Supra Duper, NHLV Gala, Veggie Conquest 3!

October 19, 2009


Discerning Brute Contributor, Troy Farmer points us to the new Holiday ‘09 Vegan Pack from Supra Footwear – featuring the Dixon, Thunder Lo, Thunder and the Diablo 1.5,  wearing 100% canvas uppers and done up in a variety of colorways. thunder / s38005blk

2009 GalaCome party with me at the New York League of Humane Voters Gala in NYC on November 12 at six o’clock in the evening at the famous Prince George Ballroom, 15 E. 27th Street (between Madison & Fifth Avenues). Featuring Keynote speaker NYS Governor David A. Paterson.

Celebrity guests include GirlieGirl Army’s Chloe Jo Berman, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary founders Jenny Brown and Doug Abel, “Super Size Me” co-star and author Alex Jamieson,  ”Discerning Brute” Joshua Katcher, author & political guru Julie Lewin, world-renowned artist Peter Max, ”Bizarro” comic creator Dan Piraro, rapper Princess Superstar, actress and author Ally Sheedy, singer/songwriter Rachel Trachtenburg, CNN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell and ”Whale Wars” star Captain Paul Watson.


I will be your Emcee!

Don’t miss your chance to buy tickets to the 3rd Veggie Conquest! Or enter to be a competitor! Conquest 1 and 2 were completely sold out, and this one should be even better! Please get your tickets early. THEY WILL SELL OUT!! You must buy your tickets here.

Veggie conquest 3 will take place at Not Fade Away Gallery, in Union Square, NYC. They will have a very special second course at VC#3. Match Meats has shipped our volunteers a whole freezer full of vegan meats to try.

Seitan Sneakers, Moral Animals, Green Printing & Elephant Emergency

May 30, 2009

ALIFE made some awesome vegan “aged-leather” skate sneaks called EVERYBODY HIGH SEITAN. I really love the effect of this aged-waxed-canvas. Would love to see it on jackets, and other accessories! Hey designers, take note! These are from the 2008 collection, and there are still some left at in TAN, BLACK, & BROWN. How did we miss this? Get on it!

ALIFE Everybody High - “Seitan” Pack - Dark Brown

Can animals tell right from wrong? A new controversial study from the University of Colorado, Boulder suggests they can, and showcases many complex social behaviors as evidence. Of course we always knew they were smart, social animals, but the mounting evidence makes it more and more difficult to rationalize mistreating them.

GREENDOT - A PRODUKTION CompanyIf you are in any business where you must print out flyers, lookbooks, presentations, reports, or post cards – or if you simply need a business card, it’s helpful to know that there are green printers like GREENDOT in NYC, who use non-toxic vegetable/soy inks, the highest quality recycled/post-consumer-waste papers, and have years of print production experience. There is no aesthetic compromise, and I personally reccommend them!

Elephants in circuses need our help. This latest video uncovered by IDA shows how elephants in are abused by frustrated and cruel trainers who use bull hooks to inflict pain and force the animals to do ridiculous tricks. Often the rationalization for keeping exotic animals in the circus is that they serve educational purposes for children. It seems the only thing they are being taught is that animals are ours to exploit and abuse. Circuses teach us nothing of animals’ natural inclinations, habitats, or behaviors.

Laban Pheidias: A Recipe For Radness

January 10, 2009
photo © Ted Newsome

photo © Ted Newsome

He has a huge beard, a knack for being photographed mid-air, and more counter-culture punch than any rebel I’ve met. He’s also challenging the television and film industry to be more green, starting an eco-skateboard line, and making more videos than a vlogger on speed. This west-coast boy was raised vegetarian, became vegan, and thinks driving a veggie-diesel car and everything from Gypsy Music to Nick Nolte is cool. Meet Laban Pheidias. And remember his name, ’cause you’ll be dropping it later.

Photo © Ted Newsome

Photo © Ted Newsome

Discerning Brute: Hey Laban! Good lord, you have so many things going on. How do you make time for it all? Tell us about your recent projects, what you’re the most stoked about, and whether you were always an over-achiever?
Laban Pheidias: I enjoy having a lot of things on my plate. Not every project or thing I do gets to see the light of day, or at least not right away. It has to be the right time for certain projects. Right now, 2headedhorse (our production company) keeps me and my biz partner, Ted Newsome, pretty slammed. We just moved 2headedhorse into a big building in Echo Park. It’s cool because now our employees don’t have to see me in my underwear at our house. We’re currently wrapping up season 2 of Stupidface (our crazy comedy show). The series premiere is on 1/1/2009 at 1:00am et (10:30pm pt)on Fuel TV. We also just inked a deal for Built to Shred season 2. And we’re also gearing up for American Misfits season 3. This is very exciting to us  because we’ve taken such a long break from it and we’ve got a bunch of new ideas that will invigorate it. I can’t say to much about it now, but let me put it this way, we’re getting out of the bosses clutches and steering it in a new direction. Also, on the horizon are two very unique projects that entail music videos and a feature film.

Photo © Christopher Donez

Photo © Christopher Donez

DB: Wow…you are busy. Skating is clearly a total lifestyle for you. When did you get into skateboarding, and did it have anything to do with your veganism, or vice versa?
LP: I grew up with skateboards in sunny California, but I really got into skateboarding when I was about 14 years old living in Maine. Rob Collinson (Lowcard zine) was the local outcast skater kid in town. We became friends and skated (and ran from cops) every day. I was born and raised vegetarian so I’ve never eaten meat, but it wasn’t until I was living in Oregon when I was around 16 that I became aware of the vegan lifestyle. I met this over the top punk rock activist dude with a big spiked mohawk and a “leather” jacket with the words “Fuck you! It’s not leather” written in red on it. He told  me about all the terrible things that happen to dairy cows and egg laying chickens and how those industries are tied to the meat industry. From that day on I couldn’t ignore this link and the unnecessary cruelty that these animals suffer.


Photo © Ted Newsome

DB: I had a similar experience at 18. I finally had to live in consistency with the knowledge I gained from watching a doc on factory farms. I got my sleeve as a big reminder to stay true to those values. Speaking of ink, who does your ink, and what tatt is your favorite? Any good stories behind them?

Photo © Ted Newsome

Photo © Ted Newsome

LP: The first tattoo I got was when I was fifteen and it’s the words “No War, No KKK, No Fascist USA” across my back. This is one of MDC‘s songs. My brother gave it to me with a whole made tattoo gun. I returned the favor and tattood the same statement across his back. I get tattoos from different artists. It really depends on where I am. The last three tattoos I got were in Oregon. I got a camping goat on my side from Roll Hardy at Atomic Art Tattoo Studio, a raven on my shoulder from Ryan Mason at the all vegan tattoo shop Scapegoat, and some finger tattoos from Steve Fuller at Triple Six Tattoo in Ashland, Oregon. Right now my favorite is probably the trident on the back of my arm.

Photo © Ted Newsome

DB: The camping goat seems really anti-establishment. Does counter-culture still exist?
LP: Yeah, I definitely think counter-culture exists and hopefully it always will. Counter-culture keeps people in check, because they know that at the right time an idea sparked from the subculture can explode in the face of convention and social norms. There are plenty of ideas that run counter to the mainstream and I know a lot of these things will eventually get their time to shine.

DB: That’s a pretty eloquent expression with both realism and optimism. It’s refreshing. What made you start giving a crap about ecosystems and animals? And do you think other people are finally ‘getting it’ with environmentalism?
LP: I’ve always cared about ecosystems and animals. My parents were a big part of shaping my compassionate point of view towards this planet.  The environmental movement is great but I don’t think a lot of people really get it. There’s a lot of people who call themselves environmentalists because of their Prius and then eat a bloody hamburger. This is the epitome of hypocrisy. You’d be doing the world better by driving a fleet of gas guzzling Hummers while eating a veggie burger. Frankly, I’m sick of the green movement trying to sweep under the carpet and blatantly ignore one of the biggest environmental disasters of this century – factory farming and slaughter houses. It’s time for people to become aware of this fact. But to end on a more positive note I just worked  on a great project with the director Henrik Hanson at RSA films. It’s a psa on driving veggie oil cars (click Vegetable Oil). It just aired on the Sundance channel and has gotten a lot of good feedback.

Shred For Life, Eco Skateboards

DB: The meat/global warming connection is so frustrating! Especially when people like Al Gore are not making it priority number one. Cool vid!  I made a similar PSA for CurrentTV about oil addiction. We should collaborate someday soon! Is there anyone you’ve worked with that totally blew your mind? Who do you want to meet or work with that you haven’t yet?
LP: My business partner Ted Newsome continually blows my mind with his dedication and creative touch. One of these days I would like to work with Nick Nolte. I wish I could go back in time and work with WC Fields. That would be amazing.


DB: How did you come up with your eco-skateboarding company? Where the hell can I buy one of these boards, and who are the artists doing board graphics for your shred sticks?
LP: Me and Ted have some good friends that don’t have a skateboard home right now and we thought why not channel these guys into a new deal. It’s called Shred for Life. Right now the team consists of myself, Chris Lambert, Jesse Hotchkiss, and Chuck Wampler. No boards or merch are for sale yet, but it’s all in the works and hopefully stuff will be available in the near future. Right now Hotchkiss is on graphic duty and coming up with some good ideas.

Photo © Ted Newsome

Photo © Ted Newsome

DB: You’ve also won an EMA award for doing a really green production. Tell us about how you did that, and how I can that too on my next production! I’m so jealous! Green with envy… derr..
LP: We’ve always tried our hardest to be a green production company. It’s basically being conscious of every part of production and trying cut waste wherever possible. One of the first things we did was to convert all our cars to run on veggie oil. Now we have a 250 gallon tank in our car port filled with veggie oil that we get delivered from a company called green diesel ( There is a lot of recycling, vegan catering, and common sense things like using environmentally friendly paint for sets. We took it to a whole other level on one of our episodes of Built to Shred. It’s the episode called “Solar Shred”. Check it out. You can watch it for free at

DB: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to make more ethical lifestyle choices, but still wants to have fun and be cool, AKA a Discerning Brute?
LP: To me the only way to have fun and be cool in life is to be ethically conscious. Of course in art I like to break all the rules. Also, I think it’s a hell of a lot cooler to do what you believe even if everyone seems to diss you because of it. Granted, sometimes it won’t be a lot of fun, but hey, doesn’t mean you can’t have ball anyway without the haters.

DB:  Who you are listening to, what you are reading, what you are eating a ton of,  and should we do it too?
LP: I’m listening to my favorite band Taraf de Haidouks. I’m reading about anything that interests me on I’m eating a lot of homemade hot sauce. And you should check it all out.

DB: Anything else we need to know?
LP:You need to know about the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Peta. Also, about how amazing “gypsy” music is.

Photo © Ted Newsome

Photo © Ted Newsome

DB: Lastly, give us a super-easy recipe.
LP: Here’s a recipe for radness: one vegan potluck, two quarter pipes, four cases of New Castle, one bottle of absinthe, and the Petrojvic Blasting Company playing the party.

Sustainable Skateboards & Searching Sedona

September 18, 2008

On my last day in LA, I stopped by Kelly Green Design who carries Sustainably Harvested Skateboards. These boards were rad – and the graphics were burned on, as opposed to using toxic paints. They made really nice wall art as well.

Sustainable Skateboards

Sustainable Skateboards

I made my way to Sedona, AZ where I checked out some petroglyphs by the Sinagua with Enzo, munched on raw coconut macaroons, avocado seaweed salad, and other vegan delights at D’Lish, and steered clear of the vortex!

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Organic Menswear, KFC Victory & Action Alert!

June 5, 2008

1. Organic, Fair-Trade Certified Menswear from Across the Pond!
By Nature has a few great mens’ items like this beige polo, the red check shirt, and the dark brown button-down!

Machja - Ombro Polo

Gossypium - Wine Vichy Checked Shirt






4. Howies makes sharp organic & recycled menswear!
Howies, another UK-based company, makes recycled-poly board-shorts, organic hoodies, organic jeans, and everything else you can think of. This is a great find!

DylanRest Bay

SparkyUtility Hoody
StrumbleTimber Jean

EdwynPd Polo

3. PETA declares victory in Canada KFC campaign!

KFCCruelty Billboard 1

PETA has won a major battle in its efforts to stop the worst abuses of chickens by KFC. KFC Canada has agreed to a historic animal welfare plan that will improve conditions for millions of birds. However, the decision makers that run KFC in other countries are allowing the worst cruelty to continue. KFC Canada has agreed to a historic new animal welfare plan that will dramatically improve the lives and deaths of millions of chickens killed for KFC Canada. The company will take the following actions:

  • Phase in purchases of 100 percent of its chickens from suppliers that use controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK)—the least cruel form of poultry slaughter ever developed. KFC Canada is the first major restaurant chain to commit to phasing in the exclusive purchasing of chicken meat from CAK slaughterhouses.
  • Add a vegan faux-chicken item to the menu of all 461 Priszm-owned KFC restaurants (more than half of all the KFCs in Canada).
  • Improve its animal welfare audit criteria to reduce the number of broken bones and other injuries suffered by birds.
  • Urge its suppliers to adopt better practices, including improved lighting, lower stocking density and ammonia levels, and a phaseout of growth-promoting drugs and breeding practices that painfully cripple chickens.
  • Form an animal welfare advisory panel to monitor the changes and recommend further advancements.

Order a Free ‘Vegetarian Starter Kit


The Humane Society of the United States

A bill now before the U.S. Senate will fund cruel, indiscriminate killing programs on our nation’s wildlife refuges. H.R. 767, the Refuge Ecology Protection, Assistance, and Immediate Response (REPAIR) Act, flewYakama horses through the U.S. House of Representatives because it was promoted as an invasive plant eradication bill. In truth, the bill would allocate millions of dollars to fund expensive, unwarranted and inhumane killing programs — targeting feral cats, free-roaming dogs, wild horses, and any other unwanted animal species. We need your help to halt this short-sighted legislation. There are better ways to solve conflicts with animal species, and if passed by the Senate, the REPAIR Act would ignore common-sense, humane approaches, in favor of lethal killing.

Skater Hippies

March 31, 2008

Don’t forget the boards for spring! I couldn’t find any skateboards made from recycled materials (if anyone knows of anything, please pass the info along) but, check these ‘sustainable’ boards from Comet Skateboards.

Ye Olde Cosmic Shred  30the galaxy's sleevesShred City 35

Comet Skateboards uses poplar and hickory from sustainable forests for a board’s core, topped with bamboo or maple veneer and coated with water-based paints. They’re also working to help develop ‘green’ epoxies, reinforcements and coatings. The boards are designed and manufactured in the world’s only solar-powered skateboard factory, which is located in downtown San Francisco. The company is committed to manufacturing locally (still made here!) and sources supplies locally whenever possible.

Packaging your package in organic hemp/cotton boxers are not the only amazing thing you can do thanks to Satori Movement. You can also have organic tees, hemp denim, tanks, totes and hoodies that don’t look like potato sacks (beware of their hippy-sandals, though!).

*Don’t forget to get the vegan bumps & bruises, and cut & scrape vegan hemp herbal balms before you hit the half-pipe.

*You can purchase any of the skater-inspired, eco-geeko gear at Culture Skate is a great source for skater-dudes who want to keep their eco-footprint small enough to still do a kick-flip.

Culture Skate