Thursday, July 30, 2015

Archive: June, 2009

POSTED: Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 10:58 PM

The "Hippest Booking of the Year" award has been claimed by Borgata, which earlier today, announced it has booked The Roots (a.k.a. The Coolest Band In the  Galaxy) for a residency gig that kicks off July 24.

The eclectic, genre-melting unit from Philly--which currently serves as the house band for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"-- will perform a series of gigs in the Big B's 1,000-seat Music Box. Each date will also feature a special guest artist, as well as a Roots-hosted afterparty at the mixx danceteria.

“As Philly natives, we have been to Borgata before and know it’s the leader in the Atlantic City nightlife scene,” said the Roots' Questlove in a statement released by Borgata.  “We couldn’t be more excited to make Borgata our new home,”
“We’ve long looked at artists that we felt would be a natural fit for a residency at our 1,000-seat Music Box theater, but also had the unique ability to transcend into our nightlife offering and represent the multi-dimensional entertainment experience Borgata offers,” said Joe Lupo, Sr. Vice President for Borgata.  “The Roots are a special band that unequivocally embody these qualities-- with a longstanding, highly successful career and deep roots in this region --and we could not be more pleased to welcome them to their exclusive home in Atlantic City.”
POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2009, 2:57 PM

There's no question that when it comes to high finance (make that highest finance), zillionaire Carl Icahn has few, if any peers. But is he really the guy the Tropicana needs at this critical juncture in its almost-29-year history?

I  had the privilege of spending some time on several occasions with Icahn when he owned the Sands, and I enjoyed our time together. He is an interesting--not to mention brilliant--person with an impressive amount of street smarts. And I have absolutely no doubt that one day in the next few years, he will turn the $200 million worth of debt reduction that got him the Trop into yet another major payday (remember, he bought the Sands for $135 million--including the $70 mil he paid Harrah's Entertainment for the Traymore Hotel site fronting the Boardwalk--and sold it to Pinnacle Entertainment for twice that). 

But I'm not sure the Tropicana will benefit from his ownership.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 9, 2009, 4:57 PM

It was Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and CEO of Sands Las Vegas Corp., who best summed up the point of his company opening a $743 million slot parlor in on the site of the old Bethlehem Steel works in Bethlehem, Pa.

Addressing an invited audience of politicians, media types and local VIPs at today's official grand opening of the Sands Casino Resort, the 75-year-old gambling tycoon noted that in Hebrew, "'Bethlehem' means 'house of bread.' What do you need to make bread? Dough. That's what we hope to make here."

And judging by the activity in the casino, just yards away from the ballroom where the opening festivities were held, it looks like the dough will be produced in the same kind of volume steel was created in the facility's former life. As hundreds courted Lady Luck on the casino floor, those assembled in the ballroom were treated to a brief, percussive performance by the three-man Blue Man Group (headliners at Las Vegas Sands' Venetian resort on the Vegas strip) and a series of typically self-congratulatory remarks by casino execs, local politicians and Gov. Ed Rendell.

POSTED: Friday, June 5, 2009, 4:22 PM

Don't know how I didn't learn it earlier, but thanks to an e-mail from my old pal, author-drummer Bruce Klauber, I just found out the great saxophonist Sam Butera died Wednesday in Las Vegas at age 81.

I won't bother with the autobiographical details, as they are readily available elsewhere online. But I do have a few thoughts about  Sam (I can't imagine him asking anyone to call him "Mr. Butera").

Sam and his insanely tight "show band," The Wildest, were mainstays in Atlantic City from the dawn of legal gambling in 1978 well into the 1990s. The act was one of the last two or three of the great Las Vegas lounge acts of the "Rat Pack" era, and everytime they played AyCee,  Sam and his boys brought a little bit of that old-time magic with them. It was extremely cool to see them in long-gone bars like those that used to be at Trump Plaza and what was then known as Resorts International.

POSTED: Wednesday, June 3, 2009, 2:44 PM

Now that we won't be wasting away in Margaritaville, what does the future hold for Trump Marina?

Last Sunday, Trump Entertainment Resorts officially pulled the plug on the deal that would have had New York-based Coastal Marina LLC buying the Marina and applying singer Jimmy Buffett's fun-in-the-sun-themed Margaritaville brand/philosophy.

The move could have been a needed shot in the arm for Atlantic City which has been--ahem--buffeted by the twin storms of casinos in Pennsylvania and a still-sour economy.

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 Reach Chuck at

Chuck Darrow