Mercy For Animals, Vegucated, & NYC
I’m so sorry that it’s been a little slow over the last few weeks, in terms of blog posts. The time between our weekend in Maine and now has just been crazy. Good crazy, of course. But crazy nonetheless.
Getting Gerty (the van) prepped and ready for the trip has been a much bigger undertaking than I originally anticipated. As you probably know by now, she needed a lot more work than expected, and as of today we’re still getting a few things sorted out. But we’ve committed to taking a few days to get caught up on our blog posts while ensuring that Gerty is more than ready… to live in.
Mercy For Animals
After I picked Ethan up in Boston we spent a couple of weeks in upstate NY, with my parents, while getting re-organized and ironing out Gerty-issues. We had originally planned to be in NYC a bit earlier (we’re here now!) so we had committed to going to a Mercy For Animals (MFAs) fundraiser two weeks ago – previewing their new MTV commercials. So, we took a 24 hour trip to NYC for the event and I’m glad we did because it turned out to be pretty awesome.
* * *
Ethan’s Take on the MFA ads (SPOILERS!): We saw three new TV spots. I found them increasingly effective. The first features a woman shopping at an average grocery store. She comes a cross the refrigerated meat section where you’d find the cuts of meat slapped on to styrofoam trays and contained by plastic-wrap. She seems to have a a flash of images as she holds the meats product in here hands. The ad then cuts to a series of farm factory animals in mid-suffering. These images are tame compared to what most have seen in Earthlings or other factory farming expositions. No doubt this was done to be acceptable for wide audiences on daytime television. Despite the tameness of these images it is very clear that these animals are being abused. Not one of these animals is in a desirable or humane position. After a few shots including very effective audible hints, the ad returns to the woman in the grocery store only we find her this time holding the meat product with bloodied hands. Yes, grocery shopping can make you an accessory to the unnecessary mistreatment of our animal neighbors, if I may say so very delicately.
The following ad is similar in structure. A patron at a drive-thru fast food chain, Burger Pit (it even looks like Burger King’s logo) receives a paper bag from the cashier. Cue flashes of suffering animals. Return to the woman in her car holding a bloody fast food bag. Nasty!
The third ad features a young man in the high school/college cafeteria lunch line. I find this ad to be the most effective for a few reasons. Masculinity is often called into question when guys choose to go plant-strong. Anytime an ad features a male figure questioning an action that leads to animal abuse I am right behind it. Another reason is that this ad targets the future policy makers. Thirdly is what happens at the end of this ad that doesn’t happen at the end of the others. This time the young man receives his tray from the lunch-lady leading us to the scenes of animals in harsh conditions. When we return he slides his try revealing streaks of blood underneath. He then glances at the blood, horrified at what lay beneath his tray. Looking up and around him he then notices all of his classmates are staring back at him horrified. It is a big collective, “Is this how we want to live?” moment.
To me the third ad exemplifies the “Stop Making Excuses” slogan. Here he is. Right out in the open with blood on his tray. Every day that goes by, more of the unsuspecting public are becoming aware of what used to be a secret. Films are coming out left and right exposing the abuses of factory farming, both to animals and humans. The young man looks up to see everyone looking at him, knowing what is going on behind the scenes to provide his ‘meal’.
* * *
While being among the first to view MFAs brand new TV commercials was pretty amazing, one of the other highlights of the night for us was the desserts. Oh baby! Compliments of Vegan Treats (Bethlehem, PA) everyone in attendance was ecstatic over these scrumptious treats. Ethan and I split one of the “peanut butter bombs.” It’s the third one in from the left, in the pic below. A mountain of creamy, peanut-buttery, mousse-like ecstasy, encased in a thin, dark chocolate crust, sitting atop a moist, chocolaty brownie….it truly was incredible. And thanks to new friends, Christine and Amir, we also tried a bit of the fourth one in from the left. That whipped cream covered vanilla cake something or other. I’m not sure what it’s called but that too was absolutely delicious.
Just LOOK at those things!! Oh man. I feel the PA leg of the trip comin’ up soon. ;)
UPDATE — Since writing this post Mercy For Animals has put their commercials on YouTube. Check it out:
Sanctuary Guest Suites
After the MFA fundraiser we stayed at Sanctuary Guest Suites, which happened to be a 15 minute walk to the event. It’s a gorgeous AND affordable, community-supported B&B. In short, you get a full kitchenette, a clean bathroom, and at least 2 full beds. Pretty awesome. If that’s not enough there’s a Whole Foods just a few blocks away AND a fresh-press juice bar just around the corner. I’ve heard this is the go-to B&B for the VegNews staff too. OoOOOoh!! For more info on Sanctuary click here to go to their website and check out our reviews on HomeAway and FlipKey.
Exactly one week later we were back in NYC but this time it was for the US premier of the award winning documentary, Vegucated. We had been invited to attend by one of the producers of the film, the inspiring Demetrius J Bagley. I’d reached out to Demetrius when I first launched the Kickstarter project to ask for some pointers as they too had created a Kickstarter project to help fund the documentary. They raised more than double their original goal, so I figured it was a good place to start.
This time instead of taking a 24 hour trip by way of bus we took Gerty. Yeaaaahhh, Gerty!!! It was our first official trip with the ol’ girl and it went well. It was a little nutty though because that morning we finished packing her up and had a deadline to get to the premier on time. All would have been fine – and we actually would have been early – if it wasn’t for the lovely NYC traffic. It set us back about an hour so we changed in the van while driving there. Hair, makeup, clothing… all while on the go. It’s kind of fun actually. And ended up making it JUST in time to grab our seats and settle in.
I don’t want to give too much away about the film because you really should check it out, but I will say that it’s perfect for newbie vegans, wannabe vegans, or those who are a little veg curious. The story follows the journey of three very different NYC’ers who volunteered to give veganism a try for three weeks. With the gentle guidance of Marisa Miller Wolfson, the film’s writer and director, you get to see first hand the ups and downs of going – and in some cases staying – vegan. It’s also packed with cameos from veg health professionals and athletes. Check it out at GetVegucated.com!
Following the premier we hung out for a bit during the after party. All were treated with vegan goodies from Candle 79, like their scrumptious vegan mac ‘n’ cheese and desserts. Yum! There was also some vegan wine making it around the room.
Here we are pictured with Demetrius, one of the powerhouse Producers behind Vegucated.
After the premier we stopped by Food Swings because we hadn’t eaten all day (other than the snacks at the premier of course). But Food Swings was just closing so I scrambled for a few of what they had left. We’ll have to go back for a proper meal so we can talk about it on the blog, but we were so hungry… we just got whatever they had and ate it on our drive to NJ.
Yup, we headed to a friend’s house in NJ and have been camped out there ever since. Ethan has been adding a few more things to make Gerty livable while I’ve been working on … well… work.
But we’re headed into the city tomorrow and will be there for about a week until heading BACK to MA for a wedding and and a few other pre-trip commitments. While there we’re going to try and hit up some of the other New England States, so stay tuned.
Coming up: vegan restaurants in Boston, MA and Gerty updates! :)