Friday, March 27, 2015

Internet Cat Video Festival Returns to Duluth

Get ready, Duluth. The Internet Cat Video Festival is coming to town, presented by the Duluth Art Institute and Zinema 2. Are cat video the new kitsch? I dunno. But they certainly seem to be a 21st century sensation.

Personally, me and cats haven't seemed to hit it off too well. I got bit while petting a stray cat when I was around six or so, and remember lying on a metal table in a semi-dark room at the hospital waiting for tests to determine whether the little fellow had rabies. I was spared.

Tow years later, on Easter morning while visiting my cousins in Boston the tail hairs of their cat brushed against my eyeball, which in an of itself may not have been a problem except that I have a profoundly effective cat allergy that I was unaware of until that day. My cornea began itching, and lacking the discipline to leave it alone I kept rubbing it. When I finally looked in a mirror to see how bad it was I was shocked to see that my eyeball looked like a wrinkled prune. It shocked my mom, too, who as an RN immediately set about trying to get me to an ophthalmologist. This was Easter morning, and to everyone's relief the doctor was in.

His office was in the back of his house and I was studiously examined. At one point the lights were turned low and I was to look at an eye chart comprised of all E's facing different directions and reducing in size. In the end he gave me a shot of some kind of medication, right into the corner of my eye. I will never forget that one.

I've forgiven that doctor, and those cats, too.

Over the years we've had a number of barn cats to take care of the critters that steal the grain our geese and other animals rely on. Elsie, our current feline, seems to not be as dutiful as she ought to be. Mario's the only one that I've really been close to, but they have all been interesting to observe, especially when playing with their food. (Those poor little mice.)

So, Monday, April 6, the Walker Art Center’s Internet Cat Video Festival is returning to Duluth, with two shows, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for students and $6.50 for senior citizens.

The 2015 iteration of this event features a new selection of videos curated by Will Braden, the creator of the Henri Le Chat Noir videos and recipient of the festival’s first Golden Kitty (People’s Choice) Award.

When I checked out the Walker's website on this event, I quickly noticed that this is more than just going to the movies. You're invtied -- no, encouraged -- to wear a cat costume, with the winner taking home artist Nancy Cramer-Lettenstrom’s Strata, a large-scale, dream-like pastel portrayal of cats ($650 value). According to the announcement, "Animal Allies Humane Society and Marvelous Melissa, our community’s cat-based vendor who creates eco-friendly toys for cats, will be represented at booths on site. A signature ‘pretty kitty’ cocktail featuring Vikre Distillery gin will be on sale at the Zeitgeist lounge, with half of the sale proceeds going to the Duluth Art Institute."

Who woulda thunk it?

Speaking of cats, have you ever played the party game "Nice kitty"? It's a stitch, too. Maybe while some of you still have your costumes on you'll want to play a couple rounds in the lobby.

The Duluth Art Institute's programs and services are made possible through the support of contributing members of the Duluth Art Institute, Bush Foundation, Depot Foundation, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation, McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and Wildey H. Mitchell Family Foundation. ##

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