Caesars Entertainment buys Indiana Grand Casino

We saw that Caesars Entertainment out of Las Vegas had just bought the Indiana Grand Racing Casino as well as the Hoosier Park casino and racetrack from Centaur Gaming. We went out to the Indiana Grand to see what differences Caesars had brought to the place.

Other than some banners and signs calling out the Caesars name, we did not see any changes at all. The slots were the same. Our old players reward cards were still working, adding points as they always did. The half price buffet is still offered on Mondays for us “Golden Gamers” (folks 50 and over).

On Saturday, July 28th Caesars has a pretty wild promotion give-away day planned. They are calling it “An evening of winning” with $60,000 in cash prizes awarded over the evening.  Enter and get a chance to spin the wheel for an instant prize of $1,000! Time will tell what changes Caesars has in store for their new Indiana properties.  Be sure to check out the Indiana Grand website and the Caesars website for more info.

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Million Dollar Quartet rocks the Beef & Boards stage

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is presenting the Tony Award winning musical Million Dollar Quartet . We were able to catch this show recently, and boy were we glad we did! The story tells how Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash ended up together in the studios of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee in December, 1956.

Jamming in Sun Records Studio Photo courtesy B&B Media

We were absolutely amazed at the amount of talent on stage. Each cast member gives an amazing and energetic performance. I wanted to dance in the aisles! Get ready to enjoy  “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Walk the Line,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog,” and other classic hits.

We thought that Edward La Cardo nailed Elvis both in voice and in the gyrations of his presentation. Justin Figueroa is near perfect Johnny Cash when he “Walks the Line”. Brian Michael Henry, as Jerry Lee Lewis, redefines the phrase “tickle the ivories”.  His fingers just fly across the keys.  And I am sure that Carl Perkins is looking down on Christopher Wren and taps his feet in approval of Wren’s handling of the guitar. Yep, he’s that good. Dave Perry (Brother Jay) is a superb bass player, and Nathan Shew (Fluke) is outstanding on the drums. Rounding out the cast are Beef & Boards regulars Eddie Curry as Sam Phillips and Jill Kelly Howe as Dyanne.

We had a  very special evening at Million Dollar Quartet at Beef  & Boards Dinner Theatre. The music was iconic and professionally performed. We even got a history lesson as well. The sometimes dirty dealings of the record industry back then are shown. And in addition to the show, Chef Odell Ward’s buffet even adds  Southern inspiration to his scrumptious food. If you are in the Indy area we highly recommend MDQ. This is one not to miss.  For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For more information or complete show schedule through August 26th, visit Beef & Boards website.

 

“Singin in the Rain” gave us an enjoyable evening at Beef & Boards in Indianapolis

A live version of the MGM movie Singin in the Rain is on stage now at the Indianapolis Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre. Sher and I enjoyed the first Saturday evening performance of this classic romantic comedy.

Don Lockwood (Timothy Ford), doesn’t mind the downpour as he’s “Singin’ in the Rain” (photo courtesy B&B media)

Singin in the Rain is based on the 1952 MGM feature starring Gene Kelly. The B&B version has a dynamic and talented cast that recreates the famous numbers from the movie. An outstanding performance is given by Hoosier native Buddy Reeder  as Cosmo Brown. Timothy Ford has the lead as Don Lockwood, Kimberly Dorren Burns is cast oppposite him in the role of Kathy Selden. We laughed out loud at B&B favorite Sarah Hund as she nailed the character of Lina Lamont, a ditsy blonde with an amazingly obnoxious voice. Eddie Curry has great comedic timing as the movie director, and Beef & Boards Executive Director Doug Stark once again enjoys being on stage, this time as the movie studio producer.

Cosmo Brown (Buddy Reeder), left, and Don Lockwood (Timothy Ford), right, tap dance while singing “Moses Supposes” to the diction teacher (Michael Shelton) Photo courtesy B&B media

The orchestra is excellent as usual, conducted by Terry Woods who also plays keyboard. Additional musicians included Rick Hajduk on trumpet, Dorthy McDonald on woodwinds, Kristy Templet on keyboard and Cameron Bailey on percussion. You can’t believe how much sound this orchestra can deliver!

Kathy Selden (Kimberly Doreen Burns), center front, pops out of a cake and sings “All I Do is Dream of You” with more dancers during a celebration for Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont at Monumental Picture

We are always impressed with the quality of the lighting and sets at this intimate theater. A couple of technical problems at the beginning of Act 1 were handled with true professionalism. It is fun to see the wide variety of stage effects they can get out of this rather small but very versatile stage.

Ron Morgan’s choreography is true to the flavor of the original. Reeder and Ford display tap dancing perfection in the hilarious number “Moses Supposes”. Those two guys really know how to make those tap shoes talk. And yes, Ford’s rendition of the title song takes place during a real rain shower on stage! Front row tables may even get a few drops of rain during the number.

Kathy Selden (Kimberly Doreen Burns), onstage center in white, performs during the lavish “Beautiful Girl” number on the Monumental Pictures soundstage

Speaking of songs, get ready to hear the songs that made the original movie such a hit. Listen for “Good Morning”, “All I Do is Dream of You”, “You are My Lucky Star” and of course “Singin in the Rain”. I got nostalgic when Reeder sang “Make ‘Em Laugh”. I’ve always liked that song from the first time I heard it at the movie.

Our evening at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre gave us an opportunity to have a relaxing evening of great food and professional entertainment. Our evening began when we were escorted to our table. Drinks are ordered, and then you are invited to the all you care to eat buffet. I always go back for a second slice of the signature roast beef.  Our waiter made sure our drink glasses were always filled. Get a cup of coffee after supper. The coffee is terrific. Deserts are available and Sher and I always  choose to enjoy ours at intermission. (Even though we are supposed to watch our sugar intake, we both went for the Chicago cheesecake with blueberry and strawberry toppings.)

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Singin’ in the Rain is on stage through May 26th.  For tickets, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.

“Singin in the Rain” will make a splash at Beef and Boards

In 1952 famed movie company MGM produced a musical directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen. “Singin in the Rain” took the industry and movie goers by storm. Indy’s beloved Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre brings the stage version to its intimate facility for 50 performances through May 26th. Sher and I are really looking forward to seeing this production!

Don Lockwood (Timothy Ford), doesn’t mind the downpour as he’s “Singin’ in the Rain” (photo courtesy B&B media)

The title song made Kelly famous for his dancing in the rain. Somehow the B&B technical crew is going to make it rain on stage during that famous number. Can’t wait to see that inside rain storm. We’ll report on what we thought of the show after we’ve seen it. Get ticket info at Beef & Boards website.

 

Indiana Grand Casino offers half price buffet to seniors

Courtesy Centaur Gaming

The Indiana Grand Casino is 20 minutes from downtown Indianapolis in the center of the state. When you get your Club Centaur players card and are 50 and over you are tagged a “Golden Gamer”. Mondays are the best days for seniors at this popular casino.

On Mondays “Golden Gamers” get the Grand Buffet for half price. This is a great deal, especially for the lunch buffet (open 11 to 3). It is a full buffet with a great variety of foods. Half price makes the meal about $7.00 and includes your drink. You get half price for dinner, but it will be about twice the lunch price, but will have more selections of entrees.

In addition to the great deal on the buffet Indiana Grand also sponsors a free slots tournament for Golden Gamers. All you have to do is go to the place where the tournament machines are located, register, and play the slot machine anytime between 1:30 and 4. It is free to play, you try to get the most points in five minutes of play.

You do not have to gamble to get your free Centaur Club card. Take advantage of the great buffet discounts on Mondays. There is plenty of RV parking, with 24 hour shuttles to and from your rig. For information visit the Indiana Grand Racing and Casino website.

San Antonio river cruise on New Years Eve

Sher and I and family spent a very cold afternoon in San Antonio on New Year’s Eve. We enjoyed the famed river walk and were excited to take one of the Go Rio River Cruises. Fully narrated along the way, the cruise was most enjoyable. Seniors, be sure to ask for your senior discount for this must do attraction in the Alamo city!

Ready to board the boat for the cruise!

The San Antonio River Cruise

Glad we brought some cold weather clothing!

Pretty view of the River Walk with a pedestrian bridge

River side sculpture at the Briscoe Western Art Museum

Captain of the boat and tour narrator in one!

Mamma Mia! takes down the house at Beef and Boards

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre is celebrating its 45th Anniversary Season. Headlining the season is the beloved Indy venue’s premier of Mamma Mia!  Set on a Greek Island, the musical tells the story of Sophie, who wants her father at her upcoming wedding. The rub is she doesn’t know who he is, leading to three potential dads being invited to the event. The chaos you  might expect soon follows.

The Dynamos, Donna (Amy Bodnar), center, Tanya (Jalynn Steele), left, and Rosie (Lanene Charters) sing “Super Trouper” during a party for the bride-to-be Sophie

All of the 20 + numbers are from the famed Swedish group ABBA. You will love enjoying your favorite ABBA songs as they come to life on stage. You will delight when you hear the intro and realize that Donna, Rosie and Tanya are going to perform their version of the adored “Dancing Queen”. Especially of note is Sam and Donna’s rendition of “SOS”, and just wait for the hilarious presentation of “Take a Chance on Me” by Bill and Rosie.

Rosie (Lanene Charters) implores Bill Austin (Jeff Stockberger) to “Take a Chance on Me”

The energy displayed by this performance is remarkable. Each number showcases the exquisite talent, both in voice and dance, of all of the cast. Hats off to Ron Morgan for the choreography (and the Direction). Costumes, sets, lighting and all other support aspects of the production have reached perfection. The B&B orchestra has proven without a doubt that they are one of, if not the best, live theater orchestra.

Pepper (Leonard D. Harris Jr.), center, shows off with his friends (Gideon Chickos, left, and Ike Wellhausen) demonstrate the incredible energy of this show!

Several actors make their B&B debut during Mamma Mia! They include Amy Bodnar as Donna, mother of the bride. Also making their B&B debuts are Rachelle Rose Clark as Sophie, and Mark Epperson as Sam Carmichael, Will Leonard as Sky, and Jalynn Steele as Tanya. Several B&B regulars also star in the show.

Reuniting after many years, the Dynamos (from left) Tanya (Jalynn Steele), Rosie (Lanene Charters), and Donna (Amy Bodnar) sing “Dancing Queen” together using hair implements as microphones

Mamma Mia! is a production that deserves attending more than one time. This is one you have to see. The ABBA tunes will take you back in time or introduce you to a super group if you have not heard them before. Mamma Mia! runs through April 8th. Go to the Beef & Board website for show schedules, ticket pricing and any other information. But by all means go enjoy this fabulous performance.

We made our NOLA base at New Orleans West KOA

We had never been to  New Orleans before and we wanted a good campground that was reasonably close to the center of the action. We did our due diligence by looking at some RVer’s comments online, maps of the area and of course rates and availability of RV parks in the area.

Our site at the NOLA West KOA

We did settle on the New Orleans West KOA. This is the only KOA near New Orleans. We found the staff to be very friendly when we arrived and checked in. All of the sites are on concrete and are back in. Most are very deep, allowing for big rigs. All sites have full hook-ups including cable TV and WiFi, which worked sporadically. There is propane filling and a nice laundry room.

The office and store. Restrooms and showers are also in this building. The pool is open from April to October.

Interior roads are paved and plenty wide enough to allow backing in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The campground offers a free shuttle to down town next to the French Quarter. It leaves at 9 AM and returns at 5:45 PM daily.  The KOA staff will help you arrange different tours if you want their help. There are tons of tours of various New Orleans attractions, and the KOA staff can help with what’s good and what’s not so good! We did use the shuttle one day for the return trip. The driver was fun and gave us a narration all the way back.  Uber and Lyft drivers were within a very few minutes of the KOA both times we ordered them.

This is a comfortable campground. The roads are a little rough and some of the concrete pads need a bit of help in the levelness category. Fortunately ours was level, no need for tire blocking. Go ahead and book your stay at New Orleans at this facility.  The rates are reasonable, it is only about 20 minutes from NOLA, and the free shuttle is quite a nice a bonus. We give this park a 5 out of 5. Here is their website.

New Orleans’ famed above ground tombs in St Louis Cemetery No. 1

St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 was established via a Royal Spanish Land Grant in 1789. It was originally outside the city limits, and was at least twice its current size. The Archdiocese of New Orleans now has control of this cemetery. Currently the only way you can get into the cemetery is with a licensed tour guide. Unfortunately vandalism has forced this action.

Multiple designs for the tombs, some fancy and some plain

The famed above ground tombs and wall tombs are designed for use by generation after generation. Many of the tombs are owned by individual families. Some of the very large tombs are known as society tombs where several families or groups have combined resources.  The laws dictate that a year and a day passes before an additional burial is permitted. As you would expect, there are many well-known, famous and infamous people whose tombs are located in the cemetery.

We are standing in front of the tomb of Marie Laveau, the famed Voodoo Queen. This is reportedly the most visited tomb in New Orleans.

We decided to go on a St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and Voodoo tour put on by the Gray Line. Marcia, our tour guide, was a delightful host of our small group. As mentioned above, you must be with a licensed tour guide to gain entrance into the cemetery. Shop around, but we suggest going with the Gray Line Tour Company.

Plaque on the tomb of Marie Laveau, the most famous voodoo Priestess from New Orleans

Nicholas Cage had this tomb built in the cemetery. The only script on the tomb is the Latin phrase, omnia ab uno, which translates roughly to “all for one” or “everything for one.” Cage says he wants to be buried here, and the IRS cannot touch the asset of a burial plot. We were told that Cage visited the tomb a year ago with his brother.

Not all tombs are as well maintained as others.

Multiple generations of the same family interred in a wall tomb.