Who: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly, VN Managing Editor Aurelia d'Andrea, and a gaggle of glamorous, compassionate people
What: A launch party for Gene Baur's new book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Food Animals
Where: The Baur family home in the Hollywood Hills
When: March 15, 2008
Why: To support our fellow vegans
The Scoop: Joe and I nipped out from our Expo West duties for a few hours so we could lend our support to Gene Baur, co-founder of Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY, and Orland, Calif., who was having his official book launch party at his folks' home in the Hollywood Hills. Due to co-pilot malfunction, we got a little lost on the way up, but knew we were getting close when Joe's Prius passed a string of parked cars plastered with "Go Veg!" stickers.
Inside the modest mid-century home high in the hills above Los Angeles, the vegan glitterati mingled over glasses of organic wine and small plates from the buffet catered by Tanya Petrovna of Native Foods. The juicy tomato skewers were divine! Here and there, a familiar face surfaced in the crowd. Hey! Do I know him? Oh, wait: that's James Cromwell of Babe fame, and no, I don't know him. But I do know her—that's Skinny Bitch herself, Rory Freedman. I love her! And there's another vegan author, the funny, glamorous Karen Dawn. (Read more about her and her latest book, Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals, in the current issue of VegNews.) And where can I get a coat like hers? (See Karen in said manteau above, pictured beside Emily Deschanel.)
After thoughtful speeches by Loretta Swit and Farm Sanctuary's Samantha Ragsdale, Gene took the podium for a few inspiring moments to talk about the way farmed animals have changed his outlook on life, deepened his compassion, and set the course of his life's work. A compelling, charismatic speaker, Gene had the crowd enraptured. It was a memorable evening made more so by the genuine feelings of empathy and compassion generated by this altruistic bunch of do-gooders. Being part of the vegan community is pretty freakin' awesome!