Well, the Atlantic City Diaries 2.0 has gotten off to a slow start to say the least. After churning out twenty-three pulse-pounding entries from 2012 to 2015, I’ve only been to the great city of Atlantic once in 2016. But, there was a reason for this: I have moved from New York City to Central New Jersey, cutting my Atlantic City commute in half! Alas, this means a good-bye to the Greyhound Lucky Streak bus, which I have had a love-hate relationship with for years. But, hopefully this will lead to more impromptu trips, as I try to re-embrace a city that I’ve been slowly drawing away from.
And what better way to start it with than a “Weird Al” Yankovic concert!
Once again, my friend OB hooked us up with complimentary tickets to the penultimate show on Weird Al’s sprawling Mandatory Fun tour. It was my second time seeing the Weird one (the first time being after my bachelor party), while OB was popping his Al cherry. Should you be in a rush, and not wanting to finish this post, you know already know how it ends: Weird Al is amazing.
But, the first thing that stood out to me upon arrival was the crowd. The last time I saw Weird Al was at Governor’s Ball, where he was just one of dozens of acts performing that day. The crowd was enthusiastic, but they weren’t “Weird Al” people. This, however, was pure, unfiltered “Weird Al” people, seemingly pulled straight from the Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention. Spanning from about 5-years-old to 65-years-old, you had people from all walks of life, assuming that “walk of life” was generally white and overweight. Costumes were prevalent, as were the Weird Al VIPs, carrying a swagbag of goodies that I regret not being drunk enough to try to steal for myself. It would be a bit intimidating for a “normie”, but having grown up among the comic nerds, I foundmyself strangely at home. Unfortunately, this didn’t translate into a raucous concert-going experience, as the crowd would applaud loudly during the beginning and end of each new song, but mostly sat quietly throughout the song, perhaps trying to take in the showmanship of Weird Al himself.
And boy, what a showman. Weird Al began his show with “Tacky”, maneuvering through the dank, 1984-esque hallways of Caesar’s, eventually popping out within inches of where OB and I were sitting (promptly OB to shriek with childish glee “I LOVE WEIRD AL!”). Throughout the next two hours, Mr. Yankovic played all the hits (“Fat”, “Amish Paradise”, “White & Nerdy”, “Word Crimes”, etc.), but I appreciated that he included some original songs, which were sadly absent at Governor’s Ball. For example: “Wanna B Ur Lovr”, a track from the not-so-notable Poodle Hat, had the best reaction from the audience, as Weird Al grinded upon several ladies, and was able to get a laugh with nearly every line in the song.
(This is me trying to take a picture of Al’s “Wanna B Ur Lovr” performance. I am crappy at taking photos during concerts. And, yes, I’ve ranted about people who take crappy photos at concerts.)
A personal highlight for me was seeing his re-interpretation of “Eat It” into the acoustic version of “Layla”. Weird Al’s parodies are like a lot of modern art: it may seem simple, but he thought of it and you didn’t.
At this point, “Weird Al” has become such a musical icon that, even if you are not a fan, it is worth seeing. He’s been around over three decades, and his popularity only seems to be growing. While the tour may be over now, make sure to add him to your bucket list to see the next time he rolls around to your city.
Gambling Side Note: While past Atlantic City Diaries would have intricate details about how I gambled that night, I’ve decided to cut back and focus more on Atlantic City’s events, as the gambling stories can be a bit monotonous after a while. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out a few things for posterity’s sake. First, while the KISS slot machines may be gone, OB has found a new love: the Britney Spears slot machines. I should have stuck with them, too, as they paid me the best at night. On the table games front, Caesar’s has installed many $5 digital blackjack tables, which are completely awful. While it tries to emulate the sensation of playing with a real dealer, it falls into the uncanny valley, and you can’t quite get into a true blackjack flow. I will be staying away from them in the future. However, the Wild Wild West has wonderfully brought back $5 live blackjack! I have been fighting for that since the very first AC Diary! It’s a bit of a grind playing blackjack for $5 a hand, but I played all night long and found myself down only $20 or so dollars. Unfortunately, I found out the Wild Wild West has a closing time (somewhere between 4 and 5AM), and they were quite stingy on the free drinks (which may have been why I wasn’t losing so much). But still, it is a gargantuan step in the right direction, and I look forward to spending more time at the Wild Wild West.
This past weekend, I went down to the Atlantic City Beer (and Music) Festival at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The 2015 Beerfest was my rookie experience, and it was the highlight of my
life year springtime (I did get married after all). If you check out last year’s recap, you’ll see I listed the top six things about Beerfest. After a year of hype, I am happy to report that the beerfest remains relatively unchanged. It was still the quickest four hours you’ll ever spend in Atlantic City, with great music, great people, and great beer. There isn’t much more I can add on what’s great about it, so this year I’ll give you a guide on how to best enjoy the beerfest.
Dress for success. Whether going to a job interview, or going to a beerfest, the way you look will determine how far you get. Some people treat the event like Comic-Con, and dress up in full costumes. Personally, I prefer a simple festive shirt. This year, my group went in coordinated t-shirts for my mother’s birthday (yes, my 64-year-young mother attended her first beerfest). Even if you don’t want to go that far, I’d suggest wearing something that is in the deep end of your closet. Don’t make it a casual Friday, make it a beerfest!
Accessorize. As you can see, my shirt wasn’t enough. With the help of swag from different breweries, I gave my shirt it’s own unique, um, let’s call it “style”. Remember: stickers are a drunk’s best friend. Approach pins with great caution.
Pretzel. Necklaces. On the car ride down, my crafty wife concocted pretzel necklaces for the entire crew. The pretzel necklace is like a Halloween costume – you originally feel silly putting it on, but once you get to the party, it is essential. The pretzels will be the source of your life force throughout the night. Don’t be a bum that buys it at the convention – make the pretzel necklace your own. Some people even personalize theirs, adding candies and even bagels to the necklace.
Keep track of your drinking. As you can see, I put this t-shirt to work, tallying my drink intake on the back. When the night seems a little fuzzy, you can just look at the back of your shirt for the reason why. I preferred having the brewers check it off – it was definitely a conversation starter.
Take a breather, drink water, and see the sights. If there’s one trap most people will fall into at the beerfest, it is drinking too much beer. There’s plenty of fun things to do there, whether you are looking for a fashionable new kilt, trying to work your yoga, or want to get a picture with the Batmobile. Your liver will thank you the next day.
Talk to the little guys. It seems that every year, the big breweries have big lines. You can get those any time of year. But, how many times can you try beer from the Pinelands Brewery or the Alpine Beer Company? There’s something I love about just seeing a simple booth with two guys and a cooler. While the quality at microbrews can be a gamble, you can bet that they’ll generally have a higher ABV.
The more the merrier. Last year, it was just me and long-time ACer OB. This year, the group had exploded to seven. There’s nothing like four hours of drinking with your friends and family. But….
Keep track of your crew. I thought going with more people this year would make it easier to find everyone. That was not the case. For the last 20 minutes of the beerfest, my phone was dead and I was completely lost. After the beerfest, I stumbled into a local Applebee’s and asked the manager for the phone. Shockingly enough, this man saw a drunk guy covered in stickers and thought, “Of course this man should use our phone.” I dialed as many cell phone numbers as I could remember until reaching a member of my crew. If it weren’t for that disturbingly helpful Applebee’s employee, I might still be lost in Atlantic City. So, I would set check-in times/locations prior to the beerfest with your friends.
Go to two sessions. Does it sound dangerous? Absolutely. But, you really can’t do it all in one session. I feel like, even after four hours, I just scratched the surface of what the beerfest had to offer. I didn’t even ride on a toilet or throw a football at a stripper! I’m itching to go back for more. So, my current game plan is to try out going to TWO sessions next year. Am I crazy? You bet. Will I live up to my word? Eh, we’ll see.
Keep this article flagged, my Atlantic City loving functional alcoholics, and I’ll see you next year!
Hello and welcome! Presented, fresh for 2016, is the new home of the Atlantic City Diaries! Here’s just a couple questions to get new and old readers re-acquainted with the site:
What are the Atlantic City Diaries?
The Atlantic City Diaries are blog posts about my drunken misadventures in Atlantic City. As I am not local, nor a high-roller, nor a senior citizen, I usually have to find an excuse to go down to the lost city of Atlantic. So, these trips to AC often include review of concerts, comedy shows, beerfests, and bachelor parties. I do not regularly know when I will be going to Atlantic City, and it may be months between articles, so it is best to become a follower of the blog.
What are the “old” AC Diaries?
Since 2012, my friend Keith graciously hosted and contributed to my old articles. Below is a list of all previous trips:
Chapter 1: Back to Basics
Chapter 2: Orion Music Festival
Chapter 3: The All-Nighter
Chapter 4: Summerland at the Revel
Chapter 5: Louis CK at Trump Taj Mahal
Chapter 6: How I Do AC
Chapter 7: The Anti-Social Comedy Tour
Chapter 8: AC vs. Las Vegas
Chapter 9: Third Eye Blind at Caesar’s
Chapter 10: The Bachelorette Goes to AC
Chapter 11: Arbitrary Sin
Chapter 12: The Killers at Borgata
Chapter 13: The Atlantic City Marathon
Chapter 14: Cheap Trick at Harrah’s
Chapter 15: Every Casino in Atlantic City. In One Night.
Chapter 16: The April Fool’s 7K
Chapter 17: The Last Days of Showboat
Chapter 18: Arbitrary Summer Fun
Chapter 19: The Altantic City 10K
Chapter 20: The Atlantic City Beerfest
Chapter 21: Atlantic City Boardwalk Con
Chapter 22: The Bachelor Party
Chapter 23: Norm MacDonald at Harrah’s
What are the “new” AC Diaries?
Other than the new URL, hopefully not much. I just thought it would be easier for people to find this URL than Rainmansuite.com. That’s all.
Thanks for reading, and let’s see what this new format brings!