Weekend Preview: Miami Heat's Mario Chalmers to host Fort Lauderdale fundraiser Saturday

Whether in a cartoony red-and-blue Super Mario costume bouncing around the Miami Heat’s “Harlem Shake”  video or in his work clothes stepping in for a cramping LeBron James as a savior in Game 4 of last year’s NBA Finals,  the contributions of Mario Chalmers are too often overlooked.

But he seems OK with life as the Heatles’ Ringo Starr.

“I don’t hear any of that. All I can do is work hard, play my game,” Chalmers, 26, says from his condo across from Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena.

Chalmers, who labels himself as “hungry, humble and grateful” on his Twitter page (@mchalmers15), is still a god in Lawrence, Kan., where his University of Kansas jersey was retired in ceremonies last month. His celebrity there is due in large part to The Shot, Chalmers'  buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force overtime in the 2008 national title game (which the Jayhawks then won).

Certainly the play is bigger than any by his more celebrated teammates? “You’d have to ask them about that,” he replies, matter-of-factly. But he bragged a little about the jersey ceremony, right? “It was a big honor… But, no, we didn’t go into that.”

OK, “humble and grateful.” Got it.

On Saturday, Chalmers will host the Think Pink Basketball fundraiser to benefit the Dorothy Mangurian Comprehensive Women’s Center (at Holy Cross Hospital) and his own Mario Chalmers Foundation from 7 to 9 p.m. at Specialty Automotive Treatment (700 W. Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale).

The evening includes music, drinks and hors d’oeuvres (courtesy of Grille 401) and a live auction of items including a Hublot watch, a New York Yankees Opening Day travel package and a VIP experience at a Heat game hosted by Chalmers. Tickets: $100. Info: Patricia Kneski at 954-765-1329 or email patricia@kiphuntermarketing.com.

Chalmers says his foundation has a duel focus: breast cancer research and youth education.

“A very close friend of mine’s mother died from breast cancer in 2006, so I decided to find out more about it,” Chalmers says. “I wanted to do what I could to fund research.”

Chalmers has two children, a son and a daughter, who live in Lawrence. He runs basketball camps there and in his native Alaska, and has plans to start one in Miami.

“It’s important to work with youth, to keep kids out of the streets. They are our future,” he says.

RODMAN RETURNS
There is no truth to the rumor that the buffet will include Korean barbecue at the Ocean Manor Resort on Sunday when NBA Hall of Famer and globe-trotting ambassador Dennis Rodman hosts the fourth annual celebrity volleyball fundraiser for Kids in Distress. Rodman is scheduled to be joined by MMA champion Rashad Evans and former NFL stars Marvin Jones and Lorenzo White for the matches, which begin at 1 p.m. on the sand at the resort’s Bamboo Beach Club & Tiki Bar. Competitors will include female staffers from Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza, the Blue Martini, the Village Grill and Pump, Hot Leggz, Off the Hookah,Tokyo Blue Restaurant.  DJ Mike Marino will spin. There will be a pig roast buffet, served alongside the standard menu, beginning at noon, with an after-party scheduled in the Tokyo Blue Restaurant & Ultra Lounge. Admission is free. The Ocean Manor Resort is at 4040 Galt Ocean Dr., Fort Lauderdale. Info: BambooBeachTikiBar.com, 954- 566-7500.

BONES TO PICK
As you know from your Sunday-morning studies, God was of the opinion that man was less in need of a rib than a good woman. Which, no matter how tasty the meat is at the WIRK Rib Round Up, we have to agree with. Notwithstanding all the fine guitar-picking dudes coming to the stage on Saturday at the Cruzan (Rodney Atkins, Josh Turner, Florida-Georgia Line, Kip Moore, Chris Cagle and Justin Moore, to name a few), you'll defnitely want to put your ribs down for Lauren Alaina, the “American Idol” runner-up recently named best new artist  at the American Country Awards.  Because, ribs you’ve got. Aliana, playing songs off her debut album “Wildflower,” is supposed to go on at around 2 p.m. on the main stage. Cost: $25-$30. Info: WIRK.com.

TORTUGA NEWS
The lovely and talented Grace Potter has been added to the lineup at the Kenny Chesney-headlined Tortuga Music Festival on Fort Lauderdale beach April 13-14, joining a list already overflowing with big names. They include: Eric Church, the Avett Brothers, Jake Owen, Gary Clark Jr., Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite, Gary Allan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Eli Young Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Kip Moore, Gloriana, G. Love & Special Sauce, Donavon Frankenreiter, Mac McAnally, The Wailers, Sister Hazel, Dangermuffin, Rayland Baxter and the Bright Light Social Hour. Tickets are on sale at TortugaMusicFestival.com.

GIRLS VS. BOYS
The curatorial vision of Amanda Magnetta-Ottati, owner of Bear and Bird Boutique and Gallery, has always been equal parts whimsy and provocation. The new exhibit in her Lauderhill art space is no different: “Girls vs. Boys” is an “art face-off” between four local artists from each gender: Sashiko "wishcandy" Yuen, Mab Graves, Danielle Estefan and Erika Taguchi-Newton vs. Ryan Hungerford,  Tripper Dungan,  Greg Kletsel and Aurian Redson. The show opens Friday with a 7-10 p.m. reception complete with  craft beers, gourmet veggie hotdogs, free cupcake samples and girls vs. boys arm wrestling, with prizes at stake. Bear and Bird is above Tate’s Comics at 4566 N. University Drive. Info: 954-748-0181, BearandBird.com.

CALIENDO’S BUSH
In his spot-on imitation of former President George W. Bush, impressionist Frank Caliendo is at his best when he’s not making a sound.  It’s those pauses (Did he forget how to conjugate the verb? Did he forget to return Putin’s call? Did he ever rationalize the ending of “The Pet Goat”?)  that nail it. Caliendo has two shows each on Friday and Saturday at the Fort Lauderdale Improv at the Hard Rock.   Tickets: $30-$35. Info:  FTL.Improv.com.

MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT
The Knockouts burlesque troupe, which teased the crowd at the recent BaconFest Florida  festivities at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek will begin performing with a series of special guests, opening Friday with international recording artist Kristine W on Friday at 9 p.m.  Other performers will include Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees) on March 15, Jessica Sutta (The Pussycat Dolls) on March 22 and Aubrey O’Day (Danity Kane) on March 29. Kristine W has been a fixture on the Billboard dance/club play chart since her debut hit, "Feel What You Want," in 1994. Her 2013 album, “New & Number Ones,” includes the single, “Everything That I Got.” Tickets: $25. Info: SeminoleCasinoCoconutCreek.com, 954-977-6700.

HAPPY HOUR OF THE WEEK
The toga party, which dates back to the ancient Greeks of  “Animal House,” will be the theme for Friday’s happy hour at America’s Backyard (100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale). If you RSVP, you’ll be in line for free buffet, two-for-one drinks (5 to 9 p.m.)  and open call bar for women (9 p.m.-midnight). Dress the part and you may win open bar and a catered party the next time you’re there. RSVP: MyAmericasBackyard.com.

SHORT GAME, LONG GAME
Putting is hard. Just ask famous Irish golfer Rory McIlroy about his experience on the greens at Doral in Miami this week. So bring you’re a game to Putt Fore the Arts, the putt-putt golf event on Sunday in support of the Arts Garage in Delray Beach. This family-friendly fundraiser combines golf, music, food, refreshments, raffles and prizes from 4 to 7 p.m. at Putt’n Around Mini Golf (350 NE 5th Ave. at Federal Highway in Delray Beach), and benefits the Arts Garage Performing Arts Academy scholarship fund. Cost is $35 for 18 holes, $125 for a foursome. Info: ArtsGarage.org.

If you have a long game, you can support another South Florida Cultural institution on the links at the 5th annual Golf for Art fundraiser for the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood. The April 6 benefit begins at 8 a.m. on the championship, par-70, Donald Ross-designed course at the Hollywood Beach Golf Resort. The five par-3 holes have some sweet  hole-in-one prizes, including a set of Cleveland CG16 Black Pearl Irons,  a two-year lease on a Mercedes Benz  and a $20,000 cash pay-out. Remember that at registration, which includes complimentary Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers with your Continental breakfast (and  beware the two beverage carts on the course).  Registration begins at $100. Info: ArtandCultureCenter.org

SOUTH FLORIDA JAZZ
As we may have mentioned the jazz band at Dillard Center for the Arts in Fort Lauderdale has been tapped to perform at the prestigious Essentially Ellington competition at Lincoln Center in May, where they hope to win a third consecutive championship in the so-called “Super Bowl of high school jazz competitions.” There will be about $25,000 in travel expenses, and the fundraising campaign kicks off with the Denim and Diamonds Gala, 7-11:30 p.m. Friday at the Westin Hotel Cypress Creek (400 Corporate Drive, Fort Lauderdale). Tickets to the evening of dinner and dancing to the DCA band cost $65, $120 per couple. To buy tickets or get more information on donating to the cause, email info@DCAJazz.com, call  954-214-0320 or go to DCAJazz.com.

FREE MOVIES
The Kevin James romp “Zookeeper” is one of those films that works  enough levels that you and your pint-sized associate will be entertained. The scene with James and Bernie the gorilla rolling through Boston to the Flo Rida and T-Pain anthem “Low” is hard to resist. “Zookeeper” is the free Screen on the Green feature on the Great Lawn at the West Palm Beach Waterfront beginning at 8 p.m. Info: 561-822-1515, WPB.org. At the ArtsPark on Young Circle in downtown Hollywood, the free 8 p.m. movie is the riveting and (sort of) educational Tom Hanks-Gary Sinese-Kevin Bacon real-life adventure “Apollo 13.” Info: VisitHollywoodFL.org, 954-921-3500. 

HED MUSIC
If there is a soundtrack for the independent spirit inside the mohawked head of Miami Heat lane master Chris “Birdman” Anderson, we like to think that Hed P.E. is on it. The gansta-punk stylings of the SoCal quintet will reverberate Sunday inside Fort Lauderdale’s Culture Room (3045 N. Federal Highway), with doors opening at 7 p.m. Tickets: $15. Info: 954-564-1074, CultureRoom.net.

Photo: Robert Duyos, Sun Sentinel

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