Friday, July 11, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Casinos offer booze you can use

It's a big week for connoisseurs of wine and beer as two regional casinos are throwing bashes dedicated to adult beverages.

Casinos offer booze you can use

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Jabbawockeez performs through Sept. 2 at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City. Photo: Harrah's Resort Atlantic City

It’s a big week for connoisseurs of wine and beer as two regional casinos are throwing bashes dedicated to adult beverages.

Friday, Golden Nugget kicks off its weekend-long “Cal-Ital Summer Winefest”--designed to show off the best in vino from California and Italy—with a meet-and-greet session with winemakers, winery owners and experts. The bash, which takes place at the H2O Pool Bar, begins at 8 p.m. and includes live jazz music and representatives of some 25 labels, as well as food and of course, tastings. Admission is $35.

The weekend’s keystone event, the Grand Tasting runs from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday in The Grand Ballroom. Guests can sample more than 120 wines from California and Italy, among them Brunellos, Cabernets, Chardonnays and Barolos. Admission is $65.

The fest concludes Sunday in the Event Center with the Sparkling Brunch and Fashion Show at 11 a.m. An  American and Italian brunch will be paired with sparkling wines. The meal will be followed by a fashion show. Admission is $35.

If you want to attend all three events, a $99 one-size-fits-all pass is available. For tickets, call 866-746-5336 or go to www.goldennugget.com/atlanticcity.

West of Philly Wednesday, Valley Forge Casino-Resort is hosting a Victory Beer dinner featuring a variety of beers, ales etc. from the Downingtown-based boutique brewery. Among the brewskis to be sampled are Hop Devil, Headwaters Pale Ale, Storm King and Prima Pils. The specially selected libations will accompany a four-course meal, the centerpiece of which is grilled prime flat iron steak, jersey tomato and fava bean salad, and balsamic-glazed cippolini onions paired with Storm King.

The festivities commence at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $55 per person with reservations required. For more info and reservations, call 610-768-3254 or go to www.vfcasino.com/dining/special. 

Naturally, you must be 21 to attend either event.

Jbwkz do AyCee

It’s always nice to see something a little bit different in an Atlantic City casino showroom, and that’s exactly what Jabbawockeez is.

The dance troupe—which got its big break by winning the first season of MTV’s “America's Best Dance Crew”—has brought to Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City (through Sept. 2) a 90-minute program that boasts plenty of motion and commotion, not to mention a heaping helping of imagination and creativity. That said, the team isn’t above borrowing from others: Elements of Cirque du Soliel (the reliance on silent comedy), Blue Man Group (the “How to be A Man” segment) and Mummenschanz (the nifty black-light piece in which people and objects appear to counteract  gravity) occasionally surface.

There is no doubt the all-male ensemble—which likes to be identified by the shorthand “Jbwkz”--can dance with the best of them. The multiple routines are energetic, athletic and, occasionally, anatomy-punishing (as when one of the cast members makes like a human top by effecting multiple rotations while standing on his head). And this is a particularly kiddie-friendly show thanks to brisk pacing perfect for the short-attention-span generation.

But the group, which performs in slightly creepy, gender-neutral masks, doesn’t quite hit it out of the park. The problem is that as good as Jabbawockeez is at what it does, the novelty wears off about a third-way through the show. Break dancing, while fun, is a rather limited form, and the bulk of the performance pretty much offers little more than variations on a theme.

As such, Jabbawockeez would have much more impact as a featured act in a variety show than it has on its own.
Show times vary. Admission is $75-$45. For tickets, call 800-736-1420, or go to www.ticketmaster.com.

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About this blog
Philly native Chuck Darrow has literally covered Atlantic City’s casino scene since Day One: He was there on assignment the night in November 1976 when voters approved legalized casinos.

Since then, Chuck has covered the town and its gaming industry for several area newspapers -- which is why, in some circles, he’s known as “Boardwalk Charlie.”

You can reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com. Reach Chuck at darrowc@phillynews.com.

Chuck Darrow