Cats, the Crips Take Over the L.A. Art Scene; Snoop Dogg’s On Guard Duty

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Proof that the felines-in-art trend has more than nine lives: “The Cat Art Show,” coming to Los Angeles in late January, which showcases the work of dozens of artists, from Shepard Fairey to Tracey Emin and Liz Markus. (Some of the profit from the selling exhibition will benefit the city’s Stray Cat Alliance.)

It’s already been a busy year for cat-fancying curators. This summer, New York space White Columns hosted “The Cat Show,” which featured an artist-designed environment in which adoptable kitties frolicked for the public. (The previous year, alternative art institution Tomato House hosted a similarly themed exhibition out in Brooklyn.) In August, the Walker Art Center held its second Internet Cat Video Festival —they’ll be providing film programming for “The Cat Art Show” in L.A.

One of my favorite inclusions in the L.A. exhibition is Marc Dennis’s A Great Big Giant World, 2013, which depicts Snoop Lion-as-museum-guard standing in front of an ornately framed image of an impossibly cute kitten. “I actually don’t like cats in real life, but I love to paint them,” Dennis admitted. “As an artist I create staged and voyeuristic scenarios of contemporary American culture. My painting is a riff on the incredible, sometimes overbearing Internet love for cats and the passionate respect and love for hip hop. I look at cats as divas, much like hip-hop culture in a sense has become, but with a bigness, an air, a kind of gangster stately disposition. I chose to paint Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg) not just because I enjoy his music but because he is an iconic figure, and in my painting he serves as a sentry, a guard of sorts, watching over ‘Biggie Kitty.’ And the Victorian nouveau style blue and white bandana pattern background is a tongue in cheek reference to the Crips.”

“The Cat Art Show” curated by journalist Susan Michals also features work by Ramsey Dau, Buff Monster, Ray Caesar, Tim Biskup, Brandon Boyd, FAILE, Justin Bower, and many other artists. Below, a few highlights of to expect when the show opens in January. Visit the official website for additional information.

guy denning_CATpiece Guy Denning, Kraft durch Freude (says Balthus)

NicholasChistiakov Nicholas Chistiakov, Orange Cat

NoelFielding Noel Fielding, Bubble Gum Cat at the Cinema

RachelSchlueter Rachel Schlueter, Billy Raised by Raccoons 

RayCaesar Ray Caesar, Kitten

STARE_KETKevin Earl Taylor, Stare

Main image: Marc Dennis, A Great Big Giant World

Eli Roth Directs A Video With Snoop Lion and a Bunch of Kids, Because Why Not?

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For all the incidents which made him notorious before his rap career took off, Snoop Lion seems like he’s pretty good with kids. His short-lived up-close-with-the-family show Father Hood showed him as your typical goofy reality TV dad, and he sponsors a youth football league for inner-city youth. So it was only a matter of time before he made a Halloween music video with a bunch of kids running around in animal costumes, and have Eli Roth (fresh off the Goretorium!) direct it.  

Before the music begins in the clip for the Major Lazer-produced reggae jam "La La La," Snoop Lion is chatting with some of his kid collaborators, dressed as birds and bugs and lions and tigers. They ask him all kinds of questions, including why he changed his name and if he knows Jennifer Lopez. The video mostly consists of Snoop—at first donning his tricolor beanie before going into a coffin and emerging with a cane and a giant lion spirit hood—singing about very traditional reggae themes while the kids dance around, cute cartoon turtles stumble by and occasionally the animations get a little NSFW.If Sesame Street featured short-shorts-wearing backup dancers, not-so-subtle references of death and claymation anthropomorphic fruits smoking weed, then it would look something like this. Watch. 

Snoop Dogg Becomes Snoop Lion Becomes Snoop Hot Pocket Spokesman

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It’s easy to imagine the scenario that led to this new advertisement featuring Snoop Dogg/Lion hawking Hot Pockets. It probably happened in a big, fancy conference room in a top ad agency, with lots of poring over notes and PowerPoints and Klout scores and drinking lots of coffee, possibly with whiskey in it (because all of your understanding of how ad agencies work comes from Mad Men). How to make Hot Pockets seem hip and sexy for the younger demographic? The hapless just-moved-to the-big-city Intern is not paying attention, instead mindlessly scribbling “Pocket Like It’s Hot, Pocket Like It’s Hot” on her notepad. The Account Executive sitting next to her snaps up the idea like it’s the last bacon-wrapped shrimp at a casino buffet, and an ad campaign is born. No one seems to notice that this is a song from 2004.

This may not be exactly how it happened, but nevertheless, somehow it never crossed the mind of anyone in advertising to use Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” in a Hot Pockets commercial before. So here were are, complete with a music video with guest appearances from Andy Milonakis and DeStorm, as well as a blinged-out incarnation of mascot Herbie Hot Pocket. As Snoop watches the microwave while rapping about what to do when “your munchies get a attitude,” Herbie chills in the hot tub and at one point, DeStorm makes it rain with pepperoni slices. This is the stuff of which Clio awards are made.

Obama Secures All-Important Snoop Dogg Endorsement

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In a stunning blow to Mitt Romney who may or may not have seriously received an endorsement from Nicki Minaj this week,  President Obama has clinched Snoop Dogg’s endorsement in the 2012 election.  

Speaking at the Toronto International Film Festival last night to promote the documentary in which he stars, Reincarnated, Snoop Dogg (who now goes by Snoop Lion) told the audience:

They need to give Obama four more years, man. Bush fucked up for eight years. So you got to give him another four. It’s not like they (Republicans) gave him a clean house. They gave him a house where the TV didn’t work, the toilet was stuffed up. Everything was wrong with the house. Anyways, he knocked down our most hated and most wanted, the one who had our terror (alert) on orange and red or whatever color it was on. He went and found him, the one that Bush couldn’t seem to find, the one who seemed to fly away on the day of 9/11 and all that. … And anyone who can go in peace now and walk around, he made that happen. So please don’t forget that. So give him four years to get his thing together. 

And there you have it: Snoop Dogg is the voice of reason on American politics.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.

Snoop Explains His Transition to Snoop Lion in New Doggumentary

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You’ve probably already seen the news that Snoop Dogg has publicly announced his transition into the reggae singer and partaker of traditional Jamaican rituals, now with the more symbolically apt name of Snoop Lion. You have already probably had more than your fair share of geeky friends speculate over whether or not Snoop Mountain Lion will be next. You maybe possibly groaned about any or all of these things.

Luckily, there is a handy documentary premiering September 7th at the Toronto Film Festival that provides some perhaps needed context on Snoop Lion’s animalistic switcheroo (and no, it has nothing to do with the Animorphs #rememberthe90s). Reincarnated, produced by Snoop’s own Snoopadelic Films in partnership with VICE Films, traces Snoop’s journey from canine to feline as he goes to Jamaica, gets religion and makes an album with Diplo. The film finds the emcee having traveled creatively and emotionally quite a ways from Tha Doggumentary in some respects, but in interviews, he seems the same Snoop he’s always been—dreads, lots of smoke surrounding the scene, the same onstage charisma. He tells the camera his career has been in stages, and he’s moved on to the next, to make an album away from the themes that made him famous and to do an album with no rapping. "I didn’t just want to come here and say I made a record in Jamaica and grew some dreadlocks," he says. "Rastafari brought me here." Whether or not the new Snoop is a permanent shift, the documentary still looks like a good time. Check the trailer below. 

You can also listen to Snoop’s first reggae single, "La La La," below: