After more than two years, Borgata’s “Burlesque Show” is back and just as naughty and entertaining as ever; Opening of the Van Gogh exhibition at Hard Rock AC

You don’t usually look in a casino if you’re looking for courage. But that’s what you’ll find these days at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City.

It’s a testament to the bravery of everyone involved – from the folks who run the bayside arcade to creator-producer Allen Valentine and his creative team to the cast and crew that “The Burlesque Show” is even a thing in these constantly aggrieved people, politically correct hours.

That’s because the latest (ninth) edition of the cheeky, bawdy retro review — which hasn’t been featured since the pre-COVID days of late 2019 — revels in some things that aren’t necessarily acceptable in entertainment. contemporary live (or any other).

The highly rated R-rated production, which runs every Thursday night until September 29, was conceived as a tribute to a showbiz subgenre that peaked in popularity in the mid-20th century. But it was a radically different time in this nation’s history — a time when feminism and equal rights for women were concepts found on the margins of American society. Thus, the burlesque, although generally shunned by “good society”, nevertheless flourished for decades.

In 2022, however, it’s somewhat surprising that a billion-dollar publicly traded entity like MGM Resorts would endorse a show based on young women flaunting their nearly naked bodies and crude, unsophisticated comedy. But thank goodness he did, because “The Burlesque Show” is still so good and downright fun.

Of course, the star dancers – who perform under stage names such as Rosie Cheeks and Trixie Minx –shimmy, prance, twirl, and sway while shedding their clothes until they’re clad only in pasties and thongs (New Jersey state liquor laws prohibit nudity in establishments that sell alcoholic beverages). But they don’t present themselves as victims of old-fashioned sexual mores, but as the people they presumably are: devoted artists proudly exercising their right to dominate their bodies.

And while their tricks are certainly sexy, they’re never vulgar or obscene. If they were, it’s unlikely the women at a recent performance (who seemed to make up about half the audience that filled the Music Box theatre) would have been so enthusiastic in their support of the cast.

This edition of “The Burlesque Show” follows the format of its eight predecessors, with featured ecdysiasts’ spins (Google it) separated by segments of variety acts (in this case, equilibrist/plate-spinner Keith Nelson and the acrobat duo, Hannah Risner and Brian Ferré; both offer highlights). There are also a few “breakdowns” – quick, risque sketches that were another key part of traditional burlesque. But there’s a huge difference between this program and those that came before it: the show’s emcee and featured comic book.

All previous versions of “The Burlesque Show” were anchored by the inimitable Jeff Pirrami, a round mound of hilarity who died in 2020 of heart trouble. Pirrami’s quirky physical presence and crude, often self-deprecating humor (he happily referred to himself as a “fat bastard rat”) fueled “The Burlesque Show” and, as anyone associated with the production will tell you, was its heart. and soul. .

As such, the idea of ​​“replacing” him is as absurd as replacing Sylvester Stallone with Rocky Balboa: how to replace the irreplaceable? But the creator-Allen Valentine has certainly found a worthy successor in Chris Morris.

Morris, who looks like what the outcome would be if Jackie Gleason and Nathan Lane had a son, ably fills his predecessor’s titanic shoes, in large part because he’s no mere stylistic clone.

Pirrami – who actually discovered Morris several years ago and recommended him to Valentine as a replacement –specializing in jokes about his appearance, weight, sex life, etc., as well as playful insults from members of the public. Morris mostly sticks to the dirty jokes that were old when his grandfather used to tell them to his elementary school buddies. But “old” doesn’t mean “unfunny”. Most of his routines are hilarious, if not for those who are easily offended.

Of course, the humor is childish and juvenile. And the language he uses is straight out of seventh-grade gym class. So what? Again, if anyone was offended by Morris’ material, their peals of laughter and waves of applause were a strange way of showing disgust and outrage.

Proving once again that a) funny is funny and b) “The Burlesque Show” is 75 minutes of supremely enjoyable adult entertainment.

For tickets, click here.

‘Rock’ à la Van Gogh

The highly anticipated “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” is now open to the public at the Hard Rock Hotel Casino Atlantic City.

Performing daily through August 28 at Rock’s Seminole Ballroom (located on the second level at the western end of the sprawling 17-acre resort), “Beyond Van Gogh” features two distinct areas (not including a well-stocked gift shop ).

Visitors first encounter a series of large panels featuring his observations on various aspects of the human condition (many of which are drawn from his personal correspondence). Others contain biographical data that describe a hard, dark and dissatisfied life. These provide a striking contrast to the a dynamic and rewarding job that belied his personal situation.

The second space offers an “immersive” experience: huge reproductions of his work are projected on the four walls and even on the floor. These are not static, like pathe hues transform into others and even become animated: for example, the subjects of “Wheat Field with Crows” actually fly through a wall.

Appropriate, mood-creating music and spoken word segments add aural enhancement to the visuals.

It should be noted that “Beyond Van Gogh” is probably not for those who are not interested in Van Gogh in particular or fine art in general. As someone who fits that description, I confess that I wasn’t really engaged when I visited, although I was impressed with the sheer scale of the exhibit and the technology involved.

On the other hand, several of my art-loving friends were thrilled with their experience.

But that’s not to say I didn’t find value in the presentation: “Beyond Van Gogh” represents original thinking in terms of casino entertainment, and Hard Rock CEO Joe Lupo, Michael Woodside, the casino The entertainment czar and his team take credit for expanding the definition of what a hotel-casino can do when it comes to public attractions.

Hoping they continue to consider such boundary-pushing concepts.

For tickets, click here.

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