The event is co-hosted by Miami Magazine; producers John Sherman, Josh Kagan, and Marilyn Haft; PR man Alan T. Brown; and lead actor Jeff Marchetti—whose acting debut was on The Sopranos as mafioso "Petey," a role he enjoyed for several seasons, including the final episode, "Made In America."
This time he's the UNMADE MAN in Florida. In the film, Marchetti (pictured below with Sopranos co-star Joseph Gannascoli) plays real-life thug Chris Paciello, a former member of Brooklyn's "Bath Avenue Crew," a particularly violent cadre of Bonanno crime family henchmen. When Paciello left New York in the early '90s, he tried to reinvent himself in the club scene in Miami, where he became a "South Beach King," running the glitziest nightspots and dating women like Madonna (pictured together at right) and hanging out with stars like Jennifer Lopez and supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Back home in New York, Paciello was the type of character real underworld figures had no respect for, but had occasional use for: "the type of man commonly found on the edges of organized crime, a fringe character who got some peculiar thrill or sense of power through his shady connections," Gay Talese wrote of another unmade Bonanno associate thirty years before Paciello assumed his own supporting role with the crime family. These types were never trusted "when situations were particularly dangerous," Talese added in Honor Thy Father: "types like [him] usually collapsed under pressure and could be coerced by the police into turning informer." History repeated itself with Paciello, who became a government witness.
"If Paciello did everything the government says he did," one of the former Club King's publicists told the Village Voice, "then he deserves an Oscar." Any acting awards won't be going to Paciello, who is doing his time at an undisclosed federal prison.
Michele McPhee (pictured left) was police bureau chief at the New York Daily News when she started covering the story. To learn how Michele became one of the nation's handful of women organized crime reporters, see her interview with South Beach Magazine.Tweet