Friday, May 4, retro nightclub kingpin Boogie Nights premieres at the Tropicana.
Like a slinky, the basic concept was pretty simple, but once Boogie Nights was unveiled on what seemed to be a retro-starved public about five years ago, the ’70s and ’80s themed nightclub took off like Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon.
That, though, was another time and place. Now Dave Pena’s blockbuster idea is in glittering new 8,000-square-foot digs at the Tropicana, set to open Friday, May 4, at 9pm. And (still mired in retro mode), the 30-something Pena is as thrilled as a kid at Christmas.
“It’s exciting — the adrenaline rush has kicked in,” says Pena. “Last week we did an employee party on Thursday and a party for the VIP players on Saturday, and then we just sort of kept it going for a little bit to get comfortable and give it a dry run. It’s caught its groove again. It only took a little bit of time for the gang to get back together, pick up where we left off, and keep the party going. It clicked, so everybody’s pumped and extremely excited.”
The grand opening will feature Michael Jackson and Madonna impersonators, a performance by ’80s pop-star Tiffany (who will also appear May 5), and appearances by original Village People cowboy Randy Jones and Good Times star Jimmy “JJ” Walker, the special guest emcee. There will also be classic and newly created Boogie Nights characters like Mr. Boogie, Roller Girl, the Boogie Beaver, Mirror Man, the Boogie Nights Dancers, the Aerobics Girls, Basketball Jones and others.
“We’ll have DJ Gabor Kiss and DJ Kevin Edge both nights, tag teaming for the opening weekend,” says Pena. “They’re both my original resident DJs and there’s a lot of energy back and forth when they’re out there together. It’s going to be going 100 miles per hour.”
The new Boogie Nights is not merely a much-enlarged version of the original (formerly housed at Resorts). There are several new amenities like a Party Pit retro-themed gaming area at the club’s entrance, VIP booths and lounges like That ’70s Suite, the Awesome ’80s Lounge, the Swingers Circle, the Love Shack, Paradise City and the Solid Gold Room.
“Everything’s gold in the Solid Gold Room, including gold-framed images of Mr. T, Bo Derek, the cast of Dynasty — it’s a room that represents ’80s excess. There’s also ‘Behind the Glitter Door’ — a silver, glittery door above the crowd on a cat walk where we’ll have dancers, and surprise guests will pop out randomly from the glittery door, some announced, some unannounced. We’ll also allow guests to propose or profess their love for one another from up there if they’re so inclined.”
Both the giant disco ball and the lit-up dance floor it hovers above are much larger than those of the club’s predecessor, and besides the numerous homemade retro collages, much of the interior and exterior is totally different.
“Everything’s done from scratch. The black and white checkers [on the exterior] kind of remind me of [the band] Cheap Trick or [the movie] Fast Times at Ridgemont High — it’s very ’80s mixed with a cool ’70s-type feel along the wall. We also gave it a sort of graffiti edge, as this well-known graffiti artist named AirRat came in and tagged the wall with this big, beautiful Boogie Nights in graffiti that you see when you walk in. It’s something I always wanted to do — growing up in New York you’d always see these bright, beautifully graffitied subway trains that I think is very representative of the ‘70s and ‘80s. I wanted a piece of that New York City street artist in the club, and this hits the nail right on the head.”
Across from the graffiti wall is an entire wall of photographs of ‘70s and ‘80s pop icons that Pena’s friend and famed photographer Mark Weiss shot, and the club’s trademark collages are back on the walls near the entrance, only splashed with a lot more color.
“People love them,” says Pena. “They’re almost like Where’s Waldo? They love looking for new things in there.
“Every night we also want to have something new for the customers. If not a special guest then something they can be a part of, get into and have a good time, and leave their inhibitions at the door. That’s what we’re trying to create.”
Special events on the horizon include the Hot Mom’s Contest on May 11, the Dark Shadows Disco Vampire Ball on May 12, Moonwalk Friday with the club’s Michael Jackson impersonator on May 18, a performance (and Boogie Nights Hall of Fame induction) by KC and the Sunshine Band on May 19, Top Gun and Top Shelf Party on May 25, Boogie Nights Hall of Fame induction of Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes on May 26, and the First Friday Cougars and Cubs Ball on June 1.
Boogie Nights Grand Opening
When: Friday, May 4.
Where: Tropicana Casino Resort
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Boogie Nights grand opening at the Tropicana photos and video.
Weiss’ work has been the subject of books and photo galleries, and, owing to his friendship with Boogie Nights owner Dave Pena, some of his work from the 1970s and ’80s will be on display when Boogie Nights opens.
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“I think when this club is done, people are going to walk in and there’s going to be a wow factor,” Rodio says. “The club is going to be on a much higher level than it was down at Resorts.”
Tropicana officials recently announced that a deal has been reached to bring the popular retro nightclub Boogie Nights to Tropicana.
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