Def Leppard drummer’s artwork on display at Hard Rock AC; Casinos get ready for Super Bowl & Valentine’s Day 

Also, the reels are spinning at Pennsylvania’s newest gambling den.
A painting of Prince by Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen. Allen's work will be on display at the Hard Rock AC when the band performs next weekend.
A painting of Prince by Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen. Allen's work will be on display at the Hard Rock AC when the band performs next weekend.MAD Ink PR

Fans of arena-rock titans Def Leppard are in for a bonus when the beloved British band hits Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City Friday and Saturday for two co-headlining shows with ‘80s “hair-band” heroes Motley Crue: They’ll have a chance to get up-close and personal with Rick Allen, the group’s drummer.

In addition to keeping time for the unit whose signature tunes include “Photograph,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Rock of Ages,” Allen, 59, is an artist whose work will be on display—and for sale--at the Wentworth Gallery inside Hard Rock. Saturday afternoon from 1 to 3 p.m., he’ll be at the store to meet and greet the public.

For Allen, who lost his left arm in a 1985 car accident and famously rigged up his drum kit to compensate, painting isn’t just a late-in-life hobby.

Def Leppard drummer – and artist – Rick Allen will be at the Hard Rock AC for a gallery meet-and-greet.
Def Leppard drummer – and artist – Rick Allen will be at the Hard Rock AC for a gallery meet-and-greet.MAD Ink PR

“I would paint as a kid because I just loved the whole experience, you know, just getting paint everywhere, probably more on me and the ceiling and the floor,” he said with a chuckle during a recent phone chat.

“But it was special. I got into painting, and then my grandfather bought me my first camera. And then, around about the time I was 9 or 10, I got into playing music, but I kept up with the photography. Then, when my youngest [of two daughters] was born, it wasn't long before the two of us started painting together, and that kind of reignited my passion for doing it.

“So I learned a few techniques and it's just another fantastic way that I can express myself. And I find it really therapeutic, just like I do with the music.”

Allen’s creation process—which is particularly prominent in what he has dubbed the Legends series (it’s comprised of portraits of deceased rock stars)--is somewhat uncommon.

“Particularly with the Legends pieces, what I try to do is sort of ‘poster-ize,’ or dumb down the image,” he offered.

“And then it gives me the opportunity to create what almost look like geometric shapes when you get up close. But then when you stand back, the piece kind of reveals itself. And I love that. I think the influence there was probably [surrealist], Salvador Dali. With his pieces, it's one thing when you're standing up close to it, but then it becomes something completely different when you stand at a distance.

“So that's one technique that I really love. And other people seem to love it too. So that's been something that I've really enjoyed doing.”

While Allen has captured many different (often inanimate) subjects, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume the “Legends” paintings—whose subjects have included his predecessor in Def Leppard, Steve Clark, Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and Prince--are closest to his heart.

“It's really paying homage to a lot of the artists that sadly aren't around anymore, but are really responsible for influencing or inspiring me,” he said.

“So, you know, the first one I did was Steve Clark, which is kind of low hanging fruit, you know? I thought, well, that's a good way to get my feet wet, as it were. And then the [most recent] one that I did was Charlie Watts.”

With a note of sadness in his voice, he acknowledged that the likelihood of running out of subjects is pretty much non-existent.

“It seems like every month, we hear of somebody else that isn't with us anymore,” he reasoned. “So, I've definitely got my work cut out for me, especially if I wanna, continue painting legends.”

Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For tickets, click here.

Super Bowling at the casinos

Even before the advent of legal sports betting, Super Bowl Sunday was a big day for the gaming industry. All manner of promotions have been built around the “Big Game,” and private high-roller bashes have regularly been hosted by gridiron stars. 

This year is certainly no different, especially with the Philadelphia Eagles vying for NFL supremacy.

For instance, Ocean Casino Resort has a variety of Supe-focused events including the Big Game $10,000 Sweepstakes at the Gallery Bar, Book & Games.                       

For those just looking for a place to watch the Birds demolish the Kansas City Chiefs, Ocean’s offerings include:

Balcony Bar: $300 tables for two-to-four people include snacks, beer buckets and Gallery swag (reservations required).

Topgolf Swing Suite: There is free general admission; the $500 “bay experience” offers a semi-private bay, snacks, beer buckets and Gallery swag.

Villain & Saint: Beer bucket and wing specials begin at 4 p.m.

When the Iggles beat the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game, the scene at Sports & Social at Live! Casino Hotel Philadelphia was absolutely bonkers, so one can only imagine what it will be like for the “Big Game.” If you want to find out, $50 will reserve you a recliner at the casino-side party pit, while $200 and $600 will guarantee tables. Food and drink credits match the individual fees.

At Bally’s Atlantic City, The Yard is hosting a Supe 57 viewing party. The $60 per person fee includes a guaranteed seat, halftime buffet and open bar for the game’s second half. Reservations required.

For $50, Bally’s FanDuel Sportsbook will give you a seat and $50 food-and-beverage credit.

And if your pre-gaming needs musical accompaniment, then head to The Pool At Harrah’s, where platinum-dipped country singer-songwriter Chris Janson (“Buy Me A Boat,” “Drunk Girl”) will perform. The party gets started at 2 p.m.

Eats for your sweets

Gaming halls will barely have time to recover from Super Bowl Sunday before they roll out the St. Valentine’s Day red carpet. Here are some Atlantic City eateries that are offering specials for lovers (or anyone else who dines with them on Feb. 14):

Martorano’s (Harrah’s):

The “red gravy” joint from South Philly native Steve Martorano is offering a $180-per-couple dinner that includes appetizer (including shrimp cocktail and handmade mozzarella with prosciutto) and Lobster Martorano which includes a two-pound Maine lobster with mushrooms and cheddar served with saffron risotto and peas is recommended). All meals include an order of canollis for dessert.

Gordon Ramsay Steak (Harrah’s):

The $125-per-couple special features a Seafood Trilogy starter (Maine scallops, Scottish salmon and tuna tartare), a main course of Mushroom Risotto or  Chateaubriand for two (with a crawfish bearnaise and red wine shallot reduction). Dessert is melted chocolate soufflé or strawberry ginger salad.

Chelsea Five Gastropub (Tropicana Atlantic City):

The three-course, $75.99-per-person includes lobster bisque or Chelsea house salad, surf & turf entrée (28-day aged filet mignon with wild pacific shrimp, roasted tomatoes, heirloom garlic butter, grilled asparagus and a Meyer lemon cheesecake or Valrhona milk chocolate mousse torte.

Il Verdi (Tropicana):

For $86.99 per-person, the venerable northern-Italy- focused dining room is offering Insalata Caprese or Insalata Caesar to kick things off, with a Surf & Turf main course (28-day aged filet mignon topped with jumbo lump crab meat, heirloom tomato scampi butter, grilled asparagus and parmesan risotto. The meal finishes with Limoncello Mascarpone cheesecake.

Il Mulino New York (Hard Rock):

The swanky salon is offering a $145-per-person four-course special that starts with grilled octopus or a classic Caprese salad, continues with a braised veal or lobster course. The entrée options are a 12-ounce filet mignon with garlic mashed potatoes or halibut with asparagus. The meal is topped off by four dessert options including Torta Alla Ricotta and tiramisu.

Newest Parx opens

Today’s the day Parx Casino Shippensburg is scheduled to open its doors in the Cumberland County hamlet.

The “mini-casino,” which, likes its namesake in Bensalem, Pa., is owned by Greenwood Racing Inc. boasts 73,000 square feet of space containing 500 slot machines, 48 electronic table games and Liberty Bar and Grill which despite its location, is billed as a “family-friendly” eatery with its own entrance that allows entry without traversing the gaming area.

Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday; Parx will remain open from 10 a.m. Friday through 2 a.m. Monday.

For more, click here.

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