The Viva Vine: vol #3, no #5: November / December 1994
The VivaVegie Society and Vegetarianism take cable by storm
It was the meat-eaters versus the vegetarians, and the vegetarians win handily
Photographs by Alan Rice
This past September 30, New York 1, New York City's 24 hour all news cable station did a 2 minute, 15 second feature on The VivaVegie Society with mock debate on the street between veggie people and meat-eaters. Chauncy Howell, who regularly covers the scene, whatever that may be all over New York City, contacted VivaVegie to pick up on the latest thing going, and we know going veggie is the latest thing going all over -- New York City too! The sometimes zany, sometimes serious and hard hitting collection of sound bites played every several hours the following weekend -- a total of about eight times.
The videotaping was one crazy New York scene to boot. Filming took place during the teeming workday lunch hour at the corner of Broadway and Prince Street in Manhattan. The bow-tied Chauncy was right at home calling out to anyone within earshot, "Let's get you on camera; what do you think about vegetarianism. Are you a vegetarian? Are you a meat-person?" Up would go his New York 1 videocamera to any willing sucker for stardom, and then on to the next one. VivaVegie was lucky that a couple of very good vegetarian talkers just happen to walk by. Both (unidentified to VivaVegie) were young and hip, and well, what do you expect from Broadway and Prince Street. The first, a young woman, looked right into the camera and said about meat, "Usually I just ignore it, but sometimes it really smells disgusting." And how she said it was really fantastic. And then there was the guy, very radical, very adamant. He looked right into the camera and said, "Meat is death!" and over and over he was edited in to say, "Death!" "Death!" "Death!" In between each "Death!" the final edited piece had a deli guy holding up a chopped steak. "Death!" was given the last word...
New York 1 put me in view doing my proselytizing of course in full costumed regalia, and on roller blades, no less. It was a cute touch. But don't worry, I did get a few good facts out for the viewers. I noted that chicken is not good to eat because it will clog up your arteries as well as your digestive tract. "Fish?" Chauncy asked. "What about fish?"
I responded, "Fish is not too good either, Chauncy; it's full of toxicity from the oceans. It's got no fiber and no Vitamin C. Why not just go back to nature," I said, "and stick to the four food groups?"
"And what are those?" Chauncy asked.
"Fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains," I said. And at this point a soundover made fun of the way I said legumes, which was very funny.
There was some playful banter about tofu too, with one old guy at one point blurting out, "Tofu to you," which definitely added a hefty portion of mirth to the whole bit.
VivaVegie members Debby Stromberg, Hugh Rothbaum, and Martin Rowe also put their bodies on the line in front of the camera for the veg cause. But all of us learned that in a soundbite world, sometimes you can rehearse and rehearse, but with a taping session like this, the piece that is finally edited is not going to be like anything you ever imagined!
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