Do the Rice Thing
The Hollywood Hunger Banquet at a Sony Pictures soundstage, one of six fund-raisers around the country on Nov. 21, raised $70,000 for Oxfam America, a worldwide relief organization. It also provoked a flurry of media sneering about rich celebrities pretending to be poor for one night. "Some people will be cynical of the motives of people here, but that's such a cheap thing to do," said actor-musician Rubén Blades, who had drawn a green bead. "I remember in first grade in Panama, these CARE packages would come. We were struggling, and that milk and cheese really helped."
Emcee Mike (M*A*S*H) Farrell, arriving in a suitably modest shuttle van with wife Shelley Fabares, said, "We live in a society that only pays attention when celebrities show up."
Inside, Lou Diamond Phillips was trading down. When he drew a red bead from the basket, he tossed it back and fished out a green one. "I was raised on rice in the Philippines, so this is kind of a treat for me," he said later. Still, Fawn Hall, picking at her rice, was heard to muse about a former employer. "At least the Pentagon," she said, "had forks."
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