As the end of the year hits Atlantic City, it's difficult not to think of the casinos and casino stages that have gone dark in the last 12 months, leaving acts with no place to play and workers out of jobs. But the casinos are not all gone, and the shows go on.

Lewis Black. The politicized comedian who got his break as a fuming correspondent on The Daily Show doesn't bang his fists and slam his shoes Nikita Khrushchev-style when performing his stand-up routine. He doesn't have to - he lets his high-blood-pressure take on social ills do all the heavy work.


One of the Jay Z-curated Budweiser/Made in America fest's favorite (and most Dutch) DJs, Tiësto, is one of EDM's best-paid spinners. His most recent series of remixes and original tracks, a hot house music compilation called

Club Life

, shows why: It's steamy and steely stuff with thick dollops of epic, shiny soul in the mix.

Seth Meyers.

Anyone worried that

Saturday Night Live

's snarkiest Weekend Update host couldn't handle the rigors of weekday talk-show business hasn't been regularly following his affairs.

Late Night With Seth Meyer

s is usually better than

The Tonight Show

, its earlier, more famous lead-in with Jimmy Fallon.

What makes

Late Night

sharp is Meyers' rapier wit, a quality that could turn him (and his stand-up routine) into the Jack Paar of the 21st century.

Joe Louis Walker.

Guitarist Joe Louis Walker is the last of the historically accurate, old-school bluesmen, mostly playing a catalog of burnished ancient oldies with crisp, cutting fingerings and styles. Walker was influenced, past and present, by giants such as Amos Milburn and B.B. King, and his most recent album,

Hornet's Nest

, simply sizzles.

Air Supply.

Of all the singers who come from Australia, from Nick Cave to Olivia Newton-John, none have been as consistent (and consistently strange in their blankness) as Air Supply's Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell. Their harmless harmonies seem to waft in your brain like the best (or worst?) fast-food chain theme music.