The combination Super Bowl, Grammys, Oscars and Emmys of cat videos is coming to Chicago on September 6.
The Internet Cat Video Festival offers 75 minutes of unadulterated feline foolishness, featuring cats doing everything from falling into the bathtub to swatting at alligators. Plus, the Greta Garbo of said videos, and this year’s festival hostess, is an Indiana cat named Bub who was born the runt of her litter but is now the MVP of her species. (Plus, Bub, of Bloomington, Ind. has her own TV show and is an actual “celebrity” in many circles.)
“When I first heard about the Internet Cat Video Festival I had one of those moments where I was like ‘Why didn’t we do that first?’ because it’s just so brilliant,” says JennieSchlueter with the Tree House Humane Society, who worked with Cat Rescue to bring the festival to Wrigleyville venue The Metro.
“In 2012 we didn’t have the funds to do a huge space, but we had a good turnout. This year the owner of the Metro was really helpful and cool about us bringing animals in. We’re having an after party and the location is more accessible to more people. Plus, it definitely brings an air of hipster coolness.”
The video festival is “right up there” on the marquee with all the other hip acts to come to the Metro, says Schlueter.
The fest itself is only two years old and was created by the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis as a way to look at the pop cultural, artistic aspects of one of the Internet’s largest trends. Cat videos are viewer gold, and many studies show that people would rather watch cat videos than dog videos. Some cat videos on YouTube have upwards of 15 million views, making cats like Bub veritable superstars with her own calendars and books. Plus, cat videos have become a cottage industry, bringing fame to people such as the Chicago-basedgroup behind the “Cat Catastrophes” web series.
“I think they’re popular because whether you have a cat or not, there’s just something really pure and innocent. People really enjoy their funny antics and their daredevilness,” says Julie Adams, cofounder of Chicago Cat Rescue, and “proud mama” of eight cats at her home. “Walker kind of combs through all of the different videos submitted and they pick the best ones and kind of gather videos like the Cannes Film Festival, where you have your best comedy section, your best drama and the best of the short films.”
The show promises to be a safe space for cat lovers to love cats, bring cats and adopt cats. Proceeds from the $11-per-ticket showcase benefit the Tree House Humane Society, Chicago Cat Rescue and a charity set up in Lil Bub’s name.
This video, for example, made the cut.
Of course, the winning video goes to Shorty the cat, a Canadian cat who has 801,000 or so “likes” on Facebook. But you can watch a sampling of all the videos here.