Thursday, September 8, 2011

9/8 Robert Conrad Talks with Cassandra Peterson and Airrion Copeland Producer of White Wash!

Cassandra Peterson, Elvira's alter ego, was born in Manhattan, Kansas, and raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She remembers always being a fan of Ann-Margret. Since Cassandra saw her in Viva Las Vegas (1964), she wanted to be a dancer. Just days after graduating from high school, Cassandra traveled to Las Vegas where, at the age of 17, she became the youngest showgirl in Las Vegas history. When Elvis Presley saw her perform he encouraged her to pursue a singing career. She toured Europe extensively as lead singer for an Italian rock band. She settled in Rome, where she became fluent in Italian. Here Cassandra met Federico Fellini, who cast her in his classic film, Fellini's Roma (1972). Returning to the US, Cassandra formed her own nightclub review, "Mama's Boys", which toured the national club circuit. In the late 1970s she joined the satiric improvisational troupe, The Groundlings, which also produced such stars as Paul Reubens (aka "Pee Wee Herman"). There she honed her now renowned comedic skills as both a writer and performer. Film and television appearances such as Cheech & Chong's Next Movie (1980) and others followed, but Cassandra was just the typical struggling actress and spent years wondering where her next meal was coming from. It was the fall of 1981, with the birth of her character, Elvira, that it all changed. While she has since played herself in many film and television shows, Cassandra Peterson ultimately combines her numerous talents into an intriguing persona which has not only become a Halloween icon, but a "vamp" for all seasons.

Producer Airrion Copeland joins the show to talk about a new Documentary featuring 10time ASP World Champion Surfer Kelly Slater, Triple Crown of Surfing winner Rob Machado, Legendary Pro Surfer Buttons Kaluhiokalani, and more. Narrated by Grammy winner Ben Harper, in conjunction with Black Thought of the Grammy Award winning group, The Roots, the documentary explores the history of surfing culture and breaks all 'surfer dude' stereotypes by uncovering the succession of African-Americans riding the waves. While paying respect to the ocean, filmmaker Ted Woods and producers Airrion Copeland and Dan Munger illustrate a comprehensive study from the perspective of black surfers from Hawaii, Jamaica, Florida, and California, blending archival footage and conversations with professors, historians, authors, organizations and professional surfers.

Beginning September 9th, White Wash, will be shown at the Laemmle Theater, 8000 W. Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, for one week until September 15th. Screening Times are 5:40 p.m. and 9:55 p.m.
Although surfing originated in Hawaii as part of Polynesian culture, Americans adopted a blonde-haired, blue-eyed male surfer cliché that still dominates the sport today. White Wash breaks all manifested barriers and explores the role of black surfers by introducing audiences to the likes of: Michael Green, Founder of Brooklyn Surfing; Rick Blocker, Black Surf Historian & Founder of; Sal Masekela, TV Host, Sports Commentator, Actor & Singer; and Dr. Charles Ross, Author of "Outside The Lines", just to name a few. Featured guests recount their personal journey, while discussing surf history, its origin, and its evolution, all the while preserving the love of catching that giant wave.

Presenting facts such as less than 2% of swimmers registered with USA swimming (of competitive swimming associations) are black - compared to 69% of the National Football League; and nearly 60% of black children can't swim - compared to 30% of white children, Woods takes viewers on an eye-opening crusade for the need of a black surfing association to help establish their place in the water and in surfing competitions.

Others featured in the film include: Billy "Mystic" Wilmot, Jamaican Surf Team; Sam George, Surf Historian & Filmmaker (Riding Giants); James Meredith, Integrated the University of Mississippi; Bruce Wigo, President, International Swimming Hall of Fame; Patrick "Quashi" Mitchell, Founder of Quashi Surfboards International; Lee Pitts, Swim Historian & Instructor; Dr. John Oberman, Author, "Darwin's Athletes"; Dr. Doug Flamming, Author of "Bound for Freedom"; Alison Jefferson, Santa Monica Historian; Audwin Anderson, Sports Sociologist, Texas State University; Dr. Mark Chapman, Chair, African American Studies, Fordham University and more.

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