April 14th, 2017

Dia purplemoon

Unsuspecting Woman Brings Therapy Dog to Local Furry Convention

http://nymag.com/selectall/2017/04/woman-brings-therapy-dog-to-furry-convention.html

Unsuspecting Woman Brings Therapy Dog to Local Furry Convention
By Madison Malone Kircher


Link the therapy dog and some of his new furry friends.

Before last weekend, Cheryl Wassus had no idea what a “furry” was. So naturally, when the Motor City Furry Convention chose Pets for Vets (a nonprofit that pairs dogs with military veterans) as its charity of choice, she assumed that she and Link, her one-year-old Bernese mountain dog, would be spending the day at an animal event. She wasn’t wrong, necessarily — it’s just that the animals were maybe slightly more anthropomorphized than she had envisioned.

Today, Cheryl Wassus — whose son, Kenny, is a senior producer here at New York Media — definitely knows what a furry is. This is her story.

So what did you think you were walking into on Saturday?
You know, I have been affiliated with Pets for Vets for a while, and what I try to do is promote the program. I’ve got a really nice dog who has been trained with the benchmarks [for being a certified therapy dog] … so it’s nice to take Link and get him out there and have him exposed — because he is a young dog — to lots of different things. I really had no idea what to expect going in on Saturday. This organization had chosen us as their charity. They actually solicited us, and adopted us more or less, as their go-to charity for this big function. This is just a whole subculture I wasn’t even aware existed. When we set up tables and do promos and educate the public and do outreach, I had no idea the outreach was going to be other human … furry people. I guess you’re never too old to learn.

Did you get the chance to talk to many of the furries?
Yes. I learned so much about this whole new culture of people who get together and dress up in furry costumes. I didn’t know that there was this progression — like first, they choose a name, and start off with just a tail and ears. But from there, some of these costumes are amazing, and so elaborate. I was asking a lot of questions. Where do you get these? Where do you come up with something like this? A lot of people design their own, I guess. They decide what character they want to be, and then they spend lots of money having these costumes made. And then, they all get together for these events. Similar people. Similar interests. And they come together [at cons].

Right. Like the one you and Link attended.
Yeah, I had no idea I was walking into Furry Con. It was a little embarrassing at first because Link was just a little curious why people were wearing tails, so he was doing some serious tail-sniffing and checking out people. They weren’t offended, though, they just embraced him. It was all good. Just a real interested community.

So you had never heard of furries before this weekend, I take it?
Never. No. I didn’t know there were furries. The only furry I’d ever seen was at Easter, when somebody might put on one of those gigantic Easter-bunny costumes at a local egg hunt. That was my whole background with furries. That was it for me.

The photos your son tweeted are so funny; Link’s eyes seem to bug out of his head more and more with every new furry he meets.
You know, you can’t replicate that. I train puppies and do training with Canine Good Citizen and do trip training, and you cannot replicate what that one afternoon of walking him through every imaginable costume and scenario, with all of these different people and being in a new place. I was talking to one of the moms [of a furry], while I was sitting at our [Pets for Vets] booth, and she said a lot of these kids just aren’t understood. Her son got into it, and she said sometimes they don’t have the confidence to move around comfortably — socially, in groups — but they put on these costumes, and they’re transformed.

Did the furries and Link get along?
Yeah! We actually did a panel discussion about our charity and what we do, and these people, these furries, were very taken by what we do. Laurie [another volunteer] did a really nice presentation about the brain, when it comes to PTSD and vets, and they took off their furry costumes, or just the heads. Those things have to get incredibly warm. I can’t fathom wearing one of those all day. But, yes, they were absolutely tuned in … I saw some tears, people were definitely listening and paying attention. I don’t know what the final toll will be, but I imagine Pets for Vets is going to do quite well.

[Editor’s Note: The Motor City Furry Con raised $10,000 for Pets for Vets.]

Did you have a favorite furry costume?
The one, and I thought he might really put off my Link, was the big guy in the black wolf costume. He looked so awesome. He even has a different tint on the eyes, the degree of workmanship is amazing. It’s like Hollywood level. That guy’s costume was probably my favorite, and he seemed to really enjoy Link, too.

After spending the day with them, how do you feel about furries now?
To each his own. This seems pretty harmless. It seemed like there were lots of people around the same age. I saw little pieces of humanity I’d never seen before.

Is it safe to say you won’t be buying yourself a furry costume anytime soon?
No, I don’t think so. No. You know, you get a little older, a little menopausal, and being in that many layers and layers of fur. No need to be overheating. I’m good.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Dia Confused

The Bizarre Fall of Rocky Mountain Fur Con

I find this very disturbing. Please read the original:

http://www.nerdandtie.com/2017/04/12/the-bizarre-fall-of-rocky-mountain-fur-con/



April 12, 2017 Trae Dorn

When most conventions end their run, it’s usually for pretty simple reasons. Either the con has run out of money, the organizers’ personal lives have gotten in the way, there isn’t enough staff to keep going, or they have unsolvable venue issues. For good or bad, it’s usually straightforward.

Well, this time it’s not.

Earlier this week, Rocky Mountain Fur Con (originally scheduled for this August) was officially cancelled. The con ended its decade long run in a bizarre set of circumstances involving a faction of Nazi Furries, the Sovereign Citizen movement, and a staff member on the sex offender registry.

Strap in. It’s going to be quite the ride.

Problems in Rocky Mountain Fur Con’s management aren’t anything new. Kendal Ray Emery stepped down as Convention Chair in 2008 after it became publicly known that he was a registered sex offender. We don’t know a lot of details about Emery’s offense, though searching the Colorado Sex Offender Registry tells us that he was convicted of sexual contact with a minor in 1993.

He was thirty at the time of the incident.

While Emery hasn’t re-offended or been accused of anything in the decades since, it wasn’t exactly good PR for a Furry convention trying to promote a safe image to have a registered sex offender in charge. Emery would also later sign over ownership of Mid America Anthropomorphic and Art Corporation (which operates Rocky Mountain Fur Con) to Zachary “Sorin” Brooks in 2011. This was most likely due to the same pressures that caused him to step down as chair.


Kendal Ray Emery’s Photo From the Colorado Sex Offender Registry
Furry news website Flayrah also discovered that in 2011 MAAAC and Rocky Mountain Fur Con had lost their non-profit and tax exempt status, even though the event continued to advertise themselves as such on their about page and official Twitter account’s bio. The Flayrah article also alleges that organizers have not paid the necessary taxes since this happened, though when talking to the Denver Post Brooks denied this. Brooks stated that while the con did lose their 501(c)(3) status in 2011, the organization had started properly filing taxes after that occurred.

Regardless of whether or not MAAAC is compliant with what the IRS requires, claiming to be a 501(c)(3) when you’re not is fairly sketchy.

The amazing thing is, all of this is just a small factor in the failure of Rocky Mountain Fur Con. The larger issue (and what’s referred to in the statements actually released by the convention) have to do with backlash associated with a group called the “Furry Raiders.” For those of you outside of furry fandom, the “Furry Raiders” are a Colorado based group of furries founded by “Foxler Nightfire” who are, effectively, Nazis.

Yes, there are Nazi furries out there, and no it doesn’t make a damn lick of sense to me either.
Foxler


Now, in all fairness, if you asked the Furry Raiders if they were Nazis, they’d say no. I mean, sure — they wear arm bands based around the design of the Nazi party, replacing the swastika with a paw. And yes, their Fur Affinity page used to list their birthday as Adolph Hitler’s. And yes, the Nazi imagery is just plain everywhere with their stuff. And yes, their founder has said some pretty racist things. And yes, Foxler has… oh god, I could go on for hours.

So yeah, they say they’re not Nazis, but they’re totally Nazis.

The group doesn’t always get the warmest reception at events (due to the whole pseudo-Nazi paraphernalia thing), but one place they’ve found a home at is Rocky Mountain Fur Con. This doesn’t always sit well with the rest of the community needless to say. As the Dog Patch reports, one furry who wasn’t too fond of them goes by the name Deo. Deo made a joke on Twitter about punching Nazis (regarding the Furry Raiders), and that’s when the following exchange happened:


We had to include that as a screenshot since some of the tweets have been deleted. If you’re wondering why a random Twitter conversation is important, it’s because this (at least as far was we can tell) is the main reason the convention was cancelled.

If your brain has started hurting, I’m sorry.

Deo reported the incident to Rocky Mountain Fur Con. I mean, this “Olivia” person had said it would be entertaining to see Deo get shot and talked about bringing a gun to the con. The convention eventually responded, but not in a way Deo expected. You see, Deo received a very bizarre “cease and desist” letter in the mail:

The letter, signed by Emery (who bizarrely identifies himself as “Chief Executive Contract Law Officer”) is full of legal sounding yet completely nonsensical text. They accuse Deo of “encouraging” the person who said it would be nice to see her get shot (which is a special kind of irony), and say that Deo has made “threats of violence against a class of people through a wire service across national boarders.”

I mean, besides the fact that Nazis aren’t a “class of people,” Deo (at least according to Dogpatch Press) is located in the United States. The word Emery was looking for is “borders” too (assuming he isn’t talking about people making threats over folks just trying to rent a room), and it’s kind of my favorite sentence of all time. He ends the letter saying that if there are any objections, Deo must respond to the letter or else she’s agreeing to its contents — which isn’t how cease and desist letters work even remotely.

You’ll also notice that Emery signed the letter in red with a red fingerprint. This is indicative of a whole other bit of weirdness – the Sovereign Citizen movement. Sovereign Citizens believe that they are not subject to the government or laws of the United States, and the FBI considers them a growing domestic threat. One of the more harmless things they’re known to do is insist on signing in red ink instead of blue or black (as they think red represents the blood of the people) and insist that a red fingerprint is the highest form of ID. If you don’t know how insane this stuff can get, here’s a hilarious example.

As Sovereign Citizens believe the States are meant to be separate nations, this may explain the bizarre “national boarders [sic]” line in the letter. As it’s also not uncommon for them to ignore tax law, it adds an interesting context to Flayrah’s allegations and Brooks’s subsequent denial. One of the favorite weapons of Sovereign Citizens is to try and send fake documents and make frivolous legal filings against those they believe to be their enemies.

Which Emery clearly sees Deo as here.

So, while taking the side of a bunch of Furry Nazis, the con decided that the only way they could keep operating was to increase security. You know, to stop the person who joked about punching people and not, say, the person who talked about people getting shot and implied they might bring a gun to the con. This cost must have been too much, because they then announced they were cancelling the con over these concerns.

I’ve embedded the official message from the con above, and you should click through and read the whole thing. Honestly, the irony is amazingly thick – as the “hate and intolerance” they refer to is hatred of Nazis. I mean, the con is saying that it’s wrong to hate a literal hate group. I cannot even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance of this statement. The con has said they will refund as many people as they can, but that they may not have the money to do so.

I honestly wouldn’t hold my breath if you’re expecting your money back.

In the end, the con’s actual cancellation makes very little sense. Any real “security” threats really seem like they’d come from the people the con is actually defending, and I can’t see the financials suddenly going in the red because of it. Something else is happening here, but I’m not exactly sure what it is.

If I ever find out, I’m sure it will be depressingly hilarious.

Via Dogpatch Press, Flayrah, Denver Post, Reddit