The green glitterati of New York City — a surprisingly expansive and glamorous bunch — convened last night to celebrate the launch of Sundance Green, the new block of green programming that will begin airing on the Sundance Channel this coming Tuesday. (Full disclosure: I am a member of the project’s advisory board.)
While Robert Redford wasn’t in attendance (he was en route to D.C. where today he will wrap up the filming of his political thriller Lions for Lambs, starring himself, Meryl Streep, and Tom Cruise), there were other celestial beings present, among them actress Isabella Rosellini, model and actress Shalom Harlow, Queer Eye clotheshorse Carson Kressley, and alt-pop darling Rufus Wainwright, who put in an emotive performance that was barely audible above the roaring din of eco-networking.
So incessant was the chattering, in fact, that it drowned out attempts to address the crowd by Sundance Channel CEO Larry Aidem and other speakers, including Mike Brune of Rainforest Action Network and Todd Paglia of ForestEthics, to the point that Aidem, in a fit of good-natured exasperation, yelled via loudspeaker, “Shut the F@%K up!”
The night began with a screening of the documentary A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash and moved on to a celebration at the Broadway headquarters of ABC Home, one of the top home-furnishing meccas in Manhattan, which is rapidly greening its merchandise. As guests munched organic canapÃ©s and guzzled organic wines and green-tea martinis, the ratio of stiletto-heeled models to salt-of-the-earth activists was so lopsided in favor of the eye candy that it expelled any doubt about whether the environment has officially been pop-culturized.
It was also clear that the face of green is no longer the white, male, L.L. Bean-clad fuddy-duddy who has for so long typified the average eco-activist. The two new hosts of the Sundance Green programming — Majora Carter and Simran Sethi, who buzzed through the crowd — are bringing a decidedly more diverse and worldly tenor to the popular voice of green.
Earlier in the evening, before all the fun began, I sat down with the Sundance Kid himself for a one-on-one interview about his Green programming, the rising tide of activist media, and how society has finally reached an environmental tipping point. It’ll be up on Grist on Monday, so tune back in then.