Performance artist Kristina Wong never imagined that living in her West L.A. apartment with her cat Oliver — her sweet, reliable companion as a single woman — would prove as difficult as navigating a bad relationship. But several months ago, she and Oliver became locked in a territorial struggle. Oliver “had this huge problem where he was spraying everywhere,” says Wong. “I was a victim in my own home. . . . It became his domain.” Soon she began to worry that she was morphing into the stereotype of the single woman that she most feared: a musty cat lady.

Desperate, she consulted a cat psychic, who suggested that she and Oliver were energetically linked. Wong, 30, began to contemplate whether Oliver’s anxieties were actually reflective of her own, which sparked an idea for a new solo performance piece. After dealing with themes of war, race and suicide in previous pieces, Wong thought, “Why not cat ladies and loneliness?”

Her work in progress, “Cat Lady,” has fittingly found a home at the REDCAT New Original Works Festival — a three-week program opening tonight that features nine contemporary dance, music, theater and hybrid works by emerging and established artists, all based in Los Angeles. In its fifth year, the festival has become synonymous with the spirit of its acronym, NOW, offering the immediacy of experimental work in progress by the region’s artists of the moment. Aside from a select few showcases such as Anatomy Riot and EdgeFest, opportunities for local performing artists to workshop new pieces in development are rare…


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