmed to make a threat assessment and deliver it in an emotionally-relatable way.” (pgs. 127-128)

“Every Single Wonderful Detail” by Stephen Graham Jones begins: “Because he knew he wasn’t going to be there for her teenage years, Grace’s dad built a German Shepherd to be there in his stead.” Grace’s dad, dying of cancer, builds the best German Shepherd he could to guard Grace. But sometimes a teen girl doesn’t want a big dog who can be counted upon to get between her and the boys who ask her out; who is more efficient at that than any live dog.

“The Nightingale” by Hans Christian Andersen is the first classic reprint, from 1843. The Emperor of China is delighted by the singing of the dowdy nightingale until a clever inventor makes a clockwork bird that can sing just as prettily and is made of gold and jewels besides. But the clockwork bird breaks down, which the real nightingale doesn’t. This is the first story in which the mechanical animal is clearly inferior to the natural animal. Also, the real nightingale converses with the Emperor, making this an undeniably furry story.

It’s unclear whether “Le Cygne Baiseur” by Molly Tanzer is an Adult erotic story or a horror story. Emily is the moderator of a museum film program on “Erotic Parodies” showing a seldom-seen Le Cygne Baiseur, based on the legend of Leda and the Swan. In it, “Mr. Hubert, the celebrated toymaker”, makes a mechanical swan that ravishes a maiden. The museum also has on display the prop model of the mechanical swan with an erect human phallus that was used in the old film. At night when everyone is gone, the mechanical swan comes to life and ravishes Emily. Or is it Zeus inhabiting the mechanical swan?

“Among the Water Buffaloes, a Tiger’s Steps” by Aliette de Bodard is set in the far future, when:

“After the sun goes down, the girls huddle together in the remnants of a house by the sea – every screen, every scrap of metal since long scavenged to keep their own bodies going – and tell each other stories. Of animals, and plants, and of the world before and after the Catastrophe. Thuy is outrageously good at this. Her sight allows her to read the other girls’ microscopic cues from heartbeat to temperature of skin, and adapt her tales of spirits and ghosts for maximum effects. Ngoc He stutters, barely hiding the tremors in her hands – nerve-wires that broke down and that she hasn’t yet scavenged replacements for – but she has the largest range of tales of any of them. Ai Hong speaks almost absent-mindedly, playing with those few crab-bots that aren’t frightened by so much light and noise – they skitter away when she puts down her hand, and draw back again when she frowns in thought, trying to recall a particular plot point.” (p. 190)

The story follows Kim Trang, a repair construct (or the distant descendant of a repair construct), as she brings a “tiger” into their midst; the girl Mei who may destroy them all. The mechanical animals are the girls themselves, who have raided this post-Catastrophe society for metal parts and electronics to keep themselves alive. I consider the story less interesting than its background.

“The Twin Dragons of Sentimentality and Didacticism” by Nick Mamatas has a colorful view of the near future:

“Things had changed. First had come mechanimals: robotic elephants, and safaris that allowed tourists to hunt them down and keep them wound via the gigantic if purely decorative keys on their backs. As the animals died off, they were replaced, but not in the order in which the ecosystem was collapsing. The big ones were rolled out first, like cars used to be. Tigers and orangutans and wildebeests and great golden bears, those last beloved of Silicon Valley. Every seven-year-old scion of a techie family rode one to school. The bulletproof golden bears could eat rampage shooters, it was believed, though this feature was never widely tested in the field.

Only later came microdrones in the shape of perfect dragonflies and hummingbirds, then deer ticks. […]” (pgs. 214-215) Sorry, but this goes on and on and on. It’s a really stunning description of how society is changed, but it’s not at all furry.

“The Artist of the Beautiful” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1844) is the next reprint. Peter Hovenden, a retired master watchmaker, becomes jealous about the secret project that his young successor and former apprentice Owen Warland is working on. Warland, “the Artist of the Beautiful”, becomes despondent that he will never make anything more delicate and intricate than Hovenden has. Warland gets the idea of trying to infuse a spirit into machinery. This story being in Mechanical Animals, you can guess that he succeeds. What happens then?

There are eight more stories. Two are excerpts from 19th-century novels; Electric Bob’s Big Black Ostrich: or, Lost on the Desert by Robert T. Toombs (1893), and The Steam House; Chapter V: The Iron Giant by Jules Verne (1880). Both feature huge clockwork marvels, the Ostrich and an Elephant. “The Clockwork Penguin Dreamed of Stars” by Caroline Yoachim is definitely furry; its main character is Gwin, one of the penguins abandoned on Earth when mankind emigrated to the stars:

“It was one of those rare nights when the smog thinned out enough for stars to be visible in the sky above the penguin enclosure. Gwin adjusted her synthetic feathers with her beak, arranging them neatly and plucking out any that were broken or bent. She didn’t want to groom, but her programming said it was preening time, so she had no choice.

[…]

Gwin was a dreamer. The other animals judged this to be a flaw, but she saw nothing wrong with snapping at fish that were beyond the reach of her beak. She was tired of being confined, tired of the constant noise of the automated educational recordings, tired of acting out the same routines day in and day out.” (pgs. 361-362)

“Closer to the Sky” by Carrie Vaughn is a traditional Western, except that Copper, one of the horses, is a cyborg:

“Now, instead of flesh and blood for legs this singular cowpony had steel and pistons, rubber tendons, and brass flywheels, slicked with oil and faster than bees’ wings. He had interchangeable shoes: broad plates for sand, spikes for ice, rubberized points like a billy goat’s hooves, and regular polished-for-parades horse’s feet. Mostly, though, this cowpony could now run fast. And he still loved his girl. (You can tell a horse loves his girl by the way he rests his nose on her shoulder, whuffing softly, like he has come home. You can tell a girl loves her pony by the way her arms exactly fit around his head when he lowers it to greet her.” (pgs. 380-381)

Mechanical Animals (cover by Aaron Lovett) isn’t a furry anthology, but it doesn’t pretend to be. These are stories of automata built to exhibit biomimicry. It’s close enough to furry fiction that you should enjoy it.

Fred Patten

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

The Moons of Barsk, by Lawrence M. Schoen – Book Review by Fred Patten

Tue 23 Oct 2018 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Moons of Barsk, by Lawrence M. Schoen.
NYC, A Tom Doherty Associates Book/Tor Books, August 2018, hardcover, $26.99 (430 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $13.99.

This is the sequel to Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, reviewed here in 2016. Barsk has such an unusual and unique plot that you should really read it before The Moons of Barsk. Both have interstellar settings and are set in the far future when humanity is extinct and has been replaced by the descendants of uplifted animals.

You also need to read Barsk first because there is no synopsis here. The opening paragraph is:

“Amidst torrents of rain and blasts of lightning, Ryne stepped from his boat onto the shore of the last island, the place where his life ended. The mental beacon that had guided him across the open water faded away. Clarity replaced certainty, composed of equal parts confusion and anger. Flapping his ears against the downpour he muttered a phrase heard by his students at least once a tenday for the past six decades. ‘The math is all wrong!’” (p. 11)

But Chapter One is titled “Nothing But Lies”. Pizlo, Jorl, and Ryne are Fant, elephant-men of the planet Barsk, looking like a human with an elephant’s head; great flapping ears and a trunk. That’s not why Fant is reviled as abominations throughout the galaxy, though. Of the eighty-seven races (species) of the Galactic Alliance, the Fant are the only ones who are not furred. The Yaks, the Prairie Dogs, the Giant Anteaters, the Hares, the Sloths; all the others have respectable pelts. Only the Fant, divided into Elephs (uplifted Asian elephants) and Lox (African elephants), are disgustingly nude, with wrinkly gray, hairless skin, plus those giant flapping ears and the huge mobile nose.

The Fant are not only known for their hairlessness, though. Barsk is the only planet where the wonder drug koph can be found. Koph enables rare individuals who take it to access the nefshons of the dead and to become Speakers to the dead. “He could see nefshons; the subatomic particles of memory and personality would come at his call. If he summoned enough of them that had belonged to a dead person he could even talk to them.” (p. 22) Barsk is partially about some Fant, and the attempts of some individuals of the other races of the Alliance (notably Nonyx-Captain Selishta, a Cheetah) to get more koph.

Barsk focuses upon a few individual Fant on their planet, and a few members of the Alliance, notably Selista the Cheetah and Lirlowil the Otter, a Speaker, who are especially dependent upon koph. The Moons of Barsk is about Barsk’s relationship with the rest of the Alliance, focusing on why the Alliance wants to destroy Barsk.

Although The Moons of Barsk tells the adventures of the Fant Jorl and Pizlo (and his lover Rina), and to a lesser extent Ryne, the novel is most fascinating for its description of the society of Barsk:

“Most women’s homes in Keslo [“an island located near the northeastern portion of the western archipelago. It is home to Jorl ben Tral.” – (p. 426)] were enormous and tended to get bigger as generations of women and children branched and expanded. Rooms were added, porches enclosed, neighboring dwellings annexed and connected by inventive and oddly constructed temporary hallways that acquired permanence and extensions of their own. Back yards became internal patios, became parlors, became bedrooms and kitchens and even bathrooms depending on need and whim and available materials. This was the pattern in every Civilized Wood throughout both archipelagos, expansion and adaptation rather than contraction.” (p. 55)

It also presents more background. The Fant used to be spread throughout the Alliance. Eight hundred years earlier, Alliance politics resulted in all the Fant being relocated to Barsk.

What are The Moons of Barsk about?

“The portion of the firstborn generation of Barsk that established the Caudex based their entire existence on a single core belief: the Alliance wanted every last Eleph and Lox – every man, woman, and child – dead and gone. They believed the bureaucracy responsible for transporting all the galaxy’s Fant to Barsk had only enacted the beginning of a plan, putting them all in one spot to facilitate their eventual annihilation. Margda’s Compact had forged a truce of sorts, but it was at best a stopgap; it bought some time for the Fant, but not safety. The Caudex resolved to use that time to best advantage, to develop plans to ensure they survived at any cost.

Sometimes the Alliance’s contempt for anything and everything touched by Eleph or Lox worked to the advantage of the Fant. Eight hundred years earlier, when the first waves of resettlement had begun – before the tone of the relocation had grown darker – among the many ships ferrying Fant to their new home on Barsk were commercial spacecraft owned and operated by Fant concerns on Marbalarma and Kensington, Venango and Slon, Dramblys and Passyunk. In the rush to be done with the unwanted Fant, these vessels slipped off the grid, ostensibly kept in active service to transport latecomers, which went on for most of a decade. When the planet’s pharmaceutical treasure trove opened, these same ships provided some support for building Barsk’s space elevator and orbiting satellite. But then, under the guise of ‘business as usual,’ various agents of the new forming Caudex purchased every Fant ship and began hiding them throughout the system, powering down all nonessential energies and limiting personnel to the barest of crews. Alliance licensing databases showed all of them as decommissioned, sold to other concerns, or crashed on the surface of one of the moons of Barsk and destroyed.” (pgs. 66-67)

Since the Alliance maintains the pretense of representing all the races of the galaxy, it has to allow a token representative of the Fant. This is Senator Jorl ben Tral, “who can speak with the dead, navigates galactic politics as Barsk’s unwelcome representative, and digs even deeper into the past than ever before to discover new truths of his own.” (blurb) Pizlo, a Fant teenager, seems especially ostracized; he is an albino, considered an abomination by the other Fant who are considered abominations themselves by the rest of the galaxy. But Pizlo’s physical and mental uniqueness makes him able to “hear” voices from the moons of Barsk. He investigates …

The Moons of Barsk (cover by Victo Ngai) would be helped by more background from Barsk, but the reader is quickly swept up by the story. Be aware that there is at least one more novel to come.

– Fred Patten

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

Goku’s Furban Exploration goes to inner city Baltimore and Fort Armistead.

Mon 22 Oct 2018 - 10:00

Here’s a sequel to Fursuit photography from the urban jungle: Goku’s Furban Exploration.

Years ago in the Rust Belt, my friend liked exploring decommissioned grain silos and factories of the area. He took me to climb an eight story brewery that closed in the 1980’s. The entrance was a hole in a fence and the inside was covered in spraycan murals, making an unauthorized art gallery. (Hey furry artists, if you’ve done such work, show me!) The stairs were dismantled for the first few floors. Could we climb up on the conveyer belt that used to scoop grain? No, but there was a fire escape with most of the steps still hanging on. Most. The upper floors had stories-tall fermenting vats and a movie worthy view. It made quite an impression to see the afterlife of a place that wasn’t supposed to have one. The place was gone soon afterwards, with a demolition party where people on the street watched it come down. It was an experience to remember.

Creativity in fursuiting gets boosted when you stage it in exciting locations. And for going bonkers with intense photography, street art and abandoned architecture are a class of their own. That’s why I loved the improbable idea of combining both. I put out a call to see if anyone was doing it, and Goku rose to the occasion. He sent in a new update. I love his work so much I’d love to meet him and help some day – and there will be more stories from him! (- Patch)

This story comes with a gallery of 40 photos, see the complete collection here. Photo credit: @seikoliz and @rclatter. Follow Goku: @KasigFuchsGoku

Good Afternoon Patch,

Here’s the latest installment of my Furban Exploration endeavors- I was hoping to have photos from my visit to the abandoned tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but the photographer is taking his time processing them. In meantime, I have photos from inner city Baltimore. Then there’s a venture to Fort Armistead, a former Confederate fort turned into a public park in Glen Burnie, MD that has unfortunately fallen into disrepair. (I’ll make another trip to the fort with others in the near future since I was really amazed with the graffiti, catacombs, and feral cat haven nestled in the structure).

Late in September, I made a venture across to Maryland with my boyfriend to see two good friends of mine- Seiko and Clatterbuck. We have been friends for a few years- usually when Anthrocon would come around, we always found each other for a drink or a meal and a photoshoot. Seiko loved the angst from my fursona, so whenever we were at a con together, he always shared his expertise to accentuate my gruff fursonality. For urban exploration, Seiko was more than willing to share sites in his own backyard. Chatting about the abandoned tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, he was telling me about “graffiti alley”, an open canvas for talented graffiti artists that was part of an art display in Baltimore. Clatterbuck, a dear friend if mine and Seiko that helps with making superb photos, joined in.

My beau Danny and I arrived shortly before noon in Baltimore- a city I had always driven through, but never actually stopped for anything. The area where we would rendezvous with our photographers was bleak to say the least; a lot of business storefronts have not been open for a while. The only bustling businesses were one supermarket, a check cashing place, and a Dunkin’ Donuts that was way past its heyday. We met as I was parking my car, had a couple of cups of coffee, and I donned my fursuit on a main street and began to walk towards the gallery.

It was invigorating to get all types of attention as I did all sorts of poses in this small alley. I had artists at the gallery, one drug dealer, a couple of junkies, and a mother with her infant children all stop to ask questions (everything from if I was part of the exhibit, to if I was an undercover officer, to how much I was being paid to walk around in a costume… you name it). The alley was a great experience even though it was small.

We continued wandering the avenues of Baltimore to see if there was anything else. It led to laying on the walls, crawling on the sidewalk, and climbing into dumpsters (I have no fear, bleach and OxyClean work wonders on a white fursuit). Seeing what this area was like years ago was a high I needed to enjoy myself.

After 90 minutes I got back in street clothes while we discussed supper plans. We decided to drive to Fort Armistead, then get some good mid-Atlantic seafood. We drove for about 20 minutes away from Baltimore to Glen Burnie, into an area full of dingoes, boats, and vessels of all sizes.

We left our cars in a lot and took a short hike up a muddy trail to the fort, and just gazed at the graffiti, trying to get shots in as sunlight peered through the clouds. We had a few odd encounters- first were some burnout hippies living out of a late model Toyota RAV4. They were stoned, and they couldn’t believe a fox was walking around as they were listening to dubstep mixed with the Grateful Dead, with tall boys of Natty Ice in their hands. Then we came across some motorcyclists that looked like they were doing Initial D cosplay (or some similar anime), posing like I was in fursuit, with their crotch rockets and full gear.

I had to tread carefully as I walked around the fort- there were open holes that went a couple of stories deep (and I was all too eager to try and push my luck). Finally, as we circled back from our starting point near the hippies, we saw a small colony of feral cats living in this fort. The hippies stopped us, warning us that the cats weren’t the friendliest, so we just admired from a distance, and before the rain came, we packed our bags and went to supper.

The fish and chips were delicious, and I got to play every reincarnation of the Pac-Man franchise from 1980-1987. If I wasn’t so exhausted, I was tempted to ask the restaurant owners if they wouldn’t mind me suiting up for a few rounds with Ms. Pac-Man.

-Goku!

Still just super thrilled to see the work going anywhere visible! Too often projects like this float under the radar, I appreciate that you appreciate it!

— Seiko (@SeikoLiz) October 22, 2018

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon.  You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward.  They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.

Categories: News

Zoosadism investigation: Capitalizing on abuse, and the ugly persistence of Kero.

Fri 19 Oct 2018 - 10:12

Investigation continues – October 2018

Last month, furry fandom took a very dark turn. Zoosadism leaks: possibly the worst story to ever hit fandom was a mere introduction to the exposure of hidden networks for abuse and even snuff porn of animals.

The impact of it kicked up murky clouds of misinformation. After the shock, there was the usual speculation that comes with lesser dramas that usually die out in a week or two. There was smokescreening to hide evil that shocked even the most shady corners of the internet. There was rubbernecking, shit-stirring, evidence-tainting, and penny-chasing for views. And beneath it all was natural confusion. The ongoing story still defies explanation after a month, but on the good side, there’s significant work behind the scenes. That should have been done from the start to avoid a botched mess. Most of that work is for future updates. This update is mostly about public awareness.

One thing needs saying up front: you can definitely judge before a court does. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a legal standard to constrain government, not common sense about the evidence. There’s different standards between criminal court, civil court and society. (For example you don’t get a trial about fitness for employment, election, or safety with kids or animals.) Remember names like Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman, or OJ Simpson, and let a lawyer explain:

Okay.

"Guilty" and "Innocent" are both legal terms and terms with common meanings outside of the law.

In the legal aspect they require proof beyond a reasonable doubt and a determination of guilt from a trier of fact.

In the common usage, they do not. /1

— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) October 1, 2018

It’s not just about Kero, but apologism for Kero is the most obvious obstacle to progress.

If you followed so far and understand the evidence, then the name Kero may fill you with disgust and rage. Kero is a Youtuber exposed as a secret animal abuse fetishist, whose complicity got outsized notice due to his 100,000+ subscribers.

[UPDATE] Twitter Moment: “Kero is guilty – Evidence”

Kero had opportunity to own up or shut up. He didn’t. In the most self-serving way, he responded with cherrypicked and inconsistent denials, to brush this under the rug and keep his following, manipulate them to shield him, and even capitalize on notoriety built on puppy killing. I’ve never labeled anything obscene in my life, but making money from this is nothing less than obscene. Of course the info wasn’t leaked to target Kero and there’s a roster of worse offenders to account for. But his failure to at least relieve everyone from apologist bullshit makes him a poster guy for what’s wrong.

Kero dug a bottomless pit for himself, and the rest of fandom is on the edge. If you thought it was bad already, you haven’t seen anything yet.

This is the last word on the "is it real" nontroversy of the zoosadist ring that wormed into this community. @MythicalRedFox you deserve huge respect for this. If you see anyone post #istandwithkero just link this, it's over. And give that fox a follow.https://t.co/hHcKugGD7v

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) September 29, 2018

The coming challenges, what to trust, and the cost of lying:

The original article laid out the challenges: to learn the size and shape of the network, who was complicit but not inside, who did content sharing but not creation, who was directly responsible for uploading toxic files, and who committed crimes.

Higher powers than fandom are working on that now. I’m lucky to see exclusive info that’s only for their eyes. However it’s still a fandom story. Investigation is relying on a few good furries, and their work will continue when this is done. Laws don’t have absolute power to handle the extent of it. That’s obvious in the way animal cruelty content is more-or-less legal to possess (which is how networks for it wormed in to fandom).

What’s coming out is more than one network or kind of activity, but many that overlap. It starts with fetish content where sharers may consider themselves harmless, but they’ll have to disentangle themselves from those who aren’t (blame the offenders for that.) That overlaps with convicted sex offenders, multiple open crime cases, and even clues about unsolved crimes only known by a trail of victims. There’s drug trafficking, some of it used to sedate animals before doing abuse. Besides animals, this involves children. At least there’s little sign of power corruption so far, besides abusers just seeking thrills behind anonymity.

Finding the truth is the goal. Readers should beware of sources with agendas (including just trashing furries shotgun-style for fun). Beware of cooked up Pizzagate-style conspiracy theories, dismissal with the words “drama” or “mobs”, or debates in favor of Kero. (The benefit of the doubt died when he lied.) I won’t favor anyone and don’t care about personal cost like losing friends for sharing the truth.

If you watch horror movies for Halloween, could you stand seeing it for real? I was warned about the evidence: “There’s a picture in there I’d call ‘Mortal Kombat Finishing Move'”.  It’s almost funny except this isn’t a movie or a game. It also isn’t about science, euthanization, hunting or butchering for meat, or only a frozen photo. It’s about the experience of sadistic fun with crying, struggle and brutal annhilation of a weaker being that could be a family member if it had the chance. A photo of that looks like animal remains, but it means more. It stands for the killing of good faith in a community based on believing and trusting that members love one thing so strongly, they even see each other being the animal. If someone does that to an animal, they’re morally doing it to you.

If people settle for apathy and lies about this, that’s how the fandom will die for real. At least the part that lets this go and accepts complicity.

Exactly.

Cons need to revoke membership. Builders of their suits need to disavow them. Other YouTubers need to pull collabs and use their platforms to say, hey this is not okay to do, this isn't what we are.

But they won't.

— LOT'S WIFE (@LibrettoTaur) September 22, 2018

A deeper look at how this came out – Kero lied about it, and then a video of his abused dog came out.

As above videos covered, the evidence wasn’t leaked by furry-haters.  Kero wasn’t the target. It’s logistically unrealistic to have faked the huge volume of chat logs. Messages from Kero match his user ID on the Telegram server (which can’t be hacked or edited on local devices in HTML or screenshots). They had unique photos found nowhere else. And multiple sources close to the story indicate that accounts weren’t hacked with messages faked, they were just exported.

There’s independent confirmation. I received a screen of text messages with the mother of chat user Levi Simmons/”SnakeThing” from the texter. They knew SnakeThing granted access to his account where existing messages were exported from. The login was given to fellow chat member EliteKnight, and gained from him by the leaker. EliteKnight posted an apology and admitted his involvement was real.

[Zoosadism leak] aren't you tired of it? Blame those who are lying to cover up.

Further confirmation there is no "hacking" or faking from one of those responsible. https://t.co/0gkhjnqdfJ

No you DON'T get to say "oops, spent years sharing puppy torture, fresh start". pic.twitter.com/F4Boe4nAKg

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) September 29, 2018

Another source comes from my chat with a partner of another group member, who tacitly authenticates their involvement by excusing it as a setup to get police involved. And an independent zoophile group admin confirmed they knew Kero was involved for a long time.

Now look again at a video from Kothorix about his interview with Kero and the actual interview log, where Kero switches course with multiple lies. He pretends he never spoke to SnakeThing but then admits he did.  He says he was hacked but admits he misled his entire fanbase and gave them an active sessions screenshot he found on the web. He claims he only liked feral art (which was only 3 images) instead of hundreds of necro/zoo/abuse images that were shared.

Then Kero says “I have never harmed an animal or had sex with one.” A video of his dog being molested is held by investigators, with stills released for proof.

I have been given the video with Koda and there are some things I want to show.

— Okapi (@Okapi_Fan) October 14, 2018

Quote-tweeting with link to spare your eyes of censored but not so great content. https://t.co/DcJR9ObfC8 pic.twitter.com/Sp0kyj9ESf

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) September 30, 2018

It's hilarious because Kero keeps changing the story over and over again like dude! Just accept the fact that you got caught for being a zoophile!

— Sliat???? (@yourfluffyfoxy) October 15, 2018

After all this, why is Kero trying to come back? And why is he making MORE MONEY than before?

You might be amazed to hear this. I found a conversation by the furry fandom fringe of alt-furries, that gives a pretty consistent opinion of what’s going on. (Let’s avoid asking if there will ever be such self-awareness about that source itself…)

Even a broken clock is right twice a day:

Kero’s Patreon lost users over two weeks following the original leaks. (I’m told that reaching 100,000 Youtube subscribers is about the minimal level where someone might go full-time as a video maker. He only recently hit that level, and likely depends on the income).

Then the money went up. He appears to be making private videos just for his Patrons. Is there any better example for selling your soul?

Everyone might be sick of hearing about the ring of zoosadists but stay aware that there were many not just one in the spotlight. Complicit members may want to get excused in time because awareness died down. They want it to get memory holed.

2 weeks ago vs now: pic.twitter.com/o6HSmLaR9P

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 7, 2018

@kerothewolf is making more money on Patreon now than before it came out that he was complicit in a ring of animal abusers who murdered puppies for fun. There's a video of his dog circulating. It needs attention that won't go away. That's how to make sure it can't happen again. https://t.co/to3ZnYrT19

— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 15, 2018

Kero’s current Patrons

A Patreon supporter list was pulled from the unlisted video: “How to become a meme” that Kero made in the weeks after the Zoosadism leaks.

Below are some accounts matched to these names. Some may not be up to date with what’s going on. People who want to help can contact them with reasonable questions. Link this update and ask, do they support complicity with animal abuse, and could they please consider helping to fix this problem?

More: TragicCat? ZombyWoof Mischief? Brian Murphy? DynasRa? Viktor Lozano? Nathan Camatter Adams? Christopher Cole Wuff? Casandra Wagner? Shayne Coddington? Storm the Wolf? TheVeganWerewolf? Parker Sawyer Alan? GraymuzzleWolfpaw? Cilo Fox? Cupid Fley? GoldHusky? GIBSON THE FOX? Greyson? Nobody Important? Ratchet? Biofox? Aureus Jackal? Rob B ModjaFur? Lilly Justice Fox?

Q&A with investigation team “Furvengers” about Kero’s complicity – how bad did it get?

In-progress investigation indicates that Levi Simmons/SnakeThing began forming Telegram chat groups to gather users of Animals Dark Paradise. ADP is “a hidden forum where violent and perverted people upload videos in which they rape, torture and kill animals for their sexual pleasure.” I think this was a darkweb site needing a TOR connection for access.

Reddit has a post about ADP discussing why other networks may have been wanted – perhaps to evade surveillance. But more likely it was so ADP users could meet to create new animal abuse content, consistent with videos found in the leaks. One of those relationships happened with a big user of ADP, Illone, who became Kero’s boyfriend before his death by heroin. Illone was posthumously renamed “Colwyn Collie” (a name with no history), probably so Kero could cover up his ADP history.

Levi/SnakeThing was a main connection for Telegram groups he made for this including “BBB” (Beasty Beast Beasts).  It looks like Kero was a lower-level member, but aware, complicit, and concealing it while coming in from other groups. The BBB chat logs may be exclusive evidence (I’m unsure if they leaked.) I asked an investigator to supply and explain screenshots of Kero’s activity. This isn’t easy because evidence is still being traced, and the source of leaks appears to have sorted evidence to focus on some users that omits others.

Kero’s timeframe in the BBB group appears between December 2016 to 1st of February 2017. Then from 11th of February to 14th of February.

1) This screen is meant to show Kero is looking at rape content? Is there proof he knows it’s more than RP in this screen?

Date: 18th of December, 2016. This image was meant to show Kero’s earliest known joining of the group. This join was shortly after the group was nuked, thus it’s not certain whether Kero was in the group before this date. I’ve provided other files below that shows that Kero knew the others were inflicting pain, and not merely roleplaying.

2) Feb 11, 2017 – Kero is asking to be back in to the chat with rough stuff and necro. It looks like the second screen confirms he did join immediately. When did he leave?

New evidence I found shows him leaving on the 14th of February, since rejoining on the 11th.

(Higher quality image)

3) Crazyotter is forwarding in messages made prior to January 2018, do those show Kero is trying to win his confidence to talk about rough animal abuse, and SnakeThing is confirming he used to be in BBB and is trusted as a fellow zoosadist? Does this help bracket the time he was in the group? 

These logs were from the 13th of January 2018, the same date as the forwarded messages. It falls outside the time Kero was in the group, as far as I’m aware. My original timebracket is supported by SnakeThing referring to him as an ‘old member.’

4) Is this only showing Kero knows SnakeThing is admin of the BBB chat, or something more?  Kero doesn’t know what BBB means in here… does this show groups were nuked or reformed in multiple versions for same users?

Date: 17th of July, 2017. This was to show more that SnakeThing was the admin of BBB than Kero’s involvement. I think Kero doesn’t know BBB here because the group was never referenced by the acronym ‘BBB’ between Snake and Kero prior.

5) When Kero says he is “a little broken,” that’s about the death of Illone right? It shows Kero associating with people he knows are zoosadists? Why does he say no Z talk… perhaps he’s separating his regular account from it but he knows what they do and is keeping quiet?

Date: 23rd of July, 2018. This conversation was related to Illone’s death. This is meant to show that Kero and Illone knew other zoosadists in the group, eg ‘CrazyOtter’. I think the ‘No Z content’ is a combination of Kero’s security concern, and his emotional state at the time.

6) Does this show Kero has access to SnakeThings video he made of raping a drugged puppy, making it bleed and breaking its teeth?  Is there proof Kero received it?

Date: 18th of March, 2017. This was meant to show the form of content shared on BBB. This was posted outside of Kero’s known timeframe within BBB.

7) This shows that RLC = Real Life Cub, AKA child pornography. Is there any proof Kero received this?

These messages fall outside Kero’s timeframe, and there’s nothing to show that he knew about the CP distribution. The timeframe, as well as his reactions to the content, shows he knew damn well about the zoosadist content shared.

8) These additional screens are included to show that Kero knew the others were inflicting pain, and not merely roleplaying. It looks like Kero was a lower-level member, but aware, complicit, and concealing this while leaving the group.

The disgrace of complicity, and what a healthy fandom does.

Watch for updates on happenings with this story outside of fandom. At some point that will end, but the question of what kind of fandom you want won’t.

Fandom is like a sandbox where you build it to be like you want. Furries build a community that brings amazing benefits to members and collects millions for charities. They’re good people, except when a few aren’t. Creativity has no limits here. Of course it’s hard to limit bad things too. When they’re uncovered, it can be like drawing a line on the beach. Apathy washes it away and the sands of forgetfulness cover up what was exposed.

There’s an ocean of difference between loving cartoon animal art, and doing cruelty to animals. If one says “well I only watched someone else’s, but that wasn’t mine”, it’s still generating demand. “Guilt by association” is only unfair to people who aren’t conscious about it. Complicity is the word for people who are. There’s no innocence for joining or supporting networks for abuse.

The abusers in this story were a tiny group that wanted to stay hidden. Transparency depends on refusing to accept excuses, giving no benefit of the doubt when it isn’t deserved, drawing a line and making it stick.

When someone has credible accusations of B and was complicit in C, you don't get to handwave their behavior as merely A.

That is disingenuous and harmful.

????️‍????Soatok the Dhole (Cuon Alpinus)⚣ (@SoatokDhole) October 19, 2018

Kero is complicit. He denies it and even capitalizes on the attention. Paying him is part of the problem. If it continues, fandom will be a platform where abusers use it freely and even prosper. Progress depends on ending dishonesty.

74 of Kero’s Patrons haven’t understood the news yet. Give them a helping paw.

TAKE ACTION – please share this story to anyone who stands with complicity in animal abuse.

UPDATE:

FYIhttps://t.co/RD5LuHtOIM pic.twitter.com/nuBE72I2f7

— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) October 26, 2018
Categories: News