It’s starting to look like a real movie! With Zombie Cats!

In my previous post, I mentioned that I was working as the cat handler for a movie called Zombie Cats From Mars.  I’ve had four long days of shooting with cats (all from Furry Friends, who can now add “movie star celebricat” to their resumes), with one more to go (tomorrow).  It has been a LOT of fun…stressful at times, dangerous at others (to me, not the cats, mind you, who are armed with claws and teeth) and I was very curious to see how things would turn out on film.  Well, the first trailer has arrived!  You can watch it below, and as an added bonus, I’m including some shots from filming.

The movie will be released in March, and Furry Friends will receive half of the proceeds that are earned from three screenings in Southwest Washington!  I’m so excited to see the final product! 🙂

Fine Art Felines Friday: Paris Through the Window by Marc Chagall

Paris Through the Window (1913)

Paris Through the Window (1913)

Today’s short and sweet Fine Art Felines post features the painting “Paris Through the Window” by the Russian (and later French) Jewish artist Marc Chagall (1887 – 1985).   Painted in 1913 after Chagall moved to Paris, this painting portrays the draw of Paris to all types of artists who flocked to the city in the early 1900’s.  Chagall was an “early modernist”, and in this piece experiments with a cubist style.  What I really love about this painting is the color juxtaposition: a rainbow of colors on the window frame that produces an almost prismatic effect upon the city amidst an otherwise brown and drab landscape.  I like to think that perhaps Chagall, in looking out his window at the city, was able to imagine all the possibilities that were in front of him – kind of like looking at the world through “rose-colored glasses”.  And of course, having a colorful cat to help you dream is an integral part of that visualization!  I’m not sure what is up with the human face on the cat, but if Chagall was anything like many of the cat lovers I know (including myself), we often anthropomorphize our kitties, giving them very human-like personalities layered upon their feline souls.

Regardless, this painting makes me happy.  How lucky would we be if we could all see such color outside our own windows of reality?

When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is”. — Pablo Picasso

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

By Robert Herrick, 15911674

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

I will Literally FIGHT to Photograph the Empire Builders!

DSC00348_transparentI am so proud of my husby, Christopher.  As a member of the Oregon Army National Guard, he plays in the 234th Army Band throughout the year.  But for two weeks every summer, he leaves with the army band on tour, playing free concerts for the public all over Oregon.  He has been away for about ten days, but I was able to drive down to Salem to see the concert band (a.k.a. The Empire Builders) perform at the Historic Grand Theatre.  Chris said that this was the best concert the army band has put on since he has been in the National Guard, so I wanted to make sure that I got to see it!  Chris’ principle instrument is the oboe, but he’s just as good on saxophone, and he often plays percussion or other instruments (but he can play nearly any band instrument you throw at him).

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The theme was “Heroes and Villains”, and they performed lots of popular songs, including pieces from Superman, Frozen, Les Miserables, and Godzilla (which featured a story-line slide show that played as the band told the story of how Godzilla attacked Las Vegas, which was ultimately saved by multiple Elvi armed with various types of weaponry).

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That was all great, but I was mostly excited about the show because this year, Chris has moved into a conducting position and I wanted to see him do what he does best!  He loves conducting, and I think it has been really exciting for him to move into another position and take on new challenges.

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My favorite piece of the show was The Padstow Lifeboat March…I’m a big fan of marches in general.  This piece was unique to me, though, because I could really visualize the waves getting bigger and the wind picking up…the song really told a story, to me!  And, it was entertaining as well – every time the fog-horn sounded, Chris emphasized the horns by doing something exaggerated (like in the picture above).  The audience laughed a lot! Want to hear The Padstow Lifeboat March by Sir Malcolm Arnold?  Click HERE and hit “Play Song”!

NoPaparazziWell, you probably want to hear about this FIGHT that almost went down, huh?  I was sitting in the balcony with a couple of friends, and I had my camera so that I could take some pictures of Chris as he conducted.  About the third song in, I get this insistent tap on my shoulder and I turn around, and there’s this old lady who rudely commanded to me “DON’T DO THAT”.  What???  It’s a free concert!  There was absolutely no ban on photography!  Further, my husband, who had been gone from his family for 10 days, did so in order to play free concerts for the public, for her!!!  I gave her a death stare, and took a couple more pictures.   I didn’t know exactly what was bothering her (I wasn’t using a flash), but I thought maybe it was the screen on my camera…but there were other people around me taking pictures with their iPhones, which also had screens.  I tried taking some pictures without the screen on, just using the view-finder, but that didn’t work well, so I got up and took more pictures from the side of the balcony.  The whole rest of the show I was stewing, thinking about all the things I was going to say to that lady if she pestered me again!  Seriously, I really try to be kind and considerate to people, but it seems like there is always someone yelling at me and telling me what I can and can’t do.  No wonder I don’t like being around crowds of strangers!  Sheesh…well, she got up and left immediately after the show ended and didn’t say anything else to me.  But I tell you what…things were about to get REAL in up in that balcony!  If my roller derby experience has taught me anything, it’s taught me how to hit a bitch, so look out, and don’t tell ME not to take pictures!

I mean, seriously, if I didn’t take pictures, this post would be much less entertaining, right?  😉

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Fine Art Felines Friday: Electric Cat by Louis Wain

An Electric Cat painted by Louis Wain.

An Electric Cat painted by Louis Wain.

Happy Independence Day!  I chose today’s painting by Louis Wain because it almost looks like this cat is erupting into fireworks, which is appropriate for my current blogging soundtrack (hint: it’s just before sunset and people in my neighborhood are getting amped up on beer and whiskey and are ready to light things on fire and watch them explode already!).  I could not find a title or a date for this piece, but that’s not too surprising, since Wain painted a lot of cat pictures like this in his later years, many of which were untitled and undated.  But let me back up.

I can’t believe, that as a person who loves cats and who loves art, and even more loves art featuring cats, I’d never heard of Louis Wain.  Seriously.  Just do an image google for “Louis Wain cats” and you’ll see what I mean – what a prolific painter!  He was born all the way back in 1860 in London, and led an unusual life, it seems to me.  He was the oldest of six children; none of his five sisters were ever married, but lived with their mother; all except for the youngest sister, who was declared insane and was admitted to an asylum.  Strangely enough, Wain, who had a cleft lip, did not attend regular school as a child, but achieved modest success as a free-lance artist with his illustrations of animals and the English countryside.  At the age of 23, he married Emily, who succumbed to breast cancer a mere 3 years into their marriage.  However, it was during her time of sickness that Emily and Louis rescued a black and white kitten that they named Peter, who did much to comfort Emily while she was ill.  Louis produced many sketches and paintings of Peter, who changed the course of his art for the rest of Louis’ life.

While Louis’ early work was more realistic, Louis’ intermediate works were anthropomorphized versions of cats, wearing the latest fashions, having parties, and doing other things that humans might do.  During this time, Louis was actively involved with several animal charities such as the Governing Council of Our Dumb Friends League, the Society for the Protection of Cats, and the Anti-Vivisection Society. He was also active in the National Cat Club, acting as President and Chairman of the committee at times.  You gotta love a man who loves cats this much, right???

Sadly, during his later years, Louis was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was institutionalized until someone publicized his plight (he was quite a popular artist for his time, although poorly managed his money).  His new doctor diagnosed him instead with Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism, and Louis was moved to a hospital that had a garden and colony of cats, which Louis enjoyed for the last 15 years of his life.  It was during this time that his paintings became more abstract, using bright colors and complex patterns.  Louis died on July 4, 1939, making today the 75th anniversary of his death (seriously, I did not plan this).

H.G. Wells (who wrote The War of the Worlds and many other works of science fiction) said of Louis Wain:

He has made the cat his own. He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look and live like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves.”

If you missed the AcroCats, YOU MISSED OUT!!!

AcroCats and Rock Cats!I just don’t know how to describe the amazing talents of the AcroCats.  It…it was as if a big jar of awesome spilled all over a sparkly purple stage filled with incredible cats.  It was…it was perfectly imperfect, because after all, we were watching cats performing, and they are CATS.  It was incredibly surprising because…because the show did not devolve into a chaotic pandemonium of cats fleeing into the audience and causing a massive storm of attacks on ankles and allergic outbreaks…no no no!  These cats, THESE cats, were simply mindblowing.

And not just cats, but a chicken (named Cluck Norris), groundhog and three rats all BROUGHT IT!  All the animals were clicker-trained using positive reinforcement, which led me to two conclusions: 1) HOLY SHIT YOU CAN TRAIN CATS, and 2) WHY DO MY CATS SUCK SO MUCH???  Seriously.  They don’t do anything except know when to come running when I open up a can of anything.  The AcroCats performed all sorts of tricks, leaping through hoops, jumping obstacles, BOWLING, running around in a non-random order, and jeeze – they even ran INTO their individual crates when a whistle sounded.  My cats, on the other hand, sleep, eat, dirty their litter boxes at an alarming rate, and require a front-end loader to get them into their travel crates.  The AcroCats and Rock Cats:  play actual musical instruments, recognize visual commands, and don’t necessarily seek to cause panic and alarm (except for Tuna, who possibly has plans for world domination, but I’m not sure).  My cats:  play with the horizontal blinds in our bedroom at 2 in the morning, decide that demons are chasing them in the wee hours of the night, and are plotting a biological attack on the world starting with me by weakening my immune system to the point of giving me crippling allergies to these sneaky, plotting kitties.  I’M ON TO YOU, THOUGH!!!  I will not succumb to your evil plotting!

Anyway…how about some pictures of the show?  It was magical, and I hope that you get the opportunity to see them some day.  Go to www.CircusCats.com to learn more, and see if the AcroCats and Rock Cats are coming to a theater near you!!!  Grab yo’ cat ears and yo’ cat leggings and yo’ cat shirts and see these amazing kitties…it’s totally worth it!!!

This just happened.  Gritty Cat meets the Rock Cats!

This just happened. Gritty Cat meets the Rock Cats!

Related Posts:  At Least I’m Not Allergic to Lucky Charms, Bu bu bum! Bu bu bum! Bu bu bu bum…CAT SHOW!!!, Cats cats cats cats cats!

Fine Art Felines Funday: Lying Female Nude with Cat by Pablo Picasso

Because I’m taking Writing 101, my Fine Art Felines posts are now going to be on Sundays instead of Fridays, at least for the month of June.  I chose today’s Fine Art Felines piece, Lying Female Nude with Cat by Pablo Picasso, as a juxtaposition to the last piece I featured, Woman with Cat, also by Pablo Picasso (drawn in 1900).  Today’s piece from Picasso’s later years, completed in 1964, is a great example of the surrealism exhibited by Picasso as his painting style matured and evolved.  However, if you compare it to Woman with Cat, you’ll see that there are some similarities between the two paintings and that (as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago) you can see the characteristic Picasso style even in his earlier work.  For example, the color palate is very similar; the greens and blues, while more saturated than in the earlier painting, still reflect a quiet and intimate mood.  Further, while the previous piece was impressionistic and this piece is more surrealist, there is still a great deal of motion and communication between the two subjects.  Perhaps this is the “bizarro” world version of the earlier drawing…maybe this painting is the view of the person in the portrait and shows what he sees as he looks into the room and gazes upon a woman and her cat.

It seems that Picasso was rather fond of painting women with cats, including several nudes – and to be honest, if I were a painter, I’d probably paint a lot of women with cats, too! What similarities do you see between the two Picasso pieces?  Which one do you prefer?  Leave a comment and let me know!

Lying Female Nude with Cat by Pablo Picasso

Lying Female Nude with Cat by Pablo Picasso