The 18th Annual Genesis Awards - Post

If you weren't at the Beverly Hilton Hotel last Saturday night (March 20th, 2004) you missed an event that attracted the most diehard "party animals" in town. This benefit/fundraiser even had some guests howling at the moon that wasn't in sight while awards were being handed out. Eventually many of these loud guests were asked to cool down outside of the ballroom. However, I felt they should have given a little more slack to one of these VIPs in particular. She had recently spent the last several months on death row at a federal prison and was there with her colleagues to accept an award for a documentary she was featured in. She was one of a few that were personally responsible for significantly reducing racial tension in the prison she was sent to. She was one of many unwanted rescued dogs that had been teamed up with unwanted men on death row. The inmates taught the dogs to be loveable and able to be adopted, and the dogs gave the inmates lots of love and new meaning to their lives. The dogs and the inmates gave great content to 44 Blue Productions which helped their writer/producer Mary Wallace get the Genesis award for the best outstanding documentary. Mary and her associates brought with them one of the cell dogs onto the stage who had a bark and a smile for everyone in the room.

The Genesis Awards is the annual fundraising event for the Humane Society. At this dinner and award show (soon to be on the Animal Planet Channel) the Humane Society gives recognition to people who use their creativity to increase public awareness of animal issues.

Gretchen Wyler

Gretchen Wyler was the first to take the stage after we had finished our vegan dinner which I'll tell you about later.

Gretchen, a staunch advocate for all species, thanked all 73 organizations that came out to support the Humane Society this evening. Let me add that she named all 73 organizations in less than 2 minutes; Everything from Models with Conscience to The Russian Humane Society and all the legal aids and sanctuaries in between.

The stage had been transformed into an artistic installation. There were statues of animals climbing, sitting and standing on various levels of a rocky mountain. The stone looking bear, wolf, lions and a panther gracefully adorned the stage in front of a large gold medallion featuring a scene of Noah's arc rescuing animals. On both sides of the animal figures were marble looking walls accented with giant television monitors and gold Doric trim.

Michael Nouri, Melissa Rivers

Our co-hosts for the evening were Michael Nouri and Joan Rivers' daughter. I've always believed she would have made a talented waitress had it not been for her mother's pro-active steps to turn Melissa into the poster child of why nepotism is destroying the talent pools the entertainment industry. However, I'm certain after years of practice under the tutelage of her mother, I'm sure some day she'll be lashing out those nasty hurtful comments just as good as her mom.

James Cromwell

James Cromwell ("Babe," Star Trek; First Contact") took the stage and warmly said "If you love animals, don't eat them." If you're wondering why James is in so many movies and acts in so many different types of roles ( I mean besides being a great actor) it's because he is a really nice guy. He supports many worthy causes and charities and besides being the tallest guy in the room he's also the friendliest. But don't take my word for it. Next time you see him go up and say "Hi."

James presented the award for best national news feature to Dan Rather and his team for "Food Fight." Genesis showed footage of this series on animals in the fast food industry. On giant screens surrounding us were chickens being thrown into over crowded cages. 2 guys picking up five chickens at a time by legs or wings. Each of their hands gripping tight enough to crush feet. These chickens flapping and crying out desperately while being thrown into cages as fierce as a baseball player swinging a bat. 2 white trash men who didn't care about all the dislocated limbs and enormous pain they were continuing to cause.

Correspondent, Wyatt Andrews accepted the award on behalf of CBS and thanked the Humane Society for giving them the story.

David Boreanaz ("Angel") and Jorja Fox (CSI Las Vegas) presented the National Geographic Special: "In Search of the Jaguar" an award for a documentary on a man who spent his life trying to save South American Jaguars. Allen Robinowitz managed to set up 6 back to back state preserves spanning thousands of miles through a few South American countries. How he managed to coordinate several countries to work on this one cause is extraordinary. I can't even get my family to coordinate a decision on which restaurant to eat in.

David Boreanaz is on my short list of men I would describe as "Yowza!" For all you "Angel" fans out there, he is even more gorgeous in person. I would have gone up and said "Hi," but the last time we met it didn't go so well. He was friendly and conversational, I on the other hand could only verbalize the word "Ah." Which caused him to seek out and socialize with others who wouldn't drool over him as much.

Linda Blair

Steve Valentine and Linda Blair presented the "Brigitte Bardot International Award" to "Biker Jens: A Life on the Edge," a Norwegian Documentary on Spain's bull fighting culture. Jens Romundstadt is a daredevil tough guy who wanted to see if bull fighting is the tough macho sport everyone says it is. Genesis featured a scene from the documentary. Jens questioned the machoness of fighting a bull after he's half dead from the blood loss caused by all the spears in his back. When he asked one of the bullfighters "How can you justify the senseless torture of these animals" the fighter responds, "Humans are nearly divine. Animals were put here for us to exploit and use anyway we want." Later Jens tells the camera he wanted to punch him, but didn't so he could finish his documentary.

Brigitte Bardot sent a letter of encouragement and thanks to Jens for standing up to the bullfighting culture.
"Bullfighting is a sickness which could be stopped with one word from the Pope." Jens said this just before the audience gave him a standing ovation.

There was an award to the Paw Project for a series on declawing of cats. There was heart wrenching footage of a cub that had been declawed and was in so much pain she could barely walk. They showed the declawing procedure. It's the same as if someone cut all your fingers and toes off to the first joint.

The award for local news series went to KIRO-TV (Seattle) for their series on slaughter houses that killed (for consumption) cows they knew had Mad Cow disease

Investigative reporters Chris Halsne and Bill Benson covertly maneuvered past spies and lookouts to get the footage needed to prove these atrocities. In addition they received threats and government pressure to can the story. According to Washington State officials, the cows weren't sick, they were just lazy and didn't feel like walking. That's why the slaughter house workers were dragging them on their side, putting cable around their necks and had hung them on an overhead type conveyer belt. As well the cows in the footage weren't having convulsions, they were dancing to the Hip-Hop music playing in the background.

Chris Halsne and Bill Benson went from trouble makers to heroes when people became sick and the Mad Cow disease was traced back to the slaughter houses they had been trying to warn people about.

The News Paper Magazine Feature award went to Mira Tweti for her article "Plenty to Squawk About." This story focused on the exotic bird industry selling animals to people with more money than brains. It centered on the growing number of bird owners who haven't figured out birds are social creatures who require either a person or another bird to spend a lot of time with. (These, of course, are bird owners who have never seen a flock of birds.) Isolating most species causes insanity and suicidal tendencies. In birds these neurosis begin with self mutilation; Everything from tearing out wings to tearing holes in their chests. If you're looking for a pet that likes being left alone, try a cameleon. They're very delicate creatures but you won't have to buy another cameleon for them. They're very territorial.

Bizzaro Artist, Dan Piraro, received his 2nd award in a row for creating cartoons from the perspective of animals. "I would have warn a tux" Dan continued "but I found it demeaning to penguins."

William Baldwin (one of the Baldwin brothers) announced Kiko (who played the Orca Whale in "Free Willy") died..... Free.... In Norway. He was 30 years old. 73 year old Tippi Hedren (star of Hitchcock thrillers and mother of Melanie Griffith) took the stage wearing an off one shoulder, sparkly leopard patterned formal gown. She talked about all the mauling of this last year caused by people having wild cats as pets. Tippi has wild cats as pets. Actually it's more like a sanctuary of cats rescued from irresponsible pet owners.

Tippi presented Brad Woodward the award for best Local News Feature for his piece "Dolittle Delusion." The screens around us in the ballroom showed the horrific treatment of tigers, lion cubs and bear cubs. Particularly this disgusting white-trash smoker who kept these beautiful animals in muddy sewage infested cages. Cages so flimsy, it was only a matter of time before these lions, tigers and bears could escape and begin mauling any human they think is responsible for their suffering. Which will probably end up being the next door neighbors kids.... Again.

Next time you're feeling a craving for goose liver Foie Gras you might want to consider you're evil. KGO-TV showed us the news clips that caused Aqua Restaurant of San Francisco to discontinue serving Foie Gras. The footage showed geese being grabbed by their neck and pulled out of over-crowded cages. Then in a quick gesture, as if the man was late for an important appointment, he shoved a medal tube down the goose's throat so hard you could practically feel the scraping of your esophageal. They force fed these geese twice a day and fed them twice their body weight. This causes the liver of the geese to swell up to twice its size. I'm not telling anyone they should become a vegetarian, but you might want to consider living Foie Gras free. I can remember how soar my throat was after surgery when the doctor had gently put a small soft plastic tube down my throat. The geese had a huge metal tube shoved down their throats so hard, it made the force feeding scene from HBOs " Iron Jawed Angels" look like a day spa.

Genesis gave an award to Marvel Comics for an X-Men comic book featuring a story line and dialogue on how animals have feelings. Daryl Hannah presented the Feature Film award to "Legally Blonde 2" for it's story line on saving animals from needless tests on make-up products. Director Charles Herman read an acceptance letter written by Bruiser. Bruiser had ended his letter with a woof and a promise that in spite his affiliation with the Republican Party, he is intending on voting for Carey.

Daryl Hannah

By the way, Daryl Hannah looked great. She's gained some weight and doesn't look like the typical anorexic look most actresses are going for these days.

Valerie Harper gave the award for best cable documentary to the National Geographic Channel's "Hunting in America." A look at the growing number of female hunters in the United States. All I remember from this clip was watching this fat old woman dancing a regurgitated version of the Hustle after shooting Bambi. There was also an 8 year old boy walking across a field carrying 5 chickens by the legs. The birds were squawking and flapping their wings in pain. 2 of the birds slipped out of his hands. Rather than reaching down and picking them up, he kicked them along in the same way he would have kick a soccer ball or an empty coke can down a street.

Alexander Gould (the voice of Nemo in "Finding Nemo") took the stage and a soap box to reach the mic. Alex was an animated refreshing change to the evenings horrific visual carnage. I couldn't help noticing he was doing so much better at reading the teleprompter than our co-host Joan Rivers' daughter. Alex presented the award for best animated feature film to "Finding Nemo." The Co-Director, Lee Unkrech, made a point to thank the Genesis staff for not serving fish. Before he left he made a request to the audience . "Don't eat our stars." There went my plans to go out for sushi after the party.

Gretchen Wyler ended the award show with "We all hope for the day when all animals can swim if they have fins, run if they have feet, and fly if they have wings." Then everyone in the room made the rush for their gift bags.

After the party was an after party for all the awardeez, The Humane Society's higher ups and the stars that went home instead.

I met Benedict Jones from MBNA who didn't know how much his company donated to help make this evening's event possible. However did say MBNA puts out credit cards that raise money for The Humane Society. I also met the author to the new book "Consuming Nature," a photo essay on the destruction of the rain forests and animals in Central Africa. But the most interesting person I met this evening was an attorney by the name of Yael Trock (89; -!*).

Ruby is in back. Gita, her companion of 16 years, is in front.

Her story began with a segregation ruling put forth by the AZA (American Zoological Association). Apparently they decided to keep Asian elephants with Asian Elephants, and Africans with Africans. A step to stop intermingling among the races. (Where have I heard that before.) Meanwhile back at the Los Angeles Zoo there are 2 elephants that have been living together for the last 16 years. Unfortunately one of the elephants is Asian and the other, African.

The LA Zoo decided to take AZA's advice and they make plans to send Ruby, one of the elephants, to Knoxville, Tennessee.... For no other reason then to segregate the two races.

Feeling as if this situation is like separating a couple that has been married for 16 years, Yael tries to stop this transfer. The judge overseeing the case decides to give an injunction preventing the elephants' separation. It's late Friday afternoon and the judge decides to issue the injunction right after the Memorial Day weekend. The LA Zoo found out about the judge's ruling and ships Ruby off to Tennessee late on Sunday night when no one is around.

Did you know an elephant cannot be a Plaintiff in a court of law? That's what Yael realized while laying awake at night trying to figure out how to fight for Ruby's rights. That's when she came up with the premise of the court looking at Ruby as public property owned by the citizens of Los Angeles. She went after the LA Zoo for not only damaging public property, but for giving away said property with no compensation.

It's been 10 months since Ruby has seen her life partner and this Thursday a Los Angeles judge will make the decision as to whether or not Ruby was emotionally damaged by her relocation. Tennessee obviously argues Ruby is fine. (They don't want to give up their free elephant.) Yael sent a specialist to observe Ruby for a few days and the report came back that she was depressed over her loss. Representatives from Knoxville and LA Zoo argue, observing an elephant for a few days is not long enough to make a determination. Good luck Yael in getting our elephant back.


The appetizer was a salad consisting of Enoki mushrooms, tomato, stuffed grape leaves and the (no vegetables were harmed in the removing of the) heart of palm and artichoke hearts. There was a little bit of lettuce on the plate and I found getting salad dressing to be a bit of a challenge.

I was late getting to my table and had missed what could have been my last chance for dressing. I was in the bathroom and ran into Wendie Malick (stars in the television series "Just Shoot Me"). If you stay in the bathroom long enough eventually you'll meet all the celebs. Providing, of course you're the same gender of the celebs you are seeking.

Wendie Malick

The main course consisted of 3 jumbo Ravioli. Spinach, mushroom and sun dried tomato ravioli with a tomato and basil sauce garnished with fava beans and asparagus. There was a wonderful olive tapenade on the table and some genuine imitation margarine for the egg less rolls.

Dessert was a very tasty cranberry pecan tartlets with chocolate sauce.

The Gift Bag:

No gift bags were given away at this event. Although revelers did get to take home one of the nicest doggy bags I've ever seen. That is doggy/kitty bags.

For cats there were pouches of catnip and the DVD "Born Free." For dogs there was the "Worlds best dog toy" by "Kong" for dogs who need to chew something rubber and clean their teeth at the same time. I also receive a carton of "Chez Puppy" gourmet dog biscuits for the classy canine, Scoopies which is a box of 24 hand shaped plastic bags and the DVD to "Legally Blonde 2."

For animal guardians there was the X-Men comic book that won the award, an issue of Animal Wellness Magazine, an individually wrapped chocolate chip vegan cookie (by Sun Flour Baking Company), "No Tears!" Eye make-up remover, a 100% dairy free and gluten free chocolate coin (by Tropical Source), Circle of Friends "Smoothes & soothes & smells good too!" Yodel-ay-he Lotion. It smells like chocolate. Paul Mitchell threw in an Extra Body Finishing Spray and Rachel Perry gave us a bottle of French massage formula. I got a blue umbrella and a t-shirt with "Alter Your Behavior" on the front and "mUtt Inc." on the back. There was rainforest grown Guayaki Yerba Mate teas and a container of organic garlic pills from Garlic Boy. I received a gift card for a "Fine Animal Portrait," Bizzarro gift cards and post cards and a $10 gift cirtificate for RFD: Real Food Daily for organic and vegitarian cooking. I have no idea what this is.

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