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Blowin' in the Harbor

Bob Dylan, machine guns and mutant bedbugs... just another wacky month in the casino industry

Blowin’ in the Harbor

It says here that Bob Dylan’s coming to MGM National Harbor.

No, not as a performer, or for that matter as a 1960s folk icon, who became electric, with a cool organ sound, and people were upset, and whose band became The Band. No, Mr. Zimmerman arrives at MGM National Harbor as an iron sculptor.

That’s a sculptor who works with iron. Not, you know, a sculptor made out of iron. Although that would be really cool.

Dylan will be at the new Maryland MGM property to officially unveil a giant iron archway he designed for the casino. Titled Portal, the sculpture will be permanently displayed at the MGM National Harbor Casino after its Grand Opening, the date for which MGM has pinpointed as “later this year.”

According to an article in Rolling Stone—yes, I still subscribe, wise guy—Dylan’s sculptures incorporate “found objects including farm equipment, children’s toys, wheels, axes, cogs and even antique firearms.” I wonder if tin fire trucks and Colt Peacemakers are woven into the sculpture. With an ax.

I guess I’ll have to wait until the Grand Opening. Hey, maybe I’ll get to interview Bob. Maybe I’ll even get into Rolling Stone.

GGB: “Mr. Dylan, what did you incorporate into your archway sculpture for MGM National Harbor?”

Dylan: “Stuff that Mack the Finger got from Louie the King. Like 40 red, white and blue shoestrings. And a thousand telephones that don’t ring. Do you know where I can get rid of these things?”

“Well, Mr. Dylan,” I’ll say to him, “I think it can be easily done. Just take everything down to Highway 61.”

Yes, I did an entire bit so I could get a verse of Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” into a column. Hey, you can turn the page, you know?

By the way, what Dylan actually did say in a statement was nearly as bizarre: “Gates appeal to me because of the negative space they allow. They can be closed, but at the same time they allow the seasons and breezes to enter and flow. They can shut you out or shut you in. And in some ways, there is no difference.”

Wow. Shut you out, or shut you in. Hey, like a rolling stone, right?

Moving down to Sloan, Nevada (pop. 105), we find the site of some sure-fire fun and mayhem soon to arrive. The owner of Machine Guns Vegas, Genghis Cohen, is planning to build a 16.2-acre theme park just west of Interstate 15 south of the M Resort.

First, is that his real name? Would a couple named Cohen really look at each other and say, “Dear, let’s name him Genghis?” I’m guessing not. Unless they were naming him after the Genghis Cohen restaurant in Los Angeles. (Chinese American cuisine, four and a half stars. Try the Szechuan egg rolls.)

Anyhow, Genghis Cohen wants to open this theme park in Sloan that offers bungee-jumping, an ATV obstacle course, and speed boats zipping through man-made channels. He’s proposing to call it XPark Vegas, and I must admit, it sounds really cool.

I originally thought it was even more interesting when the news feed l was looking at left a comma out of the headline:

“Plan Proposes Bungee Jumping Speedboats, Other Attractions for Sloan.”

Oh boy, bungee-jumping speedboats. Sign me up!

Incidentally, the Las Vegas Review Journal ran a picture of Cohen at his Machine Guns Vegas location, hoisting an M1919 Browning mounted, belt-fed machine gun.

Now that should be at the theme park.

Moving on, the Review Journal reports that a casino restaurant in North Las Vegas has reopened after an inspection by health officials in response to a bedbug scare.

A woman posted Facebook pictures of welts on her legs from bedbug bites and a photo purporting to show a nest of the micro-bloodsuckers under a table. The photos went viral, and reportedly, other patrons chimed in with bedbug stories, bedbug pictures and alarming bedbug warnings.

Gadzooks. Bedbugs in a restaurant! They normally show up in the middle of the night in, um, beds. I researched this extensively at one point several years ago. (Don’t ask.) Bedbugs generally don’t form columns with little bedbug generals and attack people while they’re sitting at a table. These must have been some kind of mutant bedbugs, maybe left over from the Nevada atomic tests in the 1950s.

The casino had only recently been inspected, and received an “A” grade from the health district. How could they anticipate… The Attack of the Atomic Bedbugs? (Columbia Pictures, 1954.)

Evidently, nuclear fallout was just… blowin’ in the wind.

Oh, come on, you knew I was circling back to Dylan at some point.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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