Tag Archives: LA Times


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From the LA Times
By Hugo Martin Contact Reporter
March 15, 2017

The exterior of Larry Flynt's Lucky Lady Casino in Gardena. The working-class city hopes Flynt's investment in the casino pays off for Gardena. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
The exterior of Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Casino in Gardena. The working-class city hopes Flynt’s investment in the casino pays off for Gardena. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

“With Larry Flynt involved, controversy is inevitable. But Gardena likes its chances with his casino investment”


“Adult entertainment mogul Larry Flynt is no stranger to controversy, and less than eight months after taking over a struggling Gardena casino, his new enterprise has already sparked its share of strife.”

“But the working-class South Bay city is betting that Flynt’s gamble on the card club will pay off with an economic resurgence that will preserve hundreds of jobs and generate extra tax revenue for Gardena’s coffers.”

The Times’ post continues:

On Saturday, Flynt plans to unveil the nearly $5 million in renovations he has made at the former Normandie Casino, which he renamed the Lucky Lady Casino and crowned with a neon sign depicting a scantily clad woman, swinging a bare leg.

In addition, Flynt has upgraded the 50,000-square-foot casino with a new paint job, fresh carpeting, chandeliers, furniture and flat-screen television sets. The casino added a new smoking area and remodeled its restaurant.

But Flynt, 74, said he isn’t done.

Architects are already drawing up plans for the possible addition of retail and office space on the 12.5 acres surrounding the casino, according to Flynt, who says he is willing to spend up to $60 million on the property over the next few years.

“It will do good for Gardena,” Flynt said in an interview from his ornate office on the 10th floor of a Beverly Hills building.

Gardena officials hope he is right. After disputes over his contributions to the city and the decency of his casino sign, Flynt and the city have reached an agreement that both sides anticipate will generate profits for Flynt and economic renewal for the city.

“I personally believe this will be a shot in the arm for the street,” Gardena City Manager Mitchell Lansdell said of West Rosecrans Avenue, where the Lucky Lady Casino is surrounded by strip malls, an aging apartment complex and a welding supply warehouse.

The casino is licensed to operate 60 tables and employs about 400 people.


Since the renovation work began in August, business has picked up by at least 10%, said Thomas Candy, Flynt’s executive vice president of gaming operations.

“It was very dull and drab before,” Candy said.

Players agree that the renovations have brightened the atmosphere in the casino.

“This is 100% better,” said Sue Laurie, a retiree who has been playing poker at the former Normandie Casino for decades. “Before, it was all dark.”

But like many of Flynt’s business endeavors, this one has been punctuated by conflict.

When the owners of the rival Normandie Casino pleaded guilty last year to shielding several high rollers from federal reporting requirements and violating the Bank Secrecy Act, Flynt bought the casino for an undisclosed amount.

Since 2000, Flynt has operated the Hustler Casino, which sits less than a mile from the Normandie Casino on West Redondo Beach Boulevard. The Hustler and Normandie casinos combined generate nearly 20% of Gardena’s general fund revenue, which is why the stakes were so high for both sides in the ensuing negotiations.

Once Flynt took over the Normandie, the city of Gardena proposed that Flynt give[sic] the city $800,000 a month from his two casinos.

Flynt rejected the deal and briefly closed the Normandie Casino, threatening to sell its gaming license. The city backed off on its proposal and, instead, the two sides reached an agreement to have Flynt pay 12% of his monthly gross gaming revenue for both casinos.

In addition, if the gross gaming revenue for the Lucky Lady exceeds $2 million in any month, the city must reimburse Flynt a portion of the 12% contribution in the form of loans and grants to pay for casino renovation work.

“They were trying to shake me down,” Flynt grumbled.” read more…


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Movable Buffet: Final entry

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photo by Sarah Gerke
photo by Sarah Gerke

The following post is the last entry from LA Times’ blogger Richard Abowitz whose daily blog (The Movable Buffet) the LasVegasBuffetClub has used as a valuable source of information time and again. Thanks Richard for your excellent reporting.

“In a very Vegas way, I got lucky.”

“In October 2005, I was hired by L.A. Times editors who had found my Vegas writing online. I became one of the first bloggers in the history of the L.A. Times. Vegas was booming in those years, and tourists from California were pouring into town, many buying investment homes. The idea of a blog that documented daily the happenings and entertainments that drew so many to Vegas made sense on a lot of levels. Obviously, much has changed since then, and I am sad to report the Movable Buffet blog is being discontinued.”

“The Vegas news and events that were covered here you will now find covered by other L.A. Times blogs in entertainment and travel. For those of you who enjoy my Vegas coverage for the Los Angeles Times, my print column continues to run in Sunday Calendar (along with photos from Sarah Gerke). I also hope to blog about Vegas again soon, and so please keep an eye out.”

“I have to thank Sarah, the Buffet’s loyal photographer, above all others. She was on board with this blog from Day 1. She shot Vegas out of pure joy. Thank you, Sarah. Your photos, as so many readers have commented, have always been incredible. I also need to thank the fantastic staff of the L.A. Times, who for four straight years has hosted this blog, edited its entries and made suggestions that have made me a better writer, reporter and even person.”

“But most of all, I want to thank those of you who have read me daily or even once. I hope I wrote something you enjoyed. I am very grateful to all. Thank you. Be well.”

— Richard Abowitz

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“Who knows beauty: Rush Limbaugh or Perez Hilton?” Story is from LA Times’ Richard Abowitz.

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LA Times Planet Hollywood
LA Times' Planet Hollywood
photo by Sarah Gerke

The following story is a repost from (The LA Times) Richard Abowitz’s Movable Buffet.

“Does it say anything that the Miss USA pageant picks Perez Hilton as a celebrity judge and Miss America goes another way?”

“This press release today from the Miss America organization:”

“The Miss America Organization (MAO) announced today that Rush Limbaugh has been named as one of the national judges for the 2010 Miss America Pageant, which will be held at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 30 and broadcast live on TLC.”

“I admit Rush Limbaugh is not my image of a beauty judge. On the other hand Perez Hilton single-handedly made the Miss USA pageant at Planet Hollywood back in April a national news story. I don’t think Limbaugh has that kind of cheek. But we will see.”

Connect with The Movable Buffet

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“Joel Stein enjoys the hard times in Vegas,” republished from The Movable Feast

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Photo: Sarah Gerke
Photo: Sarah Gerke, LA TIMES

The following post is from (the LA Times’) Richard Abowitz’s Movable Feast, August 20, 2009 | 4:09 pm.

“For an out-of-town reporter, Joel Stein has been a Vegas regular. He covered the Vegas boom in an earlier cover story for Time. He also profiled Steve Wynn for Time. But his current cover story for Time on Vegas has generated a lot of local hand-wringing over his portrayal of the desperate and negative times the city is going through combined with the lack of easy answers to the problems plaguing Vegas. Well, there is an easy answer — people start coming in far greater numbers and start spending far more than they ever have before. That used to happen year after year, and many people here still believe that process has been only temporarily interrupted for going on 18 months or so. Stein’s story suggests that Vegas is in many ways engaged in an elaborate bluff with its future not yet realizing or accepting just how long the Strip will remain the bargain destination it has once again become.”

[Abowitz continues:] Full disclosure: I have known Stein for years (having met him when he interviewed me on an earlier Vegas assignment), and he wrote for Los Angeles Times.

Abowitz: So, was it immediately obvious on this trip that things were different for Vegas than during your previous visits?

Stein: The weird thing was showing up at the Hotel (at Mandalay Bay). I had talked to a bunch of people and everyone confirmed the place was decimated. And I had seen photos of Echelon. And so I was expecting the worst. But when I showed up at the Hotel my room was messed up. And so I assumed that there must be 8,000 other rooms and so whatever. But the place was literally full. I walked out to the pool and it was packed. So, I guess the price cutting really worked and so the obvious things I was looking for were not there.

Abowitz: How obvious was the price cutting?

Stein: I signed up for lists and so I get all these e-mails like “$100 at the Wynn with a $50 dining coupon.” It is the same with MGM. The deals are out there.

Abowitz: Well, the hotels are doing whatever it takes to not be empty. Your experience seems to suggest it is working.

Stein: It is working. And, it is awesome if you are looking for a cheap vacation. They fill the place up.

Abowitz: So, when did you notice the recession hidden amidst the bustle?
read the rest of the story…

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Third time is the charm “Scarlett and her Seductive Ladies of Magic.”

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Photo Sarah Gerke
Photo credit Sarah Gerke/LA Times

This is a reprint of (The LA Times) The Movable Buffet’s Richard Abowitz quoting the Review Journal’s Mike Whetherford. Huh!

From The Movable Buffet:
‘Princess’ gives up being regal to seduce
“Most people know the family-entertainment concept in Vegas failed long before I moved here a decade ago. Those who do not know that learn quickly. I don’t know how I missed the news release on this one. But I did. So, I will just quote Mike Weatherford’s column today:”

“The single-named Scarlett does an about-face from a family-friendly afternoon act to a 10 p.m. show with topless dancers at the Riviera starting July 1. She trades her ‘Princess of Magic’ handle for the new billing of ‘Scarlett and her Seductive Ladies of Magic.'”

Find more informtion on “Scarlett and her Seductive Ladies of Magic” at the LasVegasBuffetClub’s Riviera Page

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Elton John’s final ‘Red Piano’ performance

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I was cruising the LA Times.com website page “The Movable Buffet: Dispatches from Las Vegas by Richard Abowitz” and found a post on (Sir) Elton John: (Sir) “Elton John’s final ‘Red Piano’ performance” (at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.)

I’ve been a bit bummed out over (Sir) Elton ever since he dumped Marilyn Monroe for Princess Diana, so to speak. The dude wrote a love song to MM, singing passionately about America’s fallen princess…Then the Brits lost a princess (tragic circumstances,) and once again – a great loss for the entire world.

But c’mon dude, write a brand new song, don’t steal Marilyn’s song. Of course I’m “speaking” of “Candle in the Wind,” the song (Sir) Elton wrote “for” Marilyn Monroe, then rewrote – changing a few words – and re-recorded the song “for” the Princess of Wales after her tragic death. Who did (Sir) Elton dishoner more: the desperately-gorgeous, Blonde American Princess, the preciously-beautiful, British Royal Princess or (Sir) Elton John?

Oh well, I digress, back to the great Abowitz: “Goodbye, Elton John. Though I never interviewed you at all, I saw the Red Piano that sold out while the shows around you did not.”
“And, it seems to me that you worked the Colosseum like a beacon amidst the neon, always knowing which hits to play to make the crowds applaud.”
“And, I would have liked to interview you, but I am just a blogger, and so you packed your shows in Vegas without the Movable Buffet.” Click this link to view “The Movable Buffet: Dispatches from Las Vegas by Richard Abowitz”

“Musician Sir Elton John performs during the final performance of his show “The Red Piano” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace April 22, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. John played 241 concerts in the 4,300-seat showroom since he began his run as one of the resort’s resident headliners in February 2004.” read more from Zimbio.com