2008-06-13 / Neighborhoods

The 'Mayor of Funky Town' returns

After lengthy absence, Mazzarella returns to musical roots for TAG Reunion Dance
BY JASON LEFFERTS EDITOR@LEOMINSTERCHAMP.COM

Mayor Dean Mazzarella, a DJ back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, will be spinning tunes from that era during Friday night's TAG Reunion Dance. In the photo, Mazzarella and his brothers Mark (left) and Frank (right) pose during a family wedding in the 1970s (check out the cuffs on those shirts). PHOTO COURTESY DEAN MAZZARELLA Mayor Dean Mazzarella, a DJ back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, will be spinning tunes from that era during Friday night's TAG Reunion Dance. In the photo, Mazzarella and his brothers Mark (left) and Frank (right) pose during a family wedding in the 1970s (check out the cuffs on those shirts). PHOTO COURTESY DEAN MAZZARELLA What will it be when "Dashing Dino Valentino," the "Mayor of Funky Town," hits the turntables this weekend?

Will he stick to his late-70s, early- 80s roots and blast something that would make Gino get his "American Bandstand" groove on? Will it be something that Steve Rubell would have admired?

The fact of the matter is, the DJ-turned-mayor isn't saying in advance of just his second tunes gig in 25 years.

"You'll have to see what the crowd looks like and see what they're up to and what they're looking for," said Mayor Dean Mazzarella, who will guest DJ during Friday night's TAG Reunion Dance. "The one thing about music is that you can catch people in certain moods in different points of the evening."

Mazzarella worked as a DJ from the mid-1970s through 1982, but has only done one stint in the DJ booth since then - a fundraiser for his mayoral campaign about four years ago.

Mazzarella is being brought out of retirement on Friday night for the TAG Reunion Dance, a benefit at the Knights of Columbus to raise money for World War II and Korean War memorials in Carter Park.

The organizer behind the dance is David Letters, a Leominster resident and long-time music promoter. When Mazzarella isn't getting his funk on, Letters will be featuring DJ "Professor Dee Greaze," the North County All-Stars (which include Johnny Moore, Johnny Sands, Ed and Spud and Mike Kelly, Bob Perro, and John and Jeff Schuller), a special horn section, Charlie Dee, and Nighthawk Jackson.

"We're just going to have a hell of a good time," said Letters, who is Professor Dee Greaze's alter ego.

TAG dances started in the late 1940s, and were popular in the city until they ended in 1974. Mazzarella lamented this week that just as he got old enough to attend TAG dances, they ended.

Letters said he wants to hold TAG dances twice a year until enough money is raised to pay for the memorials. He said he expects this event to raise $3,500 to $4,500 for the fund, and based on the new firefighter memorial that cost about $28,000, planners expect the war monuments to cost about $30,000.

"That generation suffered more than any other generation in the history of this nation," Letters said. "Maybe the Civil War, but you have to remember those kids who went into (World War II) had lived through the Depression."

The TAG dance starts at 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 484 Lancaster St. Tickets at the door are $10.

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