Cowspiracy: the environmental documentary with a new message the world needs to hear  »

imagePicture from the premier, from Splice Photography’s FB

Last month, I went to the Cowspiracy NYC premier. I was not prepared to be so moved! I went into the theater like, “OMG I’m tired and work is annoying and now I have to see a documentary and learn shiz” and I left like, “OMG I’M SO GLAD I’M VEGAN HOW CAN WE MAKE THE WORLD VEGAN?!”

The movie starts as a first-person journey to sustainability for Kip Andersen. He’s a self-proclaimed environmentalist, but it’s not until some serious digging that Kip discovers the devastating impact of the meat and dairy industries on the environment. As someone who turns to organizations like Greenpeace and Surfrider for info and guidance, Kip wonders why they have almost no information on the number one cause of environmental destruction (i.e. meat and dairy). He goes to speak to these organizations and films interviews (sometimes secretly). The interviews are nothing short of hilarisad (my own word, you can use it). By the middle of the movie, we have what shapes up to be a very real conspiracy. I know, sounds melodramatic, but watch the movie. There is no more appropriate word than conspiracy. The groups that are supposed to be helping the environment are spitting out more crap than a factory farm. Really, it’s bonkers. 

imageThis guy was my fave. 

At the beginning of the movie, I was a little put off by the numbers the filmmakers cite, as I know they are all hotly contended. But then it occurred to me, no matter who’s numbers you pick, meat and dairy is still the number one threat to the environment! We can debate the specific numbers all day but no matter where you net out, it’s bad. Here’s a great example from a Beef Magazine article: Why Ranchers Should Care About The Documentary “Cowspiracy”

Of course, Cowspiracy just appears to be regurgitating the common myths the beef industry has worked hard to correct over the years. For example, the Cowspiracy website claims it takes 660 gals. of water to make one hamburger, or the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers.

However, according to Facts About Beef, “In reality, it takes 441 gals. of water to produce 1 lb. of boneless beef…” 

Well! A mere 441 gallons. So there’s my point: no matter who’s numbers you use, it’s bad. 

Oh one thing I should warn you about, while the movie is not very gruesome, there is one slaughter scene. But you know it’s about to happen so you can close your eyes, as I did. Because the main focus is environment and not animal welfare, the disturbing images are of effed up forests and whatnot, not abused animals. So if you close your eyes for the one part, you should mostly be ok. EXCEPT you may be SO ANGRY that this shiz is going down!


One of the filmmakers, Kip Andersen, at the after party with Noah Gittell and Dania DePas of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Photo by Splice Photography

I also attended the after party, organized by vegan media maven Nell Alk. Suite ThreeOhSix was kind enough to host and eats were supplied by Dr. Cow, juicers PitangaThe Vegan VineDun-Well Doughnuts, and Pipsnacks.

And here is my goodie bag in all its splendor! 


Featuring: candles from Produce Candles, body lotion from Bulldog Skincare, honey sticks from Bee Free Honee, chocolate bars from Brooklyn Dark, white chocolate medallions from Obsessive Confection Disorder, soap bars and bath bombs from LUSH, protein bars from 22 Days Nutrition, lip balm from Hurraw, and coupons for free products from Beyond Meat and Gardein

Plus everything came in eco totes from Minnesota-based brand Relan. They make their bags with recycled billboards! How cool will I look at the farmers market this weekend?! Spoiler: SO COOL!

Basically, the party was the perfect chaser to the movie. Back to the film: I encourage everyone to see it and organize a viewing in your area if you can! 

Here’s how you can see the film yourself:

-For DVD and digital download pre-sale options, visit the Cowspiracy site.
-For information on how to organize—or attend—a screening in your own community, visit the Tugg site.
-Watch for Cowspiracy on Netflix and iTunes this fall.

And follow them on FB for updates and great graphics like this one (my new favorite image):



Why don’t major environmental groups take aim at meat? Cowspiracy.  »


Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is coming to NYC next week and I can’t wait to see it! I’m hoping it answers a long-time frustration of mine: why do environmental groups keep skirting the meat issue?!

Now, I don’t want to attack environmental non-profits. I really don’t. But seriously, how many “water conservation days” or Earth Days do we see promoted that barely, if at all, mention meat and dairy? When boycotting those industries is the most impactful thing an individual can do to help the environment? It’s so ridiculous and I’m so tired of it! I thought they kept diet as a side note because people are so reactionary when you threaten their precious meat, but maybe there is more to it, i.e. C.R.E.A.M.

Watch the trailer to get a little more info:

Cowspiracy is on a screening tour and as I said, it’s coming to NYC a week from today, aka August 21st! Unfortunately, the tickets are sold out. But there’s a waitlist

There are a ton of other screenings coming up all over the country, including Sacremento on August 28th and Philly on September 10th. See when there’s one near you—or plan your own screening! (apparently it’s free and easy)—here

Has anyone already seen it? What did you think? Anyone planning to see it?


The Ghosts in Our Machine’s US theatrical premier is this weekend!  »


The Ghosts in Our Machine is playing in NYC this weekend!:

The U.S. theatrical release of THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE:
New York City at Village East Cinema, November 8th - 14th.
6 screenings daily.
November 9th and 10th special guests to be announced! 

6:45pm: Red carpet with very special guests!
7:30: Introduction by Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart of Vaute Couture
and Joshua Katcher of The Discerning Brute, Brave Gentleman.
7:40pm: Screening
Post-screening Q&A moderated by Natasha Lennard of with Director Liz Marshall and Photographer, Protagonist Jo-Anne McArthur, and Susie Coston, National Shelter Director for Farm Sanctuary.
After-party details to be announced.

Who’s going? Let’s all go! Get your tickets now.

Here’s the trailer:

If you’re looking for more ways to support the movie, you can change your various social media images to great stuff like this:


Find the rest here. Find info on all of the screenings worldwide here

Let’s cross our fingers that this movie makes a big impact! What do you think? Could this movie have a Forks Over Knives kind of effect?


Cat videos are the internet. Vice finds out the who, why, and how in Lil Bub & Friendz, coming to the Tribeca Film Festival in April (and later the internet?). Hello, kitties!


The Ghosts in Our Machine theatrical trailer came out last week. Give it a look. It’s not terribly graphic, just sad. I think it’s going to be a great movie. Looks like very powerful stuff. Do you think it’ll change anything? I mean we’ve seen movies change people—the response to Forks Over Knives has been incredible. I hope this gets a response like that!

Follow the film’s FB page for updates on the release and all of that.


Celebrity news: Jessica Chastain is vegan!   »

In the last three days I’ve watched both The Tree of Life and The Help — do you know what the common denominator is? Actually there’s two: Both were nominated for Oscars, and both feature Jessica Chastain! Who happens to be a vegan! How do I know this, you ask? I totally internet stalked wiki-ed her after I watched The Help. It’s my thing!

I found all sorts of cute interviews and articles about her veganism, which I was hoping we could bond over.

Here’s an interview with her and Octavia Spencer, in which Jessica talks about the vegan fried “chicken” she ate in the The Help, as well as the vegan meal she cooked for Octavia.

A list of 25 things about Jessica, including her dream to buy a food truck for her mom, who is a vegan chef! So sweet! Apparently she also get embarrassed when people sing “Happy Birthday” to her. (Me too! But don’t stop — I like the attention.)

She had to gain 15 pounds for her role in The Help, and to do that, she ate tons of soy milk ice cream. Not with a spoon — she microwaved it and drank it. I don’t know how I feel about that, but only because I prefer coconut milk ice cream (and don’t believe in using microwaves cause I’m a hippie).

I hope you enjoyed your vegan celebrity news for the day! Now back to my Us Weekly Mensa flashcards.


Holy crap, this looks intense. This is the preview for Street Dogs of South Central, a documentary that aired on Animal Planet this past Saturday. It’s narrated by Queen Latifah (U-N-I-T-Y!) and follows, “a mother and her pups’ extraordinary journey through an American urban jungle.”

I didn’t catch it on Saturday, did any of you? Good god though, I don’t know if I can handle it. I promise you the preview doesn’t really have anything graphic, it’s just like…mean fucking streets. It looks like Boyz n the Hood but with puppies. 

I can’t tell if Animal Planet will be airing this movie again but I hope so. You can follow Street Dogs on Facebook for updates on the pups in the doc and info on when it’s playing next. 


Cast of “The Grey” dines on wolf meat for kicks  »

Animal welfare activists were already not happy about new film The Grey. Well, at first they were, because the movie was using computer wolves instead of real wolves. But then they realized the movie is not so nice to wolves after all. They say it demonizes wolves, and at the worst time possible. After barely recovering from near extinction, wolf populations in some parts of the country have recently been removed from the list of federally protected species. It’s basically open season on wolves and now The Grey comes along to fuel unfounded fear, prejudice and misconceptions. Super! Go Hollywood!

To add insult to injury, in order to “have a sense of the movie [they] were making,” director Joe Carnahan had some frozen wolves shipped from a trapper up to Alaska for the cast to eat. Um, fuck that. As Jennifer Mishler over at Ecorazzi puts it, “So, he had frozen wolf meat flown in, because that’s what people stuck in the snow and ice and fighting for their survival do, right?” Pro tip: WRONG!

Genius idea: How about leaving the actors out in the cold over night to fend for themselves? THAT’S MORE LIKE IT! Get into character, jerks!

Beautiful picture by me!


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.


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!

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