Entertainment Writer


    Oscar lovely Hilary Swank and her actor hubby Chad Lowe ditched the stretch stuff at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica. The celeb couple showed their independent spirit by arriving on mountain bikes (with Hilary in white chiffon and heels, no less!). The event, kind of a kicked-back Oscar bash, honored films produced outside the studio system.

    “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” picked up trophies for Best Feature, Best Director and Best Supporting Female. Best Actress gold went to Ellen Burstyn for “Requiem for a Dream,” while Javier Bardem of “Before Night Falls'” took home the prize for Best Actor.

    On the fashion front it was a mixed bag, with stars like Willem Dafoe, Marcia Gay Harden, Geoffrey Rush, Holly Hunter and Joan Allen sporting everything from beaded gowns to blue jeans.

    “Pink Flamingo” John Waters served as master of ceremonies. The very independent filmmaker urged actors and directors to push the limits, be daring and most of all, be edgy — “Not washing your hair,” he mused, “is not enough.”


    American songwriters were given a grand old salute by the Music Center’s Fraternity of Friends and the Blue Ribbon. Hundreds of music lovers packed the Mark Taper Forum for a special performance called “The Writer, the Singer, the Song.”

    Academy Award-winning lyricist Hal David put together an audience-wowing program which featured works by Jimmy Webb, Mike Stoller, Cy Coleman and Marilyn and Alan Bergman.

    Webb penned many of rhinestone cowboy Glen Campbell’s top tunes such as “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” Webb says the secret to his success is all in the wrist. “I’d throw a dart at a map of the United States and wherever it landed, I’d write a song about it.”

    The evening was a trip down memory lane as Bergman took the stage for “The Windmills of Your Mind,” followed by David with “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” and Leiber & Stoller’s “Humphrey Bogart.” An all-star cast headlined the show, including songbird Rosemary Clooney, womanly Helen Reddy, Larry Gatlin, Maureen McGovern, and Dionne Warwick.


    Local mom and supermodel Cindy Crawford and hubby Rande Gerber were among the A-list celebs who were spicing things up at this year’s Tribute to Style at the Barker Hanger. The annual fundraiser, sponsored by the Entertainment Industry Foundation, benefits arts education programs for children and featured a gourmet dinner and silent auction as well as a sea of stars, Hollywood heavyweights and assorted schmoozers. They were elbow-to-elbow with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Elizabeth Hurley, Kelsey Grammer and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

    Salsa sensation Marc Anthony provided the evening’s hot, hot musical entertainment. The singing, swinging machine told the crowd that the cause has a very special place in his heart. “I am a product of programs that are made possible by foundations and events like this. It’s a symbol that anything is possible.”