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News Archive: January 2009
Message from Gillian
Posted at 11:10 AM (PST) on Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Okay, so I know it's been a long time. Maybe the longest. And I have no excuses. Other than I have to be in the right frame of mind and somehow that frame has not found me until now. You know part of it is that if I am not careful I can get too comfortable and say too much and part of it is that sometimes around the time of giving birth all one's creative juices seem to be bubbling in one direction and it ain’t the head.

So I am in London and both kids were asleep and now, of course they are awake. Just at the moment my fingers start a typin. But, I have help. You know, one of the things I am the most amazed at in life is women who raise children without help. Yes some people are more built for it than others, higher levels of the patience hormone, but hell it is HARD! And how the hell do you clean the house and make the dinner and do the shopping? I know I am sounding like a complete idiot here but I’m telling you, every last one of you from the beginning of time should be given a medal, and free health insurance, and food coupons, and a government subsidized housekeeper that comes in one day a week per child. I don’t know, clearly I am rambling.

So we went to Brazil for Christmas. Well after Christmas, and had an extremely relaxing time - mostly for the fact that there is no body selfconsciousness in Brazil no matter how many bumps, rolls, extra chins one has, in Brazil it all hangs out, no judgment. Not even a sideways glance, and everyone is as friendly as a neighbor. A friendly neighbor. And the landscape is exquisite and the food is divine and well, I can’t wait to explore it more.

Now, on more serious notes. I have a son, a second one and his name is Felix and he looks more like Winston Churchill than any baby ever has or indeed than Winston Churchill himself or as Connie says, he looks like the future leader of the free world. Move over Obama. No, I’m kidding, but he’s lovely.

Back to seriousness, I would like to make a suggestion in regards to donations etc etc etc. The suggestion is that, as you may or may not know, I have five or more charities in Africa that I am involved with and, at any given time, one or the other of them is in greater need. So far, you guys have helped raise oodles of funds for Alinyiikira which is nothing less than extraordinary.

But I have another charity, for instance, which I have helped get off the ground for street kids in South Africa who have made their way into hostels but are about to be turned out on the streets again at 18 without the tools to be able to get a job or be self sufficient. The charity is in its early stages, just having been registered and is in the pilot stage so to speak of gathering information on the ground in order to find the best and most effective way forward. Eventually as the buildings are built or found and the children and young adults settle in, we can provide pictures of the progress so that all who are donating from around the world can see where their donations are being of service.

Anyway, I was wondering how you all felt about creating the Southern Africa Pot so that one group of say, Australians ;) who raise a couple thousand dollars for Alinyiikira, would know that eventually that exact amount would indeed reach that school but it may not be now because say, ANSA or Fezeka needed it more immediately. But also, a group might decide that they wanted to do a fund raiser just for the ‘Pot’ and not get specific about which individual charity it went to. But we would also keep it open so that if someone wanted to specifically donate say a years worth of school tuition for one student, it would go directly for that purpose. Am I making sense?

And have I used the word ‘say’ enough? Or should I say, use it one more time? On the same note though, we are looking for a web designer who would be willing to donate their services to design the website of the NGO (non-governmental organization) I was previously speaking about. If anyone would like to send examples of previous work to my website that would be great. Maybe write OTSK in the subject and I’ll tell you what that means later!!!!!

Okay what next? Starting rehearsals in April for Doll's House. Getting excited. Not scared yet. Things seem to be moving forward with Gellhorn but I am highly superstitious and will say less than nothing until its more than something. Books? Making my way through about six. I’m really bad. That’s the last thing I allow myself to do. I took at least six books with me to Brazil but ended up making playlists for my iPod for the first time!!!!! How lame is that? Lamest that I had never done it before and had to do it when I should have been reading. Oh the piles of things I drag from one side of my life to the other.

A bit of a non sequitur but actually relevant because I would like to end by expressing my huge huge sadness over the death of Kim Manners who passed away on Sunday. He was just about to retire. Had been talking about it since the series ended. Let that be a solemn lesson for us all. Make the very most out of this moment now, it’s all we’ve got. I need to learn it more than anybody. Busy busy busy.

Thank you for listening.


R.I.P. Kim Manners
Posted at 10:26 AM (PST) on Tuesday, January 27, 2009

'Supernatural' and 'X Files' producer-director Kim Manners has died

Jan 27, 2009
by Ken Tucker

Kim Manners, a prolific, highly imaginative director and producer of TV shows including Supernatural and The X Files, died on Sunday. The cause was (lung) cancer. More details here and here.

Manners was among the people who helped Supernatural creator Eric Kripke define the invitingly dark visual palette of Supernatural; he directed numerous episodes of the series, including every season finale--crucial entries in the series that set up cliffhangers which moved the mythology of the series forward.

For The X Files, Manners was credited as a producer for some of that series' greatest episodes, including the Emmy-winning "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'" and "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," and directed such memorable entries as the creepy-funny "Leonard Betts."

Manners was a subtle artist working in a commercial medium that doesn't always prize such qualities. (Manners also directed a number of episodes of the terrific 1993-94 cult series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.) He was lucky to have found sympathetic creators to collaborate with, such as Kripke and X Files' Chris Carter. And they were lucky to work with him.

In Memoriam of Kim Manners

PETA Undercover Footage narrated by Gillian
Posted at 6:53 AM (PST) on Saturday, January 24, 2009

PETA Targets 'Pinocchio' Armani at Designer's Las Vegas Boutique

Activists Hopping Mad Over Designer's Use of Rabbit Pelts After He Promised to Stop Using Fur

For Immediate Release:
January 23, 2009
PETA Media Center
Contact: Jena Hunt 757-622-7382

Las Vegas -- Holding giant posters showing Giorgio Armani with an elongated Pinocchio nose, PETA members will converge on the Giorgio Armani Boutique in Las Vegas on Monday. Armani made a public promise to stop using fur, but he has broken that promise: His latest collections include jackets trimmed with rabbit fur, fur-hemmed skirts, floral-printed fur coats, and even rabbit-trimmed snowsuits for toddlers.

Where: The Bellagio Resort, 3600 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas
When: Monday, January 26, 12 noon

PETA will show shoppers new undercover footage (narrated by Gillian Anderson), which reveals the horrendous conditions on fur farms in China and France--countries from which Armani buys rabbit fur. In the video footage, rabbits twitch and shake after their throats are cut. Workers at the Chinese farm pull rabbits out of cages by their ears and stun them with electrical devices as the animals scream.

Many top fashion designers--including Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger--are 100 percent fur-free.

"To satisfy the whims of luxury, Armani is sentencing countless rabbits--one of the gentlest species--to a horrific life and a violent death in China, a country with no animal protection laws," says PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews.

For more information, please visit PETA's Web site For a photo-quality image of "Pinocchio" Armani, please click here.

Obama's Doodle Going to Charity
Posted at 6:30 AM (PST) on Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Sketch Going to Charity, Redux
By Sarah Wheaton
January 19, 2009
New York Times

Many – most recently, The Times’s Michiko Kakutani – have explored President-elect Barack Obama's talents as a writer. Less well known, however, is his capacity for caricatures.

In May 2007, Wayne Berzon, a financial executive in the Chicago area, won a doodle by Mr. Obama in an auction to support Neurofibromatosis, Inc., a national advocacy group for sufferers of the genetic disorder. He paid $2,000 for the sketch, and starting today, everyone else can purchase all manner of swag adorned with the signed doodle for considerably less than that. After recouping his costs, Mr. Berzon said, he’ll donate the profits back to Neurofibromatosis, Inc.

"I just thought it's appropriate on the eve of his inauguration that we continue with the effort that he put forth," Mr. Berzon said.

The doodle would be at home on the pages of The New Yorker, with simple, light-hearted renditions of Senators Charles E. Schumer, Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein and Edward M. Kennedy.

Mr. Berzon said he has been working on using the sketch for fund-raising since he saw Mr. Obama’s victory speech in November.

"I thought, ‘Wow, this guy’s got this overwhelming appeal to people,’” he said, adding, "There must've been something meant to be great by this."

Neurofibromatosis is a "genetic disorder which causes tumors to form on nerves anywhere in the body," Rosemary Anderson, vice president of Neurofibromatosis, Inc., explained to us in 2007, and it is more common than Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy and Huntington’s Disease combined.

In addition to selling T-shirts and mugs online, Mr. Berzon said he is also in talks with sports franchises and fast food chains to put Mr. Obama's drawing on cups and other paraphernalia in May, during which the group holds its "Doodle Day" fund-raiser.

"I've gotta take it out of the safety deposit box, and I've got to find some way to help his work expand itself," Mr. Berzon said.

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