This Week Has Been Terrible; You Should Probably Go See a Cat Circus

Dear Americans, queer people, Muslims, Latinos, Floridians, queer Floridian Muslim Latino Americans, people with souls, people with hearts, and people with brains:

This has been a rough week.

There's a thing that happens when it's your job to cover pop culture and something as unspeakably horrifying as the Orlando massacre takes place. It's a cousin to writer's block, but louder, and more like a vacuum -- an overwhelming, dog whistle-pitched white noise occupying the corner of your head usually reserved for germinating Hot Takes on Taylor Swift or Ghostbusters or Peter Thiel. If it were a song with words, they would go "How on Earth am I supposed to write about this shit like it matters right now / dear god what is it that I actually do for a living / give up, retreat, crawl under the covers and do not move from the fetal position until the world stops seeming so dark and it feels okay to be entertained by Smash Mouth's Twitter feed again." (I never said it was catchy.)

And then, inevitably, slowly, the paralysis subsides. In its place, alongside righteous anger, is something softer. Something like: After you've cried and screamed and written letters to your congressperson and danced and drank and used whatever coping mechanisms you might personally use to try to make sense of something that's the very definition of senseless, there is a place and a purpose for silliness. Levity, entertainment, diversion -- stupidity, even -- they all have jobs.

There's a reason, after all, that Hollywood enjoyed its first golden age during the worst of the Great Depression. In the 14th century, when the bubonic plague was devastating Western Europe, people made up jousting, for Christ's sake. I'm no expert, but archaeologists would probably tell you at least a few of mankind's earliest cave paintings, rendered by humans under constant threat of death by the elements or woolly mammoth, were essentially prehistoric Cathy cartoons.

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It is with this preamble, and a strong feeling that a love of inanity can exist alongside deep reverence and grief, and also a strong feeling that some of you need to step away from Facebook comment arguments about the Second Amendment before you say things to relatives you later come to regret, that I present the following:

There is a circus at Fort Mason right now. It has been here for about a week, and it has five more scheduled performances before it is over. This circus features cats. Cats walking on tightropes. Cats pushing balls in an organized fashion. Cats playing in a motherf*cking rock 'n' roll band.

I mean.

Here is some copy, which I have not edited, from the Amazing Acro-Cats' official Facebook event page for their time in San Francisco.

The Amazing Acro-cats are a troupe of REAL house cats that jump and pounce into your heart! Reaching out to shelters in need and accepting cats found homeless in the streets, Samantha Martin has not only rescued her own cats but also have found homes for over 172 cats and kittens. Giving them a second chance with positive reinforcement-only clicker training, they take these amazing abilities on the road and tour the nation in the infamous Acro-cat Bus!

Ever see a cat walk a tightrope? Meow you can! Ever see someone's pet balance and roll on a ball across the floor? Come see it here and meow! OMG WHUT? - a cat riding a skateboard! But wait, there is so, so much more! The grand finale, presenting the ONLY ALL CAT BAND IN EXISTENCE - Tuna and the Rock Cats! The current band lineup is Tuna on Cowbell, Oz on guitar, Asti on Drums, and Nue on keyboard - Real cats purrforming with Real instruments have blown minds and educated audiences of all ages that CATS CAN ACTUALLY BE TRAINED!

The Acro-Cats perform tonight, June 17, at 7pm; Saturday, June 18 at 3 and 7pm; and Sunday, June 19 at 1 and 5pm in the Southside Theatre at Fort Mason Center, Building D. Tickets are $25 - $35, and a portion of the proceeds go to benefit the nonprofit Cat Town Oakland. If you have further questions, the answers can probably be found on the excellent website CircusCats.com. Please note said website is also worth a look even if you don't have questions.

With that: Happy Friday, friends. Take care of yourselves this weekend. Hold your loved ones close. And then, if you really love them, maybe take them to the cat circus.

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