Oregon daily emerald. (Eugene, Or.) 1920-2012, May 09, 1980, Page 11, Image 35

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    the girl. She told me as much and I was
scared for a long time wondering if it was
going to work out, which it is, but that first
year was really rough.”
One ambition Bridges shares with what
often seems the entire acting establish
ment is a desire to direct. He is already in
volved in one project, the nature of which
he declines to divulge.
But he is not nearly so reticent about his
involvement in EST and its Hunger Pro
ject. In the spring of 1979 Bridges con
ceived, organized and lent his considerable
prestige to a Gathering for Hunger. The
event, billed as a benefit for world hunger,
was-held at the Los Angeles Convention
Center and featured, aside from Bridges
and his brother Beau, fellow actors Harvey
Korman and Bud Cort, singer Melissa
Manchester and others. It was something
less than a complete success. Aside from
scant attendance the affair had the added
misfortune of ill-timing. Just prior to the
well-intentioned evening, Mother Jones
magazine ran a piece describing in some
detail the dubious ties between the
Hunger Project and the EST organization.
True, the Hunger Project, which aspired
to end world hunger by the turn of the
century, was the brainchild of EST foun
der Werner Erhard, who had recruited,
aside from Bridges, a number of celebrity
types with EST affiliations, foremost
among them John Denver. The problem,
alleged Mother Jones, was an intricate web
of cross-financing between EST and the
ostensibly separate Hunger Project orga
nization. A tax dodge was indelicately
hinted at, as well as all manner of ulterior
motives on Erhard’s and EST’s part. What
ever the facts turned out to be, not much
has been heard of the Hunger Project
since then, and world hunger seems no
closer to ending tomorrow or twenty years
from now.
Bridges, who acknowledges his own
misgivings at reading the Mother Jones ac
count, nevertheless asserts the pure mo
tives of himself and the others involved in
the Gatheringfor Hunger, and in the process
reveals something of his own involvement
in the EST lifestyle.
“The original idea of the Hunger Pro
ject, as Werner described it, was that
hunger represented the main f—k-up.
People try to rationalize it because they
think they’re helpless to change it. We had
a lot of facts at our disposal and we wanted
to put them out there and give the indi
vidual a chance to do something about the
situation. We wanted to put the idea of en
ding world hunger by the year 2,000 in
their heads, we just wanted to keep the
idea going.”
While Bridges denies any direct in
volvement between his Gathering for
Hunger and the EST organization, certain
contradictions arise in his account of
events leading up to the clouded event.
“Werner wanted each of us to do our
own hunger project,” he explains, “so I
chose not to make mine an EST event be
cause EST has such bad P.R.” The separa
tion was never effected, not even, it seems,
in Bridges own mind. “When the Mother
Jones thing came out it was really a shock to
me because I had questioned that stuff
when I was in EST. You know, you think, ‘Is
Werner a Nazi, is he trying to get my
brain?’ The Mother Jones article made me
really confront my involvement with EST
and I decided that I didn’t give a shit about
Werner and what he thought, but I agreed
with what he said about stopping world
hunger. Which is why I did the Gathering
for Hunger. In fact, I’m thinking of doing
another one.’’
Bridges’ commitment to EST seems as
off-handed as his career considerations.
Admitting to being drawn to “all kinds of
psychedelic bullshit, anything that has to
do with exploring the mind,” he describes
the EST experience as “a roller coaster
ride on a roller coaster you built yourself
and that you can make as intense as you
want. I used to go to EST meetings a lot
and still occasionally drop by to get a hit of
Werner’s trip.” But another area of spiri
tual exploration has drawn his attention of
late. “I got involved with some born-again
Christians on the set of Heaven's Gate and
it’s amazing how EST and Christianity
dovetail. I got into this thing of praying in
my acting. I’d pray to God in the morning
and turn my body over to Him and ask for
signals during the day to know what He
wanted me to do. Usually He’d tell me
‘don’t do anything,’ which I can really
understand as a way of dealing with anxi
ety and paranoia.
“On a basic level I know what to do, but I
just don’t do it. I know, for instance, that I
shouldn’t smoke so much pot, or that I
shouldn’t overeat, but I smoke a lot and
overeat a lot. Work takes care of a lot of
things for me. I shed pounds and don’t
smoke all day. I think I’ve really got what
I’ve been looking for all my life, which is
me. Now, all I’ve got to do is express that
and have faith in it.”
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MAY 17 Northlands Coliseum Bowl, Edmonton, Canada. 18 Max Bell Memorial Auditorium, Calgary, Canada 20 Coliseum, Vancouver, Canada
23 Oakland Coliseum, Oakland. 24 Long Beach Arena, Long Beach. 26 Sports Arena, San Diego. 30 The Summit, Houston 31 Sanger Theater, New
Orleans. JUNE 1 Fox Theatre, Atlanta. 4 Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Missouri. 5 Kiel Opera House, St. Louis 6 Rosemont Horizon, Chicago.
7 Arena, Milwaukee 9-10 Pine Knob, Detroit 11 Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland 12 Music Hall, Cincinnati 13 Stanley Theatre, Pittsburgh
14 Merriweather Post Pavillion, Columbia, MD 16 Spectrum, Philadelphia. 18 Orpheum Theatre, Boston 19-20 Forum, Montreal 22 Ottawa Civic
Center, Ottawa 23-24 Mople Leaf Gardens, Toronto. 25 War Memorial, Rochester 26 Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo 29 Madison Square Garden,
NYC 30 Performing Arts Ctr, Saratoga Springs NY
1 T i FT * I 1 1 i * I i «
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