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SAN FRANCISCO - 29/04/05

The Mayor

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The Mayor

At the cocktail reception I am introduced to the mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, who was responsible for the recent legislation which allowed gay men and lesbians to get married. He seems extremely young and is handsome and charismatic in a James Stewart kind of a way...tall, rangy and with the aura of someone who is deeply good. He tells us about his programme to eliminate homelessness in which an army of volunteers goes onto the streets, befriends homeless people, and starts the process of trying to change their circumstances with the highly symbolic act of washing their feet. It sounds extraordinary. I find myself uttering words of encouragement, which he probably doesn't need, but you never know. Being in such an exposed position, trying to do good and often highly controversial things, must inevitably mean he is frequently attacked. That can get lonely.

The awards ceremony is, as all such events, shot through with genuine emotion and genuine insincerity. But I am moved to see Joan's work recognised and hear her feted for her integrity and brilliance. I keep wanting to go and hug her and have to restrain myself, though I manage quite a few embraces with her as the evening progresses. I also have some nice exchanges with Tom Luddy, whose Telluride film festival I enjoyed perhaps more than any other I have ever participated in, and then an affectionate moment with Benjamin Bratt, who I nearly worked with once, followed by an extremely interesting conversation with Jeff Bridges about the use of 'earwigs' (tiny earpieces which an actor can wear and be secretly fed his lines on the set). Brando was famous for using one.

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Mayor Gavin Newsom

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Joan accepts her award

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Jeff Bridges

Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated