MTV’s ‘The Buried Life’ cast headlines free March 21 presentation at UTSA

The Buried Life

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(March 19, 2012) -- The cast of MTV's "The Buried Life" will headline an event at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 21 in the University Center Ballroom (1.106) on the UTSA Main Campus. With doors opening at 6:30 p.m., the event is free to UTSA students, faculty, staff and guests with UTSACard. The program may contain mature content.

"The Buried Life" originated in 2006 when four 20-somethings -- Ben Nemtin, Dave Lingwood, Duncan Penn and Jonnie Penn -- set out in an old RV to complete a list of "100 Things We Want to Do Before We Die," and help out strangers along the way accomplish something on their own lists.

The list including such items as dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, open the 6 o'clock news, get a tattoo, attend a party at the Playboy mansion, learn to fly, get on the cover of "Rolling Stone," help someone build a house, solve a crime or capture a fugitive, pay for someone's groceries, drive across North America, throw the first pitch at a major league baseball game, host a cooking show, ride a bull, spend a week in silence, go dog sledding, spend a night in a haunted house, write a book, tell a joke on late-night television and experience zero gravity.

Originally from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, the foursome pulled a borrowed "57 Dodge Coachman RV out of a field (missing five of its six tires), bought a secondhand camera for $100 on eBay and hit the road for two weeks to see how many items they could check off their list. On the journey, the cast members asked people, "What do you want to do before you die?"

The name "The Buried Life" refers to a poem written in 1852 by British poet Matthew Arnold, in which he says our daily life becomes so cumbersome that our real life becomes buried -- and we each have a longing to live our "buried life." Jonnie Penn was studying the poem in a class at the time the team was formed, and soon the name stuck.

By 2008, after three years of pursuing their lists, building an online community and funding it through sponsorship and working extra jobs, TBL had people from more than 139 countries participating on their website without promotion or marketing. Over eight weeks, a grassroots movement grew to more than 1.2 million Facebook fans, more than 150,000 Twitter followers, a following from people in 220 countries and two million views per month on their website. Now, TBL receives 500-800 messages daily with most messages indicating the TBL team has changed their lives.

A member of the Canadian national rugby team and athletically inclined since childhood, Ben Nemtin broke into the film scene in 2004 with a one-liner in the movie "White Chicks" -- a stint his friends will never let him live down. A fan of long boarding, traveling, neon colors and cannon balls, Nemtin is a budding entrepreneur, known among his friends as a regular "Ari Gold Jr.," always making moves for the team.

Dave Lingwood once trekked seven hours through an intense jungle and zip-lined over raging rivers carrying a backpack, camera bag and 15-foot-long two-by-four to deliver clothing and supplies to a village in the Costa Rican mountains. The pro break dancer, stuntman and dare devil lives life on the edge and continues to pursue his dream of becoming a stunt man, seeking out any activity where there's a good chance he could die. His work has taken him from African safaris to Trinidadian carnivals to auditioning for Cirque de Soleil.

Duncan Penn, eldest Penn brother and honors graduate, founded an NGO with the goal of introducing soccer to kids around the world who have experienced the ravages of war. With three others, Penn successfully delivered 1,000 soccer balls and pairs of cleats to impoverished children in Ecuador and helped build two soccer fields near Mount Chimborozo. Penn's work has inspired Rwanda and Uganda to adopt similar programs and now working towards building eco-sustainable soccer fields.

Jonnie Penn, who spent his high school days filming snowboard and skate videos with his friends, became an award-winning filmmaker by age 18. The accomplished activist, philosopher and writer was chosen to represent Canada at the Oxford University debate championship. He delighted in playing the role of devil's advocate while attending McGill University.