Sunday, January 31, 2010

Out Spotlight CVXXII

The Red Cross has been in the forefront in the current relief efforts for Haiti. There are Directors, Presidents, and Director Generals that oversee Red Cross programs for individual countries as well as the head of the International Red Cross.

Today's Out Spotlight highlights one of the many Director Generals that oversee and carry out the mission of the Red Cross.

Today's Out Spotlight is John Maurice Scott,Director General of the Fiji Red Cross.

Born in Suva, Fiji, in 1948, Scott was a fourth generation European Fijian. His father Sir Maurice Scott, was the first European Speaker of Parliament of Fiji. Scott was educated in Fiji and New Zealand and held a number of prominent public positions for various national, regional and international councils and programs.

He favored reading biographies, enjoyed entertaining, loved his wine with dinner, and was characterized by friends, colleagues, and acquaintances as "professional and competent," "compassionate," and someone with "a big heart."

He met his long time partner Greg Scrivener he was 31. Scrivener met Scott when he was 18 and moved to Fiji around 1990 to be with Scott, although he retained close ties with his family in his native New Zealand. Scrivener acted as a contact for his brother-in-law's swimwear company, but his real passion was plants. The couple's sprawling tropical garden at their home culminated in an orchid greenhouse. Friendly and easygoing, Scrivener frequently assisted Scott in his Red Cross activities.

Scott left a lucrative position at Fiji Shell Ltd to join the Red Cross in 1994 and played a key mediation role after George Speight seized the Fijian parliament on May 19, 2000 and took Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and his government hostage for 56 days. Scott was one of the few outsiders allowed into the building, daily delivering food, medicine, letters, and encouragement. He eventually was the person who oversaw their release.

During those trying days, Scott wrote in his journal, "I sensed clearly that my presence was initially considered to be very unwelcome. It would appear I was seen to be on the 'side' of the hostages.... Early on it was clear that the Red Cross neutral and impartial image was misunderstood on the inside."

He received a Red Cross award for his role in the hostage crisis during the coup d'état.

In the coup's wake, he became increasingly anxious and expressed fear for his life. Friends and family believe that while in the parliament Scott might have gleaned information implicating covert coup supporters among police, the military, cabinet ministers, and businessmen—information that could have created lethal enemies.

Scott hoped to avoid testifying in the impending trial out of concern that his testimony would compromise the Red Cross's neutrality. But an official investigating the coup, Inspector Waisea Tabalcau, confirmed in the ‘Fiji Times’ that Scott had been interviewed and might have been called as a state witness. Several days before his death, Scott was visited in his office by a man warning him not to testify.

Coinciding with the political unrest and Scott’s position in the public spotlight was the emergence of a nascent gay rights movement—and some disturbing signs of backlash. "Even before the coup they frequently mentioned being afraid of being woken up in the night and taken to jail for being gay," recounts Janice Giles, sister of his partner Gregory Scrivener. "They also said they did not trust Fiji police to protect them if they needed it. He and John were both afraid, particularly of police commissioner Isikia Savua, whom they described as 'hating them.' " Giles related an incident at a public gathering where Commissioner Savua had pointedly stated within hearing distance of Scott that "homosexuality is illegal in this country."

The penal code makes sex acts between men illegal, though the laws are rarely enforced; like the archaic British laws they were modeled on, they make no mention of sexual activity between women. In fact, Fiji’s constitution is one of only two in the world that protects gays and lesbians. (South Africa's is the other.) That happened in I998, when the Chaudhry government added a clause to section 38 of the bill of rights prohibiting discrimination based on race and sexual orientation.

Scott was also involved with others in the Fijian GLBT community in trying to restore Fiji's overthrown 1997 constitution and was among the members of the gay community that put forward submissions to keep the constitution because it protected GLBT rights.

On June 30, 2001 Scott was the Master of Ceremonies of the annual Red Cross ball held at Fiji's Queen Elizabeth Barracks is the culmination of the social calendar in Suva, the South Pacific nation's capital. Military leaders, government officials, tribal chiefs, and media celebrities ambled up the steps in tuxedos and evening gowns to attend the gala, co-hosted by the Fiji Red Cross and the commander of the Fiji military forces. Also present, though not as Scott’s escort, was his longtime partner, who had overseen much of the decor and flowers. As festivities wrapped up, Scott and Scrivener returned with friends to their elegant, art- filled home overlooking Suva's bay for an early morning breakfast party.

That next morning at around 9, their house boy entered their bedroom and found the horrific scene of Scott and Scrivener brutally murdered, they're hands and feet cut off and both beheaded. Terrified, he ran to the neighbors, who summoned the police. The murder weapon, a cane knife, was found nearby, along with discarded bloodstained clothing.

Fueling suspicions of assassination was the fact that the fingernails on one of Scrivener's hands had been yanked out. Fiji police countered by saying it's routine to remove nail clippings while collecting DNA evidence. A private autopsy was performed by a New Zealand coroner, confirmed that Scrivener was tortured, then beheaded as was Scott.

Scrivener’s other sister Judy Alvos, said the couple "had threats by phone before and during the coup, and Greg said their phone was tapped, and so they used E-mail instead. Greg even said that they may become refugees yet— hopefully in Paris—or they may just go out in body bags."

John Scott's memorial service was held in the National Gymnasium on July 11 and was attended by over 1,000 people, including his mother, brother, and son from his previous marriage, which dissolved eight years before meeting Scrivener. After a private ceremony in an Anglican church, he was laid to rest beside his grandparents. Though Scrivener was Scott's partner in life for 22 years, he was returned to his native New Zealand.

In an article that appeared in the Fiji Times on July 11, Graham Davis, a local journalist, wrote, "John Scott was gay.... He was in a loving relationship with his partner, Greg Scrivener.... But this wasn’t one of his imperfections—just the way he was. And Fiji needs to think long and hard about how it perceives such people. Homophobia is rampant in this country even though gays exist at the highest levels of society. Fiji is riddled with hypocrisy about a lot of things.... For such an ostensibly religious country, this had always been puzzling and never more so than in relation to same-sex relationships."

Scott's story has become the subject of a New Zealand documentary, An Island Calling. which is based on the book "Deep Beyond The Reef", written by his brother Owen Scott.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pic'in' and a 'Grinnin'

Jake was out and about and full of smiles yesterday and at the Dr's office no less. Can you ever get enough of that smile?

Some times you think getting rid of something tiny doesn't make a difference. Kind of like a teeny tiny splinter that finally works its way out, it annoyed you and it took a while to get rid off, but now that it's gone, things are so much better.

Must have a good visit at the Dr's or maybe he got to see those X-rays of Gregory Peck's molars again at the dentist, right? Yeah that must be it.

There's just something about that grin, that gets ya.

Speaking of Jake's smiles.

Austin joined other members of The CW in a PSA for Haiti. Bethany Joy Galeotti speaks for the crew from OTH in this one. The CW produced several PSA's that will be running on the network over the next few weeks.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sweat and Polish

Austin's put in some hard work over the years to be a successful working actor. And his look is getting a bit more polished.

But have to admit that this is the sweat and polish that so much more fun.

Loving the look, the hair, the jewelry, the liner, the polish.

Austin has kept the funky as a part of his personal style.

But will we get to see that funkiness on screen again? (Duckie doesn't count)He is so much more than Julian.

Here's hoping for some great indies or Milch will come back with something oddly odd for Austin in his next project.

Pictures: Austin Nichols Journal, Austin Media

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Life moves pretty fast

Some days just you have to go the happy place.

How to do that?

More Austin in the John Hughes homage.

Or is that a Cheap Trick?

My momma used to say white makes you look bigger, but seriously are those two Carnival Cruise Ships Austin's wearing for shoes?

Julian thinks he was a dork in high school. Now you be the judge.



You know who Austin is and what John Hughes movie he's from, but the here's your challenge, who is Jana (Alex) dressed up as and from what John Hughes movie?

And something else to ponder if Austin is Duckie, what John Hughes character would you cast Jake as?

And congratulations to Jake's two time co-star Anne Hathaway who is Hasty's Pudding's Women of the Year. Anne's parade through the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts is this afternoon and this evening she will be receiving her pudding pot.

I do wonder what the boys will do for Brokeback in their presentation and skit for her.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Super PoP

The Saints are coming and so are the Colts . Where? The Super Bowl, but they're not the only ones.

Signs point that Prince of Persia is Super Bowl Bound.

Word is PoP could jump into the party mix of Super Bowl ads. That stiff competition to some of the inventive and creative ads that are specially made for this self created American holiday. But he's not alone, the Prince might mix it with "Robin Hood" "Iron Man" and "The Last Airbender," and those scene stealing macho men Buzz and Woody.

Is it me, or does that list sound like the characters in a bad porn?

Dastan you've just had your ad in the Super Bowl, what are you going to do now?

I'm going back to work. I'm going to Disney World.

DVD Alert: For those in the US who didn't get a chance to catch Brothers in the theater, you don't have a long wait to catch it on DVD. It was just announced that Brothers will be out on Blu-Ray on March 23. Put it on your Netflix so you don't miss another great performance.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tout arrive en France

Interviews with snap bracelets, showing some shoe, singing The Bee Gees, a walk in the park. It all happened in France.

Do you remember these from France too?

France 2007

Riding the rails

Who is that cafe companion in the beanie?

France 2008

Riding the Rails Part Deux

Where did he get the blue striped bag come from? And was that insulated bag meals for a Gyllenhaal or a Gyllensmall?

Maybe François de La Rochefoucauld was onto something.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Charming Ways

We all know that Austin is one charming man. But has he been showing of a
different kind of charms all together.

And no not this kind. Talk about a merkin moment.

But these charms.

Austin has said in interviews that he really doesn't have to prepare for Julian, he pretty much shows up and plays him like he is in real life. Wonder if he not only brings his Austin sensibilities to Julian but his style as well and wears his own jewelry. Maybe he won't be ringing it in, but can see him wearing his own chains and charms.

The newest one looks like something seen before. Not exactly but there is a similarity.

Tonight on the Crazy Tree.

"Family Affair"
Nathan tries to keep the Real Housewife and Singing Sensation who's not tardy for the party Haley calm after "hey little sister" Taylor shows up at their house with their sister Quinn’s ex-husband David as her bed buddy. OH NO SHE DIDN'T MAURY!!!

Julian sticks up for Alex on the set of their movie, while Brooke Davis (TM) leans on Alexander to ease her heartache. But wait for it because we know that Julian will be going back in one... two...three...four episodes because Brooke Davis (TM) would never come down for any man. And will they back together just in time for sweeps!

Meanwhile, Feats of Clay gets a chance to prove his commitment to Quinn by helping her through a dinner with her "future Jerry Springer guest" of a sister and her ex-husband David. Seriously is this a new OTH or a retread of an old Knots Landing episode? And once again from codependency corner, Mouth comes back to Milli but has she really changed?

We know what Buffy and Jody think but what would Mrs. Beasley think of this hot mess? And don't even asking Mr. French.

Pictures: Austin Screencaps - ANJ, Jake - IHJ,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Out Spotlight CVXXI

Today's Out Spotlight is actor, performer, activist, vegetarian, radical leftist and trained botanist, Will Geer. You may know him best as Grandpa Walton.

Will Geer was born William Auge Ghere on March 9, 1902, in Frankfort, Indiana, where he was deeply influenced by his grandfather, who was said to say hello to trees by their Latin names and who taught the young Will the botanical names of the plants in his native state. His grandfather's love of nature passed on to Will who went on to study botany at the University of Chicago and earn a master's degree in Botany from Columbia Univeristy.

Geer also got his love of the arts from his grandfather who used what his money brought back to Indiana from his profits from the California gold rush to build Frankfort's first opera house. During high school and college, Will got his first taste of performing by appearing in student theater.

He began his professional acting career touring in tent shows and on river boats. He worked on several left-oriented documentaries, including narrating Sheldon Dick's Men and Dust, about silicosis among miners.

Geer made his Broadway debut as Pistol in a 1928 production of Much Ado About Nothing. He created the role of Mr. Mister in Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock. He appeared in numerous plays and revues throughout the 1940s on Broadway including one-man performances as Walt Whitman and Mark Twain. He was a member of Orson Welles' and John Houseman's Project 891 theatre company.sponsored by the Federal Theatre Project. The story is that he was cast as "Slim" in the Broadway play version of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" by Steinbeck himself, because he showed up to the audition in bluejeans and Steinbeck thought he looked the part. It is said that Steinbeck was sitting outside the stage door on a chair when he made the decision as Geer filed past him.

From Broadway Greer went on to films and from 1948 to 1951, he appeared in more than a dozen movies, including Winchester '73, Broken Arrow, and Bright Victory.

What might not be know is his personal life and his life-long role as a political agitator and radical.

Always a bit of a rebel with a genuine love of people and the land, Geer hooked up with folksingers Woody Guthrie and Burl Ives during the Depression to travel about and perform, mostly at government work camps. He introduced Woody Guthrie to the People's World and the Daily Worker; Guthrie would go on to write a column for the Daily Worker.

He was an early boyfriend of Harry Hay, an activist and radical who later founded America's first large-scale gay activist organization, the Mattachine Society. Hay joined the cast of the Tony Pastor Theatre. where he met and began a relationship with fellow actor Will Geer, whom Hay credited as his political mentor.

In an interview with Hay late in his life he described Geer, how they met and their relationship. "When I met Will he was the leading man in a show I was cast in called "The Ticket of Leave Man." Will was so wonderful, I used to sit in the wings every night and just moon over his performance. At that time he was one of those sort of ugly men who could be gorgeously sexy."

Geer became a member of the Communist Party of the United States in 1934. It is believed by some that Harry Hay may have influenced Geer to become interested in communism. But Hay in same interview said it was Geer who introduced him to communism. "He was indeed.[who introduced me to communism] He wasn't terribly interested in theory. He didn't know a great deal about Marxism. He was very much caught up in the romanticism of the struggle but was never very strong on theory. I'm the opposite--I have to know everything I'm doing or I have trouble with it. During this time I tried to interest him in my theory of the brotherhood, but he just couldn't see it or understand why."

Hay and Geer participated in a milk strike in Los Angeles, where Hay was first exposed to radical gay activism in the person of "Clarabelle", a drag queen who held court in the Bunker Hill neighborhood, who hid Hay from police. Later that year, Hay and Geer performed in support of the San Francisco General Strike, West Coast waterfront strike lasted 83 days Hay witnessed police firing on demonstrators and this cemented his commitment to social change. Though marred by violence, it was an organizing triumph, one that became a model for future union strikes. Geer became a reader of the West Coast Communist newspaper, the People's World.

Geer was the significant influence in the formation of Hay's early political beliefs and activist passions. Hay realized early on the similarities between an oppressed labor force and its exploitative bosses with that of the gay minority and the restrictive, oppressive society that ruthlessly scapegoated gays.

Continuing his activism, Geer is also credited with introducing Guthrie to Pete Seeger at the 'Grapes of Wrath' benefit he organized in 1940 for migrant farm workers.

In 1951, after appearing in four films that year, Geer because of his fervant, active interest in liberal politics, was brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee for questioning and was ultimately blacklisted for refusing to answer their questions. During the period of being blacklisted in Hollywood, he went on to build the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga, California, with his wife, actress Herta Ware.

He built the Theatrical Botanicum during those hard times not only in order to find an acting haven for himself and but for his many blacklisted friends as well. He not only coached actors but also encouraged outdoor philsophical discussion and, of course, folksinging. He also combined his love of acting and botany at the Theatricum, making sure that every plant mentioned in Shakespeare was grown there.

Still, Geer managed to appear in at least one film during that time, Salt of the Earth, a defiant, incendiary documentary look at a worker's strike led by the wives of abused salt miners in New Mexico that featured a production staff largely comprised of blackballed Hollywood artists.

Other than that, Geer returned to Broadway for work. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he played several seasons at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut, where he created a second "Shakespeare Garden" on the theater's grounds. By this time he was also working sporadically on Broadway. Then in 1962 Otto Preminger cast him as a Senate minority leader in Advise and Consent for his first Hollywood film in 11 years.

During the '60s, the 6'2", 230-pound Geer was frequently cast in villainous roles.
He often appeared on television throughout the decade in shows ranging from Gunsmoke to Hawaii 5-0 as well as playing a regular role on the short-lived series The Young Rebels (1970-1971). His became best known for his last role of his six-decade career, that was Zebulon (Zeb) Walton, aka Grandpa in the long-running television series "The Waltons" that began in 1972.

He was a key member of The Waltons from the pilot special through his death. His was among the show's most popular characters and he is said to have patterned Grandpa Walton after producer/creator Earl Hamner's book character, himself, and his own grandfather, a successful sourdough during the California goldrush who sported a mustache and white hair similar to Geer's own.

Even late in life, Geer described himself as a folklorist. Actress Helen Hayes wryly described him once as "the world's oldest hippie."

Geer maintained a vacation home on the East Coast, called Geer-Gore Gardens, in Nichols, Connecticut. It was created after his Theatricum Botanicum. He visited often and attended the local Fourth of July fireworks celebrations, sometimes wearing a black top hat or straw hat and always his trademark denim overalls with only one suspender hooked.

He and his wife Herta Ware, eventually divorced, but remained close throughout the rest of their lives. They had three children, Kate, Thad and Ellen Geer. Ellen following in her parents footsteps of acting.

Geer passed away on April 22, 1978, of respiratory failure. His family gathered at his bedside and sang Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" and recited poems by Robert Frost. He was cremated and his ashes were buried at the Theatricum Botanicum in the "Shakespeare Garden" in Topanga Canyon, near Santa Monica, California.

Dying shortly after completing the sixth season of The Waltons, the death of his character was written into the show's script as well.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Handful of Jake

Now four or six inches may not be a big handful to some,but for others it could be. But now four or six inches could be the chance to get Jake in the palm of your hand.
McFarlane Toys announced that they would be coming out with a be doing a line of action figures based on Prince of Persia.

There will be a 4" assortment of figures. All figures will fit with the horse boxed sets and play sets which are be sold separately. Two of play sets include the Horse Boxed Set Dastan with Aksh and Movie Playset Alamut Gate

Here is a sneak peek of 6" Desert Dastan.

If four inches isn't enough Jake for you, maybe six inches will do the trick.
The bigger figures will be fully articulate like their smaller counterpart but will include more costuming details and have a spring-loaded play action for unique weapons and accessories from the movie. In addition to the 6" Desert Dastan, there is a Warrior Dastan.

I don't know there is something about this figure that makes me think of this clip from Mel Brook's Men in Tights.

Jake is excited about the action figures and can't wait to get them.

Although Austin might be the best judge if things measure up. ; )

Friday, January 22, 2010

Arty Austin

Update: Here is the new PSA, Jake and celebrities that are a part of Creative Artists Agency put together to help raise money for the American Red Cross and the relief effort in Haiti. Jake joins Morgan Freeman, Tim McGraw, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon in asking for continued support for Haiti.

(Thanks Red Cross for the link)

Tonight Jake will participating with other stars in Hope for Haiti, a two hour telethon on over 50 channels to raise awareness, support, and money for Haiti put together by George Clooney.

The Art of Elysium, "encourages working actors, artists and musicians to voluntarily dedicate their time and talent to children who are battling serious medical conditions. We provide artistic workshops in the following disciplines: acting, art, comedy, fashion, music, radio, songwriting and creative writing."At their event last weekend Austin spoke about the power of art.

“I believe in the healing power of the arts and whenever anyone can bring art into anyone's life, it's a special thing”, “If someone is sick and has a more tough time than other people, it's an incredible healing medium.”

Austin grew up in a city and community that creates celebrates and empowers art. Austin TX has drawn many artists, musicians, writers, performers, and free thinkers to become a part of the funky pulse of that gives the Texas capital a different beat to the rest of the Lone Star State. The more you know get to know about Mr. Nichols the more you see how the influence of his hometown.

Austin has great as art inside and out, high and low, from traditional to emerging and each has found a niche in the eclectic city. Austin believes "art is everywhere and art is for everyone."
Austin has museums galleries and alternative spaces in additional to public art and street art that you find in Austin.
For a decade, Daniel Johnston's Jeremiah the Frog mural has been an iconic piece of cultural identity for both Austin, Texas' oft-traversed Strip, as well as in the subgenre of alternative rock, where its artist (on the corner of 21st Street and Guadalupe) decided not to demolish the wall and replace it with windows.

The past twenty-five years City of Austin Art in Public Places program has made it possible for talented artists of local and national renown to enhance public spaces throughout the city with works of art ranging from outdoor sculptures and murals to functional works integrated into the city's architecture. Artists have incorporated traditions, objects, and physical marks of the Austin to create cultural landmarks that have become cornerstones of Austin's identity.

A newer piece of public art installed in Austin has been the Electric Sunflowers.

But there in a city were there is knitted lamp post cover
and a giant fork with a heart

you can see a city that brings art into everyone's life.

Pictures: Flicker, ANJ - Green girls,