Sunday, October 22, 2006

New York and Boston, oh my!

I had a fabulous, yet exhausting weekend. On Friday I went to New York City, where I managed to hit tons of galleries and see some of the best (and funnest) new art. On Saturday, I went to Boston to attend the Vegetarian Food Festival hosted by the Boston Vegetarian Society. I will be blogging about both of these experiences, but first
  • I'm sorry for the poor quality of a lot of my photos from VegFest- with the poor indoor lighting, the crowds, and the short time available, I couldn't always capture the best shots
  • Since VegFest gave me so many new ideas, foods, problems, and solutions to think about when it comes to animal rights, I don't think this one post will be enough to cover it all, so I have decided to devote the rest of this week to posting about specific groups, companies, activities, or products that I learned about so they can all get the attention they deserve. So STAY TUNED FOR MORE!
First, some impressions from NYC:

This is a portrait from a show of photographer Jill Greenberg's new Monkey Portraits. (See more information about the artist and the show here) The photographs were haunting, because they showed the undeniable closeness between human and non-human primates, and the viewer actually feels that s/he can "read" the expressions on their faces. There was also a depressing dimension when you think that some animals, like the ones in Greenberg's portraits, are pampered, while others just like them are hunted to extinction or tortured in medical labs. (I know, I know, I'm a real Debbie Downer)

An inspiring quote, this time from a show by the American artist Joseph Kosuth.

Possibly the cutest thing I have seen in an art show recently- what I call the "cabbage chicken" from a show of Surrealist art. ["Choupatte (Très Grand)" by French artist Claude Lalanne]

Lunch at one of my favorite New York restaurants, Republic. I used to eat here all the time before I went veg., but fortunately they have quite a few veggie options on the menu. Republic is a pan-Asian noodle joint, where fresh flavors dominate. I had the cold noodle salad with carrots, jicama, mint, peanuts, shallots, and a lime dressing. In the background you can see some veggie dumplings and some fresh lemongrass/ginger tea. Yum! Click here for a review of Republic. [Beware- if you don't want to wait 45 minutes to eat, go at a down time- we didn't have to wait at all at 3:30 p.m.]

* * *

And now, on to Boston and VegFest!

We got stuck in the mother of all traffic jams while driving to Boston on Saturday, where I literally put the car in park because we were not moving an inch. Because of this, we got there much later than anticipated, but fortunately got to do and see most of the things that we wanted to.

First of all, free food! Samples, and tons of them. Here I am eating a Soy Delicious ice cream bar. Mmmmm. If you can remember Homer Simpson at the Candy expo., that is what Daiku and I were like, eagerly going up to all the food counters and stuffing our bags full of samples, brochures, and coupons. I will be blogging about some specific foods and companies in the upcoming week, but the most exciting food moment was getting to try Cheezly! (Click here for their company website) Cheezly is a vegan cheese alternative made in England and not yet available in the U.S. I've heard so much about how good it is, and it is! Even vegan cheese-weary Daiku was pleasantly surprised. The firm and crumbly texture, the tangy flavor, the meltablility, perfect! My favorite was the sharp white Cheddar flavor. They are beginning to be available in the U.S., and they need consumers to spread the word by asking their stores to order it.

How lucky was I to meet Peter Singer, who is a hero to me not only as a vegan, but also as a student (me) and teacher (Daiku) of philosophy. He gave a talk about his latest book "The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter" which was so inspiring. It gives you so many things to think about- the ethics of food, of course, but also the economic, labor, and health issues involved with how we eat. He was so approachable-he signed our book, talked with Daiku about teaching philosophy, and was nice enough to let us photograph him. (Ignore the crazy expression on my face!)

Another hero, Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Here we are holding two of the delicious cupcakes that Isa and Terry Hope Romero had brought for us to sample as part of their cooking demo. I feel so privileged that the first cupcakes I got to try from the book "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" were baked by the authors themselves! Their cooking demo was so fun to watch, and I will definitely share their recipe for spicy cranberry dipping sauce- it was one of the best things I've tasted in a while. (Don't you love it when something shocks your tastebuds awake?)

[Nikki, I'm sorry we didn't get to meet at the cooking demo-- I figured I could look for you, but didn't expect 500 people crammed into one room! I hope you had a good time!]

The cooking demo was also the occasion of a rare and beautiful VEGAN TRIFECTA:

Peter Singer joined Terry and Isa and rolled a spring roll. I can not decide what was more surreal- this or the cabbage chicken sculpture. ;-)

(Candi, this picture is for you! Boston wants you back!) I am sorry I didn't get to hang out in Boston any more than a few hours- such a waste to go to such a great city and not be able to get your fill of it!

On the left: the two books that I got signed. On the right, "Meat Market" by Erik Marcus, that we bought for only $5 (it was a review copy)- score!

I promise to bring you much more information about what I saw and learned at VegFest in the next week. There was just too much to cram into one post.

Good night!



Vicki said...

wow you had a great weekend of elbow rubbin' on the east coast! I totally understand the dim-light issue with food out... hard to capture it without causing a scene, and the camera phones aren't up to snuff yet. I can't wait to read the upcoming week's blogs you'll have!

Candi said...

Wow! You are such a world traveler! Lol! I loved your blog and can feel the excitement of your trip. I bet your head is spinning full of new info and products! I can't wait to see more and hear more...and learn more!

MY art and food looks great! (I love those chicken legs!) Lol!

You are so adorable in those pictures!! The soy ice cream shot made me laugh. I'd be all over the Soy Delicious booth. I love their stuff too much.

I would be too shy to ask Peter Singer for a photo. (Yeah, I'm a geek.) You are so lucky to have met him and have him on your blog with you now! Lol!

ISA!!!!!! ISA! I LOVE that photo of you with Isa. You seriously look gorgeous! I would have loved to meet her AND tried a cupcake! Lol!

OMG - the Boston picture! And for me!! :( I nearly cried when I saw Boston again, and appreciate that shot. I miss it so much - traffic and all.

Oh! You got your copy of VCTOTW signed!!! YAY! Wow, your trip... SO amazing. It looks and sounds like you had such a great time!!!!!

I'm glad you're home and can't wait to hear the rest of your story from this great weekend!!!

Thanks again for the photo of Boston. {{{hugs}}}

Laura Jesser said...

Wow, incredible! I wish I could go, but someday...

I'm looking forward to reading more about it this week.

Kati said...

Wow! VegFest looks so fun. Hopefully I'll be able to go next year, but I'm sad I missed out on Isa & Terry and Peter Singer.

What's particularly eerie for me is seeing primates in person and looking them right in the eye. Then you really feel the connection.

Nikki said...

I had such a good time at the fest! There were LOTS of people there for the cooking demo, and we actually had to leave before samples were to be had which disappointed me tremendously. Cheezly was my favorite find there and I begged the reps to get themselves on to shelves locally! Wasn't the soy ice cream table the best? I opted for a cup of the peanut butter zig zag...SO good! I have a long post of my own coming up. I'm so glad you had fun!

Urban Vegan said...

What a great couple of days you had, Bazu. I am especially jealous of the Veg Fest--and all that free food.

I love hitting the galleries in Chelsea (is that where you went)--kind of like yoga for your brain--great art (and not so great art) makes it bend in all sorts of ways you never thought possible!

wheresmymind said...

Looks like a fun time! We got caught up in Pumpkin fest on veggies for us 'cept for pumpkins :D

aTxVegn said...

What a great weekend for you! I'm going to have start campaigning for Austin to host a vegfest. We're supposed to be one of the top veg-friendly ciites and the closest thing we have is a dinky old veggie chili contest. Oh, all that food and the celebs you hung out with - they would have had to shove me out the door at the end of the day.

So did you find a nice place in your living room for the blue chicken legs? (just kidding)

Can't wait to hear more about your awesome weekend!

- Diann

Gaia said...

Love, love, love your post !
Can't wait to read more about it :)

Anonymous said...

Great post - loved reading about your weekend. It's always nice to live vicariously through those bloggers who have towns with vegan restaurants/events. They tried a vegfest here last year. It wasn't well advertised and it was mostly just a big potluck. Unfortunately, our first annual vegfest was our only vegfest (so sad).

Emmy said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend. I love the orangutan picture and that exhibit sounds fabulous. I wish I could see it in person. The "cabbage chicken" is wild. I'm so jealous you got to visit all these cool galleries. I love visitng NYC. The noodle salad you had at Republic looks delicious.

That's so cool you go to go to Vegfest. Your post captivated me at the mention of free food!!!! LOL That's really neat you got to meet Peter Singer and Isa. And you know how much I love a good deal on a book so I have to say WTG on getting Meat Market for $5 :)

springsandwells said...

What a great post, Bazu!
I love seeing all the pictures from VegFest. It looks so fun. I missed the SF veg fest by a few days this year (I was still in Croatia), so I am really looking forward to going next year. In the meantime, it's nice to get a feel for it via your pictures. Nice to see some art pix too. Are you an artist?

The primate portraits are quite thought-provoking. hm. thanks for sharing that.


bazu said...

Hi all,
Thanks for your comments! It's so fun to be able to share experiences like this (and see your experiences too).
Vicki, I just have to become a better photographer, or get a better camera, or insist that all restaurants get rid of mood lighting! ;-)
U.V., yep, I stuck mostly in and around Chelsea this time. I love your yoga analogy!
Diann, LOL! I always wonder how crazy art would fit into our house!
Can you imagine?
Amey, I am not an artist, sadly, but I am a grad. student in and teach art history.

Village Mama said...

Dear Bazu, yeah for your most excellent voyage of the mind, body and soul. Isn't it just SO darn fun & butterflies-in-th'-belly-producin' to meet our real life heroes!

And yes, I too LOVE it when food 'shakes my tastebuds awake' ;-)

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

You have given the blogging world lovely and substantial posts about VegFest! I went 3 years ago before I left Mass, and wish the one in Portland was as big, and that Isa & Terry were there!