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"The Vagina Monologue" V-Day movement marks 10th anniversary (International Herald Tribune)

Originally published in:
The Associated Press

NEW YORK: Glenn Close and Jane Fonda are joining other celebrities and politicians for a 10th anniversary kickoff of V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls started by "The Vagina Monologues" playwright Eve Ensler.

The Valentine's Day event at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday night is one of several planned fundraisers leading up to the "V To The Tenth" celebration in New Orleans on April 11-12.

Ensler was also to be joined at the Hammerstein by Brooke Shields, Kerry Washington and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

Each year, the organization spotlights a group of women who "resist violence with courage and vision." This year, the focus is on "Katrina Warriors" ? the women of New Orleans ? "for their strength and resilience in the face of devastating loss."

To commemorate the event, Random House has released the 10th anniversary edition of "The Vagina Monologues" and the paperback edition of Ensler's most recent book, "Insecure At Last."

The first benefit performance of Ensler's award-winning play was at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Valentine's Day in 1998. She is embarking on a nationwide 20-city "V To The Tenth" speaking tour to coincide with the anniversary.

The play is a series of monologues, performed by at least three women, that deal with intimacy, vulnerability and sexual discovery. Beside Close, Fonda and Ensler herself, the roles have been played by Calista Flockhart, Kate Winslet, Susan Sarandon and Melanie Griffith, among others.

The New Orleans SUPERLOVE celebration, at the New Orleans Arena and Superdome, will feature performances of "The Vagina Monologues" and V-Day activists from around the world.

Salma Hayek, Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Alba, Jennifer Hudson, Julia Stiles, Sally Field are among celebrities scheduled to attend. Also slated to perform are musicians Common, Eve, and Charmaine Neville.

Over the past decade, the nonprofit group has raised more than $50 million (?34.19 million) and funded more than 5,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses around the world.