Archive: June, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.