Creative Commons license icon

January 2014

The Cunning Little Vixen at The Boston Conservatory

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (6 votes)

Opera is an art form infrequently covered here on Flayrah. While it may not have the widespread appeal of The Lion King, if you have the chance, seeing The Cunning Little Vixen is quite an experience.

The Cunning Little Vixen The Cunning Little Vixen was written in 1923, and was based upon a novella, which itself was based off of a comic strip. The story follows a forester who finds an abandoned fox kit in the woods. Time passes, and their stories develop in parallel, with the vixen eventually escaping the forester’s protection and thriving in the woods, while the forester begins to understand the cycles of life.

The story is far slower paced than more modern stage musicals, which takes a bit of getting used to. However, there are numerous light-hearted moments and situations that make it quite entertaining. For example, in one scene Sharp-Ears forces the badger out of his home by calling him a capitalist, and in another she tries to rouse the “working-class” hens to rise up against the rooster. Although Janá?ek wrote some very dark themes into the opera, it is still primarily a comedy.

What The Fur releases information about 2014

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (5 votes)

What The Fur has finally announced the dates and venue for their 2014 event. After some speculation about what was happening to the Canadian event, the release of information comes just before Christmas. The convention will be held in Montreal, Quebec from the 23rd to the 25th of May, 2014, and will be taking place at the Sheraton Montreal Airport.

Fursuiting and copyright: an important issue for fandom

Your rating: None Average: 4.1 (9 votes)

New powers to patent animals (including unrealized hybrids that populate furry fiction) burst into the news on 11/13/13, when activist organization Wikileaks revealed a draft of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Analysts have called it "a major power grab for large patent and copyright industries," with powerful implications for the future of intellectual property.

With a lead like that, I have to apologize for faking you out. I couldn't resist. Now let's do a 180, and turn back to the furry level of life, where copyright concerns are much more personal. Consider this scenario that happened to fursuiters Sakura Fox and Mercury on their trip to New York City:

You're walking through Central Park, and see some panhandlers begging for change. They're wearing badly made, unsightly costumes of Sesame Street characters. You shouldn't hang around them in fursuit, because a pimp Elmo might come smack you off his corner!

Elmo waving a gun and knife It's an unauthorized misuse of trademark for profit. It could make the copyright owners look bad, and they wouldn't like it. It's probably too trivial for them to hear about, or hire lawyers to stop it- but you never know. In a famous 1989 action, Disney forced the removal of murals featuring their characters from three Florida day care centers. It helped earn their "reputation as an extreme copyright hawk -- there's a reason 'Disney lawyer' is a term all its own". (On the more friendly side, consider Hasbro's relationship with Bronies.)

Animation: The 'Boonie Bears' are coming from China

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (7 votes)

Boonie Bears Amid Amidi reports on the Cartoon Brew website that China’s first CGI feature, the 70-minute Boonie Bears: Homeward Journey, is coming to the U.S. on January 6.

Didn’t China already produce a CGI feature, 2011’s Kung Fu Panda ripoff Legend of a Rabbit? Apparently nobody wants to talk about that. (Totalitarian nations are very good at rewriting their history.)

If three days sounds like very short notice, it’s because Boonie Bears: Homeward Journey will not be a theatrical release. It’s coming direct-to-DVD. What’s more, this was not even a theatrical release in China. It was a Chinese TV special last Spring.

FaceRig promises 'instant digital cosplay' for the masses

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (7 votes)

Facerig Fancy video chatting or recording a digital movie using an avatar of your fursona which mimics your facial expressions, powered by an ordinary webcam and a large-latte-priced software licence? Internet startup FaceRig aims to provide such a service; and ultimately affordable, studio-quality, immersive virtual reality.

The full version of what FaceRig describes as a Digital Alter-Ego Framework might be a long way off, but the initial webchat application is currently in development and seeking backers on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Almost $200,000 has been raised to date, with 33 days to go.

Licences for home and commercial use will be available, with prices starting at $5 during the crowdfunding phase and a predicted eventual cost of less than $15 for home users. More heavyweight versions of the software will incur a greater cost. There are also plans for mobile versions on iOS and Android.

December 2013 Newsbytes archive

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Contributors this month include crossaffliction, dronon, earthfurst, Fred, GreenReaper, Higgs Raccoon, Patch Packrat, Rakuen Growlithe and RingtailedFox.

Animation: Nine anthropomorphic features coming in 2014

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

The Cartoon Brew has a preview roundup of 22 animated features announced as coming in 2014. Fourteen are American or will be released in America; eight are foreign with no current plans to be distributed in America, although this could change.

At least nine of them feature anthropomorphic animals, bugs, Lego blocks. planes, marshmallow soldiers, or other things that we ought to be interested in. (We’re still arguing over whether the dragons in How to Train Your Dragon are anthropomorphic or not.)

Opinion: The New Furry, much like the Old Furry

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (6 votes)

Let's be clear about one thing from the start: furry is still a fandom. That should be a fairly uncontroversial statement, but a recent article by JM on [adjective][species] tried to put forward the case that furry can no longer be described as a fandom. I think there are a number of major errors in that essay that need to be corrected.

Fandom or not?

JM's argument against furry's status as a fandom rests on the lack of a furry canon.

Fandoms revolve around their canon. The canon provides a permanent reference point for all fandom-related activities. We furries have no such thing, and so furry is defined by whatever we, collectively, decide.

This paragraph is only partially true. He's wrong about what constitutes a fandom; there is more to it than just canon. Turning to the infallible resource of Wikipedia (that was irony, but it is pretty reliable), we learn this about fandoms:

Contribution guidelines to ease Flayrah's editing bottleneck

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

Stories go through several editing steps before publication on Flayrah. Image thumbnailing, layout, copyediting, linking, fact-checking, tagging – these take over half an hour for all but the most trivial stories, and that's assuming no substantive editing is required.

Flayrah's editors have limited time, and few are both qualified and willing to become one. Stories have often languished in the queue because we don't want to risk work which may not yet meet our standards. But not publishing work in a timely fashion is a problem, too.

As such, we're releasing contribution guidelines for Flayrah, in an attempt to decrease the work required by editors prior to publication.

Review: 'Wereworld: War of the Werelords', by Curtis Jobling

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (10 votes)

Wereworld: War of the Werelords It’s over! This is Book 6 and the conclusion of Jobling’s Wereworld series, which began with Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, and continued through Rage of Lions, Shadow of the Hawk, Nest of Serpents, and Storm of Sharks.

The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms and their dutchies, counties, and baronies are ruled by a Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”.

It could also be called the Lyssian civil war saga. The island-continent of Lyssia is divided into seven kingdoms (see Jobling’s map), often called the Seven Realms, dominated by Westland which was ruled by the wolflords.

A generation before the series began, King Wergar of Westland was murdered and the dynasty of the wolves was overthrown by the lionlords, whose leader, Lionel, became the new King of Westland and began exterminating the wolflords. The other six realms of Lyssia, each ruled by a different werelord dynasty – bears, boars, and others – grumbled but accepted the new order.

The Penguin Group/Viking, October 2013, hardcover $16.99 (xvii + 503 pages; map by the author), Kindle $9.78.

Photographer Carmen Dobre seeks insights into furries via 360° home panoramas

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (9 votes)

If you were waiting for a coffee-table book mixing fursuiting and cultural research, Furries: Enacting Animal Anthropomorphism might be it. It was created by Romanian Carmen Dobre, a Master in both cultural studies (Univ. of Bucharest) and photographic studies (Leiden), who is pursuing a PhD at the Bucharest National University of Arts. [tip: Dr. Kathy Gerbasi]
'Furries', by CarmenDobre
The 152 page hardback contains 49 photographs, 13 of which can be previewed online (scroll in for a full view). Produced by the University of Plymouth, it's also available from eBay UK or Australia, Amazon U.S. or Canada, Albris, and Fishpond.

Carmen's furry photography began in Holland as a university project, and spread to France, Romania, Germany, and the UK (assisted by Fotonow CIC). Her work was exhibited September-October 2011 (video) at the Rue de l'Exposition gallery. One photo was a finalist for the 2013 Celeste Prize. She has also created a brief study of furry fandom (PDF).

Review: 'Furries: Enacting Animal Anthropomorphism', by Carmen Dobre

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

'Furries', by CarmenDobre

Furries gives a candid commentary that reveals details about 'fursuits', 'fursonas' and the 'furry fandom'. Award winning photographer Carmen Dobre continues her examination of 'furries', who they are and how they perceive themselves. Documentary style portraits alongside one-to-one interviews reveal the intriguing passions of people whose human identity is challenged by their love of their chosen animal persona/fursona. The first colour illustrated book featuring an international cross-section of individuals who choose to dress as animals and why. (blurb)

Leave it to Academia to get it almost but not quite right. Furry fandom is about more than just the furry lifestylers, of course, but this artistic collection of photo-interviews with fifteen fursuiters (and their mates) does get all genuine furry lifestylers. Each portrait identifies the British, Dutch, French, or German lifestyler in an average of two pages of text, followed by eight pages of beautifully-posed full-colour photographs; two of the fan posed in his home or apartment, a closeup or two of his fursuit, and four or five of his messy home. Most of the fursuiters look like typical college students living in batchelor apartments, including those married and long out of college.

Plymouth, Devon, UK, University of Plymouth Press, October 2012, trade paperback £17 (150 [+ 2] pages; illustrated). Foreword by Valerie Reardon.