We have been watching the *very best* movies on Netflix lately…last week we saw:
Sketches of Frank Gehry, which was really good. I had wanted to know more about his creativity, and how he models the first versions of his designs (lovely metallic-colored stiff paper). Gehry designed the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi which is dedicated to the pottery of George Ohr…I can’t wait until it is completed (it got LOTS of damage during Katrina, when it was being constructed). There’s a pic of Gehry’s design for the museum here.
We also watched The Devil and Daniel Johnston, a documentary about an artist and incredible music-writer and performer. It’s sad (he suffers from mental illness) and happy and wonderful and absolutely amazing.
Over the weekend, we watched The Highwaymen: Florida’s Outsider Artists which is a documentary about a group of artists from Ft. Pierce who, under the leadership of Alfred Hare, were taught to make art – in other words, I got the sense that these were people who were recruited to learn to make art – they didn’t start out as artists. Together, the group painted tens of thousands of paintings which they sold individually at office buildings and out of their cars, etc. The art they produced isn’t highbrow, and it originally sold for something like $35, but there’s a renewed interest in it now, and it’s going for hundreds and thousands of dollars (like here on eBay). I thought the movie was good, but just for myself, I wouldn’t categorize this group as “outsider artists”.
On Sunday, I watched The Natural History of the Chicken, which was an hour-long documentary by PBS. It was so great (really!)!
For a very long time now, I have wanted to have a very small group of little, sweet bantam hens in the backyard (bantams are the small, almost novelty-version of regular chickens, and since they’re hens, they’re quiet and of course lay pretty little eggs!). I think I really got serious about learning more about them when Martha Stewart started featuring her Araucana hens in her magazine (there’s an article here on her website about her chicken coop) several years ago. The Araucana hens are the ones who lay those beautiful colored eggs – they’re called the “Easter Egg chickens”!
The documentary very briefly (and very non-preachy) touched on hens that are being raised for production egg-laying, and the environment they live in. I won’t go into it here, but it was heartbreaking!
When I was in high school, I was a vegetarian my Senior year, and my term paper was on vegetarianism (I was an octo-lacto vegetarian, meaning I didn’t eat meat but still would have eggs and milk). I stopped being a vegetarian sometime during my first or second year of college, but it was a good experience for me, I think. This documentary sort-of ‘hit on’ those memories of my research on how production animals are treated, and I promised myself right then that I will not buy another egg grown in those conditions.
The thing that makes this even easier for me is that my neighborhood grocery store (which is very small and is geared more towards upscale, specialty, and organic foods) carries free-range, organically-raised eggs. The organic farm that we receive a box of fruit and vegetables from each week also supplies us with a dozen of their eggs most weeks, too. I guess I probably haven’t bought a dozen eggs from a “regular” grocery store in a long time – but I’m making the intention that I will not buy anything other than eggs from happy little free-range, organic hens from now on.
In the October issue of Body + Soul Magazine (another Martha magazine), they mention a website called eatwellguide.org, and that website is great because you can put in your zip code and search within a certain number of miles from your home for suppliers and growers of sustainably-raised milk, eggs, and meat. Chances are, if you’re interested in this kind of thing too, you can find something not too far from where you live.
Av and I are on the cusp of making a commitment to only buying organic, free-range meat so I’ve been doing a lot of research on this subject lately (more on that, probably, later). We’ve already switched over to drinking milk exclusively from Wright Dairy in Alexandria because they’re local and they don’t use growth hormones…and we’ve been out to their farm often and seen their cows – they’re not kept in big pens – they’re out in the sunshine munching on grass. The milk is pasteurized but not homogenized – so it tastes like “real milk” too. Yum!
Next on our Netflix queue is Martha Stewart Holidays: Thanksgiving, and The Muppets Take Manhattan. Can you believe Av has never seen it??