Despite the fact that Venice, CA seems to be the epicenter of SoCal's green lifestyle movement, the 24th annual Abbott Kinney Festival that took over the city's main drag on Sunday, September 28th was far from eco-friendly. After claiming last year that the Venice Fest had gone green, this year's event was surprisingly off-base. Yes, there was a BMW 7 series hydrogen car on hand to be test-driven, and yes, patrons walked by the storefronts of AK's celebrated eco-retailers like children's resale boutique Eden's Green Closet, organic waxing studio Get Waxed, and local hangout Abbot's Habit, where you can opt for organic milk in your latte. But, surprisingly, there wasn't a recycling bin in sight, a dearth of organic food and drink, and plenty of plastic bags and containers floating around. Could Venice's excellent eco-rep be simply a case of really good greenwashing?
Not exactly. Despite the lack of recycling bins and organic options, the city dedicated a full city block to green event planner Sarah Shewey of Pink Cloud Events, who created an installation of eco-focused activities and art that practically made up for Venice's lack of foresight.
Shewey, who sources local suppliers and materials, reuses or rents 100% of her materials to minimize waste, fuels her generator and moving trucks on bio-diesel and carbon offsets for each and every event, created a carbon-neutral Connectivity event that was all kinds of inspiring. "Being connected to green means that you want to be connected to your real self your community and your environment," Shewey said.
And Shewey's version of eco-connectiveness is definitely out of the box. At Saturday's opening night party, there was punk rock bike polo presented by Boise Thomas of "Alter Eco" and sponsored by Clif Bar, extreme karaoke with costumes hosted by Tammy Tomahawk, a mobile eco-fashion boutique from Hitch Couture a Green Ambassadors terrarium workshop presented by artist Robert Quinn, and an urban fruit forage led by Fallen Fruit, plus drinks created with vodkas infused with the essences of fruits foraged in Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Sunday's event highlighted the work of Million Trees L.A., who adopted out 200 trees in four hours. In the Artists Lounge, Shewey brought in heavy-hitters like photographer Ian Shive, who is commissioned by the National Parks Conservancy Association. "They ask him to go around to all the different national parks and take beautiful pictures," Shewey said. "kind of like Ansel Adams was in the '60s." Wall hangings by Meagan Mattingly created from reused packaging materials were also a stand-out. And all art was mounted on frames made from salvaged wood from housing projects and will be reused at the next Pink Cloud event.
We can only hope the Abbot Kinney District Association is similarly inspired.
Want to check out other eco-minded events? Take a look at last month's Josie Maran Cosmetics Sephora Launch Party at Akasha, a preview of the Angelenos Go Green for Obama event that will be hosted by Hillary Clinton on Saturday, and the plan to carbon-neutralize the Olympic flame in 2012.