You may be into Lil Bub because of the cat celebrity’s delicate underbite, or her forever protruding petal of a tongue, or maybe her bulging, Zen-like gaze. You’re not alone — the space-eyed dwarf kitty from Bloomington garners 7,000 likes per Facebook photo, is the subject of a Vice documentary, has a new book, and a talk show featuring Whoopi Goldberg and presently, Andrew WK.
You may like these things. Me, I fell in the moment in which Bub stood against gender-based dress codes.
How this came to my attention: an artist’s rendering (for a story I wrote, no big) showed Lil Bub and the rest of the Cat Pack — Grumpy, Colonel Meow, a personal favorite of mine Luna the Fashion Kitty, others – attired in poker playing ensembles, a la famous dog painting. Though most of the Internetkat super fans were delighted with their favorites depicted so engaged, some were incensed that Grumpy Cat and Bub wore dress shirts and ties (Bub’s was a bow tie.) They are female cats! What a foolish illustrator! There is no respect!
CLICK TO SEE POSTER ART FOR THIS WEEKEND’S BUB-INSPIRED ART SHOW IN SAN FRANCISCO
Bub selectively intervenes in fan chat, even on her own Facebook page. So you could have bowled me over with the slap of a tiny paw when she laid this on them, sans beginning capital letter, true to her understated charm:
“why can’t women wear ties? I’m confused.”
Of course, we have recording studio owner Mike Bridavsky to thank because Bub can’t type. Bridavsky runs the cat’s rise to stardom full-time, and strives in all things to stay close to the spirit of his beloved animal companion. Bub’s appearance each benefit a local animal shelter, she’s not big on corporate endorsements either. When I catch him at his hotel, where he and Bub are staying during their book and movie junket, he attempts to drive the conversation back to the non-profit that Bub is attempting to establish, a national fund for special needs pets.
But I’d rather spend my first precious moments on the phone with Bridavsky since our last talk in February for the “Cat Pack” article, discussing important things. Like how one is expected to make Lil Bub fall in love with you when you only have the seconds that will be allotted to each of us at her appearance this weekend in the Bay Area – a two-day happening involving multiple venues, a mini-music festival and a movie screening, in addition to a book signing (she does paw stamps.)
“What, do you want the official rules?” says Bridavsky, slightly misinterpreting my question. “Have your phone and camera ready. Be very careful around her ears because she’s sensitive. Gotta sanitize your hands before you meet Bub … You don’t have a choice of what gets written in the book … Bub tells me telepathically what to write.”
But who, I ask ask, trying not to seem desperate, has she really connected with? He says, small children. “Some people get emotional and cry around her. It’s okay to cry.” He won’t tell me who her most devout follower is, afraid of perturbing any of the super fans. Her boyfriend Smoosh, he concludes, politically.
Bridavsky does give me the dirt on that celebrity meeting to end them all: that of Bub and Grumpy at the second annual Internet Cat Video Festival in Minnesota.
“Grumpy was pretty non plussed,” the initially excited owner remembers. “She’s kind of lethargic, sort of out of it. Which is part of makes her so special. She didn’t really care that Bub was around.” Bub felt similarly, Bridavsky tells me, though she later shuffle-chased Grumpy around the room. Neither walks incredibly fluidly, given their tiny limbs.
If you are in the Bay Area, succumb to your happy desire to bask in the aura of this incredible product and progenitor of Internet culture. If only because Bridavsky has raised her to be a feminist. In episode one of her talk show, Bub (“She kills it,” enthuses Bridavsky. “She’s bound to be the leading talk show host”) and Whoopi Goldberg discuss being strong, independent women.
Lucky for you, tickets are still available to the Rickshaw Stop’s meet-and-greet with Lil Bub on Sun/8. You might also check out Spoke Gallery’s group show of art inspired by the kitty babe on Sat/7, or Burger Records’ Bub music showcase featuring Nobunny and others. Although “a big positive super fun event in honor of the worlds most amazing space cat,” says Bridavsky, with the confidence of a man who is doing well at everything.
BUB IN BAY
SAT SEPT 6 Meet ‘n’ greet and book signing Sold out, 1-3pm. Lil Bub Art Show Opening reception free, 5-10pm. Both at Spoke Art, 816 Sutter, SF. Gallery website
SUN SEPT 7 Meet ‘n’ greet and book signing 3-7:30pm, $12-15; Total Burger Bub Showcase 8:30-11pm, $20-25 also includes meet ‘n’ greet and screening. Both at Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell, SF. Buy tickets here