Salt Lake residents Jaden Thornley and Didier Bouchever have been performing as the rap group Ivy Local for about a year and a half. At the beginning of 2017, they decided to embrace their inner randomness and loosely base some shows around seemingly arbitrary themes.
“We started this year with a ‘love’ show we did at Urban Lounge. I’m not sure it really worked! I’m not sure people really understood what was going on. I’m not sure even we knew what was going on! But that kind of planted the seed of it,” Thornley said. “And a few months later, we did an ‘orange’ show, which was dedicated to celebrating the color orange — covering all of Urban Lounge in orange, we had baskets of oranges at the tables, just embracing the insanity and madness and everything that is the color orange. … I don’t think anyone really understood why we were celebrating the color orange, but I think it worked, and we felt the unifying force of a good, strong theme.”
A few days after the “orange” show, Thornley and Bouchever (aka J. Doctorate and Warren_Budget) were hanging out at the home of their friend and “Svengali” Lisa Elin, playing with her cat and tossing out more indiscriminate ideas for their next theme show, when Elin suggested a different approach — perhaps make the themes less haphazard and more purposeful.
That was the genesis of “The Cat Show — A Charity Concert for Cats,” which will take place Wednesday night at Urban Lounge. The event is being staged with the support of Cat Crusaders, an advocacy arm of Salt Lake County Animal Services used to find homes for every cat that enters the shelter, to educate the community about the value of spaying and neutering their cats, and to promote the Trap/Neuter/Release (TNR) program for “community cats.”
Half the proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Cat Crusaders, as will all the funds from a raffle to be held at the show, featuring prizes from local restaurants, Tinker’s Cat Cafe and PetSmart. Donations of cat food and supplies can also be brought to the show or made in advance at the iconoCLAD used-clothing store (414 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City).
Callista Pearson, marketing and communications manager for Salt Lake County Animal Services, said the organization eagerly climbed onboard when Ivy Local pitched the idea.
“This will be the biggest fundraiser that is targeted specifically for the Cat Crusaders,” Pearson wrote in an email. “We have done several small events, but nothing like this! We are so excited!”
She noted that SLCAS housed more than 4,000 cats last year and more than 3,800 so far this year, and has achieved “no kill” status (“over 90 percent of the animals that came into the shelter were returned to their owners, adopted, rescued out or released back into their community colonies”) for five years straight, thanks in part to its TNR program.
Meanwhile, since 2012, SLCAS has fixed more than 11,500 cats and kittens. The Free Feline Fix program was instituted in 2015, leading to almost 700 owned cats in the community being spayed/neutered, microchipped and vaccinated for free. It takes place on the first Thursday of every month.
Pearson wrote that “The Cat Show” will be a good chance to let people know about these programs and to raise money for them.
“This is a great event for us to get out information about what Salt Lake County Animal Services does for cats in the community, to educate pet owners about responsible ownership, and an opportunity to raise money to aid our spay/neuter efforts in the community,” she said.
The concert itself will feature local comedian Tanner Nicholson acting as emcee and doing some standup, the dance troupe Salt City Hoop Kitties performing LED hula-hoop routines throughout the night, opening and closing sets from DJ Serge du Preea, Cat Crusaders representatives promoting their programs and, of course, Ivy Local rapping.
By day, the 29-year-old Thornley does remote work for a Delaware corporate law firm. By night, he’s making music based on his love of ’90s hip-hop. He unashamedly reveals Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” as the tipping point (“I remember I even made a remix of that one called ‘Coca-Cola Paradise,’ based, I guess, on my love for soda. I don’t know what I was thinking!”) before moving on to the likes of Mase, Nelly and 50 Cent.
Now, he and Bouchever can scarcely believe they get to combine that love with another.
“Me and Didier both have had cats up until the last few years. … We’ve moved around and just had situations where we didn’t really feel good about having a cat and leaving it alone. But whenever we’re at our friends’ houses with cats, it just always comes up,” Thornley said. “I think it’s almost the fact that we don’t have cats that led us to, ‘We need to celebrate cats!’ We really appreciate them.”
They also appreciate their friend Elin encouraging them to steer their fun-but-pointless shows into fun-and-purposeful shows.
“It was kind of an ‘aha’ moment that we could do this … and actually do it for something we really care about,” Thornley said. “We could use it as a positive force and not just as a silly theme.”
‘The Cat Show — A Charity Concert for Cats’
With Ivy Local, DJ Serge du Preea, Salt City Hoop Kitties
When • Wednesday; doors at 8 p.m., show at 9
Where • Urban Lounge, 241 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City
Tickets • $10; Ticketfly
Noteworthy • Half of proceeds from ticket sales go to Salt Lake County Animal Services’ Cat Crusaders. A raffle will feature prizes from local restaurants, Tinker’s Cat Cafe and PetSmart, with all proceeds going to Cat Crusaders. Donations of cat food and supplies can be made at the concert or in advance at the iconoCLAD used-clothing store in Salt Lake City.