vegansaurus!

08/12/2011

Stephan Nance: My new boyfriend goes on a world tour!  »

I would never leave Allen, but if I were going to be all “to the left, to the left,” it would only be for an adorably awkward ginger who loves frozen yogurt, writes songs about how people should be nicer, and reminds me of a less cynical Bo Burnham and an off-Broadway musical about coming out to your mom and hugs. Luckily for Allen, such a dude did not exist to, and he has always responded to my threats with a nonchalant “good luck out there!”


Then I stumbled onto the website of Stephan Nance. OK, I didn’t stumble—why would I make a wholehearted effort at finding a replacement for Allen?—Stephan sent us an email to promote his upcoming tour and I thought I would take this opportunity to support his efforts and also break up with Allen in a really public fashion so he wouldn’t cause a scene. Just like in Jerry Maguire.


I also thought it would be fitting to write about this now because my ex (Allen) just informed me that Wednesday is “Ginger Wednesday” on turntable and we are totally rocking out in a room full of ginger avatars on there. Also, GET OFF THE COUCH, ALLEN! YOU HAVE TO MOVE OUT! Also-also: Stephan’s stuff is on turntable! I especially like “Immunodeficiency” and “Song For Losers.” What? I do my research!

Ok, so about my new boyfriend and his career: Stephan Nance (pronounced Steven but never spelled that way, as per his website) has come up with a genre all his own that he calls “awkwardly charming vegan straight-edge queer alternative piano pop.” Since I have trouble understanding genre in the first place—never mind that there is something called “blue-eyed soul” that is an accepted thing—I am just going to take his word for it. Also, every time I hear piano pop I am all “oh yeah, totally! Tori Amos! I love her!” This seems to annoy a lot of people because apparently Tori Amos is not the only person to play a piano. Prime example: Stephan Nance also plays the piano. And he doesn’t just play the piano; apparently he plays it for a cause. I can’t wrap my head around that either. I can’t even wake up for a cause, let alone write songs and then record myself doing them for one.

From Stephan’s email:
"I’m about to embark on a tour of vegan-friendly frozen yogurt shops (and other frozen treateries and places that happen to have vegan froyo or soft-serve) in Oregon and Northern California, with later dates in Washington and B.C. In part this will be to promote my first full-length album (to be released in September), A Troubled Piece of Fruit. Since the album isn’t quite ready, I’ll be bringing along an EP of five songs, A Piece of the Piece. My larger goal is to challenge the popular interdependence of entertainment and alcohol consumption, and to encourage musicians and all-ages, alcohol-free businesses (e.g., sweet frozen treat parlors) to build relationships that will be beneficial both mutually and for the community as a whole.”

Awesome. Why are you not getting dressed for this already? Oh, right you want to know where he’s playing. OK, here you go. I even noted which fro-yo “treateries” (new boyfriend, you are adorable with your little words!) serve vegan options and which are dubious (because their websites don’t state it).Also, you would probably look pretty silly getting dressed now considering he isn’t playing until next week.

I suggest that you go to Stephan’s website and check out some of his music (which is definitely awkward and charming), and then go out and see him in concert. I also suggest that you purchase his EP and also his full-blown album when it is released. Not just because it is really good, but because as my new boyfriend he is going to have to spend some cash to impress me. In “Song For Losers” he suggests that he would like to take me to the fair and win me a teddy bear. That’s all well and good, but I also need to visit the fun house and the rollercoaster for adventurous three-year-olds. And that is $20 minimum right there. At least this kid doesn’t even have has a “like” page on Facebook.

I also need yarn, Stephan! You need to sell more CDs!

[can’t see the videos? watch them on Vegansaurus.com]

06/16/2011

Cupcakefest is gonna rock New Jersey on Saturday! Go eat cake!  »


The Nico Blues will play to an audience of cupcakes on Saturday. Minus 10 for the moose on the right wall, but plus 30 for the carrots on the back wall. Carrots!

Sweet Avenue Bake Shop—which we hear is awesome from reliable ‘sauruses (see what I did there?)—is co-sponsoring an all-day music and CUPCAKE festival in New Jersey this Saturday. Screw the music, I want cake, but to each his own I suppose.

Cupcake Festival 2011 is FREE (though I bet the cake isn’t UPDATE from Danielle at Sweet Avenue: “While we’ll be selling regular-sized cupcakes at our shop all day, every Cupcakefest we hand out thousands of free mini cupcakes all day!” SCORE!) and proceeds from raffles and other such shenanigans will go to an animal shelter in New Jersey. The poor creatures are already in New Jersey, let’s help them, shall we?

Full details about the event here, and the scoop on the bands here. East Coast, you owe it to yourself to go jam with cupcakes. Did I mention cupcakes? Om nom nom.

03/23/2011

Vegan Myths Debunked: in song! I’m into it. It’s stuck in my head already. And this chick’s eyeshadow is DOPE. And the dude’s cute too. I’d smash.

If you go to the video’s youtube page, DON’T READ THE COMMENTS! You will want to slam your head into a wall. And you never know when you’ll hit a stud. INSTEAD! Why not leave a happy comment of your own?! Show your support! Or whatever.

02/10/2011

Interview with a vegan: Sonya Cotton!  »

Sonya Cotton is a vegan and musician with a serious animal-rights agenda. She’s close to releasing a six-song EP and raising money for an eco-friendly tour through Kickstarter. Laura interviewed Sonya about her musical projects and vegan lifestyle, and why she dedicated her new album to her animal-rescuing mother.

Vegansaurus: Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal-rights reasons, or a combination?
Sonya Cotton: I’m vegan primarily for animal-rights reasons. The magnitude of animal suffering that goes on inside of the meat/dairy/egg industries is what hits me the hardest, and makes me want to cry/scream/do my part to change the world. The environmental impact of these mega-industries is also horrific, and a very compelling reason (totally independent of animal-rights issues) to go vegan in my opinion. Health doesn’t figure as much into the equation for me, though I know some people really stand behind the health benefits of veganism.

Vegansaurus: How long have you been vegan? Why did you become vegan?
Cotton: I was an on-and-off vegetarian for 12 years, starting when I was 15. Then last May when I was on tour with my band on the East Coast, we played a house show for a group called the Montclair Ethical Vegans. The woman who led that group asked me after the show if I was vegan. When I told her I wasn’t (just a vegetarian and an animal-lover) she gently yet passionately told me all the reasons why she choses veganism, and gave me an amazing book to take with me, called Ninety-Five (a reference to the number of animal lives saved in a year from one person going vegan). I remember reading this book, which chronicles individual lives of animals that were destined for the slaughterhouse but somehow found their way to sanctuaries instead. I connected with those stories so deeply, I was really rooting for each one of those creatures, and I remember saying out loud to my boyfriend: “I have to go vegan, I totally believe in this.” Then I read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, which utterly sealed the deal for me. (To those of you out there who haven’t read Eating Animals, please do!)

Vegansaurus: When did you start writing and performing music?
Cotton: I wrote my first song in high school (an embarrassingly bad love song.)  But I’ve been performing since I was pretty young. I remember singing “By My Side” (from Godspell) in sixth grade at an open-mic at my school. In my head I was singing it to my English teacher who I was in love with at the time, and who was leaving the school: “Where are you going?  Will you take me with you?” Heavy! I also remember my first solo in Girlchoir in fifth grade. I got to sing a line from the song “Vine and Fig Tree” that goes: “And into ploughshares turn their swords, nations shall learn war no more.” Good stuff!  I was hooked at a young age.

Vegansaurus: Do you write about animals or animal issues?
Cotton: Yes, I frequently do. I feel deeply inspired by and connected to animals that I see around me in my daily life, as well as animals that I read about. I’m often taken by their beauty, their nobility, their lack of self-consciousness, their pursuit of what I see as “truth” (i.e. survival/self-preservation and social connection/love as opposed to fame and excessive amounts of money/material goods.)  On my last album, Red River, I sing a lot about the dead deer by the roadside, and all that that sight represents to me. I grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey so for much of my life that was a very common sight for me. In my more recent songs I am trying to write more clearly and directly about animal welfare issues. I just finished a song about a pig born into a factory farm, and on my upcoming album there is a song where I speak pretty directly to some of the fucked up things people do to animals: hunting falcons solely for their feathers, destroying wolf and deer habitat to build mansions and raise cattle, etc. I also frequently express the flipside of my outrage, in other words, my reverence and my gratefulness for the wild animal life around me.

Vegansaurus: Your album is dedicated to your mom; please tell us more.
Cotton: My mother passed away a year and a half ago;  she had cancer for just 10 months. I’ve struggled a lot with this loss, and writing songs for her/about her/inspired by her has felt like a poignant form of therapy for me as well as a meaningful tribute to her. So many people are struggling with similar feelings that I’m struggling with, either because of a death of a loved one, or some other kind of loss, and I hope this album reaches them, helps them, makes them feel less alone. 

I should also share that my mom was an amazing advocate for animals throughout her life: She took in homeless dogs and cats; fostered shelter animals; worked to stop the deer hunt in my hometown and promote a more humane, nonlethal, form of population control; and worked internationally with a number of incredible organizations over the years, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare, working to stop the harbor seal hunt in Canada, and the farming of moon bears in China for their bile; New York City Audubon to preserve migratory bird populations; and most recently as the bird collisions campaign manager for the American Bird Conservancy.

Vegansaurus: Can we listen to your music anywhere?
Cotton: Yes, here and here.

Vegansaurus: Do you have any companion animals? Tell us all about them!
Cotton: There is an amazing cat named Buddy who lives in my house. His mom’s name is Lea, she’s my housemate. Buddy is a big beautiful guy; he’s often a blissed-out purring machine, so cute. But it kills me on a daily basis that I don’t have a dog in my life. As soon as I figure out how to live in a place that allows me to have a dog—dogs are not allowed in the house where I live—I’m going to foster a shelter dog. And then, once I have figured out how to be a touring musician that is also a responsible dog-owner, I’m going straight to a shelter and finding a dog who needs a permanent home. It’s going to be amazing. Until that day, I will continue walking/hanging out with dogs at Family Dog Rescue, a wonderful shelter in the city.


Vegansaurus: Do you have any super-cute photos of animals to share with us?
Cotton: Here is a picture of my family dog, Lorenzo, who passed away a couple of months ago. He was part of a litter of 10 puppies that my mom fostered when I was in 10th grade. My mom found homes for all of his nine brothers and sisters, but Lorenzo was returned to us twice!  So we decided to keep him. He was such an amazing fellow, so handsome and spirited; I miss him.

Vegansaurus: What is your favorite animal? I know, this one is REALLY TOUGH.
Cotton: This is an impossible question! If I have to choose, I’m going to say…wolf.

Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan cookbook?
Cotton: There are a bunch of vegan cookbooks floating around my kitchen (there are four vegans in my house), and I like all of them, but I’m not so inspired by any one of them to call it my favorite. I think I need a favorite vegan cookbook in my life, that’d be great!  Any suggestions?

Vegansaurus: What’s your favorite vegan dish to make? What about for a vegan bakesale?
Cotton: I love Brussels sprouts sautéed with onions, garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar. I also love kale and fried tofu over brown rice or whole wheat pasta with a peanut sauce. For a bakesale, the chocolate chip cookies from How It All Vegan! are so delicious!  Yum.

Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant?
Cotton: I love the fresh imperial rolls at Sunflower (3111 16th St. at Valencia Street) affordable and delicious.

Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan restaurant?
Cotton: Souley Vegan.

Vegansaurus: Tell us about the Kickstarter Project. How can we support you?
Cotton: I launched a Kickstarter campaign last month to fund the making of my next album: a six-song EP dedicated to my mom, as well as a northeast tour in May. The goal was $10,000, which, amazingly, was reached in just 11 days. People have been so generous!  We’ve now exceeded our goal by about $500, and it runs until 7:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28. Though it sounds crazy, $10,000 was the bare minimum we needed to make this album and tour happen as we envisioned it: recording live in a professional studio, and traveling the East Coast by train, which is more expensive but kinder to the earth and the animals than cars and freeways! We’re so excited, and so thankful to have made it this far. But if we continue to exceed our goal this will allow us to expand the project in some really exciting ways. Depending on how much we get, we’ll be able to book an extra day in the studio, record an extra song, hire an arranger for several songs, and compensate the musicians involved more fairly. 

If you’re interested supporting this project, have a look at my Kickstarter page where you can watch a video explaining the spirit of the project more fully. You can also see the different rewards for donations, (for example, you can pre-order a digital copy of the album for a donation of $10.)  If you want to support me in a way that has nothing to do with money, you can help me spread the word about this project by sending the link to your friends, you can help me book a show on the east coast in May—ideally in a home or a church or a similarly intimate space—or come to my show in San Francisco this Friday, Feb. 11 at Viracocha!

12/30/2010

Happy holidays from the ASPCA!  »

Awwww, so cute. Adorbs, if I may say so. Let’s watch cute videos all day!

I have a soft spot for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals because that’s where I got both my cat and my dog. What I REALLY wanted to post today was a new ASPCA commercial I saw starring Roberta Flack! It’s another one of those super-depressing commercials where they show the shivering puppies behind bars. Sad face. I can’t really handle those commercials, for real. But this time, the commercial is with Roberta Flack! Roberta Flack and cute sad animals—the ASPCA is trying to kill me! Keep an eye out for it.

11/09/2010

Doylestown native (that’s outside of Philly!) and singing sensation P!NK (haaaa! No but I actually kind of like the “!”) has put out a new video for her single, “Raise Your Glass” and Peta is in love with it. According to them, it was directed by vegan Dave Meyers, whose jock they ride almost as hard as they ride P!NK’s.

It’s all right. Actually I think it’s pretty funny, though I’m guessing I might be in the minority on this one? She totally kills a matador, which I like except that it’s not very bloody. More BLOOD! There’s also a bunch of women getting milk pumped from their breasts to feed a baby calf—hope that calf’s on loan from a sanctuary! It’s pretty hilarious. What else? Well, there’s some weird religious stuff I don’t get except that maybe she’s in bed with your rabbi? Like, metaphorically? I don’t know, I’m not very religious.

I thought P!NK was vegan but Wikipedia says she’s a pescatarian. LAME. I still like her. However, not as much as I like when you guys make fun of pescatarians! Someone has got to have a pescatarian lightbulb joke! Please? Come on!

10/19/2010

Quick! Go see Jónsi at the Fox Theater tonight!  »

What? YES. Tickets are still available for this show! Can you believe it? Maybe it’s because they cost $35? Is that a lot of money? It seems like a lot, but the majority of Vegansaurus is old and does not know the price of music shows, all loud and smashed in and standing. Gross.

Maybe you’re excited for this, though! Totally possible, Jónsi is great. Also, he’s a raw vegan! Remember his cooking video with his boyfriend, Alex? Come on, you loved it. Now you can go and shoulder-dance to Jónsi’s Icelandic jams, and know that he’s even better than you thought, looks and brains and cruelty-free diet.

The Fox Theater is at 1807 Telegraph Ave., about a block from the 19th Street BART station in Oakland. You can buy tickets now through Ticketmaster (BOO FOREVER, YOU SERVICE-CHARGING DEMONS), or wait and buy tickets at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at 8!

[via Flavorpill SF]

10/04/2010

Keep reveals the second Animal Collective Collection shoe!  »

This is the Guerra hightop designed by Deakin of Animal Collective; it’s the second shoe in their collaboration with Keep shoes. As Meave previously wrote, Keep will donate all the profits from sales of this Collection to the Socorro Island Conservation Fund. SWEET.

My official word: I’m into them. You know I love a hightop but I’m also super into embroidery. Shut up, I am. Deakin was inspired by his scuba-diving:

Telling friends how psyched I was to have seen Blue Fin [sic] Tuna, I also realized that though they have eaten Blue Fin, [most people] have no idea what tuna look like. I thought it would be cool to represent tuna in some way that I thought looked sweet and would want to wear.

That’s true, right? He was prob like, “I saw a bluefin tuna!” and his homies were probably picturing a can of tuna floating along. Maybe some sashimi.

I like these better than the first shoes from the collection; they are more wearable in my opinion. Dark blue, no cartoonish pictures. A little artsy-craftsy. Dope.

[Sorry peeps, I’m sick with British germs so you may notice a few less exclamation points than usual. PS: I’m back from my vacation!]

09/27/2010

Keep reveals the first Animal Collective Collection shoe!  »

Our regular sneaker correspondent is traveling the continent in search of vegan treasures (read: food, liquor, and hot dudes), but if she were here she’d be all over this news from Keep Company, announcing the first design in their Keep + Animal Collective collection: the Avey Tare-designed Tobin!

What do you think, sneaker-loving youth? Would you buy this shoe? Keep makes it from women’s sizes 5 through 14 U.S., and did we mention before, although Keep shoes have multigender appeal, they are designed around a lady’s foot, and sized with ladies’ feet in mind? This means, in part, that they don’t run out of common sizes too quickly, for us common-sized-footed ladies. Also, they may be a bit narrower than your average multigender (“unisex” is such a gross word) shoe, but don’t hold us to that. How about another angle?

Keep will donate all the profits from sales of the Animal Collective Collection shoes to the Socorro Island Conservation Fund. Socorro Island is part of the Revillagigedo Archipelago, which is located in the Pacific Ocean around 250 miles south of Cabo San Lucas, and is a Mexican “protected biosphere and sanctuary.” The Conservation Fund aids the Mexican government in stopping illegal fishing around the islands, and in prosecuting the offenders.

That is pretty great, right? Yes of course it is! Humpback whales use those islands as a rest stop! They’ve counted something like 20 different shark species there, including the ultra-creepy hammerhead, and a third the coral is unique to the islands. OBVIOUSLY they need to be protected. If we can protect the actual Galapagos, then we can protect the “Mexican Galapagos.” So maybe you should buy some shoes! If you buy in advance—the shoes won’t be available until March 2011—you’ll also get “a cassette tape featuring previously unrecorded music.” Hopefully you still have a cassette player! Maybe you can sell it on eBay and donate the proceeds to the SICF as well, because you’re such a good person.

Remember, if this design doesn’t suit you, two more are on their way!

09/20/2010

Breaking news! Animal Collective partners with Keep, youngins rejoice!  »


Here’s a good bit of news!: Animal Collective is partnering with Keep shoes to raise money for the Socorro Island Conservation Fund! They are going to make a Keep shoe collection together! Yee-ha!

Animal Collective is like totally popular, right? The kids these days, they love them, no? I don’t know much about this newfangled music but I did see Animal Collective with Panda Bear like eight years ago during my D.C. days, before they were so popular. I’m obviously the coolest. No but I enjoyed it very much. I’m just too busy listening to Billy Paul to keep up with the kids these days! That’s right: TSOP, motherfuckers!

Pairing up dope vegan sneaks with a nice band is right up my alley! Well done, pals, well done.


[can’t see the video? watch it at vegansaurus.com!]

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