vegansaurus!

10/19/2011

Vegucated premieres in NYC! Everyone loves it! You must see it!  »


Last week I attended the U.S. premiere of the Toronto Film Festival Best Documentary winner, Vegucated. Hilarious, heartwarming, and with a spot-on message, this film is brilliant. [Ed.: We agree!]


After seven years of work, Marisa Miller Wolfson has triumphed as a filmmaker. Her documentary shows the journey of three volunteers who go from entirely traditional (roughly, Standard American) diet, and zero experience with vegetarianism, to a completely vegan lifestyle for six weeks. 

Vegucated entertainingly captures all the obstacles, thrills, confusion, guilt, joy, passion, and frustration that we experience once our eyes have been opened to the truth of animal exploitation. Our hero’s tales are intercut with artfully placed and deliberately chosen images of slaughterhouses and factory farms. 

These images are incredibly effective. Vegucated is not hard to watch, although there are hard moments, but the selective use and poignant placement of such footage makes it even more powerful. Whenever the images get too intense you are whisked back to the compelling test subjects and their delightful adventures.

When the credits rolled the audience leaped to its feet in a standing ovation for this wonderful movie. A brief Q&A with the cast afterwards revealed that two of the test subjects are currently vegan and the third is vegetarian. Amazing. A show of hands revealed the audience was primarily vegan, with about 20 declared omnivores. Obviously, I was specifically interested in an omnivore’s reaction, so I found one at the after party and pressed him with questions.

I was not supposed to be at the fancy after party, as I did not have a VIP ticket (‘cause I’m poor). However, Brian, one of the stars of the documentary (who is even more charming and adorable in person than in the film, if that’s possible) saw me wistfully gazing at the party filled with vegan food/celebs and offered get me in as his plus-one. As if I weren’t already in love with him. [Ed.: OMG YOU HAVE TO GET MARRIED!]

JACKPOT. I hobnobbed with the vegan elite and noshed on Foodswings' mac and cheese. There were also veggies, hummus, cookies, So Delicious ice cream treats (So Delicious is sponsoring the film, because they ROCK) and most importantly, Sweet & Sara Rice Krispie treats, which I repeatedly dunked in the chocolate fountain. That's right, you heard me: THE CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN.


I digress. My omnivore, a good friend of the Vegucated test subject Brian (my future husband), said he had come to support his friend. He currently eats a totally SAD and had never looked into anything regarding veganism or vegetarianism before. He told me the film had shocked him, and that he was unaware of most of the information presented. He said that it had never occurred to him to think what these farms and slaughterhouses must be like. It truly seemed to have affected him in a positive way. As a vegan, I thought it was great and it touched my heart, but to see that a non-vegan audience member thoroughly enjoyed it as well was inspiring. 

This is what I hope it can do for many more non-vegans. It is so funny and stimulating, it will captivate any audience. The humor can be a bridge for people who would never have approached a film like this otherwise. 

Last night’s show was the first in a tour, so check out the website to see if it’s coming near you—if it is, GO SEE IT. It is radical. You can also pre-order copies of the DVD or arrange to host a screening in your town. [Ed.: Oct. 24 in Berkeley and 25 in SF!]

This movie is awesome. Watch it. Send it to all your family members as Christmas presents. (or Hanukkah or birthday or whatever presents). I loved it and extend my congratulations to all involved.

Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in New York City. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight and writes for US Weekly’s Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz and read about her animal-friendly adventures here.

10/18/2011

Vegucated screening tickets: We have winners!  »

Thank you so much for participating! And thank you for all the movie recommendations, there were lots of good ideas.

And now for a movie you all want to see: Vegucated! For the Berkeley screenings, congratulations commenters Woog and Caroline Miazgowicz. For SF, commenters Tierny, meowberto, and tofupuppy! Please contact Karine Brighten to collect your tickets!

Everyone can purchase tickets for the Berkeley screening on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the David Brower Center here, and for the San Francisco screening on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at the Victoria Theater here.

Karine Brighten is looking for volunteers at both screenings as well! If you volunteer, you get free access to the screening and reception. Awesome! Contact Ms. Brighten to volunteer!

Thanks to everyone who entered, and to Karine for offering the tickets!

10/05/2011

CONTEST CLOSED: Win tickets to a Bay Area screening of Vegucated!  »

Thanks for participating, everyone! And congratulations to the winners!

I keep thinking I have a short attention span, but I love to read, so maybe it’s a problem with audio-visual stimuli: I have a really hard time watching an entire movie. I pause it so often it takes me three days to finish, or I’ll keep it on and do a bunch of educational quizzes on Sporcle (Always Be Self-Improving), or I’ll put it on as background while I cook or clean—I am bad at watching movies.

A movie that did keep my attention for its entire run was Vegucated, the documentary about three omnivores who adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. It’s only about 90 minutes, but it’s well made and totally compelling. Despite not being its target audience—I don’t need like 10 minutes of animal-abuse footage and slaughterhouse stats to convince me my lifestyle choices are morally correct—I watched the entire thing without getting wiggly or checking my phone-clock once.

Vegucated documents an interesting experiment in an entertaining way, the director/editor/writer/narrator, Marisa Miller Wolfson, is smart and funny, and she chose her subjects well. They’re totally sympathetic: You cheer when they succeed; you feel bad when they cry. I absolutely recommend Vegucated. Go see it! With your friends! And family! And everyone you know who isn’t vegan, because duh they should be and Vegucated can help get them there!

Specifically, you in the Bay Area have two chances to see it, on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, and on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco. Buy tickets for the Berkeley screening here, and for the S.F. screening here. Best part: You can win tickets for either event, thanks to our pal and event producer Karine Brighten! Isn’t she great? Thanks, Karine!

We are giving away one pair and two single tickets to the SF event, and two single tickets to the Berkeley event. To win, leave a comment with two pieces of information: 1. Which screening you’d like to attend (“Berkeley” or “San Francisco”); and 2. Recommend me a movie that isn’t totally boring! I will pick winners by Friday, Oct. 14. This should give all you non-winners plenty of time to buy your way in.

You want to see this movie! So come on and enter the contest, already.

[photos by Jessica Mahady for Vegucated]

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