In the modern (mis)information era, public relations has changed from a hassle typically tossed to the side 'til bad news arises, to a demanding necessity where your job is to prevent strife before it occurs. Slacking can cause a brushfire that one has but a single extinguisher to put out.
Which brings us to an example of such unfortunate episodes: Furlandia, the third new furry convention to spawn in the past two months. This one was held in Portland, Oregon. 270 showed up and over $1,000 was donated to PAW Team, which provides veterinary care for the pets of impoverished locals. The donation comes with an asterisk, though, as it came from MTV; fans threw in $6. [Update: Comments suggest this only reflects Sunday's count.]
I was not at the convention; however, I know some who were, and I’ve looked into all sides with an open mind and am giving my best assessment. Most importantly: I’m evaluating why this incident blew up as it did, so that future convention leaders can avoid undue stress.
Logo have published their therian documentary (41:47; YouTube), covered here in January.
Producers followed and interviewed several teenagers and young adults (and their parents), including the crew of FurCast and an otherkin forum administrator, Shiro Ulv.
In a poll of 120 therians/otherkin, a majority appear dissatisfied with the piece; fully 80% felt it was only slightly accurate, or not at all. The same proportion took issue with the inclusion of furries (including various fursuiters) in the documentary.
Similar numbers saw it as important for therians/otherkin to educate the public about themselves; however, views were mixed on participation in television documentaries. Most (83%) favoured the idea of therians/otherkin creating their own documentary.
For those who missed out on the news over the last three months, here's a quick roundup.
Further Confusion 2013 garnered some coverage, including a Kotaku contributor's weekend at a furry convention – which started out with party-hopping, followed by a fursuit parade (admittedly, the experience for many FC attendees). The author reached the [adjective][species] statistics panel before returning to the party floor . . . and then, the dance floor.
SanJose.com also provided coverage of FC, albeit limited to an apparently remote Q&A session with the con's media representative, Chairo. The brief piece was fact-filled, yet in comparison with Kotaku did not venture deeply into the motivations of those attending.
Sneaking in at the end of the month was a cover piece in Nashville LGBT monthly Out & About (subtitled "It's not all about sex in fur suits"), and a photo-heavy article of the "everyday lives of furries at home", featuring the furry photography of Tom Broadbent. [tip: HappyWulf]
The Cartoon Brew reports that Ellen DeGeneres, who voiced Dory, the regal blue tang fish with short-term memory loss in Pixar’s 2003 Finding Nemo, has announced that Pixar has asked her to reprise her role in the forthcoming sequel, Finding Dory. It will also be directed by Andrew Stanton, who directed Finding Nemo. Its tentative release date is November 25, 2015.
Finding Nemo is Pixar’s #2 grosser, behind only Toy Story 3.
I haven't seen this shared around until I noticed it on the Bay Area Furries mailing list.
According to their website:
What's your Fursona? Thats [sic] the million dollar question asked in this fast paced black comedy web series about the adventures of Virginia Blake - a successful investigative journalist - who is writing an expose on the FURRY underworld to save her tarnished career!
The film promises to follow a teenager from Brunswick, Georgia, who believes he is a wolf, and is aiming to confirm this by changing his name legally to his wolf name, Shiro. It also introduces the viewer to a commune of ‘otherkin’ in upstate New York that includes a human ‘raccoon’ and ‘leopard’ in an “inter species poly-amorous relationship.”
Update (30 April): The documentary has been released.
Johannesburg sexologist JacoPhillip Crous opines that "fursonas can be understood as totem representations ... an animal that's believed by the person to have spiritual or some other, possibly sexual, subjective significance, so the person adopts it as a personal emblem to which [he or she] feels drawn psychologically."
Interpreting this in a way akin to Jungian archetypes, Crous says the fursona is a form of "empowerment" and "self-transcendence" for the individual – and, for the sexually invested, the fursona is the "idealised totemic form that drives the erotic charge for the yiff enthusiast".
The piece quotes Tumblr bloggers, WikiFur, and Internet-based surveys, but no furry fans appear to have been interviewed for it. South Africa has a small furry community, but it is not mentioned within the article.
The term furries refers to the lifestyle of a youth culture that likes to dress as life-sized animals. They are called "fursuiter" meaning "fur wearer". Most of them sew their own elaborate costumes, and from time to time emerge to confuse the general public.
The footage focussed on fursuiters, but was very positive about the hobby:
They don't see themselves as crazy, just adults who like to have fun & try new things. It doesn't harm anyone and they believe that it makes the world a more colorful place.
The Hartford Courant's recent article, and related radio coverage, has been joined by Fox CT's five-minute TV feature segment, "Inside the World of Furries". [Eagle Beagle/fursuitlounge]
What we found is, with furries, there's really nothing to fear.
The piece opens with a comment about this weekend's FurFright and mentions local sports mascots, then goes to visit Zenfuhre (Jason Miclette) at his home, where he is joined by Stattik (BladeWolf/David Sutak). Both show off their fursuits. [Higgs Raccoon/furrymedia]
Colin writes for the Hartford Courant, which recently reported on fursuit-related library rules. Much of the conversation focused on the appeal and transformative power of fursuits, but ponies, FurFright, antipathy against furries and the Ursa Major Awards were also brought up.
An "ex-furry" caller, Reuben, raised the risks to minors from sexual predators at conventions, but the host and guests noted that non-furry events also had a degree of 'hooking-up', while Chiaroscuro brought up the age distribution and security presence at furry events.
Library director Janet Nocek of Portland, Connecticut had her work cut out explaining furries to board members tonight after calling a meeting to review the library's behaviour policy, reportedly after fursuited visits to other local libraries raised fears of child enticement.
The piece in the Hartford Courant highlighted concerns about those visiting in disguise, and in particular non-religious use of hoods or masks (forbidden by the library's rules of conduct), which in this case might cause families to mistake fursuiters as official mascot characters.
Update (14 Sep): The issue was raised in a discussion thread started late last month by Henry Dutcher of Enfield. Initial replies were humorous, but the talk got more serious when he mentioned a child took a fursuiter's paw and was "led away by them" (within the library).
The unruly, boisterous rocker will be part of a panel answering the question, "What Would Pinkie Pie Do?"... The king of partying hard claims that he is the living embodiment of the positive, party pony.
In this interview, the rocker known for a bloody-nosed image discusses why he's a Brony, his love for cupcakes, and ponies with "nice, fragrant hair."
Are they anthropomorphic? Thank Roscoe there is nothing like them in real life!
There has been so much successful anthopomorphization in animation in the last few years that we tend to forget that anthropomorphization can be done in full-body suits, too – and I don’t mean fursuits! The Oogieloves are a throwback to Barney the purple dinosaur or H.R. Pufnstuf, except that Sid & Marty Krofft did it better back in 1969.
The Oogieloves in The Big Balloon Adventure, released in over 2,000 theaters on “Oogust” 29, features Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie (they’re anthropomorphic somethings!) who live in Lovelyloveville, in a feature that encourages the audience to talk, sing, and dance in the aisles while the movie is going on; with cameos by live-action Toni Braxton, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Cary Elwes, Jaime Presley, Chazz Palminteri, and others.
The distributor is Kenn Viselmann, the former producer of Thomas the Tank Engine and Teletubbies, which will tell you what age group he is aiming for (old enough to sing and dance in the aisles; too young to have cel phones).
The Cartoon Brew website, which has covered this release, reports that this has gotten “disasterous reviews” (LA Times - NY Times). But Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 38% rating (Ed: now down to 30%), which means that several reviewers did like it. Hmmm. Watch the trailer and decide for yourself – if you are not too embarrassed for Toni Braxton, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, et al., acting like retarded idiots.