Pet doors are swinging wildly today all over Minneapolis regarding news that Squeak Toy, the all-cat band out of Northeast Minneapolis, will be playing a surprise gig in the alley between Jefferson and Adams this coming Saturday night.
And all the coolest cats will be there.
It is with a healthy mix of both excitement and trepidation that I report this – exhilaration over seeing Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) on the violin again, and perhaps a touch of anxiety over the crowd that Squeak Toy pulls in.
Have you been to a Squeak Toy gig?
It’s not common knowledge, but Liza Bean trained classically as a kitten, playing her way through the cabarets and pubs of Eastern Europe. She has always been light on the details, although she did once tell me, after too much absinthe and not enough cat nip, that she shared a rail car with Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello “somewhere cold” in the early 90s.
If asked she still insists he stole her lighter.
Those days are long behind her, of course, and she’s moved on to less strenuous pursuits like espionage, jewel heists, and the pursuit of, if my high school French serves – and I believe it does – “the best damn pastries in Belgium”.
Honestly, it’s right there in her diary, although that spiky, old-world script is hard to read.
And who could she possibly know in Belgium?
This still leaves, of course, Squeak Toy.
They’ve been practicing in the basement now for weeks (or, as the drummer calls it "the abasement"). Look around the room: Liza Bean Bitey (of the Minneapolis Biteys) on violin; Stumpy “Lucky” Strikes on drums; Ignatz D. Katz on upright bass; and a large long-hair with yellow eyes on piano that was introduced to me, less than cryptically, I thought, as “Hairball” .
I’m playing this off as if I’m not excited, but in all honesty Squeak Toy’s gigs are great fun: wild music, unrestrained revelry, four-legged leapings from garage roof to garage roof, and, I swear to you, two years ago a cat who slipped down a neighbor’s chimney and came back up with a full-sized couch.
I’m not saying that kind of behavior is right. I’m just saying it’s nice to have a couch in the alley.
What’s that? Oh, yes. Of course. He put it back first thing the next morning…
The preparation starts today. I’ve already drunk more water today than in all of last week and shall continue to do so in the hopes of diluting the hangover that lies at the end of this particular party; I’ve got plans to go to yoga every day this week; and I’ve got a 3:00 appointment with Donna on Saturday, allowing ample time for the creation of what we like to call “party hair”.
Squeak Toy’s in town! Wooooooooooooooooooooooo!
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