When it comes to faith-based politics, President Bush learned a lesson from Hollywood.
The industry has had a fondness for activist priests ever since "Going My Way," and today there's probably nobody in a Roman collar who can draw more stars that Father Gregory Boyle, the Jesuit who founded a highly successful gang intervention program at East Los Angeles' Dolores Mission, the poorest parish in the archdiocese.
When Boyle was first assigned there as a pastor in 1986, he found the area infested with warring gangs and, ever since, has devoted himself to persuading young men and women to leave la vida loca. On Saturday, stars and industry executives turned out to raise $750,000 at Homeboy Industries' annual Lo Maximo dinner at the old St. Vibiana's Cathedral. Among those pledging support were TV ("Lost") and movie ("Cloverfield") producer-director J.J. Abrams and wife Katie McGrath. Also participating were industry stalwarts and local leaders including: Carol and Frank Biondi, Wendy and Barry Meyer, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, Kirk Kerkorian, Ryan Kavanaugh, Anjelica Huston, Herb Alpert, Eva Longoria, Martin Sheen, Jon Peters, Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The money goes to support Homeboy Industries and Jobs for a Future, which has a shiny new headquarters, complete with the Homegirl Cafe near Union Station. The food is good, and it has become a favorite lunch spot for downtown power brokers and Hollywood types scouting for locations and a cause.
Hollywood's canteen revival
In another part of the city, meanwhile, the Beverly Hills Creative Arts Temple has decided it's going back to the future to thank military families by reviving the famous Hollywood canteen.
The canteen, started by Bette Davis and others on Cahuenga Boulevard, was a fixture in Hollywood during World War II as a place where soldiers and sailors on leave could get a sandwich and a cup of coffee while mingling with stars who volunteered by waiting tables, cooking and entertaining the estimated 3 million soldiers who dropped in.
Led by Creative Arts Temple members Jeff Cutler and Joann Roth-Oseary, the revived canteen will open its doors to serve lunch to 1,200 vets who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan (or any other U.S. wars) and their families at noon Sunday at the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration building.
This time the celebrity draws are actors Jon Voight and James Caan.
A few jokes roll down the aisle
First daughter Jenna Bush's wedding over the weekend in Crawford, Texas, offered plenty of fodder for the TV comedians (Stephen Colbert lamented that he wasn't invited).
"Boy, that's got to be every girl's dream, don't you think? Getting married in Crawford, Texas? And to add a little icing to the cake, I understand they're going to be honeymooning in Plano," Jay Leno joked on "The Tonight Show."
David Letterman quipped: "Vice President Dick Cheney will be there, so it's going to be a shotgun wedding."