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Annette Bening with

Political Columnist Molly Ivens

Molly Ivens, nationally syndicated, award winning political columnist received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation. Ivins has reported for such publications as the New York Times and the Dallas Observer, and is the author of six books. She was presented her award by another politically involved activist, Annette Bening, who led a celebrity quotient including CNN’s Larry King, Phil Bronstein (editor of the San Francisco Chronicle – and former hubby of Sharon Stone), and actress Cynthia Sikes Yorkin, who has portrayed a physician on Jag, and a judge on L.A. Law, but whose real interest lies in journalism.

Some of the other honorees included Sumi Khan, a crime reporter based in Bangladesh. This is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world. Despite being attacked and receiving death threats, this 35 year old woman is still going strong.

Also lauded was Shahia Sherkat, publisher of Zanan (Women) in Tehran. The Iranian government has threatened to close Zanan because of the daring way the magazine covers women’s rights and feminism. She was even sentenced to prison for attending a conference in Berlin, where discussions on the future of political change in Iran took place. She was not required to serve the prison sentence, but was forced to pay a huge fine.

The IWMF has a mission to strengthen the role of women in the news media worldwide, based on the belief that no press is truly free, unless women share an equal voice. Being a woman in media, we certainly agree.

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(Standing) Joanne Worley, Carol Connors, Cheryl Post

(Seated) Hostess Mara New and Marilyn McCoo at Spagos

And speaking of powerful women, lots of estrogen was floating around Spago, at songwriter Carol Connors Birthday Bash. Our table mates included feminist attorney Gloria Allred, former Mousketeer Cheryl Holdrige Post, Marilyn McCoo (Fifth Dimension) and Joanne Worley (Laugh In) . We enjoyed catching up with Loreen Arbus, who wears several hats – writer, producer, humanitarian and world class Tango dancer. She was in town briefly before jetting off to Argentina where she is scheduled to perform.

Hostess Mara New, who chairs the Golden Needle Awards, is quite the fashion plate, and the theme of the day was Winter White (with a touch of red, white & blue) since it was Veterans Day. But the highlight of the afternoon was when Carol, who has performed for President Bush’s both Inaugurations in Washington, brought out her pitch pipe and everyone at Spago joined in and sang America the Beautiful. Even Wolfgang Puck, who also was wearing Winter White, joined in to celebrate. Sort of reminded me of the scene in Casablanca, where everyone in Rick’s Café stood up and sang the French Marsailles. Only on the Hollywood Beat.