OUT IN AC – Harrahs Atlantic City Gay Weekend a Success!
rolled out the red carpet in Atlantic City for the LGBT community recently, and hundreds came!
The organization has been committed to creating a diverse, inclusive environment for employees, guests and communities for some time now. And recently decided it was time to host a gay weekend of events.
Harrah’s has been catering to gay and lesbian travelers at its Las Vegas casinos for a few years, and launched a similar campaign in the country’s second-largest gambling market with an “Out in Atlantic City” – OUT IN AC – weekend of partying Sept. 25-27.
The event, which attracted nearly 1,000 people, brought some of the best-known names in the gay and lesbian entertainment scene to the Harrah’s casinos. Lesbian and Gay travelers came in from New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago, and surrounding New Jersey cities.
The tide is changing – and the time is right. Las Vegas now has a major gay club and gay resort. It’s time for Atlantic city to follow suit. And the people at Harrah’s Entertainment are going to be the leader.
As Michael Musto pointed out, “I’ve always been astounded that the casinos never catered to the lavender dollar, obviously cowing in terror of the family-values folks who thump Bibles in between playing card games and hiring hookers…”
As times have changed in recent years, Atlantic City has evolved as well, as did Las Vegas. While gambling is still the primary backdrop, you see less of the $2.98 all you-can-eat buffets, and more upscale restaurants driven by celebrity chef’s and 5 star dining, geared towards foodies and nicer upscale clubs with bottle service geared towards the nightlife seekers.
MIA at Caesars has some amazing food with chef Georges Perrier at the helm; Explore the savory flavors of the Far East with a hip new twist at Red Pearl, on the sixth floor of Bally’s; at Showboat, the Rib & Chophouse serves the finest in steaks, chops, chicken and seafood in Atlantic City. Meat lovers will enjoy premium Hereford beef grilled to your specifications; seafood lovers will rejoice at the fresh catch of the day and raw bar.
Super hot nightclubs like DUSK at Ceasars and Club Worship at Showboat / House of Blues is where everyone goes to see and be seen; (Nicky Hilton had her party at Dusk the same weekend as OUT IN AC). The Pier Shops at Ceasars has a VIP selection of upscale shopping like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, plus an ever changing event list like Wine Tastings, Hap-pier Hour Nights, Ultimate Tuesdays, Oktoberfest and more.
After all the gambling, shopping and nightlife, you have to relax! Give me a FABULOUSPool and Spa! Last year, Harrah’s Resort became the official home to “Endless Summer” with its new, $90 million, 172,000-square-foot glass, dome-enclosed swimming pool complex and Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa.
Located under a striking, 90-foot-high glass dome, The Pool complex is a lush, tropical oasis(perfect 82 degrees, year-round) featuring $1 million worth of horticulture dressing an Olympic-size pool, six Jacuzzis, 12 cabanas, indoor and outdoor deck areas, as well as The Pool Bar. The Pool complex offers guests creative water-tainment both day and night with such engaging activities as luaus, pool-side spa treatments and live musical entertainment.
Located adjacent to The Pool complex, the new Red Door Spa – spans 23,000 square feet with 23 treatment rooms including a couples’ deluxe suite with an in-room Jacuzzi, fireplace and shower. This well-appointed Red Door Spa offers Elizabeth Arden’s comprehensive menu of world-renowned signature spa services and beauty treatments.
Harrah’s Entertainment, the world’s largest casino company, decided to create OUT in AC to really prove to the LGBT community, they plan to include them, moving forward. Not just be “gay-friendly”.
OUT in ATLANTIC CITY was the first weekend-long celebration specifically tailored for the LGBT community of Atlantic City and environs. And guess what? It was a SUCCESS.
And everyone we talked to, most who lived within 2 hours of Atlantic City, all said they would come here even more often, if there was more gay parties or events going on. “Even if a casino would make a gay club night, we’d drive in more often,” said Gregg and his 2 friends from New York City.
Harrah’s Entertainment owns four of the major players in town; Harrah’s, Showboat, Bally’s, and Caesars. And the OUT IN AC weekend showcased parties at each venue. Club Worship at House of Blues at Showboat hosted the Amanda Lepore (American Transsexual Icon) and Cazwell Catwalk Party. Cazwell has become the premier gay rapper and Amanda has long been celebrity nightlife queen, model, and now singer (thank you Cazwell!) Cazwell rapped about stuff All Over His Face and seeing Beyonce At Burger King, while Amanda pranced and showed off her Jessica Rabbit body while signing about Champagne , Cotton Candy and stripping down, nearly nude, during I Know What Boys Like. FYI – Both the Cazwell and the Amanda Lepore new CD’s are out this month! And they’ll be talking about their music here with us, in coming weeks!
During our OUT IN AC – LGBT Weekend we also got to experience the Foundation Room, at House of Blues / Showboat. WOW! Dinner was 5 star, amazing here! Members enjoy benefits and privileges at all locations: Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Cleveland, Atlantic City, Dallas, Houston, and Boston. Exclusive membership here brings the ultimate VIP lifestyle to your fingertips with VIP concert seating, elegant dining, discounted hotel rooms and other rocking perks at House of Blues locations across the country. – After dnner, the cast of THE L WORD was on hand, with a huge lesbian crowd, to mix and mingle and do a Q & A with the audience.
The main party, and the biggest, was Decadence at Caesar’s. Gorgeous Go-Go Gods kept the crowd dancing from their perched pedestals above the flashing LED dance floor. Lance Bass introduced Jai Rogriguez who DJ’d the evening as well as performed his hit “Broken”. Edge, Boston, summed it up best – “This was the party of the weekend, the Saturday night blowout, the party that announced that the OUT in AC weekend was a contender-and not going away. OUT in AC was here to stay-this year, and next year, and year after next.”
And just when we thought the OUT IN AC weekend was about done, we dragged ourselves out of bed Sunday morning for the Gay Bingo ReHab Brunch with Coco Peru and local diva Lady Eve, which benefitted the South Jersey AIDS Alliance.
Perhaps the sentiment of the weekend was best expressed by Lady Eve who, at each event, reminded the crowd of nearly 1,000 revelers that the reason that OUT in AC was a resounding success was because of them. As she said, the LGBT community has been there all along; all we needed was to be acknowledged, at last.
And by weekend’s end, there was no question that OUT in AC had put Atlantic City back on the LGBT vacation map. We had the chance to talk to various people within the Harrah’s Entertainment hierarchy, and talk about possible plans for 2010. They will quite possibly include SEVERAL gay weekends throughout the year, including a huge summertime beach party, special gay event nights and a club, dedicated to the LGBT community!
We will keep you posted as these exciting changes take place.
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