Oct 232016
Tom Hayden Passed Away

Photo courtesy of TomHayden.com

Tom Hayden, legendary activist, later a politician and ex-husband of Jane Fonda has died at 76.

Hayden established himself as a political activist in 1960s. Activist at heart, he stood for what’s right from civil rights, peace, social justice and environmental protection to the fight for clear labeling of products containing cancer-causing chemicals and an increase on tobacco sales’ taxes.

A Democrat through and through, Hayden served on California State Assembly and California Senate for a total of 18 years. He passed over a 100 measures in California, some of the most notable are:

• Establishment of a statewide Agent Orange registry;
• Equal university access for disabled students;
• Recruitment of gay and racial minority AIDs researchers at universities;
• Requirement of set-asides for renewable energy in state planning;
• Extension of sexual harassment codes to professional relationships;
• Prohibitions on date rape drugs;
• Funding for tattoo removal;
• Standards prohibiting MTBE in drinking water;
• Requirement for longer holding periods for lost animals in shelters;
• Reducing start-up fees for new small businesses;
• Requiring trigger locks on guns sold;
• Training for immigrant parents of public school children;
• Drafted largest state park and environmental restoration bond in nation’s history;
• Minimum vision standards and testing for senior drivers;
• Funding for gang intervention projects.

Tom Hayden was also a prolific writer who authored and / or edited twenty books. His latest book is “Inspiring Participatory Democracy: Student Movements from Port Huron to Today”. (Now just days before a crucial presidential election, we all have participatory democracy on our minds…)

Tom Hayden has died. We have lost a good man. Hayden lived his life well and made a positive impact on our reality. Tom Hayden leaves behind a proud legacy.

(Some information for this article was excerpted from TomHayden.com, The Peace & Justice Resource Center)

Anything L.A. Magazine’s Editor / Eve Elrich



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Sep 052014
Can We Talk About Joan Rivers

Remembering Joan Rivers.
(The photo is believed to be public domain.)

Joan Rivers’ passing took us by surprise. Yes, everybody knew about her heart attack, her coma, her being in critical condition in a New York hospital. Still, in Joan Rivers’ case somehow we half hoped – and half expected – that at some point she’ll come to and say: gotcha! It may sound inappropriately today, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from her. Joan Rivers was always vivacious and yes, if someone earned the right to be called a survivor, it was Joan. I suppose that unreasonably we hoped that she’ll survive anything…

Joan Rivers was highly intelligent, insightful, witty, outspoken and a prolific author. She was also a jewelry designer and successful entrepreneur promoting and selling her jewelry and cosmetics on QVC.

Joan became a household name as a comedienne on television and she was one of the first female comedians to do so. As a pioneer she has had to overcome many obstacles.
Having appeared regularly on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for years, she was given her first big break by Johnny Carson himself when he appointed her as his permanent guest host on The Tonight Show (1982).
When Joan Rivers was offered a late night show of her own in 1986 (The Late Show on Fox Network), she expected that Johnny Carson – whom she considered her mentor – will take pride in her success. Johnny took offense and never spoke with her again, instead.
The following year, Joan’s husband of 22 years Edgar Rosenberg committed suicide, leaving her to raise their daughter alone. Her Late Show on Fox, wasn’t long lived.
Joan had to deal with debts left behind by her husband and few career opportunities. One can only imagine how hard it must have been for her to raise herself up and make a comeback.

She was prolific, competitive and hard working. She fought and she succeeded.
She’s written many books – most have made it to New York Times Bestsellers’ List! – “Enter Talking”, “Still Talking”, “Bouncing Back: I’ve Survived Everything… and I Mean Everything… and You Can Too!”, “Don’t Count the Candles: Just Keep the Fire Lit!”, “Having a Baby Can Be a Scream” and “The Life and Hard Times of Heidi Abromowitz”. Her last book is “Diary of a Mad Diva”.
She performed live comedy, toured in the US and internationally and kept an extremely busy schedule. She performed on stage and was nominated for a Tony. Her work as a daytime television talk show host earned her an Emmy Award.
Her TV shows included Live from the Red Carpet, Fashion Police, In Bed With Joan, Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?
Joan Rivers was also a playwright, screenwriter, film director, columnist, lecturer, syndicated radio host and a jewelry designer…
She found it in her heart – and in her incredibly busy schedule – to support numerous charitable organizations, most notably God’s Love We Deliver, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Guide Dogs for the Blind as well as the National Osteoporosis Foundation and Wounded Warriors.

In Joan Rivers’ own words: “I’ve been up, I’ve been down. I’ve been fired, I’ve been hired. I’ve been broke. What are you gonna to do me? Not like me? I don’t give a damn.”
We beg to differ, whether you loved her on-stage persona or not, Joan Rivers’ personal courage and professional accomplishments are deserving of highest respect.

We’re profoundly sorry for Joan Rivers’ daughter Melissa’ and her grandson Cooper’s loss. A presence as large as Joan’s will be very difficult to live without. We’re sorry for Joan’s friends and fans.
As a fellow Gemini, I’m not sure whether we should be quite as sorry for Joan Rivers herself. A person as full of life, energy and humor as she was would have suffered greatly were she afflicted by a chronic or degenerative disease. We suspect that given a choice, Joan Rivers would have preferred a sudden departure to a prolonged illness or a gradual surrender to the ravages of time.
She didn’t leave after long suffering but while on top: she was in control of her life, dare I say, to the end. 81 or not, she was in her prime till the last day and it is her vitality, indomitable spirit and incredible comedic talent that will be remembered.

“Can we talk?” No, not anymore. We’ll miss her monologs which were sometimes too brash but never dishonest.