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POP Profile: The Guy Behind The Viral Phenomenon “Nyan Cat”

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It almost defies explanation: a cartoon cat with a POP-Tart body, flying through a starry sky, leaving a rainbow trail, and meowing a happy tune. Simple enough, right? Then try and explain how in less than a month it has gotten more than a million views, spawned multiple imitators, and become part of the pop culture lexicon.

In what may be a surprise even to the image’s creator, the reaction across the web has been nothing short of amazing. It started out as “Pop Tart Cat” – but the internet world named it ‘Nyan Cat’ – (‘Nyan’ is the word Japanese culture uses for ‘meow.’) And it all started in early April with a doodle. Here’s my interview with 25 year old Christopher Torres from Dallas, Texas – the guy who created the original image – on how it all began.

 When did you create it? What started it all?

It’s kind of a huge fluke how it all started. A few weeks ago I was doing a donation drive for the Red Cross and in-between drawings in my Livestream video chat, two different people mentioned I should draw a “Pop Tart” and a “cat”. In a joking manner I created this hybrid image:

 

This was either the end of March or very beginning of April. A few days later I randomly decided to do some pixel art, and Pop Tart Cat was the first thing that came to mind.

How long did it take to create? Did you also write and sing the song? It took about three to four hours to create. I’m really new at making pixel art so I had some difficulties in animation, but am very happy with the result. I did not have anything to do with the song. (In the background, a UTAU cover of the popular Nyanyanyanyanyanyanya song loops over and over again.) Credit for that goes to this person. (The song is) extremely popular in Japan right now for different reasons, but wasn’t really too popular in the US until Nyan Cat took over.

Tell me about the name.    Originally, its name was Pop Tart Cat, and I will continue to call it so, but the Internet has reached a decision to name it Nyan Cat, and I’m happy with that choice, too.

Is there an inspiration for the cat? It does have the cuteness that you see in a lot of Japanese animation.

The only inspiration behind Pop Tart / Nyan Cat is my own cat, Marty. I had no other ideas in mind other than fusing a cat and a pop tart together. It’s all original :)!

From your point of view, when did it take off? When did you notice this was taking on a life of its own? About three or four days after I initially posted it on my website, I got word that it was out on G4’s Attack of the show, a television show focusing on video game/Internet culture. Minutes later, I found the source on Youtube. A lady named Saraj00n decided to take my GIF and the song and put them together in a 3 minute song. I also found out on the same day that CollegeHumor picked it up, and that’s where things really got going.

(Editor’s note: there’s also a site called Non-Stop Nyan Cat… which tracks how many seconds you can watch and listen…)

What was your goal when you created it?   

Honestly, it was just going to be a cute little animation to post on my website. I had no big plans other than turning it into an animated avatar for myself so I could use it in some forums. I’m actually lucky to have saved all of the original files, because I don’t normally do that!

What is the most unique or strange response you’ve gotten from the video?

No joke, but someone yesterday asked me if they could draw porn of it! I really hope they are joking 🙁

What do your friends think of all this?

They all love it, and I’m glad they do. Nyan Cat has also introduced me to a bunch of new friends and hopefully things will keep getting better!

More than 1 million views!! Are you making money on it yet? What are your plans?

I’m so surprised it’s jumped up to 1 million views in such a short amount of time! Most of the reactions to the video have been positive, as well, which also blows my mind a bit. I really am happy that so many people are enjoying Nyan Cat. I keep hearing all of these stories saying they ran across it through different ways, and I love hearing that. I technically haven’t made any money from it yet, unfortunately, but I was contacted by LevelUpStudios to partner up and make T-Shirts. (Get em here!) Shirt sales are doing extremely well, and a nice portion of that will go to support me. I’m also currently working on an official Nyan Cat video game, which is like a dream come true for me. It’ll feature brand new art and characters and will stay true to the original while offering a fun style of gameplay. On a sad note, though, I’ve noticed people almost immediately creating their own apps or programs featuring my work without permission for their own financial gain. It’s been really tough fighting these issues but I’ve filed a Copyright for Nyan Cat and hopefully that will help. Wish me luck!  🙂

Has the phenomenon changed the way you look at your work or how you do what you do?

To be honest, it hasn’t really changed how I view my work. I plan on keeping up my same formula when it comes to making comics and I hope everybody enjoys them just the same. Pop Tart / Nyan Cat started off as a humble little cute animation and I’ll always view it that way. Hopefully this can open new opportunities in my life, and the other people behind the phenomenon that helped make it happen. I wish them luck and success on this, as well!

__________

It’s great to read a success story from someone who seems like a genuinely nice guy! Congratulations Chris!!

 

Britney

LISTEN: Britney Spears Wants Her Life Back – Full Testimony Details Claims Of Prolonged Abuse

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For the first time, Britney Spears is speaking publicly about the conditions surrounding her conservatorship. In a powerful 23 minutes, she claimed the conservatorship does way more harm than good, detailing punishments and bullying from her father and a team of people on her payroll.

The full testimony is below.

In one instance she referred to her previous statements to her social media following where she claimed she was ‘okay’ and ‘happy,’ revealing that the statement was a lie.

“Now I’m telling you the truth, OK? I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane.”

Another hearing is scheduled for July, but the exact next steps remain unknown.

Watch the full clip:

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Design

Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign

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As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!

THE DINING ROOM

Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!

ON TO THE GUEST BEDROOM!

GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM AFTER
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE
THE GUEST BEDROOM

Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!

 

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A post shared by Brian Balthazar (@brianbalthazar)

THE GAME ROOM

BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT AFTER
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT BEFORE
BASEMENT / GAME ROOM

Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from PoolTables.com and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!

 

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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Entertainment

Well Sh-t, Leslie Jordan Has Shared Three Videos Of Himself Dancing In One Week And They’re All Perfect

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Doing much better now, Leslie.

If you’ve never believed that “good things come in small packages” then you’ve never seen Leslie Jordan’s instagram. The 4’11” actor known for his iconic roles in shows like Will & Grace and American Horror Story has recently developed a whole new fanbase who loves him for his viral Instagram videos. Usually starting each video by greeting fans with “Well shit, how y’all doing?”, viewers have grown to anticipate Jordan’s hilarious recounting of stories from his time in show biz or growing up in the south. This week, however, the Tennessee native has shared 3 videos of himself dancing within 5 days and honestly it’s precisely what we all need right now.

The first video was posted on August 12th and shows Jordan taking part of the “Git up and dance challenge” which swept the internet about a year ago. Even though he is a little late, the video is still perfection.

On August 13th, Jordan does a dance to “You Can’t Stop The Beat” from Hairspray a with special guest dance partner Katie Couric!

Finally, on August 15th, Jordan does an epic “tootsie roll” and challenges Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills star, Lisa Rinna, to do the tootsie roll herself. Of course Rinna commented with a big “ON IT ❤️😂.” Who could say no to the viral star?!?

The moral of the story here is that the world is going through some tough times right now but maybe, even for a few seconds, we could all feel better if we’d just dance it out. Thanks for the inspo Leslie Jordan!

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