By Patte Purcell
Anybody who thinks about the desert, almost invariably thinks about the iconic legends of Palm Springs nightlife, the Rat Pack. Many of the entertainers here add the standards to their shows reminding people of the history of this entertainment center.
There is an entertainer, now based out of Palm Springs area that puts on an extremely realistic performance as the legendary Dean Martin. His name is Paul Elia.
I first saw Paul’s show last year and he did a fun, fast paced Dean Martin segment complete with a little dancing, some jokes, the hat and a drink and cigarette in his hand. He interacts with the audience and brings a lot of laughter to the show. I was impressed.
I spoke with Paul last week by phone as he was making yet another pot of coffee for his day. He calls himself ‘a coffee achiever’. We talked about how he got here. He spanned a 40 year career where he started playing drums at age 16 in bars. After he moved to Tucson, Arizona he was part of a swing renaissance movement in a band called, Kings of Pleasure. That’s where he moved from behind the drums on vocals to the lead singer because the crowd liked his vocals.
Paul has a smokey voice reminiscent of Sinatra or Dean Martin so he formed his own band with some great Sinatra arrangements. He tried out for the David Cassidy ‘Rat Pack Show’ where he performed as both Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra as second string for shows in Las Vegas and Connecticut.
He moved to the desert 9 years ago and was performing regularly at Club Trinidad (now Purple Room), Chicago Freddys, and the Indian Wells Resort Hotel, until the recession hit. He then started doing private parties. He also did some acting including 2 movies and some commercials.
Most recently he did a production show at C&C Studios in Santa Monica as Dean Martin called “A Night at the Sands.”
He’s teamed up with Jim Brewster who performs as Frank Sinatra to his Dean Martin. He says ‘its’ a tight 1:15 minute show’ that they’ve been performing at venues including the Morongo Casino. He appears at Pete’s Hideaway on Mondays.
onday March 21 from 5-8, he will one of the featured performers at the Celebrity Jazz Jam “Standards Night” at the Desert Willow Golf Resort, along with 15 other national artists and local favorites. To contact Paul visit his website at pauleliaentertainer.webs.com. To get tickets to the Celebrity Jazz Jam call 1-800-316-8559 or for questions contact Patte Purcell, 1-701-219-6777.