By Anna Merlan
By Albert Samaha
By Tessa Stuart
By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
By Carolyn Hughes
By Chuck Strouse
By Albert Samaha
Atlantic City is fab again, but for God's sake don't go into the actual town. The streets teem with folks who are either junkies or diabetics with bad aim, and you're risking your life by hanging with them even more than if you gamble away your iron lung and DVD collection.
But on the boardwalk and around the casinos, the only hazard is that, as a result of all the sudden cash-flow tragedies, there are apparently more "jumpers" than at certain high-pressure universities. Otherwise, it's a trashy good time, with many hedonistic inducements to not just live, but live it up. The Borgata, in fact, is doing so well, it's taking business away from some of TRUMP's casinos, so I hear he's been offering free Mercedes service for select big spenders. (Maybe he should do an OPRAH and offer the actual car.)
As a too-cheap-to-gamble, too-scared-to-jump schnorrer, my favorite A.C. activities are the shows, the dinner buffets (which include a "hand-carved beef station"), and the breakfast buffets (which feature piles of early-morning fudge cake!). My tongue out, I was brought in by the Tropicana, which is sprucing up after a bad spell and is even opening an extension called the Quarter. (Speaking of which, can I borrow one to throw into the Betty Boop's Big Hit slot machine?) After a sirloin slab and a "three-carb dessert" at Wellington's steak house, I visited the Trop's high-rollers hangout, Diamond Jim's, a glassy nook that has appliqué-bloused people devouring masses of free burgers, once they've been approved by a spunky door-person named COOKIE, who wears "flair" on her vest and shows you pictures of her cat. Cookie? Love some!
All a-belch, I rolled into the big theater for impressionist STEPHEN SORRENTINO's Voices in My Head, which has Sorrentino vocally leaping from Jim Morrison to Flipper, backed by a big band and 10 scantily clad showgirls. The blue-haired ladies loved Sorrentino; he's gamely funny, from his Led Zeppelin song as delivered by JERRY LEWIS to his Sammy Davis Jr. tune "I Only Have Eye for You." In fact, he took my mind off the fact that my tummy had become a hand-carved beef station.
Backstage, Sorrentinoas himselftold me he played Maria Callous, the queen of the drag Mafia, in a '98 indie called Homo Heights. "For video," he said, "the title was changed to Happy Heights because Blockbuster wouldn't take it otherwise." Those homos!
Oh, by the way, I ventured into the town anyway and I not only survived, I ruled.
Back in Gotham, there was more casino-esque entertainment when the hopefully named Everybody Loves Raymond had a DVD release party at Carmine's, where RAY ROMANO took the stage to serve up some gratitude, stand-up style. "Thanks everybody for comingor not coming, BRAD GARRETT," he ba-dum-pummed. "He's cutting the ribbon at a Bed, Bath & Beyond." (Not at the new Home Depotthat's for gays. Trust me.) Romano then thanked the cast members who showed, including PETER BOYLE, but Boyle, I guess, hadn't heard; he stood up and pointed to himself as if to say, "What about me?" Everybody loves pathos.
Everybody loves J.LO, so we followed her to Coty's 100th anniversary bash at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, the solar-system museum, which was suddenly filled with real stars. The OLSEN TWINS were there, cutely holding on to each other for dear life (or maybe deer life; they looked like mall versions of Bambi). And Lopez sat and talked to hubby MARC ANTHONYnot reportersat length, which hints that there might be real chemistry there. (Most showbiz couples can't even fake mutual interest, even in public.)
In the crowd, I chatted up JOEL STEIN, the soundbite king who's on every channel, including ones about women, black people, and wildlife. "But the only places I'm famous are Las Vegas and Atlantic City," he insisted. (Maybe they should add him to the impressions show.) "I feel compelled to tell people, 'I don't get paid!' It's awful!" So why do we keep doing those kooky programs? "We have no better offers," he said, sagely.
Well, omnipresent playboy FABIEN BASABE apparently does. After swinging some chick around the dancefloor at the Coty bash and noticing that no one was noticing, he ended up dragging her to the predominantly gay party at the Maritime, where I surely took note.
PARIS WHEN SHE DRIZZLES
But back to the straight party on the tabletop: Someone on amazon.com said the PARIS HILTON memoir, Confessions of an Heiress, is "a waste of time and money and an assault on the intellect." They deserve the Nobel Prize for kindness. The book gives brain damage a bad name. It's like that old showbiz satire Little Me, but for real. I like Paris and wish they'd have just let her spout some real feelings; she's very savvy and could have come up with more interesting stuff, even just between gluing on hair extensions. But instead, the overly processed opus, padded out with lists and photos, offers special-school-level revelations like "I love yellow. I love blue. I love all colors" and "If I'm tired of my hair and I don't have a lot of time, I'll wear a hat. . . . Hats are cute." Yeahin all colors. Worse are the obviously professionally written interjectionsremarks like "Oh, the burdens of being an heiress!"which add a cutesy self-reflexive wink of the type you'd never find in a Hilton.