Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Zackary Drucker from TRANSPARENT Interview

With all the talk of transgender bathrooms at Target and the North Carolina bathroom law, there has never been a more appropriate time to release our long-awaited interview with Zackary Drucker, co-producer of Transparent. This is the first show to tackle the hot topic of transgender living in today's world. Political by nature, this show is the best look at transpeople to-date, and will soon have its third season released on Amazon Prime


TRANSPARENT CO-PRODUCER:
ZACKARY DRUCKER


Disclaimer: Transparent is my favorite show and this interview was a huge privilege. Zackary and I were friends and allies through the Acceptance Coalition at both of our high schools. This pretty much makes her "my friend that made it big in Hollywood." Watch the quick trailer to understand the magic that is Transparent.



Who are you and what's your job? 

My name is Zackary Drucker and I’m a full-time human. I’m a co-producer on the Amazon show Transparent, and I’m an artist who has shown my work in various museums around the world, including the Whitney Museum, the Hammer Museum, and MoMA PS1. I was friends as a teenager with a person named Billy Prusinowski, who asked me to do this interview.



Where are you from originally? 

Syracuse, New York.


What places have you moved to and lived in before coming to LA? 

The week I graduated high school, I hot-tailed it to New York City! I got my BFA at the School of Visual Arts, and I moved to Los Angeles, to get an MFA at Cal Arts and I’ve been in Los Angeles ever since.




Why did you decide to keep your name? 

Well, for a lot of reasons. I had already started building a name an an artist and I didn't want to start over. I considered changing my name and when I realized that I didn't want to, that I'd only be doing it to make everyone around me more comfortable, I decided that it was the epitome of a bad decision. Gandhi said "be the change you wish to see in the world" and the world I decided to live in is one in which a woman is named "Zackary." We trans people have learned to modify ourselves to set other people at ease but at the cost of our sense of self, our histories, and often at the expense of our bank accounts. Any expectation to conform to social norms has always been a good motivator for me reject social norms. These are all personal choices I'm speaking to, I totally support everyone's right to change their names and modify their bodies. I think the goal for all of us should be to optimize our comfort in our bodies, we're the only ones who have to live in us. 

What is your affiliation with the TV show Transparent? 

I started on Transparent as a transgender consultant when creator Jill Soloway was developing the pilot. I came on as a full-time employee for season 1 as an associate producer, and now I’m a co-producer. There’s a big team behind Transparent, but I would say that I, specifically, manage the politics of transgender representation, initiatives with the community, working with actors, cast, and crew, and bringing as many trans people onto the production as possible, both in front of, and behind, the camera.



Tell us about a scene from Transparent that you contributed to that holds a special place in your heart.

In season one, there's a flashback episode that dives into the main character Maura’s history and traces her path as a young parent to three children, into finding her gender non-conforming community. Camp Camelia is a fictional retreat for crossdressers based on many similar communities and safe spaces, and I provided research and visual references that helped create that world. It means a lot that I was able to help showcase the community strength that existed back when trans people were barely visible.



The show seems "very LA." Though not identifying as trans, the three kids have pretty insane lives. Are Josh, Sara, and Allie's lives realistic for someone in LA in 2016? 

YES. The Pfefferman family is fictional, but I think that they're absolutely representative of this place and moment in time.

Do you feel you are THE forefront of trans-education in 2016?

I consider myself an active participant and a witness to an incredible cultural shift that’s beginning to embrace gender diversity. I think that I’m doing my part, along with a lot of other amazing comrades.




Me doing an interview about trans-issues makes me feel like Macklemore singing about #blacklivesmatter. Does someone like me have any right to write about an issue like this (which you've truly lived and I haven't)? 

Thank you for writing about this and about me. This is a big conversation that involves everyone - gender is something that everyone has their own relationship to. Trans people are oftem a more visible representation of something that virtually everybody experiences, as illuminated by decades of feminism, and this is something that men are still catching up to by acknowledging that masculinity is as much a construct as femininity. The thing that has created a shift towards acceptance of trans people is that cisgender* (non-trans) allies have started to have these conversations, and then that we are all speaking to different communities. I think that white people certainly need to be having conversations about racism. It takes all of us to move culture forward.




How political is the show? Will you endorse Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump in this election year? Do you think any of them will begin to address any of the issues facing the trans-community? 

I’m definitely rooting for Trump, because I love a bully just as much as any other Fox-News-watching couch warrior. Kidding! The show is very political, much more so behind the scenes. Jill Soloway has had an incredible gift of bringing a lot of brilliant people together to create Transparent, and it is created very much with a feminist model of sharing inequality. We take our social responsibilities very seriously and with a lot of laughter. The show is a comedy, it’s hilarious. It’s proof that we can examine ourselves without exploiting each other’s difference.




I have a video of us at a Lost Horizon punk show from February 2000. You had big hair, lots of glitter, and definitely stood out. How did you identify back then and how has that changed since? 

I, as a teenager, identified as a genderfuck, and that’s probably the word I used for it at the time. Looking back, I would say genderfluid or gender non-conforming, but those words didn't exist at the time. I wore a dress to my prom and didn’t believe that I had to subscribe to the binary. Really, I wouldn’t have had the choice. I always emphasize that I identify as a human, because sometimes when we start parsing out our identities and get more and more specific, it becomes showy. I also identify as trans, as a trans woman, and as a woman, and I don’t have much of a preference or allegiance in any of those categories.




People like me who knew you from school days are so proud that you've made it big and stuck to your guns. What would you like to say to your allies from Acceptance Coalition that are now watching your show and still following the example you set in being an activist?

I don’t know how many people who knew me back then are watching the show or know that I’m involved in it, but I love that you know. And to all our comrades of yesterday, I’d like to say: I love you, and thank you very much - we survived!


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cheating, Sexism, YouTube, Porn

The video where the boyfriend lures his girlfriend inside his house with a blindfold on, only to give her the Valentine's Day "gift" of stalker pictures of her cheating on him disgusts me.

I saw this on a bodybuilding forum, where most people commenting were in favor of the boyfriend/creator of this video. Now, in case you don't know, what happens is that this boy sets up a trap for his girlfriend to get embarrassed and shamed specifically for a YouTube video. The entire time he is taping (with his camera sideways....idiot) and using the most bro-ish language one could possibly use to set up this poor girl for a prank. The prank is that he finally ends up showing her a picture of her cheating on him, which she sees and then gets screamed at by the boyfriend to "get the fuck out of the house."




First, the title of this video reminded me of the genuinely funny video from a couple years back of the guy faking his girlfriend out and saying he cheated, only to have her say, "It's ok, I cheated on you too." I dunno, I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff, and that video didn't contain any terrible sexist bullshit, so I will say I'm a fan of it. I was incredibly wrong to assume that this video was going to be funny or worthwhile to watch. Honestly, I think the boyfriend AND his roommate both think they achieved "viral" status on YouTube by creating this awful video. The entire end is them saying things like "slut" and "whore" to this girl in order to make them seem cool for this video they were so excited to release. They both said, "This is going on YouTube!" <- That is a huge reason I'm so pissed off at these pieces of shit. And our entire sexist culture.

I saw a musical act last night and they played a song that I know was not on YouTube yet, so I whipped out my phone and videoed it while thinking to myself, "Yes, this is going to get me some views and subscribers!"

Watch my video after you read the rest! Brian Fallon is amazing :)

Isn't that what social media should be about? Posting things that will enrich or in some way educate our friends and followers about the world? I know we've strayed far away from that...but this video epitomizes the garbage mentality that so many of its viewers had.

The comments section makes me sick. It is a bodybuilding forum where everyone's avatar is a mirror selfie of their baby abs (most of these morons are late teens and early twenties) and they all talk in internet lingo! One that made me particularly sick was their use of the word "Alpha." Now, I have watched enough weightlifting channels to know that calling oneself "alpha" is a big compliment. It means the same thing as an alpha dog.


Right off the bat, one of these 18-19 year old "bodybuilders" said that the dudes who made the video were so alpha. More chimed in saying, "Alpha move, bro!" "Total Alpha!" If I had a nickel for how many times these novices misused that word that I am now so fucking sick of, I would be as rich as Donald Trump.


What these boys need explained to them is that an alpha dog doesn't disrespect women for YouTube fame. I know exactly what their thinking is. I've seen the Zyzz videos. I've seen the supplements called Alpha Amino and Alpha Pro. The gym bros that have the biggest muscles and get the most girls get called Alpha. Everyone, of course, wants to be the Alpha. Everyone actually thinks they are it.

Zyzz

I can sympathize with the confused state of mind a lot of them are in, because there is no one out there explaining that getting jacked and getting laid can be healthy, sex-positive, and empower all genders. What this piece of shit did to his girlfriend was not alpha at all. It was the supreme opposite, because he was acting on massive insecurity issues, taking someone else down to make himself feel more powerful. Did he get cheated on? Yes, I guess that is the premise of the video, so he has every right to be hurt. He has no right to practically kidnap this girl and videotape her being forced to endure his and his asshat roommate's verbal abuse. 

Another word that was used was "cuckold." Dude, that word has been made popular by Pornhub.com videos which feature a guy watching his significant other getting fucked by someone else. It's a strange word and will disappear into obscurity as quickly as it (sort of) appeared. Now, for the record, it was the girl's defenders that were using this word and its made-up derivatives: "cuck," "cuck'd" etc. I will give them a little credit for at least knowing who was in the wrong in this shitty video, but they are using words that they learned from porn! 

These guys, just like the others, are all between the ages of 16 and 26. (Goddamn I hope there isn't anyone older than that on those forums speaking like a little Generation Z internet troll. There probably is. They're probably our bosses at work. FML.) They get their education from internet posts and YouTube comments. I'm excited hoping that the day their social media posts stop getting LIKES, they may just enter the real world where literally no one will ever say the word "cuckold" outside of fetish porn. It was so weird hearing the guys who share my views on this shithead boyfriend trying to insult him by saying, "Looks like yr the 1 that got cuk'd bruh." I mean, use your words, guy.


My hope with this piece is that someone who is getting their education from comments on the internet will stumble across this and learn from my comments. This video was NOT a good idea. This girl did NOT learn any lesson. This prank did NOT make the guy more powerful. This did NOT set a good example for young men who need to learn how to grapple with infidelity/relationships/jealousy. 

Most of the time I make these blog entries when I am developing my ideas or political stances on current events. A lot of the time I am angry, and rather than punching someone or making a Facebook rant, I choose to develop my thoughts here. This entry was created out of my disgust for the way a lot of young guys are thinking nowadays. When one or two people think a certain way, I know I can't change every mind. But when asinine ideas are spreading through channels like these (the entire bodybuilding "scene") I am just afraid. I'm sure there have been more women mistreated and verbally abused by boys trying to emulate this video themselves. I feel for all of those victims, and I want all of these guys to rethink their lives. Don't be the next douchebag. Cheers. 







Monday, January 25, 2016

Vegan Scene in 2016


This is my most recent video, stating who I know and apologizing for who I don't know, in the "Vegan Scene in 2016." Enjoy. Subscribe to my channel, as I believe I will more active on it in the near future. Check out www.plantbuilt.com for your inspiration and answers to all things vegan/fitness until then. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Forever True



        I am against guns. All guns. Unpopular sentiment with a lot of people I consider myself friends with? Yes. But that doesn’t determine my friendships with them. Do I like it when friends agree with my ethical views? Sure. And that’s what I was reminded about as I listened to A Global Threat tonight.


A Global Threat, Boston Punk

        Maybe you know me as a West Genesee graduate, or SU graduate or UCSC graduate. Maybe as a vegan, maybe as a teacher, maybe through fitness competitions and classes. Could also be because we’re both Ukrainian or have done karate together.


        You likely know my politics. Pro-peace, anti-drugs, pro-union, animal-friendly, Green Party (the political party of sustainability), etc etc. Those politics were formed because of the punk rock I was exposed to in high school, went on to really “live the scene” during my college years, and continued to enjoy in while in Portland and working for PETA.

Me, Helen Boylan, Dave Carlson



Me, Tom Liggett, Warped Tour 2001
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The friends I had in high school will never be forgotten. I remember each one of them fondly tonight, because I listened to my favorite A Global Threat album and read their liner notes and lyrics like I was 16 again.

        This scene that meant so much is very similar to my PlantBuilt Family that has been growing since 2013. Here is why: Vegans aren’t all the same. Some suck. Most are rad, but we don’t agree on everything. The fact of the matter is that PlantBuilt is a community of people who DO feel the same way about a lot of things. Everything? Of course not. But we’re staunchly against racism. We support our trans-brothers and sisters. We believe in food reform, plant-based diets, environmental protection, and a whole slew of other things that some might not realize are directly correlated to the vegan lifestyle. 

        I had conversations about religion, police shootings, Caitlyn Jenner…I felt very “at home” with a crew that was intelligent, sympathetic, and DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. This is my community in 2015. It took this street punk record tonight to help me rewind back to 1999 when I participated in another community like this. 
Syracuse Hardcore Scene, Westcott Community Center
Seattle Hardcore Scene, Camp Nowhere
Tim, Chris, Allan, John - Seven Generations
        For a good 7 years, I went to punk shows every weekend. Eventually I got pickier and chose the more political bands over others, and would travel for their shows. Some of my favorite groups promoted books called “Crimethinc,” which I was influenced heavily by and ended up on entire tours with Crimethinc-affiliated artists. The thing with those shows was that THOSE were my people. 

Me, Lauren Winship, Chicago, IL
Me, Pat Roberts, Reno, NV
Me, Chris Rouse, Tim Rusmisel - Seven Generations
        They weren’t just kids watching bands. Lyrics influenced lifestyles, and outside these shows you would talk with any one of these kids and be down to go hitchhike the country with them, or figure out a way get free food, or scam a mega-corporation, or protest a Ringling Brothers circus coming to town. 
Me, Chriztophe Shingleton, Petland Austin, TX

        They are the reason I moved to Portland. I was told about this wonderland of punks and train hopping and Food Not Bombs and bike culture and direct action that I 100% lived while I was there. 

        The rapidly-growing community of “my people” was thrilling, and made it really easy to become so confident in my far left views of the world. I wouldn’t read Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Derrick Jensen in vain. My friends could discuss these authors in-depth, and so we did. 

        I love being a part of this kind of community. I haven’t listened to punk music regularly since college. But baby I was SO into it. Who remembers the mohawks I’ve had? Insane? I sure hope you thought so. That was my goal in life! 

        I would say my politics are at least equally as radical as they were then. And this was when I was going to activist group meetings several nights a week and skipping entire weeks of school to sit-in or march or disrupt things we were campaigning against. 
Syracuse Animal Rights Organization
Me, Zac Wolfheart, Marissa Wolfheart, Portland, OR

        I don’t have a mohawk anymore. I look so mainstream it hurts sometimes. But with that being said, I wouldn’t be able to do crossfit with an 8 inch mohawk or my studded pleather jacket. I wouldn’t have gotten hired teaching in a public school, where I can reach a population of impressionable youth and steer them toward future peace and justice. I wouldn’t be able to do Vega demos. I wouldn’t be able to get “in” to all of the circles I am in, where people trust me, they believe me, and then when I share my opinions with them, I have much more of a chance getting across to them. 

PETA works to reach the mainstream and get across to
populations who would otherwise not hear our message
through the punk rock and hardcore scenes

        Has anyone seen the meme that was a dude asking a little kid “are you the only vegan in your family?” and the kid replying with “yes” and the last part of it was them hugging and crying together? That pretty much sums up how it feels to be in a place with your people- especially ethical vegans. Instead of the local punk/hardcore show being the place where we are unite, it's in the gym. I'm certainly not the only one who has evolved in such a way. 

Carolyn Napier, Holly Noll, Ed Bauer, Me, Kelly Green,
Allison Dunham, Sara Russert, Flexvx Crew 2014
(have way more in common than just our muscles)
        Team PlantBuilt members are very much into their physiques. That is the reason that this group of vegans came together as a team. Though after meeting up with them the past two years, I realize how consistent each of our compassionate lifestyles are when addressing other worldly issues (racism, police brutality, xenophobia, homophobia, drugs, oppressive religious views, etc).
        When we speak, we are at ease. When we eat, we share our meals. When we work, we work hard. When we hear about another war starting, we protest. We know who to trust, and for each other, remain forever true. After PlantBuilt 2014, a lot of us who still hold strong ended up at the all vegan Sweet Ritual. We took this picture to break the record of most years XVX combined to ever be in one place. These are the faces of the people I truly feel at home/at ease with nowadays. Much love. 

Allison Dunham, Holly Noll, Kelly Green, Sasha Perry, Carolyn Napier, Billy Pruz
Joey Marsh, Ed Bauer, Matt Ruscigno, Sara Russert
        The only picture that can follow this one up is from exactly 10 years previous. The most "at home" I had ever felt with other vegan straight edge kids up until PlantBuilt began. Total Liberation Tour was monumental in bringing together XVX bands from all over the globe to play a tour in the U.S., and I got to meet some tremendously inspirational people that year. Karl from Earth Crisis is there. Andy Stephanian from the SHAC 7 is there. I'm there. Yeah buddy. Syracuse, NY, June 2004.

Couldn't name every person, couldn't name every country, couldn't believe when
I heard that a whole bunch of them sold out...but this was fucking amazing.
Total Liberation 2004 - Vegan Straight Edge

       When I made a Facebook post with only the text from this blog, I tagged a lot of the people because tagging is so easy on social media! I wish you all had Blogger so we could just do it that way here! Oh well, here we go with trying to find pictures with a lot of you, which I will only be able to successfully do for a fraction. Maybe you'll see yourself, maybe not. I still hope you smile :)

Ed, Holly, Allison, and me trying to look like A Global Threat


Chris Merrow, Alicia Arredondo, Tyler Lang
http://supportkevinandtyler.com/

Ranger, Maria Borrell, Hex, Stoops, Brian Kraus

Ryan Kutil, Jon AB, Allison Dunham

Crazy Shawn, Amber, Vegan Tim, Jay Carney, Lauren Ligocki

That beer is NOT ours

Crazy Shawn, Amber, Muslim Matt

Andrew Truss XVX

Mike The Spike Zell

Daniel Austin

Chriztophe Shingleton


Stic Man Dead Prez







Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Vegan Couple: CrossFit/Powerlifting/Bodybuilding



HOLLY

You've been a baker and chef for a while now. How long exactly and how did that start?

Holly: Well, I was literally in a baby seat in commercial kitchens with my Dad and Grandmother when they were working together when I was growing up. I started helping out when I was super young because I liked it and have been learning since. When I went vegan, people said it would limit me severely in my career as a chef but I would say it did the opposite. Baking came later, and at 22 I opened my first vegan business, a wholesale vegan bakery in Oakland, California. Though I decided that was not my path, baking has really taught me so much that I've been able to bring into other aspects of my life, like a love of pure physical chemistry, and about learning the foundation before breaking the rules. Once I learned all those foundations, I was able to start connecting between my love of fitness food, (i.e. macro friendly, high protein, cleaner ingredient foods) and delicious baked treats.


Were punk rock and hardcore a big part of your involvement with this lifestyle? 

Holly: Huge. My Mom and Brother got me into punk rock when I was a little tiny kid. I was kicking it with my Brother at shows at local venues and skate parks way before graduating elementary school. Punk rock taught me that I didn't need to adhere to anything the world around me told me, that it was cool to be a tough, strong, girl, and that I could do whatever I wanted in the world as long as it meant I was fighting for what I knew to be right. It was also a huge part of my education about the world around me, from wars in far off countries, atrocities of history, or the corruption of capitalism, lyrics and record sleeves taught me so much.

Hardcore brought me into veganism and straight edge. They both gave me the mind, tools and strength to lift heavy and fight hard, especially when the world around me thinks what I'm doing is impossible or insane. The mentality of hardcore and punk rock really resonate into my more adult (read: less able to play in bands or make it to shows) life in different ways besides mentality. For instance, it connects you instantly to others who have had similar experiences and creates an environment of honesty and openness, especially among other older hardcore ladies. These both came together recently when another bad ass punk rock lady and I started Rise and Resist, a podcast that's opening up many topics within fitness and nutrition, breaking myths and taking on all aspects of what it means to live a vegan lifter lifestyle. 


ED

Describe yourself in a few sentences. 

Ed: I am a long time ethical vegan, who has competed in BodyBuilding, Men's physique, and CrossFit competitions. I hold multiple certifications in Personal Training, Olympic Weightlifting, Mobility, Nutrition, and the CrossFit Level 1 Certificate. My goal in life is to show the world that a 100% plant-based diet has everything we need to be strong, fit, healthy, and damn good looking.

PlantFit is all the rave in the Bay Area vegan scene. What exactly is it? 

Ed: PlantFit Strength & Conditioning is a fitness facility that I own with my partner that promotes a plant-based lifestyle. We use a mix of functional fitness, bodybuilding, powerlifting, and lots of mobility to ensure everyone is moving safely and efficiently.

Why did you decide to open this kind of facility?

Ed: I was a personal trainer for five years working for big box gyms, and the time finally came to open my own business. Also, while the fitness industry was so busy promoting whey protein and meat consumption, I was able to establish a vegan business in a niche market ahead of the trend curve.



BACK TO HOLLY

You are on Team PlantBuilt 2015, which takes a ton of dedication. Has lifting become more of a passion than your baking? 

Holly: That's an amazing question, and not one that came up with an answer for quickly. I have been at all the PlantBuilt meet-ups 'til now, but it wasn't until this last year that I realized where I fit in the fitness industry. I love lifting heavy and breaking stereotypes, so when I began powerlifting, it really tugged at my heartstrings and I knew I wanted to be part of the team. It definitely takes a ton of dedication, but it really is just a love of the lifestyle. We live upstairs from PlantFit, so training now is quite an interesting phenomenon. I walk downstairs to the gym and get to train alone, listening to old xvx hardcore (vegan, straight edge bands)  for inspiration, while the dogs lay in the sun and I do what I love. I guess I let it take over because the passion simply shifted. I still love baking, which is why I started FitQuick (to meld the two)!


What is FitQuick? 

Holly: FitQuick is a dry mix, meant to be mixed with non dairy milk, that becomes a super awesome protein waffle or pancake, free of sugar, dairy, soy or gluten. It has 22 grams of protein per serving, while being low fat and carbohydrate, and very high fiber. I like to think that it came out of my desire to answer "But where do you get your protein?!" with "from WAFFLES!". It currently comes in three sweet flavors: Original which is meant to be similar to buttermilk, Double Chocolate Brownie, Java Chip as well as the more savory Pizza Style. I mostly distribute through the incredible VeganProteins.com and will be expanding into more products and flavors in the future.



What are your future plans with FitQuick and PlantFit? 

Holly: FitQuick grows itself. As people catch onto how great it is, they spread the word for me. It has been the most rewarding company I have ever started because it's been so driven by demand. Plans for FitQuick include new flavors such as Blueberry Lemon and Peanut Butter Swirl, new products such as Protein Peanut Butter and Mixed Berry BCAA's Omega 3 Jam, Protein Donut Mix and I just started allowing bulk orders for those who love it so much they just want tons. I recently began coaching at PlantFit and that has been moving me further from the food industry and more into teaching fitness and nutrition which has been amazing, so hopefully the future will hold more clients and more events. We are beginning to plan pop up dinners/brunches with many local chefs in the courtyard and in the space itself which will be super fun. Also, we are growing out the supplement shop and, as we get more and more people coming through, we will grow FitQuick Performance Cafe as well.

 (For Remote or Local Fitness or Nutrition Coaching, or for more information on PlantFit or FitQuick, please email xvxholly@gmail.com and follow @xvxh on Instagram)


You are known to make compelling arguments for following a plant-based diet and a sober lifestyle. What do you say to someone with no exposure to veganism or straight edge that asks you why you live the way you do? 

Holly: Veganism is the back bone of my passion and motivation. Knowing that I'm proving what can be done without the oppression of the earth and animals gives me a reason bigger than myself to grow stronger. Straight Edge is the tool that keeps me focused on what matters. They both keep me healthy and happy.

BACK TO ED

Ed:  I would tell them that both vegan and straight-edge are all about respect. I respect the rights and freedom of all living creatures. I think all animals should have the right to live free of pain and suffering. Living a 100% vegan lifestyle is the only way to grant them that respect. Also a straight-edge lifestyle is all about respect for myself. Staying away from all drugs and alcohol allows me better health, a clear mind, and more opportunity to make better decisions. It also keeps me out of dangerous situations such as drunk driving or substance abuse and addiction.

Has your business taken priority over your own training? 

Ed: It had to at first to get it ready for its grand opening in January 2015. Since then, I have found a healthy balance of coaching others while establishing a strong improvement in my personal programming.

Tell us about your relationship with Beyond Meat. 

Ed: I am a part of the Beyond Meat Pro Team, which means I get to promote a forward thinking company and eat delicious plant-based meats like Beyond Chicken and Beast Burgers! I share my experience with Beyond Meat on social media and they provide us with swag, coupons, ad marketing opportunities. They are truly a company that aligns with my values.

The Beyond Beefy Ed Bauer and Billy Prusinowski

My reason for wanting to do this interview:

The relationship I am grateful to have with Holly Noll and Ed Bauer has helped solidify my presence in the vegan health and fitness world. Both of them inspire me to stay ever-committed to this vegan, straight-edge, punk-loving, and fitness-focused lifestyle. When I was 15, I had a huge support network of dozens of straight edge kids at West Genesee High School (Syracuse, New York) and at least 10 of them were fellow vegans. Support is what you need when you make any kind of significant change in your life, and those who don't have it fight an uphill battle. 

Unfortunately, over the years and after several relocations criss-crossing the country, my Syracuse Straight Edge scene has thinned out and the vegan movement has gone through a "changing of the guards" so to speak. Those vegans who inspired my decision in 2001 to evolve to a plant-based diet are not vegan anymore. Additionally, those who I inspired in the ultra-militant first 3 years of my vegan journey probably aren't vegan anymore either. (There are a few holdouts, and my respect for them is huge. I won't stay stuck in the past though, and instead choose to align myself with people who are new or newer vegans, because it's all the same to me.)

I do this interview because Holly and Ed are my new support network. They are not new vegans (30 years of veganism between the two of them!) but still rather fresh on my friend radar, and I hope they stay forever. This picture captures much of the spirit and attitude people like us share. Josh is a "new vegan" and already a seminal part of our movement. Allison is my partner, and nicely rounds out the EdHollyBillyAllison fearsome foursome. I call this picture "The Order of The Phoenix" because Harry Potter and his crew are almost as badass as us. Thanks for reading.