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Goa’s Foreign Invasion

    It’s not often that you brush shoulders, literally, with Hollywood’s `Golden Girl’ at a close-knit party in Goa. A pulse of excitement ran through the hillside village of Assagoa with the arrival of the yesteryear’s Hollywood siren, the delicious looking Goldie Hawn and her megawatt smile lighting up the sleepy hamlet. At a lavish dinner party hosted in her honour by Baba Rampuri in his newly acquired Portuguese villa in Assagao, Goldie shook hands with star-struck locals, discussed local politics like a new-resident Goa settler booting down US President Bush for his war mongering stance “While the rest of the world wants to live in peace,” simultaneously deciding whether `Feni’ would be a good idea for `spirit’ual experimentations. Dressed simply, getting to know Goldie is easy. Lowering her guard after a few minutes of mindless social banter, comfortable that I was not going to rain on her parade with notepad and dictaphone thrust into her face, Goldie opened up to conversation about Goa, spirituality, environment and how the right policies could make the State the best in global tourism. “It’s sunny, the people are friendly and peace-loving, the food is multi-cultural, and it’s nothing unlike the rest of India. It’s clean, tropical and ok, you could do something about the mosquitoes? If I continue feeling good about Goa, because I like it here, I might even look around for a house and get my daughter (Kate Hudson) along next time,” her animated laughter pealing off the walls. “I love these Portuguese houses. Don’t you think they are beautiful? Goan architecture is great and these houses are very well maintained. I have friends in India, but Goa is beautiful,” she gushes, shaggy mane of blonde hair perfectly complimenting her glowing face set against azure blue eyes. A sure shot winner with the men at the party. Generously tucking into a very lavish

     Mediterranean spread expertly catered by Lisa Camps of the very popular `Bean Me Up’ at Anjuna, I watched Goldie warming to the guests, playing the chilled out Hollywood diva effortlessly to perfection. Notwithstanding her forgetful celluloid performances, none of the local men could resist her infectious charm as she promised local resident, Edric D’Souza to visit his house personally. Seems like the lady has made some new friends this side of the coastal universe.


    Jeffery Solomon is no ordinary tourist. This I learnt first-hand after a quick introduction. A professional writer, actor, director and teacher from New York, USA, Jeffery is a man with a mission. Serving as writer-director in residence for Enact, the CityKids Foundation, GlobalKids and many other arts-in-ed organizations in the US, he has been steadfastly channelising his creative energies raising awareness about male sexual health issues through theatre. Deep dark secrets of gender orientation otherwise shunned by society and hypocrisy. I watched him in rapture as he took to the stage with ease. His fantastic award winning one-man-one-act play titled `Mother Son,’ which was recently staged at the Kala Academy, Panjim, brought the house down with applause and a standing ovation. Organized by the Humsafar Trust, Goa, an NGO which deals with male health issues and HIV/AIDS, and supported by Kala Academy, Jeffery laughed and cried taking his rapt audience into a personal

     journey of acceptance. Setting the play against a sensitive autobiographical tone, the 90 minute act touched upon a mother and son relationship in a family and their journey of individual enlightenment, self-discovery and coming to terms with emotional and social acceptance. Traveling India conducting workshops for the Delhi based NGO `Naz,’ which offers shelter to HIV afflicted children from all over India, Jeffery uses educative theatre to express conflict and discrimination, throwing questions at his audiences that invokes self examination. A self-confessed Indophile who loves spicy Indian food, Jeffery believes India’s deep seated family values affords for greater communication to deal with the stigma of AIDS and homosexuality. His plays for young audiences have toured internationally, been seen on Broadway at the St. James Theater, Carnegie Hall, the United Nations and the Donahue and Oprah Shows. The award winning play staged at Kala Academy has also premiered Off-Broadway, and will be now touring India (Mumbai, Delhi and then Sri Lanka) otherwise also used as an educational tool by GLSEN, PFLAG as well as schools, religious communities, city and state governments and corporations in the US. Enthusiastic about getting AIDS out of the closet through channels of proper information and establishing support systems, Jeffery heads back to the US with positive experiences of ”Fun loving people and the humidity of Goa,” he laughs, flushed with the success of his production. Here’s to another willing Goa victim.

    Courtesy: Goa Plus, Times of India



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