LA Feline Film Festival Photo Extravaganza

Posted 11 CommentsPosted in Cats, Feline Fine Art, Shelter Cats

Our special correspondent Denise Dibetta covered the LA Feline Film Festival with Nikole Halaka on September 21, 2014 and Jeffrey Church provided exclusive photos for Cat Wisdom 101. Edited and photo collages by Layla Morgan Wilde.

#LAFFF grounds

Hands down, there is almost NOTHING that tops the fun-chart more than a road trip to SoCal to attend the LA Feline Film Festival! Nikole and I were at it again this past weekend, following another one of the Walker Art Center’s film events, and this time we amped up the excitement by inviting our close friend, Jeffrey Church, to join our party as our designated photographer!

#LAFFF-Adopt & Shop- Lil BUB

We started off the weekend with a Lil Bub meet & greet that was held on Saturday, September 20, at the Adopt and Shop in Culver City. There, we presented Bub with a custom made baby blanket, personalized in her colors…pink, brown and green, along with some avocados for her awesome Dude, Mike Bridavsky. Bub immediately settled down on the blanket and finished her late lunch. (If you’ve never seen Bub eat, let me tell you that it is really quite spectacular!) As this was the 7th time we’ve seen Bub this year, friendly banter with Mike ensued, followed by tons of pictures with our favorite feline celeb!

#LAFFF- cat costumes- Klepto kitty
On Sunday, we headed out early to the festival, which was held at Exposition Park. It being LA, the atmosphere and energy was completely different from that which we experienced last month at CatVidFest in Minneapolis. There were far more people dressed up in costume, and the number of people who actually brought their cats to the event was astounding. Also apparent, was that there was tremendous attention being drawn to cat-related causes, such as TNR, adoptions and fostering, outlawing declawing, health and specialized veterinary care.

#LAFFF-cat adoption-cat art
Highlighting the daytime festivities were the celebrity cat meet & greets. Dusty the Klepto Kitty was a huge hit, and was behaving in a very tolerant manner given the warm temperature, and the costume he wore.

Meeting Tara the Hero Cat, and personally experiencing her noble and peaceful demeanor was simply amazing…I also have to add that her owners, Erica and Roger, are pretty darn wonderful too!

#LAFFF-Tara The Hero Cat

And of course, there was Lil Bub, who wowed the audience with a Q&A session followed by an official meet & greet!

#LAFFF- LIL BUB - Will Braden
As it started to get dark, people gathered towards the stage area to stake out good vantage points from which to watch the videos scheduled to be shown at 8 pm. Will Braden, filmmaker and creator Henri le Chat Noir, greeted the audience, and then participated as one of the judges in a best-cat-costume contest!

The video reel was slightly different from the one shown last month at CatVidFest, and what I noticed most is that the crowd in LA was more reactive to the punchy ‘in your face’ cute and funny videos, and less responsive to the tug-at-your-heartstring clips that had invoked crowd response in Minneapolis. When the videos that were the three finalists for this year’s coveted Golden Kitty Award were shown, once again, it was all about ‘The Engineers Guide to Cats 2.0’, which placed second last month at CatVidFest. Seriously, the guy that was sitting to my right was laughing so hard he was crying, and I had to dig around in my backpack for a tissue to give him!

#LAFFF-feline film festival
After about 70 minutes of cat video fun, the reel ended and it was time to head home. I had asked Will Braden earlier in the day about film festival dates for 2015, but it seems they’ve not yet been determined. But once they are, you can bet that Nikole and I (and now probably Jeffrey!) will be making traveling plans once again!

 

CATastrophes Cat T-shirt and Tote Giveaway

Posted 54 CommentsPosted in Cats

CATastrophes web series giveaway

If you haven’t seen the funny, feel good and do good web series CATastrophes, you’re in for a treat. Plus we have an exclusive giveaway for a super cool t-shirt and tote bag! CATastrophes is part of the family of web content at Animalist.com What’s different about CATastophes is their entertaining look at the human animal bond and the importance of shelter adoption. The series stars Chicago-based filmmaker/writer/actor blogger and sometime cat sitter for Lil BUB, Alana Grelyak and comedian/actor Kris Flanagan. The webisodes are artfully filmed and directed by Grelyak’s husband Michael Gabriele.

CATastrophes -lil bub- giveaway

Their latest webisode, Lucy The Cat Uses 100% Of Her Brain (Lucy Movie Parody) is about Lucy a cat and her beleaguered owners who are shocked when she develops unusual powers. It ends with a cliffhanger. Viewers can suggest endings for the follow-up video. It stars Alana Grelyak’s cat Crepes, the special needs catvocate and blogger at Cat in the Fridge

 

CATastrophes -lil bub- giveawayCATastrophes Giveaway

One lucky winner will win a long-sleeved baseball t-shirt and canvas tote bag with the Catastrophes cat logo.

This giveaway is on until 11:59 PM, ET, Sept. 22, 2014 and open to residents in the U.S. 18 years and over.

To enter simply leave a comment. We’d love to hear what you think happened to the couple and the cat in the video. For extra chances to win social media share and leave a separate comment telling us where you shared.

 

Lil BUB Stars in CATastrophes, The Hilarious New Web Series on Animalist.com

Posted 21 CommentsPosted in Cats, Feline Funnies, Shelter Cats
The cat entertainment world scored big time when Discovery Digital Network’s Animalist.com recently picked up a funny cat-centric web series called CATastrophes.
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Think of the web series as fully realized, well produced mini films or shorts. The series, created and written by my friend Alana Grelyak of the Cat in the Fridge blog and is directed by her filmmaker husband Michael Gabriele. CATastrophes stars Alana and actor/comedian Kris Flanagan. The small ensemble cast share a naturally, quirky funny chemistry as they explore scenarios with real adoptable cats. It’s a magical interface between art, humor, education and adoption PSAs. (scroll down for a short exclusive interview with the stars).
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Kris Flanagan and Alana Grelyak
ChronoCATastrophe, the next episode in the series, premiered on July 14 and stars celebrity cat Lil BUB in her first acting role as Wellington a time-travelling cat along with adoptable cats from Tree House Humane Society in Chicago. I fell in love with Bub when I met her last year and her show was my introduction (and remains a favorite) of the eclectic programming on Animalist. The network has something for every cat and animal lover and now CATastrophes is the must-see series.
You can see all episodes at Animalist.com and if never want to miss an episode…Subscribe at https://www.youtube.com/user/CatCatastrophes. They would love to hear from viewers about their stories. They are planning on reenactingCATastrophes web series-Animalist some viewer stories so leave a comment on any of their social media pages.

 

Every episode is wildly different but always creative. One of my favorites is a charming story about finding love French style with Guy La Furr.

Alana Grelyak seen on the red carpet at the Nose-To-Nose Awards where she won the 2014 award for Best Video.
Alana Grelyak

I asked Grelyak what the film making process is like when working with animal “actors”. Alana said, “I do my best to write the scripts around specific behaviors that I know a cat will have. For instance, I know that Rocky loves to talk and doesn’t mind wearing clothes. He made the perfect lead for CHATastrophe, a talking, beret-wearing French cat. In Catalogue, I vacuumed him. Why? Because it’s something he enjoys even when the camera is off.

Most of the things we have the cats do are things that cat will do naturally. We group our shots together so the cats are on set for the shortest amount of time possible, and we use stand ins (e.g. puppets) for any situation that a cat might be uncomfortable with. We also work with split screens and special effects to give the impression that there are more cats than there really are in a given place. We’ve also, on several occasions, changed the scripts on the fly to suit whatever the cat prefers. Sometimes, the cats give us better performances that I could possibly expect or make up and we use those takes instead. We make the cats’ safety and comfort number one on all the shoots.

Rehearsal time is tough to come by! We have one, if possible, especially for the longer episodes. Kris and I have been working together for three years now, though, so we’re kind of used to each other and that makes things go faster. As far as takes, Michael will continue until he gets the shot he’s looking for.”

Lil Bub is a huge kitty star and if you think stardom has gone to her cute little head, think again. Mike Bridavsky, Bub’s cat dad or Dude, kindly offered his recording studio to film in. Grelyak said, “Working with BUB was a breeze. BUB sat very well for us and was a perfect actress. She’s actually a good example of us using a stand in. When we had to film the scene where Kris and I are falling, we didn’t want to scare of injure BUB, so we used her BUB stuffed toy as a stand in and she went home to nap. We didn’t require any special perks. Also, she waived her fee and instead she agreed to a donation to Lil BUB’s Big Fund with the ASPCA. She’s very generous that way.”

 

One of the happiest moments or “side effect” of the shoot must be when a kitty actor gets adopted.  Alana, said, ” A lot of the younger kittens get adopted right away. Sometimes, we’ll post or re-post on Facebook about cats that are still available from our films. On our latest shoot, one of our actors tried to adopt our star but was a few hours too late – he got adopted when he left the set!”

 

It comes as no surprise that Kris Flanagan is a cat man and recounts how his recent cats came into his life.

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Kris Flanagan

“Hell yeah, I’m a cat man. They’re hilarious. My guys right now are Declan and Goon. They’re brothers that were rescued from under a porch by Treehouse here in Chicago. My girlfriend and I had been looking for the right fit for us for about a month and a half. We were kinda losing hope until the day we found them, which was funny the way it went down. 

Do you remember when you were a kid and you had friends over to your house for a birthday or whatever and your old toys that you no longer had interest in, suddenly regained value when you saw your buddy having a great time playing with it? That’s kind what led to us snatching them up. We were playing with them at the shelter, they’re domestic longhairs, which I was hesitant of because of the shedding and allergies. Well we’ve got em’ both cradled in our laps when some prospective adopters are filling out paperwork and kept eyeballing them. 

My girlfriend knew my hesitation and we were in the middle of talking it out when I noticed. The child inside me woke up outta nowhere and said “NO! MINE!”. So without her total consent I just yelled to the lady working “yep, we’ll take these two with us!” And then shot the other people a ‘take that!’ look. 

8 months later they have ruined curtains, lamps, glassware, couches (yes multiple) and my ability to sleep in past 7 AM. But they’re always there to greet me when I get home, they cuddle like crazy and sleep like drunk old men. They’ve tied our home together and I couldn’t really see my day-to-day without them.”

The cast and crew are skilled and funny cat lovers with a message.

“We hope our work will make more people aware of important topics, like adopting special-needs pets, or making sure their kittens are spayed and neutered,” said Grelyak, “but we want to do it in a funny way that will make people want to hear more about it. We feel like it’s a fresh approach to reaching viewers that would prefer to laugh instead of having their heart strings tugged.”

 

Follow the fun of CATastrophes  on

FTC disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Discovery Digital Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about CATastrophes, but Cat Wisdom 101 only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers.

Have you voted for us today? We’re Pettie Award finalists for Best Designed Blog. Vote once daily until August 7 at Petties Home Page. Thank-you! 

Lil BUB Book Giveaway and Exclusive Author Q + A

Posted 53 CommentsPosted in Cats, Contests & Giveaways, Layla Morgan Wilde, Reviews & interviews, Secrets of Cats

Lil BUB interview by Layla Morgan Wilde with Mike Bridavsky

It’s not every day you get to meet a feline supernova like Lil BUB so I entered the Penguin offices in Manhattan last week with trepidation. Would she really be as amazing in person as the online photos and videos? Was her cat dad dude Mike Bridavsky a good guy or feline Svengali? After all, she was on a book tour and I’m well aware of media spin. I entered a conference room and there she was sitting on the table, her larger than life eyes locked onto mine and I melted. She crawl-walked over to my pad of paper and proceeded to bat my pen like a hockey puck. She made alien snorfle sounds and Bridavsky said, “She likes you.”

Layla Morgan Wilde- Lil BUB

I could have happily observed her all day but I also studied the man who adopted BUB as a helpless kitten with dwarfism and genetic issues. For much of the interview the affable Mike Bridavsky, an audio engineer with a recording studio cradled the four-pound kitty in his arms which were covered in life-sized tattoos of BUB. I didn’t need to see the giant tattoo of her on his torso to know his devotion is real. They obviously are madly in love with each other and have a shared destiny.

Mike Bridavsky- Lil BUB-

Bridavsky has learned to do a kind of energy healing like Reiki and intuits when she needs to drink water or visit the litter (she needs help with both). During the interview, she would walk around the table or be nestled in her cat dad’s arms in a seamless flow of energy. Nearby a portable cat litter sat near her soft-sided cat carrier which she loves to travel in. And yes, the travel and the public appearances suit her just fine. She has a self-awareness of an evolved being unlike any other cat I’ve met.

Bridavasky now devotes his life to Lil BUB and her world that includes the current book tour of LIL BUBS LIL Book: The Extraordinary Life of the Most Amazing Cat On The Planet, her film and new TV show  which aired last week with special guest Whoopi Goldberg. At the end of the show BUB does a shout-out to a shelter of the week. This week it was Tabby’s Place a cat sanctuary in new Jersey.To view the show, her website and other social media visit her at Lil BUB and our book review by Merlin with fun pics of the book.

It’s clear this spunky cat (with the softest fur I’ve ever touched) is whip smart. I love Grumpy Cat but having met both, BUB wins paws down in the brains department. When they recently shared a bed in a trailer at the Cat Video Festival BUB would have preferred twin beds. BUB isn’t just another pretty face. She has a mission on this planet to make it a better place for cats and teach humans that being different can be better. In her amazing book, you’ll learn why this magical creature is simply out of this world.

Q + A with Layla Morgan Wilde and Lil BUB with a little help from Mike Bridavsky

LIL BUB Layla Morgan Wilde- Mike Bridavsky-001

LMW: How has your life changed since becoming famous?
 
BUB: Hello it’s me BUB. Well, I’ve always been famous in the universe. But being famous on Earth is a relatively unique experience. For example, because of your abnormally intense gravitational pull, I have to be carried to my book signings, instead of floating there myself. 
LMW:  What is the core message you would like readers to take away from reading your book?
BUB: Do what you want, and do it well. 
 
LMW: What is your favorite treat? Favorite toy or game?
BUB: You know, as magical as I may seem, my material needs and desires are pretty basic. I have no desire to indulge in treats, although I won’t turn down an occasional dollop of yogurt. And there is something about a peacock feather that makes me want to party.
 LMW: Do you have any special dietary needs since you have no teeth?
 BUB: Believe it or not, cats don’t need teeth to eat dry or wet food. Even space cats like me. Cats are predators, and use their teeth to kill their prey, and tear it apart so it’s small enough to swallow. The pieces of dry kibble that humans feed us are smaller than the pieces of mouse, mole or bird that we would swallow in the wild. Ever notice that when your cat pukes from eating too fast, that most of what comes up is still intact (though quite mushy)? So as a young cat, I enjoyed dry food regularly. But now I do have dietary restrictions since I have urinary health needs. I eat prescription wet food mixed with water to stay well hydrated and keep my pipes clean. 
 
LMW: Who are your fellow feline siblings and what do they make of your fame?
BUB: My dude has four other cats. Oskar (currently on vacation, apparently), Special Agent Dale Cooper, Vivian, and Josie. They live at his recording studio. They have no idea what fame is, and I’m fairly certain if they did, they wouldn’t care. They’re Earth cats.
 
LMW: Are you single or do you have any mancat crushes?
BUB: My heart belongs to the only Earth cat worthy of my affections. His name is Smoosh, and he lives about 3 blocks from me. 
 
 LMW: If you had a kitty bucket list, what would be your top three?
 
BUB: A large purple bucket, a super tiny green bucket, and a really fancy ornate bucket with magical powers and wi-fi.
 
LMW: Your cat daddy, Mike Bridavsky has a tattoo of you on his arm and there are more men than ever who love cats. What advice to you have for men who have never had a cat but are thinking of adopting one?
BUB: Hey man, adopt a cat.

Hey cat lovers that’s great advice and Lil BUB shares more wisdom and really cool pics in her book. You can snap one up HERE. Some are photos are so cute you might want to frame them. Like I said: it’s out of this world and two lucky Cat Wisdom 101 will win copies of the little book that packs a big punch of wow.

To enter our Lil BUB Book Giveaway simply leave a comment before 11:59 pm EST September 21, 2013.

 For extra chances to win, social media share and leave a separate comment mentioning where you shared. This giveaway is open readers worldwide. The winners will be announced on Sept. 22, 2013.

 The winner of our giveaway for Driving With Cats: Ours For a Short Time by is Katnip Krazy. Congratulations! Expect an email from Layla and Cat Wisdom 101