Aug 26, 2014

Last night I was really stressed out about work and then I went over to my auntie’s house to watch the Emmys. I walked into the kitchen and minutes later there we all were, the four of us ladies ranging in age from12 to 56, playing Kim Kardashian: Hollywood on our respective devices. What a horrifying, beautiful moment. 

Aug 16, 2014
I will never underestimate the popularity of cat videos ever again. 
(Photo: Gene Pittman)

I will never underestimate the popularity of cat videos ever again. 

(Photo: Gene Pittman)

Aug 10, 2014

Hey all, big news. The new Spoon album is really good! It’s the first one I’ve been excited about since Gimme Fiction.

(Source: Spotify)

Aug 7, 2014
Installation of cat videos at the Blanton Museum of Art.
(via Art History and the Smart, Hard Truth About Our Cats and Dogs)

Installation of cat videos at the Blanton Museum of Art.

(via Art History and the Smart, Hard Truth About Our Cats and Dogs)

Aug 7, 2014
Aug 6, 2014
corbinlamont:

Today Taryn Cowart and I are releasing our project Day Job into the world! It’s a collection of works by a group of talented and diverse women about making art and making a living. Available at http://www.day-job.co/buy/

Woo! I’ve got a thing in this publication. Support this project by my fellow fellow.

corbinlamont:

Today Taryn Cowart and I are releasing our project Day Job into the world! It’s a collection of works by a group of talented and diverse women about making art and making a living. Available at http://www.day-job.co/buy/

Woo! I’ve got a thing in this publication. Support this project by my fellow fellow.

Jul 26, 2014

Very first rocket launch.

Jul 12, 2014

Think Piece on the 2014 Golden Kitty Nominees

In the last month I’ve had several lengthy conversations about cat videos. Not just about the logistics of putting on a cat video festival for thousands of people, but about the actual merit and reception of individual YouTube cat videos. The first was for my interview with Will Braden, which I hoped would be both sincere and silly simultaneously. The second was during our conversation in which we decided on this year’s five Golden Kitty nominees we’d put up to the vote for the people’s choice competition. 

During the interview, Will said the thing that I have always felt the strongest about when it comes to cat videos: “The genesis of it has to be a cat.” I’ve seen way too many videos where the cat is basically posed within an inch of its life in order to fit whatever narrative the video creator comes up with. Often the story really has nothing to do with a cat being a cat. It’s just a cat being a human.

This was on my mind when it came time to finalize the list of nominees. Will had already been overthinking (his own words) for days, and I hadn’t really been thinking. I figured it would be obvious based on both juror input and the number of times a video had been nominated. But no matter what the outcome, Will and I agreed: the videos all had to be entertaining. Number one. We weighed popularity and timeliness. We considered range and variety. We came up with the following videos, which I will now proceed to make cases for, inspired by the one line (and in some cases, one word) reviews that several authors have now published on the matter.

Since nobody seems to be interested in doing a think piece on the nominees and what they say about today’s culture, I will try to do so now, though obviously I have a very different viewpoint since - FULL DISCLOSURE! - I helped pick them and am producing the festival.

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1. "8 Signs of Addiction"

This video comes from the very popular creator of the ShoKo Show, a YouTube channel with way more fans than we knew about at the time that we selected the video. This one was fairly new, but I think it has the perfect balance between natural cat behavior and the human hand. It places human motivations on the cat (Shorty), who is simply getting on with her bad cat self. It’s quick, it’s well shot, and it deals with a topic everybody likes: making fun of cats who are high on catnip. Very solid. (Plus, the ShoKo dude made a custom banner for the Golden Kitty Award voting. You have to admire the organized social media efforts.)

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2. "The Engineer’s Guide to Cats 2.0 - The Sequel"

It was surprising to me that the Engineer’s Guide to Cats 1.0 was never nominated for the Golden Kitty. I believe their original video did receive a special achievement award either the first or second year, but I’m happy to put their follow-up in the real competition. Although this version is a little long, the first few minutes are solid gold. Again, the creators used cat behavior as their inspiration, and tried to use engineering jargon to explain it. It’s a simple, clear concept, and the delivery is deadpan and easy for viewers to quote and emulate. (It was also my mom’s pick. She had never seen any of these videos and laughed straight through the first few minutes. I think this says something.)

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3. "Gotcha!"

This made big waves when it was first posted. It’s a cat video classic, in which the person taking the video is doing it at exactly the right time to catch the cat doing something different than usual. For people familiar with cats, this cat also embodies one of the main identifiable behaviors of the creatures: when they are caught doing something bad, or messing something up, they simply pretend like it never happened. This Scottish fold doesn’t do a great job, however, despite its best efforts to push the drawer back in, because of its naturally guilty-looking face and folded back ears. It is, in that sense, very human - without the video creator forcing any human motivations upon it. 

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4. "Jedi Kittens Strike Back"

It breaks my number one rule about cat videos - that the video must be inspired by cat behavior. I’ve never seen a cat that has natural pilot or lightsaber fighting tendencies. However, this video is one that I think is a very timely choice, as the past year has seen more and more videos that follow the format of “Such and Such Movie or TV Show…with Cats!” (Jurassic ParkOrange is the New BlackGame of Thrones, etc etc.) I think this one does it the best of the lot - since it’s so well made, short and to the point, and adds that extra story within a story of kittens getting in trouble, as kitten often do for being batshit crazy. 

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5. "Milo Wants Attention"

This one has been the most maligned in the reviews, and I get it. But I also think it’s essential to round out the five nominees. In the time since last year’s festival, it has arguably become the year(s) of the selfie. What’s great about the video isn’t the fact that the cat pops up, stares into the camera (all the while making a face that reminds one of the internet classic, Dramatic Squirrel), and eventually knocks the camera over, but that this cat does it while his owner is trying to tape herself doing yoga. This cat is silently protesting (but without even knowing it, which makes it essential cat behavior).

Jun 14, 2014

Don Carpenter’s Richard Brautigan

There simply isn’t a penny to made off the man. There is just no way in the world to get rich fooling around with Richard Brautigan. In fact, the opposite may be true: Mess around with him long enough and you’ll end up in the poorhouse.

Poor old Brautigan. In an age when any idiot with a typewriter and a dictionary can make a fortune writing muck, he has to try to be honest, and report life the way he sees it. And life the way Brautigan sees it is comforting, funny and delightful only to people who haven’t yet invested too heavily in what used to be called greed and hypocrisy. (Those words certainly have a quaint ring to them don’t they?) And not only that, Brautigan seems not to appeal to people who have chosen sides. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, Brautigan is on neither side of it.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Brautigan is a loser. Trout Fishing in America is a loser book. Most of the people who will buy it are probably losers. (I should mention that the first time I met Brautigan we got into a poker game with some people and everybody in the game lost.)

- from Don Carpenter’s “review” of Trout Fishing in America

If you are a fan, please read Don Carpenter’s "My Brautigan: A Portrait from Memory." 

Jun 13, 2014

Making the “Best Cat Video on the Internet” — Magazine — Walker Art Center

Fong

You’re a nerd about the cat videos?

Braden

Yeah, I mean, some people like comic books or The Lord of the Rings or whatever. For me, it’s cat videos.

Fong

Were you the person always sharing cat videos with other people?

Braden

Oh yeah. I was unashamed about it. I didn’t wait until the 2012 boom where all of a sudden the stigma lifted and it was cool to love cat videos. I was sharing those things, as a nerd, 10 years before that. I was emailing all my friends cat videos and being made fun of and enduring the jokes about being a crazy cat lady for a long, long time. Now I’m a proud crazy cat video lady… trapped in a man’s body.

Fong

I don’t think I knew that about you.

Braden

I also don’t think you should use that line.

My very first interview is published today on the Walker Art Center’s website. It’s a very serious look at the state of cat videos today with “Henri, Le Chat Noir” creator, Will Braden.

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