I know what it’s like to accomplish something wonderful, and the Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats is my choice for this very first “Paw Up” appreciation from a cat who, though never feral herself, has a sibling who is. I have been referred to as “bossy” and “possessive of my piano,” but that’s a whole other story. You can check out the amazing work of Kitty Bungalow at <http://kittybungalow.org>. On Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/kittybungalowcharmschool/ Tell ’em Nora sent you.
To get to the place where the photo above would become a reality, much had to happen. It all began a long time ago, well, it was actually 2009, when a Lithuaian conductor of the Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra was sent a link to a very famous video of a cat playing the piano. That conductor was Mindaugas Piecaitis. The cat, in case you haven’t already guessed, was me. Maestro Piecaitis is a brilliant human being, obviously, who saw the potential in the piano stylings of moi. And he set about composing a concerto inspired by those stylings. The result was a beautiful piece of music titled CATcerto. Clever, eh?
The piece was premiered in 2009 by the Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra with Maestro Piecaitis at the podium and me, as guest soloist, projected onto a large screen behind the musicians. It was a rousing success and was eventually published by Peter’s Publishing. To date, CATcerto has been performed 20 times by orchestras around the world. It even made it into the Guiness Book as the first concerto ever written for a cat.
Then in late 2012, Maestro and muse (that’s me) met for the very first time when Mindaugas flew to the United States and spent several days with me, my siblings, and my purrsonal assistants, Burnell and Betsy. It was during the very first moments of that meeting that Burnell took the now famous photo of our paws touching on the piano bench.
Maestro Piecaitis was heard to remark, “I feel I must be dreaming.” Truth be told, it was I who was humbled by his presence. A gray tabby rescued from the streets of Camden, New Jersey only to one day touch paws with the Maestro from halfway around the world. Of such things are not dreams made?
Orchestras who may wish to perform the piece should contact Peter’s Publishing for the sheet music and the DVD for the projection.
There are two pianos in my home. One is essentially mine. That’s the shiny, black Yamaha Grand. The other is the one the students play on most of the time. That one is a Briggs piano. It’s the one I’m posing on in the above photograph taken by my photographer/purrsonal assistant, Burnell. Normally, I would insist on posing only on the shiny, black Yamaha Grand, but when Burnell suggested trying the Briggs for a shot, I thought why not. After all, I have a reputation for being rather adventurous. And I think the brown of the Briggs actually compliments my fur quite nicely. Woulldn’t you agree.
Have you seen the interactive Petcube Camera yet! Well I just got one and it’s pretty cool. My purrsonal assistants have already set it up and have interacted with me using the built-in microphone and speaker and have played with me using the remotely controlled laser, which is controlled from your smartphone using the free Petcube app. And all of this while a hundred miles away. How cool is that? If you’d like to know more, and if you have pets who are sometimes home alone, please click the image above to go to their website. And get $50 off until March 27th. Use code SPRING50 at checkout. See you on Petcube Camera.
What is “The Purring Quest”? Read this description from the Valhalla Cats website:
“Have you ever wanted to be a cat?, you will be able, thanks to the aventure platformer The Purring Quest. Take on the role of Kimchi the cat and meet famous cats of the internet in a journey full of humor. Enjoy the detailed hand drawn graphics and the smooth animations made by a veteran traditional animator with experience in major studies like Disney and Warner.
A percentage of the profits will go directly to various animal welfare associations. So in addition to enjoying the game, you are contributing to a good cause.”
And, of course, I am one of the internet cats that Kimchi the cat meets on his quest.
Want more info? Want to purchase the game? Check out this link. Available for PC.
Two or three years ago, I had the privilege of meeting mother/daughter fans from Harrisburg, PA. Their names are Sophia and Fonda. We had such a wonderful visit. So, they decided they wanted a second audience with the diva. And, of course, I was happy to oblige. Despite my reputation for being a bit nippy at times, and not always in the mood to play the piano, I really do appreciate the desire of others to spend time in my presence. And while the second visit was a tad more low-key than the first (I really didn’t play much), I do believe we all had a pleasant time. I even honored Fonda with a paw.
We all know how important art and music are in making the world a better place for all creatures, great and small. I’ve certainly tried to do my part and, in doing, I’ve collaborated with some amazing humans along the way. One of them is my purrsonal assistant, Betsy Alexander. In addition to providing me with a loving home, a piano, and plenty of encouragement, she is also a marvelous composer with a big heart when it comes to empathy and concern for others.
So it was quite natural for her to be moved by a recent project by a friend of hers, artist Meg Saligman, who has created an interactive installation called “Mary, Undoer of Knots” in honor of the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia. And when Betsy is moved, inspiration and action soon follow, this time resulting in the song, Help Us Mary, which is delighting and even moving to tears all who hear it.
A demo recording of the song with words and music by BetsyAlexander, vocals by Donnie Hammond, and produced by Dan Martin can be heard on Betsy’s website at <http://betsyswonderfulthings.com>.
More info about Meg Saligman’s project “Mary, Undoer of Knots.”
Yep. The Acro-Cats and the Rock Cats band arrived in my home town, Philadelphia, this weekend for a series of performances at the Painted Bride Art Center in Old City, Philadelphia. My human purrsonal assistants, Burnell and Betsy, came home from brunch this morning with the great news. Turns out, Burnell was eating next to the window facing South Street and saw a car pull up across the street with a giant white cat on the top. Not something you see every day, right?
So he naturally ran out to say hello. That’s Paulie above waving her paw and looking fantastic in her cat ears. Anyway, sounds like a fun show to check out. You can get more information on the whole troupe and information on tickets and show times at circuscats.com