November 9, 2009

Hillary Rust: An Interview - Part 1

As many of you may know from my various social network announcements, my husband is making a documentary wherein he'll be riding his bicycle from Los Angeles, CA to Austin, TX. Along the way he plans to investigate and speak with people who are doing cool things to make this world a more sustainable, beautiful and generally healthier place for us all to live. You can read his entire proposal and watch some of Zack McTee's pretty camera work, of which I am a huge fan, here.

To get you excited about what H and his amazing team have come up with, I decided to ask him some questions. And boy did he answer, so much so, I split the interview into two parts. Here's what he has to say about his project...

Decker Canyon in LA - A photo from one of Hillary's many rides.

PM: Where did the idea for this documentary come from?

HR: Without going all the way back to my childhood memories, the doc as it is conceived today came up about a year ago. Zack Mctee and I went on a few bike rides and like everything else we do we ended up talking about shooting some video of it. Then we shot some video.

I've always wanted to ride cross country but it's a pretty selfish endeavor. So to actually get to do it I had to come up with a way to make it about more than just me and what I want to do, yet somehow make it stay within my ideals.

Hence, a documentary about me riding my bike talking to people about sustainability and reusing...okay let's be serious, it's mostly about me talking. I love to talk.

PM: You say in your proposal that you "want to meet America." What types of places do you plan on finding people to interview? Are you looking for a specific type of person?

HR: Well, we've got a map up on the website that gives a general idea of where we'll be but there's a guy named Greg Peterson ( or in Phoenix that has had an urban garden for like 15 years now that I want to talk to. Then there's the people at based out of New Mexico. There's Marfa, Texas which is just nutty and everyone should see it.

But really I want to meet regular people and talk to them about anything and everything. I want to know why someone chooses to live in desert of southern California for their whole life. Maybe they don't see it as a choice. Maybe it's all they know and they never thought about moving or living a different way. How do they get by? How do they get water?

Also, who makes composting toilets? Can I learn how to make soap out of avocados? Who's making music in El Paso? What is Bosque De Apache National Wildlife Refuge? You know? I want to see everything and meet everyone and know everything.

Some people are never going to get to go do this type of thing and I want them to be able to see it all too. I guess I want to inspire people to try to do something bigger and better and to think about the impact they have on the planet and the people around them. This country is so big it's easy to forget that we're all Americans even if we live in different states and have different needs, etc.

What do you got next?

Hillary is a fan of industrial objects.

What cities are you most excited to stop in?

HR: Well, right now I'm day dreaming about the open road and just pedaling for hours on end. 70+ miles with no cities at all! That may sound weird but being trapped in Los Angeles makes riding a challenge. Don't get me wrong, I love getting to ride everyday but the traffic and the stoplights are just as annoying on a bike as they are in a car. You get a little more asked about cities.

Phoenix seems overwhelming and I don't think we could ever do it justice with the time frame we have to work with but I'm still pumped on it since it seems like a city that size shouldn't exist, being that it's in a desert.

Tuscon is a complete mystery to me and I would love to see it. Santa Fe has gotten hyped to me in a big way and I've been there a few times and always had fun.

I'm interested in the El Paso music scene even though I literally just decided that El Paso would be our "music" stop. But after looking into it there is all sorts of amazing sonic stuff coming out of the EPT.

It helps that I have friends and family along the way in most of the cities that I want to see. Of course Austin will be cool especially if we can keep our schedule and end up there for SXSW.

Do you have any planned interviews or tours at this point that we can look forward to discovering with you?

HR: Uhm, we're trying to set up an interview with Foxen Winery in Santa Maria, CA for later this month. They are apparently solar powered and organic which is basically what the doc is all about. So we're gonna film me riding up there and try to get them to talk to us about how they got into the whole thing...and maybe taste some wine.

We have the teaser video up on the site obviously, but we really want to have something to show to people so they can get an idea of the actual content we plan on having.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2. In the mean time check out Hillary's blog, Bike LAne or look at the photos he takes riding around LA.

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