Trash Talk With Dumpster Diver the Musical Creator Kris Kemp

Categories: Ethical Eating

You've most likely heard these stats: An estimated 33 million tons of food end up in US dumpsters each year, breaking down to an insane 40 percent of food in American fridges, restaurants, farms and grocery stores ending up discarded and uneaten.

But for some of us, digesting numbers like these rest somewhere in favorability as eating our leftovers or polishing off a slightly bruised but perfectly edible piece of fruit. So perhaps we'll attempt to woo you away from the stats and ease into the topic of food waste with an irreverently inspiring musical on dumpster diving?

In Dumpster Diver the Musical, longtime Floridian and current NYC resident, Kris Kemp is taking on the politics of American food consumption with a musical that - after a decade of on and off development - is set to open this summer.

Kris Kemp: Floridian and dumpster diver
With sing-a-longs like "I feel aliver (now that I'm a dumpster diver)," the musical is a cross-country post-apocalyptic adventure story of two friends plotting to take on the corporate evils of companies like Monsanto.

The friends (Trevor, a conventional software engineer student and Faith, a nomadic, radical activist) graduate college and head their separate ways. When they re-meet four years later, and Faith tells Trevor that the company he is working for is evil, Trevor has a decision to make. Will he continue working at his job, being well-paid and leading a comfortable life, or will he join Faith to help shut the company down, risk his life, and experience adventure and uncertainty?

Kemp, a longtime dumpster diver who once cheerfully told a Fox 29 reporter that "every dumpster is an opportunity" while scoring several unopened boxes of chocolates says he drew inspiration for the characters in Dumpster Diver the Musical from people he had met while living in West Palm Beach.

"I was living in a warehouse, inhabited by a collective of artists. It was called the 'Unarmed Underground Art Centre,' known as the UUAC. It was named that as a kind-of thumb-your-nose-at the Armory Art Center, a more conventional art gallery space nearby....The UUAC was like the Bermuda Triangle of West Palm Beach.

"People would just show up there, out of nowhere. One day, this guy showed up in a Winnebago, from Alaska, with a wolf. But these kids of all ages, or 'kidults 'as I call 'em, would have the most interesting stories. A few of them were dumpster divers and train hoppers. All of them were travelers and poets and writers and musicians.

"Most were penniless and just roamed the US, living adventures, accumulating experiences instead of things."

Kemp says the musical was something that just kind of took on a life of its own. And while ten years may seem like an awfully long time to be working on a project, it was an on and (mostly) off again endeavor until this year.

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