Photos by Gerry Visco
Saturday parties in Atlantic City are generally for amateurs, but not when Snooki is in town. Here to host The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort during the third annual Out in AC weekend, the Jersey Shore star became my dancing partner and comrade-in-crime as we partied hard by the pool.
OK, she actually paid little attention to me as she frolicked with a series of young, short, brunette ladies. But she did eventually decide I was OK, stepping up to me by the VIP rope and twirling my point-and-shoot camera around like a yo-yo. When I twirled it back vigorously and began dancing, she let me stay in her posse for a while, even though no one else in the roped-off area had a camera (just iPhones). Good thing too, since I did have to smuggle it between my thighs in order to get it past security.
Even though the much-reviled reality show star was accompanied by a bodyguard—plus her burly dad—she immediately immersed herself in the welcoming sea of tight-dressed, high-heeled young girls, ignoring all the bodacious dudes on the other side of the rope. True, she jostled us a little and spill our drinks (luckily free), and even fell down at one point, but it was all in good fun.
She and I were both in Atlantic City for the Out in AC Weekend, sponsored by Caesars Entertainment and taking place at Harrah’s and Showboat. Caesars has made a commitment to providing an atmosphere designed to appeal to a diverse gay community at their resorts and casinos, and what better way to do this than invite a girl who’s become famous for partying?
The weekend started off with an elaborate welcome dinner at the Foundation Room’s House of Blues at Showboat’s House of Blues hosted by Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, a catering duo and hosts of the show Party Line on the Food Network. They commandeered the kitchen with a special menu that included lavender buttermilk fried chicken, parsnip bisque, and a “beef-a-roni” with home-made spaetzle.
After dinner and accompanied by a few media friends also covering Out In AC, I headed over to Prohibition at Resorts Casino & Hotel, currently the only gay bar in Atlantic City, and proceeded to take the place by storm. The hotel bar has a dance floor and two lovely balconies perfect for photo ops. The people we met spanned age, race, gender, and type, and all were friendly and ready to have a good time. “I’m from Philly. But I love it here!” said Gunner Usea, who has been promoting the club since it opened in May.
A guy with glasses asked “Have you seen 'Believe-Divas in A Man’s World?'" He looked familiar but I couldn’t immediately place him. Turns out he was Steven Andrade, who I’d met last January when he was dressed as Cher for AC’s Miss’D Beauty Pageant. “Believe” is a nightly show featuring divas like Bette Midler, Liza, Patti La Belle, Prince, and Joan Rivers all played by drag queen impersonators.
We ended our last night of the weekend at Luke Palladino’s at Harrah’s. A group of gay media people were seated together dining on gnocchi, sirloin steak, bronzino, and strozzapreti, a delicious pasta whose name aptly translates to “priest choker” (According to lore, the priests found the pasta so delicious they choked. Or so the legend goes.)
I never made it over to the beach, the blackjack table, or the slot machines once the entire weekend, let alone Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door spa downstairs, or even the 24-hour health club. But if you’re looking for a weekend away where you can regress to a basic level of shenanigans, sating your need for dance, drink, and food on your own terms, you just might find it in Atlantic City, once America’s favorite playground. Since it is opening the doors to a gay clientele, it may be just the destination you need to get away from it all.
For more about staying and playing in Atlantic City, visit ceasars.com/outinac