Plus, Who's Best Battle of the Bands at Revel, the Album of the Week and Drew Toonz
Trump Triumvirate Soon to Be One
By Ray Schweibert
About two years after Trump Entertainment Resorts’ marina-district property sold for what was then considered a steal, the smaller of the two Boardwalk casinos owned by the company (formerly headed by the Donald), Trump Plaza, went for about half the amount Trump Marina sold for in May 2011. According to an Associated Press report, the Meruelo Group of Downey, California, purchased Trump Plaza for $20 million last week and plans to close the deal by the end of May. The sale is subject to approval by New Jersey casino regulators, and the transaction would represent the lowest price ever paid for a casino in Atlantic City, or roughly one-tenth what Trump Plaza cost to build in 1984. Trump Marina (now Golden Nugget) was sold to Landry’s Inc. owner Tilman Fertitta for $38 million in 2011. Trump Entertainment Resorts, of which Donald Trump now owns a 10 percent stake, is left with just one Atlantic City casino property, the Trump Taj Mahal. While a new name for the property is still undecided, it was reported that Meruelo will not continue to use the Trump name. According to its Web site (meruelogroup.com), the Meruelo Group is a minority-owned-and-operated holding company with vested interests in construction and engineering, and affiliated interests in real estate, food services and private equity. “Trump Plaza is one of the world’s most recognized gaming resort destinations and is an integral part of the Atlantic City landscape,” said Meruelo Group founder/CEO Alex Meruelo in the AP report. “Our company is thrilled to have the opportunity to become the new owners of this property, and we are firmly committed toward establishing it as one of the elite destinations in Atlantic City and on the East Coast.” Trump Plaza is one of the smallest and lately one of the worst performing of A.C.’s 12 casinos. Its 2012 winnings were down about 25 percent from 2011.
By Christina Migioia
Classic rock takes center stage on Friday, Feb. 22, when the iconic British band The Who plays Boardwalk Hall, and Revel teams up with Philadelphia’s classic rock station 102.9 WMGK-FM to present a series of activities before, during and after the concert to keep the rock rolling. The radio station’s afternoon drive host and DJ, Andre Gardner, will begin the festivities by hosting a Who concert pre-party and live broadcast inside The Social at Revel from 2-7pm. Once the broadcast ends, Gardner will preside over a battle-of-the-bands event dubbed “Who’s Best Battle of the Bands.” The battle will feature four bands facing off for a prize package that includes a contract to play three separate paid engagements at The Social. The competing bands — Final Vinyl, The Dead Poets, Them Bones and Doc Hollywood — are well-known cover bands from the tri-state area and former WMGK House Band contest winners. Each group will play a 30-minute set of classic-rock covers, and the battle is set to end at 10:30pm when the winner is determined by the volume of crowd applause. In celebration of their victory, the winning band will launch into a second live performance at The Social that will coincide with the end of The Who’s show at Boardwalk Hall, and keep concert-goers rocking at Revel. The event is free and no tickets necessary. Attendees must be 21 or older. Visit revelresorts.com for more.
The Fall & Further Decline of The Mighty King of Love
Phil Lee has a hauntingly familiar voice. The self-described knife-thrower, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant began penning songs in his teens, picking up his first gig in the 1960s. Since then, he’s traveled the country — either truck driving to make ends meet or relocating for his music. On his new album, the pride of Durham, N.C. and Nashville, Tenn., wrangles together a dozen bittersweet and rough-hewn originals (including a co-write with Barry Goldberg — the pianist in Bob Dylan’s group when Dylan famously went “electric” at Newport in 1965 — on the opener “I Hated to See You Go” and a song he wrote with the late Duane Jarvis, “All You Need”), all which make for a striking listen. Along with working with the Flying Burrito Brothers, driving a truck for Neil Young and playing drums for decades, Lee has carved a unique niche for himself in the alt-country, acoustic post-modern honky tonk world. Fans of Steve Forbert, Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons, Guy Clark, Phil Cody and Greg Brown will dig Lee’s strong fourth album. — Jeff Schwachter
The Somers Point Jazz Society (SPJS) will be recognizing George Mesterhazy, in memoriam, as its 2013 Jazz Master of the Year. The award ceremony and reception will take place 5pm Sunday, March 10, at Sandi Pointe in Somers Point.