A Sinatra devotee with an eye for history and an ear for Frank’s music

CJ “The Voice” Sinestro doesn’t just try to sound like Frank Sinatra. He’s a collector of Sinatra memorabilia and a fan of the history behind the Rat Pack (which is why he never uses that nickname).
Photo: Mikayla Whitmore

Here's a surprising fact: The Rat Pack didn't name themselves the Rat Pack—they were the Clan or the Summit. Which is why you'll never hear the popular nickname slip from Frank Sinatra impersonator CJ "The Voice" Sinestro.

In a 2012 story for Desert Companion, local historian Michael Green explained that the label originated with Humphrey Bogart's wife Lauren Bacall, who was referring to the group of A-listers they liked to dine and drink with after they got a little rowdy one night. Sinatra joined that group when he moved to Hollywood, and became head of the Rat Pack when Bogart died in the 1950s. Apparently Sinatra was never a fan of the name, though it was perpetuated by fans and journalists to the point of being ubiquitous today. That's why Sinestro pockets a lucky, self-engraved lighter before each performance that reads "the Summit" in bold red.

C.J. ‘The Voice’ Sinestro

A performer since winning a talent contest in 1999, Sinestro has played the Greek Isles and the Plaza, and Saturday he's back onstage for a joint gig with The Rat Pack is Back tribute show at the Tuscany Resort.

Sinestro prides himself on old-fashioned manners and clean performances.

"I'm neither rude, crude, obscene or off-color," he says, adding, "What Frank did to Sam onstage he did to elicit sympathy," referring to Sinatra's onstage banter meant to make light of Sammy Davis, Jr.'s situation in segregated America.

An incidental collector, Sinestro has a sizable stock of vintage memorabilia, such as 8-by-10-inch original movie stills featuring Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe, "the kind you'd get if you wrote Marilyn and asked for an autographed photo." At his shows, he sells $10 Sands slot coin buckets filled with nostalgia like playing cards, funny money and swizzle sticks, and if anyone wants to buy an 8-by-10, he's open to it.

Sinestro's go-to songs are "Close to You" and "I Walk Alone," and he pays attention to details, from his skinny ties to his FDR pin (Sinatra's favorite president) to song histories. "I know who wrote it, I know who arranged it, I know what year it came out," he says.

A wealth of Sinatra anecdotes and facts, Sinestro makes you believe it.

The Voice August 29, 10 p.m., free. Tuscany Resort, 702-893-8933.

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