CALM’s (Child Abuse Listening Mediation) 22nd Annual Celebrity Authors’ Luncheon last weekend was, as always, a rousing success, thanks in large part to the dynamic duo of Sharon Bifano and Stephanie Ortale, who have co-chaired the event every year since its inception in 1987.
Board president Meredith Scott gave a lovely tribute to retiring executive director Anna M. Kokotovic, PhD. That, along with a moving video presentation produced by Surf Media Communications, brought the work that CALM does in the community to the forefront of the luncheon–to prevent, assess, and treat child abuse by providing comprehensive, services for children and their families–inspiring the approximately 500 supporters at the luncheon to dig deep into their pockets to help abused children.
Retired KEYT anchor Debby Davison and Borders Books’ Kate Schwab interviewed an interesting panel of authors: Lisa See (Peony in Love), Andrew Klavan (Damnation Street), Deborah Rodriguez (Kabul Beauty School) and Gary David Goldberg (Sit, Ubu, Sit).
See’s book follows the lives of two young Chinese women in remote 19th century China. Her comparison of the tortures of female foot binding to the “plastic boobs” of today’s women (“they’re both painful things done to women as status symbols for men”) had the mostly female crowd in stitches.
When asked about the vivid characters he creates, Klavan said, “I really enjoy the fact that people are immensely different.” Another vivid character was Rodriguez herself, a hairdresser from Michigan who went to Afghanistan as a relief worker and ended up training Afghan women to do modern beauty treatments. “I mean Taliban are but this perm was really bad too,” said Rodriguez, describing the woman who inspired her to start the Kabul Beauty School.
“I couldn’t believe that you could make a living doing what I got to do,” said (Family Ties and (Spin City creator Goldberg, who spoke about writing a memoir about his life as a television writer/producer.
They joined the ranks of more than 70 authors interviewed over the years, including Sue Grafton, Jane Russell, Barnaby Conrad, Michael Crichton, Julia Child, Ray Bradbury, Fanny Flagg, Maria Shriver and Jonathan Winters.
In addition to purchasing books by the interviewed authors (with a portion of the proceeds going to CALM), authors Mindy Bingham, Polly Bookwalter, Joe Bruzzese, Jack Canfield, Kathryn Cushman, William Davis, Karen Finell, David Gersh, Beverly Jackson, Susan Jorgensen, Jennie Nash, Katie Nuanes, Sissy Taran and Flavia Weedn were also on hand to sign books and donate part of the proceeds to CALM.
For more information about CALM, visit www.calm4kids.org.