Tag Archives: Conventions

Why Fursuit…

Guest post by Dain Unicorn. Dain is a nascent novelist, frequent NaNoWriMo participant, occasional Convention attendee, absent-minded blogger, old school shutterbug, and full time dreamer.  Born and raised in Arkansas, he was infected with a severe case of Wanderlust as a foal, which has led him to a career in truck driving, as well as many great adventures on the long road home. This article was originally published in the Further Confusion 2014 con book.

It was dark, hot, and the world around me was muted softly. I could feel my breathing and hear my pulse. Blacklights spread over the room made the white fur on my suit’s muzzle glow, casting a fun blue tint across my limited field of vision. Pounding music started to drive me as the dancing started. Spinning around to the soundtrack of my misspent youth I was living a dream years in the making, I had finally fursuited Further Confusion.

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This One Time at FurCon…

How I Went From Ridiculing Furries to Cheering them On in Five Panels or Less

Guest post by Isaac. Isaac is that guy who is still pretty much a human, but definitely not Mundane.  He likes red pandas, chocolate, and improv.  You may have seen his apology post on Reddit, found him putzing around the FurNet IRC, or attempting to become America’s Next Top Popufur on Twitter as @isaacapologist.  He will be at Midwest Furfest, probably. Say hi.  Be gentle.

In many ways, I like to think that I ended up at a furry convention in the way that many furries end up at a furry convention:  alcohol, combined with an unhealthy sense of curiosity.  But the reality, I think, is even a bit more interesting than that, so I’d be happy to expand on the perfect storm of circumstances that led to my attendance at FurCon 2015, and subsequent headlong fall into the rabbit hole that is the Furry Fandom.

It’s December.  I’ve just recently moved to the Bay Area, to help out a friend with a new job working in the Silicon Valley.  He’s much the introverted type, I’m much more of the outgoing type, and he invites me to live out in CA for a few months to help him get acclimated and make some new friends.  As I’ve since discovered, neither of us is really good at ‘going out’ to make friends, we rather prefer to just organically meet people.  In practice, this works out about as well as you might imagine.

So, we are spending one of our many weekends in our living room, drinking wine, he playing video games on his computer, me watching Netflix, and I stumble upon the documentary about Bronies. I, being mildly intoxicated and fascinated with countercultures, decide to indulge in the Brony documentary.  I then decide to indulge in a second Brony documentary.  By this point, I am both fabulously drunk, and fabulously fascinated.  I have an inception-style we’ve-got-to-go-deeper moment:  If there are two documentaries about Bronies, there’s got to be one about furries.

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Formalizing the Role of Charity Fundraising at Furry Conventions

Guest article by Laurence “GreenReaper” Parry. Greenreaper is the founder of WikiFur, lead administrator of Inkbunny, and editor-in-chief of Flayrah. This article first appeared on his personal Livejournal.

Many furries think raising money to support needy animals is a good thing. From a purely promotional point of view, it’s also nice to be able to say you “raised $$$$ for fuzzy critters”. As a result, many furry conventions do it.

Charity might seem like a win-win, but there are opportunity costs. Fundraising involves volunteer time, and sometimes money, which could otherwise be spent on awards, food, fans, guests, etc… – things which often relate more directly to the enjoyment of attendees, and the celebration and development of furry-related arts and crafts.

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Reflections on an American Furry Convention

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to travel from my home in London to the Rocky Mountain Fur Con in Denver, Colorado.

There were several of the [a][s] crew also attending RMFC. Zik—who has written a series of articles looking at furry communities around the world (“Foreign Furry Fandoms“)—challenged me to write an article about my American experience.

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Foreign Furry Fandoms: Australia

I lied to everyone who read my “furries from around the world” articles over a year ago. I concluded by assuring that I would post an article for Australia soon. That was, as GLaDOS would put it, “an outright fabrication”, as I moved back to college for the semester literally three days later and was absolutely confident (at least in the back of my head) that I wouldn’t be writing about furries during the school semester.

Then, suddenly, school ended and I had no excuse. I had a two-hour interview with Carnival and Kraden from ACTFur as well as four completed questionnaires, including one from a Midfur staff member. I had everything I needed. I just didn’t feel like writing. Four months bled into about fifteen months. But, I have the information, and it would be a shame to let it stagnate any more. It’s time to write about Australia.

aus1I’m coming for you, you big chunky land mass!

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Communitas: Liminality, Marginality, and Outsidership

The idea that furry is a slice of ordinary society is one well worth keeping in mind. I wrote about it as my very first article on this site, even. It’s important to consider the ways in which we, as furries, are not somehow separate from the rest of the world; furry does not take place in a vacuum, as I believe I’ve said before. We are all members of our own social structures both within and without this subculture, and it’s that mixture of individualities and social ideals that belong to its members that help to make us who we are as a fandom

The very phrase ‘social structures’, however, is telling, in that that is precisely what some of us seek to escape by means of our membership to this social group: structure. For many, furry is seen as something apart from the social structures that surround them in their day-to-day lives. That has come up several times before here, of course. I wrote about leadership in a decentralized subculture, and JM and I have both written about the intersection of furry and the wider cultures to which we belong, both in terms of conformity and non-conformity. This puts us in something of an interesting – and ever-changing – space, as furries. We exist somewhat apart from the wider cultural contexts of which we are a part, though at the same time we cannot escape the connections entirely, for they inform a large portion of the way our own social group works.

This tension between conformity and non-conformity, belonging and not belonging, being a part of society or rejecting it, is a type of liminality, exiting between states, on the threshold, and certainly worth taking a moment to explore.

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Not-So-Distant Cousins

This is a lightly-edited reprint of a column in Anthro Magazine that first appeared in Issue #14, in 2007.

Perhaps my favorite activity at conventions is having dinner with groups of friends at local eateries. Anyone who knows me well will recognize that I’m pretty fond of my chow to begin with, and to be able to share my dining experience with a (usually) mixed group of old friends and new acquaintances is, well, the highlight of my calendar. Usually, at least once during a con I’ll try and round up a suitable group, and off we go for what is always a memorable time out.

One of the most remarkable such con-dinners I’ve had in recent years took place in Memphis, during Mephit, at the Germantown Commissary. A group of about fifteen of us of mixed ages and of varying degrees of my acquaintanceship formed a convoy and ran across town to this trendy establishment, which allegedly sold the best barbeque in town. On the way our convoy broke up and some of us were separated, causing much anxiety. The Commissary proved to be the most highly-overrated restaurant I’ve ever experienced; it was crowded, the servers were rude to the point of surliness, and the food was okay at best. At any other time I’d have been very unhappy with my evening.

But because of the people I was with, the experience was absolutely magic.

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Whiskey Sour

Emotion lives out its life in poetry. It might summer in prose, it might vacation in speeches, and it may even spend a nice weekend wrapped around a pithy quip. But, in the end, emotion’s country of origin is poetry. Even before we wrote stories on paper, far before we recorded everything we created in a fashion archivists scratch their heads at, there was poetry and verse.

The fandom has been slow to adopt poetry, and it’s not without its reasons; too often these days culture equates verse with self-absorbed and self-diagnosed loners who attempt to pour their sadness onto the page in recursive stanzas. Are they wrong in choosing this course of release? Of course not, but these ‘angry emo journal poets’ have eclipsed the multitudinous and varied styles of poetry there are out there.

(There is, to be fair, a lot of blame to be laid on the poetry curriculum in schools, but that is a conversation for another day.)

With growing sub-communities devoted to writing verse, I’m confident there is a place for poetry in the fandom in the same way there is a place for prose, art, and fursuiting. There is no end to what poetry can accomplish, both within the constraints of meter and rhyme and without. If prose is the way by which we show others how we view the world, then poetry is the way by which we glean meaning from the world we view. A sunset is just a sunset until you can describe it as something else. Then it is much more.

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Furry Impressions

There are always key moments in any human relationship, whether said relationship is rooted in business, romance, politics, or pretty much anything else. When I was an adolescent, one of the most current memes in society was that a person’s first impression of someone or something was the most crucial moment of all. While of course I can’t recall all this in encyclopedic detail, at that time the market was flooded with books on how to improve your first impression, and said books were filled with charts “proving” just how vitally important this was to success in life’s endeavors. The principle was even carried over into academics—kids were given “fun math” to do on their first day in school, to improve that vital initial impression. I recall this pretty well because, being a teen at the time, it provided me with my first-impression of the self-help book industry and, well… We all know how lasting a first impression can be, no?

At any rate, it’s inevitable that furs coming into the fandom tend to undergo a whole series of “firsts”.

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