Gregory Popovich Jan. 15, 2005
The Genius of Gregory Popovich
By Glen Creason
I never saw Michelangelo lay back and paint on the Sistine ceiling, I did not watch as Beethoven created his 9th symphony nor did I dip the quill for old Will Shakespeare as he put pen to folio. I know these artists to be geniuses by their work but I did not live when they worked. I can only admire from afar and place them in a pantheon of greats that most certainly has not been added to in centuries. That is until today. While I can only guess at the struggle to achieve great art I have seen it and felt it and smelled it as of this week. I saw it with my own eyes, I petted it! I did witness on Saturday evening in the beautiful and quaint Marjorie Luke Theater in old Santa Barbara the work of a man so towering in his discipline and art that I can only liken him to the pillars of the artistic world: Michelangelo, Beethoven, Da Vinci, Shakespeare, Mozart, and Popovich.
Yes, Gregory Popovich, a giant among men and animals, a maestro whom I feel too humble to even mention in my pathetic ramblings. Yet I must, I must tell the world. An artist of such towering genius that one can only assume that he was sent here by God to perform this work, this holy order, this unthinkably impossible task that has defeated the brightest and the best. Gregory Popovich, juggler, clown, magician and ponderer of the impossible has trained cats! Yes, trained the pointy-eared masters of humanity. Those brutes who have ruled us with an iron paw for all these many years from the time of the ratters of Thebes to the imperious paw of my own Perkins in the Twenty-first century. It is our lot, I have assumed, to serve them and obey but Popovich plays a tune called “the World Turned Upside Down” and the little felines climb, bound, and look adorably innocent as they scale ten foot poles, ride train cars, push strollers and jump from human to platforms revolving around a scary kitty-cat solar system in the sky.
Yes, these are genuine felines, those who groom their flanks when time permits, little furry wonders who would normally be napping and demanding crunchies at bowls somewhere in human-land. Under Popovich’s hypnotic spell they are not spooked by a thousand howling and awwwwing Homo sapiens including around eight-hundred children who would most certainly swing them by their tails if they had half a chance. Despite the mauling of hordes of children and a scattering of adults the cats sat on Gregory the Great’s shoulders as he hawked videos and programs (even Shakespeare asked for a few farthings from the groundlings!) in the lobby after this awe inspiring performance. I heard there were even some adults who came without children which seems preposterous but may be true. The show cruised pleasantly on past the one hour mark but in the last fifteen minutes we saw things we will never forget. Outstanding in this assemblage of the finest felixidae thespians was an inky auteur that darted across the stage with insouciant aplomb several times to the great amusement of the assembled hordes. Yet one dozen brave and bold be-furred thrill-seekers have allowed Master Gregory to join them into the most potent dramatic force performing in front of of world’s footlights. I doubt I will ever, ever see the likes of this again. Bravo Maestro Popovich, you have scaled a height much higher than Everest, you have tamed natures most untamable beast.