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Here to Serve: Star-Studded Artists For Peace And Justice Gala Raises $1.1 Million

Sep 13, 2017 01:30 pm
An impressive 1.1 million dollars was raised at the annual Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) Festival Gala, presented by BOVET 1822, held at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO).

Morgan Spurlock, Cuba Gooding Jr., Ben Stiller, Jackson Browne, Natasha Koifman, Paul Haggis, Yannick Bisson and Suzanne Boyd
Morgan Spurlock, Cuba Gooding Jr., Ben Stiller, Jackson Browne, Natasha Koifman, Paul Haggis, Yannick Bisson and Suzanne Boyd
Credit/Copyright: George Pimentel

Co-chaired by Natasha Koifman and Suzanne Boyd, the event was co-hosted by an influential team, including APJ Founder, Paul HaggisCuba Gooding Jr.Ben Stiller, Shantelle and Yannick Bisson, George Stroumboulopoulos and Audrey Raffy, daughter of BOVET 1822 owner Pascal Raffy. The event kicked off with a surprise for guests in attendance, when APJ CEO David Belle and Haggis called on notable attendees to join them in the spirit of social justice and activism to help serve the meal. All the co-hosts jumped up from their seats and proceeded to serve the guests.


Later that evening, Haggis and Belle with Bovet 1822’s Audrey Raffy presented Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Browne with the 2017 Peace and Justice Activism Award, previously awarded to Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon. This award celebrated Browne’s lifetime of activism and commitment to peace and social justice both in Haiti and around the world.

A live auction throughout the evening, led by auctioneer Stephen Ranger, helped to sell one-of-a-kind experiences that went for impressive amounts in support of the cause, including:
• A private atelier tour and tea with Zac Posen and Susan Sarandon;
• The ultimate VIP concert experience with Sir Paul McCartney – from a pre-concert soundcheck to a backstage meet-and-greet, this auction item, included having Paul Haggis and Ben Stiller as dates
• Cuba Gooding Jr. inspired guests to “Show Him the Money!” with a set-visit on his next project being auctioned. He also serenaded the audience with an endearing rendition of “Oh Canada”.
• A Peruvian adventure…with a supermodel: one lucky bidder won on a chance to visit one of Earth’s paradises, the Rainbow Mountain, alongside adventurer Johan Ernst Nilson and Petra Nemcova


Guests in attendance were treated to musical performances by Slaight Music artist Kayla Diamond, winner of the label’s It’s Your Shot contest as well as Haitian musician and longtime friend of APJ Paul Beaubrun. Before the night closed, Jackson Browne joined Beaubrun on stage.

Immediately following the 2010 earthquake, APJ funded the purchase of land and construction to build Haiti’s largest high school, the Academy for Peace and Justice, which serves the poorest and most deserving youth in Port-au-Prince. The Academy reached 2800 students at full capacity in 2016 and celebrated its first graduating class, giving some of Haiti’s most underprivileged children the opportunity to continue their education beyond the sixth grade.

“Launched during TIFF in 2009, our APJ Festival Gala in Toronto continues to be our hallmark event of the year, and has allowed us the honour of serving the Haitian community by bringing education, healthcare and hope to the children of Haiti,” said Paul Haggis, Founder, APJ. “In nine years, in large thanks to our sponsors, APJfamily and the incredible Toronto community, we’ve made an extraordinary impact, empowering young people and supporting the next generation of Haitian leaders. However, there is much more to be done – and we hope that celebrating and recognizing outstanding entrepreneurs who embody our own fierce commitment to social justice will inspire the activism and service required to ensure a brighter future for some of the neediest on the planet.”

In addition to the generous donations made by event attendees, organizations came together to give back. These included: BOVET 1822, AUDI, Stella Artois, and NKPR.



Sir Elton John To Be Honored At Elton John AIDS Foundation New York Fall Gala

Sep 13, 2017 11:45 am

Elton John: Profile

On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) will host its annual New York Fall Gala at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

This year’s gala commemorates the Foundation’s 25th year and honors Founder Sir Elton John. President Bill Clinton, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Sharon Stone, and others will pay tribute to Elton John’s achievements as a philanthropist and humanitarian. The legendary Aretha Franklin will be the special musical guest, along with performances by violinist Joshua Bell and Broadway’s The Lion King, featuring Heather Headley. Neil Patrick Harris will host the event.


“Elton’s philanthropic endeavors and activism for human rights and the arts have inspired millions and made a positive difference in people’s lives around the world,” said EJAF Chairman David Furnish. “But without a doubt, Elton’s greatest contribution as a humanitarian is his 25-year commitment to building one of the most important institutions in the effort to end AIDS – the Elton John AIDS Foundation.”

“At this time of great uncertainty in the world, EJAF’s work is more important than ever. After 25 years, EJAF remains steadfastly committed to addressing the unmet needs of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and fighting stigma as a major driver of the global AIDS epidemic,” said EJAF Executive Director Scott Campbell. “We believe everyone living with HIV/AIDS should have immediate access to high quality medical care and all people at risk of HIV should be empowered with the best knowledge and tools available to prevent transmission no matter who they are, who they love, where they come from, or what they do.”

EJAF is also delighted to announce American Airlines, BVLGARI, Robert K. Kraft, Leonard and Judy Lauder Fund, and Bob and Tamar Manoukian as the Presenting Sponsors for this year’s gala.

The Co-Sponsor for this year’s gala is The John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation. Gold Sponsors are Joseph W. Blount, Don Capoccia and Tom Pegues, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Gilead Sciences, M•A•C Viva Glam, and Jo and Raffy Manoukian. Silver Sponsors are Disney Theatrical Productions and Merck.

EJAF Chairman David Furnish will serve as the honorary chair for the Gala. As part of this year’s special tribute to Elton, EJAF created a Founder’s Circle, a special group of EJAF supporters made up entirely of former recipients of the Foundation’s Enduring Vision Award and Founder’s Award: Tim Allen, Bill and Tani Austin, The Honorable Ban Ki-moon, John and Edwina Barbis, Joseph W. Blount, M. Michele Burns, President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, John Demsey, Tracey Emin, Frank Tiberius Gangi, Frank Giustra, Greg Gorman, Charlie Hendon, Diana Jenkins, Jay Jopling, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Caroline and Sidney Kimmel, Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss, Robert K. Kraft, Leonard Lauder, Sandra Lee, Bob and Tamar Manoukian, Jo and Raffy Manoukian, Tamara Mellon, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, Howard Rose, Lily Safra, Pablo and Nathalie Salame, Caroline Scheufele, Sharon Stone, and Steve Tisch.

Event Chairs for the Gala are: Jean-Christophe Babin, Alec and Hilaria Baldwin, Sandra Brant, Don Capoccia and Tom Pegues, Andy CohenSheryl CrowAlan Cumming, Jennifer Kelly Dominiquini, Dennis R. Fee and Stephen P. Carlino, Richard Gere, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, Caitlyn JennerBilly JoelQuincy Jones, Mark Juliano, Heidi KlumPadma LakshmiMatt LauerCyndi Lauper, Sandra Lee, Spike and Tonya Lee, Judith LightSusan Lucci, Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin, Eric and Janet McCormack, Terrence Meck, Bette Midler, Thomas E. Moore, III and Mark Reynolds, Matthew Morrison, James L. and Margo Nederlander, Martha Nelson, Katy Perry, Thomas Schumacher, Darren Walker, and John Waters.

For ticket information, please contact Andreas Schwarz at the Elton John AIDSFoundation, 212.219.0670 or

American Airlines is the official airline of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.


Dominic West – Made In Britain, Dropped On Children

Sep 13, 2017 10:15 am

Dominic West: Profile

British actor Dominic West has lent his voice to a provocative new film from Save the Children, highlighting the role of the UK Government in fuelling the devastating war in Yemen by approving arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other states fighting there.

The 60-second film, Made in Britain, is shot in the style of a glamourous high street advertising campaign, set to the rising score of Elgar’s Nimrod.

Smooth, beautifully lit shots of a racing green shape emerge in silhouette from the darkness.

Intricate details of a highly engineered metal shape then gradually come into view as Dominic West begins narrating the first few lines of a commanding, patriotic poem.

Sleek and fast, unstoppable machine.
Symbol of our engineering might.
Understated, painted racing green,
A micron-perfect casing milled in bright metal.
Export of our island kingdom,
Power, wrapped in burnished aluminium.

The final few seconds of the film see the camera pull back fully to reveal a Paveway IV laser guided bomb – a missile that is manufactured in Britain and used in airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen.

Dominic West then slowly delivers the poem’s closing lines:

Made in Britain, Dropped on Children.

The UK has approved £3.8 billion of arms licences to Saudi Arabia, the leader of a multinational coalition in Yemen, since the conflict escalated in March 2015. Exports include Paveway IV missiles and Typhoon fighter jets.

All parties in Yemen have been responsible for grave violations against children, but airstrikes by the Saudi-led Coalition are the leading cause of child deaths and injuries according to the United Nations. More than 4,000 children have been killed or maimed by all sides in the conflict since March 2015.

Dominic West, Save the Children High Profile Supporter, said:

“By lending my voice to the ‘Made in Britain’ film released today, I am standing side by side with Save the Children in calling on the British Government to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
“Weapons supplied by British manufacturers have been used by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen – and we know the coalition has killed or injured thousands of children and bombed dozens of schools and hospital.”

“For me, as a proud Brit, this is completely unacceptable. We are providing aid to Yemen, but also selling weapons which are being used in a country where children are being bombed and starved.”

“I have seen first-hand the unthinkable pain which conflicts, such as the war in Yemen, can have on families and children.”

“When visiting Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan last year with Save the Children, I met with children who had witnessed years of war and terror back home in Syria, where they had lost loved ones, seen their homes and schools blown up and ultimately had no choice but to flee their own countries.”

“The UK should stand tall in the world and export hope to Yemen’s children, not fear.”

The Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition, which runs from September 12-15, is the largest arms fair in the world and is held every two years in London.

Five members of the Saudi-led Coalition – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt – are reportedly among foreign military delegations invited to the exhibition by the British government.

A survey by YouGov for Save the Children revealed the majority of the British public (51%) think the UK should suspend the approval of arms sales to countries fighting in Yemen. This includes British allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Just (11%) of Brits said they supported the Government’s current level of support for arms exports.

Half of British adults also said they had been unaware the UK Government was approving the sale of arms which could be used in the conflict in Yemen before taking the survey.

Join Dominic West and support Save the Children in calling on the UK Government to suspend arms sales to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition. The UK should not be selling weapons to states which are blocking life-saving humanitarian aid and bombing children.

Sign the petition here.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and TV Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board as a chief organizer of the Television Critics Association’s press tours, held twice a year in Beverly Hills and Pasadena. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and the Desert Aids Project, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been an active member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.