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October 27, 2009

Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays: A hairy situation

furriesThis week, Owl Meat has somehow stumbled upon a particularly wacky group of people called Furries (it takes one to know one, Owly). Here, OMG exposes the underbelly of this hairy subset:

This week, lions and tigers and bears roam with impunity. Want to thump melons at Safeway as a costumed carnal carnivore? Meow. In a month? Nah, that would be weird.

But in the world of Furries, it's Halloween every day.

Furries are adults who dress up as stuffed/plush animals. This sub-culture has their own animation, music, conventions and literature. There are dozens of conventions and events all over the world. The largest, Anthrocon, attracted nearly 4,000 attendees this year ...

In an article in Vanity Fair some basic terms were defined:

"Yiff" means sex. "Fur pile" denotes a bunch of furries lying on top of one another, affectionately, while skritching [fake grooming and scratching]. A "furvert" is anyone who is sexually attracted to mascots and such.

furriesThese are no costume store rentals. People create characters with their own psycho-biographies. Costumes are hand-made and very specific. Some are creepy animal/human combos called "morphs" or "anthros".

The creepiest are the animals with human-like genitalia. Many wear clothes, including bikinis, lingerie, cowboy outfits ... whatever. Over-sized tails are popular (Do the psycho-math).

Here are some descriptions of Furry composers' "identities" from the Furry Music Foundation (really):

  • A 6' tall kangaroo rat. He has tan fur covering most of him, with creamy white under his belly. He has a long black tail, and is usually seen wearing his "Indiana Jones" style hat. He loves to goof around, listen to and make music, and he's just an overall nice rat.
  • Five foot ten inch anthro skunk. Something of a hermit, but friendly enough once you get to know him.
  • Brody Catsmouth is a tall young lion with a gentle demeanor.
  • Chama C. Fox is a little, nonmorphic cape fox with a big appetite for life and music.

Sexualized anthropomorphic animals (animals with human features) freak me out. Then I realized that children are bombarded with talking animals and plush animal toys from birth. How does that not imprint on our sexual identities? I'm surprised we're not weirder than we are.

Aside from the propinquitous Halloween costume angle, there is a Midnight Sun music tie-in. Yeah, Furry music. Zink!

more furriesDuran Duran's "The Reflex" re-imagined as a Furry beach romp.

Behold the creepy Furry tribute.

There is a Furry music database with songs listed by animal. Tsk tsk, their vulpine fetish list has "Fox on the Run" but not "Portions for Foxes". Grrrr ... Jenny Lewis, "and the talkin' leads to touchin' / then touchin' leads to sex / and then there is no mystery left ..."

Creep out to Aerosmith as raccoons.

Is Furry the new Goth? Maybe. Ever see old Goths? Even Robert Smith of The Cure can't escape the withering paws of time, but a full-body plush purple squirrel suit with beret and monocle is forever young.

Judge not, for this is Halloween, when Otherness is King.

By the way, this is the best Halloween costume ever!

So what is your Halloween costume? Will you wear it to the Midnight Sun Social on Thursday? Me? I'll be dressed as bad news, 'cause baby I'm bad news.

(Photos courtesy of Wikifur.com)


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:50 AM | | Comments (45)
Categories: Owl Meat's Tipsy Tuesdays
        

Comments

Wonder what happens when a Furry convention and a PETA convention are meeting in the same hotel.

Oh no, Sam, holding up your mirror to my own feathery alter-ego. Hooty hoot, too much truth.

Thank heavens these are NOT costume store rentals-- squick.

and what is your costume this year, my little porcine pal? Have you made costumes for your lawn geese yet?

1) That Transformers costume in the video is SICK. If my kids saw that they would lose their tiny minds.
2) I was watching Mad Men's Halloween episode. When did hobo stop being a really cool costume?

Amanda C, I think hobo morphed into homeless, thus acquiring protected class status.

What took so long, a CSI episode featured such a group.
more

Yes, I saw them first on CSI a few years ago. I was intrigued by the fact that this seems to be growing. Plus, I thought the music video aspect was particularly weird and fairly new. Attendance at Anthrocon has doubled since the CSI episode in 2003.

There is a lot weirder stuff that I left out to avoid the attention of Tribune standards people. My favorite was inflatophiles: people who are sexually aroused by over-inflating things.

Not sure how new they are... appeared to be one in The Shining (1980):
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c30/explodingkinetoscope/shining35.jpg

FHT, holy crap, that picture freaked me out.

I don't think much of anything is new, but the internet causes little pockets of fetish behavior to become more organized and use technology to add to the subculture.

Dancing I can see, but playing cards? Lame.

PETA? Hmmm... unsure. I know animal rights people who object to animals being used as metaphors for human behavior, such as a black sheep or horse of a different color. Seriously. They think it devalues animals. Who knows, I guess you'd have to ask them. My guess is that these are a lot of techy geeks who live in the parents' basement. Less attractive Trekkies.

Say it ain't so, VoodooPork! Don't let them take away our metaphors! Once the camel's nose is under the tent, we'll all be sitting ducks.

"Life is a hospital in which every patient is possessed by the desire of changing his bed."
Baudelaire

Owl Meat Gravy,

Some links on Furries to check out.
Pyat's Fortress - Furry Menace:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQGP9Keudfs

Wikipedia on Furry fandom:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furry_fandom

FurFright 2009 - First Fursuit Parade:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27tYoQTYVOg&feature=related

VoodooPork ■|:o),

I suspect most hardcore PETA people have problems, like three years ago or so, outside of broadway shows that appealled to kids, they were giving kids comic books with the basic title "Mommy's a murder if she wears fur".
They also been known to douse ladies wearing fur coats with red paint to symbolize blood.

Excellent quote, eskimo.

Thanks GDA. When I was researching this it was all fun and freaky, but by the time i finished writing it, I felt drained and kind of bummed out.

That parade video is cool. How messed are you as a human to dress up like that AND play the bagpipes?

Oh, I am torn: shall I dress as Little YumPo Peep with my heavenly piglet bunny, or should I just pull something ordinary and everyday from one of my closets, brush my hair, pull on a mask and go as Catwoman, Ann-Margret, Trinity, or the woman from the Jovan Musk Oil ad?

Oh no, they removed the Jovan musk ad from youtube. Maybe you could just wear your new leopard print Snuggie. People in the ads wear them to the movies and baseball games.I might be considered a sign of senility though.

can anyone say Uncanny Valley?

A Snuggie would be just the thing to wear to the Midnight Sun Social.

Good lord, lazy journalism at it finest. You must had a beer while sitting at home and slapped together misleading articles you picked off Google about the furry fandom and add you own misinformation for good measure. I guess that Journalism for this millennium.

Why is it that anything apart from the usual norm is described as "creepy"? Most people wear clothing that turns their bodies into walking adverts for products, now that's creepy!

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth."
- Oscar Wilde

So many truths are told through the confessional screen.

Good lord, lazy journalism at it finest.

Thank you, I strive to be fine. We prefer the term slacker journalism or slournalism but that's too long so just slism is finer.

Agree with you completely Atomicat. You are wise. If I was against masks and fantasy I would post under my real name, Bob Saccamano.

Writing while drinking a beer? That sounds awfully tiring. Actually, I dictate my columns to my personal secretary Natalia Amarone while working out with my Shake Weights. Full disclosure: I may have been sipping a cool brew from my beer hat at the time.

Re: internets ennabling niche online communities to thrive while mainstream rustbelt bowling alone social clubs whimper out, see the 8/6/06
NPR weekend edition interview with author Shari Cauldron, whose book Who Are You People? visits a furcon.
keep on slackin', OMG

Editor's note: This comment looks like spam. But it's almost too bizarre to be spam, and there's no link.

NPR spam? That would be weird. That looks like slacker spam.

I would like to hear more about rustbelt bowling alone social clubs, I've always wanted to join a club that had no other members. I would finally have a social event to wear my Members Only jacket to.

not spam i am

i think we should stop all this folderol and get back to real news story writing pieces of journolism. silliness is unbecoming to an August institution such as this particular one. global warming people it's not going away just because we tickle ourselves and eat junk food with the emperor providing wonder bread and circuses de ban de soleil moon fryes with canola oil and deep fried ketchup. believe you me you can't tickle yourself i have tried so please stop this waste of paper and get under your slankets because we are going to have to use the unemployed for warmth this winter and they are not funny as I have been one my self once and it was cold real cold

Yay I'm in the first picture. I'm the gray/tan raccoon about three characters from the left looking directly into the camera. This picture is from Midwest Furfest '07 because it was raining that year and we had to use a tent to take the group photo.

You are quite correct, Aiden Racoon. Other photo credits:
playing cards: Anthrocon 2004
dancing: Anthrocon 2005

Personal secretary? You think? You borrowed my Thesaurus and now I'm your personal secretary?

You couldn't afford me if you cashed in every 401(k) and retirement account, liquidated all your assets, and emptied every one of your offshore secret bank accounts. ;-P

"You know when I bowl alone-
I prefer to be by mice elf"
... George Furrygood, from the LP 'Furry Sings the Blues'

Wow that looks awfully itchy, musty and hot. Also, do they know how totally retarded they look? Check out fursuitsex.com if you really want to be freaked out. I've always been very open about the fact that I've been on both sides of just about every sex act in recorded histroy and many things more than a few times, but I will say that I've never dressed up as an animal to have sex and never will.

And yet, your name is johnnycat.

Methinks Johnnycat is a skritchin' and a yiffin' right now. Or he just smoked too much meth and can't find his way out of his leopard print Snuggie. Meow.

now johnnycat, I think you've hurt Aiden Fox's feelings. i really don't think you should brag about your sexual exploits if you haven't done it in a fursuit. so narrow minded. free your fur, your ass will follow

Yet another article convinced that being a furry is about sex. Thanks guys. Just what we need, right? Thanks for focusing on the genitalia. Where's your mind at?

They're sort of like the 21C version of drag queens.

You may truly feel that you have an alter that embodies the inner you which turns out to be a 6' 8" diner waitress with a purple beehive or a 6' 8" pink squirrel that carries a purse.

My response is always, how do you not pass out in those outfits?

"Correct me if I'm wrong, Frazier, but doesn't this Furry phenomenon find its roots in the likely subliminal effect of Dr. Seussian anthropomorphs from our collective contemporary childhood unconscious?"
"Well put, Cliff, my epistolary apostle, but this fails to explain the persistent and pestilent creepout Christmas cinema appearances of Jim Carrey dressed in holiday drag."

Thanks for focusing on the genitalia.

That's what she said. Ba dum.

Well put, Ian.

You know, you paint one picture and you're not an artist, but dress up as a pretty puce kangapotamus in a polka dot bikini, roll around in a fur pile with complete strangers and all of a sudden you are a furvert.

Stop the fursecution! I am not an animal! Well, okay I dress like one, but you get the point.

"I've always been very open about the fact that I've been on both sides of just about every sex act in recorded histroy and many things more than a few times"

johnnycat, we hardly knew you and more information that we ever wanted.

Wow. Some people will believe anything they read on the internet.

Welcome to 2001.

Wow. Some people will believe anything they read on the internet.
Welcome to 2001.

Not sure what the blue unicorn in a t-shirt means.

I see from (full name) Xydexx Squeakypony's flickr site that furry parties now have LASERS!!!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/xydexx/

LASERS!!!

As usual, Baltimore is woefully behind the times, stuck in pre-LASER furrydom. I would expect Mr. Owl to be more cutting edge on the fur beat.

Purple unicorn. Everyone's favorite. (Everyone who counts, anyway.)

The lasers are cool, but Rave Raffe is a hurricane of awesome.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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