Melisa Uchida
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Friday - July 16, 2005

NBC Universal’s syndicated show Blind Date has scouts on the isle looking for outgoing men and women ages 21-35 to be the singles of season seven. Local photographer Christina Simpkins is one of the show’s scouts and says Hawaii has everything to make a perfect reality dating show: romance, adventure, beauty, tradition and culture. So, if you see a petite, hot blonde chasing you down the street — she probably wants your digits, but not for herself. She wants to set you up with an audition. Nine episodes will be taped in Hawaii July 28-Aug. 11. And this season has a new twist — “Mom gets to choose.” Moms, that means you can pick the girl for your son or the boy for your daughter. Scouting director Eileen Grubba (Any Day Now, ER) is checking out every place from Marcus’s ‘awa bar on Monsarrat Ave. (next to Bogart’s Cafe) to Kealoha’s slam poetry First Thursdays, searching for the right mix of singles. (FYI: Ernie and Johnny Cruz, Makana and Hapa play at the ‘awa bar and scouts say it’s likely to be a date destination.) You could be the next national Blind Date bachelor or bachelorette. The open call is on July 12 and 15, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 1441 Kapiolani Blvd. Suite 1205. No phone calls and don’t worry about a headshot — just bring yourself or a friend. Callbacks: July 22-24. This is when your personality needs to really shine. “It doesn’t matter what your opinion is, so long as you have one!” says Christina. …

Keisha Castle-Hughes is coming to Hawaii
to promote a PBS broadcast premiere and
launch a community outreach campaign

IN FILM — Whale Rider’s Keisha Castle-Hughes is headed to Hawaii mid-month to promote the film’s PBS premiere and to help launch a community outreach program. The project, between the Pacific Islanders in Communications and the Girl Scouts, is aimed at teaching indigenous people, especially girls and women, how to become leaders. Gail Hannemann (Mayor Mufi’s wife) is the CEO of the Girl Scout Council of Hawaii and says, “Girl Scouts is about encouraging a girl to live her life with courage, confidence and character.” Castle-Hughes’ character “Pai” certainly demonstrates that in Whale Rider. The now 15-year-old will attend a private reception and screening of the film at the Hawaii Theatre July 22. Whale Rider airs two days later (July 24) on PBS. The young actor was picked out of hundreds of children in her elementary school in New Zealand to play “Pai.” She had never acted before … More film stuff in Hawaii — To clarify …

Wallis Nicita (Six Days Seven Nights, The Butcher’s Wife, Mermaids), Jeff Timon, Laurie Foi and Angela Laprete are all producers of The TattooMidWeek-the Weekend’s “Cineman” gave Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds a “good” rating, but I have to disagree. This is worse than Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Poor acting, no character development and lots of unnecessary scenes. I left the theater asking myself “what was that and was it worth $9?” … ON TO MUSIC — Ray Cruz of Sabor Tropical, Rod “El Moreno de la Salsa” and DJ Alberto are helping make Rumours Night Club the place to salsa. Last week, it was “Salsa After Dark.” Latin Soul night is July 30 …

Raiatea Helm performed
at the Palace in Hilo

The heat is up in Hilo — not because of Deep Impact, but because of the petite Molokai girl with an angel’s voice— multi-Hoku Hanohano Award-winner Raiatea Helm captivated a crowd of more than 400 at the Hilo Palace Theatre. “Her voice was just pure and sweet — chickenskin kind,” said her dad Zack Helm, who’s a guest artist on her latest album Sweet & Lovely. Keali‘i Reichel, Aunty Genoa Keawe and John Ka‘imikaua are also on the album, which is produced by Dave Tucciarone. Fellow Hoku winner Britney Paiva was at the Hilo show, along with the Makaha Sons. Helm says they were all “awesome.” … Other local favorites Na Leo and Eddie Kamae are hitting the road to share Hawaiian music with the rest of the country,while Johnny Helm is back on the isle for a short visit. (Although he’s thinking about returning for good.) You can find him at Coffee Talk in Kaimuki for the next week or so … CONGRATS to Sumitra Balrah, who left the country for city life. The former PR representative of the Turtle Bay Resort recently joined McNeil Wilson downtown and will be working with Bernie Caalim and Franklin Clay handling PR for JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, Kauai Marriott Beach Resort & Beach Club and Courtyard at Waipouli Beach on Kauai … NOT SO sunny on Oahu shores where more than a hundred runners hit Ala Moana Beach Park for Jamba Juice’s 5K Banana Man Chase to benefit MDA. Runners were tenacious and woke up at an ungodly hour Saturday morning and even stuck out the rain. MidWeek’s Yu Shing Ting is all about helping others and rallied her friends to dress up as healthy fruit and hit the pavement. Raul “Boca” Torres de Sa (co-executive director of Adventure Corp. and owner of BOCA Hawaii) was also there with his crew. But they helped with a different kind of exercise — teambuilding for Jamba Juice employees after the race … NOT A BIG turnout at the Extreme Fights at the Blaisdell, but producer Chad Tsuneyoshi (owner of Platinum Activities) says it’s the first one and there will be others. He’s not disappointed, just a little tired. Chad’s heaviest hitter may have been the referee, Jon Schorle II. This guy was hand-picked by Clint Eastwood himself at the fights at Dodger Stadium. Jon was in the ring when Clint saw him, and that was it. He became the referee in Million Dollar Baby. He says Eastwood, Hillary Swank and Morgan Freeman are all cool, laid-back “real” people. But he’s not planning to give up the ring for acting … Two more extreme fights this month: SuperBrawl July 23 at the Blaisdell Arena with MMA champ Falaniko Vitale vs. “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler; the following week, K-1 World GP Hawaii 2005 (July 29) at Aloha Stadium with Team Yokozuna’s Akebono vs. Hong Man-Choi (Korea) and local fighter BJ Penn vs. Renzo Gracie (Brazil) … ALSO coming up — The International Jazz Festival, July 29-30 at the Hawaii Theatre. Guests include: Makoto Ozone, Don Grusin, Scott Martin, DeShannon Higa, Gabe Baltazar, Jeff Peterson, Owana Salazar, Keahi Conjugacion and more. Tickets $25, $40 and $50 at

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