Sunday, October 31, 2004

In pitch for Prop. 70, tribe thanks state for opportunity

Richard Milanovich, tribal chairman of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, on Friday wrapped up a whirlwind week for the Proposition 70 campaign with this statement:

"California’s gaming tribes are offering $500 million a year -- for a century -- to California."

Milanovich, who chairs a tribe that has been at the forefront of a ballot initiative to allow an unlimited number of slots, and the introduction of table games such as craps and roulette in tribal casinos, was referring to the corporate tax that would be paid to the state on net profits, if Indian casinos were expanded.

That tax now stands at 8.84 percent.

The people of California were thanked by Milanovich for their generosity in the tape produced at Agua Caliente tribal headquarters in Palm Springs.

"California’s Native Americans have achieved new prosperity and opportunity through gaming,’’ he said, which has been shared with all tribes and can now be shared with the people of California.

Milanovich concluded by saying it was unfortunate that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign against Proposition 70 included "racially charged rhetoric.’’

"But I believe the people of California support Native Americans, and will reject those tactics on Tuesday,’’ Milanovich said.

The comments come on the heels of TV ads by by actress Stefanie Powers and former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura in favor of the measure. And, just 24 hours before Schwarzenegger’s "Road to Reform" bus tour through Southern California.

Stops are planned today in Del Mar, Anaheim and Bakersfield by Schwarzenegger to stump for propositions 1-A; 59; 64; 69 and against propositions 63; 66; 67; 68; 70; 72.

On Friday, during pre-taped interview between Schwarzenegger and radio talk show celebrity Sean Hannity, brief mention also was made of the governor’s stance on Proposition 70. In the show aired locally on KNWZ-AM radio in Palm Springs, Schwarzenegger said he opposed the measure, because "Indians are trying to have a 99-year monopoly and create huge casinos all over the state."

In past interviews Milanovich has said market influences would dictate growth, and a proliferation of casinos is not projected.

Friday, October 29, 2004

A battle of brawn over Indian gaming

Jesse Ventura joins California’s own actor-turned-politico in fray over Prop. 70

The Proposition 70 campaign has become a governor-sized smackdown between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

A new television ad, produced by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which has spent about $35 million on gaming initiatives in recent years, features former Minnesota Gov. Ventura jabbing at Schwarzenegger’s "Indians are ripping off California" comment.

The San Manuel say the ad is not part of the Yes on 70 campaign.

But Ventura’s musclebound, celebrity-turned-governor counterpart from California doesn’t see it that way and he’s jabbing back.

Schwarzenegger, who has been strident in efforts to convince voters to defeat Proposition 70, the ballot initiative that would allow tribes to expand table games and slot machines in exchange for a state corporate tax, called Ventura’s jab "really funny" during a radio appearance Wednesday in Sacramento.

"A guy from Minneapolis is coming in here and getting involved in this," Schwarzenegger told KTKZ listeners. "But that’s what you have friends for, you know? That’s what they’re for."

Ventura says in the TV ad sent to broadcast across the state that "California Indians are becoming self-reliant, but the government is trying to exploit them again."

Tribal governments offered to share revenues at the same rate other businesses pay -- no less, no more, says Ventura, who appeared in at least two films with Schwarzenegger, "Predator" and "Batman and Robin."

Who’s ripping whom?

Ventura goes on to accuse Schwarzenegger of unfairly demanding tribal governments to pay three times more than other businesses. "Didn’t the governor promise a balanced budget without raising taxes?" he asked, before delivering the punch, "I guess it’s OK to rip off Indians."

The line refers to Schwarzenegger’s statements during the Proposition 70 campaign that some tribes are "ripping off" California by refusing to pay the state an appropriate sum of revenues. The governor has asserted passage of the Agua Caliente-backed Proposition 70 will invoke a "99-year monopoly" on gaming for Indian tribes, and put in place a system with "no auditing and no checking of how much money they make."

Tribal leaders have called the governor’s comment about Indians "ripping off" California racially tinged.

Todd Harris, a "No on Prop. 68 and 70" strategist for Schwarzenegger, said supporters of the gaming initiative may be ramping up the fight with Ventura’s appearance and the TV spot by Hollywood actress Stefanie Powers, but the governor’s tactics won’t change.

"I don’t think most voters look to actors from the ’80s for their cues on how to vote," Harris said.

Spot an ‘education effort’

Jacob Coin, communications director for the San Manuel, said Ventura was paid to appear in the commercial -- at a price the tribe has opted not to reveal -- because he had the same "kind of attitude" on Indian gaming when he was elected governor of Minnesota in November 1998.

After Ventura got to know the tribes, which operate casinos in Minnesota with no revenue sharing program for the state and with compacts that run in perpetuity, Ventura came to understand the impact Indian gaming can have on the economy of local communities and vendors.

"The ad alludes to the issues raised in Proposition 70," Coin said.

"But clearly, it is the tribe’s effort to educate the people in California about the issues of tribal government on its face," all of which are predicated on the Supreme Court ruling that tribal nations have the right to conduct gaming on their land without state or local government interference.

"I know all that," Harris said, before adding, "Somebody should be fired for political malpractice."

"This is a huge waste of money on their part, but if they want to blow their money on a commercial like this, we say, more power to them," Harris said, alluding to a media buy which may have cost more than $1 million. "It just reinforces the idea that these tribes are already making a killing: I mean, they must have an awful lot of money to burn if they’re spending millions of dollars on a commercial like this. What remains to be seen is how much they paid Ventura for it."

Big stakes, big money

A record-breaking amount of funds, $105 million, has flowed into campaign coffers for the Proposition 70 and Proposition 68 campaigns, according to finance reports filed through Oct. 16, which include totals raised and spent for the year.

Proposition 68 is the other gaming measure on the ballot. Put forth by card clubs and racetracks, it would expand slots at these sites, off Indian reservations.

Within that period, Proposition 70 proponents reported raising $26.1 million, with the largest contributor to "70 Yes" being the Agua Caliente Tribe of Cahuilla Indians of Palm Springs, donating $13.7 million; the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians of the San Bernadino area, donating $11 million and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians of Banning, giving $3.5 million.

Tribes have pointed out that the governor is campaigning on taxpayer time.

And regardless of when Ventura’s ad ran, Coin said, someone would have criticized it.

"We believe Jesse Ventura is an appropriate person to help remind the governor there are issues far greater than campaign rhetoric," Coin said. "It speaks to the very heart of what tribal government is all about: It helps them create economies within their jurisdiction."

Comparing strongmen

Observers of Minnesota politics say former Gov. Ventura sounded many of the same campaign themes as Schwarzenegger, so the lobs represent an interesting contradiction.

In 1998, Ventura ran as an outsider who would overcome a partisan climate in the statehouse.

But William Thompson, a public administration professor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, hired to conduct research for a firm representing tribes on the defeat of Proposition 68, an initiative which would have put slots in California card rooms and racetracks, said he knows Ventura was on "talking terms" with Minnesota tribes because events were filmed with a casino in the background while he was governor.

At the same time, Thompson said, he hopes voters put more stock in the language of the ballot initiatives than the celebrity media spots.

"I don’t like this celebrity stuff in elections," he said. "It represents a visceral negative on money spent in a campaign, whether you’re Republican or Democrat."

Transcript of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Interview with Eric Hogue, KTKZ Sacramento
(Provided by: The governor’s office)

Time: 8:50 a.m.
Date: Wednesday, October 27, 2004

HOGUE: -- to have him, the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger joins us now. Good morning, Governor.

GOVERNOR: Good morning, Eric. How are you?

HOGUE: I am doing fine, and it's great to have you this morning on a busy schedule that has you leaving California, going to my home state of Ohio, and campaigning for the president, sir.

GOVERNOR: Well, thank you. Let me tell you, I'm looking forward to this trip. We're leaving here on Friday morning and going to get in there, and we're going to participate in a big rally they're going to have in Columbus.

Of course in Columbus -- I have a long history with Columbus because I won the Mr. World competition there in 1970, and ever since then the city has brought me great luck. I've been going back there many times since then, you know, for business, and establishing after-school programs and promoting my movies, visiting friends, investing money there.

And of course the Arnold Classic, which is the world bodybuilding championship, we have been holding there and promoting for the last -- well, since 1976 -- so for the last 28 years. So it's really wonderful to go back there again, this time, of course, for a very important reason, and this is to re-elect President Bush.

HOGUE: You know, it's the first time you go back to Ohio -- of course, you've done great work there in the past -- but now the governor of California, off of your endorsement speech at the convention. And yesterday, when you were campaigning for Gary Podesto in Vacaville, you mentioned the fact that you feel and believe that this is similar to Ronald Reagan and the former president's work against communism, with the president against terrorism here. Is that true, sir?

GOVERNOR: Well, you know -- I mean, I have a very good memory. I remember that, you know, I was, you know, a big fan of President Reagan. And I remember that in the '80s it was the same thing, there were protests all over the world about, you know, warmonger, and the guy that wants to start the nuclear war, and wants to start Star Wars, and confronting the Russians, and, you know, this is disastrous, and all these kinds of things, you know? And he's not popular overseas, and it was like a really unbelievable kind of attack on him, because he was very strong and he confronted the issues straight on and he did not, you know, back down.

And so I said to myself, you know, now, this period reminds me very much of the 80s when President Reagan confronted communism and eventually, even though he was criticized by so many, you know, peace loving people -- which of course we all are peace loving people -- but sometimes you have to fight for peace, and you have to fight the enemies, and you know, confront them.

And that's what President Bush is doing now with terrorism. You know, he confronts it head-on, he does not back off, he does not waiver, he doesn't blink. He's staying in there strong. And that's what I like about the President, that he has, you know, tremendous strength inside and he stays in there. And I think that people will vote for him because of that.

HOGUE: You know, Governor, there's been so much in the media -- and I call it shock and awe -- that you're actually, as a Republican governor, going to go and campaign for the President in Ohio. Are you surprised with the media, you know, stumbling upon the fact that you are a Republican here? I mean, how do you answer all the press who try to be shocked over this endorsement here, sir?

GOVERNOR: Well, I mean, first of all, you have to understand, the press is absolutely correct about making something out of it, because it is an interesting story. It's an interesting story, because here I am, a Republican governor in a state that has a majority of Democrats. So that's already very odd.

Number two, I have been very bipartisan. I have brought both of the parties together, and that's why we accomplished so much this last year, from the 15 billion dollar recovery bond to the balanced budget initiative, Workers' Compensation reform, budget, all of those things were done in a bipartisan way.

Now all of a sudden, here I am, the bipartisan guy that now goes out and votes, endorses, and promotes, you know, and campaigns for George W. Bush to get re-elected. So that's interesting.

Then I'm also, you know, married to a Democratic wife who comes from this, you know, historic family, and my mother-in-law is right now here staying with us, so we have interesting discussions ever day about politics, Democrats versus Republicans, Kerry versus Bush, and all that stuff.

So I think there are interesting stories there. You know, how does that all play, and how does this work out? And so I totally agree with the press. It is interesting, people like to read about it, and they're fascinated.

For me it 's a balancing act, of course, because if I don't campaign for President Bush the Republicans will be angry. I f I do campaign for President Bush the Democrats are angry. And so I think there's a happy medium, which I made very clear, that I will not go and travel around the country with the President because my work is here, I have to pay attention to all the propositions here. I was sent to Sacramento to work for the people of California. But I will go to Ohio and campaign for President Bush and do this one stop, because I am a Republican and I want to support my Republican president.

HOGUE: Well, and the word back here, in state you've been marvelous on -- I know right now 68 is not a concern, because they pulled away. 70 is still on the ballot, and a no on 70 would help us out in the future. And let me just get you --

GOVERNOR: Well, 70 is very important, and as a matter of fact I just heard, just recently, that even Jesse Ventura, my pal --

HOGUE: M-hmm?

GOVERNOR: -- had done a commercial for -- in favor of Proposition 70, which is really funny. A guy from Minneapolis is coming in here and getting involved in this. But that's what you have friends for, you know? That's what they're for.

But in any case, it is important for people to know that this is the worst proposition, Proposition 70, because it is a 99-year monopoly of Indian gaming tribes, and unlimited amounts of slot machines with no auditing and no checking of how much money they make, and if the machines pay out the right amount of money. So I am totally against that. I think that all the newspapers, all the columnists are against it. There is a huge coalition of different organizations that are against it. I think the people should vote no on Proposition 70.

HOGUE: Well, I agree. I want to see you do more work on your compacts and the contracts that you have initiated on your own. I think that's where we ought to lend the weight.

Let me set you up on a great concern that I have and a lot of folks have, and that's Proposition 66, this weakening of the three-strikes. You're going to begin to come back after the Bush endorsement and then work on this one as well, right sir?

GOVERNOR: Well first of all, I'm working on it right now. As you know, we have held a huge press conference last week about Proposition 66 to let the people know -- as a matter of fact, it was Democrats and Republicans, labor and businesses, and also the victims of rape and child molest and all this -- all were there at the news conference. And we all came out, together with our Attorney General Bill Lockyer, to basically say to the people, vote no on Proposition 66 because it will basically let out criminals, dangerous criminals, from prisons all over the state. And these are murderers, these are rapists, these are child molesters that will be getting out of prison and into your neighborhoods, and your neighborhoods will not be safe.

And it is a terrible idea, because we had a high crime rate in the beginning of the '90s. Then the people voted, with a 72 percent majority, for the three-strike system. Since then crime has been reduced dramatically, more than half of the national average. Homicide went down by 40 percent since then. So why do we want to change it now? Why do we want to weaken it? Why do we want to let the criminals go out there roaming the streets and making it dangerous?

I'm so against that, and I think the rest of the state will be against it. And this is why I'm campaigning very heavily, and we have a TV spot coming out this -- as a matter of fact, today. It will have me in a TV spot saying no on Proposition 66.

HOGUE: You're going to Ohio to endorse and campaign for the President, and yet a concern about a pumpkin yesterday. I can assure you, Governor, that in Ohio all of the pumpkins are Republican.

GOVERNOR: I hope so.

HOGUE: No pumpkins that look like Senator Kennedy. Governor, we thank you for your time. Go got 'em there in the Buckeye State. And when you get back, we've got your back for a brand new session. We appreciate your time today.

GOVERNOR: Terrific. And make sure the people know to vote yes on Proposition 64, the shakedown lawsuits, and no on Proposition 72, which is a job killer. Thank you very much.

HOGUE: Governor, thank you.

GOVERNOR: Thank you. Bye-bye.

HOGUE: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, bye-bye. Giving his time, and of course --

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Reminder: Stefanie's Birthday

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Oct. 31-Nov. 6:

Nov. 2: Actress Stefanie Powers is 62.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Actress joins tribes in support of Prop 70

‘Hart to Hart’ star offers services free for ad in favor of 99-year tribal compact

PALM SPRINGS -- Long before the movie "Palm Springs Weekend" was branded by late-night TV watchers as a cinematic time machine back to a more innocent era in the desert, Stefania Zofia Federkiewicz was living it.

The girl who became Hollywood actress Stefanie Powers led an idyllic life, trekking to the desert to ride horses across Indian country.

She visited the desert frequently, and reportedly developed a bond with the canyons -- and their people -- some liken to a gentle wind passing through palm trees.

No wonder Powers, best known for her role in the 1980s television drama, "Hart to Hart," refused to take any pay for her 30-second spot in a "Proposition 70 Yes" campaign ad dubbed, "Share."

The TV ad, created by San Diego-based Woodenship Advertising & Public Affairs, began running over the weekend and is slated to run through Nov. 2. It promotes passage of a ballot initiative that would require casino-owning tribes to pay 8.84 percent of net profits from an unlimited number of slot machines and table games in exchange for a 99-year compact.

In it, Powers stands amid tribal members to tell viewers, that Proposition 70, which applies the standard corporate tax rate to Indian gaming is "fair for all Californians."

"After centuries of despair, some Indian tribes now have a chance to prosper,’’ she says. "Indian casinos would pay the same rates as other California businesses and be required by law to share their revenue with less fortunate tribes."

Where governor stands

But unlike the 1963 movie Powers filmed in Palm Springs which Variety described as a "hymn to spring and romance," Field Polls show passage of Proposition 70 may be no good-natured romp.

Detractors outweigh supporters by a margin of 10 percent, poll results show, with roughly 25 percent of the electorate undecided.

Proposition 70, and a second gambling initiative that would allow card rooms and racetracks to gain 30,000 slot machines, Proposition 68, continue to look "deader than a doornail," said Todd Harris, a spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Harris has likened the impact of Proposition 70 for Palm Springs, if it passes, to a Las Vegas on steroids, noting its passage will lead to a proliferation of casinos in the desert -- quite possibly on Section 14 in downtown Palm Springs, or within vast amounts of tribal-owned owned by the Agua Caliente.

Powers’ spot on the TV ads presents no alternative, he added.

"Apparently, Victoria Principal wasn’t available," Harris said.

Local views

But State Sen. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta, said he believes Powers’ emergence in support of Proposition 70 changes the equation in a political battle that has -- until now -- pitted Schwarzenegger against the tribal nations.

"She adds an objective opinion," Battin said.

"She does add a new element to this," agreed Richard Milanovich, chairman of the tribal council of the Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, one of two Indian nations at the forefront of Proposition 70, the other being the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. "People who know Stefanie know she talks from the heart."

As for any inference that passage of Proposition 70 and Measure U could mean another casino will spring up in Section 14 is not correct, Milanovich said, "We have no intention to put another casino in Section 14." Milanovich said he thinks a 10-year-old master plan, written five years before The Spa Casino opened, is being held up as proof of this erroneous notion, and is meant to muddy the political waters.

"It looks like the governor is following a script that is not factual,’’ Milanovich said.

No script intended, according to Harris.

The governor believes that if Proposition 70 passes, Measure U will be the "least of the worries" for the people of Palm Springs, Harris said, as "the entire Coachella Valley will become one big casino."

Tribal lands inspired Powers

Powers, an animal rights activist, was reported to be in Kenya, so could not be reached to chat about her TV ad motives.

Bob Nelson, president of Woodenship Advertising, said Powers told him she personally knew no members of the Agua Caliente or Morongo tribe.

But her treks familiarized Powers with the land, and Indian people before casinos changed the economic equation for tribal nations in California.

"She came to us,’’ Nelson said, and even helped write the script, saying the days she rode horses through the Agua Caliente and Morongo reservations stand among her most enjoyable experiences as a youth.

"She feels a very strong kinship with Native American people," Nelson said.

Jamie Fisfis, 70 Yes spokesman, said he thinks the ad has brought debate over the Indian gaming initiatives back to point, away from racial overtones that characterized the last few weeks of the campaign.

Nelson agreed.

"The image that the tribes want to end with is one of a united state,’’ he said. "People who are Indian and not Indian -- together, working to help improve our state."

Excerpts From the Fall 2004 WHWF Newsletter

William Holden Wildlife Foundation Newsletter - Page 2


This September I returned to the States after six weeks in Kenya. My stay was very busy and rewarding. The day after I arrived I was called on the radio by the Game Ranch/Wildlife Conservancy manager, Bunge. "We have a new baby," the voice said. I jumped in my car and met Bunge at the entrance to the paddocks where the bongos from the States are housed. This is the second birth from this group of bongos and a very happy event. Don and Iris Hunt, the principal owners of the Game Ranch now turned Wildlife Conservancy, are calling the new baby "Hope" and indeed she is the hope of the future.

The Education Center is extremely busy with students, seminars and the Bongo Awareness Program. The Awareness Program will be conducted by Francis Maina, who will take the news of the repatriation of the bongo to Mt. Kenya, to the five districts surrounding the Mt. Kenya National Park. These five districts contain the people whose cooperation in years to come will be crucial to the success of this project.

Our seminar this year was a bit of an experiment based on the theme "Does Conservation Make Good Business Sense?" We combined a group of business students with a conservation club and had a very interesting weekend. We will definitely develop this idea further.

We are completely redesigning our Web site, which should be operating by the time you receive this newsletter - so have a look and tell us what you think, please! Our Newsletter's "new look" has received rave reviews, and it has also raised questions. I want to assure you that even though our newsletter is more colorful, and I hope more interesting, we are still using recycled paper and soy based biodegradable ink, so rest easy!

I have recently expanded my conservation work outside the WHWF. For a few years I have been discussing conservation efforts with Jaguar Motor Co. of North America. I was appointed as their conservation consultant and have authored the Jaguar Conservation Trust. This year the JCT began by giving small grants to groups in Belize and Guatemala to preserve and protect jaguars. I will bring you more on the JCT in our next newsletter, and we will have a link on our Web site. Meanwhile...


Stefanie Powers

William Holden Wildlife Foundation Newsletter - Page 3


While driving across the Game Ranch in March, Stefanie spotted a warthog piglet on its own. She stopped the car and carefully looked around for the mother. Finding the baby abandoned, she grabbed it after a romp in the bush. She examined the baby to find it was covered with lice and somewhat unstable on its feet, which may have been the reason it was abandoned. She put the baby on her lap and drove straight to the Animal Orphanage, where Iris Hunt met her. Iris has raised many orphans in peril, and her trusty staff and she have nursed him to health. He is growing rapidly and doing fine, amusing everyone who comes to visit by rolling over to have his belly scratched!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Stefanie's Birthday - November 2

Stefanie sent personal notes to her liason to forward to those who contributed to the donation in honor of her upcoming birthday.

Stefanie and Proposition 70

An analysis of TV ad supporting Proposition 70

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians introduced Proposition 70 in January, following Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's remarks during his recall campaign that tribes with casinos were not paying their "fair share" and should help relieve California's budget deficit.

The ballot initiative would require casino-owning tribes to pay the state 8.84 percent of their revenues from slot machines and table games. That's the same rate paid by California corporations.

In exchange, they would be allowed to sign 99-year agreements to operate an unlimited number of slot machines and Las Vegas-style games, including roulette and craps, both currently banned in California.

Details of the ad:

_ Title: "Share"

_ Length: 30 seconds

_ Created by: Woodenship Advertising & Public Affairs

_ Aired: Saturday throughout California

_ Dominant images: Actress Stefanie Powers, best known for her role in the 1980s television drama "Hart to Hart," standing with a group of tribal members.

_ Script:

Powers: After centuries of despair, some Indian tribes now have a chance to prosper. Prop. 70 can help Indians and all Californians. Indian casinos would pay the same rates as other California businesses and be required by law to share their revenues with less fortunate tribes. In exchange, Indian casinos can grow but only with environmental review and only on reservations. Vote yes on Prop. 70. It's fair for all Californians.



The commercial, the campaign's last television ad, claims tribes would "now have a chance to prosper" under Proposition 70.

But those tribes have been able to operate casinos and slot machines since 2000, when voters approved an initiative that legalized tribal casinos and ratified compacts about half of the state's tribes signed in 1999. Now, Indian gambling is estimated to be a $5 billion to $6 billion industry.

Today, California tribal casinos have become an estimated $5 billion to $6 billion industry.

The initiative would require casino-owning tribes to continue paying into two funds - one that distributes $1.1 million a year to each tribe without a casino and the other to about 25 counties where tribal casinos are located. This fiscal year, $25 million was released to those counties to address traffic, crime and other problems associated with casinos.

The new compacts Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reached with 10 tribes - nine were ratified by the legislature - eliminated revenues for local governments but still require those tribes to share revenues with tribes without casinos.

The governor's administration estimates those agreements would bring the state as much as 25 percent from gambling revenues, or hundreds of millions of dollars annually plus an additional $1 billion for transportation projects.

Schwarzenegger has claimed the initiative does not go far enough to protect communities and local governments.

Proposition 70 would require tribes to account for environmental impacts from new casinos and casino expansions. Also, they would have to collaborate with communities and local governments to develop plans to address casino-related problems.

The initiative, however, does not elaborate whether "environmental impacts" would include crime or traffic problems.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner-Explorers Club

Lowell Thomas Awards Dinner 2004

Champions of Conservation
Friday, October 22, 2004
Central Park Boat House (entrance at East 72nd Street), New York City. Cocktails begin at 6:30pm, dinner at 7:30pm. Attire is black tie or native dress.

The Lowell Thomas Award is presented by the president of The Explorers Club to explorers who have distinguished themselves through exceptional work in the field.

Tickets to the dinner are SOLD OUT as of October 15, 2004. Thank you for your support of Jim Fowler's Champions of Conservation. We regret that, after the 15th, no cancellations may be accepted.

Live Auction
A select live auction will be conducted at the dinner, promoting two conservation-based trips.

This year's honorees:

* Dr. Edward O. Wilson—Harvard professor, internationally regarded as the preeminent biological theorist of the twentieth century and a pioneer in the field of biodiversity, a term he coined.
* Stefanie Powers—Actress and president of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation.
* Dr. Alan Rabinowitz—Director for science and exploration at the Wildlife Conservation Society and acclaimed protector of jaguars, leopards, and tigers.
* Gary Comer—founder of Lands End who has adopted abrupt climate change as a philanthropic cause.
* Dr. Bill Burnham—Chief executive of The Peregrine Fund, devoted to restoring peregrine populations, studying and conserving birds of prey, training conservationists, and educating the public.

Stefanie looked absolutely gorgeous in her Bill Blass ensemble when she accepted her award. She had her hair up with a clip, and it looked absolutely wonderful!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Loose Ends

Yesterday morning, Stefanie taped a radio show called "Loose Ends." Those of you in UK may be familiar with it. It will be aired in UK on New Year's Eve. Stefanie performed one song from her CD "On the Same Page" and did a brief interview with several others who appeared last night at the Cabaret Convention.

15th Annual Cabaret Convention

A presentation of the Mabel Mercer Foundation, produced by Donald Smith. Musical director, Forrest Perrin.

Maureen McGovern flew in from North Carolina, where Broadway-bound "Little Women" is in tryouts, to put her playful spin on "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," accompanied by Jay Leonhart's wordless vocal assist and flavorful string bass chords. The Cole Porter classic served to open the 15th Cabaret Convention, the annual Town Hall fete produced by Donald Smith in memory of the doyenne of cabaret song, Mabel Mercer.

Friend and publicist of Mercer, Smith is the executive director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation, which aims to perpetuate the popular American song through the art of cabaret. Once again he has gathered the creme de la creme of Gotham niteries for this weeklong all-star homage.

Barbara Carroll displayed her customary keyboard artistry with a feathery interpretation of Richard Rodgers' "The Sweetest Sounds," laced with touches of Bach and Debussy. Getting a jump on the Harold Arlen centennial year, Carroll sang the plaintively assured romantic resolution "As Long as I Live."

Natalie Douglas announced that "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" was clearly all about sex and underscored her intro by singing the original suggestive Lorenz Hart lyric from "Pal Joey" with saucy allure. Broadway diva Christine Ebersole praised the Garden State with John Pizzarelli's trademark tune "I Like Jersey Best," penned by Joe Cosgriff.

A rare Manhattan appearance by the Page Cavanaugh Trio swept in on a refreshing California breeze. Page was the guy at the piano in those breezy Doris Day musicals of the '40s, and his hip recordings have become collector's items. "Walking My Baby Back Home" was a staple of his repertoire, long before Nat King Cole and Johnnie Ray put their mark on it. A tastefully subtle cocktail pianist and vocalist, Cavanaugh took "After You've Gone" for a spin of rapid changes of chords and tempos.

A glam Stefanie Powers, backed by Cavanaugh, offered a seductively sultry "I've Got a Crush on You" by the Gershwins and the old Ruth Etting dance-hall lament "Ten Cents a Dance." Cavanaugh accompanied Powers as he does on a new Jambo CD, "On the Same Page," adding zestful assist.

A perky Daryl Sherman also revisited "Pal Joey" with an aggressive command, "Do It the Hard Way."

Sherman, who plays the Cole Porter piano at Waldorf's Peacock Alley and is off to London to gig at Pizza in the Park, sang Porter's ardent confessional "I Concentrate on You."

"All in Fun," the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein ballad which was a staple of Mercer's repertoire, was eloquently framed with reflective heartbreak by Marlene VerPlanck, a singer with an uncommonly perfect sense of pitch, time and passion. Sidney Myer, a popular fixture at Don't Tell Mama and one of cabaret's best friends, brought the crowd cheering to its feet as he rendered some original comic parodies with a Noel Coward bite and delivered his quips with droll comic timing.

Concert concluded with Wesla Whitfield, who sings with poetic grace and wisdom and knows how to involve a listener with musical stories of love requited and unrequited. "You Don't Know What Love Is" may be one of the most telling musical commentaries on the subject of heartbreak. For a world facing troubled times, Whitfield's beautiful was "Lost in the Stars" by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson, a Broadway hymn of comfort and assurance.

Fest continues with Christine Andreas, Karen Mason and Sarah Partridge on tap for today. Tributes to Julie Wilson at 80 is set for Thursday and the late composer Bart Howard on Friday. "A Cabaret for Cole" celebrates the Porter legacy Sunday afternoon.

Lighting, Gemini Prods.; sound, Triton Sound; stage manager, Rick Meadows. Musicians: Jay Leonhart, Phil Mallory, Joe Cohn, Boots Maleson, Mike Greensill, Dan Andrews, David Snyder. Performers: Barbara Carroll, Spencer Day, Natalie Douglas, Christine Ebersole, Allan Harris, Maureen McGovern, Sidney Myer, Stefanie Powers, Page Cavanaugh Trio, Daryl Sherman, Theresa Tova, Marlene VerPlanck, Wesla Whitfield.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The King and I - Powers Pilates

Stefanie Powers begins rehearsals for KING & I in December and goes on the road in January.

Powers Pilates, Stefanie's new book, will be released March 1, 2005.
You can pre-order it now at at a 30% discount, and it's eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping. CLICK HERE to pre-order.

So much theater, so little time

The Detroit metro area is brimming with stage goodies. For instance:

Detroit's Fisher Theatre blossoms with a season of great offerings. Now through Oct. 31, see "Thoroughly Modern Millie." Tickets are $32.50 to $72.50. On its heels from Nov. 2-21, get the full treatment in the great musical based on another movie, "The Full Monty," with tickets $16.25-$65.

That's followed by the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical "Evita," Nov. 30-Dec. 12, with seats at $13.75-$65. All tickets are available at the box office or through Ticketmaster. Then actress Stefanie Powers headlines in "The King and I" Jan. 11-30, with tickets $32.50-$65.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Stefanie Powers in New York City

Stefanie Powers is in NYC for a few days. Today she's doing a KING & I publicity shoot. Monday she will be performing at the Cabaret Convention with the Page Cavanaugh Trio. Friday she will be receiving an award at the Explorers Club annual ceremony.

Monday night's event and Friday night's event are open to the public.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Cabaret Convention Line-Up Announced

The final line-up for the 2004 Cabaret Convention at New York's Town Hall has been announced.

The week-long convention, which salutes the best of New York cabaret, will play Manhattan's Town Hall Oct. 18-24. Ticket prices for the convention are kept as low as possible with $25 seats available for all performances. Higher priced seats are available for $40 and $100. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the acclaimed convention, which is subtitled "The Festival of American Song."

The "Gala Opening" night performance, Oct. 18, will feature the talents of Barbara Carroll, Spencer Day, Christine Ebersole, Allan Harris, Maureen McGovern, Sidney Myer, Stefanie Powers (with The Page Cavanaugh Trio), Daryl Sherman, Theresa Tova, Marlene VerPlanck and Wesla Whitfield. Show time is 6 PM.

Stars Explore Their `Animal Side' at Playboy Mansion in Support of Wildlife WayStation

LOS ANGELES--Oct. 13, 2004--

10th Annual Safari Brunch Guest List Grows with Celebs Committed to Cause; Dr. Michael Nobel to Present Award; Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and Stephen Bishop Headline Pop MusicFest for the Animals

Celebrities and other Who's Who in Southern California will take a 'walk on the wild side' at the Playboy Mansion Saturday, October 16, in support of The Wildlife WayStation, a haven for the rescue and care of wild and exotic animals who have been abused, injured, abandoned, orphaned or are ill. The event is the major fundraiser of the year for the privately funded, 501(C)(3) charitable organization/facility located in the Angeles National Forest.

In addition to the star-studded guest list, Montana, an 8-year-old White Tiger who calls the WayStation home, will be in attendance along with additional wild and exotic animals. A presentation of Paws of Fame awards to legendary environmentalist and paleo-anthropologist Dr. Richard Leakey and international film star Sharon Stone will highlight the event. Dr. Michael Nobel, great grandnephew of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize awarded annually since 1901 for achievements in chemistry, physics, medicine, literature, and peace, and chairman of the family society's board of directors and chairman of the Appeal of the Peace Prize Laureates Foundation, will present the International Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Richard Leakey.

WHEN: Saturday, October 16 -- 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Best Photo Opportunity -- 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Playboy Mansion at 10236 Charing Cross Road
(between S. Mapleton and Sunset)
Beverly Hills

WHO: Martine Colette, Founder of The Wildlife WayStation

Honorees: Sharon Stone, Dr. Richard Leakey, Dr. Jack Stephens
and Rebecca Solomon

Partial List of Celebrities (subject to change):

Jillian Barberie, co-host of Good Day L.A.
Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile and more
Mick Fleetwood, co-founder of Fleetwood Mac
Dennis Hopper, Easy Rider and Speed
Bernie Kopell, Dr. Adam Bricker of the Love Boat
Constance Marie, ABC's The George Lopez Show
Mike Marino, Comedian
Michael Nobel, great grandnephew of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prize award
Courtney Peldon, HBO's hit Entourage
Stefanie Powers, ABC's Hart to Hart
Nicollette Sheridan, ABC's Desperate Housewives
Gene Simmons, bass guitarist for Kiss
Betty White, TV star seen on The Golden Girls

ACTIVITIES: Pop MusicFest for the Animals produced by Grammy Award
winning producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins featuring
Stephen Bishop, Joy Enriquez and singing sensation Jamia
Simone Nash recently seen on The Tonight Show; Silent,
Super-Silent and Live Auctions; much more.

MEDIA: Exceptional visuals and interview opportunities are
available to a limited number of media. For additional
information or to confirm your attendance, please contact
Terry Wills or Jessica Roswell at 310-524-0200. Contact
Terry Wills at 310-877-1458 or Jessica Roswell at
310-227-9234 day of.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Rabbit Fever

Stefanie has done Rabbit Fever. She plays the mother of a teen who is addicted to the Rabbit, as are many people in the movie. Mom is trying desperately to get her daughter to stop using the Rabbit. One day, the daughter comes home and Mom is busy with the Rabbit. :-)

Monday, October 04, 2004

Sandy the Schoolmarm

Returning to the traveling stage after a long hiatus, Duncan revels in her role in 'The King and I'

It's early afternoon and Sandy Duncan is coming off a catalog bender that lasted till dawn.

On the floor of her hotel room in Charlotte, N.C., the remains of the night: Harry and David, Crate and Barrel, Garden Botanika - catalog after catalog, many of them bearing the marks of a compulsive page turner.

"Last night I had 50 or 60 catalogs, and of course once I got going I have to get through them all," said the Texas-born actress. "I fold the pages in half and put them aside and never order anything. I even look at the crappy ones. They are so amazing. "Who would order this?' I ask myself. I'll see in the light of day if any of them make the final cut."

Life on the road never gets easy, and Duncan - who is playing the role of schoolmarm Anna Leonowens in the touring company of "The King and I" - has discovered tricks for winding down after an evening on the stage. At age 58, Duncan has not taken her act on the road since "My One and Only" toured 17 years ago.

Yet Duncan's decision to join "The King and I," opening Tuesday at Shea's Performing Arts Center, was not a difficult one - despite the 20-city, seven-month schedule.

"In my opinion, it is one of the five best shows ever written," she said during a phone interview from Charlotte. "It combines dance and book and music better than most. And the role of the woman is stronger than in most musical comedy. Very often it's silly and sappy, and Anna is not."

Anna does fall in love, however, with a Siamese king who has a football team of children. Make that several teams and several wives. But that doesn't deter the head-strong governess who, with her son, must adjust to the customs of a Far Eastern country in the 1860s.

Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote "The King and I" in 1951, their first musical play based on a true story. Five years later, Twentieth Century Fox released the film version with Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in the lead roles. It became the second highest grossing movie of 1956.

The phenomenon known as "The King and I" stems from a novel written by Margaret Landon called "Anna and the King of Siam." The novel was based on the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, a 19th century Brit who was nanny to the king's brood.

In researching her role of Anna, Duncan not only read the novel, she viewed an early film version made in 1946 starring Rex Harrison and Irene Dunne.

"I read everything I could get my hands on," Duncan said, "and I saw this old, old film version. It's kind of an eerie creepy movie, the tone of it. The dialogue is almost a direct left from the stage production."

Interpreting a classic is no easy task. With the touring version of "The King and I," Director Baayork Lee manages to adhere to tradition while maintaining a contemporary sense. Maybe that's because - at the age of 5 - Lee appeared in the original Broadway musical.

"Baayork did not reinvent the wheel," Duncan explained. "She gave it a fresh approach and put her stamp on it, but she was very respectful of the show as it should be done.

"I think the real strength is the purity with which she approached it in terms of the way it looks," Duncan added. "The opulence of it. Being honest to a tradition and upholding that and not doing something that is avant garde and so offhand."

Lee's influence has been felt around the world. On Broadway, she created the role of Connie in "A Chorus Line," serving as assistant to Michael Bennett. Her directing credits include: "Porgy and Bess" at the Tome Opera in Italy and "Barnum" for Cy Coleman in Sydney, Australia. In summer 2002, Lee also directed the European tour of "Jesus Christ Superstar."

Duncan, whose performance in "Peter Pan" earned her a Tony nomination in 1980, was last on Broadway in "Chicago." That was 31/2 years ago. On television, she is perhaps best known for her Wheat Thin commercials and for her comedy series "Funny Face," for which she earned an Emmy nomination.

"I would love to do a wonderful new musical or play, but I don't know what the reality and feasibility of that is because so few are written," Duncan said. "But I'm not going to sit around pining. I've had a very lovely, successful career and I enjoy what I do. So, I'd like to do something new, but I'm not killing myself if it doesn't happen."
Duncan joins a long line of stars who have played the King's Anna including Marie Osmond, Hayley Mills, Angela Lansbury, Jeannette MacDonald, Betsy Palmer, Betty White and Florence Henderson. When Duncan leaves the tour in January, the role of Anna will be played by Stefanie Powers.

"We couldn't be more different," said Duncan. "Physically, and our demeanor."

Duncan pointed to the recent Broadway revival of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" as an example of the evolving state of professional theater.

"They do that every six years," she said. "Theater is almost becoming a repertory in that there aren't any new products. They recycle the standards and the audience goes to see a different actress or actor interpret that role. That is not conducive to creating stars in the theater."

Duncan kicked off "The King and I" tour in Pittsburgh in June, with stops in Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago and Boston. As for touring, she believes that life on the road is best tolerated by the young.

"I think touring is for the very young. My son would love to do a tour. I'm not sure I would do another tour, to be honest with you," she said. "He's got a Pepsi commercial in Europe. I just tell him: "Honey, just be sure you love it because otherwise it won't sustain you. Otherwise you can not take the rejection, the unemployment and all the other things that come with this business.' "

Friday, October 01, 2004

A Côte d'Azur retreat for a café society singer


Roll up the steep driveway to Bobby Short's Villa Manhattan; pass through the high, electronically controlled gates, jog a few short steps uphill to the right and find yourself overwhelmed by the luxurious profusion of his garden.

Ringed with cedars, olive trees, cork oaks and stands of mature oleander, the garden offers lush green perspectives of the region that has stirred the souls of Picasso, Man Ray and Jacques Brel, among others.

At almost 5,000 square meters, or 1.2 acres, it unfolds up a pleasant incline and ends at a terraced hillock, compensating for what is sorely absent in most New Yorkers' lives: outdoor living.

"I spend most of my time sitting on a terrace at the table," said Short, a popular entertainer who has spent the past 36 years performing at New York's chic Café Carlyle.

"In New York, being out of doors poses a problem."

Short, who turned 80 in September, suffers from neuropathy, a nerve disorder that makes it difficult for him to climb to the far reaches of the garden.

So he has put the house up for sale, at E1 million, or $1.2 million, and has announced that this is his last season at the Carlyle.

"I have reached a kind of crossroads," said Short. "I am not young anymore. I have property in New York, and I have to make up my mind where to live."

In a telephone interview, Short said it was by accident that he discovered the modest home, which has 205 square meters, or 2,200 square feet, of living space and an additional 100 square meters in the sous-sol, or lower floor.

He had spent time entertaining in clubs in Paris in the early 1950s, before he became known in New York.

He visited friends in the exclusive hilltop village of Mougins, a discreet resort for the wealthy and artistic some five kilometers, or three miles, north of Cannes, and felt comfortable there.

So he rented houses for two summers and, finally, the villa became available.

For a man who dons a tuxedo every night during the season, the atmosphere at Villa Manhattan is a decided contrast.

The house is modest and relaxed, with the emphasis on gracious, even luxurious, outdoor living. It was built in the 1960s of stone and glass, with terra cotta tile floors.

"What attracted me was the size," he said. "It is ideal for one person. Many of the villas on the Côte d'Azur are very large."

The house has four small bedrooms, although the bedroom adjacent to Short's has been converted to an office, and four bathrooms.

They have housed some celebrities, including the socialite and designer Gloria Vanderbilt and Stefanie Powers, the actress.

He also fondly recalls that Jean Sablon, one of France's top cabaret artists, once joined him for lunch.

Most of the real work, imagination and investment have gone into the garden. Living in the south of France means "your garden is expensive and the water is expensive, because you use so much of it," Short said.

Scattered around the site are three sitting areas, or conversation corners, two of which take special advantage of the panorama of the city of Grasse to the north and the Maritime Alps beyond.

Music has always been integral to Short's life. His cupboards spill over with CDs. In the living room, he has a Japanese-made Kawai piano, finished in black lacquer, that he says he uses a lot.

Still, "I would think if I sell the house, I would leave the piano here," Short said. And, for the right price, he would throw in the rest of the furniture and the sculptures as well.

After all, he said in those gravelly tones that New York café society knows well, "I see no reason to go into the furniture business."