Archive: March, 2009
For most of the past couple of years, the folks at the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority--the organization charged with marketing Atlantic City to the world at large--have seemingly played the role of dance band on the Titanic as they've tried to keep things happy and light in the face of the iceberg known as the current economic crisis that has flooded the casinos with red ink.
Yesterday, however, the ACCVA and the city it represents hit some nice jackpots thanks to three announcements from disparate quarters.
The first was issued by the Atlantic-10 collegiate basketball conference, which re-upped its deal with the city to play the league championship series at Boardwalk Hall. The playoffs will run through 2012, with a two-year option tacked on top.
Sound the trumpets and let heaven and earth rejoice! Penn & Teller are finally returning to Atlantic City!
The dynamic duo--one of the smartest, funniest, most entertaining acts in show biz history--have consented to spend Memorial Day weekend at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City. The three-show run--for which tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m., will mark the team's first apperarance in AyCee since the 20th century. For the past eight years, Penn Jillette and his silent (onstage) partner, Teller, have been reigning princes of the Vegas entertainment scene thanks to their one-of-a-kind show at Harrah's corporate sibling, the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
Before they catapulted to multi-media stardom, P&T were regulars at Trump Plaza. They even filmed several scenes of their 1989 movie, "Penn & Teller Get Killed" at the Plaza.
Show times are 9 p.m. May 22-24. Admission is $75 and $40. For tix and info, call 800-736-1420, or go to www.ticketmaster.com.
After having some follow-up discussions, it seems that my recent post about Pinnacle Entertainment supposedly pulling the plug on it's A.C. project may have been premature.
Posted last Friday and titled "Everybody loses," it was a response to published reports that Dan Lee, CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment, pretty much announced the company's proposed $1.5 billion development on the old Sands site was dead and buried because of the ongoing economic meltdown that has drowned the gaming industry (and just about every other outside of bankruptcy law) in red ink.
But despite some pretty final-sounding words from Lee ("We live in an era where it's just not possible to build what we had anticipated in Atlantic City. Someday, hopefully it's a better world, or somebody shows up and offers us a better deal"), it turns out that nothing has really changed since Pinnacle announced it was suspending development of the property because of the tightening credit markets.
In a town whose very existence depends on the concept of losing, it's somehow fitting that the news that Pinnacle Entertainment has pretty much decided to scrap it's proposed $1.5 billion mega-resort creates a slew of losers.
Sure, Pinnacle has lost several hundred million--the cost of buying and demolishing the increasingly legendary Sands Hotel & Casino. But the list of those on the crummy end of the stick doesn't end there.
There are the thousands of fine, hard-working employees who lost their jobs when Pinnacle opted to close the Sands in preparation of its demolition. And the small crew of Pinnacle staffers who have been forced to stand by helplessly and witness the death of a dream that has been their raison d'etre the past few years.
There's a reason Frank Caliendo has emerged during the past few years as the top non-singing impressionist working today. He is not only a gifted vocal caricturist, but a superb entertainer as well.
Saturday night at Borgata, the cherubic Midwesterner displayed an effective, if decidedly loopy, persona that was as ingratiating as it was mirthful. He drew as many laughs with normal-voiced ad-libs (aimed mostly at an overly-enthusiastic--and apparently inebriated--audience member) as he did with spot-on impressions of enough celebrated individuals to fill a copy of US magazine. And he presented both the scripted and off-the-cuff material in a warm, engaging manner that made it a pleasure to hear what he had to say.
What he said was generally funny. How he said it was always funny: Among the voices he nailed were those of George Bush, Bill Clinton, John Madden, William Shatner, Al Pacino and, especially Charles Barkley, whom he referenced throughout the set, always using the words "tur'ble" (Barkley-ese for "terrible") and "knucklehead," the use of which grew exponentially hilarious as the set progressed.