Don’t Mess With Kati Texas

Don’t Mess With Kati Texas

 

She first came to Humboldt, like so many of us, performing a one-woman show about 19th-century anarchist Emma Goldman. Now, she is one of us, praise be to the Glory.

 

She is Kati Texas: Rutabaga Queen, Artist in Residence at the Ink People, and co-creator of the popular “Classical Nudes” and “Heroes of Gloryopolis” kinetic sculptures, and she rocks.

 

Texas hails from Katy, Texas, outside Houston, and discovered Humboldt County while taking the aforementioned one-woman show on a West Coast road trip in 2003. She did two shows here, one of which was in an old barn.

 

“That was the best show of the whole trip,” says Texas. “I said, ‘that’s it, I’m moving here.’”

 

She soon got involved with Duane Flatmo’s Redwood Burl Mural Bureau, and then the Ink People. That led to a pit-crew assignment in the Kinetic Grand Championship, and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Now, in what she describes as a “labor of love”, Texas is taking a two-year hiatus from the KGC to help run the Kinetic Universe, which is the non-profit organization behind the KGC.

 

Which leads us to the Grand Championship itself, a three day, 42 mile race that founder Hobart Brown called “adults having fun so children will want to grow up.” Festivities begin on Saturday, May 26th at 10 a.m. on the Arcata Plaza, with the 44th annual Kinetic Grand Championship kicking off at high noon.

 

Following the start at the Plaza, where judging takes place and onlookers can bask in the Glory, the racers travel down through the Arcata Bottoms and out to the Manila Dunes Community Center. From there it’s down to Dead Man’s Drop, so named for the many gruesome kinetic-related deaths that have happened there over the years (this is not true).

 

Then it’s onward through Eureka, past Humboldt Hill, and eventually down through Loleta, Fernbridge, and Ferndale, where “we close down Main St. Ferndale and throw a big party.” There are several points along the course where fans can watch the race and/or attend various events, including music, food, Queen-spotting, and a beer garden.

“It’s really the best reason to do anything,” says Texas of KGC’s slogan, For the Glory! “There’s certainly no money involved.”

When she’s not helping with the Kinetic Universe, Texas dedicates her time to the Ink People Center for the Arts, which she describes as “a hub for artists and art activities in Humboldt County.”

The Ink People sponsors the North Star Quest Camp for Girls, the Dream Maker and MARZ programs, an opera troupe, a fashion design troupe, various media enterprises, and cultural and language preservation groups, among other things.

Dream Maker is an umbrella program which manages the non-profit status of almost 60 organizations in the area, including the Arcata Repertory Theatre, Kinetic Kids, and North Coast Storytellers. MARZ (Media Action Resource Zone) provides free access for aspiring young artists to art supplies, a recording studio, and more. “We try and show them that they can turn their art into a career, not just a hobby,” says Texas.

Texas describes her own art as easy and humorous. “It’s just my take on how everything’s so fucked up and awesome at the same time.” She also loves the collaborative aspects of art, which makes her a natural for the KGC. “That’s absolutely my favorite part (of the race).”

So as we enter that particular time of the year here on the North Coast when giant mobile art projects are raced through the countryside, let’s take a moment to appreciate what goes on behind the scenes to make it all possible. Who obtains the 20+ permits required by the various state and local agencies? Who makes sure the racers are fed, libated, and kept track of? Who arranges for giant Connect-4 games to be played at Halvorson Park? Kati Texas is one of those people, and you may now kiss her paint splattered shoes, if it pleases Her Majesty.

For more information on the Kinetic Grand Championship go to kineticgrandchampionship.com

For more information on the Ink People go to inkpeople.org

To view Kati Texas’s art go to katitexas.com

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Emerald contributor since March 2012

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