TOMORROW NIGHT, and again on Tuesday, Atlantic City's newest ultra-hot spot, dusk, officially opens. Located in the space at Caesars Atlantic City formerly occupied by Planet Hollywood, dusk is a joint venture between suburban Philly-based Red Stripe Plane Group and superstar disc jockey DJ AM (nee Adam Michael Goldstein), a Center City native.
With its low ceiling and circular layout, dusk has a sexy, subterranean vibe - although it's on the first floor, and the Boardwalk and Atlantic Ocean are just steps away. The renovation and redesign of the Planet Hollywood space by architectural firm iCRAVE - its other projects include a slew of Manhattan night spots; Villa Lounge and Coco De Ville, in Los Angeles; and SUSHISAMBA Strip and Sugarcane Lounge, at the Palazzo Hotel, in Las Vegas - is nothing less than incredible. There is no architectural hint of the facility's former life.
The danceteria - unveiled last week for an invitation-only crowd, and open tonight as well (though DJ AM will be there only tomorrow and Tuesday) - joins a growing Atlantic City club scene that includes mur.mur and mixx at Borgata, Trump Taj Mahal's Casbah, The Pool at Harrah's Resort Atlantic City, 32 Degrees at Tropicana and C5 at The Chelsea, the hip, non-casino, boutique hotel at the Boardwalk's southwestern end.
DJ AM recently agreed to an e-mail interview with the Daily News. While he was mostly forthcoming, he ignored the three questions posed to him about the September 2008 plane crash in which he and Travis Barker of the rock band Blink 182 were injured.
Q: What can we expect from dusk? How will it differ from other Atlantic City nightclubs?
A: A beautiful nightclub with not one bad seat in the house. A sound system unlike any you have ever heard, and a warm, welcoming decor.
Q: How did you decide on the club's design? Did you borrow elements from other spaces, or is it entirely original?
A: Much like the way I play music, we took the best of the best and some of our fave things from other places, then made them our own by changing them into something new.
Q: Here in Atlantic City, the bigger clubs are relatively cavernous, with high ceilings. Why did you decide to go with the low ceiling?
A: I wanted it to feel more personal and comfy. Huge mega-clubs can be overwhelming and dramatic. I like to be subtle and strong.
Q: This is not the best time, economically speaking, in Atlantic City. Why did you decide to make such a big commitment there?
A: Well, we decided this before the recession actually hit. But it's a dream I have always had to have my own club in a casino. I have been in Vegas nearly every weekend for five years now!
Q: Any significance to the name, dusk?
A: Let's see how late you stay.
Q: How important is the name to a successful club?
A: Every one of my partners will disagree, but I don't think it's that important. After a few times, it's just another word you say. I mean, does "Hey, we're going to Body English" sound normal to you? But hundreds of thousands said that in Vegas.
Q: How often can we expect to see you at dusk?
A: Monthly, at the least.
Q: How did you get into DJing? When you were younger, were you the kid who handled the music at parties?
A: When I was in junior high, my friends would always come over, and my place was always at the CD player. I would just play songs for my friends over and over. I could never let one song finish either, because I had so much to play. Not much has changed.
Q: What is the secret to being a successful DJ?
A: Make a rule: majority rules. You have to play for the crowd, not for you or the few friends you have there.
Q: How do you determine what works and what doesn't? Do you go with customer feedback, or is it more of an intuitive thing?
A: It's intuition. I can see the movement from the whole room and I know that what I am playing is working or not working. Then I follow up or change that plan to get the most movement possible. That's pretty much it!
Q: Being from Philadelphia, you must have some Atlantic City memories. Can you share them with us? What were your favorite things to do there?
A: I spent almost every summer till I was 13 in Margate, Ventnor and Longport! I also loved Wildwood and the City Jet roller coaster. A.C. in the '80s was pretty amazing.
I miss riding my bike on Ventnor Avenue to go get ice cream and hit the video store. Ahhh, those were the days. I am way overdue on some salt water taffy!
Q: What were your perceptions of casinos when you were a kid?
A: I was so scared of them. I remember you couldn't step on the carpet of certain sections unless you were 21, and the smoke . . . ugh. . . . The smoke kinda kills me, literally.
Q: How did being raised in Philly influence your career?
A: I got my street smarts and the main bulk of my personality in Philly. A city with such history has flavor and character that one has to live in to absorb.
Q: What aspects of your personality can you attribute to growing up here - that you may not have had if you were from, say, Columbus, Ohio or Portland, Ore.?
A: Philly gave me spunk. It gave me my personality. I can't really even explain it, but you spend two days in Philly and you will see. We have our own way of doing things and are passionate about life and what we love. Just look at Eagles fans!
Q: If you hadn't pursued a career as a DJ, what do you think you might have done?
A: Open a treatment center for addiction, or become a therapist. I love to help others.
Q: What do you see yourself doing in the future?
A: Maybe open that treatment center! In the nightclub biz, you see a lot of people going too far. Maybe I could help them if they asked for help. *