David J. Spatz
When they turned off the lights and locked the doors of the old Revel Casino Hotel on September 2, 2014, a piece of Ivan Kane’s heart became a hostage inside New Jersey’s dark second-tallest building.
Kane, the creator of Ivan Kane’s Royal Jelly Burlesque nightclub, had no choice but to walk away from the swanky club which, like many non-gambling amenities in the doomed casino, was as much a huge success than Revel’s casino. a dismal failure.
“To be honest with you, when Revel had its high profile issues and went through the bankruptcies, I thought there would be some sort of takeover and someone would rush through a seamless transition (and keep it open ),” said Kane, who opened his first burlesque club in Los Angeles, a second at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and went bicoastal when Royal Jelly debuted at Revel in 2012.
“But over the years,” he added, “I actually gave up hope. I thought that this $9 million nightclub that I built was just going to sit there, preserved like it was. was in a time capsule never to be used again, it was as if it was hermetically sealed or preserved in formaldehyde.
Sometimes patience really is a virtue. Earlier this year, after Florida developer Glenn Straub sold Revel, which he bought for pennies on the dollar at a bankruptcy auction, Kane received a phone call from new owner Bruce Deifik, a businessman from Colorado.
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Deifik told Kane that he bought the old Revel, planned to reopen it by summer, and wanted Kane’s burlesque club Royal Jelly to reopen as well.
“It was a call I didn’t expect to get in a million years,” said Kane, who – along with the rest of the new Ocean Resort Casino – reopened Royal Jelly on Wednesday night. Thursday marked the official grand opening ceremonies for both casinos, including the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino a block from Ocean Resort in the converted Trump Taj Mahal.
Kane, a former actor and writer whose credits include the 1986 Vietnam War film “Platoon,” had come to love Atlantic City after building Royal Jelly and opening it in 2012.
After Revel closed, he was approached by Tropicana Entertainment President and CEO Tony Rodio and asked him to develop a club within the casino’s retail and entertainment complex known as The Quarter at the location once occupied by a comedy club.
Kane created Kiss Kiss, a club designed exclusively for the Trop. Kane described the club as “a trip down the rabbit hole into the neon-fueled nights of Bangkok”.
But as fun as it was to have carte blanche to set up Club Tropicana, it still lacked Royal Kelly, his signature club at the opposite end of the promenade.
A few times in the four years the Revel has remained in obscurity, Kane had the opportunity to inspect his investment and tour parts of the property with Straub, including his nightclub.
“It was just immaculate, and when I walked into Royal Jelly it was with more than a hint of sadness as I gazed at this beautiful nightclub which was literally just waiting to be reopened under the right circumstances. “, did he declare. “I knew the property and the nightclub were in good shape and just waiting for someone to revitalize (the building). (But) after a long conversation with (Straub), I didn’t hold out hope that this would ever happen.
But once the property was finally sold to Deifik, and he was determined to open by the summer, Kane started gathering his team and set about updating Royal Jelly and bringing it back to life. .
It does not change the format. The club will still put on a classic, traditional burlesque show, where young women, accompanied by a jazz trio, take the stage individually in evening dresses and knee-length satin gloves and perform what Kane describes as “a show slow, sensual and sexy”. striptease.
The secret to burlesque, Kane admitted, is that the actual dancers are performers who have mastered the art of teasing. The trick is to trick the audience into thinking they’ve seen something they haven’t actually seen.
Fan dancer Sally Rand, a burlesque legend of the 1920s and 1930s, was considered the master at teasing the public, and her moves are still copied by burlesque dancers today.
The traditional burlesque show sets the stage for a much bigger show that starts at 2am. It’s burlesque rock ‘n’ roll with six dancers and a live rock band.
“It’s kind of reverse karaoke if you can figure that out,” Kane explained. “We hear the original lead vocals from the original rock ‘n roll song. And we have a live band playing it note for note like you would hear it on the album. (We have) six dancers dancing under this amazing laser light show controlled to the beat of the music. It is therefore a huge experience that ends with a shower of confetti on the crowd, and which launches our late night program at Royal Jelly.
The only changes Kane has made to Royal Jelly are tech-based. The original lighting and sound systems were installed when Revel opened in 2012. As the property closed two years later and then sat idle for four years, it was time to put the technology to today’s standards.
“Technology is constantly evolving and improving and accelerating. So what we did was take all the production values and completely change that,” he said. “A whole new lighting system, a whole new laser show, a whole new light show, new music, new costumes, new dancers. We went all over the country to audition dancers. So the shows , in and of themselves, will all be new with the production values associated with those shows, but the bones of the nightclub are exactly as everyone remembers them.
Around the city
country superstar Carrie Underwood baptizes Hard Rock Live at the Etess Arena Friday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $100, $150, $350, available through ticketmaster.com or (800) 736-1420.
Comedian and cast member of “Saturday Night Live” Michael Che performs in the Borgata Music Box Friday at 9 p.m. Tickets are $30 and $45, available through theborgata.com or through ComcastTIX at (877) 544-8499.
The orchestra featuring former members of ELO and ELO II performs at Resorts Casino Hotel Friday at 9 p.m. Tickets are $30, $40 and $50, available through ticketmaster.com or (800) 736-1420.
“Dirty Dancing: The Classic Stage Story” will be presented at Caesars Atlantic City at 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Tickets are $45, $55, and $75, available at ticketmaster.com or (800) 736-1420.
pit bull performs at Hard Rock Live in the Etess Arena Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $65 and $90, available through ticketmaster.com or (800) 736-1420.
Country singer-songwriter Sam Hunt with special guests Kane Brown and Conner Smith kick off the Atlantic City Beach Summer Concert Series Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $59.50 to $149.50, available through ticketmaster.com or (800) 736-1420.
MMA seriously dead, a mixed martial arts show, will be performed at the Showboat Hotel on Saturday at 6 p.m. Tickets are $55 and $80, available at deadseriousmma.com
Actor Howie Mandel, who is launching his own comedy club at the Hard Rock, performs Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets are $40 and $65, available through ticketmaster.com or (800) 736-1420.