By Dave Donnelly

Wednesday, December 24, 1997

birthday Sing

HOIST a mai tai to Mai Tai. We're talking about Mai Tai Sing, longtime manager of Trappers when it was the No. 1 jazz club in Hawaii and now manager of Ciao Mein, both located in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. She celebrated another birthday on Monday and has to be one of the medical and cosmetic marvels on the face of the earth. With no apparent help from anyone but her Maker, Mai Tai looks every inch as lovely today as she did four decades ago when she owned San Francisco's old Rickshaw nightclub, where Jimmy Borges was performing in a Japanese revue, complete with kimono. While she sloughed off inquiries about which birthday she celebrated (with Shawna Sullivan, daughter of first Hyatt Regency topper Ed Sullivan) Monday, if I were her age, I'd be shouting it from the rooftops. Best guess, and I've been howled down by people for suggesting this, is that Mai Tai is in her 70s.

WHEN the man from the Ronald McDonald House pulled up to Murphy's Bar & Grill to pick up all the presents collected for kids there, his van was filled to the brim. Some 200 Christmas gifts were headed to the Manoa house, which this year has some residents from Guam who are unable to return to their homeland due to Typhoon Paka ...

CORRECTIONS made here: Since I've become something of a regular visitor to the new cigar bar at Nuuanu and Pauahi, it might be nice if for once I got the name right. It's "Havana Cabana" and not "Havana Cubana" as I've been calling it ... And yes, panda bears do eat bamboo, which I'd questioned, thinking their diet consisted solely of eucalyptus. It's the koala bear that eats eucalyptus, proving that I was wrong again when I thought I was bearly literate ...

'Woman' search on

MAYBE I'm just eternally cynical, but Warner Brothers' latest announcement that they're conducting a worldwide search for a new "Wonder Woman" smacks of Marketing 101. To begin with, anyone aspiring to become the character on TV must bring a photo with name, height, weight and "Acting Experience (if applicable)" to a Warner Brothers store. The store managers will then submit all the applications to the casting department in Burbank. If this strikes you as an obvious ploy to get people into Warner Brothers stores under the pretense of being a TV star, we're on the same wavelength. Series creator Deborah Joy LeVine does provide a lovely feminine view of Wonder Woman, saying she "exemplifies the young '90s female -- spirited, smart and peace loving, but she can also kick butt when she wants to." Guys can feel free to nominate their wives or girlfriends, if they like ...

Neff, already

YOU never know who's going to get published and become an author. The latest to show up at book signings is former isle wrestler Neff Maiava, who's written a children's book (Island Heritage) called "Da Grouchy Moocher Boogie Man." Neff has found it fun, meeting both those who have no idea of his background and old wrestling fans from way back in Civic Auditorium days. One signing the other night proved very special. Neff was at Native Books on Merchant Street when old-time ukulele whiz Eddie Bush stopped by to play some Christmas carols on his uke. Also stopping by was entertainer Patricia Lei Anderson and Neff's daughter, model-turned-photog Sri Maiava Rusden, who does all the fashion layouts for Honolulu magazine ...

HAVE a very Merry Christmas Day, and I'll return on Friday ...

Dave Donnelly has been writing on happenings
in Hawaii for the Star-Bulletin since 1968.
His columns run Monday through Friday.

Contact Dave by e-mail: donnelly@kestrok.com.

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