Blogs Field Guide Kristina Fong

I joined the Walker as some sort of intern in 2007 and worked in Education & Community Programs and Public Relations until I ended up in as the Walker's social media manager, delivering you e-mails, Twitter updates, Facebook statuses, answers to your questions, and occasional blogs about things I like. Then I left to go make art in Utah and drive around the country. Now I'm back and producing a little event called the Internet Cat Video Film Festival. #cats

Cat is Art Spelled Wrong: Making a Book About Cat Videos

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There are plenty of cat books out there in the world.

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Clockwise: Fashion Cats, Why Paint Cats, The Big New Yorker Book of Cats, Grumpy Cat: A Grumpy Book

But of all the cat books out there, there is no book quite like the book that Coffee House Press (with help from the Walker Art Center) aims to publish next fall. Using the Internet Cat Video Festival (#catvidfest) as inspiration,we’re currently working on a book that is all about cat videos: why we love them, why we hate them, and why we are powerless to resist them. There’s just something about cat videos.

Substantial research on our end helps confirm that statement:

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The Internet Cat Video Festival in (top-bottom) 2012, 2013, 2014

In order to fund this book, and the many moving parts that an effort of this size entails, Coffee House Press has launched Catstarter – a Kickstarter that’s cat-themed. For all intents and purposes, it acts as a way for you to pre-order your copy of the book, titled Cat is Art Spelled Wrong, get it shipped directly to you, and, oh yeah, get your name printed in it as a token of appreciation.

The book will take the form of a collection of essays – thoughtful, varied, and by a roster of some of our favorite writers and friends, including Matthea Harvey, Alexis Madrigal, Rhonda Lieberman, Elena Passarello, Stephen Burt, Jillian Steinhauer, Kevin Nguyen, Sasha Archibald, Will Braden, Joanne McNeil, and Carl Wilson. (Fun fact: Wilson’s book about Celine Dion for the 33 1/3 series, Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Bad Taste, was a huge source of inspiration for the project for Coffee House Press’ Caroline Casey. Although it seems odd to mention Celine Dion and cat videos in the same sentence… is it really?)

Already the book has gotten some love from Cool HuntingThe Washington Post, and ARTINFO.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Take it from Henri, le Chat Noir:

Read more about the project and  support Catstarter today! 

As we’re sure you’re aware, with Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing. The project must be funded in full by Saturday, September 13 or it will see exactly $0 of the pledged funds.

Attending An Internet Cat Video Festival: A How-To Guide

In just over 48 hours, the Walker Art Center’s backyard will become a haven for cat video lovers, cat lovers, amused bystanders, reluctant participants, and everything in between at the Internet Cat Video Festival. Mostly, it will become a place for all of us to come and watch 70 minutes of internet cat videos together. […]

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In just over 48 hours, the Walker Art Center’s backyard will become a haven for cat video lovers, cat lovers, amused bystanders, reluctant participants, and everything in between at the Internet Cat Video Festival. Mostly, it will become a place for all of us to come and watch 70 minutes of internet cat videos together.

To help communicate the full range of fun and delight we have planned for you, and, more importantly, to help you plan for the event, we have compiled this guide that will hopefully answer your questions and make your Thursday as enjoyable as possible.

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This event is free and open to everybody.
That’s right – this is an all ages, no tickets required, totally free event. Everybody can come, from your baby to your grandma.

Everybody… including my cat?
We strongly encourage you not to bring your cat. Maybe some cats have a lot of experience hanging out in a crowd of thousands of people, but we’re willing to bet that most of them don’t. So please, for the comfort of your cat, please leave him/her at home. If you do decide to bring Fluffy, be aware that the field has no shade, and we have no facilities (litter boxes, water bowls, cardboard boxes) for animals. (That means dogs, too. If you absolutely want to bring your pup, please be aware that if any cat fights break out, we’ll have to ask you to leave.)

What time do the videos start, though?
The actual cat videos will start at dusk (approximately 8:40 pm). Come early! Activities start at 6, and Jack Klatt and the Cat Swingers, a cool band with an even cooler name, will play from 7-7:50 pm.

In addition, the event  will be ASL interpreted. We also have an area that will be roped off for ADA access.

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Getting Here
You may have heard that it was super packed in 2012, and yes, we had a full hillside. But the hill is big enough for everybody, and the act of watching cat videos together will make you feel that much closer to your neighbors, literally and emotionally.

However, we encourage you to plan ahead. Please bike, walk, or take public transit to Catvidfest. It’s easy!

1. Bike – We will have 35 bike racks set up on site. Half will be at the top of the hill on the south side of the Walker (Groveland Terrace) and half will be along Vineland Place (between the Walker and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden). Lovely volunteers will be at these locations to greet you and your bike and direct you to the racks. We also have a NiceRide station!

2. Bus – Metro Transit has offered free bus rides to anybody heading to Catvidfest! Simply fill out this brief survey and download your passes. Be sure to have them in hand when you get on the bus. You can reach the Walker on lines 4, 6, 12, and 25. Download your pass here. Map your route here.

3. Walk – It’s going to be a lovely evening. Stretch those legs!

4. Drive – If you’re from out the area, the Walker has an underground parking ramp available on site. We expect this to fill up early in the evening, so please plan accordingly. Event rate parking is $7, and CASH ONLY.

Event parking is also available at St. Mark’s Cathedral on Hennepin Ave. for a $10 flat fee. There are two parking lots available to attendees, either at the cathedral at 15th Ave and Oak Grove St or at 1730 Clifton Place. Information and maps can be found here.

Cat-iquette

  • No reserved seating is available; all space is first-come, first-served. Bring thick blankets to sit on, as much of the field is currently covered in wood chips.
  • Please don’t bring lawn chairs, as it makes sightlines difficult for your new friends behind you.
  • No shade is available on the field, so bring proper sun protection.
  • No outside alcoholic beverages.
  • Pack it in, pack it out: Please take any disposables you bring on site back home with you.

Screenings in the Walker Cinema

If you can’t make it this Thursday, not all hope is lost! We’re screening the new program of videos in the Walker Cinema on Thursday, September 4 at 7 pm (preceded by Cat Poetry) and Saturday, September 7 at 2 pm. Tickets go on sale on Friday, August 15.

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Now for the Fun Stuff

– Dress for the event! There is a lot of stylish cat gear out there in the world. You can also get catted up at the event by donning a brand new Catvidfest T-shirt for 2014. Then you can head over to the Walker’s booth and apply a special edition artist-designed cat tattoo to help you show your devotion (at least for a couple days). After that, if you feel like you’re still missing something, head over to Animalist’s booth to apply some whiskers with the help of a team of face painters. Then, to document your new look, you can head to Animal Planet’s animated GIF photo booth for a digital keepsake.

– Eat and drink at the event! There will be two cash bars on site. We’re working with St. Paul’s Flat Earth Brewing Company to provide their special cat-themed beers: Hep Cat and Tabby Cat (pictured above), both refreshing summer ales. Prefer something fruity? Try the Sourpuss Cocktail, a blend of  Prairie Organic vodka, sweet and sour, lemon juice and soda, garnished with a lemon wedge and a cherry. (Other non-alocoholic beverages will be available as well.)

For sustenance, grab a salad or sandwich from the Garden Café inside the Walker, or a treat from one of the three food trucks parked outside: AZ Canteen, A Cupcake Social, and Gastrotruck.

– Meet two real engineers! Paul and TJ from “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats” (and current People’s Choice Award nominees) will be here, and they’d love to meet you and talk about cats or engineering (but probably more so cats). You can catch them at the Feline Rescue booth from 6:30-7:30 pm.

– Grab a seat at Cat Drawing Club with local artists Todd Balthazor, Alyssa Nassner, and Shannon Joyce. Draw from several catty prompts, including “Live long and pawsper” [see: engineers], “Meow-na Lisa,” and “Cats with laser eyes,” among others.

 

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Oh, and BUB.
Lil BUB, “the most amazing cat on the planet,” will be making a special guest appearance on stage as a guest of Animal Planet. You can meet her at a ticketed event in Minneapolis on August 15.

 

That’s all for today. We can’t wait to see you, and most importantly, we can’t wait to watch cat videos with you.

On the day, share your photos and your fun using hashtag #catvidfest. Questions? Hit us up on Twitter (@catvidfest) or Facebook.

Golden Kitty 2014: Cast Your Vote for the #catvidfest People’s Choice Award

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It’s time to cast your vote in the most important People’s Choice competition of the entire year. The coveted Golden Kitty Award for the internet’s best cat video is now on the line. You may know its short but storied history: During the first Internet Cat Video Festival, Will Braden’s Henri 2: Paw de Deux took home the Golden Kitty statuette. Last year, Grumpy Cat was awarded the top prize for her work in The Original Grumpy Cat. (FYI: We talked to Braden about winning the award and the process of choosing the nominees in this recent interview.)

Who will it be this year? After a year of watching hundreds of cat videos, reviewing your nominations, and considering the invaluable feedback of our panel of jurors, we present the five nominees for the 2014 Internet Cat Video Festival People’s Choice Award (in alphabetical order):

8 Signs of Addiction by Sho Ko

An Engineer’s Guide to Cats 2.0 – The Sequel by klusmanp

Gotcha! (Попался!) by ignoramusky

Jedi Kittens Strike Back by FinalCutKing

Milo Wanted Attention by jahzyoga

How to vote: There are two ways to vote for your choice for the Golden Kitty. You can either vote in the poll below OR you can vote on Twitter!

Follow @CatVidFest and use hashtag #goldenkittyaward, plus the name of the video to cast your vote! Try it!

Example: I vote for Henri 2: Paw de Deux #goldenkittyaward #catvidfest
(Obviously, Henri is not up for the award again this year.)

Voting closes on July 18 at midnight. The winners will be revealed at the 2014 Internet Cat Video Festival on Thursday, August 14.  And remember, just because you may not see your favorite video on this list, doesn’t mean that it’s not in the reel or we don’t have something special planned for it.

Until then, watch, deliberate, and vote!

Cat Call: Nominate Your Favorite Videos for #catvidfest 2014

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day and we have an exciting announcement (in limerick form, obviously):

Since last year you’ve watched so many cats
We know, we’ve seen the YouTube stats
And now it’s your turn
To share faves or to spurn,
And we’ll post photos of kitties in green hats

Have a favorite cat video? Have a lot of favorite cat videos? Nominations are now open for the 2014 Internet Cat Video Festival, which takes place August 14 as a free community event at its original site, Open Field. Take some time to reflect on all the cat videos you’ve watched this year and select your favorites by May 1 to be considered for inclusion in this year’s event. Voting for the Golden Kitty (People’s Choice) Award begins on June 1, so we’ll be looking for your votes then as well!

You can find the nomination form right here.

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Photos found searching for “cat shamrock” and “cat leprechaun” on Google

#catvidfest

“Lumps and Bumps” in the Night: A Kawakubo/Cunningham Halloween

  Last week Hyperallergic posted an excellent blog entitled, “If You Hate Your Children and Love Art, Dress Them Like This for Halloween.” Inside, they shared elaborate ideas from around the web for dressing your little ones up like Frida, Andy, Vincent, or the Guggenheim. After reading it, I realized that the Walker had already […]

 

Last week Hyperallergic posted an excellent blog entitled, “If You Hate Your Children and Love Art, Dress Them Like This for Halloween.” Inside, they shared elaborate ideas from around the web for dressing your little ones up like Frida, Andy, Vincent, or the Guggenheim. After reading it, I realized that the Walker had already dressed dozens of children up (not even our own) in arty costumes. For October’s Free First Saturday, we took kids and their grown-ups on tours of Dance Works III: Merce Cunningham/Rei Kawakubo, an exhibition which showcases the costumes Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubuo created for Cunningham’s 1997 dance, Scenario. Afterwards, we led everybody in a movement activity to see how it felt to move when they had extra “lumps and bumps” on. I asked our prop and costume-maker extraordinaire, Frannie, to write up instructions for making your very own Cunningham costume:


Merce Cunningham Dancer Costume

Two piece of fabric:
1 – 60” long X 18” wide
1 – 18” long X 12” wide

Four pieces of Heat n Bond – iron on adhesive
2 – 18 inches long
2 – 12 inches long

Poly-fill
Iron

Lay large fabric piece flat on the floor. Take small fabric piece and lay in the center of larger piece. Use three of the hear n bond strips to iron three sides of the small fabric piece to the center of the large fabric piece. One side of the small fabric piece will be open – fill with poly-fill until the space resembles a big lump. Use the last heat n bond strip to seal in the poly-fill. Cut hole in the large fabric somewhere between the edge and the lump in the middle. Slide arm, leg or head through the hole and tie. OR, forgo the hole and tie around your hips, shoulder, arms or legs. Finished!

So go ahead! Revel in (your kid) having the most obscure costume on the block and let us know how it goes.

Ideas for your home, courtesy of Arty Pants.

Well, we’ve come to the end of our Arty Pants activities connected with Worlds Away, but not before our toddlers could show off their interior decorating skills, giving all those shows on TLC a run for their money. A few weeks ago we had the tots decorate their own room within the Arty Pants McMansion. […]

Well, we’ve come to the end of our Arty Pants activities connected with Worlds Away, but not before our toddlers could show off their interior decorating skills, giving all those shows on TLC a run for their money.

A few weeks ago we had the tots decorate their own room within the Arty Pants McMansion.

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Faced with blank walls, the tots quickly got on to furniture design, wallpapering, carpeting, and decor. There was a room evocative of a breezy seaside getaway…

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… a much-needed habitat for a snowman family…

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… another room for the tropical animal-loving snowmen …

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… and a swanky lounge complete with commissioned soldier monkey art.

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Other than snowmen, trends for this season also include brightly colored foam heart wall decor and larger-than-life animal wall illustrations.

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I expect DesignSponge and Apartment Therapy to report on these trends very soon…

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Which room would YOU fight your sibling for in the McMansion?

 

 

 

 

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Once upon a time, there was one very lonely house in the Arty Pants neighborhood. Luckily, it wasn’t alone for very long because as soon as people started hearing about the new housing development, there was soon a crowd of painters, carpenters, and new neighbors clamoring to build their houses and choose their plots. These […]

Once upon a time, there was one very lonely house in the Arty Pants neighborhood.

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Luckily, it wasn’t alone for very long because as soon as people started hearing about the new housing development, there was soon a crowd of painters, carpenters, and new neighbors clamoring to build their houses and choose their plots.

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These new residents were an amiable bunch, choosing to live by their neighbors rather than on big cul-de-sac lots or where there was a beautiful view of the downtown skyline.

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A few giant children attacked the neighborhood…

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…but it made it through mostly unscathed. A few trees were stolen from yards, a few houses pushed aside to make room for one neighbor’s dream house, but in the end, Arty Pants grew to be known as one of the most colorful and creative neighborhoods of all.

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I heard the neighborhood is getting a shopping center soon, as well as stoplights…