10/11/2006

California Rat Pack Activities

Cross the border at the Cal-Neva Lodge where Frank used to hang out, win a big jackpot, bring the money back to California to spend it.

The Cal Neva survived many owners during the early years, but none were as famous or visible as Frank Sinatra who purchased the Cal Neva and was licensed on September 10, 1960. He did extensive remodeling, and the Celebrity Showroom was built on the Nevada side with a helicopter pad on top of it. The helicopter pad was used only while Sinatra owned the Cal Neva Lodge. The Cal Neva Lodge filled to capacity during the summer months when Frank Sinatra owned and operated it. He booked big name entertainers for the Indian Room and for the Celebrity Showroom. A controversy with the Nevada Gaming Control Board resulted in the revocation of Sinatra's license on October 22, 1963. On Labor Day, September 1963 Frank Sinatra closed the Cal Neva Lodge bringing and end to a reign that was as colorful as himself.
Frank Sinatra - Fly Me to the Moon Dean Martin - That's Amore Sammy Davis Jr. - The Candy Man Check out the comments for more California Rat Pack Activities Or Click to Add your own recommendation

Dean Martin Roasts

2 comments:

irishlass said...

Opening this weekend at the Marine's Memorial Theatre in San Francisco, it the Tribute to the Rat Pack. My sister Jeannie and pal Stacey and I saw it when it ran at the Post and it was fabulous. A nightclub show with funny jokes (from back when jokes were funny) great songs. I felt like we were seeing the real deal.

here's the review from Contra Costa Times

Posted on Thu, Jul. 14, 2005

THEATER REVIEW

A visit to this hep-cat past should pack 'em in

By Pat Craig

CONTRA COSTA TIMES

This, pally, is by far the most fun you'll ever have watching other people drink.

Sitting there, dry as a bone and parched from lips to toes, you watch the Rat Pack come back to earth and pay homage to a time when men were men, women were broads, booze and cigarettes were encouraged and politically correct meant delivering the vote for JFK, even if the Clyde pulled a switcharoo and stayed with Bing when he came out to California.

If the previous paragraph seems the least bit confusing, you must see "The Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean," which opened Tuesday at San Francisco's Post Street Theatre. Simply stated, it's the sort of schooling you need. If, on the other hand, you understood every word, go anyway -- put on your nostalgia wet suit and wallow in a time when members of the Rat Pack were the uncrowned princes of Camelot.

Honed in Vegas and fresh off a tour around the country, "The Tribute" is, simply, the Rat Pack show that gets it right -- going more for attitude than looking and sounding like the legendary superstars, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop (although they score high marks in those two areas as well).

The show is the creation of Sandy Hackett, with a little help from his late father, Buddy, who recorded the intro to the piece as the voice of God; and Bishop, a lifelong family friend. The conceit here is that the Rat Packers, now playing the heavenly big room, get sent back to earth to perform one last show and to give St. Peter a full night's sleep.

OK, as premises go, it's not exactly Ibsen. But the Rat Pack never claimed to be the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, either -- they were just some incredibly talented guys who wanted to have a little fun at the Sands Hotel Copa Room in Vegas.

And that's just what they do on the Post Street Theatre stage, as the four skilled performers and mimics, playing in front of one of the hottest Vegas-style stage bands going, breathe life into the series of early-'60s performances that have become legend.

Boy, do they deliver.

Andy DiMino, as Dino, is probably the most successful at sounding, looking and acting as the boozy crooner. From certain angles, he is a dead ringer for Dean, and he performs beautifully.

Hackett, who plays Bishop, has the Joey voice down completely. And, even though he only vaguely resembles Bishop, Hackett relies on his own flawless comic timing to create a hugely funny version of the only living Rat Pack regular.

Louie Velez occasionally looks like Davis, but more often sounds and acts like the tiny ball of energy. He scores particularly well on the Davis-style power ballads, and on a wonderful version of "Mr. Bojangles."

Tom Tiratto doesn't look a whole lot like Frank, but all that is easily forgiven when he begins singing. The guy essentially channels Ol' Blue Eyes as an amazing sound-alike.

What really works, though, is the ensemble -- the men create a playful sense of what those nights nearly 50 years ago must have been like. And, every so often, you buy into the idea to the point where you're almost convinced that you have somehow been transported back to those golden days.

Or, perhaps if you don't feel completely transported, you get a small taste of what it must have been like when those giants came in from the desert to rip up the Copa Room.

Pat Craig is the Times theater critic. Reach him at 925-945-4736 or pcraig@cctimes.com.

irishlass said...

The Smuin Ballet Sinatra tribute comes to Mountain View, Walnut Creek and Carmel!

Back by popular demand, Michael Smuin's celebrated Sinatra tribute, Fly Me To The Moon, will close out the company's 2005-06 season in our exciting spring line-up. Also featured on this program is the world premiere Symphony of Psalms, set to the Stravinsky score of the same name. This program also includes the return of The Blue Angel (suggested for mature audiences), an adaptation of the movie that launched Marlene Dietrich to stardom.