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Updated: 07/03/07
 

Poker, Bart Simpson, and Charity – A Night Out in Northridge

October 04, 2007
John Caldwell

Having been to a fair number of charity poker events over the last couple years, there was one on my calendar that for a myriad of reasons, I was really looking forward to going to. The 'Monte Carlo Night' being held at the home of Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson) was going to be different to me for a number of reasons.

First off, I have long believed The Simpsons to be the television show with the best writing in the history of TV. I could answer many (though not all) trivia questions about the minutiae of the show, and I have been to the Fox lot a couple times over the last 10 years to watch the actors voice the show. To play poker with those affiliated with a show that meant so much to me was going to be a lot of fun.

Secondly, I lived in Northridge for the better part of 10 years. My association with Northridge ended abruptly on January 17th, 1994, when the Northridge earthquake destroyed my home. I hadn't really been back to Northridge much since the earthquake, and it was nice to see many of the changes in the community.

Lastly, the charity being benefited was close to my heart. The charity was the Devonshire PALS (Police Activities League Supporters) Youth Center for at-risk children. One of my closest friends in high school's father was a Devonshire Division Detective, and he had a big influence on my life.

So, off we went to Northridge, and the home of Nancy Cartwright. The word 'compound' may have been a better description of Nancy's digs, as there were no fewer than three separate living structures on the property, which had a country ranch feel, complete with a horse brought in just for this event.

The scale of the event was surprising. The centerpiece of the event was a big stage, complete with lights, sound, and a 6 piece band playing for most of the evening. The stage was right in the middle of Nancy's backyard, and dozens of tables were set up around the dance floor, along with the auction and raffle prizes.

The evening kicked off with Nancy, and the 'emcee' for the evening, Tom Kenny – known to most people as the voice of cartoon character 'SpongeBob Square Pants'. Nancy and Tom kicked the evening off telling stories and jokes, sometimes in their normal voices, sometimes in their cartoon voices, and more often then not, shifting back and forth between their 'real' voice, and their more famous character voices.


Nancy (Bart) and Tom (SpongeBob) kick the evening off

In the back of the property, the 'poker room' was set up. There were 15 tables in all, and the demand was such that they had to take alternates for the $500 + rebuys event. The mix of players was what you might expect at an event like this. Poker pros, Hollywood heavyweights, and 'average joes' all sat down for an evening of poker. Some of the top names in the poker world were there, including Jennifer Harman and Marco Traniello, Men 'The Master' Nguyen, Sammy Farha, Kenna James, Jamie Gold, 2006 Ladies Champ Mary Jones, Barbara Enright, Marsha Waggoner, and Todd Brunson.

Or, was Todd there? Well, his stack was there, but due to a mix up in dates, Todd found out the event was happening only a couple hours before. Reportedly, Todd tried to hop a plane the moment he found out, but couldn't find a flight, so he made the four hour drive at the drop of a hat, arriving about an hour into play. Floorperson Justin Huxley had been given permission to rebuy to Todd's stack as he saw fit – all on Todd's dime – and 'the Hux' used that privilege early and often.

The poker staff from the Commerce Casino donated their time to deal and administrate the tournament, under the watchful eye of Commerce Tournament Director Cheri Dokken. The event was organized by Nancy's people with the poker tournament being produced by Annie Van Bebber of PokerCares.

Chips were flying, the term 'rebuy' was being heard a lot, and lots of money was being raised for a good cause. Meanwhile, over on the stage items were being auctioned off, and raffle tickets were being called out to lucky winners. Speaking of lucky, despite there being hundreds of people at this event, and thousands of raffle tickets sold, one guy at my table won three of the ten packages being raffled off. I learned the man in question produced infomercials for a living – let's hope his next 'magic blade', or 'Miracle Scalp' is as lucky as his raffle tickets were on this night.

The tables slowly combined, with the poker pros, and Hollywood figures like Brad Garrett and Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe from the Fox show '24') a distant memory. When we reached the final table, one familiar poker face was left standing. 2006 WSOP Champ Jamie Gold made the final table, finishing fifth. For his trouble, Jamie won a super satellite seat at the WSOP next year. Players chided Gold with comments like 'Good luck in the super, Jamie'.

The winner was not a pro poker player, but someone very familiar to Nancy Cartwright. Jack Thomas, who produces a Disney Channel show called 'The Replacements' that Nancy voices the lead character for, took down the tournament, and picked up some nice prizes.

Overall, a good time was had by all, and a lot of money was raised for a great cause.

 

Animation Icon Launches New “Toon” On Nascar Big Screens And For Webcast

LOS ANGELES, CA – August 7, 2007
On the heels of the $100 million opening week of “The Simpsons Movie,” Nancy Cartwright, the iconic voice of Bart Simpson, announced the inception of a new cartoon series slated to air on the “big screens” during NASCAR Nextel Cup Series events across the country.

The series, entitled Haley’s SportsScopes, is the latest venture for Cartwright’s SportsBlast franchise following production of the web series The Kellys and its FOX affiliate spin-off Brenda’s RaceScopes.

Haley Johnson, star of the animated series, made her NASCAR debut live on the Nextel Vision “big screens” at Daytona International Speedway before the Pepsi 400, and will appear again August 12th at Watkins Glen International Raceway in upstate New York.

The series will also air on International Speedway Corporation’s Internet site www.racingone.com and on www.SportsBlast.com.

The SportsScopes ™ franchise delivers topical branded entertainment to fans of various professional sports leagues, providing horoscopes to create a funny and provocative take on predictions of who will win or lose. “Sometimes she picks them and sometimes she doesn’t, but it’s all in good fun,” said series producer Peter Kjenaas.

The series features voice-acting superstar Kath Soucie (The Replacements, Pirates of the Caribbean: World’s End, Curious George, Futurama, Kim Possible) as Haley, and is executive produced by Nancy Cartwright. “We’ve streamlined our production line until we can deliver these fully animated shorts in just a couple days,” said Cartwright. “Look for lots more of Haley and friends appearing across the sports world and beyond.”

 

 

 

 

 

 
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PALS Winner Set to Take on Ten Thousand

She won her seat at the PALS charity poker event last September by winning another event hosted by Nancy’s non-profit company Happy House. Then, in September, she took out the field of poker aficionados once again to win a seat at the 2007 World Series of Poker Main Event.

In 2006, the field of pros, novices, first-timers, and celebrities was well over 8,000 strong. This year promises to surpass that number. So who is this two-time winner poised to try and take out a much larger field of competitors? Rachel Cleverley.

On July 8th, the final day of a three part opening round, Rachel will set her chips down and play with the big boys. Not that she is intimidated. Excitement seems to be the primary emotion with about a week left until she plays. What could be more exciting than proving yourself on the biggest stage in the world?

GOOD LUCK RACHEL. We’ll all be cheering for you!

 

To Infineon and Beyond

Infineon Raceway President Steve Page hosted Nancy for a weekend of race-fan fun at the Save Mart 350 that runs annually at the premiere NASCAR road course in Sonoma, CA.

Friday the 22nd of June, Nancy flew up with Cartwright Entertainment President, Peter Kjenaas, and stock car driver and trainer Kenton Grey to attend the fifth annual Grand Marshall’s Banquet for charity.

500 of the wine country’s finest circled tables in the delightful environs of Cline Cellars ready for some entertainment and having no idea that “Bart” was in the house. Following Steve Page’s initial acknowledgements to the winery, the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities and SMI track executives Bruton Smith and Humpy Wheeler, among others, the show got under way.

Tommy Smothers, a long time resident of Sonoma, joined Steve on stage and after a moment of banter, Nancy switched on the mike from the back of the house and crashed the party as Bart. Once everyone knew it wasn’t a real party crasher, Nancy joined them on stage and was Tommy’s “straight man” for his legendary Yoyo Tricks Demonstration. It brought down the house.

This was followed by hilarious banter with Michael Waltrip and Kyle Petty only to be followed up by none other than the most prolific NFL receiver of all time, Grand Marshall, Jerry Rice!

The remainder of the weekend Nancy and her production team went from skybox, to hospitality tent, to the garages and then off to evening parties in the RVs where they shared king crab, wine and lively conversation with a host of new friends including master chef Guy Fieri and Pixar’s John Lasseter.

It was non-stop fun and the race was a nail biter with Juan Pablo Montoya crossing the finish line on fumes.

A big thank you to Steve Page and his extraordinary staff for a weekend that Nancy will not soon forget. “I’m just going to leave my bags packed for next year,” said Nancy.

 

Happy House Joins SFV Salute to Parks and Recreation

Over the weekend of June 2nd and 3rd Nancy, Rose Goss and the Happy House team handed out free The Way to Happiness® booklets from their booth at the 25th annual San Fernando Valley Salute to Recreation.

Nancy was asked by event coordinator Dick Ashault to be the Mistress of Ceremonies for this “fun for the whole family” event and was honored to hand out citizenship awards to many worthy local recipients. The event featured top-notch live music, rides for all ages, terrific food and many booths catering to all interests with games, arts, crafts and information on non-profit organizations.

The Happy House team conducted surveys on its StreetWise Challenge, a new initiative that is dedicated to providing positive, alternative messages for teens who are “on the fence” when it comes to gangs. You can find out more about this at www.streetwisevideo.org.

Happy House also conducted the lively raffle of two “Bart Baskets” that drew over 200 entrants. The lucky winners were Alexis Ruiz and Gavin Poncher who received personal calls with the good news from Nancy and, by “Springfield express,” the baskets themselves.

Congratulations to the winners and to all who attended this exciting event!

 

 

 
     
     

 

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