Green Wedding Video and Photos

Green Wedding Video and Photos

In the redwood trees of Santa Cruz, California, on May 17, 2008, 350 guests witnessed our Green Wedding #4. Our bridal parties and twenty six performance artists wowed the crowd. We made our vows to the Earth, officiated by Guillermo Gomez Pena as our High Aztec Priest. We asked for no material gifts, but invited people to help us co-create the wedding. One hundred and seventy people volunteered and helped to make it happen (see program). It was a dream artist wedding. Here are some of the photos by Lydia Daniller and Danielle Barnett.

Green Wedding Homily

Green Wedding Homily

Making Earth 

Written and Performed by Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison 

The world of soil is bizarre Communication is chemical and physical. Worms are its giants. Movement is slow. Fungi move through it at rates measured in centimeters per month. Bacteria move though it at rates measured in centimeters per year. The world of soil is ancient and magical, contradictory and complex. Mostly solid and opaque to light, still it acts as a sea to thousands of species that travel through it horizontally and vertically. It is the biological filter that detoxifies a large proportion of the poisons that are applied to the environment. One gram of ordinary farmyard soil can contain over one billion individual bacteria. One gram of ordinary farmyard soil can contain over 100 million individual actinomycetes. One gram of ordinary farmyard soil can contain over one kilometer of fungal hyphae. One gram of ordinary farmyard soil can contain plants like algae And animals like collembolides, nematodes and worms. To sustain modern economies Agricultural soils need to attain high levels of organic matter and nutrients But agricultural soils bring subtle changes to the native soil ecosystems And as the levels of both nutrients and disturbances increase The number of native species decreases.

Consider the dynamism of healthy soil Consider that soil covers most of the land surface of the planet Consider that soil plays a fundamental role in stabilizing the biosphere Consider that new soil formation has been arrested in many places. Healthy soil is a living system Healthy soil needs to interact with the air and water Healthy soil needs access to the products of the plants and other surface organisms. 

Therefore; tape this piece of paper on every bulldozer you encounter.

 NH/HH May 17, 2008

Green Wedding Vows

Green Wedding Vows

Green Wedding Photos

Guillermo Gómez-Peña officiated our vows. He wrote and performed the following text. Then at the end of his sermon we said our vows, which we wrote and performed.

Part one: The sermon by Guillermo

(Guillermo does a magical pass & speaks in an indigenous language for about a minute)
Dear locos y locas, friends and colleagues
The earth is in menopause and she is suffering
Mother Earth is suffering continuous attacks and pillage by corporations, governments and irresponsible citizens like some of us, like me,
We are gathered here today to make a loving vow to the earth and to renew the long-lasting love and commitment of paramours Annie and Beth, nuestras queridas brujas y artistas del amor.
(Indigenous language)
We are also gathered here to arouse our passion for the Earth, to take her as our lover. For our bodies are both, an integral part of this Earth and the very site for our critical artwork. And by critical I mean, necessary.
(Indigenous language)

Thus this “green wedding” is first and foremost about love, compassion and commitment to the Earth and its inhabitants. It is also a celebration of Art about love and against war and global warming; against the powers determined to destroy our compassion for the Earth
But before we proceed, please allow me to map out our poetic territory with my words.
(Indigenous language)
Who are “we”?
We, the Other people,
We, the migrants, exiles, & nomads
in permanent process of voluntary deportation
We, the original inhabitants of this Earth
We, the transient orphans of dying nation-states
We, the citizens of the outer limits and crevasses
of "Western civilization"
the outsiders of the much touted global project
We, who have no government;
no flag or national anthem…other than our art
We, interracial lovers,
children of interracial lovers, ad infinitum
We, the New Barbarians
We, the 7th generation, the 4th world, the 3rd country
patiently waiting for Ixtaccíhuatl, Frozen Mother, to wake up
We are gathered here to take the Earth as our lover
(Indigenous language)
We, the Other people,
We, mud people, snake people, tar people
We, bohemians walking on millennial thin ice
Our bodies pierced, tattooed, martyred, scarred
Our skin covered with hieroglyphs & flaming questions
We, the witches who transform trash into wearable art
We, Living Museum of Modern Oddities & Sacred Monsters
We, vatos cromados y chucas neo-barrocas
We, indomitable drag queens, transcendental putas
waiting for love and better conditions in the shade
We, bad boys & bad girls over 50,
We, horny angels & tender demons
We commit to love one another and to love the Earth as daily creed
(Indigenous language)
We, without guns, without Bibles
We, who never pray to the police or to the army
We, who never kissed the hand of a bishop or a curator
We, who barter and exchange favors & talismans
We, who still believe in community, another community,
a much stranger and wider community
community of illness, madness & dissent
community of soil, water, fire and ice
We, frail and defiant; permanently outraged but always tender
We commit through our art to bring Eros back to the Earth
We, the artists & intellectuals who still don't wish to comply
We, who talk back in rarefied symbols & metaphors
against the corruption of formalized religion & art
We, the urban monks who pray in tongues & rap in Esperanto
We, who put on masks, penachos & wigs to shout
We, who dance against the rhythms of the times
We, who suddenly freeze!

standing still in our underwear
right in the center of the stage
with the words carved on our chests:
“Performance artist: will bleed for food”
“Obsessive artist: will die for one idea”

We commit to make art and love
against the Global Warming of our Mother’s body and skin
(Indigenous language)
We, matriots not patriots
We, Americans with foreign accents & purple tongues
We, bilingual, polylingual, cunnilingual
(Indigenous language)
We, baaaad poetry, imperfect art, unbearable noise music
We, the shamans exorcising Enron & Blackwater
the brujos against Microsoft
We, poetas solitarios contra Wal-Mart
dervishes under the arches of McDonalds
radical clowns confronting the global police
We, cyber-coyotes & techno-pirates
We, the ghosts of the past
in cahoots with the future warriors
in cahoots with all innocent civilians killed
on both sides of the useless War on Terror
We, nosotros, going crazy to remain sane
literally dying for new ideas
performing against all odds
dancing on the edge of the crater
singing to postpone the irruption of the volcano
making love to stop the war against difference


our Alaskan hair
our Canadian head
our US torso
our Mexican genitalia
our Central American cojones
our Caribbean vulva
our South American legs
our Patagonian feet
our Antartic nails

jumping borders at ease
jumping borders with pleasure
amen, (tongues)
(Invites the audience to join in with a call & response)

The collective poem:
I now invite you to help me create a collective poem and volunteer the completion of my phrases in a call & response manner. Please speak loudly after me.
I love the earth because…
I enact my commitment to the earth by…
I will make love to the earth by…
My gift to the earth is…

We now invite our beloved Annie and Beth to state their vows to the earth. With this ceremony, they will be formally entering the environmental movement.


Part Two: The Vows

Guillermo: Annie and Beth, are you ready to take your vows?
(Guillermo invites Beth and Annie to stand and come front center stage. As A + B step forward, Nina and Glen bring blanket of sod to front of stage for them to step onto. Annie and Beth stand in it together, Guillermo to their side. A + B take off their shoes.)
Guillermo: What is your gift to the earth?
Beth: We would like to massage the Earth with our feet.
(No.e begins to play a slow steady beat which builds in intensity as energy grows.)
Annie: Yes, before we make our vows, we want to take some moments to get into contact with the Earth. We’d like to invite those that are able to please stand and join us in connecting with the earth. Together let’s massage our Earth with our feet. You can take off your shoes off if you want to. Bridal parties too! Did everyone get a bag of Earth? Please take your Earth in your hands.
(A + B step slowly right and left, right left…. Some improvisation…)
Beth: Step right, left, right, left.
Annie: Lets feel ourselves standing on this beautiful planet. Feel the support.
Beth: Imagine that the Earth feels your massage.
Annie: Right, left. She’s so wonderful. Glorious Earth. Connect with her. She likes it… She loves getting your massage. Hmmm, that’s very nice…
Beth: Now let’s generate some love to send down to the Earth. Tap your chest, then send it down from your heart through your hands and down. Tap and down…
Annie: Feel your consciousness in your feet…etc. Give the Earth a little gratitude for all that she gives you.
(Music builds to a climax, then slows into a more minimal afterglow beat.)
Annie/Beth: (When massage is finished.) You may be seated.
(Guillermo get his table with bowl of clay. Nina and Glen bring some baskets with several clumps of Earth to sides of Annie and Beth. Guillermo begins to bathe his face in green clay. Annie and Beth recite their vows in unison)
(Beth takes first clump of dirt. Annie and Beth hold it together in their hands.)
Earth, we vow to become your lover.
With these steps,
Let us reach your love.

Through our senses we will become your lover.
Everyday we promise to breath in your fragrance(Take turns smelling Earth)
And be opened by you. (Open hands and let dirt fall through fingers)
Let us not be severed from your love. (Turn away, get new clump.)
Everyday we promise to enjoy your colors (Merge two new clumps.)
And be surprised (Crack open the clumps)
Let us not be severed from your love.
Everyday we promise to taste you
(Merge two clumps—take turns to taste. Clumps grow bigger and bigger.)
And be moved.
Let us not be severed from your love.
Everyday ears to the ground we listen, and are changed. (Clumps to ear, take turns)
Let us not be severed from your love.
We promise to love you until death brings us closer together forever.
(Bend down to knees on earth.)
We are consecrated to you, Earth, through this dirt that we will become.
(Annie and Beth are kneeling, and facing each other. Guillermo stands behind Beth and Annie with a hand on each of their shoulders. Nina and Glen take three steps back then turn to leave.)

Guillermo: (To Annie) Will you practice these vows everyday to become a better lover to the Earth?
Annie: Si lo hare! I DO!
Guillermo: (To Beth) Will you practice these vows everyday to become a better lover to the Earth?
Beth: Si lo hare! I DO!
Guillermo: (to audience) Will you practice YOUR vows everyday to become a better lover to the Earth?
Audience: Si lo hare! I do!
(Annie and Beth rise with help from Nina and Glen.)


Part Three: Rings

Guillermo: To remind you of your vows each day you will have rings. May we have the rings please?
(Tina Takemoto walks to center stage and presents the rings.
Annie and Beth put the rings on each other’s fingers.)

Guillermo: (To Annie, Beth and the audience) You may now kiss the Earth!
(Nina and Glen give the brides some loose earth from the basket. Annie and Beth then take turns to kiss the Earth. Assistants, bridal party, and audience can kiss their bags of Earth. Or get down on the ground and kiss it. Have some plants on stage to kiss stage and bags.)
Guillermo: (To Annie and Beth) You may now kiss the bride!
Guillermo moves to the side. Annie and Beth kiss each other passionately.
Guillermo: (to audience) You may now all kiss each other.(Nina and Glen do a friendly kiss with each other..)
Guillermo: I now pronounce you GREEN!


Artists’ Statement

Artists' Statement

WE, ELIZABETH M. STEPHENS & ANNIE SPRINKLE, HAVE DEDICATED OURSELVES TO DOING ART PROJECTS THAT GENERATE, CELEBRATE, AND GLORIFY LOVE. This is the 'Love Art Laboratory', and our response to the violence of war, the intolerance of the anti-gay rights movement and the excessive fear and greed in our culture. Inspired by Linda M. Montano's 14 Years of Living Art we made the Love Art Lab a seven year project, and each year is devoted to a different theme and color. Each year we have a big wedding. Now in our fourth year, we will have our fourth wedding on May 17th, 2008. This year we will take vows to love and cherish the Earth.

WHY VOWS TO THE EARTH, AND WHY NOW? A wise woman told us a story: "People often think of the Earth as 'Mother Earth'. But today the Earth is so battered, abused, exploited; polluted, blown up and ripped apart that she can't handle the burden of being a 'mother' any more. It would be better to think of the Earth as a 'lover' because we take care of our lovers instead of expecting them to take care of us.

YES, YES, THE EARTH IS OUR LOVER! With her abundant sensual delights, breathtaking beauty, her delicious scents, tastes, and occasional temper tantrums. She's magical, mysterious, curvaceous, exciting, and unpredictable. We love to nestle in her woods, walk barefoot on her soft skin, circulate erotic energy with het float in her luscious waters. She's a fantastic lover and we simply can't live without her. It's so painful to watch her suffer—to witness the unbelievable pollution of her oceans, her mountaintops brutally sliced off, deadly chemicals and piles of electronic waste dumped all over her, her premature global warming, the pollution of her air, the holocaust of her trees... need we go on?

WE ARE INSPIRED BY PEOPLE THAT WE KNOW WHO ARE ACTIVELY LOVING THE EARTH, such as the pioneers of environmental art Newton and Helen Mayer Harrison. We are honored that they will do our wedding homily. We are inspired by the work of artist and activist Guillermo Gómez-Peña, who will be so generous as to facilitate our vows. Educators Julia Butterfly, Kutira, bell hooks, and Kaytea Petro—a former student studying sustainable business—are all teaching us new ways to love our Earth. We are also inspired by the eco-porn activists of

SO ON MAY 17TH WE WILL VOW TO LOVE, HONOR AND CHERISH THE EARTH UNTIL DEATH DO US PART. We will enter into a deeper, more committed relationship with her, and celebrate our love. We will vow to make more of an effort to be biodegradable, sustainable, spend more time cleaning the beach, drive less—walk more, and we will promise to install a grey water system in our house. We are beginning work on a new theater project about our journey into the environmental movement, to help educate ourselves and the public about how to have a more healthy relationship with our Earth. We will vow to help make the environmental movement more fun and sexy. We invite our wedding guests who are ready to make some vows to the Earth, to do so, along with us.

ULTIMATELY WE HOPE TO DO OUR PART TO LEAVE OUR LOVER EARTH IN A NICE AFTERGLOW for future generations so that they too may experience all of the pleasures, excitement and satisfactions that we have experienced with her in our lifetimes. We hope you will join us.