EAST VILLAGE — Patrons at a cafe and restaurant on East First Street surveying menus filled with steak, eggs and seafood looked up, startled, as a woman singing at full blast thrust a flyer in their faces to tout the wonders of a vegan diet.
"Vegans have better sex, better health, cleaner conscience," Grace Weaver, a vegan advocate, sang as she sauntered past the eatery while patrons stared at each other in disbelief.
Weaver has been conducting her own musical protests on walks around the city for the past 15 years. Armed with her songs and her flyers, she aims to illuminate non-vegans to the wonders of an animal-friendly lifestyle.
Weaver walks a similar route three or four times a day around East Second and First streets, as well as venturing out onto the subway with her songs and countless flyers that denounce harm to animals.
"I was walking the dogs one day, and I thought of a little song and I elaborated on it," said Weaver, whose collection of protest songs has grown to include several originals.
"I would just sing it to [people] as they walked past. I can use this form of protest wherever I go, and people's ears prick up."
Weaver became a vegetarian 40 years ago, and later a vegan after developing a crush on a vegan co-worker from a film company she worked for in the 1970s. She also sells pro-vegan T-shirts and produces a show on community access television promoting animal rights.
Her most popular song is the one in which she sings about the superior sex life of vegans.
"I once had someone walk a whole block, come back and ask, 'Did you say vegans have better sex?'" she said.
Weaver said animal fat "lines the arteries," which inhibits the flow of blood to a carnivore's organs, including those used in sex.
"They don’t function as well and don’t give as much pleasure," she explained.
However, not everyone in her impromptu audience agrees.
"Pork and bacon are the key to a good sex life," said a laughing Matthew Forsberg, 33, a barista at Prima restaurant at 58 E. First St., which is on Weaver's regular protest route.
"If you are vegan, you are going to get worn out," he added. "Yeah, they probably have good sex, but it probably doesn't last for long."
Eric Anderson, an owner of Prune restaurant located next to Prima, said he doesn't appreciate Weaver's "judgmental" approach.
He added that the dozens of people who line up outside the restaurant for a seat at its weekend brunch service — with Canadian bacon and lamb sausage on the menu — don't deserve to be heckled.
However, for every critic there are plenty of fans, Weaver said.
"Oh, the singing vegan lady," said Kate Johnson, who's heard Weaver in the neighborhood for five years. "I kind of feel, 'Go vegan lady.'"
Marcelle Brown, 39, who was approached on one of Weaver's laps around the East Village, was already convinced.
"I'm trying to make it (veganism) a way of life," said Brown, who stopped eating meat while pregnant with her now 2-month-old daughter.
She said she used many of the vegetarian recipes she got from Weaver early in her pregnancy.
"I can feel the heaviness again," explained Brown, who started eating meat after giving birth.
No matter what the reception is, Weaver is intent on showering the East Village with songs and flyers for as long as it takes.
"I just want you to know there is an invisible price," she said, "which is the life of the animal, the planet and your health."