Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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Tales of Sold Out Atlantic City, Redux

Atlantic City is a town where you're supposed to believe all things are possible. And sometimes, it works a little magic for you. If there's a place where the concept of "sold out" is as fungible as this seaside resort, I haven't been there yet. Last year, I thought it was pretty nifty when I walked up to the box office at a long sold out Steely Dan concert at the Borgata and was promptly sold two front row center seats, with an explanation that a high roller probably was still rolling and wouldn't be able to make it (perhaps not as long as Patricia Demauro, who set a record at the Borgata Saturday night for hanging in at the craps table for four hours and 18 minutes with a $100 buy-in. The casino will not say how much she won.) On Saturday night, I showed up last minute with my daughter at the sold out Penn & Teller show at Harrah's and was given massive frowns at the box office and told the show was beyond sold out and there was no way we'd be able to get in. So, we just kind of hung around a minute or so, until someone in a suit with a Harrah's name tag walked by. Calling on two decades of experience showing up at places on deadline and having to locate the muckety-muck who can give you what you need immediately, I figured, nothing to lose, and asked this guy, any way my daughter and I can get inside? He paused, looked us over, both of us in flip flops, my daughter in pj pants, figured we were maybe worth being nice to, just because, and told us to just wait by the box office. Then he immediately had another thought, and said, "Well, I have an extra single ticket" and opened an envelope and just handed the thing over to us. Then he started to walk inside the theater, followed by another mom with her kids. I figured, what the heck and just followed them in. The waters parted, the ushers knew who he was and we were all shown to our seats in, where else? _ front row, center. Turned out the guy was indeed a high up in casino land, though I don't know who exactly, and the other mom was a relative and my daughter and I were, well, lucky nobodies. Penn & Teller were great, with their shifting now you're in on the joke, now the joke's on you paradigm, though I'm still a little unsettled that the woman from the audience refused to throw the knife at Penn with her eyes open, but once she was blind folded, was perfectly content to send a deadly weapon in his direction, but, to be honest, the best trick was ending up with the best seats in the house, without pulling any strings (having none to pull) but simply asking. In Atlantic City, you never know.

Tales of Sold Out Atlantic City, Redux

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Atlantic City is a town where you're supposed to believe all things are possible. And sometimes, it works a little magic for you. If there's a place where the concept of "sold out" is as fungible as this seaside resort, I haven't been there yet. Last year, I thought it was pretty nifty when I walked up to the box office at a long sold out Steely Dan concert at the Borgata and was promptly sold two front row center seats, with an explanation that a high roller probably was still rolling and wouldn't be able to make it (perhaps not as long as Patricia Demauro, who set a record at the Borgata Saturday night for hanging in at the craps table for four hours and 18 minutes with a $100 buy-in. The casino will not say how much she won.) On Saturday night, I showed up last minute with my daughter at the sold out Penn & Teller show at Harrah's and was given massive frowns at the box office and told the show was beyond sold out and there was no way we'd be able to get in. So, we just kind of hung around a minute or so, until someone in a suit with a Harrah's name tag walked by. Calling on two decades of experience showing up at places on deadline and having to locate the muckety-muck who can give you what you need immediately, I figured, nothing to lose, and asked this guy, any way my daughter and I can get inside? He paused, looked us over, both of us in flip flops, my daughter in pj pants, figured we were maybe worth being nice to, just because, and told us to just wait by the box office. Then he immediately had another thought, and said, "Well, I have an extra single ticket" and opened an envelope and just handed the thing over to us. Then he started to walk inside the theater, followed by another mom with her kids. I figured, what the heck and just followed them in. The waters parted, the ushers knew who he was and we were all shown to our seats in, where else? _ front row, center. Turned out the guy was indeed a high up in casino land, though I don't know who exactly, and the other mom was a relative and my daughter and I were, well, lucky nobodies. Penn & Teller were great, with their shifting now you're in on the joke, now the joke's on you paradigm, though I'm still a little unsettled that the woman from the audience refused to throw the knife at Penn with her eyes open, but once she was blind folded, was perfectly content to send a deadly weapon in his direction, but, to be honest, the best trick was ending up with the best seats in the house, without pulling any strings (having none to pull) but simply asking. In Atlantic City, you never know. 

Previously on Downashore: Hello Pennsylvania! 

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About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Amy S. Rosenberg has covered Philly police, city neighborhoods, Ed Rendell as mayor, the Jersey shore, Atlantic City, Miss America and the psychology of Eagles fans. She moved to Ventnor on July 3, 1995, which makes her a local, but not really.

Inquirer Staff Writer Jacqueline L. Urgo has spent every summer of her life at the Jersey Shore, and has lived there year-round for nearly 30 years, even fulfilling one of her bucket list dreams by once living in a house by the sea.

Since 1990, she has covered the waterfront for The Inquirer — from the Atlantic to the Delaware Bay shore — and some of the mainland in between. Along the way, she amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of this tear-it-down-and-build-it-back-up region, delving into the history and the hype of a place with a lot of unexpected stories to tell.

Reach The Downashore at arosenberg@phillynews.com.

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