HughE Dillon: Chris Noth (aka Mr. Big) Opens Parx Casino

Plus library appearances by John Waters and Queen's Brian May, Bethenny Frankel comes to town, and did anyone see Jake Gyllenhaal at El Vez on Saturday?

Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment launched live table games at Parx Casino yesterday in Bensalem, and Sex and the City’s “Mr. Big” Chris Noth threw out the ceremonial first dice and cut the ribbon.

ABOVE: Anthony Faranca, Parx assistant GM, and Noth just before the ribbon cutting. That’s a mighty big pair of scissors you have there, Mr. Big.

Thousands of gaming fans, as well as Mr. Big fans, were on hand. Noth was terrific signing for them and posing for pictures, and at points it was pandemonium. One lady had to be pried from a death grip around Noth’s waist, but he took it all in stride laughing and joking with her as he made his way to the craps table.

ABOVE: Linda Waggle, who won $58,000 last year on a slot machine at Parx, looks on. She later told me that Parx is a weekly visit for her, and she appreciates the VIP service.

ABOVE: Pennsylvania State Senator Tommy Tomlinson and constituent Lisa Debenuto enjoy the VIP party held at the 360Parx club inside the casino where Chris Noth sat in a roped off section with a few high rollers.  Every once and awhile he would get up and walk right into the crowd, pose for photos, sign autographs and wave to the crowd.

ABOVE: Amy Blum and Andrea Logan-Caron are nurses that make regular outings to Parx and the club. Sources at Parx tell me they are in the planning stages of a techno-fantastic club, too.

ABOVE: Lisa and Mike Ehrenberg told me they always win big at Parx. I should have hung out with them, cause I didn’t do so well myself. Almost everyone I talked to said that they had once made weekly or monthly trips to Atlantic City, but no more because Parx offers the same convenience and fun of gaming.

ABOVE: Sandra Netbrown, Parx’s Bambi and Barbara Strickarz sit down for dinner at Parx Grill. I had dinner there, too, and it was delicious. Not too bad on the wallet either. Perfect for those who need a little change to continue gambling for the rest of the night. With the 57 new, state-of-the-art live tables comes craps, blackjack, three-card poker, baccarat and roulette. They’ve also added additional slot machines for a total of more than 3,500. Plus, the existing 170 electronic table games will remain in their present location on the floor. I’ll be returning shortly to claim my $65.


A few weeks back I went to the Free Library of Philadelphia to watch John Waters discuss his new book Role Models.

Tomorrow (July 20th) at 7:30 p.m., founding guitarist of the legendary band Queen, Brian May, is appearing with Elena Vidal to discuss their collaborative book Village Lost and Found. Based on 30 years of research, the book takes readers to the lost world of an Oxfordshire village of the 1850 with the reproduction of T. R. Williams’s 1856 series of stereo photographs, “Scenes In Our Village.” I love stereo photos. May’s signing the Village Lost and Found book, but no Queen paraphernalia.


Ever since the movie theater burned down at 19th & Walnut (about 15 years ago), people have complained that Center City didn’t have a first-run theater (ahem, besides the Roxy). 

The Prince Theater on Chestnut near Broad Street is now showing first-run movies.


Meet Bethenny Frankel at the Franklin Mills Wine & Spirits store in Philadelphia and taste her all-natural, low-calorie Skinnygirl Margarita on Thursday from 5-7 p.m. Bethenny will sign your pre-purchased bottle. Get there early, that girl is popular.

Or maybe you would like to try out for the 2010-11 Philadelphia KiXX Dance Team this Thursday at the Liacouras Center at 5:30 p.m. E-mail: for info.

Congratulations to The Franklin Bar! They just got voted into the Top 10 Best New Cocktail Bars in the Country by Bon Appetit magazine.

A reader and friend tells me that “people were freaking out” at the sight of  Jake Gyllenhaal who allegedly ate dinner Saturday night at El Vez. I say allegedly as I cannot get confirmation from the restaurant. Last summer Jake ate many dinners at Stephen Starr restaurants while he was visiting Reese Witherspoon who was on the set of How Do You Know with co-star Owen Wilson.

Congrats to my friends who participated in some serious running challenges this weekend: Saturday night through Sunday morning at 9 a.m., Jeremy Fountain and Judge Dan Anders participated in the charity run “Back on My Feet”, a 24-hour relay race in Fairmount Park. Jeremy’s partner George Blum and Dan’s partner Anh Dang hung back at the base camp to lend support. On Sunday, Q102’s Nicole Michalik, Kara Harris (who came back from San Francisco to participate), Elisa Prospero, Lauren Hirshon, Beth Swets, Monica Barry and George Waldron participated in The Merrell Down and Dirty National Mud Run at Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park, which sounds fun, but be prepared to be finding lots of mud in your nooks and crannies for days. Their team was called the Mudder F’ers. HA!