Your timing is purrrrfect.
The wildly popular Internet Cat Video Festival is coming to St. Louis for the first time this summer, turning the Internet's most enjoyable non-pornography video experience into a community-wide festival at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis on July 18 and 19.
The Cannes of cat videos started two years ago in Minneapolis when self-described cat lady Katie Czarniecki Hill brought her cat-vid vision to the Walker Art Center. Hill expected the idea to catch on slowly with fellow feline enthusiasts, but just a week after announcing the festival, more than 1.2 million news articles spread the word around the world, eventually bringing in more than 10,000 cat-video submissions.
Since 2012, the unparalleled festival has spread to cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and Austin.
Here's a taste of what to expect:
Excitement in St. Louis is already building. Since finalizing the festival earlier this year, the Contemporary Art Museum has fielded calls from enterprising media and locals alike hoping to join in on the nationwide frenzy.
"We've had people just call and say, 'Are you really doing this?'" Brie Alley, the assistant director of development at CAM, tells Daily RFT. "Everyone has a favorite cat video, it doesn't matter if you're a dog lover or a cat lover. We are getting a ton of people who are interested in coming to this program who would not otherwise come through our doors."
What makes the online cat-video festival so popular? Besides just being adorable, cat videos also constitute a meta challenge of sorts to the nature of modern American artistic expression.
After all, who's to say your video of your cat meowing "nom, nom, nom" isn't art?
"Where is the line drawn?" asks Alley. "What is a home video versus what is something we envision as contemporary art? It's very much a reflection on contemporary society and how we are bringing the idea of art to a different level."
Thousands of the people of the Internet have submitted their favorite cat clips to the video festival for organizers to arrange into several categories, including comedy, documentary, foreign and animated. Festival attendees will get to vote for their favorites.
Alley encourages cat-vid lovers to come early to snag a seat, get their faces painted, meet adoptable cats from Tenth Life Cat Rescue, buy cat-themed souvenirs and more.
Oh, and wear a costume.
"Costumes are always a must," Alley says. "I mean, it's the Internet Cat Video Festival. We encourage you to come in costume."
The Internet Cat Video Festival starts at 7:30 p.m. July 18 and 19 at the Contemporary Art Museum. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $20. Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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