Friday, December 14, 2012
The internet and real life collided Thursday night at the opening of NYAN CAT CITY, a 4-day cultural event, and the first ever pop-up dedicated to an online meme. The concept is a collaboration between Nyan Cat creator Chris Torres and meme manager Ben Lashes, and New York Art Department, who curated and produced the event.
Me and Nyan Cat creator Chris Torres
The grand opening party was held last night in downtown NYC, where I was fortunate enough to meet Chris, who said the entire experience was a dream come true. The store, which will be open now through Sunday at The Hole Shop (312 Bowery), contains items such as Nyan Cat t-shirts, hoodies, charms, shot glasses, stickers, wallets, and more, with prices ranging from $15 for a limited edition Cool Jazz Nyan Cat Plushie, to $300 for a Custom Nyan Cat Sphero.
Torres tells me that some items are exclusive to the shop, while others are "exclusive for now" - meaning they may be available elsewhere in the future. If the pop-up is successful, which I'm confident it will be based on how many passerby's stopped to peer in (it's hard to miss the giant Nyan Cat decal on the window), there's also a possibility it could be sticking around for a longer run.
Limited Edition Sphero Balls
I also spoke to Chris about his cat Marty, the inspiration behind Nyan Cat, who passed away last month after a brief battle with FIP. Torres, who currently has two kitties (Shorty, and the delightfully named Princess Beyonce), admits it was a difficult loss, but says the success of Nyan Cat will continue the Russian Blue's legacy.
Anestasia Vodka Bar
The party itself featured a Nyan Cat-inspired Anestasia vodka bar with a full rainbow of mixers, while guests enjoyed music by DVD And DJ George Costanza, and played Sphero Nyan Cat Space Party. Of course, no event would be complete without swag, and Nyan Cat City didn't disappoint. My haul included a "Fashion Cats" book, Sphero Nyan Cat Space Party tee, Zombie Nyan Cat sticker, limited edition Nyan Cat Cosmic Button, and very best of all, a Cool Jazz Nyan Cat plushie of my very own (Yes, it plays the song and I never want it to stop).
Cool Jazz Nyan Cat Plushie
In case you missed last night's festivities, don't despair, Nyan Cat City is still going strong. In addition to the pop-up which will be open from now through Sunday, upcoming highlights include art talks (including one about cats and cat memes), a zine fair, a benefit art auction, a Nyan Cat themed holiday brunch, and a Nightmeme Before Xmas Party. They've also teamed up with The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals for two days of cute kitten adoption, with all applicants receiving a Nyan Cat plushie!
I had an awesome time last night, and highly encourage everyone to stop by the shop if they're in the area. Details, locations, and times for all events can be found here, and on the New York Art Department's website.
Oh, and speaking of memes come to life: I also met Scumbag Steve!!!