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Melisa Uchida
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Friday - September 23, 2005
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RAIN AND BIG surf didn’t keep people away from Waikiki last week - thousands filled the beach on both sides of the giant screen for the season premiere of Lost. Most of the cast attended the red carpet event. Four could-n’t make it because they were still shooting. Matthew Fox, “Jack,” was there to meet thousands of fans. The actor who first became famous as the big brother on Party of Five picked up his family and moved to Hawaii from Southern California. The star says he simply loves the islands and says he believes the success of the show is due in part to the international cast. Michelle Rodriguez is settled in her new home on the North Shore, and Dominic Monaghan, who plays “Charlie,” says the aloha spirit is pervasive among the cast and crew. Naveen Andrews (The English Patient) says the monster on the island keeps the cast on their toes. Anyone could get killed off at any time. Daniel Dae Kim also attended. “He’s really sexy,” says fan Kate Metger, a self-proclaimed Lostaddict. “I’ve been waiting all summer to see what was in the hatch! This first episode was awesome - and we watched it listening to the waves.” She and her friends were soaked by the rain, but still had a blast. Kim started in film as a kung fu fighter, but finally broke free of ethnic type-casting and hit a gold mine with his role on Lost.

Daniel Dae Kim
Daniel Dae Kim

Season 1 on DVD hit the stores early this month. It’s discounted on Amazon.com and it’s in Cinemascope ... LONGHI’S is celebrating its two-year anniversary at Ala Moana. I have to say, the restaurant has excellent customer service. Probably the best I’ve experienced on the island. And the lamb chops - divine. Bob Longhi‘s philosophy: He wants his customers to leave happy - bottom line. And they do. The staff members are fun and hip, beautiful, but not pretentious and seem to be carefully hired based on their genuine desire to serve. Also, there aren’t any hard angles in the restaurant - every entryway or doorway is arched. “It’s a feng shui thing,” says manager Mary Ann Bowman. It keeps positive energy flowing through the restaurant. Plus, it makes the acoustics great for live music, she added. Mary Ann came to Hawaii on vacation - seven years ago. “I fell in love with island life,” she said. She’s been managing the Maui restaurant, but Bob Longhi asked her to help open up the Ala Moana restaurant. Now, Charlie Longhi (Bob’s son) is her boss. And the staff loves him! Charlie graduated top of his class from Berklee College of Music in Boston. It’s a treat when he plays for his guests. Longhi’s is new to Oahu, but has been on Maui for 28 years. Bob (the dad) graduated from Cornell University and was a top insurance salesman in New York. He brought his staff to Hawaii on an incentives trip nearly 30 years ago and stayed. The food’s not cheap, but all items are Bob Longhi’s creations. He is the executive chef and wants his customers to be able to return anytime and get the exact same meal. There’s no messing with the menu, but they will make items to order - how you like it. They have no problem adjusting a dish for someone’s specific dietary needs. I have a lot of food allergies, so for me - Longhi’s is ideal! It’s fine dining in a fun, outdoorish, casual environment. Employees are young and happy to be there.

Mary Ann Bowman, Longhi’s manage
Mary Ann Bowman, Longhi’s manage

Our hostesses wore chandelier earrings and miniskirts with thick metallic belts - very trendy and cute! Our busboy had big pierced ears - you know, the kind with small, round corks inside ... this place has a lot of flava - not only in the food, but also in the staffs’ personalities. This could well be my new favorite spot ... PEOPLE ARE giving in all kinds of ways. More than 100 people attended Don Murphy‘s fundraiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Police blocked off the roads for a mini block party. Two streets down, more road blocks for the Downtown Mele (formerly Aloha Festivals’Downtown Ho`olaulea.) Hawaiian Ryan was spotted wandering Nuuanu Avenue with friend Ali Crud. Bands played and Krater auctioned off DVD sets (like Desperate Housewives Season 1) for money for Katrina. Bebe the Tarot Card Reader did readings in the middle of Merchant Street for donations, and a couple of clowns did their part to raise money and smiles for the cause ... Dixie Grill raised thousands selling Southern-style barbecue half-chicken plate lunches for $8/plate. Owner Ed Wary says the restaurant is committed to helping those hit by the hurricane ... The “Kokua for Katrina” benefit concert and telethon Sunday raised thousands of dollars for the thousands of people still homeless after the storm. Hawaii’s celebrities hit the phones taking donations from people across the state. KHNL’s Howard Dashefsky and Marvin Buenconsejo, Tati Girl (Island 98.5), Tannya Joaquin (KHON) and the Baraquio sisters (OC16) were just a few of the celebs manning the phones. Makana, Cecilio & Kapono, Kalapana and Willie K were among the long list of performers at the concert at Aloha Tower. All stations simulcast the concert/telethon ... IN THE the aftermath of Katrina, other charities are working extra hard to gain support for programs here in Hawaii. The Waikiki Health Center’s “Back-to-School Campaign” provides immunizations and physicals for keiki who don’t have insurance. Safeway Foundation donated $10,000 to the program. Hawaii Medical Service Association and AlohaCare also donated $1,000 each. It’s not too late to help. If you’d like to make a donation, call Mary Spadaro at the Waikiki Health Center at 791-9330 ... THE GIFT Foundation’s Boogie Nights is coming up Oct. 28. Each year the foundation selects a beneficiary of its annual fundraiser. This year Ohia Productions, Lisa Matsumoto‘s non-profit committed to educating youth through performing arts, will receive all proceeds. This is always the most-talked-about event of the year for 30- to 40-somethings. Wild costumes, lavish décor, dancing, live auctions and prizes not to mention drinks and pupu! It’s an annual sell-out.

Mike Dunbar, Kenwei Chong, Dawn Dunbar, Michelle Ho and Dr. Gary Kondo celebrating Michelle’s birthday
Mike Dunbar, Kenwei Chong, Dawn Dunbar, Michelle
Ho and Dr. Gary Kondo celebrating Michelle’s birthday

Last year they raised more than $60,000 for Ma`o Farms and Positive Coaching Alliance Hawaii. The foundation’s motto, “It’s not your parents’ fundraiser.” Board members include Dawn Dunbar and Michelle Ho (who recently celebrated a b-day with friends at her Hawaii Loa Ridge home with husband Peter Ho). Limited tickets $100/person. For more information, go to www.thegiftfoundationofhawaii.org ... COMING UP - The Men of Playgirl aka The Men of Las Vegas will be performing at Wave Waikiki. They promise to tantalize, tease and even whip the female audience into a frenzy. Tickets $15 in advance. Call 941-0424 ext. 12 ... THE EAGLES land in Honolulu Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 2 at the Blaisdell ...

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