Posts Tagged ‘bruce klauber’


Monday, December 1st, 2014

December, 2014 Edition

The Big Casino

In that I’ve been on the newspaper and magazine casino beat since gaming was legalized in Atlantic City on May 26, 1978, it seems fitting and proper to comment on the brouhaha surrounding the granting of a second casino license within the city limits. While I’m all in favor of free enterprise and have nothing against the newly-named “winner”—Live! Hotel & Casino–the truth is that a second casino in the city just makes no business sense. No sense at all. We know what’s happening in Atlantic City. We know that revenues, particularly from slots, are leveling off in casinos in Pennsylvania. And we know that the planned casinos in Newark, Maryland and elsewhere will siphon off revenue from existing casinos. A second casino in Philadelphia would only hurt business for those that already exist. Not only is that greedy and selfish, but it makes no business sense. None at all. Numbers don’t lie and here they are: Overall, October gaming revenues from slot machines were up a paltry 1.1 percent over last year’s figures. Though Parx and Valley Forge casinos takes increased—Valley Forge up 15 percent and Parx up 4.8 percent—SugarHouse and Harrah’s both showed declines. Revenue from table games was only up one percent over last year. This, in the industry, is called “leveling off.” Live! is hoping that those who frequent events at South Philadelphia’s sports complex will gamble before or after the game. Good luck with that. Developer Bart Blatstein, who had grandiose plans for a $700 hotel and casino in Center City, summed up the situation nicely. “It’s shocking that they would choose another crappy slots-in-a box project,” Blatstein told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Boardwalk Beat

There may be non-casino life for Atlantic City’s recently-shuttered Showboat Hotel and Casino, and the new, possible tenant is a highly unlikely one: The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, now headquartered in neighboring Galloway Township. There’s not a lot of info available on this just yet, other than the fact that Stockton is seeking to buy the property, which is owned by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. Though the college reportedly has been in talks with A.C. politicos and execs from Caesars for months, right now, Stockton is in the “letter of intent” stage and bound by a confidentiality agreement. Think of the possibilities here: On their lunch hours, underclassmen could munch on salt water taffy and/or hit the slots on whatever casinos are still open on the Boardwalk.

Brookfield Asset Management, the firm that had an agreement of sale to buy the shuttered Revel, has—not surprisingly—backed out of the deal. Seems the fine print read that Brookfield would have to pay additional fixed costs to the outfit running the utility company next door. Sources say that investor/developer Glenn Straub, the runner-up in the bankruptcy bidding war for Revel, may still be interested. Like the projected plans for Showboat, Straub’s intent was to make the venue an educational venue of some kind.
Though it appears that Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal hotel and casino is just too far gone financially to be saved, the decision to close it or keep it open is still up in the air. It is very possible, however, that what was once the largest and most lavish hotel/casinos in town will close on or about December 12, making it the fifth casino to close this year. It opened in 1990 as the Trump Taj Mahal, and it was built for a cost of the then astronomical sum of $1 billion dollars. The performer on opening night? Michael Jackson. I played drums in the lounge of the Taj, which I think was called The Casbah, backing up the great Sonny Averona from 1991 until his untimely death the following year. What a swinging joint that was. Along with the lounge at Resorts International, the Casbah was the place to be after hours. Everyone from Tom Jones to Harold Jones (the latter being Natalie Cole’s drummer at the time), came in after their shows to hang, to sit in and to throwback a few. Fond memories indeed. The lesson to be learned from all this? Have some foresight and know that the party—at some time—will end.

Here’s a shore tidbit that received little or no coverage in the Philadelphia press. The Clearwater, FL-based TJM Properties Inc .has agreed to purchase the Atlantic Club Hotel/Casino property. Atlantic Club, the smallest of the city’s hotel/casinos, shuttered on January 13. TJM has also agreed to buy an adjacent property for an additional $715,000. This outfit also owns the former Claridge Hotel and Casino, which it plans to turn into a “luxury boutique hotel” by this summer. As for the Atlantic Club, once the jewel of Atlantic City gaming venues as The Golden Nugget and Bally’s Grand, TJM has no specific plans for it thus far, other than saying it will be “a non-gaming property.” Those in the know say that both facilities will be turned into condo/hotels.

No doubt that Atlantic City, New Jersey, is in dire straits. But there is a positive spin: The very fact that five shuttered venues on the Boardwalk are vacant almost forces the city to come up with non-gaming tenants, entertainment complexes, and retail centers, all sorely needed. It’s already happening. Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein bought the near dead Million Dollar Pier. As reported, Richard Stockton College is close to buying the Showboat and The A.C. Club will likely become a hotel. Renovations are almost completed at the venerable Claridge Hotel, once a casino. And you can bet that Glenn Straub will be back in the Revel picture. If all these things do happen, that means Atlantic City will be dealing with two closed properties, not five. There is hope.

Tears for Spears in Vegas?

Our Las Vegas sources tell us that Britney Spears’ Las Vegas show at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino—“Piece of Me”—is not one of the bigger draws on the strip. The producers are said to be doing everything they can to paper the house and running special promotions like “Britney Spears Day.” Otherwise, it’s being claimed that the seemingly washed-up diva would be playing to half empty houses. And it just could be that Spears’ Vegas run is over for the time being. According to the Planet Hollywood ticketing site, there are no dates booked for Spears beyond November. But shed no tears for Spears. Those who track such things estimate her net worth at $220 million. So, who needs Vegas anyway?

Spears, who at one time was the highest paid woman in music, at least according to Forbes magazine, doesn’t even place on the 2014 list. Number one is Beyonce, who earned $115 million, followed by Pink, who made a measly $52 million. Last year’s number one earner, Madonna, didn’t make it to this year’s top ten list. Not to worry, though. Madonna’s net worth, says the New York Post, just recently hit $1 billion.

Flyin’ Home

The Philadelphia Zoo’s beloved 6ABC ZooBalloon is not dead and will be back next spring. The popular attraction has had its share of troubles of late, including severe damages from a February snow storm, and a replacement balloon that was leased to the zoo only through the end of this year. The solution? The zoo bought a new balloon that will be installed, ready to soar, this spring.

The Odd Couple

Evidently, The King has not left the building. Entirely, anyway. It’s been reported that Kevin Spacey will star as Richard Nixon and Michael Shannon will portray Elvis Presley in an upcoming film tiled “Elvis & Nixon.” Yep. The film is based on the infamous and rather bizarre meeting of the President and The King that took place at The White House on December 21, 1970. The Pelvis, seemingly stoned out of his gourd, pledged to The Tricky One that he would do anything he could to set misguided youths on the right track, but in order to do so, he would need for a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Nixon said he’d take care of business on that issue. Then Presley hugged him. Wow. All we can say is, “Thank you very much.”

Barry’s Dead Duos

While there’s no denying that Barry Manilow is talented, his new CD, “Dream Duets,” has set the standard for a new low in the quest for showbiz tastelessness. “Duets” features the aging singer/songwriter in 11 duets with the dead, ranging from Louis Armstrong and Sammy Davis, Jr. to Whitney Houston and Marilyn Monroe. Even Natalie Cole, who virtually invented the “duets with the dead” genre via her duo on “Unforgettable” with her late father, must be shocked at how far this has gone. See, the point is, Barry, that none of these people had any choice in the matter of singing with you, and some didn’t even know you. And you can bet there will be a video of this travesty as well. Interestingly, the one “dream duet” partner missing from this list is one, Mr. Francis Albert Sinatra. Even in death, Mr. S. had the good sense to stay away from this. Those in the Philadelphia area interested in such macabre morbidity can catch Mr. M’s dead duets show at the Wells Fargo Center on June 13
Van Fans Unite

Those tireless, veteran songwriters and promoters, Bobbie and Henry Shaffner, have advised that they are one step closer to having the United States Post Office issue a commemorative stamp honoring the late film star, Van Johnson. “Lucille Ball, James Cagney, Gary Cooper, Greta Garbo, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Edward G. Robinson, Frank Sinatra and James Stewart all have stamps,” the Shaffners say. Why not Van Johnson? Interested parties can sign the official petition for the stamp at

Be a part of “Backstage.” Email items to

“BACKSTAGE” with Bruce Klauber: October, 2014 Edition

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

“BACKSTAGE” with Bruce Klauber: October, 2014 Edition

“Backstage” is a continuation of a column that has been published regionally, and syndicated nationally, since 1978. The column is intended to be a quirky and personal take—someone I once knew described it as “snarky,” whatever that means—on popular culture, books, news of our area’s arts scene, what is and isn’t going on in Atlantic City, and whatever else lands on my desk that I deem to be newsworthy, appropriate and/or slightly absurd. As a journalist and a performer, hence the name “Backstage,” I hope I bring a unique perspective to matters serious and not so serious. I welcome your comments and also your news via Welcome. And enjoy.—Bruce Klauber.

It’s Labor Day weekend in Atlantic City. The Philadelphia-to-A.C. train is sold out, the beach, Boardwalk, Margaritaville at Resorts, and Steel Pier are mobbed; and venerable restaurants like Tony’s Baltimore Grill and White House Subs have lines going out in the street. A visiting, out-of-touch outsider would have no idea that this town is in serious jeopardy. At day’s end, the 27-year-old Showboat hotel/casino will shut its doors. Tomorrow, Revel hotel/casino, open for just a bit over two years and built at a cost of $2.4 billion, will also close. There’s very little action at Revel this day, not even the curiosity seekers—or as Mel Torme’ might have called them, “The butchers, the bakers, the let ‘em eat cakers”– are here. Walking through this overgrown and overbuilt behemoth once again, it’s clear that the experts who have said “it never should have been built” were correct. There’s not much more action down the boards at the Showboat on its last day of operation, or at the neighboring Taj Mahal, which will likely be the next to close. But business picks up considerably, save for the doomed and decrepit Trump Plaza, once I reach Bally’s and Caesars. Indeed, at the Tropicana, the last hotel/casino on the Boardwalk, business was booming. Those visiting Borgata and Golden Nugget told me they were mobbed. As for the future? Sports betting has finally been legalized, which will be a help, and it appears that for the moment, the “great casino shakeout” is over, meaning more business for the six remaining gaming venues. Revel will become something, likely a gigantic entertainment complex, much needed in the city. That the non-gaming spots were packed with families certainly says something, meaning that it is perhaps due time that Atlantic City re-invent itself as a year-round family destination. The lesson to be learned via all that’s happened here? Don’t try to make this place into something it isn’t and likely will never be. See you next summer.

Ginger Alden, Elvis Presley’s last girlfriend, hasn’t said much since the passing of The King since he left the building in 1977. Now she’s saying plenty, as she has a new book out called, not surprisingly “Elvis and Ginger” (Berkley Hardcover). The best that can be said about it is that Elvis gets top billing. In interviews hyping the book, the “author” has come up with at least two incredible revelations: That The King really died of chronic constipation and that his death was “unexpected.” Interesting. Was it possible that Alden couldn’t see that something was amiss when a 300-pound man was stumbling around the stage and crying out for a fix? Unexpected, indeed.

In 1961, then CBS News President Fred Friendly described a good deal of television programming as a “vast wasteland.” While that is certainly not the case today, there’s still a lot of waste on the air, including the RFD network, which specializes in airing reruns of “Hee Haw.” Viewers who want to see such things will be seeing more RFD TV, as the network will now be carried by AT&T and will be available in 46 million homes. Including those in Mayberry. And we thought we were done with Goober and Gomer.

Major house-cleaning at Pennsylvania Ballet. Artistic Director Jeffrey Gribler, on hand since 1975, is history, as is long-time ballet mistress Tamara Hadley, Ballet School Director William DeGregory, and Artistic Director Assistant Michael Sheridan. The firings were said to have been the result of a report by arts consultant Michael M. Kaiser, who indicated that the company is no longer in the “top ranks” of American ballet companies. Spanish dancer Angel Corella is the new Artistic Director. Info the company’s 51st season:

Was it embarrassment, generosity or both? The near-dead, foreclosed upon and up-for-sale Suzanne Roberts Theatre, home of the Philadelphia Theatre Company, may be rescued by none other than the Roberts family who has pledged—if certain changes are implemented–$2.5 million in cash. Season details:

In other non-payment news, guess who owes the Philadelphia Police Department $108,000 for security the police department provided from 2009 to 2012? The Mann Center for the Performing Arts. But the Mann folks shouldn’t feel that bad. The Philadelphia Phillies owe the cops $275,000.

Philadelphia’s Giovanni’s Room, the country’s oldest LGHT bookstore, was very close to closing its doors earlier in the year, but has been given a new lease on life. The Philly Aids Thrift has signed a two-year lease with the former owner, and the “new” Giovanni’s will open officially on October 10.

Accordions are in the news again: Police received a call last month about a suspicious package standing next to a trash can at the front door of the Whole Foods Market in Plymouth Meeting. Turned out, police said, that the package was a “suspicious accordion.” No comment on this from “Weird Al Yankovic.

There’s little basis in fact to reports that “Skinny Joey” Merlino, believed to be a former Philadelphia crime boss and out on parole since being released from prison in 2011, will open a restaurant in Boca Raton. There’s a chance that “Skinny Joey” may go back in the can again for parole violations.

This just in: The much hyped “advance ticketing policy”– for a $325 per person dinner at Jose Garces’ Volver within the Kimmel Center—has been discontinued. Reason? Few folks wanted to have dinner at that price within the 34-seat space. Volver is now going the “lower-priced options” route. This scenario seems similar to the marketing disaster that was Atlantic City’s Revel. The lesson to be learned here is simple: Know your market.

NOTE: “Backstage” can also be read in its entirety on the Facebook Page.


Thursday, April 12th, 2012

How many times have you wanted to email the owner or founder of a company directly? Maybe you love them. Maybe you don’t care for them. Maybe you want help in finding a CD or DVD. Maybe you just want to talk. Now you can, and I’m inviting you. My personal email is I founded and I own, and I invite you to write about anything at all. In the process of doing necessary little “tweaks,” it seems our “contact” icon is out of order for a brief moment. No matter. That’s where you get me. At any time.

Joy Adams, Philadelphia’s “Golden Girl of Song” to Perform at Remy’s Bistro in Celebration of Fat Tuesday, February 5th

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Joy Adams, dubbed Philadelphia’s “Golden Girl of Song” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, will be performing at Remy’s Bistro in Naples on Tuedsay, February 5th, in celebration of the New Orleans/Mardi Gras Tradition of Fat Tuesday. Adams will be accompanied by drummer Bruce Klauber, and his Jazz Trio. Performances are 6 to 9 p.m.

Adams, a part time Naples resident, has been entertaining audiences all over the world for more than 30 years with her classic interpretations of American Popular Song. Her singular versions of compositions made famous by Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Diana Krall, Nina Simone and Harry Connick have delighted fans in the Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos. and in locales as far away as London’s Savoy hotel and the famed, Rue de Caves jazz club in Paris.

Adams has managed to accomplish the virtually impossible in the music business. She is an original. She is stylistically a one-of-a-kind, and above all, a story-teller, with an absolute belief in the lyrics and the meaning of a song. She draws the audience in to the song and the story, which is only one reason why her following is such a devoted one. Her CD, “Joy Adams Sings the Classics,” received stellar reviews nationally, including one in “Cadence” Magazine that compared her favorably with Billie Holiday. Her individual rendition of Chris Connor’s “All About Ronnie,” continues in heavy rotation on WRTI-FM in the Northeast part of the country. But Joy Adams has that rare quality, as does her accompanist, Bruce Klauber: They appeal to a wide range of audiences who might not have liked jazz before or since. And in line with that, they do plan on doing some material long associated with the Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras tradition of New Orleans jazz.

Musical Director Bruce Klauber is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist best known for his two books on drumming legend Gene Krupa, and as writer/producer of the landmark, Warner Bros. DVD documentaries on Krupa, Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton and the Legends of Jazz drumming series.

Remy’s, A Neighborhood Bistro, long a favorite mainstay of the Naples restaurant scene, has been accurately described as “the taste you’ll always remember in a place you’ll never forget.” It is located within the Target Plaza shopping center at 2300 Pine Ridge Road. For reservations and further information, cal 403-9922, or visit them on the web at For information on Joy Adams or Bruce Klauber, call 215-620-5227, or email


Monday, April 12th, 2004

Since the publication of our book in 1990, “World of Gene Krupa,” there has been an unparalleled resurgence in interest in the life and music of “that ace drummer man.” Thankfully, the marketplace is filled with CD reissues, videos and dvds on Gene and other great drummers in jazz history, web sites, books, posters, tee-shirts, and more than a few Krupa “sound-alike” drummers and tribute bands. Finally, the jazz history books have properly acknowledged Gene’s contribution to drums, drumming and to jazz. 

Though he died at the rather young age of 64, in 1973, Gene had a long and glorious recording career that began in the late 1920s and continued right up until 1973. That’s six decades. Unfortunately, most of the better, commercially issued recordings have long been out-of-print. Aside from a couple of foreign and domestic reissues through the years, it appears that most of them will remain out-of-print. One of our goals at is to ensure that those old LPs from the 1950s and 1960s live on. We like to think we have fulfilled that part of our mission, via the transfer to CD of rarities like “Driving Gene,” “Hey Here’s Gene Krupa,” “Great New Quartet” and all the others. 

There’s another significant part to what we do here: As jazz players and jazz fans know, often the best music is made outside of the recording studio. That’s why we’ve devoted so much time and energy to tracking down Gene’s radio and television appearances, live concerts and projects done for the overseas market. We strongly urge you to check out our newest discoveries, highlighted by something called “So Rare.” Even the folks here at can’t believe some of the tracks on this CD. 

We apply same philosophy to our VHS videos. Gene’s films and film appearances were wonderfully entertaining. Sadly, they will likely never be released commercially and are rarely shown on television. We won’t let them disappear. Our “Raw Footage” tapes are a great complement to the full-length films, and offer glimpses of Gene in rehearsal, being interviewed, on television and in rare film shorts. 

Please note that our pricing policy has changed, and is undoubtedly the most reasonable price structure in the business. Collectors have long been paying hundreds and thousands for material like this over the years. Our prices? All CDs and books are $15. All videos are $30. Shipping is free worldwide. That’s it. 

In the news department, we have received word that “The Gene Krupa Story” will be released to DVD on or about May 18th. Don’t ask why, but there are no extras on the DVD. They could have come to us: The famed “Jammin’ With Gene” promo short with Sal Mineo is on our “Gene Krupa: Jazz Legend” video. The original theatrical trailer to “The Gene Krupa Story” is on our video “Classic Drum Solos and Drum Battles.” And we also have Gene’s appearance with Sal, promoting the film, on a 1958 “I’ve Got A Secret” tv show. In the not-too-distant future, perhaps we will put all these “promo” pieces on one video. 

We’re also told that a CD reissue is on its way in the form of the great, “Gene Krupa Plays Gerry Mulligan Arrangements” recording. No word about alternate takes yet, though most of these reissues seem to be straight transfers of what was on the original LP. Note that whenever a title is issued commercially, we do take it out of our catalog. 

As many of you know, by way of my longtime affiliation with Hudson Music, I’ve gotten the chance to work with drummer extraordinaire, Steve Smith, rather closely on a number of projects. I will tell you, unequivocally, that there is no better drummer than Steve out there, and that if he’s appearing in your neck of the woods with Buddies’ Buddies, Vital Information or in a clinic or master class, just go and see him. You will be astounded. 

On a more personal basis, I will hopefully be doing some classes and a film presentation called “The History of Jazz Drumming on Film” in tandem with Steve–and solo–in the not-to-distant future. Check this space for details. By the way, Steve Smith, as well as Gene, Buddy and all of the past, present and future legends of jazz drumming (including yours truly!) use Zildjian Cymbals. They were, are and will always be “the only serious choice.” 

We intend to use this space to let you know about updates, new products, and things we’re working on. And please tell us what you’re looking for and what you’d like to see. We’re here for you 

Bruce H. Klauber, D., Mus.