Las Vegas Sun

September 20, 2019

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Civillico rides into Rio with ‘Headliners Bash’; Bennett backs Bob Anderson; Cullotta a hit in DLV

Jeff Civillico

Christopher DeVargas

Jeff Civillico

‘Mondays Dark’ First Anniversary

Performers entertain at the first anniversary of Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is Mr. Lucky’s, a Hard Rock Hotel anchor restaurant since the place opened in 1995. Appropriately, “Time Stand Still” by Rush is in the hi-fi, the newly refurbished Center Bar is abuzz with barflies, and the Bengals and Texans are clashing overhead on ye olde flat screen.

Underdogs have been the order of the weekend in the NFL, and the visitors from Houston, getting 10 points, just went up 10-6.

In the offing is “Mondays Dark” founded and hosted by Mark Shunock of “Rock of Ages.” Neil Diamond is the subject of tonight’s show, the last of the year to be performed inside Vinyl. Dec. 14 is the second anniversary of “M.D.,” set for the Joint. Shunock’s monthly fundraiser regularly sells out about 400 tickets each night.

And with that plug-a-rama, we note another impressive bit of philanthropy …

• Jeff Civillico is hosting his Win-Win Entertainment’s “Headliners Bash” at 9 p.m. Friday at Rio’s Penn & Teller Theater. Tickets are $22.40 and $44.40 (not including fees) and available at Win-Win is Civillico’s charity that centers on pairing entertainers with specific causes. If you are an entertainer in Las Vegas — and if you are, it is likely that you and I text — and are looking to do some good, Win-Win is your first call out. And your second text.

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Tony Bennett, with daughter Antonia Bennett, at The Pearl in the Palms on July 24, 2011.

Up this year is the Lon Bronson All-Star Band, Linq headliner Mat Franco, Martin Kaye of “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s, comic Matt Kazam (late of the Riv, but no longer of the Riv), the cast of “The Rat Pack Is Back” at Tuscany Suites, Derrick Barry (Britney Spears) of “Frank Marino’s Divas Las Vegas,” Thunder From Down Under and the Australian Bee Gees of Excalibur,and Civillico himself. He holds the 5:30 p.m. slot at Flamingo’s Bugsy’s Cabaret.

Last year, Penn Jillette introduced Civillico as “one of the two most-famous jugglers in the world,” which I am paraphrasing. Wait, no, I just quoted directly. But the point was there are few jugglers who can make a solid living at the craft, and two of them are Civillico and Jillette.

They are so much more, of course, and Civillico never refers to himself as a professional juggler. He’s a multi-experience entertainer (my term) who also unicycles and tells jokes in a flawless manner. His is a great family show, especially. That and his effective charity work make this show one to hit. Great bargain, too, as is customary for charity shows in VegasVille.

• In an interview for another purpose, Tony Bennett made the following point about Bob Anderson’s “Frank: The Man, The Music” show closing Nov. 28 at Palazzo Theater, just ahead of the 100th birthday celebration of Frank Sinatra:

“I don’t know what happened exactly, but I don’t understand why you have one chance for a celebration honoring Frank Sinatra’s birthday and you don’t take it,” Bennett said during a phone conversation this morning. “They have to remake the room, but I would have liked them to leave it open past that (Dec. 12) date. Bob does such a great job with that show. I would like to have seen it close with that celebration.”

Bennett is heading the lineup of “Sinatra 100: An All-Star Grammy Concert.” The show airs Dec. 6 on CBS. It is to be recorded live at Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on Dec. 2. More names to be added, at least three, to that all-star cast.

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Frank Cullotta in a 1981 photo.

• Causing a rumble this afternoon at the Mob Museum gift shop downtown: Frank Cullotta. The one-time member of The Hole in the Wall Gang was awaiting a photo shoot and was left undisturbed until a single person approached and asked, “Aren’t you Frank Cullotta from The Hole in the Wall Gang?"

That led to a stream of folks requesting photos, and Cullotta even moved a few of his books on sale at the museum. Cullotta is the focus of my upcoming column in The Sunday, where the former hit man and muscle for the Chicago Outfit talks of leading bus tours of the sites made famous by the movie “Casino,” which he helped inspire with his interviews with author Nicholas Pileggi.

An admitted murderer who spent two years in the federal Witness Protection Program, Cullotta later posed for photographs upstairs. There, he went largely unnoticed by those observing artifacts and memorabilia under glass cases.

When I mentioned to Cullotta that I’d actually portrayed a hit man onstage recently with Nevada Ballet Theatre, Cullotta laughed and said, “It’s easy.” Then he paused and said, “All you need to learn is we have a certain way about us.”

Mmm, hmmm … This is where the word “former” is paramount.

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