The Medical Power of Poop--A Guest Post by Tracy Mac

Dearest Poopers, It gives me great pleasure to bring you this guest post by Tracy Mac. As editor of The Power of Poop, she has helped to create an informational hub and supportive community for those seeking access to fecal transplants. She's also a fierce advocate for understanding of the human microbiome. (It's a topic very dear to my heart--and my colon. I'm about to receive my very own "find out whose living in your gut" kit from uBiome! More information on that soon. Till then...) Please enjoy!

Yours in balance,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Within one linear centimeter of your lower colon there lives and works more bacteria (about 100 billion) than all humans who have ever been born. Yet many people continue to assert that it is we who are in charge of the world.

Neil deGrasse Tyson  American astrophysicist, science communicator

2013 was the year fecal microbiota became sexy in the scientific community. Research teams and would-be Nobel Prize aspirants across the globe are investigating the role of the Human Microbiome, that community of microbiota – bacteria, viruses, phages and even helminths - that live on our skin, our mucus membranes and in our gut.

So why are these bugs so important?  Increasingly research is showing that each of these microbiota produce substances on which the human body relies for survival and good health. Links are being identified between the human microbiome and conditions as diverse as cancer, heart disease, mental health, autoimmune conditions and inflammatory bowel disease. However correlation does not equal causation and more research needs to be done to establish what this means for medical practice.  In the meantime, if there’s an illness to be cured you can bet there is a scientist somewhere that is researching its connection to a dysfunctional microbiome and an entrepreneur who’s trying to make money out of it.

One of the more confronting manifestations of microbiome awareness is the use of fecal microbiota transplantation therapy to cure the vicious and fatal gut infection C difficile. C diff has been an increasing problem in hospitals and nursing homes around the world with the increasing use of anti-biotics and growing anti-biotic resistance. It is estimated to kill 14,000 people each year in the US alone. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has been around since 4th century China and was used in Western hospitals as recently as 1958, until the widespread use of anti-biotics became an easier option.   In its modern day form FMT has been pioneered since 1995 by Australian Professor Thomas Borody of the Australian Centre for Digestive Diseases.

Last year a study published in the respected New England Journal of Medicine showed FMT to have a 93% success rates in the treatment of C diff. The trial was stopped for ethical reasons as it was not believed fair on those patients in the placebo group to continue. Recent research has shown that it takes up to 4 months for the new microbiota to colonize the gut of a patient who has received a fecal transplant for C diff.

FMT is slowly gaining acceptance within the medical professions for treatment of C diff, although some caution that more research needs to be done to monitor long terms risks. This research cannot come fast enough for desperate patients who are doing FMT at home for C diff and a variety of other conditions for which FMT shows promise.  FMT patient information and advocacy websites like The Power of Poop have sprung up to ensure that patients have accurate information about FMT before trying it and urging them to carry out the procedure safely, including having their donor tested by a doctor for blood borne and fecal pathogens.

In the last year over 1000 chronically ill patients have poured from the Power of Poop website into a private FMT facebook group to discuss everything from where to buy a suitable FMT enema bag, to the latest FMT research and where to find a FMT-friendly doctor. Lest you think this is a group of fruit-loops, a quick review of the facebook profiles of members will show normal people from all walks of life, united only by the fact that their gut microbiome has become unbalanced and needs fixing. In this group you won’t hear a snigger or sneer about poop, as it’s treated with deadly reverence. There is also a facebook group for those searching for relief from autoimmune conditions, who are willing to infect themselves with helminths, in the form of hookworm and whipworm.

So what does microbiome mania mean for you and I? We need to take the Poop Pledge and start thinking kindly of the bugs within. We need to start caring for that ecosystem of microbiota that keeps us well and healthy. We need to think twice before we feed our microbiota a standard Western diet or slaughter them with antibiotics. Most of all, we need to get over the ick factor and come to terms with the fact that we are more bug than human. For every one human cell, there are 10 microbiota living within your body, with most living in your gut. Indeed we are 10% human and 90% shit. We just don’t like it.

Tracy Mac

Editor, The Power of Poop


Happy Global Handwashing Day! The Power Is in Your Hands.

Did you wash with soap today? If you're not in regular practice, it's time to pump it up and get scrubbing because today is Global Handwashing Day! That's right. Paw polishing is so important that it has its own day.  Why? Well...

Remember that time you got food poisoning after eating take-out? The chef probably pooped and didn't wash his hands. Gross, huh? But today is about much more than reminding you and me to cultivate bubbly fingers. According to the Global Handwashing Day official website:

"Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. Together, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths."

Without clean water, sanitation and regular handwashing (a triad often referred to as WASH), A Tippy Tap in usediarrhea becomes a regular recurrence. This means that money must be spent on medicine, students are absent from school and are undernourished, causing physical and developmental delays. For many children who lack access to medical care or clean water, diarrhea can be deadly. Global Handwashing Day gives schools around the world an opportunity to reinforce good hygiene practices. Check out some of the events going on around the world today, learn more at WASH Advocates, and find out how to build a Tippy Tap just like the one on the left. Perhaps most importantly, lend your support to the Paul Simon Water for the World Act, which increases the effectiveness of the USA's current life-saving international programs without increasing costs.

And remember that diarrhea you got? The Center for Disease Control's most recent report estimated that 1 in 6 people, 48 million of us, got food poisoning in 2011, and 3,000 people died from it. On the Leonard Lopate show last Friday, Columbia University epidemiologist Dr. Stephen Morse mentioned that 30% of the population at any one time has diarrhea. That's crazy!!! Many of these viruses, food-borne bacteria and nasty germy germ germs (as opposed to the awesome ones that get along with our bodies) can be stopped dead in their tracks just by washing your hands before food comes in and after poop comes out.

Some people suggest singing Happy Birthday while washing to ensure you scrub up for at least 20 seconds. Ready to take your lathering to the next level? Check out THIS AWESOME SONG by kiddie rock superstar Amelia Robinson of Mil's Trills! "Wash Your Hands" was developed for a workshop we co-led last year, getting toddlers and their parents to talk about poop. The song has eight fun motions that go along with it to help you make sure your whole hand is clean. Her jazzy ukelele is so catchy, you'll still be singing it way past the 20 second mark. And you don't have to think of someone's birthday to sing it.

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(Is the audio player not working? No worries! Click here: Wash Your Hands by Amelia Robinson of Mil's Trills)

Ready for the motions? If it's got an asterisk next to it, make sure you do it once for each hand. We got these from an excellent educational program for Global Handwashing Day 2010 by Tippy Tap, Grampari and WMG India. You can read more about that program in the pdf report HERE.

handwashing motions 1 handwashing motions 2

Wishing you a happy handwashing holiday.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Latch/Attach at the FAB! Festival Today

Dearest Poopers, It's hard to believe it's been almost a month since my time in the World Policy Institute's 12x12 Project ended. It was a truly incredible experience. Over 150 visitors from all over New York and the world stopped by the 12x12 to take part in my project, "Latch/Attach." Over 220 pounds of clothing were dropped off to be repurposed into rug yarn, or recycled and reused through our partner Wearable Collections. Over 50 of those people stayed to chat about the state of our consumption, and to collaborate on the creation of a beautiful rug--which will be continued at the FAB! Festival TODAY (see below). Please read my final reflection for more details on the project's context, execution and outcome, as well as a handful of the human stories that emerged. Or browse through The POOP Project's Flickr page to relive the whole process in pictures.

Better yet, why not stop by the FAB! Festival and add your own square?

FAB! Festival September 28, 2013, 1PM-5PM E. 4th Street between Bowery & 2nd Ave


The 10th annual FAB! Festival promises fun for all ages. This arts explosion features FREE performances, exhibits, and activities. Enjoy dance, theater, and music from artists across the Lower East Side (and beyond!). Learn about local greening efforts and experience more culture per square foot than any other NYC festival!

Drop by The POOP Project booth and join me for "Latch/Attach." We'll be continuing the rug, latching yarn made from old t-shirts onto a canvas framework, and connecting to one another in the process. I'll also be showing people how to make their own yarn out of old t-shirts--good for any craft that requires yarn! I learned how from this article on Craft Passion, but present my own brief tutorial here and now for your ease and edification.

How To Make T-Shirt Yarn







Hope to see you at the FAB! Festival, and happy crafting.

Yours in balance,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Clean Out Your Closet and Make Room for Meaning: The 12x12 Project Starts Today!

Dearest Poopers, I do so hope you'll find time this week for...

WHAT: The 12×12 Project. Sit, drink tea, and join me in transforming NYC's used clothing into a communal work of art. Clean out your closet or just come for the craft! WHERE: First Park, 33 East 1st Street (at the corner of Houston and 2nd Ave) WHEN: Aug. 27-Sept. 1, 12-7pm. Rain or shine!


WHY: In his preface to Twelve by Twelve, the inspiration for this project, World Policy Institute Senior Fellow and author William Powers asks: “How could humanity transition to gentler, more responsible ways of living by replacing attachment to things with deeper relationships to people, nature, and self?” This project is an opportunity to answer that question through action. For the next six days, the 12x12 will be a donation site for unused clothing, a model of consumption-less repurposing, and a space for crafting and community cohesion. (Read more about it in the original post.)

Craft, you say? Why, yes. To be specific, LATCH HOOK!

I gotta be honest with you now. The most exciting part of this entire thing might actually be the opportunity to latch hook. It's something I grew up doing with my parents, who used to do it together in the early days of their marriage. Talk about community, right? This goes waaaaay back... don't know how to latch hook? Don't let that stop you. It's easy, see?

So come on down! I can't wait to see you there.

Yours in balance,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner


The World Policy Institute

The World Policy Institute is a center for global thought leadership focused on emerging challenges, thinkers, and solutions. World Policy Journal, fellows, events, policy development and media outreach, provide a forum for solution-directed policy analysis and debate from a global perspective. Arts Block

Fourth Arts Block (FAB) is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by cultural and community groups to establish and advance the East 4th Street Cultural District, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery. FABnyc is partnering on the 12×12 exhibition at First Park as part of their SUSTAIN project, with generous support from the Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund:

wc_logo(clothing recycling)Wearable Collections

Wearable Collections creates hubs of collections that make it as easy for New Yorkers to recycle textiles as it is to recycle cans, bottles and papers. We keep clothing out of landfills while raising money for charitable organizations.

Trash to Treasure in a 12x12

Dearest Poopers, Are old clothes cluttering up your closets? Make room for meaning Aug. 27-Sept 1!

Here's the skinny...

WHAT: The 12x12 Project WHERE: First Park, 33 East 1st Street (at the corner of Houston and 2nd Ave) WHEN: Aug. 27-Sept. 1, 12-7pm. Rain or shine! WHY: We all need more room, right? Especially in our tiny NYC apartments, and especially for FASHION! But even Oprah knows that we're already making do with less, wearing 20% of our wardrobes 80% of the time.

If there's one thing poop can teach us, it's that when we let stuff go, we create space for something new to come in. So come out of the closet, get it off your chest, and bring The Puru your unused clothes! Sit in the shade of the 12x12. Take a rest, drink some sun tea, and we'll make something new.

I'll be turning old t-shirts into yarn strips, and inviting you and passersby to join me in latch hooking small patches of rug. It's super easy! Each patch is just 12 squares across by 12 squares up and down, so it doesn't take long. I'll spend the last day hooking all the patches together in a colorful expression of community cohesion. And we'll party that Sunday (9/1) from 5-7pm!

All clothes and textiles not turned into yarn will be donated to Wearable Collections for resale or re-purposing.

How did this all happen?!

In 2010, World Policy Institute Senior Fellow William Powers wrote a book called Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid & Beyond the American Dream, inspired by the story of a North Carolina pediatrician who renounced modern luxury to live on the land and off the grid. This tiny cottage got people asking: how much is enough? (More about the project's development and future plans HERE.)

The 12x12

Soon artists Simon Draper (from Habitat for Artists) and Betsy Damon, among others, were brought in to design and build a simple structure that could live in New York City. Throughout July, a swarm of artists created installations amongst the bees at the Queens Botanical Garden. Now the 12x12's come to roost in Manhattan until Sept. 1, in beautiful First Park.

See below for a full description of the artists, curated by WPI and Fourth Arts Block. Check back here for updates on the latch hook project as it evolves, and then come check it out in person! I look forward to seeing you there.

Yours in balance,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner


The World Policy Institute

The World Policy Institute is a center for global thought leadership focused on emerging challenges, thinkers, and solutions. World Policy Journal, fellows, events, policy development and media outreach, provide a forum for solution-directed policy analysis and debate from a global perspective. Arts Block

Fourth Arts Block (FAB) is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by cultural and community groups to establish and advance the East 4th Street Cultural District, between 2nd Avenue and Bowery. FABnyc is partnering on the 12×12 exhibition at First Park as part of their SUSTAIN project, with generous support from the Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund:

wc_logo(clothing recycling)Wearable Collections

Wearable Collections creates hubs of collections that make it as easy for New Yorkers to recycle textiles as it is to recycle cans, bottles and papers. We keep clothing out of landfills while raising money for charitable organizations.


August 6 -11, 2013: Presented by WPI, NYC-based artist Ivy Haldeman will use the 12 x 12 as a space to reflect on the aesthetics of darkness as an indirect means of living sustainably. In opposition to a mentality of 24/7 activity, Ivy will make the 12 x 12 into a place for napping and rest.

August 13 – 18, 2013: Presented by FABnyc, Mario Chamorro, Catalina Parra, and Pablo Gnecco of The Happiness Lab will create social experiments through art within the 12×12 space in order to explore and visualize how people use their own happiness to develop sustainable communities.

August 20 – 25, 2013: Presented by WPI, musician Jonathan Koh will compose music in the 12×12 space, using a combination of classical techniques and synthesizers. His work will contemplate how music can help the listener engage with space and reflect on smart consumption in a small space.

August 27 – September 1, 2013: Presented by FABnyc, NYC-based performance artist Shawn Shafner invites visitors to create their own square patch of latch hook rug, 12 rows across and 12 columns up and down. The last day of the project, the squares will be sewn together, creating a vibrant patchwork and an expression of community collaboration.

March 22 is World Water Day

Dearest Poopers, In honor of Word Water Day, we present the following, gorgeous infographic made by the friendly people over at Enjoy!

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Plumbers are heroes
See the interactive version by Able Skills

Embed this on your site

Post-Sandy Emergency Toilets

Dearest Poopers, I know that for many of us on the East Coast, this has been a frightening and trying time. With all the talk about safe water, food and electricity, I am surprised by the lack of information about safe toileting.  Luckily, the friendly people at Portland PHLUSH are way ahead of us on this one and have even adapted their emergency toilet brochure for those reeling from Sandy's aftermath.

You can view it as a JPG by clicking the images below.

For an easy-to read PDF teaching you how to make a twin-bucket emergency toilet, CLICK HERE.

While The Puru is stuck in Brooklyn, there are many of you in lower Manhattan and elsewhere who could help distribute this information. For a printable PDF that folds into a handy brochure, CLICK HERE.

For more information about emergency toilets, take a look at the resources put together by PHLUSH and the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management by CLICKING HERE.

Hope everyone is staying safe and warm. Peaceful pooping, be it in toilet or bucket.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Moving Like Ex-Lax

Dearest Poopers, I hope you have been feeling balanced and regular as we transition into this autumn season.  It’s been over a month since we returned from the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival with the premiere of Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World. We couldn’t have asked for a better reception.

We spread the message of bottom-up sustainability to hundreds of poopers in the audience, passed out thousands of postcards packed with important potty facts, and Scotland’s national newspaper, The Scotsman, praised us as “…the most important show on the fringe…ahead of its time.” Perhaps most importantly, there are now hundreds of people all over the world proudly sporting "I'm A Pooper!" pins.

There's still a lot of work to do but, needless to say, we are happy poopers. And we’re not resting on our bums just yet. (See below for events happening this very week!)

Nov. 19th is World Toilet Day in honor of the 2.6 billion people still living without safe toilets. Stay tuned for more information about a Big Squat in Times Square, a sanitation hackathon, and a one night only showing of Eat $h*t on Nov. 19th. But that’s not all. We’ll soon be rolling out a new, easy-to-use website, a DVD of the Edinburgh production, potty songs for toddlers, and more.

In the meantime, join the poop crew Wed, Oct. 10 for GrowNYC’s 7th Annual New Green City, FREE in Union Square from 10am-5pm. Come for the awesome workshops and locavore delicacies, stay for the infamous turd toss.

Thurs morning, Oct. 11, check out Skraptacular’s Earthfest, a district-wide event in celebration of our planet in Fort Tryon Park. The Puru will be teaching a workshop on waste consciousness you won’t soon forget…just follow your nose! (Skip to :45 in the video below to check out the last year's event.)

Skraptacular! from Megan Paznik on Vimeo.

Peaceful pooping until then,

Shawn “The Puru” Shafner

Edinburgh Will Eat $h*t THURSDAY!

Dearest Poopers, There’s so much going on, I barely know where to begin! So let’s go in reverse order, from future to past, shall we?

5. Eat $h*t opens at the Edinburgh Fringe on Thursday!
4. Golden Poo Award deadline approaches
3. Pootopia at Kendall Calling
2. Eat $h*t previewed at 59E59
1. The Puru gets podcasted

Here goes...


As I write this, we’re less than 48 hours away from opening Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival.

What? Really?!

Yes. Really. The time has finally come.

You can Eat $h*t with us at 1pm from Aug. 2-27 at C venues – C nova in their delightful cabaret space. Reserve your place at the table today!


Submissions are due tonight, July 31, at midnight for the 2012 Golden Poo Awards. It's a fun competition for short videos which, "tackle the issue(s) of sanitation and/or hygiene in a catchy, emotive, funny, sensational or 'infectious' way."

Filmmaker Karina Mangu-Ward will be submitting this beautiful short about The POOP Project, featuring interviews with me and clips from Eat $h*t and a benefit performance for My Wife's Ass, an important work about body liberation by Glenn Marla and Hana Malia.

I'm a Pooper and So Are You from Karina Mangu-Ward on Vimeo.


The Puru spent the last three days with MC FeeCee (aka Australian loo king Hamish Skermer) and the whole Pootopia crew, manning the eco-loos at Kendal Calling music festival.

Ever been to a festival/art fair/any event and been forced to use a porta potty? It's not a pleasant experience. For anyone. Except flies.

Pootopia is the incredible alternative to the miserable status quo. Featuring friendly staff, great tunes, and clean, earth-friendly composting toilets that not only smell better but also feature a fantastic bottom breeze, Pootopia brings the user to true poo-phoria. There's even a golden toilet with its own discoball, after-poo mints, photobooth and so much more!

I'll hopefully get a chance to write more about Pootopia in the days to come, and even post some video. In the meantime, check out their Facebook page to learn more.


Thank you to all those who came out for our preview performances of Eat $h*t at 59E59's East to Edinburgh festival! It was a great pleasure to perform for such packed, enthusiastic houses and we learned a TON about the show. We even garnered a great (if somewhat skeptical) review! Yay poop!


The Puru has been featured on the first episode of The Eclectic Esoteric, a new podcast by Jia H. Jung. It's a wide-ranging conversation covering all things poop, and featuring a lot of behind the scenes details on the creation of Eat $h*t. I was really tired when we recorded it, which means less filter and more honesty for you! Plus my voice sounds really soft and sweet on the recording. Click the link above, or listen below.


Peaceful pooping until next time,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Eat $h*t at East to Edinburgh

Dearest Poopers, Thank you so much for your support during our Indiegogo campaign to send Eat $h*t! How Our Waste Can Save the World, our new show, to the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. (If you didn’t get the chance to donate during the campaign, it’s not too late! You can still make an online donation through our fiscal sponsor, Fractured Atlas*. Tickets are now available for our run August 2-27 at C Venues Nova; reserve your space at the table today!

If you’re in New York, check out the show in previews before we jump the pond:

July 17 at 7pm and July 22 at 4pm, part of 59E59’s East to Edinburgh Festival

Get your tickets for Eat $h*t in NYC before they “go”!

It’s been an incredibly exciting, stressful, and glorious couple of weeks since the campaign ended. With the help of my collaborators and co-stars, Akilah Arthur, Rachel Chatham, Rhea Lehman and Croft Vaughn, the show has grown by leaps and bounds. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it.

So what is it? I’m still working on the wording but…

Eat $h*t is the hilarious, touching and tuneful tale of Karl, an advertising executive who agrees to develop a rebranding campaign for Mr. Poop. In exchange, the giant turd will cure his existentially bad constipation. Down the toilet bowl, Karl duels with Miss Manners, flies Derri-Air to the third world toilet crisis, and finally achieves poophoria squatting next to Martin Luther. Karl emerges an enlightened Puru, prepared to spread the Gospel of Poop and push for change  from the bottom up.

Thank you again for your support of this project. I am humbled, truly, and so excited to get to share this powerful work with the world.

This one’s for the Poopers, Shawn

*The POOP Project is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of The POOP Project must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

LAST CHANCE to help Edinburgh Eat $h*t

Tonight is the last night to help Edinburgh Eat $h*t!

Eat $h*t, How Our Waste Can Save the World

This August, the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival will get a taste of The POOP Project's newest show, Eat $h*t, How Our Waste Can Save the World. Our fundraising campaign ends at midnight, but you can still reserve a spot at the table. Visit and drop us a tax-deductible deuce (or more!), then choose from an assortment of high fiber gifts--including a DVD of the show!

Imagine: a world where "waste" becomes a resource; where a child doesn't die of diarrhea every 20 seconds; where we embrace our whole bodies and the whole earth we all share. Your support will help us reach a global audience of thousands with our unique message of change from the bottom up. Give us a push now so the show can look and sound its best, and who knows? Soon the whole world could Eat $h*t!

Learn more about the show and our campaign at Whatever you can give, know we thank you. From our very bottoms.

Peaceful pooping, Shawn "The Puru" Shafner and the Eat $h*t team

Poop on the Street

Dearest Poopers, Looking forward to seeing you at the Visitor's Center for tomorrow's panel conversation, "Digesting the Design Behind Newtown Creek."  It's good to bring things inside, but lately I've also been scooping the poop on the street. Check out what some of the $h*t my fellow New Yorkers say in our newest video!

And peaceful pooping, whatever you doo.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Digesting Design

Dearest Poopers, Our fundraising campaign is in full swing to bring Eat $h*t! How Our Waste Can Save the World to the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. If you haven't yet, take a moment to check it out and help us reach an international audience with this critical message.

In other exciting news, we have been selected for the Eurohypo AG Engagement for the Community Award for excellence in engaging the community and exemplifying Eurohypo's Passion for Solutions. This award is presented to small non-profit organizations that have a large impact on their community. Eurohypo is pleased to award The POOP Project for their unique work in raising awareness of global sanitation. (And we're pleased to receive it!)

Lastly, please join The Puru this Tuesday, May 15 at 6:30pm for the first installment of the 2012 Spring Speaker Series at the Visitor Center at Newtown Creek. We'll be "Digesting the Design Behind Newtown Creek" with the very experts who made it happen, acclaimed artist/architects Vito Acconci, Greg Clawson and George Trakas.

Until then, peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Poop is Funny

Dearest Poopers, We're in full swing to help audience members at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World. Check out our fundraising campaign and help us make a splash on an international stage!

Wanna sneak peak of the show? Join us this Thursday for Comickaze Comedy Hour! A hot monthly variety show featuring stand-up, storytelling, improv and an 8 min. preview of Eat $h*t. Napkins included.

Thursday, May 3, 9-10pm Parkside Lounge (317 E. Houston) 2 cheap drinks! Hosted by Amanda Miller, also featuring Günther and Girl Talk, TJ Del Reno, Melissa Shaw and Etan Bednarsh.

Lastly, take a look at this great new graphic all about the poop problem plaguing the world, and what's being done to change it.

Peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Lack of Sanitation Created by:

Help Us Eat $h*t in Edinburgh

Dearest Poopers, The POOP Project has been making a stink for two whole years now. We continue to believe that this is a message with global potential: confronting our "waste" can help us create a world that is more hospitable to our bodies, in harmony with our planet and with everyone else sharing it.

The POOP Project has been accepted to premiere a one-man show, Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World, at the prestigious Edinburgh International Fringe Festival this August. Croft Vaughn of WTE Theatre is producing, with three successful runs at the world's largest arts festival under his belt, and we're partnering with UK-based organizations that do work in international health, public toilet access, composting loos, etc. to make a big splash with this opportunity.

But it's not just about Edinburgh.  This is about gaining the momentum that can help us to spread this message far and wide.  Just imagine: one day people will Eat $h*t all over the world! So help spread the turd, er, word.  Share the campaign far and wide and help us bring sanitation center stage.

Wishing you a wonderful spring, and peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

A Ballerina's Bowels

Dearest Poopers, There's much big news! The POOP Project is excited to be participating in the NY Green Festival this April 21 and 22 at the Javits Center. It's going to be HUGE, packed to the gills with green goodies.  And tickets are cheapish!

What's more (What is, Puru? What is more?), we've been officially accepted to premiere Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival.  It's a fantastic opportunity to make feces the focus at the world's largest arts festival. We're working hard behind the scenes to get everything ready, bringing in partners, designing, scripting, all that and a bag of poo-tato chips.  More info on how you can help coming soon...

In the meantime, maybe you'll join me in taking in some tasteful, highbrow entertainment? A ballet perhaps? Oh! This one sounds nice!

"A satirical ballet designed to confront one of the last taboos of man, shit. In this nightmarish dreamscape, we follow a very refined lady as she battles her darkest fear, her own excrement. Horror, humor, wild theatrics, silent movie era kitsch, you truly don't want to miss this one. Remember, behind even the nastiest crap is a good man or woman- or at the very-very least, a great show."


I'm going this Thursday at 8pm to Bowel Movement by Jamie Benson (it was pictured in the preceding post). It's also playing Fri April 13 as part of the Comedy in Dance festival at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn.

Peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Below the Bible Belt

Dearest Poopers, The POOP Project is officially out of hibernation with THREE events this month!

  1. This Saturdary, 3/10, 3-4pm: "Burying Your Feet: What Can the Bible Tell Us About Bathrooms?" as part of R&R at the JCC Manhattan. This text study will blaze beyond biblical euphemism to uncover how our ancestors pooped, and how they felt about it.
  2. Saturday, 3/25, 2-5pm: Stop by the POOP table at Sustainable Flatbush's annual neighborhood extravaganza, "Greening Flatbush: Gardening Where You Are." Stay for the communal dinner from 5-7pm, and get everything you need to make your own poop!
  3. Saturday, 3/31, 2 and 3pm: "From Food to Flush: An Interactive Digestion Experience" at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Kids 5+ will become the food they eat in this magical ride down the digestive tract and make a flipbook to take home. At 4pm, Artie Bennett will read from his new book Poopendous!

The timing couldn't be better for this Saturday's peek below the Bible belt.

This evening marked the beginning of Purim, a carnival holiday featuring a topsy-turvy tale of hidden identity, revenge killings, heroes, fools and villains. By the end, the Jews of Shushan are spared ethnic cleansing and take revenge. Yay!...? In honor of the story, it is traditional to dress up in costumes and have a great time--such a great time that the traditional lines of society are blurred and you can't tell the difference between right and wrong, good and evil.

Now, I was going to write a deep meditation on texts that would set the tone for this Shabbat's very respectful study...

But then I got thinking: what if tomorrow, in the Purim spirit, we woke up and poop smelled like food, while food smelled like poop?

I put this question to a few revelers at the Storahtelling Purim celebration, which I attended tonight. Here are some of their responses:

"I would go back to sleep."

"It would be hard to eat, but I wouldn't eat my poop."

"I would probably throw up to see what that smelled like."

"I guess I'd eat shit? Only my own. I don't eat other people's chewed food, so I wouldn't eat their poop."

"It would be nauseating. I'd lose my appetite."

"It would smell nice to poop. I hope it'd smell like greasy potato diner breakfast and eggs."

"Wait, wait, wait. So...does the food look like poop? I mean do beans still look like beans, but they're actually poop? Would we have a cable network dedicated to cooking up slightly more bearable poop food?"

"What would I have to eat to get my poop smelling like brownies? That'd be ironic."

If we do happen to wake up in this Kafka-esque nightmare tomorrow, you can be sure that this is the first place you'll hear about it. In the meantime...

Peaceful pooping,

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Shit Shit Says

Dearest Poopers, Like a spicy gumbo in the large intestine, it would seem that The POOP Project has been hibernating a bit lately. Clear away the world wide web, and it's actually been a busy time! At this very moment, The Puru is simultaneously:

  • in talks with legitimate institutions (museums, zoos, etc.) about developing poopie programs!
  • working with a nurse practitioner on a series of workshops to help both doctors and patients care for their entire body--including their "naughtiest" bits.
  • reworking the solo show Eat $h*t: How Our Waste Can Save the World for a run in the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival.
  • breathing, eyes open.

No one ever said it would be easy.

In the meantime, I've also been obsessed with the Shit ____ Says meme. If you don't know, what began as Shit Girls Say has quickly d/evolved into 3 minute videos on the shit everybody says to everyone else. It was only a matter of time before it would cannibalize itself and become Shit Shit Says. In fact, there are now at least 17 versions with that title. As your one stop shop for all things shit, we now bring you a curated smorgasbord of refined internetainment.

Peaceful pooping!

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner


Salt Salon Postponed

--UPDATE-- Dearest Poopers,

It is with great relish and excitement that I come to you today. Saturn, the Great God of Agriculture, revealed Himself to me last night. He came in a flurry of chariot fire, scythe a-swinging, seeds spraying out in every direction. He told me that our Saturnalia Salt Salon should be postponed until January. So that's what we're going to do.

Stay tuned for further information about our upcoming January 2012 Salt Salon, and wishing you a wonderful season.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner

Salty Stool

Dearest Poopers,

The POOP Project is proud to invite you to our final event of the year, in partnership with The Salt Salon.

Join Shawn “The Puru” Shafner this Sunday, Dec. 18 at 5:00pm for a journey through the bowels of history, from the fall of Rome to the modern day, as we unearth the rise of “civilized” man over that most uncivilized of actions. A communal Mediterranean meal by chef Marina Berger will be served in a casual, home setting (togas optional, Bacchanalian revelry and lounging expected). Guests are encouraged to bring your own bottle of wine. $10, Brooklyn locale off the Church Ave. 2/5. More information on The Salt Salon invite.

Why Mediterranean? Why togas? Why revel in Bacchanalian fashion?

For most of us, the holiday season means making time to pop in the ol' Mr. Hankey DVD, light your alternative energy menorah, or beat that wooden log until it poops out candy and nuts. When the days are getting dark, it sure is nice to feel that maybe--just maybe--everything is right with the world.

For our ancient Roman brethren, December was the time when everything was wrong, and society turned upside down. After spending the Autumn planting and sowing, December 17th began a 7-day festival generally known as Saturnalia. The most popular holiday of the year, Saturnalia was a time of reflection and celebration in honor of Saturn (Kronos in Greek), the God of agriculture and the harvest, as well as his wife, Ops, Goddess of bounty, and Consus, the God of Storage. Because all that grain isn't gonna put itself away.

Saturnalia was the Roman equivalent of the RESET button. The celebrated God had presided over Earth's most prosperous time until his son, Jupiter (Zeus), deposed him. But for seven cold days each year, the ropes binding Saturn's feet were loosened and so were the rules of everyday life.

Gambling was allowed in public. Slaves were permitted to use dice and did not have to work. Instead of the toga, less formal dinner clothes (synthesis) were permitted, as was the pileus, a felt cap normally worn by the manumitted slave that symbolized the freedom of the season. Within the family, a Lord of Misrule was chosen. Slaves were treated as equals, allowed to wear their masters' clothing, and be waited on at meal time in remembrance of an earlier golden age thought to have been ushered in by the god. (Encyclopaedia Romana)

Saturn is of particular interest to the POOP because he (or his son, depending on who you consult) was sometimes known as Stercutius, the demigod of manure ("Stercus" means poop; you might also find him called Sterquilinus and Sterculius, as he is referred to in the Beavis and Butthead episode below.). Saturn was the grain--the life, growth, and nourishment. But he was also the scythe--the death, decay and, in his role as Stercutius, the doody. Because you can't have one without the other.

During the medieval Feast of Fools, inspired by and adapted from Saturnalia,

[Excrement] was used in place of incense during the serious service, and later the clergy rode in dung-flled carts 'tossing it at the crowd (147)' (Janik and Bakhtin)

Sure makes you wistful for the old days, doesn't it?

This Salt Salon, the second night of our glorious holiday, I'm hoping we can turn things upside down by bringing a little potty talk into our dinner conversation. It's like a revival of the communal baths, but different. Io, Saturnalia!

Wishing you a wonderful season, and a new year full of peaceful pooping.

Shawn "The Puru" Shafner