About the Grant

$20,000 to support Kristina Wong's Cat Lady (MAP 2009), an interdisciplinary performance blending the parallel worlds of two pathetically lonely personas living at the margins of gender and society—musty cat ladies and fast-talking pick-up artists. Cat Lady first seems to be about Wong’s failed attempts to stop her cat, Oliver, from spraying, but soon opens into larger examinations of humans as awkward actors within the food chain, painting the growing disconnect between human beings and their animal instincts in a pixelizing world. Collaborators include two dancers, a video artist, a cartoonist, pick-up artists (both professional and failed), cat ladies, and a saxophonist. This multi-media theater piece incorporates the psychology behind hoarding (both of animals and humans), pick-up artist techniques, anecdotes from unmarried women who live alone with cats (“cat ladies”), and Kristina Wong’s attempts to simultaneously end racism and get her cat to stop spraying.

About the Project

Cat Lady is a darkly comic ensemble work structured in film noir-esque cartoon stills and is anchored by solo performer and writer Kristina Wong. Kristina offers snapshots of her escape from an increasingly abusive relationship with her cat as she struggles with (performing) the art of human intimacy. It seems what little human contact she has with the world outside her apartment quickly disintegrates into pixels, while pixelated reality show contestants on television soon disintegrate into cats. Two overhead projectors flash on and off a series of psychic images (comic strip panels drawn in collaboration with cartoonist, Michelle Banta) exchanged between Kristina and her cat Oliver.

Between vignettes where Kristina is drowning (literally) in cat pee and human isolation are frantic interstitials where Kristina apologizes to her audience for the “post-race bullshit” nature of the show. She repeats (with increasing fanaticism, and soon, absolute meaninglessness) that this Cat Lady show will also end racism. Kristina and the dancers cast fishing rods across the stage (baited with a host of social lures) as a metaphor for “the pick-up” and how humans perform and manipulate nature. Video collaborator, Wes Kim, will use found sound and imagery from failed pick-up artists and sound bites and images from real cat ladies. He will also manipulate footage from Pick-Up Artist training seminars (to bring a parallel presence of the choreographic directives within pick-up artist technique). These videos parallel Martha Graham “Lamentation”-esque dances Kristina does inside a pair of oversized elastic waisted cat lady pants.

Related Websites

Circuit Network

Kristina Wong


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