It was easy to become Distracted at the premiere of Lisa Loomer's play of the same name at the Mark Taper Forum. Since his wife, Rita Wilson, was starring in the provocative production, Tom Hanks played official host to such celebs as Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, impresario David Geffen, and Martin Short. We even spotted Nicole Kidman with hubby Keith Urban, although the Aussie beauty kept her head down to avoid being photographed. You had to see the irrepressible Hanks traipsing around the intimate theater, making certain that everyone was seated and comfortable. Rita has to be the luckiest girl alive - married to the sweetest superstar in the world!
|Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson at opening of Distracted|
Some of the other A list celebs included Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) which Rita & Tom produced, and an unrecognizable blonde Lucy Lawless (Xena, Warrior Princess) who we think should have kept her brunette locks. The play, which deals with ADD, did have its moments, and a message about the danger of Ritalin and other medications, but must admit we were more distracted with the star-studded audience.
|Nicole & Keith trying to go incognito at opening of Distracted|
Happy Feet, Charlotte's Web and Fast Food Nation were among those honored in 18 categories at the Genesis Awards at the Beverly Hilton. Presented by the Humane Society of the U.S., these awards celebrate the major news and entertainment media for showcasing animal-protection.
|Steven Spielberg signing autographs outside mark Taper Forum|
Among the animal-friendly presenters were Casper Van Dien and his real-life Princess Catherine Oxenberg, James Cromwell (Babe) and Ed Begley, Jr. and his mate, Rachelle Carson, (who I recently interviewed for my TV show). But the star who received the biggest applause was Rusty (the dog from Rocky,) accompanied by Burt Young, who portrayed 'Paulie" in the Rocky films. Young, who was once a champion boxer himself, has now turned his talents to painting, and invited us to an exhibition of his work
|Casper Van Dien and Catherine Oxenberg, presenters at Genesis Awards|
Also lauded was celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck who supports the ban on foie gras, which requires force-feeding of the birds. As a way to celebrate Spago's 25th anniversary, he stated, "I'm concerned about everyone's well being including animals. We should know how we treat what we eat." His restaurants will now feature free-range veal and eggs, and he is committed to raising the bar on treating farm animals well. Kudos go to Beverly Kaskey, Executive Producer, and her hard working committee - but most of all to Founder, Gretchen Wyler, who devoted her life and love to the protection of animals.
|Burt Young (Rocky) with Rusty at Genesis Awards|
Keep April 25th open for an evening of laughter at the Improv, benefiting Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services. This event, co-chaired by Janis Warner Black and Doug Warner, is an opportunity for current members to socialize, and introduce prospective members. Shayla Rivera, Luke Torres and Andre Kelly will perform, and appetizers and a hosted bar are included for just $50.00 per person. For further info, please call 310-823-1223, ext. 225. A most worthwhile event on the Hollywood Beat.