The 2nd Annual Oakland Internet Cat Video Festival took place a little over a week ago. Large numbers of cat lovers and cat-video enthusiasts descended on a block of West Grand Avenue along The Great Wall in celebration of cats, and of course your author was there, complete with crazy-cat-lady dress and bag.
The daytime part of the event had more of a street fair atmosphere, with numerous booths providing food and miscellaneous cat-themed products under a bright but cloudy sky. There were also numerous organizations involved in fostering and adoption of cats, including the East Bay SPCA (one of the main beneficiaries of the event) Cat Town, and Oakland-based group that finds foster and forever homes for local cats and is also opening what may be the first cat cafe in the United States!
Many of the organizations brought adoptable cats and kittens for viewing. We certainly hope some found homes that day.
The celebrity rock star of the event was Li’l Bub, who was on hand for visitors to meet.
Our friend Serena Toxicat of Protea performed a feline-themed set of music for voice and electronics. Among her songs was a tribute to the manual (or Pallas Cat) with the warning not to get too close to one despite its awesomeness.
Other daylight fun included a photo booth from the makers of 9lives cat food, inviting visitors to Instagram and tag themselves as #MorrisAndMe (and of course #catvidfest).
Finally, the sun set and the actual videos began. The videos were from a curated reel featured at the Minneapolis Cat Video Festival hosted at the Walker Art Center., and featured many familiar videos such as Henri the existential cat and Grumpy Cat, but also new discoveries.
What makes this experience unique is not the videos themselves, which so many of us know from our time on the Internet, but the act of getting together and watching them with others, and laughing together at the cat antics.
I am certainly looking forward to this event coming back again next year!