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Melisa Uchida
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Friday - July 29, 2005
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Actress Shannon Elizabeth
joined celebrity poker fans who
came to the Island to play in
the Fisher House Foundation
benefit tournament

STARS saluted the troops last week with a celebrity poker tournament and concert. More than a dozen TV and movie stars lit up the Kahala Mandarin Oriental resort. The VIP list included comedians Colin Quinn, Wanda Sykes and Paul Rodriguez, newlywed reality TV stars Rob Marciano and Amber Brkich (Survivor and Amazing Race) and actors Joshua Malina (West Wing), Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie) and Jorge Garcia (Lost) … On Friday afternoon, the celebrities walked a “red carpet” (on the ground level of the hotel). After answering questions by hordes of media, they entered the casino. The set looked straight out of Las Vegas — hard to imagine the Mandarin looking like a Vegas casino, but it did. Professional poker players David Williams and Josh Arieh were also there to add pressure to the game. Each star played for his or her selected branch of the military. Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard reps played too. All money went to the Fisher House Foundation, which builds “comfort homes” on military bases. Family members of injured troops use these homes. (Valuable for servicemen and women stationed in Hawaii where hotel rooms run a couple hundred dollars a night) …


“Survivors” Rob and Amber both had parents in the military. Shannon Elizabeth’s dad was in the service too, but the American Pie hottie is also a “real” poker player and came to Hawaii with a mission. “Oh, I play to win,” she said. She even played in the World Series of Poker … Down to the final nine — Elizabeth, two other celebs, three Marines, one soldier and a couple of pros were left. Then it was down to two — actress Estella Warren (Planet of the Apes) and Shane Woods of the U.S. Army. The actress won the tournament just before midnight, and she was the most novice player of the bunch! She sweetly thanked her boyfriend (actor Peter Berg Collateral and Cop Land) for teaching her how to play. (He had folded hours before). She still looked fresh after eight hours of card playing, and the couple walked off hand-inhand to celebrate … Snoop Dog missed the poker game, but made it to the Shell to headline a concert for 9,000. Snoop Dog and Duane Dog (Chapman) on one stage — nuts! Before Snoop Dog’s hour and 15 minute set, “The Dog” rushed the stage with his gang to tackle and cuff a loose photographer who made it onto the stage. It was all just for show, but the Dog didn’t bring the key to his handcuffs. So unit publicist Mona Wood had to borrow keys from an HPD officer in the audience … The night just got crazier once Snoop Dog started to perform — fans rushed the stage, followed by a mosh pit … If you didn’t get to make it to the closed show, you’ll get a chance — Bodog is making a TV show of the poker tournament and concert and selling it to a network. Bodog’s CEO Calvin Ayre says all the money from the sale will go directly to The Fisher House Foundation. BODOG.net is a free online poker website which sponsors high-profile charity events …


Mr. USA hopeful Brant Arelliano
and training partner Robert
Dolormente at Gold’s Gym

SIDE NOTES — Paul Rodriguez (The Original Latin Kings of Comedy) was once a Honolulu resident. He performed with Booga Booga, Andy Bumatai, Frank DeLima and Rap Reiplinger. “Eh Russell, you get pen?” Remember those days? Rodriguez does. He still speaks a little pidgin … Jorge Garcia says Hawaii’s pretty much his home now. “I haven’t bought a place yet,” he says, “but I may.” He’s looking on the Windward side … Wanda Sykes (Monster-in-Law and HBO’s Curb your Enthusiasm) says coming to Hawaii to raise money for the Fisher Foundation was a no-brainer. You got the sunshine, free trip, a stay at the Kahala Mandarin! Come on! … And latenight talk show host Carson Daly’s a cool guy. He and his girlfriend spent their days swimming with the dolphins and soaking up the sun … LOCAL STAR student writer and director Jennifer Akana-Sturla (Kamea) had her film shown at Sunset on the Beach at the North Shore last weekend. The short indie film about a girl who meets Duke Kahanamoku’s spirit won this year’s HSFF Platinum Award … Award-winning designer Shari Saiki opened a furniture and accessory store called Mesh at the Dole Cannery. Her designs are inspired by international cultures, and customers can select materials and upholstery to create their own furnishings. Kahu Curt Kekuna performed the blessing. Saiki is married to business partner Bryan Kitashima … For more information on Mesh, call 593- 2564 or visit www.shari-saiki.comJEFF KLOETZEL is back from California, Idaho and Washington. He jammed at O’Toole’s after Jim Hubbard a few weeks ago and performed his solo acoustic songs at the Honolulu Zoo for the Hawaiian Paddleboard International Championship July 23 … Bartenders Patrick McGrail and Phil Cassalia are some of Hawaii’s best. Both worked during the Mini KISS show at Pipeline. Imagine four little people, dressed in black pleather, with white and black painted faces running on stage. I just about died when they started playing air guitars and air drums. Unfortunately, the lead singer didn’t fake it. He sang his little heart out, but … KHNL producer Kurt Weller and friend “Wease” (of the local band The Enhancements) had mixed reviews … BRANT ARELLIANO is in Las Vegas competing in the Mr. USA bodybuilding competition. Otherwise known as “Killah B.,” the soonto- be 40-year-old looks and feels about 27. He dyed his hair blond (like Brad Pitt) to “represent the Bee. Watch 4 da sting!” he says. Arelliano’s been competing for years and taken home titles from Hawaiian Classic, Designer Body Maui and the Hawaiian Islands. This is Brant’s third time competing in Mr. USA. He came in second last year, and took fourth the year before. “This is my year to bring it home,” he said. His good luck charm — his dad — will see him compete for the first time ever. Brant consumes 500 grams of protein a day! He still drinks diet soda “for the sodium,” but will cut all salt two days before weighin. He says the hardest part about competing is putting his family “on hold and dedicating his life to the gym,” although wife Michelle is dieting with him and already lost 10 pounds. He thanks training partner at Gold’s Gym Robert Dolormente (Servco Pacific). Not everyone knows — Brant is the nicest guy. He likes helping people. He takes people under his wing and trains them … for free! He’s been doing it for years, and says he won’t charge because he loves it. His motto: “Eat good, look good.” Lotsa luck in Vegas … COMING UP — Lewis Black hits Hawaii in September. You’ve seen him on HBO, Comedy Central and The Daily Show. Nothing is off limits for this comic. Tickets are on sale at Hawaii’s Natural High and all Ticketmaster outlets, all ages show, $45, $35 and $25 (service fees may apply). Comic John Bowman is scheduled open the show at The Blaisdell Concert Hall. For more information, log onto www.onstagehawaii.com

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