The Iranian people seem pretty cool: Just last month, they were doing huge anti-austerity protests. Then they marched with over 1,000,000 to mourn the death of a military leader. Now they're demanding their gov't resigns after killing 176 civilians. https://t.co/2rzzxZ2l5O
— WHITEY OwO BULGER (@Kamunt) January 13, 2020
Governments are supposed to represent their people. Instead they often end up representing a few haves against many have-nots. It might put oligarchy and corporate greed first, or theocracy and military power. You can read between the lines of headlines about the USA vs. Iran.
But how often do people in both places talk to each other directly without borders, filters, propaganda, stereotyping, and forced conflict? And when they’re pitted against each other, what could these different societies possibly share in common?
Pizza time! Pizza battle! Which one do YOU prefer?
— Rastin (@Rastin_Woof) January 7, 2020
Like pizza, you don’t need to speak the same language to love art. So furry fandom builds bridges around the world. That’s how Croc (@Microdile), a California furry, first made friends with Rastin (@Rastin_woof). Rastin is a 16 year old member of a generation living after the 1979 Iranian revolution, which put religion and laws together, unlike the USA which separates church and state (at least in theory.)
In the following Q&A, Rastin uses forbidden internet contact to discuss forbidden topics — criticizing authority, oppressed LGBT identity, parents who don’t understand, and fandom that isn’t shared by anybody near him. His fursona species isn’t even tolerated (dogs aren’t loved pets in Iran.) What stands out more than differences is the universal stuff in common: creativity and self expression, and wishes to escape to a more peaceful world.
When I saw he was from Iran, I was immediately curious.
All I'd ever heard about Iran my entire life, was that they hated us, supposedly hated our way of life. It was just a place of war and religious authoritarianism.
Here was a chance to actually learn something first hand.
— Emotional Support Animal (@microdile) January 8, 2020
(Dogpatch Press:) Hi Rastin, I was looking for Iranian furries when Croc tweeted about you. Do you know any others?
Hello, unfortunately I don’t know any other furries who live here.
I have heard of a few others, but I’m guessing they’re rare so there probably isn’t any community for it besides online. It may be mostly ex-patriot Persian people in other countries, but I’m glad to find you! Can you give me a bio in a few lines about yourself?
I’m 16 years old. As mentioned in the tweet, I live in Tehran and have for all of my life. I’m currently in 11th grade and yeah, trying to find a way to transfer to a foreign school. Regarding the ex-pat situation you mentioned, it’s fairly accurate, most with a well off income or wealth (of their parents) tend to leave Iran rather than invest their money here.
How did you find furry? Was it from Croc?
Croc wasn’t my first encounter with furry but it was most certainly an encouraging one. The first time I remember seeing anything about furry is when pictures of Cosmic Wuffy showed up on my private Instagram. His photos and videos led to me searching for them on YouTube, considering it’s a platform of which I spend a lot of my time on, and I found the ‘Paws’ furry music video.
How easy is it to look at where you are? I was curious about internet access, if they specifically block furry stuff or it has to be kept hidden.
As of late, that has been a very inconsistent topic considering Iran’s government has gone back and forth but also has permanently blocked out websites such as Twitter, YouTube and Telegram. The difficulty of getting around it is nothing significant considering it only requires a working VPN. So it may not be ideal for me, but I personally don’t have any struggles when it comes to being able to get ahold of furries and furry content.
What are the security policies about communication?
Their version of secure is “don’t use them”. It’s fucking garbage and pisses me off so much. “Oh Americans, use Telegram to talk and talk about politics too”, so Telegram should be banned in Iran. Which it is. We have to use VPNs to bypass it. Also of which they are trying to block, break and ban.
What does furry stuff mean to you, why do you like it and how important is it?
I feel like I’ve been drawn to ‘furry related’ subjects from a very young age and didn’t even know that until my mother pointed it out. I guess the reason I joined the fandom was the sheer amount of creativity and diversity there was along with all the cuteness that came with it. But the reason I stayed was the immense amount of love and acceptance that the fandom has which I am very thankful for.
Can I ask more about you as a furry, like your fursona or how it makes your life better?
Furry to me is a community of kind and accepting people who ALSO have an interest in anthropomorphic animals. To me the anthro part comes second. I think with most fandoms, you get absorbed because of the thing that the fandom loves. But whether or not you stay is up to how the community of people treat you. The furry community has had a lot of ups and downs for me emotionally, mainly having to do with the support of others and on the other hand, the immense amount of FOMO that has come with it.
Does it have any connection to where you live… like is there animation in Iran that you like?
Furry is probably the most foreign in Iran, there are no events, there are no cons, I’ve never seen someone in a suit here either. I’d say Iran and its religious beliefs are the furthest things from furries.
Luckily I was mainly raised by Americans (aside from mom who is Iranian) and that in particular is one of the reasons I’ve been told that I look and act like a foreigner in my own country. Iran has NO regard for copyright when it comes to foreign content, which led to me watching a lot of the cartoons and shows that an American kid would watch. (Most of the cartoons sold here were stolen from Disney and whatnot.)
I have also been lucky enough to have access to satellite, which in Iran is considered a crime but it’s not taken too seriously. That also had a huge impact on me. Iran has made several attempts at making their own animations but their efforts are anything but plausible.
How is furry regarded there, if anyone you know knows about it?
This one’s a mixed bag, no one in my family and relatives knew about it until I explained it to them. My mom did some research on her own, and at one point was thinking that it was all about sex, and that Croc was a pedo. I calmly explained it to her and changed her mind. My father never really cared for much of my interests, so he just thought it was weird and insults me here and there about it to this day. Some of the kids at school who knew also knew it as only a sexual fetish, but some of them are far too stubborn for me to want to try and change their mind about it.
Where do you see yourself in furry fandom in the future? Would you go to cons, get a fursuit or start a Youtube channel?
It very much depends on whether or not I can leave this country or not. I CAN’T go to 95% of the cons even if I wanted to, they don’t grant visas to Iranians for most of those places. I can’t get anything from other countries SHIPPED here because of the sanctions, we don’t have international post like EVERYONE else. YouTube is very much a hassle in my country, not to mention that there is no way I could generate revenue from it.
How about just writing or drawing?
I designed and drew my own ‘sona. I did get help with a body reference but I’ve been practicing it here and there. (The one in my icon is commissioned.)
It makes me wonder if there is much nerd stuff in Iran… science fiction, comics, gaming? And if so, is any of it home grown, or is it mostly from elsewhere?
Considering how bad and half-assed most of Iran’s products are, most are influenced by foreign markets.
I watched this travel documentary to help ask questions: Rick Steves’ Iran: Yesterday and Today.
“Join Rick as he explores the most surprising and fascinating land he’s ever visited: Iran. In a one-hour, ground-breaking travel special on public television, you’ll discover the splendid monuments of Iran’s rich and glorious past, learn more about the 20th-century story of this perplexing nation, and experience Iranian life today in its historic capital and in a countryside village. Most important, you’ll meet the people of this nation whose government so exasperates our own.”
The show talks about people having vacations, and if you cant leave the country there seem to be lots of places with amazing sights to see inside. They went to 3 or 4 cities. Have you done any trips you liked?
More than 70% of iranians don’t even have passports. With how bad the economy and incomes are, only the wealthy can afford to travel let alone stay in hotels and fly. So, a considerable amount of them are rich enough to find a way around it. The people who can AFFORD it are also the only people who will complain about not being able to do it.
What kind of animals might you be close to in Iran? Wildlife, zoos, or pets?
First off, dogs are considered sinful animals, especially as pets. I think that’s absolute BS and I adore dogs. Same goes for pigs, meat from the pig is considered as very sinful and dirty. Same goes for alcohol.
The travel show visited a book store that had a lot of poetry. It reminded me of hearing that some Islamic culture avoids showing humanlike intelligent animals because of religious teachings, and it had to do with art being geometric with beautiful patterns and less emphasis on humans. I wonder if art around you is traditional without much place for stuff furries like, or is it no big deal to talk about cartoons and stuff like that?
Satellite and cartoons and stuff are thanks to me using it as a way to learn English at a very young age. It’s not the fact that we can’t talk about it, but when it comes to animal related stuff, very few people are enthusiastic about it. Also, something you might not know, with dogs being considered as sins, very few people own pets and interact with animals. Therefore that idea is not that popular either for that reason.
No cats either?
Some do but very very few.
I saw horses and sheep in the travel show, and the shepherd had a working dog. That’s not an every day city thing though.
Well sure but one in 1 million people do that. Keep in mind I said it’s a sin to have them as a PET. I really love dogs.
People in the USA think of Iran as religiously repressive. I was hoping to help people understand another person like them living there. I suspect the government isn’t the same as how people really think.
A lot of the religion brings up dumb rules. However the society itself doesn’t bring a lot of enforcement on it. Even in situations where they should. So suuure alcohol is illegal and you would go to jail if cops found some in your house, but we still have it. You can’t easily purchase it, hence why some people try and make it themselves, but it really isn’t taken THAT seriously for people to completely avoid it. It’s like the law is there but everyone is just walking past it. You’ll only have issues if you run into it. And yes, it’s the government that is forcing us, those of us that aren’t crazy religious hate it too.
Can we talk about LGBT stuff? I read this: LGBT rights in Iran. Let me know if anything is off limits or scary or might cause trouble… will the government take notice of you talking about this if an American furry news site publishes it?
I’ve read it before, and know it very well. And it’s not like nobody dares to do anything in private. It’s one of the dumbest things in the Muslim culture and especially how much it’s enforced in Iran. For the government, I’m safe to answer any questions I feel comfortable answering.
The travel show showed so much history, but the cities looked modern. The biggest difference was theocracy at the top, which hands down difference in how people relate to each other, like restricted public display of affection (PDA). Furries are known for hugs when they meet, so that must be interesting to see. Like you say, the government can’t watch everything in private so I wonder how much unapproved socializing there is, even if people are badly punished if things get too high profile. Can you say anything about the private side, like how do people meet if it’s not approved?
The part about religion and government is so true to the point where it hurts me to even watch the news. But if found out, LGBT stuff is taken very seriously, I did get removed from my last school because of it (they didn’t expel me because they didn’t want to ruin their brand.) It’s serious if you get caught. But it’s hard to get caught unless someone is really out to get you or you’re doing it in public.
About religion, is worship expected a lot or just a little for you?
Unfortunately for me, I went to a very religious school from 5th grade to the beginning-ish of 10th grade. The schools before that were a bit religious too. In that school you had to go to the school’s mosque. We would sometimes hide away from the teachers so they couldn’t take us. But it was mandatory.
For what it involved besides praying, I don’t think this is something that exists where you are, but we have a whole subject for religion in school, that we have to give exams for and stuff. And also, before 10th grade we had to be able to read the Quran well and memorize some of it. It’s actually taken very seriously. Even the private schools that I go to — (public and private schools are different from the definition around the world) — are still looked after by the government, so it’s mandatory and taken very seriously.
I guess you have to be very involved with it to have any job in military or government.
Not so sure about the details of that, because I haven’t looked into it. But private jobs mostly don’t care. By private I mean not involving the government.
I saw there are some political parties interested in making things more secular (opposite of religious) from some parties that might not be the powerful ones. Like the communist or green parties saying LGBT people should be free to choose relationships, or similar words.
Personally, I didn’t even know that. So that should tell you that they have nowhere near enough power and traction to do anything. The only thing that I have ever seen or heard of are protests and that didn’t involve LGBT. It was just about women’s dress code.
But he didn't want to be a victim. He kept trying to help people, even getting robbed & beaten when he stopped to help someone, which turn out to be a trap.
He father didn't care whatsoever, resentful that his son would dare bring shame upon him.
He paid his own medical bills.
— Emotional Support Animal (@microdile) January 8, 2020
Croc wrote about you having hardship, like bullying in school, disapproval of parents, and getting beaten and having to pay the medical cost. How much of a worry is that? Is there anything you need or people can do to help?
People can help by not being selfish cruel assholes. The hardships are significantly more serious than bullying or harrassment, but that is as much as I want to say about what happened to me. As for parents, they don’t support it, my dad is kind of in denial. My mom is disgusted.
I’m sorry to hear that, I hope things change. Have you seen any signs of hope or is leaving the country the best hope?
Honestly? No. The economy and the relationship Iran has with other countries is getting worse by the day. At this rate I don’t think I can even go to Canada if for whatever reason Iran goes to war with the US.
I hope it doesn’t. Canada is a great place that is welcoming if it can be done.
Let’s hope it stays that way for another year or two.
- Fandom grows in Southeast Asia – could it bring culture clash with Islam and authoritarianism?
- Dwale’s critical review of “Red Engines”: When furry fiction becomes islamophobic propaganda
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. Want to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here (it pays.)
The Good Furry Award is for furries (or groups of furries) who have shown themselves to be good citizens of the furry community and deserve recognition. It debuted in 2019 on the Ask Papabear advice column website, and Tony “Dogbomb” Barrett won. Check the tag for more about it.
Winners get $500 and a trophy. Three Honorable Mentions also get trophies. Nominations can be sent until May 31, 2020. After that, the furry community gets to vote, with winners announced in June 2020.
Below are the furries who have been nominated so far for the 2020 Good Furry Award.
As shared by submitters:
Furry Weekly is a long-running magazine on Furry Amino that has been running for nearly 3 years. They highlight all kinds of people in the community, including dancers, musicians, artist, writers, and more.
They are a nonprofit organization, and they haven’t been paid 1 cent for all their hard work. A little award to promote these amazing people will surely be an amazing thing for them.
Note: This furry was nominated last year and, since she was a runner-up, is eligible to win this year. She has been nominated four times for the 2020 award. Below is what the nominators have written:
- She is always so kind to everybody, she helps her friends who are in need, including me. And she makes everyone’s day brighter!
- My girlfriend was going through a really rough patch. She was really upset, in the middle of a move. This person, Aleshka, was there from the beginning. As far as I know, she doesn’t do cons, but she is incredibly amazing and kind. I highly recommend her being a nominee.
- She has helped me through hard times, the hardest, when she could have walked away from me. She could have left me but she didn’t. She has been there, this is the least I could do to prove have much I appreciate her. She is a really good, kind-hearted person, and I respect her for her hard work.
- She has come a long way and worked very hard. She tries so hard and is very kind to those she works with. She doesn’t get to attend cons or, but she among one of the most amazing people I know. I recommend her again, she is an amazing person! I wish people of the world could see it too.
Danny Palic (Thabo Meerkat ) has a YouTube video series called “Digging Up Positivity” about the good news and good stuff going on in the furry fandom. He also helps with charities in his home country, the Netherlands. His fursuit is a Pawsome & Cute Meerkat.
This fursuiter has helped a lot to the younger furs in hosting Giveaways both on TikTok and Instagram, as well as being there for when (not just young furs) people are in need of a friend or a shoulder to cry on when hate gets to them.
Personally, she has helped me get through when the phase of dino masks was receiving a lot of hate.
Overall, she is super nice and makes sure that budding furs don’t get overwhelmed by GateKeepers or elitists’ style of furries.
Dakota is not afraid to admit that he is a furry and never afraid to help others. He does what he feels best to help other furries find the passion. He is never afraid to mention his own problems and once stopped another furry from committing suicide.
They’re a good furry because they do a wonderful job representing the fandom to the outside world. She commissions gorgeous artwork to support artists, puts on shows for everyone, and keeps it up with a smile and beauty. She’s raised beautiful puppies, and if you watched her while they were little, she made huge personal sacrifices to ensure they were safe and well kept.
He was one of a group who sponsored my first furcon trip, as well as gifting some of my first pictures before I could afford commissions. He and his partner, Dineegla, also host furs for MWFF each year who can’t afford a hotel room. He’s been a wonderful friend and would do a lot for everyone if he wins.
Arvada Tail Heads
(Note: this is a nomination for a group instead of an individual)
The heads of Arvada Tails have created and maintained a welcoming and safe monthly hangout for furs of all sorts, as well as organizing additional fun events throughout the year. Arvada Tails has grown to roughly the size of a mini-con with its popularity, and even local non-furs feel free to join in at times. With constant vigilance, a positive attitude and indomitable spirit, the heads have helped a tight-knit community to flourish.
I can’t really explain, But she is very motivated and made everyone cry because of it, a motivational furry speaker, I really know she can win this reward, if you give her a chance. I know it’s not based off art and fursuit, but if you were to give her a chance, that would be awesome. Papabear please if you know about all the hate in the world about furries you would give my friend a chance. I”m not saying that I’m nominating her because she is a good friend. I’m nominating her because I believe in her and I believe her motivational speaking can change the world a lot.
He has helped raise funds for charity. He also has made contributions to the furry community by creating furry content on YouTube.
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. Want to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here (it pays.)
Yesterday’s article looked at college clubs for furries being a new movement in a growing fandom. It covered clubs at art and animation schools being a special place for people who haven’t always been in synch with the mainstream. It could involve stigma with jobs, but the upside is pro artists making good ties to fandom, and indie artists finding opportunity.
Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design is a top rated school near Furry Weekend Atlanta, and a place to find furry talent. SCADfurs is a club for them you can see on Furaffinity or Twitter. SCAD furs president Bucky is a Sequential Art major, and here’s our Q&A.
This fandom has been nothing but a joy to be a part of
I've made most of the friends I have now since joining, and I couldn't be happier to be a part of this community, Let alone president of @scadfurs!
— A fricken wild dog (@BuckWildDog) November 22, 2019
Can you tell me about the history of the SCAD furs club?
I’m currently the fourth of the presidents to run SCAD furs, behind our founder Chaz (@kinghime_ on twitter), Nick Pina (@stupidsnowfox on twitter), and Katy Mack (@h8nlof on twitter). We have this club here at SCAD to invite like minded furries, and sometimes non furries, to hang out and have fun with other people who have the same interests in the fandom with activities like game days, fandom history days, Art trade days, fursuit building days, and outings like FWA, Parades in Savannah, picnics, etc.
Who are some members to shout out?
We’re lucky to have a great amount of talented artists, fursuit makers and speakers who attend club who were willing to do presentations on different kinds of art forms. Some of the notable fursuit makers, who have created suits of their own are Harley (@harleyhyaena) Iceartz (@iceartz) DutchVali (@dutchvali) and splash (@atomic_splash)!
My VP Nathan, (@GetoutofZeWei) has also been such a fantastic and positive influence on the club, helping present and making sure people feel welcome!
What are relations with the school like?
Thankfully, we haven’t had any negative relations! It’s always great to have students and sometimes faculty take an interest in the furries, as one of our professors helps us as a faculty advisor for the club. Every year, the school also holds an event called “fall fest” where student based clubs can set up and show off what they have to offer to new students arriving at SCAD. We, of course show up in fursuits if we have them :3
As well as school wide club events and planning, The SCAD inter club council takes care of what we can’t in regards to reserving a space for the club to meet, and allocating extra funds for club events should we request and need them.
How about relations with other students at the school?
As far as club itself goes, anyone who goes to SCAD and cares to join is welcome at any point! We sometimes have new people show up in the middle of a quarter when current members spread the word to friends or colleagues. As said before, Fall Fest is our best way to talk to and invite new members to the club each year, but it’s always fantastic to see new faces whenever!
What are the typical activities and what’s the coolest thing you ever did?
As mentioned before, we do a bunch of outings like walking around and meeting people at the annual Martin Luther King Day parade here in Savannah, we have our yearly commute up to Atlanta for Furry Weekend Atlanta, and other smaller more casual outings like picnics in the park to zoo trips!
Do you have any ideas about furries in the industry… like is it still a thing to keep quiet as much as years ago because of fandom image? Do you know of furries in the industry… and do you think there might be a “furry illuminati” that helps get jobs, like there is at tech corps in Silicon Valley?
Personally, I think being a furry is a fantastic way to get into the industry despite the negative image placed on us in the past. In my experience at SCAD, I’ve never seen more kind hearted, expressive, and creative people than I have here in the fur club, and I have no doubt that those are qualities that the industry looks for in a person, and no doubt that there are people currently in the industry that have started in a similar place.
Even now there are graduates and club attendees that are selling their work at cons, and working as freelance artists, which is as good a way as any to get your name out there, and make a bangin’ portfolio for any passing industries in the process!
As for a furry illuminati, I’m not sure about that one, but I don’t doubt that connections have their perks!
We always like to go back to the classic Disney movies like Robin Hood and The Lion King, to show off our “furry gateways” and how we started out in the fandom, but with newer movies featuring anthropomorphic characters and all of the fantastic content creators and animators on other platforms, we’re never short on inspiration.
Tell me a little about the courses and school and what art is coming out of it?
Most of the attendees of the club are either Sequential Art or Animation, and a lot of the professors teaching the courses in those fields allow us to do furry themed animation or comics for art projects. The courses provided here at the school range from the fundamentals of most of, if not all kinds of different art forms ranging from animation, figure drawing, comic art, storyboarding, game design, film, creative writing, and plenty, plenty more to count!
I’m sure other members could have a lot more to say about making art, what the club does, the fandom, and the industry stuff in the introduction article. Hope to hear more from them in comments. The club looks so fun and positive, thanks for doing this!
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. Want to get involved? Share news on these subreddits: r/furrydiscuss for anything — or r/waginheaven for the best of the community. Or send guest writing here (it pays.)
Furry College Clubs are a new movement
Furscience, the group researching furry fandom data, say the majority of members are around college age. By law, they can only track ages 18+, so this growing subculture may have an army of new lurkers just finding their whiskers and tails.
Looking back, furries at colleges are nothing new (check big furry comics of the 90’s) — but having enough members at the same schools to start official clubs is a new chapter in fandom.
A 2005-era Livejournal-connected list has a few dozen college furries — in the world, not the same place. A 2008 forum topic mentions handfuls finding each other (but more likely at anime clubs.) Then during a watershed time of mainstream media turning from mockery to fascination with the fandom (between MFF 2014 and Zootopia), a USA Today headline says: Growing community of ‘furries’ finds acceptance on campus.
Student newspapers love the topic now. It’s a common reason for alerts about furries in the media. And in big online forums, college location lists get hundreds of responses. Looking into it gives an impression that many are majoring in tech, science, or arts. But one subject stands out the most.
Pro animator dreams
Furry fandom overflows with art talent. And the animation industry is a hoped-for destination for many. For a guiding light, they can look at artists like Joaquin Baldwin (Disney’s Zootopia) joining furries as a popular convention guest.
I wanted to share this touching moment. @Reo_Grayfox was telling me his story, and said those lines while staring straight into his fursuit's eyes. Hearing personal stories like this makes you appreciate the vastly diverse reasons why the furry fandom is essential to so many. pic.twitter.com/fD09Wmv6mf
— Joaquin Baldwin (@joabaldwin) January 22, 2018
For these artists, a feature studio artist job is like aiming to be a pro sports athlete. Many try but few make it. Other paths may lead to TV, graphics and illustration, or freelancing.
Furries doing freelance art commissions have a burgeoning indie niche. But the downside of catering to fandom is being boxed in, by economic challenge or the pull of lucrative adult art: Furry artists among top highest-paid Patreon creators, but face threats to their livelihood.
That’s how the mainstream industry might feel exclusive. It’s hard to tell how much, but furry art in job portfolios can get negative moral judgement. For every Joaquin Baldwin, there could be many staying undercover, like in: Interview with a Secret Furry animator inside a top movie studio.
Dogpatch Press has an interview on file representing a Hollywood studio half staffed by furry artists. It was withheld by fear of affecting jobs, because they were working on a popular kids show and the #MeToo movement was coming out in Hollywood. That leads to a piece of irony.
Ren & Stimpy & Stigma
It’s rumored that in 1998, a hurtful judgement by director John Kricfalusi (Ren and Stimpy) on a young artist led her to launch the Burned Furs manifesto. (A “clean up the fandom” effort tainted by puritanism and homophobia that quickly fizzled out). Kricfalusi later made fun of furries for Adult Swim.
Then in 2018, judgement bounced back. He became a subject of #MeToo allegations by artists. It’s mentioned in my story about visiting his house — A furry look at an abuse story about John Kricfalusi.
Before going pro, John K. went to a certain animation school. A lone furry artist at the school was a friend to me. Many years later, the friend’s untimely death made his family ask about that hidden part of his life. My search for others he knew was met with fear of their identity coming out, even from decades ago.
Tomorrow’s Joaquin Baldwins
Times are changing. There’s that studio full of furries. The fandom is producing loved talents like: How furry animator Jib Kodi found his art.
Furry art is most active with illustration or fursuiting. Full animation is rarer. Outside of schools, it’s an intense medium that’s hard to do full time without studio support. Will it will always be that way? Or could indie production make something like this cult-worthy animated movie? Nova Seed movie review- a rare find of sci fi animation.
“Nova Seed looks like what I imagine could come out of my favorite art subculture some day – something like this is a holy grail of furry art.”
You can get an idea of how much work it takes from this indie animator. He made what looks like a winning show pilot that’s 12 minutes long. It took years and he became a furry in the process.
NEW VIDEO: Boomerang in a Gun Fight
A new Sheriff Hayseed short, and my longest video ever!https://t.co/mRIDrZdYzQ
— Mike (@Piemations) December 21, 2019
These are challenges on the path from college to career. That’s why when college furry clubs are the topic, a club at an animation school stands out from others.
SCAD: a top animation school
Georgia’s Savannah College of Art and Design is rated in the top 4% in the US by Animation Career Review. It has a great reputation with lots of pro artists coming out. It’s also in the neighborhood of Furry Weekend Atlanta, one of the top few fandom conventions.
That’s a great place to look for furry talent and energy. SCADfurs gathers dozens of members who you can find here on Furaffinity or Twitter. Check out an interview with them posting tomorrow: “SCADfurs: These furry animation students will make shows you love one day.”
UPDATE – responses.
Some furries working at animation studios sent private messages as well about how they feel in the industry.
The majority of the industry furries I know are still not public about it, but that balance is shifting, especially among younger artists. The silly stigma is looking dumb, especially after so much positivity coming out, like furries raising over $1M for charities in 2019 alone.
— Joaquin Baldwin @FC (@joabaldwin) January 14, 2020
Wow, you can never predict responses, they have been SO nice. Got tipped about this article just out today. https://t.co/6npkt6sdU7
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) January 15, 2020
Yesterday was Part 1 of a list for articles at Dogpatch Press. These stories aren’t just from 2019. There’s some older ones that had revived or ongoing interest in the year. They’re not ordered by most viewed on top (some of them are deeper dives into brief/specific stories) — but these were the top 20 listed in a way that makes a snapshot of a subculture.
11. Mainstream crossover. Margaret Cho barks about furries, pride, and costuming on The Masked Singer.
This is right on the line drawn by queer/weird power that keeps furry fandom independent. Here’s one of the bigger names in mainstream entertainment who has openly mingled with furries. She takes pride in supporting misfits, was Grand Marshall of a pride parade, and was in The Masked Singer as a singing robot poodle. This article with her drew mainstream news to ask for furry opinions of the show. Expect more because the Australian edition has costumes built by furry makers, and the UK edition had fursuits in a sponsor’s ad.
12. Roots and influence. A furry pilgrimage to the Adult Swim Festival and the Prancing Skiltaire house.
Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim puts weird animation on TV at night and features furries on rare occasions. Their Los Angeles festival was a blast where I was the only fursuiter among thousands there for heavy metal, standup comedy, screenings and rides. Nearby was the oldest furry fan house (in California or maybe anywhere) where the founders of the first fur con show how a few fans can start something much bigger.
This was THE most viewed article of the year, but furries didn’t do that (and drama doesn’t deserve #1 on the list.) The malicious hoax came from chan boards and was spread by big troll accounts. Outsiders kept googling and linking to the article, and it helped debunk fake news so it wasn’t worse. It shows how internal fandom power can be weaker than you know externally, and the same old malice keeps going since the media was mocking furries many years ago. Could there be any better argument for why there should be furry news?
14. Beating hate. Story of a Former Alt-Furry: Clouded by Clout.
Fake news and trolling is the toxic waste of social media corps. They profit from cutting out the cost of human moderation, and dump it on the public like a coal factory spewing smoke. It has a human side. Here’s how one person was caught in the haze, but gained clearer vision.
15. Problems high up. The Zaush Issue – leaked private messages make a public discussion.
Not all of the worst things in fandom come from outside. People keep searching to learn what’s wrong, and they find this article. If some of the most popular content in the fandom is borderline-illegal, creatively-empty Disney parody for profit… demand better.
The “Confederate fursuiter” keeps coming up as a meme. Trolling isn’t just a social media problem, it’s a real life problem. It kept getting notice with threats to MFF 2019 from Milo, who turned out to be a paper tiger. That led to my story about Milo that was written by request of mainstream site LGBTQnation: The furry community is very LGBTQ-inclusive & doesn’t tolerate haters like Milo. Then at the end of 2019, Anthrocon’s long time security partners the Dorsai Irregulars announced parting ways with the con. The reason I was told was high rate of volunteer burnout. I think that’s an issue across the fandom.
17. The worst story to ever hit the fandom. Evidence of a furry crime ring emerges: Legal docs and news tie Cupid, more to zoosadism.
THE worst. With tech-enabled secrecy, an urban-legend level animal snuff porn ring reached worse excesses of human evil than could even be imagined. Failure to do anything about it was a black eye about certain parts of the fandom, from Kero defenders to con staff blowing it off. It’s not just for the cops when it comes from an exponential rise of reports way beyond their power, as reported by the NY Times in 2019. The full extent of the story isn’t out yet. However, the ringleader was hit with dozens of felony charges at the end of 2019 and faces 16 or more years in jail.
18. Corporate complicity. Youtube’s popular Reptile Channel has a history of banned animal abuse by JonahVore.
An earlier and now weaker by comparison story of animal cruelty for fetishes, views and profit. Youtube still doesn’t regulate it even when the channel is evading bans. Reptile fans who oppose cruelty cited the 2017 story for new videos in 2019.
19. Justice and safety. Arrest of Growly brings feeling of vindication for furries with safety concerns.
Long going protests about sex offenders focused on one person, but didn’t even scratch the surface of rings or profit operations. More is in the above 2 stories or this previous one: R.C. Fox arrested for child pornography, furries question fandom connections.
20. Reporting for justice. Arrest of Lee Miller (Foxler) brings a call for witnesses to come forward.
Foxler was a troll whose malice fed headlines in Rolling Stone and elsewhere in 2017. Reporting it in furry news led to a 2019 sex offense arrest. Reporting that led to the last story posted in 2019 — Furry Raiders sex crime case: Arrest for felon tied to witness tampering and Milo’s “troll school”.
These come from a margin between subculture and mainstream, where art and events thrive with excitement, misfits give and get support, abuse can hide, and ordinary people do what they can to stop it with only occasional outside help. Of course most people are just here for art, so you might not see the deep stuff unless you get furry news.
See the amount of bad stories? There’s 2 good stories shared for every negative one here, but ones that get notice are evidence that The Medium Is The Message.
For a long time i have maintained posts on a rough ratio of 2 nice/positive/informative posts to one sad/drama one. If one kind gets traffic, that has to do with what social media sorts and how users choose to boost. Make a choice to consciously counter the nasty stuff.
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 29, 2019
COMING UP: Crossover with the mainstream keeps making some of the most interesting stories — and commercializing will keep being a topic complicated by stories like above. While there was uproar in 2019 about Converse sponsoring a con in Brazil, and worry about corporate takeover, I think that story was mostly a nothingburger about a brief flirtation. There was little risk to furry-made shoe business or a shoe company having a native furry userbase, and ordinary widget-selling companies can worry about backfire from mingling with a subculture, but it’s not like companies never used animal mascots before.
I think the greater risks come from within. Furries have what I would call inherent deficits of open-source fandom. It has to do with gaps in security, moderation and policing itself. It’s not going to get better by relying on for-profit platforms made for advertising and driven by conflict for views, and superficially calling things out. When that’s confined to a bubble like Twitter, it feeds the corporate monster. Real life organizing and in-depth reporting makes a difference.
An interesting comment came in at the end of the year from a mainstream journalist. Remember 2016 news about a triple murder with furries in Fullerton CA, where the full story never came out? There was a conviction right before the start of 2019.
“This isn’t old news at all – in fact, i’m working actively on this story as we speak, and I know a lot lot more than I did then, thanks to the trial in part.” – Sanjiv B, December 2019.
I’m looking forward to a good read from a fandom ally. It has to do with reporting problems for learning and improvement. That needs good media, and much more than just social media. But that’s one of those deficits of fandom that just has handfuls of hobbyists writing about it for the love of it.
My chihuahua was amazed when I sneezed and fireworks exploded over the city. She stopped shaking and did a head tilt, like “did you do that?”
It was New Year’s Eve, and catching a plague kept me from going out. But pets like attention when there’s scary noise, and it made time to write.
This list is for articles at Dogpatch Press. That’s not the only way to get furry news, but how easy is it to get? Trust 1132 published articles here. It takes tons of work that few will do. Or ask those who start new sites, because great intentions often only last a few weeks. (RIP Good Fur News, Jan-Feb 2019).
This site has 6 years in service because it’s about DIY power, like a little sneeze really has power to make fireworks. It starts with one fan, but it needs everyone who sends tips, support, or guest writing, and makes art and events. That’s why 2020’s plans include supporting Moonraiser’s furry blog, a regular guest roundup of furry comics, and too many projects to ever finish (the site has hundreds on file).
These stories aren’t just from 2019. There’s some older ones that had revived or ongoing interest in the year. They’re not ordered by most viewed on top (some of them are deeper dives into brief/specific stories) — but these were the top 20 listed in a way that makes a snapshot of a subculture.
1. Art business and careers. Furry artists among top highest-paid Patreon creators, but face threats to their livelihood.
This 2018 article brings traffic every week. It has evergreen topics for hungry artists, like adult art business, insecurity about rules and art theft.
2. Deep wallets and love for creators. A look at furry business with a $17,017 record fursuit auction price, July 2018.
The fursuit auction record stands unbroken since 2018, and it more than doubled in 5 years. Where do sales happen now? After the end of auction site Furbid (1999-2015), Furbuy went down in 2019, leaving only The Dealer’s Den to serve the fandom until it returns.
3. Hearts bigger than their wallets. The impact of Dogbomb on the furry fandom and charity to cure ALS.
The story of Dogbomb’s life ended in April, but his afterlife goes on. It’s not just a news story, but a movement on social media, a big chunk of all fandom charity donations, and a rare level of mainstream crossover with charity events in many locations.
4. Antidote to negativity. Meet Emma the Tiger – A Showcase of Fandom Love from BLFC 2018.
This story of bullying and positive response gets steady views from some Youtube videos citing it.
5. Fierce independence. How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Parts 1-3)
It’s a deeper dive into a story that briefly hit mainstream news — When furries attack: Zweitesich criticized for marketing fursuits as expensive luxuries. A fursuit maker had a marketing misfire and got dogpiled like an invasive outsider. It connected business and bullying, with the highest ideals of independent creators and the worst excess of social media negativity. The deep dive looks at why it happened, with complicated conclusions because both DIY power and Disney-type fandom are furry roots.
6. Shared lore. Original species of furry fandom: an overview.
Rune’s guest article talks about furries creating their own worlds and species, like Dutch Angel Dragons, Sergals, or Protogens.
7. Events with style. Galactic Camp: a furry con takes flight on the USS Hornet, Feb 23, 2019.
There was a furry con on an aircraft carrier. I called it the cutting edge of turning swords to plowshares. The cool/weird factor got high notice on Reddit with Galactic Camp sets record with 742 furries, a San Francisco Bay warship and a Soviet time traveler.
8. How to get inside. A Newcomer’s Guide To Furry Terms and Customs.
The secret is there is no secret. Being a fan means doing it organically because you love it. The story is an Onion-style shitpost/prank (the site is zine style with occasional entertainment like that). It was made to satirize boring “Furry 101” news that used to be the only kind outsiders saw. This one keeps getting mistaken for the real thing.
9. Constant Queerdness. 5 STAR VISIT: Furry gets Airbnb room in San Francisco, finds furry yiff art on the wall.
It’s goofy entertainment but not a prank. An encounter with furry yiff art “in the wild” showed the queer/weird side of fandom that helps make it thrive. You could also call it loveable Furry Trash (like fun trash movies, which isn’t an insult.)
10. Classic Queerdness. Q&A with Biohazard, artist of the infamous “Too Hot for PBS” auction video.
More of the queer/weird side of fandom that makes it thrive. Your eyes could pop out to see this artist putting gay yiff art on public TV in the 1980’s before there were furry cons. Truly part of the roots, and that’s why this keeps getting views for years.
Tomorrow: stories 11-20.
Here’s a wild story that has all this: Internet harassment, the disgraced alt-right troll Milo Yiannopoulos, the furry fandom pariah Foxler (known for stories in Rolling Stone and Newsweek about neo-nazi furries and his Furry Raiders group), his right-hand man “Sneps” who has a heroin trafficking record, and their plan to frame a witness for sex crime that Foxler is charged for doing. There was even a bungled plan to target me for reporting. It blew up in their faces, put “Sneps” behind bars, and leaves the crime witness needing vindication after being framed.
If you were Foxler — AKA Lee Miller of Fort Collins, CO — what would you do if:
- In 2017, Dogpatch Press reports you’re tied to grooming kids and intimidating witnesses with your “neo-nazi cult-like group” (The Furry Raiders).
- In 2019, you’re charged for a 2015 child sex offense (details not public) uncovered during reporting for Dogpatch Press (credit to Aristide).
If you were Foxler, how would you defend from these charges? Maybe get a good lawyer or well-regarded community member to help clear your name?
A smart person with a good future could do that. That’s not Foxler. He got his close friend and Furry Raiders admin, known as Flare or Sneps, and they cooked up a scheme to get him out of trouble by attacking the sources. I helped uncover it and report it to the police, with this result:.
Where is Sneps? WHO is Sneps? Colorado resident Jacob Kovar was arrested on December 10 after intimidating the witness in Foxler’s case.
Jacob Kovar says he was born in Russia. He became close enough to Foxler to hang out with his mom at his house in Fort Collins (calling it “Raiders HQ.”) Jacob/Sneps gained notice as a Furry Raiders defender in April 2018, using the name Flare in an apologistic article at the Rocky Mountain Collegian.
Flare Tigersnow, another member of the Raiders who wished to remain anonymous, said the portrayal of the group is entirely inaccurate.
The intrepid journalist who quoted him in 2018 didn’t notice that this great source was under indictment for a felony. Soon after denying the accuracy of the Furry Raiders reputation, Jacob was convicted for what appears to be heroin trafficking. It earned an 18 month sentence (with early release).
After his release, Jacob/Flare/Sneps worked as a lead admin in the Furry Raiders. He also became a high level member of a “professional troll school” started by Milo Yiannopoulos. Milo’s school advertises a mission to teach people how to be “internet terrorists” — with high payments solicited by Milo for teaching tactics to abuse and harass people. It was no surprise when I found Sneps had ties to the Kiwifarms harassment site. (More about this below.)
While doing “internet terrorism”, Jacob led Furry Raiders and Milo fans to think he was a counterterrorism intelligence gatherer, DHS liaison, and “Navy Sergeant” — which he used to push political smear propaganda about lefties to gullible group members. But military members are calling it a lie for Stolen Valor.
The US Navy doesn't have Sergeants…
— Pumpkin Spiced Ott@FC20 (@CoffeeOtt) December 12, 2019
Foxler’s spy inside — Furry Raiders infiltrating convention staff.
Most astonishingly, those tactics helped Jacob/Flare/Sneps to gain the trust of furry convention runners, and a staff position under another name: “Dodger”. As Dodger, he was a volunteer at Denfur (at least, if he wasn’t impersonating that person). That credential led to being named Head of Security at a new con in Wyoming, Furever West. (I don’t have any reason to be suspicious at them. Volunteers get no access to private info, and the cons he was going to staff didn’t happen yet. They’re now aware and taking action.)
Official statement I received: “Dodger Shep is no longer affiliated in any capacity with Furever West.”
When Dodger reached out to me, the staff positions sounded impressive at first, and a good way to get my attention. Of course the plan was to gain my confidence too, and troll me into boosting the Furry Raiders’ corrupt scheme.
It started with a tip about an alleged child rapist. There was a Telegram doxing channel, and a request for me to raise the issue in public. I engaged the tip, but the more questions I asked, the fishier it got. Why did Dodger keep making excuses when I asked for police docs he claimed to have? After I told him to put up or shut up, why did the Telegram doxing channel disappear and move to a new channel that had me blocked?
The Furry Raiders scheme to frame a young crime witness.
Jacob/Sneps was still on probation for his previous felony when the Foxler Defense Plan started. The idea was to groom or pressure the witness to Foxler’s crime to get the charges dropped. It would use a carrot and a stick. Jacob/Sneps would falsely befriend the witness and pretend to give advice for how to overcome problems they were making for him, while intimidating him with threats that he could be charged for false reporting.
They didn’t know:
- The witness can’t drop charges — the state brings the charges, so cases go forward even if witnesses don’t want to.
- Their scheme was being watched, documented and reported.
By the time Dodger contacted me, the witness was accused in public of crimes with children, and doxed with urging to call and harass his father. I worked to check claims about the witness, and reached someone named as a possible victim. He said it was lies from the Furry Raiders.
The witness suffered a lot of hard harassment and banning in the community. The arrest is exculpatory, and as far as I’ve been able to find from many sources, it happened because people were conned to smear him. I only found evidence that pointed to lying by the Furry Raiders, which needed police handling — and more. The police can’t stop the community from smearing someone. Reporting and FIXING falsehoods is needed, and it calls for remembering that Furry Raiders had an arrest for causing injustice.
Jacob Kovar was on probation for a previous charge, so I believe his new arrest led straight to jail.
Verifying ID for a con artist felon.
From the evidence folder and Facebook
Verifying ID was a bit complicated because Jacob/Flare/Sneps/Dodger had a habit of spreading lies wherever he went, even in casual chat. There was a wrong age. A wrong name on an old Facebook page. Fake jobs. But one thing that stood out between his many accounts was arrogant boasting about things like his cars.
- JACOB KOVAR is FLARE. The alias is deleted in many places, but archived. Telegram accounts @MynameisFlare, @Sneps and @tigersgomow in the Furry Raiders chat were tagged as the same. (Archived if Foxler deletes records). His Linkedin page has a company Kovartacus Limited, registered to him at 195 Xenon St, Lakewood, CO 80228. The Kovartacus site says Flare. (Linkedin also shows him employed by Foxler’s employer BioMatrix — think he pulled strings with the boss to hire a felon?)
- JACOB KOVAR is SNEPS. The Telegram userpic for Sneps is Flare’s art. Facebook.com/snepcity is Jake Kovar. Look at the header photo of a white Audi.
- JACOB KOVAR is DODGER. On Twitter, see the header photo of a white Audi? It’s ALMOST the same as Facebook, but these have two distinct photos taken inches apart. They aren’t just downloaded from the web. They’re from the same source.
- The mug shot photo helped two conventions confirm that it’s the same person.
Fake military claims, Milo’s troll school, and the Kiwifarms smear attempt.
Jacob’s claims to be active duty in the navy were rejected by many watchers who have been in the military. These were posted to the Furry Raiders, and Milo’s group for a failed stunt to troll Midwest Furfest.
Jacob was also active in a hate group owned by a member of Milo’s MFF chat — Civil Furs. (It was a source of evidence tying the Proud Boys hate group to alt-right furries.) That’s where Jacob mentions “medical retirement” from the military.
Right when Jacob was trying to con me through Twitter as “Dodger”, he was promoted to admin of another group owned by Milo.
Telegram is the last refuge for Milo after he was deplatformed from other services; this article about his Twitter ban explains how he used to mobilize 300,000 followers as a troll army fed by the Gamergate harassment movement. Using them for racist attacks helped sell books and his brand as a professional troll.
With his former following dwindled down to dregs, and deprived of targets, Milo is trying to monetize them on Telegram. The scam is almost creative in a gross way: pitting them against each other. Rewards for the suckers include being able to silence a member for a day or buy admin roles. Telegram generally has no monetizing, but Milo has few options, making a sad comment on everyone involved. Especially when people running this MLM-like service are felons who can’t stop getting arrested.
On December 4, shortly after Jacob/Dodger’s last Twitter message to me, the subject we discussed turned up on harassment site Kiwifarms. Accusation of witness tampering in Colorado came from a sockpuppet account, making fake smears like the ones targeting the witness. Our private chat makes a single source.
I hope Jacob enjoys his article — next time they let him back on the net!
Imagine paying for troll school and failing so hard. Maybe his jail will have education for inmates so they stop putting themselves inside.
New charges for Foxler?
If there’s anything better than watching one loser dig his own grave and jump in, it’s watching two take each other down. What will this mean for Foxler’s case? I hope a jury gets to hear him defend framing a witness (when do innocent people do that?) Watch for his next court date coming up in January. But remember the main reason for this article is to support people harmed by this kind of crime, harassment, and sheer dipshittery.
[EDIT: A few editorial words edited because less is more and make up your own minds.]
Front page news sequencing is part of the art of informing the public. The previous news story and next story posting on the site make quite an awkward juxtaposition. I’m talking about an article about positive G rated parents and kids stuff, with one about a sex crime story to post just above it. That could make a mixed message.
I usually pad these things but I’m too busy to have something prepped to post between them, so I thought this would make a nice opportunity to address the content and how it works with a certain contradiction built in to furry fandom.
It’s what I call “the big umbrella from Disney to Dirty.” It’s all that stuff under the same tent. Which obviously needs careful handling. AD panels kept near midnight. ID checking for room parties. The first thing to say about this isn’t that it makes risk of the night side mixing with the day side. It’s that every parent did those things before they had kids, and parents are the first ones to protect them. Adult supervision can mitigate most concerns. And I think this fandom is doing an OK job of handling concerns that exist everywhere, from private homes to the Catholic Church.
That’s all, and enjoy a little off the cuff talk here from a curious contact asking for opinions how to write content for furry news.
From the inbox: Starting a new furry blog pic.twitter.com/hpiTyofvEg
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) December 10, 2019
UPDATE: The person running programming has had to drop out. Anyone interested in helping take their place should contact the con.
Who brings kids to a furry con? Check out Furscience.com: Resources for parents, or Moms of Furries. Vice has a report: How the Furry Community Became a Safe Space for Youth. Sometimes kids bring their parents, and sometimes furries have their own kids. Of course they do, this fandom started in the late 1970’s. Multiple generations is what makes it grow.
BunBun, a mom and furry near San Francisco, proposed kid-friendly programming to Further Confusion in January. She said the board really wants to make it happen. She’s now working to make special events for kids. There’s a schedule including guided story writing/mad libs (maybe with a writer guest?) and having the kids design a space ship, matching the sci-fi theme of the con.
It will be the best time ever for them. You can help!
- WANTED: STAFF. Bunbun needs people willing to volunteer.
- WANTED: ART SUPPLIES. Including hands-on craft or sewing supplies, like scrap fur, needles and thread to help them start furry costuming of their own.
- Is anyone willing to put on a fun panel for kids, or be a DJ for kid friendly music?
Contact the con if you want to help make it happen.
On furry groups (including Greymuzzles) I asked for suggestions. Jake Johnson suggested writing and designing their first fursona. Artslave said that interacting with animals from the charity could be a hit, but “make sure to note that this is not an event for adults to drop their kids off at” — it’s for parents to do with them. Maelstrom Eyre said a project the kids can bring home with them, like ears or a simple tail (making a fursuit could be a tall order, but a tail could be just what the doctor ordered.) Grubbs Grizzly wanted a list of cons with programs for tiny furs and what they are. And Sylvan writes:
Suggestions, as a con-runner for over 20 years, would always start with a craft/workshop room. In that room, you schedule craft events such as making puppets, learning to write, learning to draw, putting together models, and just non-guided craft projects that anyone can indulge in at any time with pencils, pens, crayons, markers, scissors, hole-punches, yarn, cardboard, crepe paper, glitter, and thousands of other craft items. CONvergence, in Minnesota, has been doing that for years and always makes it a point to schedule things that kids can do with other kids as well as things that kids can do with their parents.
This reminds me… when I was 10 or so, I got to go to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. It had the animatronic band on stage, but underneath the stage, there was a sort of child-sized maze. Does anyone else remember this? I didn’t dream a portal to a magical netherworld did I?
I remember it had a little tunnel door, and you could crawl around a bunch of bends that were nice and carpeted, and hide out or make mischief. It was probably a terrible idea if the fire alarm went off or a kid barfed pizza chunks, since I don’t know how they could send a full-sized adult in to help! It was probably super gross under there, something they wouldn’t allow these days, and the most fun thing ever.
Oh yeah, there was also the big dancing mouse, but he’s actually more fun to me as a grown up. The mouse tunnels were my favorite part of the party — can someone make a full-sized version? Until that happens, help Bunbun make something that special for the kids who are at Further Confusion with their parents, so not just the grown ups get to have a magical convention.
(Patch): It’s a special time to be a fan of this alcoholic, washed-up actor who’s also an anthropomorphic horse. With 5 seasons under his belt (saddle?) Bojack Horseman’s show is in the middle of its sixth, and final, season. 8 episodes arrived in late October 2019, with the final ones coming on January 31st, 2020.
I have to confess to being a bad furry reviewer, because I only got half way into the first season before I heard it got really good. I got too distracted to keep up and it’s been bugging me to watch everything. It’s not just for enjoyment — If I had hooves, I’d be able to kick myself extra hard for missing an interview opportunity with show creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg. He asked in 2015 when I interviewed Adam Conover, show cast member (and his former roommate), but I was too busy covering other furry stuff to reply in a timely way.
Which reminds me that the show designer Lisa Hanawalt‘s spinoff show, Tuca & Bertie, had a single season this year. It was canceled to fan dismay. This would be a good time to ask her what upcoming projects she may have — let’s see if her agent gets back to me. I can pay in carrots!
BoJack Horseman — a review by Candy
Season Six has Princess Carolyn adopting a porcupine baby, which she handles with oven mitts, while Todd takes on the day care. It’s an adorable sight gag.
I’m new to the furry scene, but this hilarious Netflix series totally reminds me of it when it features both humans and animal-like personalities, and incorporates animal traits into each of their characters. For example: Princess Carolyn is one of my favorite characters, and one of her tag lines is: “Oh Fish!” when something goes wrong. The show is full of a bunch of little clever puns like that.
I was recently introduced to the world of Furry by Patch, so I might be missing the mark some. But what I do know is that taking on a Fursona is allowing people to be more of themselves, and some of us identify with cats or dogs or squids or birds or whatever more than 100% human all the time. Sometimes it’s nice to step into a different personality/animality? Just to show how you really feel or just to let things go. I’m not sure in all honesty. I personally enjoy costuming for the same reason, but I change costumes a lot. It’s super fun and stress relieving to be someone/something else even if it’s for a day a week or a few hours.
BoJack Horseman definitely isn’t for everyone, it’s very sarcastic and 18+, but if you like cartoons and anthropomorphic creatures, it’s definitely a show to check out. It deals with a lot of adult issues like relationships, substance abuse, self-worth, depression, work, sex, death and more. It’s not a show made by furries (as far as we know) but some of the themes cross over.
That’s why I wrote this for DogPatchPress, because there are a lot of cross-overs within “mainstream” culture, even though a lot of furries feel afraid to tell people that that’s what they’re into. I don’t totally understand why, but I think people can be ashamed about some of these issues, with a huge stigma in popular culture about people who want to have multiple personalities/fursonas. Those can help to personify unspoken things that are otherwise unexpressed, in a sort of therapeutic way. But we don’t always have to be totally serious about everything all the time! Sometimes it’s just about having fun as your “other self”.
BoJack reminded me of the furry community not only because of the art and acting, but also because it deals with how people see themselves. And how empowering it can be to truly just be yourself/do what you feel like/not give a fuck about whatever other people think or say about it.
< 3, Candy
When Fursuiting and Charity Radiates Positive Difference – Dogbomb, Furry Weekend Atlanta & The 2019 ALS Walk
GUEST POST BY JOE GORIA (JOE G. BEAR)
As a young kid growing up in 1970’s Los Angeles, I was always fascinated by seeing costumed performers at events like circuses, or Disneyland and the now defunct Hanna-Barbera’s Marineland in Palos Verdes, CA. To see tall cartoon characters come to life as Baloo, Yogi Bear, and Scooby Doo let me escape into a virtual fantasy life of myself living in a world alongside Anthropomorphic Animals.
Though I grew up and went to college, graduated and attended grad school — and recently celebrated 19 years employed for a major telecommunications company with a Pension and 401k — I’m still that kid that refused to grow up. The ‘Hooman’ in me was not enough. I wanted to be my own ‘Bear.’ It led to my amazement that there’s a fan base just for this.
I discovered ‘The Furry Fandom’ in late 2013 by another Furry who had a German Shepherd fursuit stored in the trunk of his ol’ jalopy. His name was ‘Kaz,’ and he was picking me up at San Diego’s Santa Fe train station. When he popped open his trunk to put my bags in, I noticed his fursuit and asked him “is that a dog costume?” I thought he was working at an amusement park or something. Instead he was a Furry, and I got my 15 minute crash course in ‘The Fandom’.
I didn’t attend my first Furry Convention until June, 2015: ‘Califur’ in Irvine, CA. I was with two friends who were young enough to be my own kids. It was an experience to watch Furries parade around The Irvine Marriott — but I couldn’t make much sense out of it, and I did feel somewhat out of my comfort zone.
That first ‘Califur’ is where I met Tony Barrett, known as ‘Dogbomb,’ with his version of a German Shepherd fursuit. He was very friendly and we chatted for a few minutes. I found out he was a local Orange County resident and active in the Fandom. He was friends with someone I knew early on named ‘Teh’ or ‘Desoto’ who was a Shep too. I knew ‘Desoto’ a lot longer than ‘Dogbomb’, but in retrospect I wished I had more time to get to know Tony. That is a regret I can’t correct.
Ten months later, in April, 2016 — I got an invitation from another Furry friend named ‘Toad’, who lived in Atlanta. I could room with him ‘for free’ at Furry Weekend Atlanta 2016 (The theme was ‘Camp Furry Weekend’), at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta. I bought my United Airlines ticket and flew out. What a change FWA was in comparison to ‘Califur’ 2015. That second convention is what got me SOLD into ‘The Fandom’.
Two years later, after careful thought and consideration (and the sudden death of my Mom in July, 2018) — I decided to commission my own Grizzly Bear fursuit. It would be made by a close friend and incredible fursuit maker named ‘Eddie,’ from ‘Builder Bear Studios’ near Easley, South Carolina. This 52 years old ‘Greymuzzle’ was finally going to ‘Suit Up’ as in The Foxes and Peppers song.
— Furry Jukebox (@FurryJukebox) November 28, 2019
On May 9th, Joe Bear debuted at Furry Weekend Atlanta 2019 after Opening Ceremonies. I was amazed at the quality and love Eddie put into making my ‘Fursona’ into a real awesome looking Californian Grizzly Bear with glasses and a moving jaw. I had a lot of fun being out on the multi-con spaces that make FWA my favorite furry con. But I had thoughts – I blurted out ‘This Is Great!!’ but what’s next? I had NO prior costuming experience, and I felt like a lumbering fur rug walking the Marriott carpet with little emotion.
I knew there was something ELSE that I could do to make a difference, that would satisfy my urge and contribute to the common good. Furry Conventions are great, but it’s just a weekend long fur-block party for the attendees. However, the con does so much good too. Our FWA con fees do help those in need, as these cons do lovingly give back in dividends like their support for The Conservators’ Center In North Carolina (In 2018 alone, FWA attendees donated $50,000 for their charity). That made me feel satisfied that ‘The Fandom’ made it happen. But, I wanted to do more – to get more involved personally.
On the night of my fursuit unboxing at FWA 2019, Eddie Bear looked me in the eye and said “You’re bound to do great things, Joe”. I was surprised to hear that remark. He saw something in me that maybe I wasn’t seeing or realizing at that moment — that maybe something good would come out of getting my fursuit, two years after getting my first AARP card? Well, Eddie’s remark was ‘Spot On’.
My path led back to Tony Barrett ‘Dogbomb’, who was a strong athletic runner and participated in several Los Angeles Marathons. In March 2018, Tony’s shocking diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) led to an amazing outpouring of support from Furries near and far, including myself. In November 2018, Furries donated in large numbers to ‘Team Tony’ for The 2018 ALS Walk. The National ALS Association noticed the surge and appreciated the support. Sadly, ALS is a progressive neuromuscular disease with a short life expectancy rate. Tony Barrett passed away on April 5th, 2019 — and we all changed our social media icons to his signature colorful Lei in his honor.
At FWA 2019, I hung out with a friend of mine and Tony’s named ‘Whiskey Foxtrot.’ He was wearing the 2018 ALS Walk shirt at a panel we attended. I promised to Whiskey that I was determined to get involved for The 2019 ALS Walk. One week after FWA & BLFC, I started to get my friends, family and my co-workers involved to support my page for ‘Team Tony’ and the upcoming walk.
Joe G. Bear is a SoCal fur who is helping to raise funds to find a cure for ALS in memory of @dogbomb1. There's a walk coming up November 9 in Irvine. Want to help? Here's his fundraising page for it. https://t.co/C4T43T12j7 pic.twitter.com/YjIUzqHCDs
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) October 1, 2019
My co-workers knew I was a Furry, and supported me generously. I appreciated a friend of mine and furry musician, Runtt Wah, and his band of collective fursuiter musicians called “WE ARE ONE” for creating a beautiful song in honor of Dogbomb, called “With You I Can Run Forever”. My 2019 ALS Walk fundraising goal was $500, but I ended up with $850!!
I’ve never been involved in a charity walk before, let alone in fursuit. The 2019 ALS Walk in Irvine, CA on Saturday, November 9th was my first charity walk, and ‘The OC Great Park’ in Irvine is a great venue. It was an AMAZING experience to be part of an event to honor one of our own, with 75 Furries, alongside many families and friends of those who were honoring a loved one and/or currently suffering from ALS. I finally realized the positive benefit of being a Fursuiter — as kids and adults alike were coming up, asking for pictures or for a hug. It was an emotional experience, something I will never forget.
I feel that using my fursuit for charity events is my way to support others, and I’m looking forward to participating in 2020 and beyond. I’m hoping to participate in a charity event in San Diego come mid-December — walking in The North Park Holiday Parade with a local charity group — along with future events including supporting The ALS Association of Orange County.
Tony Barrett wrote a heartfelt letter that was read by our friend ‘Zarafa Giraffe’ before The 2018 ALS Walk. It’s something I take to heart and which I honor:
“I’ve had an amazing life, and I’m truly sorry that it’s coming to an early close. The saving grace is that get to do something positive before I go and that I get to say a proper goodbye to all my friends. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful folks, and I hope you take this moment and carry it forward — Be kind to strangers, help those in need, have a smile and a good word for everyone. Tell your friends and family that you love them at every opportunity. There will come a day when no one has to suffer from ALS, and you are making that future a reality. I am proud and honored to be a part of such an amazing group, and I love you all very much.”
I’m truly grateful to be part of a fandom that gives back to others, and this Bear hopes to grow in that journey by honoring Tony’s legacy and living up to his message. — (Joe G. Bear)
Thanks to Joe for sending this guest article, and to Dogbomb’s friends and supporters.
MORE ABOUT DOGBOMB’S IMPACT: dogpatch.press/tag/dogbomb
Last June, Dogbomb’s friend Trip Collie announced a tribute book with stories and art in memory of Dogbomb. Midwest Collie organized it with help from Trip, and it was planned to be over 120 pages with submissions from over 200 artists, with all proceeds going to benefit the ALSAOCC. It’s ready!
Finally done! The work of @midwestcollie start this is complete. All of the artists, and other people involved to make this book happen are absolutely amazing! The pictures do not do it justice. It starts to ship after the holidays, and some will be available for mff..thank you.. pic.twitter.com/Mi6yo9eJF2
— Paw to Press @ Furpoc (@Paw_To_Press) November 28, 2019
Went suiting at Mutt Lynch’s Bar in Newport Beach, one of @dogbomb1’s favorite hangouts. Bouncer wouldn’t let us in because it was too crowded. 300 customers’ voices chanted “LET THEM IN! LET THEM IN!” The bouncer relented, & 3 of us went in. Joyful chaos ensued.: Joe G.Bear pic.twitter.com/hH6KXer64r
— Zarafa (@Zarafagiraffe) November 10, 2019
WhiteClaw previously submitted Why furries should care about politics in 2018.
Most of us on the internet have probably heard of and witnessed dogpiling. Some of us have even been unlucky enough to be on the receiving end. But nearly everyone will deny having taken part in it.
Even people in the middle of dogpiling will resist the label. According to them, they are: critiquing, complaining, offering their opinion, standing up for themselves and/or others, responding, calling out — and any other number of words and terms that can be used to describe their actions.
But never are they dogpiling.
So, what is this strange act that seems to be everywhere, but committed by no one? To answer that question, we have to start at the beginning.
The Cycle Begins: Something “Bad”
With very few exceptions the cycle starts the same way. Someone, somewhere, does something “bad.”
Now I say “bad” because the range of events that can kick off the cycle is so broad, that one word is poorly equipped to describe them all.
Within the spectrum of events there are: making an honest mistake or slip up, wording something poorly, having a bad take, promoting an idea or opinion that is polarizing, promoting an idea or opinion that is actively harmful, being a bigot, or committing acts that are dangerously close to or are in fact illegal.
Pretty much any event that begins the cycle can be slotted somewhere into the above list. But the truth is that the act or event that begins the process often doesn’t matter in a way that significantly affects what happens next. And what happens next is, invariably…
The Cycle Continues: The Callout
Now there have been countless articles, essays, and thinkpieces that have explored the topic of callouts and cancel culture, and honestly, I’m not here to rehash. Callouts, like most things are neither all good nor all bad.
It is worth mentioning a few things, however.
Whatever the “bad” thing that kicked off the cycle, the internet is a pretty big, chaotic place where things can be and often are lost in the shuffle. Even within a relatively smaller community such as the furry fandom, it’s impossible to keep track of all the events, discussions, and drama happening at any given moment.
But within the fandom (and really the internet in general), there are online accounts who, more or less, exist solely to post and signal boost callouts. Now I won’t name names, but many of you know the type.
They typically have hundreds to thousands of followers and usually gain more with each callout post. They love internet fights and have a seemingly endless amount of time to engage in them. And their big go-to move, especially on Twitter, is the “quote retweet” to ensure every one of their followers has a chance to see not only how clever, woke, and perfect their response is, but also the account of the person that dared to offend them.
Now I said I wasn’t going to rehash the callout/cancel culture debate, and I honestly don’t think all call outs are bad. Some I consider almost a public service.
Yes, I would like to know if this person whose work I enjoy is actually a racist, or abuses women, or hates trans people. Because whether or not I still enjoy their work (which is an entirely other topic about if it’s possible to separate art from an artist and whether you should even bother trying to), I don’t want to support that person. Not with my money, not with exposure… and probably not with my appreciation of their work, either.
So good can come from callouts. But, one of my favorite articles on this topic, titled “We Can’t Fix The Internet” has the following lines:
“It isn’t advocacy, it isn’t activism, it’s pure performance. It’s fundamentally the equivalent of saying “you’re in my hopes and prayers,” after a national tragedy.”
Yes, the town gossip can be an invaluable source of information when you need it. But they aren’t doing it for you. They’re doing it for themselves. So, make of that what you will.
@speaksangie did nice work here. Callouts on their own fall into "the thrill of empty catharsis and spectacle", they can't substitute for deep investigation. Of course there's a difference between "performative wokeness vs de-platforming of harm" as a commenter says. 1/ https://t.co/2aS6JY7lAD
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 11, 2019
The Cycle 3: This Time It’s Personal — The Dogpile
Now it’s tempting to blame the callout accounts for what comes next, and certainly some of their tactics are designed to elicit a specific response. But the cycle is not a coordinated, planned event. In fact, it’s often very reactionary and spur of the moment.
And while “raids” conducted by forums and sub-communities do result in dogpiling, there is one very important difference. In the cycle, the members of the dogpile don’t know about each other.
Side A: The Attackers
Okay that’s not entirely true. It’s not like each person in a dogpile is sealed off in a bubble. But members of Side A do tend to suffer from tunnel vision.
In fact, at this point, the word “dogpile” seems like an inappropriate metaphor for what’s happening. A better visual description would be a wolf pack biting at and tearing apart its victim. Each wolf is definitely aware of the others, but their main concern is getting in there, and biting off a piece for themselves.
And that’s why members of the dogpile (or wolf pack, or whatever you want to call it), don’t see themselves as a group. At least not at this stage of events. Each person views themselves as unique. In fact, many view themselves as the leader of a silent army. They are the ones speaking up and championing for those who can’t defend themselves.
Unfortunately, many of the people they’re “leading” are doing the exact same thing.
This is why it’s impossible to engage with a dogpile. There’s virtually no communication between its members. Which brings us to…
Side B: The… Bictim(?)
To the victim of the dogpile, the attack is not one of several individuals, but a single, solitary mass of hate directed right at them. Because Side A has little to no communication, many of its members will repeat the same words or phrases. To the person on the receiving end, this feels like a coordinated effort, where the attackers have rallied behind a very specific interpretation or criticism of events.
(It could take another article to list all the ways in which interpretations can be out of context, distorted by emotion, misstated with crude literalism about figurative meaning, mischaracterized in bad faith, or otherwise twisted and cooked-up to hurt.)
Amplifying makes the attackers feel more justified and their grievance more real. But the reality is that the repetition of certain words or phrases is a symptom of their division, rather than their unity. It’s also the result of a single person receiving several comments in a very short amount of time. After a while, the entire thing starts to blur and run together. The brain focuses on what’s repeated.
Now if the victim tries to call out people for dogpiling, each person will claim they’re independently offering criticism… which may be true. And the victim can try to respond with a nuanced explanation that is tailored to each and every person coming after them. (It becomes orders of complexity harder the more twisted the accusations are from sources playing telephone-game from a root cause.)
But… Individual responses to an onslaught is a ridiculous thing to expect anyone to do.
Except that’s exactly what the people on Side A want. Remember that Side A doesn’t see themselves as a group, they see themselves as individuals. So, because they have individual criticisms, they expect individual responses.
Which is why what Side B does next never, ever works.
The Cycle 2.0: The Public Apology
The section titles I’ve been using here have mostly been jokes, but there is a sort of 2.0 or next phase element to this part of the cycle. See, Side B has been drowning in a deluge of negative comments and criticism, and it’s not feasible for them to address everyone individually. So, they pretty much have two options.
Option 1: Run.
Now, most people don’t go with this tactic because it usually involves abandoning your online accounts. It’s also not a great look because there’s a mindset that only the guilty run. (It isn’t true, but it is the first conclusion most people jump to.)
Option 2: The public apology. (The more popular of the two.)
This is where Side B attempts to explain themselves, apologizes for their actions, and seeks forgiveness. The statement can’t address every criticism that’s been lobbed at them, so it typically goes for a more general, “I messed up, I’m so sorry, please forgive me.”
Some are short, some are long, and some spend a little too much time trying to explain or rationalize their actions. But it’s a typical reaction that most people at the center of a dogpile are going to try and save face at least a little. What matters is what the person does next and how they act going forward when —
Oh wait, never mind, no it doesn’t. Because this never works. In fact, this is where the cycle begins its 2.0 phase, and a new set of dogpiling occurs in response to the public apology. The statement is criticized for being cookie cutter, insincere, and just all around not good enough.
And at this phase of the cycle, it’s tempting to write the remaining members of Side A off as trolls, and there are certainly a few of them who are just there to cause damage. But the amount of anger and rage some of these people exhibit can make them seem like trolls, when in reality, they’re just really, really mad.
Unfortunately, there’s not a great way to tell the difference.
For a long time I have given opinions that if a callout is used it should come with higher goals for longer term effect. Exposing while reporting or organizing has a place, but aim for a "high value target". Just attacking, making it a sport and chasing clout sucks. 3/
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 11, 2019
Now before we wrap things up, I’d like to address a couple of things.
1. “Genuine criticism =/= harassment.”
This is a phrase popular with Side A when they’re called out for dogpiling. It’s also a massive form of gaslighting that’s attempting to delude everyone.
“Genuine” means real, which is in direct contrast with… fake? This is basically a math equation, so if real criticism doesn’t equal harassment, then fake criticism does? And therefore, harassment equals fake criticism?
Except, why does it matter whether or not I believe what I’m saying? If I’m following you around, shouting it at you, it’s still harassment. You can follow someone around and shout “Trans rights are human rights!” But if they don’t want you there, you’re harassing them.
(Now does that person deserve to be harassed? I don’t know, are you just following around a random person and shouting at them? Because there are better ways to get your message out.)
The point is that this is a phrase that tries to convince both the person on Side A and the person on Side B that what’s happening… isn’t actually happening. It also makes no sense and isn’t true.
2. “Attacker” and “victim.”
There’s a connotation that accompanies these terms that suggests the “attacker” is always in the wrong, and the “victim” is always in the right. But I don’t believe that’s true. You can be a victim of your own terrible actions. That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve what’s coming to you.
As for “attacker” well… If everyone in a dogpile where calmly stating something like “I feel like you have maligned this group of people with your words/actions, and I would very much like you to explain yourself and/or apologize”… we wouldn’t even need to even have this discussion.
But an attack is defined as an aggressive action and members of a dogpile are pretty aggressive. I’m not saying that aggression is always unwarranted, but dressing it up as something else isn’t much better than the whole “genuine criticism =/= harassment” thing.
Sometimes, something should look and sound ugly. That’s why we don’t call it the “pretty truth.”
This stuff came up in a phone call with Gizmodo this weekend. They're working on a story about furry history and how it evolves with social media. A need for deeper investigation and the shallowness of callouts was just a small part of the topic. 7/
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 11, 2019
The Final Chapter
So, is dogpiling bad? Afterall, if callouts can be good or even have good results, can’t dogpiling be the same?
Here’s the problem. Dogpiling is pretty much a masturbatory act. The callout is posted, and you get to ride a wave of indignation along with other people.
But it isn’t really accomplishing anything. That big, public apology that Side B posts? It doesn’t work. It doesn’t make anybody feel better. Because the goal of the dogpile isn’t to have Side B change for the better.
The dogpile wants only one thing: to revel in the enjoyment of taking someone down.
Because if it were about something else, literally anything else, then dogpiling would be the least effective means to an end.
If you feel someone is dangerous, problematic, or just overall a bad person, you could spread the word about them to others who are affected, organizing with real solidarity. You could start a campaign to have them banned from conventions or group outings to create distance. You could encourage others not to support them online and dry up their earnings. You could call the police.
But if your solution to a problem is to confront someone both publicly and directly, I think it’s important to ask: What is your long term goal? Are you looking for a response, or are you looking for a thrill?
It’s right after Thanksgiving, and have you had enough stuffing? Want more?
Until 2014, there were few or no openly advertised, public-access furry fetish parties in the world. Then San Francisco got Wild Things at The Citadel, a BDSM dungeon club. (Wild Things is now Animal Farm.) It’s an opportunity to visit a licensed, safety-minded, full-time venue in the middle of the city. Any curious visitor can have a healthy, nonjudgemental experience of an often-hidden layer of the furry community. If the media ever mentions it, it’s either “Gross! Consenting adults are having sex!” Or, they collaborate with furries to spread coy PR and euphemisms to deny it exists. If it existed of course THEY don’t do it!
That meant no access unless you score a private invite from the right people for the special convention room parties. If you don’t know them, or you’re shy or worried about that setting, you just have to feel left out. But now you can visit a safe club for it. The popularity of it shows how unreal the PR can be.
So, what really happens here?
Everything. Got a murrsuit with a hidden SPH? Bring it and hide nothing. Have a partner whose kinks align with yours? Bring them, or come find a new one. Or, just come casually and enjoy the lounge part of The Citadel where nothing naughty is happening — just chatting, a counter full of snacks, and maybe, making friends with the person(s) you want to drag into the dungeon on a leash for a frisky good time.
Shy newcomers welcome! People who think they’re too clean-cut, you can come too, but don’t be surprised if you leave with stories of things you never thought you’d be caught doing!
Party like this:
- A dungeon full of gear and toys.
- Murrsuiters, pet players, and any animal costuming or gear are encouraged, with lockers and headless lounge.
- Safety supplies provided (house rules discourage going raw dog unless with your SO.)
- Lounge has lots of couches and chill space, with a full kitchen serving snacks.
- A light-up disco floor with DJ.
- Volunteers are needed for setup, cleanup, kitchen, and more. Want to help run demos?
Get involved, find friends, and volunteer:
Happy spanksgiving everyfur
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 29, 2019
Remember All! We have an upcoming party!
Saturday, November 30, 2019
8:00 PM – 1:00 AM
Location: SF Citadel – 181 Eddy Street, San Francisco
Cost: $25 cash at door, $26 credit card
We hope to see all you pet players, furries, trainers, and anyone that enjoys a fun night! pic.twitter.com/BiVXN1FhD6
— Animal Farm party (formerly Wild Things) (@AnimalFarmSF) November 7, 2019
Here’s Part 3 for yesterday’s article, which asked: If you could do a furry travel tour, where would you go? When I got invited to the Adult Swim Festival in Los Angeles for their second animation/comedy/music event, I added a side trip to the nearby Prancing Skiltaire house. That’s a shrine to cartoon animal art made by the founders of the first furry con, who open it to fans by the hundreds. It was all started by an invite from “Dr. Girlfriend.”
Fan video screening at the Prancing Skiltaire
House resident Changa showed parody videos where he recut Disney’s Zootopia to emulate iconic TV show openings. There’s a channel of them that goes with curating videos for Furry.Today, one of many projects run from the house including The Confurence Archive, InFurNation and the Ursa Major Awards.
What Dr. Girlfriend says about visiting:
Going to the “iconic” furry house was interesting. Rod gave Patch & I the “nickel tour” which was awesome! What stood out to me was the vast collection of animal characters, including: ceramics, plushies, anime, drawings, zines, videos & so much more.
They told me that they have furry parties every month that have gotten to around 300 people! Whoah. Also that the local In-N-Out restaurant banned the furries from congregating there because their patio was so small. Hehe. I know a little about being kicked out of venues (public spaces?) as someone who helps organize Bike Parties, which sometimes get into the thousands of bicycle riders having a dance party on the street.
Anyways, everyone was super friendly and they even had Christmas furry art up (before Thanksgiving, but who’s counting?) These guys are immersed in the culture, and there’s even a documentary coming out about the fur-dorks that I got a mini sneak peak of! Look forward to The Fandom in 2020!
The self-proclaimed “dorks” and originators of some of the first furry cons and Prancing Skiltaire house gave us an interesting and informative look into the heart & love & art that goes into a fandom. Also we got dinner together and it was delicious and full of great conversation and good vibes.
Director of ‘The Fandom’ Ash Coyote talks about visiting for a video shoot — look for a trailer launching this week on Black Friday!
Dr. Girlfriend mentioned that we got a look at the documentary that co-director Eric Risher, Chipfox and Ash Coyote have been at work on all year, after a successful $32,000 launch on Kickstarter. Ash is excited to have a trailer almost ready to show. She sent a few words about visiting the house before us, plus photos from the video shoot of Rod and Mark. Ash says:
When we first approached the story of our community’s history, it was a little hard to find a “ground zero” for the birth of the fandom. As with many subcultures, the concepts from which they are built tend to occur in unison and then coalesce into something bigger. This was very much the case with the furry fandom.
Starting in the late 1970’s, Mark and Rod played a pivotal role in the shaping of our early community, and laid the framework for a lot of our community as it exists today. They hosted furry parties at science fiction conventions since the mid 1980’s and put on the first furry con in 1989 (Confurence 0).
Mark and Rod are the grandparents of the furry fandom. They take center stage in our project, and help us to explore our origins in animation, art and community set to the backdrop of the Skiltaire House.
After-travel chat with a few good furs
Patch: Just did an awesome pilgrimage to the holiest shrine of furry.
Chipfox: They wanted shirts from us and I felt bad that we didn’t print extras >.<
Patch: I think they have enough furry stuff though i still brought them more. Maybe enough shirts will be demanded to make more.
Aris: Where is this??
Changa Lion: Oldest furry house that started in the 80s. Prancing Skiltaire in SoCal.
Arrkay: If someone had the funds to do a travel blog, what would the stops of the “furry pilgrimage” be? Prancing Skiltaire is the obvious place to start. At least one major con per continent? Japan’s fox themed new year or cat festivals?
Cosmo: You’d have to include Anthrocon as the oldest con still running. MFF as the largest. Eurofurence for the oldest in Europe. Japan cat festivals, Chinese New Year festivals might be a good shout too.
Arrkay: Are there major art installations of anthro statues or artwork hung in galleries?
Cosmo: Actually JMoF would be a good one to hit up on the way. I’d chuck the Greyfriars Bobby and Hachiko statues on for the feels angle.
Arrkay: Corporate vacation hellscapes like Disneyland?
Cosmo: See I was about to say that, but at the same time… while they’ve had an influence on furry, they’ve had enough exposure IMHO.
Arrkay: Are there any mascot museums?
Cosmo: The Mascot Hall of Fame? I’d like to see someone do a tour of old-guard furry artists and writers, the Terrie Smiths, TaniDaReals and Olvens of the world. Fandom history’s a big thing for me, I find it fascinating.
Dralen Dragonfox: I think that right now, there would have to be a visit to Toronto during a Kerfluffle or a Howl.
Arrkay: So far the furry pilgrimage would roughly be:
- Prancing Skiltaire
- Anthrocon (oldest running)
- MFF (Largest)
- Mascot Hall Of Fame (Indianapolis)
- Disneyland/costume heavy themepark
- Furry Gathering of China
- Furry Japan
- FurDu (Australia)
- South Afrifur
- Fox Festival New Year in Japan / Cat Festival Japan
- Alternative venue furry party (Toronto’s Kerfluffle or similar)
- Plus any cool statues/art installations or relevant museums.
Here’s Part 2 of yesterday’s article, which asked: If you could do a furry travel tour, where would you go? It could include conventions, mainstream destinations, and special stops that a non-furry wouldn’t think of. When I got invited to the Adult Swim Festival in Los Angeles for their second animation/comedy/music event, I made it a mainstream AND fandom mini-tour, with a side trip to the nearby Prancing Skiltaire house. That’s a shrine to cartoon animal art made by the founders of the first furry con, who open it to fans by the hundreds. It was all started by an invite from “Dr. Girlfriend.”
Till next time, LA pic.twitter.com/oUvm6I1x0U
— [adult swim] (@adultswim) November 17, 2019
Festival review from Dr. Girlfriend:
The Adult Swim Festival in Los Angles was sooo much fun! I went with Patch (who was in fursuit) as Dr. GirlFriend from the Venture Brothers cartoon. I had a blast! He was the only one among thousands of goers who was fully fursuited, in his punk-rat suit, and much to my delight and laughter he got a lot of people asking if he was Chuck-E-Cheese (more like Chuck-E-Cheese’s evil twin).
One thing that stands out in my mind is when we both went to the bathroom, he was taking a whiz and someone told him, while he was in suit, “Nu-uh, we aren’t doing this in here”. Hahaha. Such a stigma with fursuits.
Another person said and pointed, “oh hell no!” , to which I quickly took out my laser gun from my garter belt and blasted him away. Other then those two haters, the festival was SUPER receptive to the giant furry rat. Multiple people came up and said they were furry too! There were even several people who recognized Patch from his blog (jeez, soooo popular… what? ever!) I’m not gonna lie, I spend hours upon hours on my costume and he still got more requests then me for pictures (jealous, not jealous).
The highlight of MY night was when someone had asked me where I bought my hat? Biiiiiitch – I made it!! And that is one of the things I love about the furry community, that people put so much time and effort into their fursona/costume/cosplay/outfit/whatever you call it, that it is truly a work of art.
I loved dancing to music and getting to see a few of the creators of my favorite animations, like Dethklok/Metalocalypse, the new season premiere of Rick and Morty, and some Squidbillies live in action. Overall, it was a total success and we even got a picture together on the official Adult Swim twitter feed!
Next stop: the holiest shrine of furry fandom.
The festival covered Friday and Saturday, then there was a full Sunday to visit the Prancing Skiltaire house, 40 minutes away in Garden Grove, CA.
Pure windows-down balmy-weather SoCal driving needed some vintage 1980’s New Wave tunes, like Missing Persons — Walking In L.A. (Fandom vibes: to break out on early MTV they booked their own shows and made their own outrageous Day-Glo makeup and clothes.)
Our hosts were Changa Lion, Rod O’Riley, and Mark Merlino (Sy Sable). This is Old Guard fandom — and I have to say after being at a high profile media event with attention on fursuits, these founders prove YOU DON’T NEED A SUIT TO BE FURRY.
Their front door led in to an Aladdin’s Cave of treasure. Shelves, bins, statues, and framed art of anthropomorphic creatures were stacked and showcased from floor to ceiling in every media imaginable, including dead ones that haven’t existed since the 1970’s.
They didn’t need more, but that didn’t stop me from bringing gift DVD’s I got in Prague of The Little Mole (AKA the Mickey Mouse of the Iron Curtain.) The foreign toons were received with gratitude and shock at the prices written in Czech crowns, until I said “that’s not US dollars!” I hope they join the rotation of animation played at their monthly house parties.
Changa showed us his elaborate fan parody videos, where he recut Disney’s Zootopia to emulate iconic TV show openings, like the X-Files or Moonlighting. The 2010’s CG graphics were copied onto VHS tape and back to digital, and dubbed over with vintage audio for a mind-bending Mandela multiverse effect. The same was done for Zootopia VHS tapes in clamshell cases with carefully simulated labels and stickers — artifacts fit for a Museum of Furry. The Confurence Archive is the closest thing online, curated by Changa from the treasures all over their house.
After a nickel tour by Rod, 5 of us kept talking into the night, including a walk for dinner at their nearby mainstay diner. For a future article, I got to ask Mark about how Second Life accommodated furries years ago (Linden Labs recently engaged me about new outreach for 2020.)
Some of the best talk was about the house’s place in fandom.
Their monthly parties had brought 300 people in the past. It became important to limit couch crashers when things got out of hand with 8 or more long-term stayers, and cars blocking driveways or bringing late night talking and drinking on the sidewalks. Now they say attendance may be closer to 65, give or take.
Mark had been told that the house was a long-time LGBT safe space that helped launch careers for dozens of past furry roommates including animators and tech pros. He said, “That wasn’t the point, but now that I think of it, that’s true!” They weren’t chosen to live there because of identity, but shared interest; the conscious interest just aligned with their nature. Just like when that nature is strong in the whole fandom.
The old label “lifestyler”, sometimes said negatively, was just people being themselves like you can see in how their nest is put together. I’m so grateful they open it this way for monthly partygoers and our visit.
- In the main room with Changa (he’s camera-shy) and Mark. Something jazzy was playing.
- Their collection has games, movies, fanzines, comics, guidebooks, science fiction paperbacks, and Manga sets since some were rare imports in the 1970’s.
- The plushie corner is full of things left after parties for years.
- Rod poses with Mark’s art of a critter on a 1982 Subaru (rainbow background is washed out.)
- Rod showed 1980′-90’s multi-genre guidebooks that worked like a “phone book of fandom”, where you could find which shops dealt “funny animal” goods, get mailing lists that were sold to fund the guides, or network with others before the internet.
- Look up above Mark: those are bins stuffed with furry comics. Every corner is set up for the treasure hoard.
- Rod occupies the executive command center for his In-Fur-Nation newsletter run since 1991.
- No space is left un-furred. I dug the Robin Hood figures (top right). Not shown: Mark’s Otter collection that won a prize at a fair for collectible displays.
- In Changa’s room, we watch a private work-print trailer for The Fandom documentary, in progress from Ash Kries, Eric Risher and Chipfox.
- Mark and Rod pose by video shot at the house for the movie not long before this visit.
Changa, Mark and Rod reminded me of about what furry fandom is about. Those roots can inspire new watchers with The Fandom documentary, which just finished its last shoot and is going to post-production for release soon. Look for news about it here soon. Tomorrow: more about furry traveling.
If you could do a furry travel tour, where would you go? Try some big conventions and mainstream destinations like Disneyland or the Mascot Hall of Fame, and some special stops that a non-furry wouldn’t think of. California has ones like the Prancing Skiltaire house, a shrine to cartoon animal art made by the founders of the first furry con, who open their house to fans by the hundreds.
A travel story wasn’t my plan when I got an invite from… let’s call them “Dr. Girlfriend”, to go to the Adult Swim Festival in Los Angeles on November 15-16, 2019. The opportunity just fell on me, so I made it a casual mini-tour including a stop nearby in Garden Grove, CA to visit the Skiltaire friends.
Dr. Girlfriend had tickets to the second live festival for Adult Swim, a now almost 2-decades old TV programming block for absurdist comedy and alternative animation. Cartoon Network hosts it at night while young audiences sleep, unless naughty kids are sneaking it (like I used to do for MTV Liquid Television). The leading show is Rick and Morty and it rarely has anything furry. But the show creators definitely know about us, and festival goers gave fist-bumps to a 6-foot rat scurrying among them. As “Patch Packrat” (I’m usually a husky dog) I was the only fursuiter in sight at the 22,000 capacity Banc of California Stadium.
I’m not a huge fan of all Adult Swim shows (I’ve seen all Rick and Mortys and sampled others) but this multi-media mutation had me saying MORE PLEASE. The lineup had music acts tied to the TV shows, with rap, heavy metal, DJ/house, and the dancy, synthy, or darker side of indie rock. Live comedy sets had talent from their own shows and voiceover artists for animation. Animation screenings mixed with creator Q&A panels like you’d see at Comic Con. The live experience included games/rides and stadium-sized sound and lighting.
The geniuses behind it created more of a rock show/carnival vibe and top-down organizing, compared to furry cons with their focus on fan-led panels, small dealers, dances and dance comps, room parties, and personal art. Even if this much larger event was media-centric, it was full of energy you don’t get from a film fest or animation industry event. And how much would you expect furries at a rap or metal show? This hybrid event is a killer place for a furry meetup!
I was surprised to be the only one strutting my stuff in fursona, although several stealth-furs high-fived me for being bold. Here’s what I got into.
— jax (the only) (@the0nlyjax) November 17, 2019
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 16, 2019
HEALTH was my main draw besides Dethklok because I like industrial rock, but it wasn’t a great start. It was early on Friday and the crowds were nowhere near the size it got later on Saturday. They filled a small corner of the stadium without much movement, while the band thudded on stage to try filling the void, but the emotionally-distant singing felt lost in the racket. It wasn’t bad and made me bop a little but I’d prefer to see it in a dark cave instead.
DETHKLOK killed it. They made maximum use of the venue for their first show in 5 years. Brutal gore-toons splashed across jumbo video screens and blasted my eyeballs with shock editing. It included a couple of comedy breaks and super helpful read-along lyrics so you could laugh at the blurts of blasphemy from the singing. I only like small doses of death metal (Pungent Stench <3) so words and cartoons filled in what I’d miss by just having my ears pummeled. “Impeach God” had a hilarious live debut. The crowd wasn’t the most active, but it was OK with the 110% effort on stage.
RAPSODY was a rapper with good danceable beats and conscious lyrics that charmed the crowd. The LA crowd was different from who I’d mingle with in the SF Bay. The music made it feel good to be there, and other people must have felt the same with the air getting smoky. I barely listen to rap but this won me over.
JAMIE XX did a stellar DJ set of dance/house music that made me do a beeline to the front to make it my personal furry rave. Here too the crowd was lower energy than a fur con, but it was packed for the peak of the festival and they loved a giant rat jumping like a kangaroo. I got hugs and gave piggyback rides to people who surely wouldn’t have done it without a furry invading their ranks.
No really my neck is messeded up. But furries don't get old, they just get new fursonas, lol
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 16, 2019
— jamieloftus (@jamieloftusHELP) November 16, 2019
Panels, screenings, and interactive stuff:
ROBOT CHICKEN had a panel with the writers and makers. Writer Jamie was on stage after she got a pic with me at the afterparty on Friday night when I just thought she was a random fun person. Seth Green took questions about the show and how to get work at Adult Swim (make your own shit to get noticed.)
SQUIDBILLIES had the show cast doing live dirty comedy country/rockabilly songs, and one doing off-kilter puppeteering of Granny Squid, dressed head to toe in the same fuzzy pink as her puppet. And a standup comic named Connor O’Malley seemed perplexed at a furry in his crowd, then did a bit about his ancestors being “ratters” who would chase the vermin in their fields.
RICK AND MORTY Season 4 episodes were on par with previous ones, but LAZOR WULF disappointed. It’s a show based on a Tumblr comic with some talking animals. I wanted to like the nifty vaporwave/future funk vibe (it has a predominantly black voice cast) with graphic objects floating in animated space, but the “so random” humor got few laughs.
Those used smaller screens, but ERIC ANDRE LIVE used the same stadium stage as the music acts, which made certain stunts so… extra(!) like pulling a random guy from the audience and making him call his ex-girlfriend live to the world.
For interactive fun there was a “bull ride” with a hot dog, and cat-jousting. I avoided that and the giant inflatable slide in fursuit… wouldn’t want another hole knocked in my ear or get tossed and have my tail caught. The “Meatwad dome” was very worthwhile for trippy animation projected across the inside, and there was an elaborate rig to 3D-scan your dancing and add it to a scene of Rick and Morty doing the “Show Us What You Got” dance for “Get Schwifty.” They said they would try the extra high-def scan for my fursuit but it didn’t seem to scan that well and the app won’t play on my phone. Get furries to test it next time?
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 17, 2019
Location, crowd, and fursuiting:
The LA weather was as mild as could be. The stadium entrance level was a ring you had to circle to reach the stairs for access to the lower field level, sending you past all the vendors for merch and food with festival prices. If I was a poorer rat, for $14 beers I might fill up on cheese before the show or scurry in through the sewer (don’t do that, the entry cost was nice). Decent choices though. I like trash, but a grilled chicken sandwich felt healthy. That vendor had no line and was sympathetic to my sweaty costuming, handing me free beers for both paws.
To know where to go, the festival app had super useful multiple views by time, place, a visual view, a “favorites” list and an RSVP list for panels with limited capacity. The stadium seating always had space for breaks. A fursuit lounge could have been nice but at no point was I ever pressured by crowding. Attendance started slow but by late Saturday everything was raging.
The crowd was half normies in street clothes, and then nerd/comic/anime types with only moderate cosplay, like casual Ricks. Staff was abundant in standout color. There wasn’t a fursuit everywhere you turned, so anyone like Dr. Girlfriend stood out nicely. It wasn’t nearly as queer/misfit/young as fur con goers, and there was some funny side-eyeing at my fur but not enough to get ugly, and appreciation too. There was fandom magic. Shoutout to the nice woman who called me brave and said she was too shy to come in partial suit!
I lied a little about this trip being casual. Making news means eye for opportunity, so I asked ahead to the festival’s media/partnering contacts about interviews or backstage access. Of course they don’t care about a mere furry blog when big Hollywood people do their thing there every day. This fandom is the size of a flea on a dog to them. Something else worked: being there.
They didn’t answer when I tried asking for a little face time, but they kind of made us the ass of the fest. I’m so honored!
Till next time, LA pic.twitter.com/oUvm6I1x0U
— [adult swim] (@adultswim) November 17, 2019
Can’t wait to go again! Tomorrow in Part 2: A review from Dr. Girlfriend, visiting the Prancing Skiltaire, and more about furry traveling.
Posted by a friend: “Marked all my videos as unlisted — Will delete them later — I’m sorry to disappoint everyone but the voice acting video is canceled due to the new law.”
Yikes! That’s not a nice thing to post, and plenty of others are feeling afraid of being fined under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA.) The law is around 2 decades old but was recently used for major action about violation by Youtube. It seems to threaten a growing scene for furry Youtube creators:
- Furries are winning Emmys and Youtube Creator Awards.
- More Furry YouTubers You Might Not Have Seen
- Furry YouTubers You Might Not Have Seen
Sadly I might have to say goodbye to youtube. The new COPPA laws may put a lot of furry youtubers under fire and possibly a $45,000 fine for each video from what I understand. :*(
— Ino89777 (@TheInodog) November 19, 2019
About the law and changes to Youtube, PCGamer reports:
YouTube is changing significantly in January, and video creators are afraid they may lose income and even be fined by the US government for making videos about, among other things, videogames.
The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is a federal law in the US which forbids the collection of data about children under 13 without parental consent. Generally, that’s simply meant that social media sites like Twitter ask for your date of birth when you sign up, and boot anyone who says they’re under 13. A kid can lie, of course, but the Federal Trade Commission allows for that reality.
Starting in January, however, it won’t allow “content made for kids” on YouTube to include targeted advertising or employ YouTube’s social features.
There’s several problem here. First there’s the idea of the government coming after any average creator. But not so fast: that probably isn’t going to be a worry for anyone on the small and personal level, or furry fandom level. If you aren’t running a huge network that does shady things for money, you’re probably OK:
Heard about new COPPA rules for Youtube? Don't panic! Many Youtube furries are upset, but may not understand the situation. Don't delete your channel — the COPPA panic may be Youtube's own creation. This video explains. (Tip: @sturmovikdragon) 1/https://t.co/HSalqdYrDZ
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) November 22, 2019
Next, is the issue of how to comply with this law, with creators being held responsible for notification about if their content is for kids. That can be a VERY murky condition to meet. Furries know that animation is often treated as kid stuff by default, even when loved by grown-ups.
Some of YouTube’s most popular categories falls into a gray area for the policy, including gaming videos, family vlogging, and toy reviews.
Lastly, apart from what the government expects, Youtube is putting in more automated flagging of videos that will surely create a lot of false positives. This isn’t what the government asked for; it’s something Youtube is doing to benefit itself more than its creators.
For those final two problems, and the fallout on creators with Youtube making it hard to monetize and support themselves, we can only wait and see how things go. But the idea that the government could fine you may not be a reason to stop creating on the fandom level.
UPDATE: this lawyer’s video confirms it. The problem isn’t the FTC — the FTC recognizes “general audience” content that appeals to either kids or adults. The problem is Youtube is not giving an option for creators to put their content in this category, to protect themselves.
Is your identity a stretch goal?
On Flayrah, Sonious wrote two articles about Artworktee, a popular furry t-shirt company with many happy customers. In May 2019, he wrote a positive story about their charity benefit campaign. Now in November 2019, a shirt selling campaign is not so positively covered. The difference — no charity this time.
After being asked to write, Sonious felt conflicted about giving them “blatant advertisement” as news. It could have been turned down, but wait; there’s more. He found reasons to criticize their campaign launched on October 22: “Furry and Proud Shirts! Show your furry pride with ArtworkTee’s new line of LGBT+ shirts!” On Kickstarter as I write, it has 396 backers pledging $24,758 — likely in the top few percent of furry crowdfunding.
The article digs into the ethics (and sincerity) of selling things to special communities, and who reaps the rewards. The problem is, the campaign sorts sexual identities into money tiers/stretch goals, letting popularity rule who is included. Demand gets more and more divisive the more obscure the identity is.
Imagine sorting by race, or other legally protected class (a specific list that excludes politics) and leaving out the least numerous. Many places in life need separation from market demand — what if this was dividing LGBT medical care by popularity? Luckily it’s just shirts, but it’s a jump-off point to bigger topics.
Of COURSE discrimination isn’t the intention of Artworktee (assume good faith). But arguably, it shows a profit motive that isn’t about identity or pride at all. They could be selling flavors of soup, or rare Pokemon cards just the same, and who likes being a token?
Fursona Pins: “Your identity is not a stretch goal.”
Sonious will be interested to see the angle he found has been taken seriously by other businesses.
That’s the case with Fursona Pins. In February 2019, I was asked to do a news article about the business; and I also avoided advertising by reposting their own story, and did an informative Q&A instead. (Business news is news.) Fursona Pins went on to launch an LGBT furry themed Kickstarter campaign in June 2019.
Pride Pins became “the #1 most funded enamel pin Kickstarter in history, and the most funded LGBT project live on Kickstarter right now.” During its open month, 5,304 backers pledged $249,610. Whoah! (I’m shocked I hadn’t noticed this already when I talk about high fursuit auction prices being a sign of fandom activity.)
Notice: the campaign unlocked tiers for animal mascots, not identities. They just got recolored to represent whatever identity is wanted with no limits on 15 flags. It came with a repeated promise:
Now I’m wondering if Artworktee saw the huge pledges to Pride Pins with dollars in their eyes, and rushed to get in the same game, but missed the point of it. A mistake… or part of a history? Sonious only touched ONE Artworktee campaign, not even getting to a lot of extra context behind it. That’s why I made a ANOTHER response on Flayrah, with another article’s worth of info (read on).
There’s nothing wrong with shirts, cool art, furries, or being LGBT of course. Some of Artworktee’s supporters and shirt models are friends I really love. My response isn’t a “beware” to tell you to stop getting shirts or supporting the company now. Please don’t cancel anyone; it’s to just make you think and look ahead, and ask, what business will you support in the future? And why does it matter? You can ask them to improve, and vote with your dollars.
- On Flayrah, my other response covers a lot more than one sale campaign — read it here.
- This updates my August 2018 article, ArtworkTee issues and the heart of the furry economy.
- Furries have a history of going independent from the mainstream to be a subculture that resists commercializing. Instead it acts like a collective project, and a real community (not just a consumer group) where people pitch in together, and capitalizing on it too much is kind of cheating.
- Artworktee isn’t like other fandom projects, it uses aggressive tactics that look like bootstrapping, growth-hacking, or SEO targeting you’d expect from mainstream startups. Before it was Artworktee, it was “Drawponies,” an art operation involved in a scandal of tracing to crank up production. That was rediscovered and they did PR effort to fix things.
- Then Artworktee kept using shady tactics to farm followers, boost traffic, and push merchandizing with other accounts (Furrymemes, Awoonews).
- It’s a problem because of Part (1). This fandom isn’t just business, and what about hard work of small creators who don’t use those methods? Talking about commercialism can help them when there’s a market grab.
Commercializing of the fandom worries some because of the risk of outsiders coming to make a quick buck, while not caring what it’s about, grabbing market from those who do. It’s a good idea to watch out for the tactics here if you see them again.
WHO COULD HAVE PREDICTED THIS? Artworktee/Furrymemes/Awoonews ripoff issue.
Background: in 2015, an artist who aggressively monetized brony fandom was caught tracing. https://t.co/pw94VgnfKI
In 2018, furries learned the artist was aggressively monetizing them as Artworktee. 1/ pic.twitter.com/PFYHsY8boC
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) March 23, 2019
Good news sites are welcome, the more the better. Mine has years of sharing original content no matter what size of audience. Isn't news for reporting, not building audience by shady methods? There will be promises to do better, but why multiple times? @EquestriaDaily
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) March 24, 2019
Dogpatch Press is commissioning regular new banners — check out a gallery from past months. Along with the art, each artist gets an article with a goal to promote ones outside the USA. Last month, Magferret from the UK was featured with a spooky Halloween banner. Now, Mexican cartoonist Glasses Gator is here with an homage to Disney’s Frozen 2 to coincide with the movie’s wide release later in November. (We could have an American Thanksgiving theme, but this is for fandom. The only colonizing here is by love for talking animals that has no borders.)
(Staff:) Hi Glasses, can you give a little intro about yourself, where you live, and where to find you on social media?
Hi, I’m GlassesGator, I’m 25 years old, I’m Mexican but also 1/4 Chinese. I live around Sonora, and normally you can find me on Twitter as @Glasses Gator. I also have a DeviantArt and FA account but I kind of stopped using those for a while, been wanting to update but it will take me lots of posts.
On your personal profile, I found at least four different alligators* that look like your fursonas or original characters (OC). Do you consider yourself a scalie or a furry?
Well one is an iguana, and no, they aren’t my fursonas. The aqua colored alligator I consider it my mascot, I use him freely for anything and it pretty much represents my gallery and myself in situations (It’s more fun to me than humans in my opinion, making anthro animals expressive are easier than humans for me).
As for the other three reptiles, they are characters for three stories I’ve been working for years, they have slow development but still progress as much as I can. And no, I don’t consider myself a scalie. I simply have fun drawing cartoon animals, it’s easier for me than humans, and of course fun, pretty much it’s what works for me. Reptiles are my favorites of course but I also like other species.
Do you mostly do art in furry fandom, or somewhere else for non-furries? Do you do it for a living, or just sometimes for money, or for fun?
I can draw humans but I still need more practice on those, when I get time. So I don’t do art for any specific Fandom, it’s just art I choose to work on, and most of my commission clients happens to be furries, it doesn’t bother me though.
And it’s a mix of fun and money, and to show stuff I like and my original ideas. Drawing can be fun (and tiring at times). But I also need the money for expenses, and games of course. “For a living” — it’s hard to say honestly, I still don’t know what I wanna aim for exactly with my art.
I've been in a superhero mood for a while so here I drew some doodles of my Superhero OC, Victor!
These took me a while but I had fun doing these, nice warm up to return to art too!
Included a few special guests OCs from friends. pic.twitter.com/uPdP1qgjgn
— Alegator (@GlassesGator) July 29, 2019
Do you think we might have a chance to see you at any furry conventions? Are you interested in such events? Maybe as an artist/dealer?
Well I would like to go to some con someday, always been wanting to go to one, but they’re never nearby to where I live, so it would require expenses to go to a far one. As for me as an artist dealer, I don’t know, the idea sounds nice. But I probably feel too embarrassed to do it since I’ve never done such things, so of course I’d be reluctant. I wouldn’t mind going to a fur con as a regular goer because I might find some good art and other interesting stuff.
Do you have local friends who like cartoon animals like yourself?
I do have a local friend who likes the concept of cartoon animals, but they live in another city not so far from where I am.
About the banner you made for the site, it’s clearly a furry parody of Frozen 2. Is there any other ‘furry’ parody you could imagine?
That pretty much depends, in my opinion. Like, if you’d tell me to imagine an anthro animal parody of the Legend of Zelda, then the obvious choice for Link is a wolf, and a boar for Ganondorf, and for Zelda herself any graceful animal.
So thinking of furry parodies can depend for sure. Some would be easy and some would be hard.
Is there anything you want to add?
Nothing I can think of, but thanks for the interview, I’ve never been interviewed in art related stuff, so it feels nice.
Where can a researcher start to invite furries for a survey? Well, it’s happened here before. Sometimes it means walking on eggshells about tricky topics. In this case, a researcher has requested to announce a survey not just looking at fandom, but sexual behavior in it. This comes with a message that “the furry fandom itself is not explicitly sexual,” and the research is inclusive for members who aren’t.
Experience says that it might get flak from furries who feel like it creates stereotypes. For them I encourage thinking about the point of sex ed in school. I like science, and know that studying or testing isn’t pushing something. If you want less stereotypes, this is how to replace them with facts. Of course it should be done professionally. For that reason, I got permission from the researcher to consult Furscience in case there was any reason to worry. Now I’m happy to help.
Researcher Ashley Brown sent this info, with a general FAQ to be as open as possible and address some of the more common questions about it.
THIS IS ONLY FOR PARTICIPANTS IN THE UK — but anyone can access the participant information sheet on the first page of the survey. It introduces the focus of the research, with advice about comfort, confidentiality, and where to go for assistance about it.
Are you part of the furry fandom and have related sexual interests? Would you like to be involved in research? By taking a survey, you’ll be entered to win one of two £50 Amazon gift vouchers!
The link is here: https://kcliop.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5AyABQ3KByh95IN
A bit about me and this research:
My name is Ashley and I’m currently a PhD researcher at King’s College London conducting a study on a number of different interest groups, including furries. I’m looking at these groups in relation to experiences of discrimination, mental health, and sexual interests. While a good bit of the study asks about sexuality, we understand that not everyone who participates in the furry fandom do so for sexual reasons. There is no prerequisite for being interested in yiff/other sexual aspects of the furry fandom. However, the survey will still have questions that ask about arousal levels in relation to this, as we are trying to get a more detailed picture of the contexts in and extent to which people view this as being sexual, if at all. This was designed to investigate those with furry related sexual interests, but the questions are designed to accommodate/be relevant to furries without related sexual interests.
Other sexual interest groups included here are pet players, BDSM, age players and balloon fetishists.
My goal is to create a study that is all inclusive of people of different gender identities, sexual orientations, age, and backgrounds. This study takes about 30-45 minutes to complete, but I have it set up so you can come back and finish it within a week of starting it- just use the same device as you did when you began taking it.
This involves answering questions about your sexual fantasies, behavior, mental health, personality, experiences of discrimination, and demographic info. All responses are anonymous and we’re not collecting any identifiable info. I need you to help make this research as strong as possible!
What are the eligibility requirements?
- Be a current resident of the United Kingdom
- Be over 18 years of age
- Have an interest or participate in one or more of the following: furries/fursuiting/murrsuiting, balloon fetishism, pet play, BDSM, age play, age regression, or adult baby/diaper wearing.
Why only the United Kingdom? I want to participate!
This is primarily due to legal reasons. We’re asking about sensitive material and not all countries would give ethical approval for this (especially about topics related to age play). Thus, our ethics board only approved this research in the UK. We hope one day we can make a study that’s inclusive of more countries!
I’m asexual- can I still take it?
Yes! if you read the instructions during the portion asking about fantasies and behavior, it asks you to indicate level of interests instead of level of arousal from a scale of very interested to very disinterested. This study recognizes that many asexuals enjoy participating in behaviors sometimes usually associated with these interests. Other portions of the survey may be less relevant to you, but please do your best to finish what you can.
My involvement in these behaviours isn’t sexual, is that okay?
Also yes! This survey is designed to include those who do this for both sexual or non-sexual reasons
I feel like some of the questions you asked here are a little vague or odd, why did you make them like this?
I didn’t make all of the questions! The only one’s written by us are the sexual fantasies and behaviours and the interest-specific questions. If some of these questions seem uncomfortable or odd, know that they were designed that way. It’s useful in data analysis later, so please respond as honestly as possible.
Part of research is ensuring the validity and reliability of your data- we do this by using previously tested and validated measures, like for anxiety and depression. These measures are sometimes a little vague, but just answer them to the best of your abilities. This is common and an unavoidable drawback of research in every subject. If the questions seem odd, trust me, they’re there for a reason! If you have issues with later parts of the survey, it’s probably not something I can address- they were created by other researchers and I can’t touch them!
Can I share this with other people?
Yes, I would love that! Feel free to share this with anyone- the more participants, the better.
Will you show us the results?
Yes! However, it may take awhile. This is a very large sample that I’ll be doing quite a bit of data analysis with, and it’s going to break down into multiple publications. I can come back and give preliminary results when I have them, but if you want the full results, please email me (email@example.com) and I’ll put you on a spreadsheet as someone who will receive copies of the publications when I have them!
Please feel free to leave questions/comments! You will also be able to provide feedback on the survey itself.