CatConLA - epilogue
One week after being a vendor/exhibitor at this event, I'm reflecting on all that transpired in the two-day event called CatConLA. Of course, everyone has a particular point of view in this world, and therefore there really is no right or wrong way to portray something. But, for me, displaying five of my cat tower sculptures in one ten-foot by ten-foot space was no less than amazing! And, while I was the only person manning my booth and thereby not able to attend the talks by the roster of speakers and not able to walk the show and meet the kitties up for adoption or meet all of the other vendors, I still got an incredible view of the show.
First, there were my neighbors (Indy Plush, Maison La Queue, Kittyo, and The Paw Project), each one presenting their own contribution to the love of cats and cat-caretakers, be it with stuffed toys, with tools, with technology, or with political and social awareness.
At the start of the day Saturday, I felt timid and afraid to even say hello to these people. By Sunday evening, it was like I had known them all for years and would lay die my life for them. Funny how an influx of 10,000 people in two days can change a person.
Then there was the fashion!
Everyone, and I mean everyone, who attended this show was donning some element of cat worship. Cat earrings, glasses with cat noses and whiskers, tights with the outline of black cats...just great stuff! And there were many who went above and beyond in their cat costumes! (The photos above thanks to Mashable) It was like Halloween, but for cat people. (That line sounds vaguely familiar.) And, just like Halloween, I couldn't help but smile all day long at the creativity and sheer outrageousness.
I met Amy Raasch, a performance artist dressed as Catwoman who performs under the name "Kitty Decides." She explained to me how she was decidedly the Julie Newmar Catwoman, as Julie Newmar was a dancer and how only a dancer could best embody Catwoman. I argued that the sexy gritty voice of Eartha Kitt was not to be ignored, but I ceded to her point.
Then there was the woman whose name I didn't catch, dressed fully as a white cat, complete with white wig, white jacket and white furry ears and gloves. This, combined with oversized nerdy glasses and a bowtie epitomized the essence and allure of felines: smart, agile, and sexy all at once.
The list goes on, each person using this show as an opportunity to express who they are and what their pets mean to them, in a way that dog owners don't. I think Jackson Galaxy had the right assessment about CatConLA: dog people have parks in which to socialize with other dog owners and to share the joy of their animals; cat people do not.
That's why this was an incredible event! For me, the synergy of people around me expressing their love for all things cat was palpable. Moreover, there was a feeling of fellowship and partnership. Two women came to my booth, and one spoke of wanting to build a cat tower herself for her kitties. I encouraged her to do so, pointing to my being a novice as a woodworker and how she should just take the first step. I hope she heeds my advice.
This, perhaps, was the greatest part of CatConLA for me: sharing. To share the things I've created for my cats with people who attended the show was priceless. To watch folks come around the corner and see the grandfather clock and the flower pot, and then notice the Seuss hat and the Leaning Tower, to see their eyes wide, their jaws open, and to hear them say, "This is the cutest thing I've ever seen," or "Omigod! NO WAY!"...to make others happy and to open their minds to other possibilities, what greater joy is there than this?
Finally, I'd like to thank Susan Michals and all the people involved in CatConLA 2015, including all the people who, this weekend and everyday, work towards pet adoption and pet safety, and the staff at The Reef, for all creating such an amazing event, and I look forward to next year!