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Wednesday: No good deed goes unpartied

Global Green raises awareness with pre-Oscar fete

Throw the party, save the world?

The Global Green pre-Oscar fete invades the Avalon Hollywood on Wednesday evening with celebrity co-chairs Leonardo DiCaprio, Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz and Edward Norton, a popular and pressing issue attached and a good-time reputation.

The mix makes for one hot ticket — but can it really help stop global warming, or is it just a guilt-free reason to swig bubbly?

Global Green is not the only event attached to Oscar week proclaiming a cause — Elton John’s famed bash raises awareness of those living with HIV and AIDS, while the Night Before party benefits the Motion Picture & Television Fund — but some might consider Global Green the least likely to have an impact beyond providing a jumpstart to Oscar celebrations.

Not so, counters Global Green USA president-CEO Matt Petersen.

“A party cannot stop global warming, but it can be a great tool,” he says.

Global Green, the United States’ branch of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s Green Cross Intl., strives to foster a global shift toward a sustainable and secure world and raise awareness about smart solutions to climate change, elimination of weapons of mass destruction and access to clean water.

Wednesday’s festivities aim to shed light on the org’s green rebuilding of New Orleans, showcase global warming solutions and complement its Oscar-night valet services, where attendees arrive via Prius or other alternative-fuel vehicles.

An afternoon press tour will give the media insight into Global Green’s mission and design lounge. In the evening, megawatt stars like Cruz will be photographed exiting alternative-fuel vehicles and strolling the green carpet brazenly supporting Global Green.

Though an Oscar week tie-in seems natural for the only national environmental group headquartered in Southern California, Global Green’s media forays began far from Hollywood.

Its first major outing was in August 2002, leading up to the World Development Summit in Johannesburg, when Global Green hosted the rally where DiCaprio famously called on President Bush to attend the summit.

“People learned through ‘Entertainment Tonight’ and ‘Access Hollywood’ about the summit itself,” Petersen says. “We have to work through mass media; that’s how people get their information. … We realized we had hit on something.”

Then the org started delivering Oscar guests in hybrids.

“It was a way for individuals to make a statement; a simple action that made these cars sexy and fun to drive,” Petersen says.

Soon the pre-Oscar party was born.

“The Oscars allow us to speak to a wide audience with high-profile celebrities who want to speak to Global Green’s mission,” says Ruben Aronin, a spokesman for the org. “A party can help focus people’s attentions. When you hear the problems facing us and (their) alarming impact, it’s a little easier to get people’s heads around solutions when you present it in a fun and engaging way.”

Adds Petersen: “It’s hard to gauge any media campaign, but we’ve heard examples where someone’s Republican wife in Arizona bought a Prius after seeing a celebrity arrive in one.”

BIG WEEK BLOWOUTS

Int’l Documentary Assn. Reception
Where: WGA Theater
Who: Documakers and their devotees
When: 6:30 p.m.
Backstory: At the annual nominees reception, the feted filmmakers will introduce clips of their docus and speak of their passion and inspiration in creating the work, while the full films screen Saturday at the WGA Theater.
“We’ve been doing this for 25 years, because for so many years the documentary genre was the stepchild of the Academy Awards, and nothing was devoted to them,” says Sandra Ruch, IDA exec director.
“Our sole mission is to keep the genre alive, and it’s still hard,” Ruch explains.
The greater chance of financial success has changed the cocktail reception a bit, though. Among the 800 nominees, association members and docu lovers attending, representation lurks.
“Now we have agents there from every studio looking to sign documentaries,” Ruch laughs.

Black Enterprise Honors
Where: Beverly Wilshire Hotel
Who: Will Smith, Tyra Banks, Russell Simmons, Patti LaBelle, Dionne Warwick
When: 9 p.m.
Backstory: Black Enterprise honors members of its top 50 Hollywood Power Brokers list and also offers nods to “Dreamgirls,” “The Last King of Scotland” and “The Pursuit of Happyness,” as well as a special salute to Quincy Jones and Clarence Avant.

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