New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol. 81: Last Vegas

It never fails! It feels like every damn thing I watch has some sort of New Jersey reference. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but sometimes it feels pretty surreal. Apologies in advance, but Wyoming doesn’t get that same kind of noise.

Anyway, you ever see one of those, holy shit we’re getting old so we need to stop acting like a bunch of stuffy old men and go out and have a good time movies? It’s a very specific genre. Last Vegas is that type of movie, but set in Vegas. Recently I watched it – Miss Sexy Armpit’s choice.

Last Vegas is the Justice League of retiree-aged actors. It’s got DeNiro, NJ-born Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline. All of these guys enhance the movie in their own way. Many times, throwing a bunch of famous actors into the mix is a recipe for disaster, but in this case, it worked.

A group of old friends from Brooklyn, now in their 60s, get the gang back together. It’s not just to throw back a few beers at their favorite old watering hole either. The setup centers around the group’s last single friend, Billy (Douglas), who proposes to his girlfriend half his age and wants his old buddies from the neighborhood to be there for his wedding…in Vegas.


It turns out getting everybody together isn’t easy. These guys are leading their own lives and settled in to their respective homes in various locations. One of them, Archie (Morgan Freeman), has been long retired from the Air Force and lives with his family in Englewood, NJ. He feels like he’s living in a prison, overprotected by his family as if he was a toddler. Archie has to sneak out the window of his ground floor bedroom to meet his friends before heading to the airport. He also conjures up a story about being on a church retreat to stave off his son from becoming overly concerned. Ultimately, he arrives in Vegas armed with $15,000 from his pension fund ready to play blackjack.

In Sam’s (Kevin Kline) case, he’s lost his sex drive. After learning of his upcoming trip to Vegas, his wife gives him a Viagra and a condom and basically tells him to do as he pleases while he’s on his trip in hopes of reviving his libido. So he’s got a free pass. Meanwhile, Paddy (DeNiro), is grumpy and bitter after losing his wife years earlier. He can’t be bothered by much of anything, but with some coercion from Archie, he grudgingly agrees to join them on the trip.

Some old bad blood resurfaces. There’s a bachelor party. A new love interest comes into play. There’s a few dramatic moments which made the film take a serious turn, but overall it didn’t get bogged down in them too much. Some of the films best moments include Morgan Freeman’s jibber-jabber after a slew of Red Bull and vodkas, and while on his mission to use his prophylactic device, Sam (Kevin Kline), mistakenly hits on a transvestite Madonna impersonator from New Jersey.

Sam is scoping out the ladies at a bar when he noticed a possible hottie from behind. Without even seeing her face, and the fact that he was told not to wear his glasses to appear younger, he started coming on to this seemingly attractive woman. All he saw was the back of a head with ’80s hair. Once he realized who he was actually hitting on his reaction was priceless:

SAM: “You’re a…Trans…planted New Yorker?”
MAURICE: “New Jersey.”

The actor who plays Turtle in Entourage, Jerry Ferrara, basically reprises his Turtle role again here, but he was more endearing when he was chubbier. Also look out for hottie April Billingsley, not sure if she’s related to Peter Billingsley, but hey, it’s Hollywood, the nepotism capital of the world.

I wouldn’t say I adored Last Vegas, by any stretch, but it was a mildly fun time and it was exactly what it claimed to be. Miss Sexy Armpit wanted to see it, and I definitely prefer something like this over some dumb romantic comedy with Zac Efron or Tad Hamilton. It was more than worth it for me considering all these great Jersey moments. Even in the wrap up Atlantic City is mentioned as an option while rattling off places they could go next year. There’s not much of a shot that a sequel in Atlantic City will go into production, but if that happened, I’d be way more interested in seeing that now that I’m familiar with the characters. If any of this sounds appealing to you, give it a go. I rented it from Redbox, but I’m sure we’re not too far away from it premiering on HBO.

The Sexy Armpit’s Vegas Vacation: Drunken Santa, The Goretorium, and a Bogus Blade

ENERGIZED is not a word that usually describes someone who just landed in Newark Airport. Or Newark Liberty International if you like verbose airport euphemisms, and yes that IS a euphemism. For The Sexy Armpit though, once I landed back in my angry, traffic-jammed state, I breathed the toxin-filled air in deeply and the gross atmosphere immediately began powering me up as if I was Mario after getting a fire flower. You’d think it would be the opposite, but no, while in Vegas, I didn’t feel like I had that extra kick. The city might be sinful, but it’s missing that special mutagenic compound found in New Jersey’s air, water, and judging by their extreme attitudes, our people. That’s not to say it wasn’t fun, so here’s a run down of our Vegas trip.

Miss Sexy Armpit and I have been to Vegas more times than you’ve been to your Great Aunt Esther’s house. And that’s just not right – you need to visit her more often you ungrateful prick. Who else will eat her 8 year old Lorna Doone cookies?

Since we’ve had many Vegas vacations in the past, and we’ve taken part in so much of what Vegas has to offer, we’re always looking for some shlocky and offbeat stuff to do. One of the first orders of business was finding the costume and decoration store, Halloween Mart, which I first read about in Dinosaur Dracula’s column Deadsites. It bills itself as the first online Halloween store. I felt it was too much of a coincidence that Matt wrote about this store recently and I was heading to Vegas, so I couldn’t be in Vegas and not drop in. The potential for this to be a wasted trip to a store was huge because Halloween shops often range from average, to exactly the same as every other Halloween store you’ve ever walked into. I’m happy to report this place does indeed rank in the top tier of Halloween stores, if not the best I’ve personally shopped at.

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Why was it such a good place? First, it’s huge. Their selection of costumes and masks is as extensive as they tout on their site. They had a pretty typical selection of interior decorations in the back aisle, but when it comes to giant, over sized Halloween decorations and animatronics, they have it all locked up. Hung high up on the walls are several giant crazy looking ghouls and witches, but the real magic happens as you make your way to the back room. The back room is a showplace, but in effect it becomes its own little walk though dark ride. The space is dimly lit and filled with every moving skeleton, reanimating corpse, conjuring witch, and regurgitating demon child that you can imagine. It was so much fun walking through there. They even had a life size Captain Spaulding from House of 1,000 Corpses, as well as the most monstrous Freddy Krueger mask and glove that exists on earth, unless King Kong likes to do Freddy cosplay, then these would look like cute little fashionable earrings that he picked up at Claire’s in the mall.

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Last year’s trip to Vegas didn’t afford me time to walk through Eli Roth’s Goretorium, so I made it a point to go there this year. I really wasn’t expecting this to be an overly impressive attraction and I was right. There’s two options: walk through with a “tour guide” during the day, or go through at night with actors. I was there during the day so I only had one choice, and I was fine with that because I was just curious to see how it compared to Times Scare in New York City. Even with Eli Roth’s name on the establishment, it was still just OK for me. The gory special effects in the scenery of each area you walk through were all intricate and well done, but the storyline was a bit lacking. This is definitely an attraction for the fans of torture porn rather than for someone seeking a good old fashioned haunted walk through and that’s exactly what I thought it would be. It was $10 bucks to get in because the girl at the entrance handed me a $5 dollar coupon, which was reasonable either way, but I would’ve went in regardless just to experience it. There’s not much to do for horror genre fans in the area so if you’re into haunted attractions and you’re planning on going to Vegas, give it a shot.

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So your alien had a room at the Bellagio in Las Vegas? 
Oh, just a typical day in Vegas walking down the strip.

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Speaking of Bellagio, we decided to take a look at their plants. No I haven’t become a horticulturist or anything like that, it’s just that the Bellagio always has an elaborate setup in their conservatory and botanical gardens to reflect the flavor of each season. Unfortunately their Fall scene wasn’t setup yet, but they did have teaser art displayed on easels which looked really cool.

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In between all this, we enjoyed a lot of good food, stopped into KISS Monster Mini Golf (again), and relaxed for a drink in Frankie’s Tiki Room. We also decided to head down to Freemont street late one night. A cover band, Arena, was playing hair band tunes and you guessed it, arena rock! We walked by just as they were playing “Rock and Roll All Night,” from KISS and Poison’s “Talk Dirty To Me.” It was here that I truly noticed that downtown Vegas is crawling with umm…unique people. These characters included a drunken Santa who meandered into the crowd to watch Arena. He and his drunken buddies created their own mosh pit of sorts. One guy was just way too into dancing around to Poison that there was no way possible that he wasn’t insanely super high on very strong, illegal narcotics.

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The centerpiece of our trip was, Pinup, a show at the Stratosphere starring Playboy Playmate Claire Sinclar. We had to waste some time before the show so Miss Sexy Armpit played a few slots. From far away I noticed a game that reminded me of one of the thousands of versions of Wheel of Fortune that every casino seems to have, but as we walked closer I realized it was a cool looking Twilight Zone video slot machine that I had never seen before. The machine was pretty damn flashy and although it’s usually forbidden to take photos on the casino floor, I snapped a couple nonchalantly because I thought it was too cool to pass up.

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I asked Miss Armpit if she would mind playing it so I could see how the bonuses looked and what episodes they referenced. As she sat down I noticed that the guy sitting to the left of her on the 2-person machine reminded me of someone. It came to me rather quickly too, which convinced me that it had to be him. It was Richard Blade. Right now, you’re probably saying to yourself internally “Who the f*ck is Richard Blade?” He was only the charismatic HOST OF DANCE TV in Girls Just Want to Have Fun. Blade was also a popular radio DJ in L.A in the ’80s as well as a host of a couple of music themed TV shows. Shame on you if you don’t know him or teach a Learning Annex class on the study of his career like I do.

I hadn’t drank any liquor since lunch that day which was a dessert version of a White Russian at Max Brenner’s, so I knew I wasn’t having some sort of alcohol infused ’80s delusion. Blade wore a blue blazer and Ugg boots with his jeans tucked into them. He was chain smoking and had fairly more voluminous hair than I remembered him having. Bastard kept getting bonuses too. Then I started to wonder why the real Richard Blade, a classy man of refined taste, would even be playing a Twilight Zone slot machine so intensely at 9:45 PM on Monday night. Maybe I DID enter the Twilight Zone? My brain was split on this, forget gray matter, it was all patches of red and blue as if my mind was voting on if this was really Richard Blade or not.

Finally, I began to lean toward the fact that this guy was either really the best Richard Blade cosplayer of all time or a total impostor. I was tipped off by one major component that Richard Blade assuredly has: an accent. As much as I sooo wanted to believe that it was the real Richard Blade, this dude was just a regular schmo with a terrible fashion sense. Damn you, Richard Blade impostor, you would’ve been the highlight of our trip.

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.65: Family Ties – The Keatons DO A.C!

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“Look at this Dad, fortunes won and lost, hearts broken, lives ruined, 
free drinks…this is what America is all about!” – Alex P. Keaton

The Keaton’s trip to Atlantic City didn’t quite reach the levels of hilarity that The Griswald’s Vegas Vacation did, but this trip took place 13 years before that and still it was still a lot of fun.

I watched Family Ties religiously as a kid and now I’m getting a chance to view some of my favorites all over again thanks to Netflix who offers every season streaming. Let’s look back at Family Ties Season 3 opener “The Gambler” that originally aired on September 20th, 1984. The episode saw The Keaton family make their way from Ohio to Atlantic City in order for Elyse to give a speech at an architect’s convention. Elyse’s speech gets tossed aside when a new she gets caught up in a new past time.

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Alex has developed a new gambling system called “The Alex Keaton Blackjack System” and he claims it’s “the work of a genius.” He’s pushing his parents to use the system (which he printed out in little booklets for them) at the tables once they get to the casino. Stuffy Elyse has no interest in gambling and she even tells her husband Steven that gambling is like throwing money away.

Elyse was more interested in the tourist aspect of Atlantic City rather than the abundant gambling opportunities. She explained to Alex that A.C is “the most exciting place on the east coast. It’s so rich in history, the old hotels, the beaches, the boardwalk.” “Gambling, mom don’t forget gambling!” Alex replied.

They get down to the hotel and Alex finally convinces his mom to go down to the casino and take a shot at some blackjack. Before they head down, Jennifer asks if they can order some room service. What was odd about the writing in this part of the episode is that although Elyse tells Mallory that maybe they will all get tickets to go see Tom Jones, right afterward she tells Jennifer that she can’t order room service because it’s too expensive. Was Elyse already beginning her descent into the dark underbelly of America’s Playground? The blonde bleeding heart mom was refusing her youngest (at that point) and hungriest child a meal, but she was all geared up to shell out wads of cash for Tom Jones? Where were her priorities? “What’s New Pussycast” or “What’s Wrong With My Malnourished Child?” It didn’t take long until the flashy and vibrant allure of Atlantic City broke Elyse’s will. Once she started winning she grew mystified. She was overcome by temptation and she kept winning. How could she quit now?

One of the reasons that I appreciated Family Ties was because its humor was smarter than many other shows of its time. It was amusing to see Elyse develop into a degenerate gambler because she is the last character you’d expect that to happen to. The fact that her son egged her on with a full methodized gambling plan laid out for her was quintessential Alex Keaton. At one point during Elyse’s blackjack binge, she tells Steven that she wants to move down to A.C and the kids can go to school “right here in the casino.” “They can learn the 3 R’s reading, writing and roulette!” Steven added sarcastically. Ah that’s good shit. They don’t make shows like this anymore. As much as I loved the humor in the show, naturally, the resolution was cheesy, as most sitcoms were back then. Ultimately, Elyse wins back all the money she wound up losing (and then some) and decides to give it to a midnight Church mission.

“OK, OK, let’s not panic here. I don’t think any pledge made at 3:30 in the morning 
is legally binding in the state of New Jersey…” – Alex P. Keaton

While the episode focused on what became a serious gambling addiction, Atlantic City has risen from some dark times and emerged as a much more family friendly trip than Las Vegas. If your young kids really want to complete their collection of cards advertising strip clubs or coupons for escort services, just bring ’em to Vegas! The streets aren’t littered with them! Of course I’m being facetious, but you won’t see any of that stuff on the A.C boardwalk or outside of its casinos. There may be a lot of weirdos on the A.C boardwalk, but that’s typical of most boardwalks worth walking.

Jersey girls should heed this episode as a warning. I know so many of you have this overwhelming desire to go to AC and gamble. Take it from Elyse Keaton and cash out while you are ahead so you can feed your starving children.

*Trivia Alert – In this episode, Elyse sticks Mallory with the task of presenting her speech. Later, Mallory comes back with a woman from the convention who has a question for Elyse about the relative advantages of wind power over solar power. That line hit me because it sounded like some kind of weird premonition on the part of the writers. Atlantic City opened the first coastal wind farm in the U.S about 20 years later in 2005 consisting of five huge wind turbines. WEIRD RIGHT?

NJ T-Shirt Tuesday 47: Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City

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Art from a Hard Rock Cafe Atlantic City T-Shirt

The nation’s second most popular gambling city has a plan to eliminate their competition. Surrounding areas such as Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York have attempted to give Atlantic City a run for its money. But just like Dr. Janosz Poha said about the impervious Vigo the Carpathian, these other second rate gambling establishments “are like the buzzing of flies to him.” Taking its cue from swank hotels like The Borgata, The Hard Rock plans to create one hell of an upscale experience to sucker people back to the city that Monopoly took its street names from. The $300 million dollar project will include a boutique hotel and casino similar to their Las Vegas location. Translation: another reason for your girlfriend to try and entice you to hop on the GSP to voluntarily insert wads of hard earned cash into those noisy mind control machines. Until their new complex is built, you can head over to the existing Hard Rock Cafe in Atlantic City which is located at The Trump Taj Mahal and features a Gibson guitar shaped bar. If you’ve never been there, grab some lunch before a concert. The Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich is recommended.

Today’s tee beats the hell out of the typical Hard Rock Cafe logo tees that you see everywhere. This shirt is colorful, elaborate, and captures both the gambling aspect of A.C as well as the skyline and elements of the shore where the restaurant is located. Ebay seller benk_store has this shirt up for sale.

Believe it or Not: Criss Angel, Armpit Lover?

I recall a point during my childhood when I was astonished by my Burger King doll. He wowed me every time he pulled the ol’ disappearing hamburger trick or his formidable magical scarf chicanery. Even though quite some time has passed, the same level of illusion surprisingly just doesn’t make me gasp in amazement anymore. Just a few years ago, while watching a Criss Angel marathon on A&E, I was transported into a world of new, more advanced illusions. The days of watching parlor tricks like “hey, i got your ear,” from that uncle who makes his hand look like its missing a finger were over. If I only had the nickle that was miraculously discovered behind my ear every time some salt and pepper haired guy in the family wanted to be funny. You know what? Nobody in my family actually did stuff like that but I always see it in movies and TV shows. My uncle used to blatantly slip large denominations of bills into my palm during a firm handshake. I’d say that was a helluva lot better than having to suffer through some dumb tricks and way more lucrative! Perhaps I looked to Criss Angel to fill the gaping void of hocus pocus in my life? I thought seeing his stage show Believe might do the trick.

Metuchen, NJ native David Copperfield doesn’t have Vegas making this much of a fuss over him as they do Criss Angel. Then again, Copperfield hasn’t levitated himself in the light of the Luxor pyramid like Angel has. Although Angel is unashamed to admit that he worships the antiquated ground Houdini walked on, his illusions inspire awe even in today’s skeptical world. Unlike Angel levitating above the Luxor pyramid, his stage show
Believe never seemed to rise to the grand potential it truly believes it has. It’s merely a large scale production oozing of self indulgence, satiating all of Angel’s whims. I admire that Believe was a show he began writing 15 years ago, although it seems like the show he started writing back then became a very different one than what I witnessed on stage at the Luxor in Las Vegas on January 25th, 2009.

**A steel lock box was suspended by a wire in mid air about 30 feet above the stage as we made our way into the theater.

The curtains rose and a massive picture of Criss Angel’s big head is revealed. Now, when I write “big head” make no mistake, I am not talking about his ego, I’m literally telling you that his head was probably around 50 ft by 30 ft. Obviously his ego is way bigger than that. From there, a montage of Criss Angel’s “best of” moments aired on a huge screen on the stage. The crowd was sufficiently primed and Criss Angel added a personal touch by introducing the show himself.

His huge self-lovefest was the first hint at how disjointed Believe really is. The show doesn’t know what it wants to be partly because Criss Angel feels the need to fly by the seat of his leather pants and/or ripped jeans. Watching him do a Letterman style monologue before his ass-rapingly expensive Cirque Du Soliel show did not help suspend my disbelief. If he wants us to believe the events to follow, then he’s got to ixnay on his wacky late night intro. Next thing you know he’ll be sitting at a desk in front of a cardboard Vegas backdrop throwing a pencil into the camera. As difficult as it was to watch him struggle through all the lisping, he persevered and made it blatantly clear that he (was) schtupping Playboy’s Holly Madison (they’ve since split). Simply a strange intro to what was supposed to be a somewhat artful stage production.

Now, back to the aforementioned steel lock box was suspended above the stage. “I’m going to throw this wristband out to someone in the crowd” Angel alerted us. At least for me it wasn’t like catching one of Paul Stanley’s guitar picks or one of Leaping Lanny Poffo’s poetic Frisbees, but it seemed cool anyway. If someone was to win the Academy Award for Best Actress who acts like she still reads Bop and Tiger Beat, the winner would easily be my 30 going on 15 girlfriend. It was quite a sight to watch her beg, plead, flail her arms, jump up and down, and scream bloody murder “I Want it!” “Over Here!” This coming from the same girl who waited for New Kids on the Block to play at Rockefeller Center on The Today Show during a 24 hour downpour. Can you believe what women will do for Donnie Wahlberg? Wonder where they were when Donnie D. needed some sympathy after Boomtown got cancelled?

All the ladies in the huge crowd flipped out as NKOTB shouted “New York!” about 50 times. It was easy to grow depressed at Jordan Knight’s contagious melancholy because Matt, Meredith, and even Al Roker didn’t shove the microphone in his face. All the other New Kids were in demand that day, but not Jordan. He looked like the kid who got picked last for the kickball team in gym class. He did everything but put his head down and kick his foot into the dirt. “I went from season 3 of The Surreal Life to THIS?”

Perhaps Criss Angel could’ve riffed on the New Kids in his opening monologue now that Believe has turned into “Late Night with Criss Angel.” “Hey everybody whaddya say you give me a huge round of applause for having ripped abs? Now we’ll count down tonight’s Top 10! Here we go…ways I made Jordan Knight’s career disappear. Yep, that was me! I wanted to be on page 15 of Tiger Beat so I murdered any chance of a Jordan Knight resurgence. Hey guess what I’m going to later in the show tonight? I’m going to suspend myself upside down from the rafters in a straight jacket…now that’s what I call Hangin’ Tough BOO-YA!” (rimshot)

Getting back to the lady friend, let’s just use the phrase “she was a bit overzealous” because “determined” would be an understatement. Angel threw his wristband out to the crowd and a guy a few rows away caught it. Angel obviously didn’t want to deal with a dude because it’s always more fun to have a raving female lunatic fan stand up there and ogle him than some middle aged guy with a light blue corduroy shirt from Idaho with both hands in his pockets. “OK, now I want you to throw the wristband out to someone
else in the crowd.” Angel was noticeably frustrated when yet another guy waaay in the back caught the wristband. This time, the guy was wearing a maroon button down, but seemed equally as boring and equally as MALE. “OK give it a really good throw,” Angel said. In fact, he pretty much said everything except “Please throw it to a f–ing girl, don’t you idiots get it?” If I was a super famous “illusionist” with a terrible lisp I wouldn’t beat around the bush as much as he does. At the beginning of the show I would say something more along the lines of “I need a girl to volunteer to help me.”

The old school magician cliche was in action. Was Angel just picking a female out of the crowd to be his assistant merely to cut her in half? From the moment Angel instructed the generic maroon button down guy to toss a hail Mary pass out to the crowd, the rest became a blur to me. All I could imagine was the thoughts going through my girlfriend’s head besides NKOTB, Jensen Ackles, and the next very special episode of One Tree Hill on the CW. All she could see was a black Criss Angel wristband cutting through the air in slow motion, the crowd muted as notes of “Chariots of Fire” seemed to have taken over the P.A system. Everyone’s eyes were transfixed on this very moment. Criss Angel’s eyes grew wide as he crossed his fingers in baited breath that another dude wouldn’t catch his damn wristband for a 3rd time. The milliseconds past like hours and after she had an atrial fibrillation, my girlfriend the only one standing up trying to catch the wristband, actually caught the wristband…what do ya know? All other aspects of life were unimportant by comparison. Bail outs, border scares, salmonella, and cease fires were mere nuisances when compared to a chance embrace with Criss Angel’s sweaty wristband.

“OK, come on over here,” said Criss Angel as he stood in the aisle to the right of us. After possibly having a stroke and exchanging pleasantries, my gf explained to Criss that she was “so nervous” as if she was unprepared before having to present a keynote speech explaining the diverse and evolving roles of isotopes in nuclear fission before the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “I need you to say a word, the first word that pops into your head, don’t think about it just say it.”
Jon Stewart pulled that on me one time when I was in the audience at the Daily Show. My answer was “Boner,” not the euphemism for hard-on but in my warped, ’80s pop culture riddled mind, Boner Stubbone. Stewart signed one of his books that I brought with me “To Jay: BONER!” I try to provide quality entertainment when called upon, even when I’m not prepared. I was proud of her, because in a similar fashion, she also attempted to provide some comic relief to an otherwise novocained crowd. I heard someone in the crowd yell “DO SOME FUCKING TRICKS SCHMUCK!” and another spectator held up a sign that said “WE CAME FOR THE MAGIC NOT THE WITTY BANTER.” OK OK, so I’m stretching the truth. At least I’m being honest about my lie and not like the elaborate one that kicks off the show. Angel gets fried to death by an electrical stunt gone bad.

“Tell me the word” Angel commands.
“Armpit!” she yells. The crowd chuckles, and maybe even a few guffaws. Either way there was way too much laughing going on for just an utterance of the word “Armpit.” Imagine how many under the breath laughs I get when I have to verbally tell people what my site is called! Even Angel got a kick out of it or so I thought, “You know, I’m not laughing because you said Armpit, I’m laughing because it reminded me of a dream I had last night.” “I was with Holly (blatant Holly Madison mention #12 and it’s only 4 minutes into the show!) and it had something to do with armpits but I won’t get into since there might be children here.” Hold on here Lispy McLisperson, I do the jokes around here…you do the magic! Strangely, Angel went on to drop the term “axillism,” which refers to the sexual attraction to armpits. Angel’s awareness of that term and his slipping it into his sentence with such ease can only mean that Angel is PITFREAK, not a Mindfreak. I’m almost positive that’s why Holly has since moved on.

Next, Angel asks one of his minions to fetch him the mysterious steel lock box for him. The box is lowered and the minions bring it over to The Great Karnak, I mean Criss Angel. He opens the box and takes out a folded piece of white paper. He unfolds the paper and holds it up for the audience to see:

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Yes, ARMPIT was scrawled on the paper in heavy black marker. It was awesome. I’ve speculated on how he could pulled this off but it can’t change the fact that the entire audience gasped when he unfolded the paper and revealed the magic word.

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Even though that was an awesome trick, the thought you’ll leave the theater with is that “those were some f’n gigantic rabbits.” Rabbits served as an underlying theme of the show. Using another cliche, that magicians pull rabbits from their hats, Angel seemed to have given the audience the illusion that they’re tripping on LSD. There were weird looking characters and oversized rabbits all over the place.


The main problem with Believe is that it lacked cohesion. The show morphs into various different styles of stage production. First, as I detailed, the odd introduction, then the audience gets swerved. After we think Angel is “dead,” we weave in and out of the dreamlike Cirque Du Soleil aspect of the show. An actual plot would serve Believe well. As it is now, Believe unfolds as if it’s a bunch of different otherworldly scenes that Angel thought would “look cool.” The visuals were accompanied by a soundtrack that could’ve been comprised of outtakes from Janet Jackson’s
Rhythm Nation album. I heard plenty of industrial sounds, and hard rock riffs but the music sounded dated. As awful as they are, Angel should’ve incorporated more of his own original hard rock songs into the soundtrack.

Believe does deserve credit for attempting at all costs to stand out from the shitpile of magic shows that make up Las Vegas. Not only does Believe give a valiant effort, but it was actually mildly entertaining. I just keep thinking how I might have been more entertained by watching Angel go around the audience guessing women’s age and weight. Perhaps a little “Late Night with Criss Angel”
IS the way to go? I would appreciate a more streamlined, straight up live illusion show from Angel. His A&E show is popular because it’s Angel showing off his illusions, not prancing around with large monsters, costumed dance troupes, and rabbits on steroids. But I suppose he refrained from putting on a typical magic show because that would make him just like the rest of the mid-card Vegas magicians.

Angel teaming with Cirque Du Soliel seemed like the logical winning formula for a show in Vegas. Rather than have his name attached to Cirque du Soliel, I think Angel would be better off using his own name and putting on a show without Cirque. I’m sure he needed the monetary backing but consider that he has such a hardcore following and many of his fans may not be into watching dancers dressed up as robotic plush bunnies. They want to see some mind blowing magic, like the kind my old Burger King doll used to do.

I was hoping that Believe would redeem Angel. After the last debacle where they cancelled previews of Believe, I was left disillusioned. This show made matters worse. At one point, the show was stopped for several minutes because a dancer got caught as she was being “spawned” by Angel. I thought they cancelled those previews in order to work out kinks like that? Even a personalized Sexy Armpit stunt didn’t make me feel fully indemnified. Word has it that Criss Angel has signed on to do the show at the Luxor for 10 years, but I don’t know if I can Believe it’s going to last that long.

The Sopranos Slot Machines!

One would think that The Sopranos slot machines would be a mandatory fixture at ALL of the Atlantic City casinos, right? Actually we’ve got everything from Star Wars and Elvis to Deal or No Deal and Playboy in A.C, but finding a Sopranos slot machine is about as likely as finding Paulie and Christopher when they were lost in the Pine Barrens. It was exciting to finally see these elusive slot machines over 2,000 miles away from Atlantic City…in Las Vegas! Doesn’t make much sense does it? I thought The Sopranos had a fierce sense of loyalty? I hope the Sopranos slots become more prevalent in Jersey. But if the cliche is true, then they’ll probably “stay in Vegas.” Check out some footage I shot of The Sopranos Slot Machines:

Foreign Objects Protruding From New Jersey!

Now that I’m apparently splitting my time between New Jersey and Las Vegas, I figured you wouldn’t miss me too much if I went to Vegas again. In anticipation of my next trip out there this weekend, I post for your investigation 2 photos that I snapped that I can’t seem to figure out.

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Hanging from the ceiling of the restaurant America, in New York, New York in Las Vegas (who coincidentally had an awesome veggie burger with fresh avocado strips on it) was a model of the entire United States. Each state had a miniature trademark, for instance, Pennsylvania featured the Liberty Bell, New York City had skyscrapers, and upstate New York had apples.
What perplexed me for the entire trip was the enigmatic objects that were jammed into New Jersey. 

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Dammit, Jersey gets so much flack all the time and now I discover THIS! Why is everyone always shitting all over New Jersey? 

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What in the hell is that shit on NJ? Obviously anyone in their right mind can see that there’s a slot machine there to signify Atlantic City, but what about the other crap?  Up north there’s some sort of Leaning Tower of Pisa. I haven’t the slightest clue what it’s supposed to be. Down in south Jersey, what I can see with the best of my ability is some weird looking roasted red pepper. There’s no chance that’s what it is, but I’ll be damned if someone tries to convince me it’s The Jersey Devil or something. If that’s what it’s supposed to be it’s the shittiest likeness of The Jersey Devil in the history of ceiling hung models of the U.S. Where the fuck is the Franklin Mint when you need them? Damn their veggie burgers are kickass but their version of New Jersey is all out of whack. Sure New York, New York gets it’s own state right but they f–k New Jersey up royally. Why don’t they give up this stupid grudge already?
I couldn’t resist adding this picture I took of the exterior of some cheesy stores on the Vegas strip. Notice the airbrushed t-shirts on the left. 

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The first shirt is classic: I Love to Fart a.k.a I Heart to Fart! Oh man, this is the best valentine’s day gift for a person who loves to fart. I’m pretty sure there’s others in the high fashion line such as “I love to take toxic dumps” and I Love “I Heart” Shirts. Watch out because Mark Ecko and Ed Hardy will be releasing their own versions of these pretty soon. Get these originals while you can since the designer brands will be $150 a pop.
If it’s possible, the shirts grow more tasteless from left to right, but let’s be honest…Vegas isn’t the classiest place in the country. 
This next shirt features a stick figure going down on another stick figure. It reads: Warning: Choking Hazard! Package contains large parts Keep out of reach of small women.
Last and finally not least, the Warner Brother’s logo has been paid the ultimate tribute. If you see ‘da police Warn a Brother!

“New Pepsi Logo is an Atrocity!” says The Sexy Armpit.com

Last night, I had the genius plan of going to Walmart. Going there is like getting ass from a girl who you know you really don’t want ass from but you convince yourself that you need it and it might not be that bad. Then the minute you leave her house you realize it was a huuuge mistake and the whole ordeal took much longer than it should have. The only good thing that comes out of the situation is that you realize you didn’t catch anything, HOORAY! Even though I probably would’ve rather caught something than waited on the check out line for 45 minutes to buy a can of soda.

As my silly “not based on real life” analogy comes to an abrupt halt, take a gander to the left and peep out this cool retro Pepsi can I found at Walmart last night. Out of all the cool cans that are part of Pepsi’s aluminum retro collection, this is closest to the one I grew up with. “Take the Pepsi Challenge” appears on a banner at the bottom. It brought back memories, especially considering the atrocity that is the latest Pepsi logo…if you can call it a logo. Why is it in this country we constantly feel the need to unnecessarily change things?

Finding this can at the bottom of the shelf in the soda aisle reminded me that I took some pictures of vintage soda art when I was in Las Vegas recently. In the waiting area of the New York, New York Roller Coaster, the walls feature some awesome murals of retro soft drinks. I was easily more enthralled by this artwork than I was the actual roller coaster, which completely sucked ass. It wasn’t a fun time at all and the wait time didn’t justify how shitty the ride was. Perhaps I’m just spoiled living right up the NJ Turnpike from Six Flags Great Adventure.

These murals are from the “soft drink renaissance” of art history. You may recall studying that period in college. Upon careful scrutiny, do you notice anything strange about this one? The messed up thing is that the Mountain Dew cup has the modern day logo rather than it’s retro look.
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This mural features the Pepsi challenger race car and 3 classic soft drinks that have been lost to the ages: Pepsi Free, Pepsi Light, and Slice!
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When The Sexy Armpit opens “The Soft Drink Hall of Fame,” these 2 pieces will surely be prime exhibits!

A Sexy Armpit Excursion to Las Vegas

The Sexy Armpit is heading to Las Vegas! I can’t say I’ll be rolling up in sweet rides like Nick Papagiorgio did, but don’t worry…I’ll be swingin’ with some of that Sexy Armpit style. You’ll have a full report when I get back. If I can get resonable or FREE wi-fi somehwere then you’ll hear from me sooner than later! Remind me to double down on 11…lol.

The Sexy Armpit is Brought To You By The Number 11

What’s your favorite number? Do you even have a favorite number? Is it completely lame to have a favorite number? Does this topic even garner enough attention to require a full post devoted to it? I’m sure it will once I tell you that the number 11 has been exiled. I know what your thinking right now. “C’mon Jay, are you that fresh out of ideas that you couldn’t come up with your usual geeky or perverse material?” The survey says: We’ll have plenty of time for the usual stuff, but for now keep in mind how much we revered numbers back in our Sesame Street days:

I bet the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the number “11” is the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01. Not only was the date 9/11 but one of the hijacked planes was American Airlines flight 11. On the anniversary of 9/11 it’s certainly not a proper time to be discussing vulgar tirades in movies, why I want to bang Janine Melnitz, and other useless crap that makes me such a geek. I’d like to get serious for a moment and recognize the number 11 for all its positive accomplishments. The number 11 has held much significance in my life and with that kind of service I hate to see it being cast out as a tragic, unlucky number. As you’ll read in this article 11 is not all bad, and it sure as hell isn’t the loneliest number.

You’ll hear a lot of people say their lucky number is 7. Not only do 7 and 11 share the moniker of a famous convenience store but they also have other similarities. Even though the attack on Pearl Harbor happened on 12/7/41, you don’t see people treating the number 7 like Dr. Richard Kimble, do you? It’s number prejudice! 11/11 is veterans day and it symbolized the end of WW1. So next time you roll up to get a Big Gulp or a Slurpee, take a moment to contemplate the long and storied relationship of numbers 7 and 11.

The world of rock music also has several ties to the number 11. Perhaps the most well known is Spinal Tap who can turn their amps “up to 11” even though others only go to 10. Since then, “Turn it up to 11” has become a rock cliché. My birthday falls on 3/11 and an easy way to get people to remember it is to think of the band 311. They got their name from an indecent exposure ticket issued by the Omaha Police Department which had the code 3.11 on it. Motley Crue founder and rock icon Nikki Sixx heads up Eleven Seven Music, (another instance of the classic 7-11 pairing) a record label that features Crue, Buckcherry, and Marion Raven. On their album Move Along, The All American Rejects feature a song titled 11:11. At some point I’m sure you’ve heard someone (usually a girl) say “it’s 11:11 make a wish.” Then you went on to wish for one night alone with Angelina Jolie instead of the sloppy mess who told you to make the wish.

Recently, after I told my boss that there are all these coincidences regarding my favorite number he immediately thought of 9/11. “You need to change that number” he warned me. I’m not known to be superstitious or reject honest, innocent numerals so I will continue praising the awesome number 11. Through the years of having anniversaries on the date and the number 11 etched on my basketball and track jerseys how can I abandon it now? You expect me to wrap the number in bloody towels and throw it in the trash? No way! I’m hoping it will help me out since I’m off to Las Vegas in a couple of days and 11 is no stranger to sin city. In Blackjack, the ace can be counted as 1 or 11, whichever benefits the player. Also, the 1960 heist film Oceans 11 featuring the Rat Pack and it’s 2001 remake are both considered to be 2 of the best Vegas films of all time. Will 11 be my lucky number in Vegas?

Wikipedia has an exhaustive entry on the meaning of the number 11 and its references in pop culture. Here are a few that are included in that entry and some others as well:

– There’s eleven players per team on the field during an NFL football game. The New York Giants are the only team to retire a #11 jersey.

– The first manned spacecraft to land on the moon was Apollo 11

– The average adult male heart weighs 11 ounces

– The eleventh hour is known as a time of urgency

Ben Hur, Titanic, and Lord of the Rings have each won 11 Academy Awards.

– Mash and Cheers both ran for 11 seasons

**During an “11” Google search I found a page that is just asinine. The site is called “Joy Greetings” but features a picture of the twin towers ablaze. It lists all the numeral coincidences surrounding 9/11. This struck me as ridiculous since there’s no “joy” to be had when thinking of that day and how it relates to being a “greeting” is beyond me. Somewhere the person that runs that site is raking in a ton of money from traffic revenue.