‘RAT PACK’ PACKS TO THE MAX: Passion for classic Vegas sells out community production ‘The Rat Pack Lounge’ before first ring-a-ding note is sung
Odds were pretty good that a musical about iconic Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. would do well in Las Vegas, where the late, legendary entertainers famously headlined.
THE HIRO OF THIS STORY: Mandalay Bay carpenter Hiro Kajiyama builds ‘special spaces’ for ailing children
About a year after her 7-year-old son was diagnosed with stage-four brain cancer, Amy Schildknecht’s family was introduced to a hero. Or, in this case, a Hiro.
“His name says it all,” Schildknecht says of Hiro Kajiyama, a Mandalay Bay carpenter who came into her life about four years ago. “Hiro truly is a hero.”
Kajiyama wanted to transform a room in Schildknecht’s home into a haven for her son, James. A place where the little boy could spend time away from the grownup challenges of his very serious illness. James would pick the room’s theme. It could be anything he wanted.
It’s easy, while enjoying The Venetian’s new art tour, to pretend you’ve been magically transported from a resort on the Las Vegas Strip to a famously canalled Italian city on the Adriatic Sea.
One minute, you’re standing on the (replicated) balcony of the Doge’s Palace, appreciating its distinctive Gothic architecture. The next, you’re gazing up at the (replicated) Campanile tower — where, in Venice, Galileo demonstrated his new telescope in 1609 — its majestic spire stretching into the clear winter sky.
Then there’s Marco.
Marco Ferrini, that is — your guide for this afternoon’s 90-minute tour. Originally from Italy, Marco has worked as a gondolier on The Venetian’s Grand Canal for 19 years. He comes armed with boundless enthusiasm, a boisterous laugh and a seemingly endless supply of fun facts.