Who’s in Charge Here?
ConFurence is really YOUR convention. Growth of shared interest in all aspects of anthropomorphics prompted a desire to “Get it all together”, at least once a year. At other SF/Fantasy or media conventions, we would meet at Furry Parties, display our genre in art shows and costume contests and maybe even attend a few “official” program events; but we were a very definite minority. ConFurence Zero (January 1989) gave us a chance to “be with our own” like never before. It also gave the committee a chance to see just what sort of programming people were interested in. Some items on the schedule were poorly attended, the Costume Cabaret for example. The popular “round-robin” discussion groups were just too short. We have taken these and many other factors into consideration when planning ConFurence One.
What’s Goins On?
Discussion Groups: Unlike a regular Panel, our “round robin” groups give everyone a chance to participate. The idea is to share interests, not be “lectured” too. We have brought back the more popular themes and added several new subjects dealing with graphic storytelling and art. All groups are now 90 minutes long.
Art Show: As with last year, the Art Show CANNOT be “Sold Out”. We will make enough space for all, and we even welcome “late” entries. We will open the Art Show as soon as possible and keep it open late. We will not close it until the VERY last minute, to give everyone a chance to acquire that masterpiece. The auction will held in the afternoon, to allow for early departures.
“Do It Yourself’ Programming: Last year the Holiday Inn folks “threw-in” an extra room, as a bonus. This room is set up like additional restaurant space, with booths and tables with chairs. We really didn’t have anything specific planned for this space, so we left it up to You. The “Furum” as we call it can be space for gaming, artists ghetto, or just a place to meet. This year the “Furum” is back, by popular demand!
Food for Thought: Trying to get out to grab a bite on Saturday night and not miss some of the action can be a real problem. To help solve this dilemma, we have organized a low-priced Spaghetti Buffet (with Marinara sauce, for our Vegetarian friends). During dinnertime there will be a break in programming, so you won’t miss a thing! The fact that the restaurant and room-service close at 10:00 pm was brought to our attention, so we will have a deli-buffet in the Con Suite open till the wee-small hours of the morning for our Nocturnal members.
Space… The Final Frontier: As small as Zero was, we were a bit cramped last year, particularly in the Art Show/Dealers Room. We have arranged to rent the larger ballrooms this time, and will add more space as required in the future.
Let’s Do It Again!
Is ConFurence going to be an annual event? Well, that’s pretty much up to you. If things go as well as last year (in spite of the problem virus), we will be back again in 1991. Same time, same hotel (that is, if we don’t outgrow it. Us Furries multiply like rabbits!)
Roll the Credits…
Special Thanks to our Guests: Martin Wagner
Co-Director and Catering:
Co-Director and Facilities:
Holiday Inn Bristol Plaza
Art Show Coordination:
Video Room Program
Publications and Graphics:
Special Thanks to the
Sponsors of our Guests:
John Alan Stanley
John Alan Stanley
Kevin P. Carrol
(for Art Show panels)
Special Thanks to:
Telling Mom & Dad… by Rodney S. O’Riley
You’ve seen every Disney animated feature on the big screen, new or old, every single time one has come out. Your parents might not consider this strange except that you happen to be twenty-four. What’s more, this is where you and your friends hang out as well. The pizza parlor? The bowling alley? The singles’ bar? No, watching the newest re-release of “Lady and The Tramp”.
Your carefully guarded and (to them) over-sized collection of comic books consists of maybe one or two “Spider Man” issues and every single copy you could find of Pogo strips, Carl Barks reprints, and obscure, bizarre titles like “Fusion”, “Miami Mice” and “Cutey Bunny”. Clippings from classic Playboy/girl and other such items are allowed to mildew in an old box, but your copies of “Omaha, The Cat Dancer” are kept pristine mint and sealed air-tight enough to ward off cosmic rays.
Know what I mean?
They join you on one of your weekly trips to the zoo, only to find you staring forlornly into one of the compounds for hours on end. They’re unable to guess from your misty eyes that you secretly desire to be in the cage on a semi-permanent basis.
Repainting your room has since become unnecessary, because every single inch of wall and ceiling (and beginning on the floor) space has been covered with artwork, xerox copies, and posters. Try as they might, they cannot recognize even the species of the greatest number of them. They’re not human, they’re not any recognizable animal; they’re sorta-kinda both and not really either.
Am I getting it?
Seems to me, sir or madame, it’s about time you admitted it to yourself and to them. You’re a Furry. An anthro-fan. A Funny A nimal Fanatic! Yet one more twist on your life that Mom and Dad are going to have to get used to.
“Now look. We got used to you spending your every dime on paperbacks and conventions in every city on the globe. We got used to the all-night Star Trek blooper marathons. We even learned to put up with you and your wingy friends howling “Banned from Argo” in an off-key at three in the morning. But now, let me get this straight, you wanna have an affair with a cat ?”
“No, Mom, Dad. Actually, I want to have an affair with a beautiful felinoid creature from Antares IV.”
Quick! Dodge that well-aimed skillet.
Maybe not the best approach. This may all be a little to much for archetypical mundanes — like parents — too take in one lump. Remember, Furrydom is one of those portions of SF fandom that some other fans look at kind of sideways and crinkle their noses.
And one of the more awful things that Furries are foisting on the world is yet more of that idea of common ground between ourselves and other species, genuses, families, etc. Remember, most people want desperately to stick with the idea of a very special and unconnected place in the scheme of things for homo sapiens. Genetics is simply not being very kind to them, unfortunately: Among other things, we’re this close to lumping human and Chimpanzees in the same genus. Things do start to get cozy.
But you’d like Mom and Dad to have an understanding of this new fascination. Well, forget about trying the socio-psycological angle. Yes, humans have been dreaming of and making stories about part-human/part-animals for centuries in every culture, and yes humans often reflect aspects of themselves that they admire, dislike, or aspire to in the similar aspects of animal species. But there’s few things parents dislike more than kids who try to sound smarter than Mom and Dad. Guaranteed.
Maybe try the romantic approach. Remind them of the times in their own younger days when they might have smiled at Faline’s coy chasing of Bambi, or the blooming heart-felt love of Lady for the rascally Tramp, or the deep and complex relationships developed between various animals in “Charlotte’s Web”. Or, if they’re more well-read, remind them of the romance between Pogo and Mam’selle Hepzibah which lead to so much intrigue and plot complications oh-not-so-long ago. And hope, pray, that they have not since fallen prey to the dreaded Lack of Imagination Syndrome—the scourge of our civilization.
In the end, there is likely no sure-fire answer to the problem — is there ever? Perhaps the best one can hope for is a sheepish grin and shrug from you and a roll of the eyes from them. But who knows, anything is possible. Take Mom and Dad out to the next re-release of “The Little Mermaid”. And make sure they join the conga line during Under the Sea.
by Mark Merlino
One of the most interesting things about Anthropomorphic fans is the way we often personalize characters. Although Funny Animal fans have been around for as long as SF/Fantasy Fandom has, the individual “persona” character, sometimes called a “furry”, seems to be a relatively new wrinkle. I suspect that it has really been there all along and we have only recently started to tell each other about it. It is common to identify with a particular character in a story, whether reading or watching a film. The concept of creating characters which represent you and sharing them with others is an extension of wanting to be a part of the story.
When one creates a personal character, there may be some wish fulfillment involved. But, more often then not people try really to define what they actually ARE, or what they think of themselves. Just as Reed Waller (co-creator of “Omaha, the Cat Dancer”) uses animal types to act as a shorthand way of defining a characters personality, so we may select an animal that best repre¬ sents our strengths and weaknesses. Most people put a great deal of thought into their creation, making the persona a relatively accurate representation of the creator. It’s like looking into a mirror and being able to change some things about what you see; to make the image more clear, but still being yourself. In the film “The Neverending Story”, the toughest test one had to face was to look into the magic mirror and see yourself as you really are. Pretty scary thought…
It would be nice to be able to show others ourselves at our best, or to be able to give a new friend a concise capsule of data about us, thus saving valuable time. That is what our personal characters, our “furries”, can be. Animal types can not only define personality, but aspirations as well. My personal favorites, the weasels, tend to be curious, steadfast and hot tempered. Felines are laid- back but will defend their privacy. Wolves tend to be gregarious and even-tempered while foxes are more nervous and high-strung. A person who selects an avian character might have dreams of flight; the seal or whale person may love the water, even if they are not comfortable with the element as a human.
When you search for your personal character you might start out with a favorite animal or group, or ask a friend what might fit your personality. Make your choice, try it on for size and see how it feels. Show your friends and get their feedback. The final decision is yours. You should be as comfortable with your choice as you would be with a good pair of shoes. Your “furry” is your personal representative, your own PR department. Someone who can help you communicate with the most important people in your life, your friends.
The answer to the question of what is a personal character: What you WANT to BE…or What you ARE, is… Yes!
by Kay Shapero
How to explain furry fandom? To whom, fans or non fans? The latter usually don’t require differentiation- all fandom is quite strange enough already. To the former, then, I’d say simply that it’s a perfectly natural outgrowth of sf fandom in general, which has always emphasized creativity and innovation for the fun of it Like to write and sing songs? Try filksinging. Like to make costumes? Bring them to the convention and wear them around. Like to write? Publish your own fanzine, join an APA, write on computerized bulletin board systems or so on. Like creating artwork? Publish THAT in a fanzine, or just carry about a sketchbook at the local convention. Just like to talk? The conclave in the comer discussing the implications of anything from the newest discoveries in astrophysics to how many beercans you have to pile to reach the moon is a convention cliche. Now every one of these also has a convention “serious” side to it; selling filkbooks, entering masquerades, selling fanzines, entering the art show, lecturing on panels and can even be a basis for a “real world” career – songwriting or singing, stage or movie costuming or clothing design, writing for professional publication, professional art design and lecturing, but all of these are in a sense secondary effects of the primary cause that fen like to do these things.
Furfen are fans (see above) who not only deal with two cultures on an almost daily basis (usually referred to as fandom and mundania), but enjoy inventing new angles of observation of the world, be it through the eyes of alien non-human sentients or through those of animals made sentient or even human/animal hybrids. That is, a sort of sophontological version of the “what if’ that forms the core of science fiction and most modem fantasy. This fits into all of the above modes quite handily – singing furry filksongs, costuming (“how do you construct a ball gown for someone with thick fur, wings and a tail?”), writing fiction or poetry, artwork, and discussion, especially of the pick a character and converse as if you were that being variety. Thus, furry fandom is not a “fringe” group as per the various societies based on specific creative expressions (a tv series, book or movie), but a deep rooted part of fandom itself.
… and now a word from our sponsor:
INTERCEPTED is a lot like a role playing game with no dice, no character sheets, and very few rules. It’s been nicknamed “the Multiversal Party Line”; the place where characters from fact and fantasy meet, interact, and occasionally pound on each other for the amusement of all. Members may use as many aliases as they wish, be they their own invention, or names from history or fiction. Invite Captain Kidd, Captain Bligh, Captain Kirk, and Captain Horatio Hornblower to dinner! Go adventuring with Indiana Jones! BE Indiana Jones…
To join in on the fun, send $1.10 to INTERCEPTED, 12536 Short Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90066 for a copy and description of current plotlines. Ye Ed, Kay Shapero
by Lisa Iennaco
What the fleep is a furry?
Imagine if you will a young woman fresh out of school with a Ph.D. in psychology. Years of her life were spent on the narrow learning of that degree with little to no contact with the outside world. She looks at some artwork with a empty stare, her eyes blank with lack of understanding. She then asks me the classic question, “What is this? What is a ‘furry’?”
A ‘Furry’, I explain, is a term used by a fringe group of science fiction/fantasy aficionados in reference to artforms used in sketches, comics, animation, and literature. Furries are the subject and the object of the group known as fandom, devoted to the appreciation of animals in varying states of anthropomorphism. Simply put, a love of animals and human/animal forms.
The psychology of anthropomorphism goes back to the days of Aesop’s fables. Animal spirits have been worshipped by early cultures since the Neanderthal. It is part of the human expe¬ rience to believe that every living thing is capable of thought and emotion from their own special point of view, and writers have written from the animal point of view to study and show humanity in differing points of view.
In this new age of ecological awareness, people realize just how much we really don’t know about ourselves and find the social constraints unwieldy to explore these feelings. The Furry universe is parallel to our own, but changed slightly to suit the creator’s study of him/herself. Most Furry fans have an animal totem; many have avatars that are part animal. It is a new role-playing environment in which the rules include letting the animal inside us all choose a path, so we can explore why it chose that one route over a different one we may have chosen.
Lastly, the animal has always been a source of curiosity to humanity, who are so close and yet so far from the rest of the mammals living on Gaea’s stomach. How does it know things? Why do they have fur or feathers and not us? What does it mean to be wild? By becoming an animal, we can better appreciate the real ones struggling to survive in a world rapidly being overrun by us. We can empathize and work harder to protect a priceless resource we cannot yet replace; this tiny globe that several thousand different lifeforms call home.
Scudder E. Kidwell