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    The last few years for Lonestar have proven as smooth as its trademark country harmonies. In 2011, the veteran Nashville group welcomed back lead singer Richie McDonald, who had exited four years earlier to focus on his solo career. (Vocalist Cody Collins took his spot.)


    Comedian Loni Love, who calls herself “America's sister,” is living proof of her claim that engineers can be “hilarious.”

    Loni Love

    WHO IS HE: The Weeknd is a Canadian singer-songwriter who began his professional career in late 2010 by uploading several of his songs to YouTube. A buzz began and in the coming year he’d go on to release nine mix tapes including “House of Balloons,” “Thursday” and “Echoes of Silence.” In 2013 The Weeknd released his debut studio album “Kiss Land” which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and included the singles “Live For” and “Kiss Land.” In September 2014 the singer released “Love Me Harder,” a duet with Ariana Grande which reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Just two months later The Weeknd topped himself with the hit single “Earned It,” which reached No. 3 on the charts.

    The Weeknd

    WHO ARE THEY: Hailing from Flint, Mich., Grand Funk Railroad scored five platinum albums between 1969 and 1972. Although they never received much praise from the critics, the band became fan favorites thanks to heavy touring. In 1973 the band had their first big hit single with “We’re an American Band,” a song that became an instant rock classic. Other hits include “The Loco-Motion,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Bad Time.”

    Grand Funk Railroad

    WHO IS HE: Dennis DeYoung is the former lead singer, songwriter, keyboardist and accordion player for Styx. The progressive rock band broke through to the mainstream in 1974 with its single “Lady,” which reached No. 6 on the charts. Throughout the rest of the decade, Styx released platinum album after platinum album, including “Crystal Ball,” “The Grand Illusion,” “Pieces of Eight” and “Cornerstone.” Some of the band’s biggest hit singles during this period were “Come Sail Away,” “Renegade,” “Blue Collar Man,” “Fooling Yourself” and “Babe.” Styx kicked off the 1980s in style with the 1981 release “Paradise Theater,” which sold more than 3 million copies and became the biggest hit album of its career.

    Dennis DeYoung

    Talk-show host Wendy Williams performed at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, and our friendly neighborhood Mayor Don Guardian invited her to gain a new perspective on Atlantic City. So the two took a tram tour of the Boardwalk and the city, and he even dedicated a bench in her honor. It paid off as the celebrity talked about her great experience on her syndicated talk show, pointing out the nightlife and dining options rank among her favorites.

    NeNe Leakes

    WHO ARE THEY: Michael Che is a comedian, writer and actor who grew up in New York City and began a career as a stand-up in 2009. In 2013 he began writing for “Saturday Night Live” and in the spring of 2014 worked as a correspondent on “The Daily Show.” In September 2014 Che became an anchor on SNL’s Weekend Update alongside Colin Jost. In addition to television work, Che has appeared in films such as “Chinese Puzzle,” “Lyle” and “Top Five.”

    SNL's Michael Che and Colin Jost

    It's said emotional people wear their heart on their sleeve. Well, Florida Georgia Line fans wear their country music fandom on their bodies. 

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    florida georgia line

    There are so many good options for happy hour in Atlantic City, it can become quite a quandary deciding which is the best place to get an early buzz and eat on the cheap.

    Golden Nugget

    Anyone who thinks you can’t improve on a classic is dead wrong. Take Kix McNutley’s in Sea Isle City for example. This mainstay of the South Jersey nightlife scene celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and in honor of that milestone, they have done a complete overhaul, adding a new interior, a granite bar top, a state-of-the-art sound system, a stage and more, proving you can in fact teach an old dog new tricks.

    Kic McNutley's

    The longest-running outdoor casino party spot — The Deck at Golden Nugget — celebrates its summer grand opening this weekend, just in time for the big holiday.

    The Deck

    1 Step back in time at the Chelsea Pub and Inn. People may assume the Chelsea Pub and Inn building is only 30 years old, since the 24-hour pub and grill only opened in 1985.

    Chelsea Pub

    This week, we head down to the southern tip of the state, to a local hangout tucked in a classic hotel that is equal parts bar, restaurant and music venue: The Mad Batter in Cape May.

    Mad Batter

    1 No, you don’t have to travel to Maryland. Tony’s Baltimore Grill is about as Atlantic City as it gets. Located on Atlantic Avenue since 1966, no one that currently works at the restaurant and bar actually knows how it got its name, but if you ask, you’ll get two different answers — either because the seafood they serve came from a Baltimore-based vendor or because the original owners were from Baltimore. But it was entrepreneur Anthony Tarsitano who took over the now-pizza joint, which replaced an Irish piano bar. Since then, it’s become a local landmark that has provided families and friends with many fond memories.

    Tony's Baltimore Grill

    1 All the beer you’ll ever need. You can find a lifetime’s worth of brews all under the same roof at Firewaters.


    This week our nightlife travels take us deep into the Pine Barrens, just outside Leeds Point, home to one of South Jersey’s most enduring legends — the Jersey Devil. It seems that despite his fear-inducing reputation, this notorious horse-faced, bat-winged monster is just a down-to-earth local who likes to put down a few craft beers and a top-notch cheesesteak once in a while. After we spent a night out at his namesake bar, JD’s Pub and Grille, we can’t blame him.

    JD’s Pub & Grille

    Sundays just got a lot more fun. Especially if you like clubbing.


    1 They’re the kings of rock. Hard Rock Cafe inside Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort is the 62nd restaurant in the international chain of 180.The restaurant offers amazing American food in a unique, rock ’n’ roll atmosphere. Every Hard Rock location is like a music museum and as such, A.C.’s is filled with authentic memorabilia from several legendary artists such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Grateful Dead and Red Hot Chili Peppers. So while waiting for your food, get up and browse through all the guitars, costumes, concert posters and music memorabilia of all kinds strewn throughout the restaurant. Wanna buy a souvenir while you’re there? The “Rock Shop” gift store sits at the restaurant’s entrance, where you can buy all the items you crave.

    Hard Rock Cafe

    Pizza and beer don’t seem like the most mind-blowing concept for a Jersey Shore restaurant upon first hearing it, but one trip to Bocca Coal Fired Bistro in Margate will make you rethink your attitude. One thing is for sure, you’ll be glad you went.


    1 Get a little goofy at Planet Rose Karaoke Bar. Located on the second floor of The Quarter at Tropicana Casino and Resort, this quirky karaoke lounge is filled with loads of high energy and a punk rock vibe.

    ATS/Planet Rose

    There is a certain type of bar that instantly makes you feel at home when you walk in, producing an invisible but palpable sense of comfort and familiarity without even trying. Hammonton’s West End Grill is just such a place.

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    West End Grill

    Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack — aka Dr. John — may very well have one of the most recognizable jazz voices of our time. But maybe even more than the unique voice of this talented musician, who has become synonymous with his hometown of New Orleans, it’s his adroitness at the piano that has garnered him comparisons to greats such as Fats Domino and Huey “Piano” Smith, both also from Crescent City.

    Dr. John

    Fans of fast-paced, high-scoring, run-and-gun football feast on Arena League action, as do many NFL fans jonesing for a fix after the Super Bowl.

    Dynamic Duo

    The Wildwoods, always up for something new, is hosting the inaugural “Gotta B Wildwoods” music festival, a free, fun-filled, family-friendly full day of continuous entertainment with music by awesome bands such as Chameleon, Tidal Wave, Who Knows and Animal House. The festivities take place at Fox Park on Ocean Avenue between Burk and Montgomery avenues beginning 11 a.m. Saturday, May 30, and last until 8 p.m. Additional activities include food and craft vendors, a kids’ corner and more. But the fun doesn’t stop at 8 p.m. Because that’s when guests are encouraged to head down to the beach for a bonfire and live acoustic music until 10 p.m. Tickets for this portion of the event are $10 for adults, $2 for children ages 10 to 18. Kids under 10 are free. Go to GWOC.com.

    Gotta B Wildwoods

    Three-time Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Brandford Marsalis, one of the most sought after musicians in the world, is participating in the Grunin Spotlight Series at Ocean County College’s Main Campus 8 p.m. Saturday, May 30. Marsalis leads one of the finest jazz quartets and often tours with them or as a soloist. He has played with such renowned orchestras as the Chicago, Detroit and Dusseldorf Symphonies, the New York Philharmonic and Boston Pops Orchestra. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at Tickets.Ocean.edu. The Grunin Center is located at 1 College Drive in Toms River.

    Brandford Marsails

    Cape May Stage is currently running the New Jersey premiere of “Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins,” the Texas-born, no-holds-barred columnist and writer through June 12. Written by twin sisters Margaret and Allison Engel, the one-woman-show starring Georgette Reilly Timoney highlights Ivins as a bawdy broad who stirs up trouble in the old boy’s club and shoots down those whom she believes got “too big for their britches.” Ivins became a widely read syndicated columnist and one of America’s most beloved satirists. Show times are 8 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Tickets, $38 for adults, $33 for seniors, $18 for students and active duty military, can be purchased at CapeMayStage.org.

    Red Hot Patriot

    An annual favorite for more than 40 years, the Ocean City Flower Show returns for three days, Friday through Sunday, May 29 to 31, at the Music Pier. The show has continued to blossom more and more each year. The theme this time is “Chic to Chic: Flowers to Fashion,” with competitive categories such as “Bling” and “String of Pearls.” Horticultural exhibits of African violets, orchids, roses and more will also be part of this event that turns O.C. Music Pier into a botanical garden. There is no fee to exhibit, compete or attend. Shows are 2 to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 609-399-1199 or go to GardenClubOCNJ.wordpress.com.

    Ocean City Flower Show

    Next up in the ultra successful Savor Borgata Culinary Series is “Beer N’ Bites” 4 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at 28 West. Borgata Executive Chef Tom Biglan will be on-hand to discuss the little but luscious dishes he’s prepared to accompany a range of beers from Blue Moon Brewing Co. A Blue Moon rep will also be there to chat about the brews. The cost is $39 per person. For more info, go to TheBorgata.com

    Borgata Executive Chef Thomas Biglan

    The longest-running professional sports event in Atlantic City — the annual ShopRite LPGA Classic — returns to Stockton Seaview Golf Resort from Monday, May 25, through May 31. Look for an exciting competition among more than 140 world-class athletes vying for a $1.5 million prize.


    Following in the Hulk-sized footsteps of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Tomorrowland” opens in IMAX at the Tropicana casino and Resort Friday, May 22.


    Nils Lofgren has had an enviable musical career. The guitarist has played with everyone from Neil Young to Robert Plant to Ringo Starr, but he is perhaps best known as Bruce Springsteen’s guitarist and back-up vocalist in the E Street Band.

    Nils Lofgren

    In 1978 the first legal casino in the nation outside the state of Nevada sprang to life in Atlantic City from architecture representative of a bygone era. To this day, Resorts Casino Hotel still maintains the restored façade of the stately hotels that once lined the Boardwalk decades ago.

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