A Roxbury star is headed to Shanghai

As luck would have it, I was coming back from Heathrow Airport to LAX on Tuesday, waiting in a customs line that was gloomier than the DMV in winter, when I realized the kind gent chatting next to me was Elie Samaha. The successful film producer was a key owner of the Roxbury on the Strip when it was hotter than Brandon, Dylan, Donna and Brenda (i.e., Shannen Doherty, who was often caught there in uncompromising poses). Samaha, who partners with Chris Breed in such projects as White Lotus and Cabana Club, says he's getting ready to open a nightclub in Shanghai. Samaha, who got his start in the club biz as a bouncer at Studio 54 and says he's still good pals with his ex, Tia Carrera, says his other Roxbury partner Brad Johnson is now managing the chic hotspot Windows at the top of the SBC Tower.

Big names play intimate venues

Australian rockers Jet, playing a rare club gig Sunday night, treated a full house at Spaceland to a long set packed with cameos from heavyweight pals, including radio personality and ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones, Black Crowes crooner Chris Robinson and guitarist Slash -- all of whom joined the quartet for the set-ending "Ooh La La." Matt Sorum, Eva Mendes and members of Hot Hot Heat were among the faithful.... Jane's Addiction fans got to relive their youth as singer Perry Farrell took over the Key Club's Plush Lounge last Monday for an unannounced acoustic set with Satellite Party, a new project of his composed of Nuno Bettencourt and Tony Kanal....Word on the street is actor-vist Sean Penn's favorite new hang is the Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel, formerly the Argyle.... Spotted Judith Regan getting her hair done at the Sunset Tower's hot salon, the Argyle, where colorist Steven Tapp (Madonna's color artist) works.... Promoter Brent Bolthouse is scheduled to celebrate his 37th birthday in conjunction with Smashbox's Christmas party at Area tonight (formerly the Gate on La Cienega). The event benefits L.A.'s Covenant House.

Star watching, benefit-going

Casey's Bar & Grill downtown just got some serious flavor. Executive chef Jesse Baran (Citizen Smith) took over and switched things up to spotlight "East Coast pub food" with a bit of the Pond. Think gigantic burgers and bangers and mash. The Brit-born chef says he dares anyone to make a better fish and chips. Among his devotees are Bruce Willis, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.... And it would be Scrooge-like to ignore the slew of rock 'n' roll benefits. Among them: Tonight's SideOneDummy Records-spearheaded holiday bash at the Key Club includes a huge cast featuring the Bronx and Riverboat Gamblers, along with punk-rock karaoke with an all-star punk lineup.... On Friday, it's promoter Dayle Gloria's the Rox for Tots event at the Roxy, with Godhead, the Dreaming, Golden State, D'Amato and others. Lucky guests will score iPods, tickets, autographed guitars and the like.... And Tuesday there are two events: Amy Raasch, Amy Kuney, Tom Freund and Kat Parsons are among 25-plus singer-songwriters playing an original holiday song each at the Fold's bash (benefiting a scholarship fund for children with cystic fibrosis) at El Cid; and the Knitting Factory has a Toys for Tots benefit with rapper Too Short.

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