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A month to toast Martin, Rat Pack memories

By Norm Clarke  (VSiN Columnist) 

June 7, 2017 01:41 AM

June tributes to Rat Pack legend Dean Martin begin Wednesday, with tears and toasts given on what would have been his 100th birthday.


Lorraine and Dennis Bono are hosting “What a Swell Party This Is” at the Bootlegger Bistro in a salute to “The King of Cool” and longtime Las Vegas headliner.


The party title comes from the 1956 film “High Society,” starring iconic crooners Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, and film royalty Grace Kelly.


Borrowing a line from Sinatra and Crosby, it should be a “swellegant, elegant party.”


The Bonos are bringing in Dave Damiani and the No Vacancy quartet to supply the Rat Pack vibe. Damiani, a New Jersey native, has been a Sinatra devotee since seeing Ol’ Blue Eyes Sinatra at The Sands with his father in 1995.


“He’s a young guy who does old music with a new touch,” said Lorraine Bono, who will be performing, along with her husband and others.


“It’s going to be a fun night to celebrate Dino,” she said. "He did a lot for this town and we want to celebrate his legacy.”


The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority had planned a birthday celebration Wednesday with Martin’s daughter, Deana, but “there were challenges,” said Christa Darnold, the LVCVA’s senior director of industry relations.


The festivities have been moved to June 23-24, when Deana Martin honors her father with shows at the South Point.


She had planned to be in Las Vegas for the celebration but has a performance scheduled in Branson, Mo., on Wednesday.


Lorraine Bono remembers seeing Martin with his kids “all the time, which might come as a surprise to some that he was such a family man. He played golf a lot and I heard he was quite the hustler on the golf course. He was quite a goodwill ambassador. People still love the Rat Pack and they yearn for it.” (

Andy DiMino, a Dean Martin impersonator for the past 15 years, broke an attendance record on Tuesday, when 600 seniors showed up at show at Pala casino near San Diego.


“I did a show in Laughlin and a man in his 60s came up after the show, weeping. He said, ‘Thank you. You took me back to my childhold sitting on the floor, watching the Dean Martin Variety Show with my father.’ He wept on my shoulder.”


In 2009, DiMino headlined at an Italian American event at Lake Las Vegas. Before the show he was told Deana Martin was in the audience.


“As I walked around the room I went up to her table and in character said, ‘You look familiar.’ Martin responded, ‘You’re taller than I remember.’”


Later, she got up and sang “That’s Amore” with DiMino and the guest of honor, a Martin fan.


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On this date

June 7, 2011: Carolyn Goodman, wife of outgoing Mayor Oscar Goodman, is elected to succeed him. She is the city’s second female mayor and reportedly the first woman elected to replace her husband to lead an American city.


The punch line

“In protest of President Trump abandoning the Paris climate accord, the CEO of Disney has resigned from Trump’s business advisory council. It’s not a good sign when a company led by a giant talking mouse is telling the president to be more realistic.” – Conan O’Brien.

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