Tails and Tornadoes Fur Con 2021 a Dapper Success Over Labor Day Weekend!

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The following is a Newsletter written by the Vice Chair for Tails and Tornadoes, Koori Kitty

After almost two years of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, Tails and Tornadoes Fur Con made its triumphant return to the Southern Hills Tulsa Marriott hotel over Labor Day weekend, September 3-5,2021. The convention, led by Koori Kitty (President / Vice Chair) and Mattew (Chair) provided a safe and fun atmosphere for furry convention goers during the weekend. During the event, TTFC raised more than $6000 for their charity, Safari's Sanctuary. In addition, TTFC welcomed more than 568 attendees and over 160 fursuiters in the parade.

This year's convention theme, "Rawring 20's" was originally intended for the event scheduled in 2020, which was to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the "Roaring 20's" era complete with art, dapper costumes and decor. However, due to the pandemic, TTFC along with many other events were forced to postpone. There were many challenges and difficult decisions to be made when planning for the return of furry conventions after what we experienced in 2020. We spent many long hours planning and meeting with various teams, government officials, and our hotel team to ensure attendees not only had the best experience but the safest experience possible

Like many conventions, TTFC implemented a variety of pandemic safety measures, including required mask wearing coupled with vaccine proof or negative test results. The convention took great care in making sure the health of their attendees, staff and guests were priority. Although challenging at first, TTFC's staff came together and sucessfully screened hundreds of guests.

What does justice mean among furries? An unauthorized account of Megaplex, VancouFur, and Samuel Conway

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It can feel a kind of madness when the memory of the world has moved on without you and you are left unsmothered. It is not madness, however. The feeling is called injustice, and what I aim to show in this account of events, beginning in May of 2020 and ending with Megaplex of 2021, is that this injustice is a cultural issue in furry, produced from west coast to east by figures as disparate as Samuel Conway, the Megaplex convention board, and the British Columbia Anthropomorphic Events Association (BCAEA). I take these as case studies because they involve prolific figures, because they are current, or—with the BCAEA—because they are well-known to me even if they are not well known in general.

I could have chosen other case studies. There’s no scarcity of them—every few months there is a new bad story about a furry-run community group, a fursuit maker, a popular furry personality, or, most recently, a furry convention. This account, in its intention, is both to attempt a brief history of furry spaces since May of 2020 and to explain them as a part of a larger, overarching, and cultural issue. I do this in part because when there is a bad story every few months—one which often involves trauma of some kind—and numerous smaller pains arrive in the weeks in between, it can feel as though you have walked into a numbing fog.

The details become fuzzy and their dates more distant in memory, although they may have only happened months or weeks ago. For others, however, those bad stories aren’t just stories—they are real things that happened to a person and the numbing fog is not always so kind to them. It can feel a kind of madness, and historicizing them, putting them into context and connecting them with other, similar events, is my choice of remedy.

I grew up a nerdy theatre kid who wanted to be a punk. It taught me that I loathe the spotlight (I was compelled by an editor to add this section on myself). I get stage fright, with only the shakiest of legs, and, while I have an excellent memory—as this account may demonstrate—my perpetually flat affect made me unsuitable for serious acting. After that, I turned to writing, first stage plays, then later and with much more enjoyment, fanfiction. Furry as a subculture was a short leap away. While doing what amounts to queer/feminist studies at university, I joined a small poetry community on FurAffinity in 2016, and, unexpectedly, encountered a few poets who were upset whenever my poems mentioned punching Nazis.

My furry experience has continued in that general fashion ever since.

An independent and alternative review of the new FFA convention

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As I've been browsing Twitter recently, scrolling through various news about the fandom, I came across this QRT (quote retweet for the less savvy) talking about a new con and how it was going to fail right out of the gate. Being the curious investigator I am, I decided to look at the original post from an organization calling themselves AWOO or Anthro West Open Organization. From what I saw, I was saddened by the number of my fellow furs calling for death to the con, or wish harm to those that would hold it, especially since we used to be such a loving fandom. I kept reading more into the reasons why people both hated, and loved this con or the idea of it (whichever it is, we'll know for certain soon enough).

Turbulence in Tulsa as ousted Tails and Tornadoes president starts new convention in same hotel

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Free Fur All convention logoIn Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tails and Tornadoes is a young convention that's been running in the Central U.S. state since 2019. Its premiere year was reviewed here on Flayrah by one-time contributor Koori Kitty. Like the weather system it was named after, the con has subsequently found itself in a whirlwind that's rattled its organization.

The first shakeup was one that affected most gatherings, in that its second year was unable to be held in 2020 due to COVID-19 closures. But on top of this, the same year brought in political fallout from the final year of Trump's presidency. Riots in the American Midwest soon spurred worldwide protests following the murder of George Floyd by a law enforcement officer, where the unarmed black man was strangled by a knee to his neck that was held there for over eight minutes. The entire duration of the strangulation was recorded on a smartphone and shared over the Internet.

The United States government, under the leadership it held, decided to go against the advisability of de-escalation in these matters and instead responded with hostile rhetoric. Given the shutdown of many non-essential jobs due to the pandemic, this created a perfect storm of vocal protests and rioting towards an unsympathetic system, sentiments that spread far beyond the Midwest where the murder took place.

Update: Correction made about staffing shifts from 2020 to 2021 in Tails and Tornados per Koori.

Update: AWOO has released a statement in their Telegram group that the hotel has withdrawn from their contract.

Newsbytes archive for August 2021

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Contributors this month include 2cross2affliction, BlindWolf8, dronon, earthfurst, and GreenReaper.

Digging up Positivity - Furry charity and good news - August 2021

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Welcome to the August edition of Digging Up Positivity! Slowly we are sliding into convention season and of course this comes with plenty of the traditional charitable goals. Speaking of which, this months featurette has a big role with that in South Africa. We have some animation news, and we see where badgers teach traffic safety! And also, if you want to win this T-shirt? Then stay until the end of the show!

How naughty Fursuit allegations led to EMTs getting screwed in one New Jersey town

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John Oliver once again shows off his suspiciously furry stylings of comedy in one of his recent segments. In this case, he compared Brussel's EMT siren sound to Mickey getting ‘spin-cycled’, yes a euphemism for intercourse, on a washing machine. He even went so far as to get a motion-tweened animation of the affair. This joke is what he used to bookend his discussion around EMTs, and America’s underfunding and vulture-like privatization of them.

But what the writers of this particular segment may not have been aware of, is that while Mickey getting plowed on a washing machine may seem like a perfect ice breaking non-sequitur to the tragic state the United States' emergency services find themselves in, for furries it’s a bit too real.

In the year 2012, in the town of West Windsor, New Jersey, a seemingly innocent annual gathering of fursuiters supporting a local emergency services group called the Twin W Rescue Squad became targeted by politicians after allegations of indecent acts of a “spin cycle” style were spread through the press.

So thanks to Mr. Oliver, I feel compelled to go over what may be one of the most unfortunate interactions between furries and the political wardens of our country. And how the incident still sends ripples of fear and concern to this very day on the rules of engagement when it comes to fursuiting for organizations in the United States’ Northeast.

Megaplex bans registered sex offenders from attending future conventions

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Megaplex has updated its rules to ban registered sex offenders from attending their convention. This followed a publicly posted Twitter thread from a Megaplex attendee describing how they'd been assaulted by a registered sex offender at the convention, and their subsequent experience of trying to inform the staff.

Although the convention's initial response said they would ban those in the registry, the passive tone used in the opening paragraph of their announcement was not well-received:

We are saddened and sorry to hear that people felt [emphasis added] harassed or worse during the weekend. This is unacceptable and no person attending the convention should be made to feel [emphasis added] this way.

The language then shifted responsibility to victims to be more proactive in informing the con - despite having received an advance conversation before this was announced publicly. Megaplex's poor choice of wording ended up overshadowing the announcement of the ban itself.

'The Suicide Squad' Review

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thesuicidesquad.jpgFlayrah Mission Control: You have been chosen for your unique abilities to take on a mission of utmost importance. You must describe and evaluate James Gunn's The Suicide Squad for this website's audience of furries.

Okay, I can do that. Fine. I'm not sure if my "abilities" are that unique, though. And since when have we had a "mission control"?

FMC: What are you talking about? We've always been here, monitoring your activities. Waiting for the moment when the world most needs your skillset. Which is right now. Articles about superhero movies with marginal to minor furry elements. Avengers: Infinity Wars. Avengers: Endgame. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Guardians of the Galaxy. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That's the unique skillset we're talking about. Those last two are even by the same director as The Suicide Squad's. So what's the problem?

Furries might enjoy The Suicide Squad, a movie about super-powered criminals being forced to work as a secret government "Task Force X", which features an anthropomorphic shark and a team member who talks to rats (there's also a Weasel, but the less said about him, the better). It's showing in movie theaters now, and is also available to stream with an ad-free subscription to the HBO Max for the next month.

FMC: That's a description. Half the mission is done. But what we need is an evaluation.

But I didn't even like this movie that much. In fact, I liked the universally panned 2016 Suicide Squad more, and I'm not sure I really want to defend that position.

FMC: Sounds like a problem. But it's your problem. Complete the mission. Or we'll totally blow up your head.

So that's it? What? This some kinda ... The Suicide Squad review?

Megaplex holds large furry gathering - one fur tests positive for COVID

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For the first time since January 2020, one of the eight largest furry conventions opened its doors to an in-person gathering. Megaplex 2021 saw 2,889 attendees on the first weekend of August 2021, ~80% of 2019's pre-pandemic total. $50,000 was raised for the C.A.R.E. Foundation.

Staff set COVID-19 policies and required masks in most cases, doing their best to make guests comfortable while cautious of the viral crisis that plagues our world. Unfortunately, despite all their efforts, one vaccinated individual said they tested positive after the event.

As pressure continue to rise to get things back to normal, reported COVID cases over the past few weeks have started to amass concern. The rate of reported cases in the United States suggests a spike in infections and hospitalizations on an early exponential trajectory starting around mid-July. This is especially worrisome given that the growth for the first wave in the United States was linear in Summer 2020 before growing exponential that Fall.

This time, however, unlike 2020's wave that touched everywhere fairly evenly sooner or later, the second wave is so far biased toward certain states suffering the brunt of the impact. Looking at the 50 states, it appears to be based on a combination of tourism and the state's political actions. Florida, as a result, is one of the worst hit, with its seven day moving average already over the peak of its highest prior infection wave.

Game review: 'Changed'

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Changed, originally released in April 2018, is a surprisingly-difficult, action, puzzle game made by DragonSnow with background music composed by Shizi. While not overtly sexual, this game is certainly risqué with plenty of fetish undertones as, instead of deaths, your failures result in your transformation into a latex furry. Since June 2020, buying Changed will also give you access to English version of Changed-Special, the still-unfinished reworking of the original game which contains new rooms, transformations and some updated graphics.

Best member of the Tune Squad

Digging up Positivity - Furry charity and good news - July 2021

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Welcome to the July edition of Digging Up Positivity! This month we announce the Art & Biro winners at the end of the video. And of course we are covering charities, more positive news, and our featurette for this month is not just drawing awesome comics like Simon and Freddy, but is an esteemed teacher as well: Hukley.

Newsbytes archive for July 2021

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Contributors this month include 2cross2affliction, dronon, earthfurst, GreenReaper, InkyCrow, Rakuen Growlithe, and Sonious.

The best cameo in Space Jam: A New Legacy

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Space Jam cameo featuring Wolfwalkers

Before the movie Space Jam: A New Legacy even came out, the sheer amount of cameos, Easter eggs and crossovers promised by the movie was raising eyebrows. Most critics were not impressed. With the movie in general, but also with the commercialism of the movie, as made clear by Rotten Tomatoes critic consensus (where the movie has a paltry 31% as of this writing):

Despite LeBron James' best efforts to make a winning team out of the Tune Squad, Space Jam: A New Legacy trades the zany, meta humor of its predecessor for a shameless, tired exercise in IP-driven branding.

The Internet, always on the lookout for new and exciting clickbait, has plenty of lists breaking down each and every cameo in the movie (oftentimes complete with a link to a review decrying the annoying amount of IP branding at the end; here's ours!), and if you're more inclined to skip to the end, there is plenty of discussion about what the worst cameo is. But what's the best shout out in Space Jam: A New Legacy? For your consideration, how about the one to Wolfwalkers?

From the Yerf Archive