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Jewish Journal

It’s Shuki’s World and We Just Live In It…

The local wunderkind entrepreneur will throw an Israeli Independence Day party at the Palladium.

by Michael Aushenker

April 27, 2000 | 8:00 pm

As he breezes into a Melrose trattoria, the international man of mystery known as Shuki could be mistaken for any other player in town -- cell phone in hand, expensive suit, hardball negotiator demeanor -- were it not for the long shock of Gene Simmons rock star hair tied back in a tail that betrays his youth.

Only 29, the Paris-raised Shuki Amar (who goes only by his first name) is the CEO of Shuki International, a multifaceted mini-empire that includes limousine services, private jets and luxury car rentals, tour buses, billboard space, and yes -- kid you not -- original hair care products. In other words, an amalgamation of all of Shuki's business pursuits since arriving in Los Angeles from Tel Aviv in 1986.

But on this particularly day, Shuki is not interested in talking about his past accomplishments. For he is already looking ahead to May 3, the evening that Shuki International will present the 52nd Anniversary Israel Independence Day Extravaganza, a celebration of Israeli life and culture taking place at the Hollywood Palladium on Wednesday.

Dedicated to the late Israeli pop star Ofra Haza, the musical tribute will feature dancing, music and a slew of Israeli recording artists: Eyal Golan, Sarit Haddad, and host Pini Cohen. Also slated to attend is Rep. Brad Sherman (who, presumably, will not sing).

"She represented Israel and supported us," Shuki tells The Journal of Haza, whose music he grew up listening to. The mono-monikered entrepreneur emphasizes in several different ways that "unity of Israelis, in America, in the world" is the true theme of his upcoming event.

Shuki promises an event that will make Jews feel connected: ""You will feel like you're in Jerusalem, like you're in a place where the spirit is clean."

But in the material sense, the Palladium party is the culmination of Shuki's latest interest in event planning -- for the last year, the enterprising young businessman has been dabbling in the dance club scene in the Miracle Mile district, under the banner of Bar Shuki. For Wednesday's event, the hyperbolic Israeli says that he has hired the best sound people and security personnel available, and that gift bags containing CDs, a cell phone, and a pager will be handed out to every one of the 5,000 attendees expected to show.

At the eatery, Shuki doesn't order lunch, and it quickly becomes apparent why -- within 10 minutes, he is juggling seven cell phone calls that would no doubt wreak havoc on a digestive system. But between heated telephone business conferences, he does manage to shed some insight, however redundant, on a day in the life of Shuki: "As soon as I wake up, the machine is rolling. Every day is a busy day."

The 52nd Anniversary Israel Independence Day Extravaganza will take place on Wed., May 3, at the Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood. Tickets may be purchased at the Palladium box office or by calling 877-GO-SHUKI. A sold-out VIP after-party will take place at Bar Shuki, Shalom Hunan Restaurant, 5651 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information on Shuki International, go to www.shukiinternational.com.

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