Celebrities

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Backyard BBQ with Jon Stewart

By Théoden Janes
tjanes@charlotteobserver.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. There were celebrities all over uptown on Monday. R&B singer John Legend at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Jeff “The Dude” Bridges at the Ritz-Carlton. “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier at the Westin.

But we’re pretty sure only one was hanging out at a backyard cookout in Myers Park.

Observer reporter Pam Kelley got a chance to hang with “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart Monday afternoon at the home of Shannon Lalor and Sami Aasar; co-hosted by Charlotte author Paula Broadwell, the party was a fundraiser for wounded warriors.

About 200 attended. Broadwell, author of “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” met Stewart in January during a “Daily Show” appearance to promote her book.

That day, she and Stewart engaged in a push-up competition. Broadwell, a West Point graduate, bested Stewart easily. Recalling the contest Monday, Stewart said: “I’m never doing that again in my life.”

Stewart is in town to film “The Daily Show” at ImaginOn. Pam Kelley contributed to this report

No George, but there’s Ty

Still no sign of George Clooney. In fact, I was oh-fer on celebrity sightings for the DNC – until I walked up to Craftsman’s “House United” project in Legacy Village on College Street in uptown.

“Are you saying I’m your first celebrity? Awesome,” said Ty Pennington, who hosted nine seasons of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and whose catchphrase was “Move that bus!”

“You missed it. I had a bigger posse earlier,” he quipped. “I roll deep, man.”

Pennington was leading a team of volunteer DNC delegates in a community service project that saw half a house built. The other half was constructed in Tampa during the RNC. The finished home will be donated to a veteran in the Charlotte area in October.

The Atlanta native fueled up for his hot day in the sun the previous evening at the “phenomenal” BLT Steak at the Ritz-Carlton, where he dined on a meal that included collard greens.

“I love the South (and) hearing southern accents,” he said. And “the kudzu. I just always feel like I’m home when it’s nearby.”

Arianna’s advice: Get 40 winks

Arianna Huffington wants to pamper you.

The Huffington Post editor in chief won’t do it personally. But the staff at her “Oasis” – which took over Flex and Fit Gym on Stonewall Street in uptown – will do it, for any DNC delegate, credentialed journalist, or blogger.

Massages. Yoga. Mini-facials. Meditation. Free gourmet food. 7 a.m.-midnight daily, through Thursday. (Huffington offered the same amenities at the RNC in Tampa.)

“The less stress people have in their lives, the more able they are to connect with others, and to really be more effective at making a difference,” she told me Monday.

During our chat, a man came by and spent a minute rubbing Huffington’s shoulders. “If you get Scott to give you a massage, you’ll be a lucky guy.”

Moments later, she summoned another man: “Horatio, will you bring my vitamins?”

He fetched them. I asked what she was taking. “Everything. A, B, C, Chinese herbs, fish oil. Do you take vitamins?”

I fumbled through an answer, since I don’t, then asked her for her best health tip.

“Get enough sleep,” Huffington said, with no hesitation. “When I (do) … I can go through my life recharged, rather than walking around like a zombie. You see people around the convention especially, who kind of burn the candle at both ends.”

Follow Théoden Janes on Twitter for updates about celebrities in town for the DNC: @theodenjanes; https://twitter.com/theodenjanes. If you see a celebrity, email tjanes@charlotteobserver.com.
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