Monday, January 24, 2011

A Cool Dude Writer Goes To G'day USA. The Photos

Okay, so I had a little run-in with the law while I was here.

You see, I have this Facebook friend named Beth who dared me to dress differently when I attended the black tie gala. To wear something distinctive, such as lime green cufflinks. So I thought: I'll really go green. After all, going green is "in," so I decided to wear a spiffy green shirt. A little green is good, which means a lot more green is better. Right? Wrong! It was a close call, let me tell you. And I almost got cited for numerous fashion offenses. Good thing I'm a fast talker. They let me off with a warning if I promised to never wear green again. Yes, officer. Of course, officer.

Little did they know who I really was and that I tell lies for a living...

The media awaits my arrival in something other than green. Or they may be waiting for John Travolta. I'm not sure...

John Travolta and his gorgeous wife, Kelly Preston.

The great Hollywood actor, Jon Voigt, arrives on the red carpet. (Not the green carpet, mind you, which should have been a clue for me earlier.)

"Excellence in Film" award recipient, Abbie Cornish (I loved her as American wine brat, Christie Roberts, in the film, A Good Year, with Russell Crowe), talks to the media. Beside her is Olivia Newton-John, and her husband, John Easterling.

Olivia is truly one of the most radiant, warm individuals on the planet. She and I had met at another G'day USA, but when I told her 2011 was my 20th anniversary of beating the odds against cancer, and that I was kicking off my celebration year tonight, she gave me a high-five and said, "Put it there, brother." Olivia, as most of you know, is a breast cancer survivor and has just broken ground on the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia.

Wally Mariani, with actor Simon Baker, John Easterling, and Olivia Newton-John.

James and Wally Mariani, AM, Chairman of the Australia Week Committee.

"Excellence in Music" award recipient, Barry Gibb (who with brothers Robin and Maurice formed the iconic pop group, the Bee Gees), with Kelly Preston and John Travolta. Clips from the Bee Gees were played on giant screens, including video clips showing a young Travolta demonstrating his disco dance moves to the Bee Gees legendary hit song, "Stayin' Alive". The song also sets a perfect beat for administering emergency CPR

I absolutely love the hit TV military crime show, NCIS LA, so how cool was it to meet LL Cool J, who plays lead agent Sam Hanna, and Daniela Ruah, who plays special agent Kensi Blye, the kickass American/Portugese beauty who adds spark to the already great chemistry between lead agents Chris O'Donnell (who plays G. Callen) and LL Cool J? I think Daniela would make a terrific Zoe Gustaves and LL Cool J would make an awesome Jackson Teague in a film version of The Identity Factor (yes, a script has been written and is being represented in Hollywood as we speak). Don't know who Zoe and Teague are? Don't worry, The Identity Factor will soon be available as an eBook. Keep watching this space for more news.

The Hollywood Palladium, on Sunset Boulevard, where G'day USA 2011 was held.

The "Excellence in Sport" award was given to tennis legend, Roy Emerson, shown here with his lovely wife, Joy. Roy was introduced by fellow tennis legend, Andre Agassi.

Andre Agassi with his wife, Steffi Graf.

The menu (prawns and grapefruit salad, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth roast lamb and beef) was prepared by celebrity chef, Curtis Stone.

An outstanding Myer department store fashion show began with swimsuits, then showcased the latest trends in men's and women's fashion.

International pop singer and the first Australian Idol winner, Guy Sebastian (from Adelaide), performed a medley of Bee Gee songs as a tribute to Barry Gibb. He also raised the roof with a brilliant performance of his latest hit, "Who's That Girl?"

Guy Sebastian and I.

With some of the Australian Girls Choir.

I would like to thank veteran Hollywood photographer, Bill Rich ( for most of the photos in this collection. Bill is not only a good friend and close mate, but one of the finest photographers I know. And I have worked with a lot. Large job or small -- if you want the best, contact Bill.