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Hamilton on Disney Plus is a triumph, even if it can’t replace the show

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Today the world knows a lot more about the intensity of Jonathan Groff’s enunciation than it did yesterday. Over the course of two performances in 2016, nine cameras captured Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s juggernaut musical retelling of the life of America’s first secretary of the treasury, in intimate detail. Groff, who plays King George III, tears into the role he originated and his consonants with equal relish, and the spit flies. It’s not hard to imagine this Hamilton someday reaching movie screens with a 3D conversion: the two-story set looming, the bayonets jutting, the spittle triumphantly spraying—just like it did in the Richard Rodgers Theatre, and just as it will again someday when both cinemas and theaters re-open, the audience at a safe remove.

The mention of Groff’s moist diction isn’t intended to turn stomachs. Nor is it a piece of oddball minutiae. It’s a mark of the spirit of this filmed version of Hamilton, which arrived today on Disney+. Directed by Thomas Kail (FX’s Fosse/Verdon), also the director of Hamilton’s original Off-Broadway and Broadway runs, this is an experience that revels in such details. It’s also perhaps the apex expression in a long tradition of capturing live theater, dance, and opera for the screen, one that includes the canon captured by Great Performances and American Playhouse, impressive big-screen recordings from the U.K.’s National Theatre Live, and filmed concert-style performances like the 1995 “dream cast” version of Les Misérables. Here, the “dream cast” is the original cast; the number of people who’ll get to see Miranda in the role—and take in the performances that made stars of Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, and others—just skyrocketed.

It’s a rarity, to see a play or musical captured this way; usually, the treatment is afforded to starrier productions and huge financial/critical hits. (The Bernadette Peters-led original cast take on Into The Woods was a staple of this writer’s childhood, as was a production of Our Town featuring Spalding Gray.) As a viewing experience, they’re of immense value, recording for posterity some once-in-a-lifetime performances from world-class actors and, as a bonus, lending a sense of immediacy and intimacy with the material that not even an original cast recording can offer. As a means of capturing the experience of being there—in the room where it happens, as it were—they are always a failure. Theater is a live artform, its ephemeral nature the source of its magic.

It’s unwriterly to say that the precise wonder of a theatrical experience can’t be easily articulated, but it’s true all the same. Broadly speaking, theater is something we experience communally. You can’t replicate seeing a movie in a crowded theater from your living room; with theater, that difficulty is heightened because the communal experience actually involves the actors. (Imagine seeing John Wick and knowing Keanu Reeves can hear and by fed by your every gasp; imagine watching Bridesmaids and seeing Melissa McCarthy hold for laugh after laugh, the pauses somehow enriching the jokes.)

Yet this attempt, this Hamilton time capsule, comes perhaps as close to capturing that magic of live theater as any such effort, not least because Kail and company went so far as to mic the audience’s reactions—the roar that goes up after Diggs and Miranda say, “Immigrants: We get the job done,” is now preserved for all time. It’s an experience that exists somewhere between a concert film and a remarkably accomplished home movie shot by some proud parents chronicling the time Miranda starred in the school play (if Miranda also wrote this school play, and it went on to win a Pulitzer and 11 Tony Awards). The latter comparison is not meant as a slight. It’s clear that Kail, director of photography Declan Quinn, editor Jonah Moran, and the technical teams behind both the stage production and film approached this project with tremendous thought and affection, aiming to bottle some small piece of the magic of seeing the show live while also taking great advantage of the medium with which it’s being captured. Kail in particular possesses a lens like no other, and it’s one he lends the viewer here: that of someone who’s seen Hamilton hundreds of times, whose intimacy with the production is unparalleled, and who knows just where to look for every small, perfect moment.

Jonathan Groff

Jonathan Groff
Photo: Disney+

Even those who’ve seen Hamilton in the flesh and who can spit out every single word in the Lafayette portion of “Guns And Ships” in perfect time will make new discoveries here, because this isn’t just Hamilton live. This is Hamilton through the eyes of Tommy Kail, and while it could never replace the experience of watching that spit fly live, it’s still one of the best seats in the house.

One of the finest examples of the immense value of Kail’s perspective: “Helpless” and “Satisfied,” back-to-back scenes that show us one evening from two dueling perspectives. First is Eliza Schuyler (Phillipa Soo) recounting her love-at-first-sight moment with Alexander, an effervescent uptempo number inspired by hip-hop collaborations like “Crazy In Love” and the musical stylings of Ashanti and Ja Rule. After that, we see the same evening through the eyes of her sister, Angelica (Renée Elise Goldsberry), recounted to the audience between toasts at Eliza’s wedding. (Thirteen songs were also captured without an audience so that a Steadicam, crane, and dolly could be employed without diminishing the experience of those in attendance.) When seen live, the true genius of Kail’s staging becomes apparent only when “Satisfied” kicks into high gear, the blocking from the earlier number recreated and supplied new meaning by Angelica’s experience and perspective. Yet even then there’s still much that can be missed, tiny details that deepen the emotional resonance of one of the show’s most affecting sequences.

It’s here where Kail’s perspective becomes invaluable: He shows you exactly where to look. The experience of making those discoveries on your own remains intact; this isn’t hand holding. It’s just a gentle direction of attention, a nudge toward a flicker across Goldsberry’s face here, a subtle underlining of the positioning of bodies in space. Did they always stand so close? Did that touch of the arm always linger? It’s marvelous, masterful, the kind of observation only repeat viewings could allow.

And that’s another important piece of the puzzle. Seeing Hamilton in the flesh wasn’t an easy thing to accomplish, even before 2020 descended with its fangs out. Miranda’s improbable smash has since traveled to places other than the Richard Rodgers, including multiple tours, residencies in Chicago and Los Angeles, and a West End production. Even so, it’s out of reach for billions of people. Should they travel to one of the places where it’s in residence, it’s still not a sure thing; all these years later, it remains a hot ticket, and the machinations of scalpers drove producers to raise premium ticket prices to record levels. But the availability of Hamilton on Disney+ is also perfectly in keeping with the show’s efforts to make itself accessible; while audiences may still be predominantly affluent (and white), the show has also prioritized student groups, and offers tens of thousands of $10 tickets a year through a lottery system. They also worked to make the lottery system more accessible. Historically, rush tickets have often required in-person attendance during the day; Hamilton was at the forefront of the move to a remote lottery system .

That’s no small thing. Key to Hamilton’s power is the reclamation of American history, casting Black and brown actors in the roles of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other founding fathers. Even before the current crisis, the people who could most easily see Hamilton were those who could afford to cough up the big bucks for a plane ticket, a hotel room, and a steeply-priced seat in the mezzanine. Now, a month’s subscription to Disney+ puts the show in your living room, and though it is fundamentally not the same, it’s pretty great.

Broadway theaters will remain closed until at least 2021; when they reopen, it’s likely that things will look very different for those ticket holders than they did for the audiences of these two performances. (Don’t expect to get Groffed anytime soon.) In that respect, Hamilton’s arrival could not be better timed. Millions of people will get a chance to see it for the first time, and for many, it will be their first exposure to what theater can do. Kail’s staging eschews verisimilitude; it’s inventive, expressive, and emotional, but not realistic. As a starting point for the performing arts, it’s a big, bold swing—and there’s never, in history, been a better time to develop an interest in watching plays and musicals on screen. As theaters remain shuttered, many have turned to YouTube and Vimeo, sharing work that’s perhaps less starry but which possesses its own invention and passion. Perhaps that will be yet another brick in Hamilton’s already remarkable legacy: At a moment when the artform itself is in peril, this secondhand approximation of the show is perfectly positioned to convert millions to a lifelong love of theater. After all, seeing it on a screen is great—but don’t you want to be there to watch the sweat fly?

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How Las Vegas became the world’s casino capital

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These days, it’s impossible to think of Las Vegas without the image of the lights on the strip and glamorous casinos coming to mind. But the Vegas we know of 2020 wasn’t always that way; and it took a long, long time to get its reputation for being the world’s casino capital. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get to the root of how Las Vegas became the city that never sleeps.

A historical journey

It’s hard to believe these days, but the Las Vegas region was once an abundant marshland stock full of rich vegetation. That is, until the marsh receded, and the waters disappeared, transforming the landscape into a desert, with the trapped water underground sprouting life and forming an oasis.

It was during the 19th century that the explorer Antonio Armijo from Mexico foraged the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan. It was a member of the group, Rafael Rivera who rode west to find water and venture through the desert, setting his eyes upon Las Vegas Springs. Las Vegas was therefore named ‘the meadows’ after the grasses found growing there.

Years went on and both Mormon and Mexican settlers began to filter through. In 1890 it was decided by railroad developers that Las Vegas would serve as a spot along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles railroad route as well as connecting to major cities along the Pacific Coast. From there on, Vegas boomed with stores, boarding houses and saloons popping up around the area. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas as we know it — with railroad workers and ranchers enjoying the gambling and drinking through illegal speakeasies and bootleg casinos operating despite the ban on gambling in Nevada in 1910.

In 1931 gambling once again became legal in the state, with new casinos and showgirl venues opening up along Fremont Street to entertain the thousands of workers who flocked the city during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first hotel, El Rancho Vegas, opened up in 1941 along Highway 91. Its success inspired others to open up their own hotels along the highway which would one day become the strip. Tourists began to flock to the city over the next few decades to enjoy the casino scene and see incredible artists like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra perform.

The birth of the mega resort

It was in 1966 the businessman Howard Hughes purchased the Desert Inn hotel; this was followed by over a dozen more hotel purchases, pushing out the mobster-owned hotels that had previously dominated Las Vegas. The concept of the mega hotel came about in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage as the first hotel resort in the city. By 1994, Las Vegas was the home of more than 86,000 hotel and motel rooms with 13 of the 20 largest mega resort hotels in the world. It was during this era that the Strip became populated with more hotels and casinos, with developments inspired by the iconic cities and countries of the globe including Egypt, Paris, New York and Rome.

Las Vegas in the 21st century

The Las Vegas of today is well and truly established as a home for entertainment and casinos — which remain the biggest source of income for the city. However, there’s no doubt that Vegas faces more competition than ever before from the virtual world, with more people than ever before opting to play at an online casino, rather than play in the old fashioned way, but Vegas will always have the advantage. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime trip that an online casino can’t replicate, but do the online equivalents help to increase interest in Vegas?

The bright lights of Vegas is attracting billions of dollars in investment as many try and get a slice of the revenue that the sector has to offer. During 2019 over 42.52 million people came to visit Las Vegas from all around the world. Domestically, it was shown to be the second most popular destination for U.S. traveller’s dream spots after New York.

These days, Las Vegas continues to thrive and be a source of entertainment for millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience what the city has to offer. With new generations becoming interested in casino games — and some incredible musical residencies continuing to be announced — Las Vegas surely will continue to be one best places to go for a unforgettable dream destination for many.

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Land-Based Casinos

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What can people find at some of the biggest land-based casinos in Canada? From Niagara Falls to Toronto, there is something for everyone at casinos in Canada, including table games, slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games. There are also many poker and blackjack tournaments held throughout the year and it is easy to find jackpots or slots with free spins at the casinos. Many casinos also have hotels, bars, and numerous restaurants which are perfect for players seeking some comfort. A relaxing casino experience for all ages can be found in many different places in Canada. Choose one from below.

Choosing a casino depends on your tastes and location within Canada. Do you want to experience the grandeur and splendour of nature while placing a bet? Then head to Niagara Falls. Do you want to see a show? Choose a casino with a show that will be perfect for you. If you are looking for pure relaxation, then check out some of the casinos with spas and world-class dining. Entertainment is also a large part of the casino experience in Canada. Musicians, bands, comedians, and other types of entertainment continue to be found at all of the biggest casinos.

Some Big Casinos Near Nature

Casino Niagara is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and the world. People from all around the globe come to experience the best of both worlds at Casino Niagara. Players have access to beauty and scenery while spending time at one of the biggest casinos in Canada. The casino has two floors with over 1200 slot machines, poker, and other table games. There are also many different restaurants and even a comedy club. The sports bar and casino was refurbished back in 2017, meaning that it has not lost any of its charm and shine.

ST Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies is a golf and nature lovers’ paradise. The location could not be any more splendid. People can find the casino between the Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Furthermore, the casino has an interesting history after it was converted from an Indian Residential School. It was then opened in the early 2000s. St Eugene has table games, electronic roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. There is also a golf course, restaurant, bar, spa, and hotel that is highly rated in Canada. Overall games are limited so most people come for golfing and betting fun.

Caesars Windsor is famously located on the riverbank in Windsor, Ontario. Visitors from both Canada and the States frequent the casino and hotel. Players can see the Detroit and Michigan skyline from the area. There are two floors of slots, table games, and plenty of poker tables. Blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are also available at the casino. It has beautiful restaurants, a gym, bars, slots, and live sports. Check out the Titan 360™, a 10-foot tall slot machine with 5800 pounds of wins at the click of a button. It’s the largest slot machine in the world and great fun.

  • Enjoy the size of Casino de Montreal and Hard Rock Casino
  • Enjoy the big and beautiful Casino Niagara or ST Eugene Golf Resort
  • Enjoy High Culture at Elements Casino Brantford

River Rock Casino Resort – In Transit

Are you passing through Vancouver Airport and have a long transit? Hire a cab and spend some time enjoying slot machines at River Rock Casino Resort. There are slots galore and the different themes make it an enjoyable visit for all. There is even a Dungeons and Dragons slot for gamers. A fourteen-table game room can be found at the casino and international poker tournaments are held regularly. Other features include a VIP area, spa, live music, 24-hour food and drink, as well as other entertainment. Richmond is also worth a quick visit, especially for some delicious seafood.

Casino de Montreal – The Big Gun

Casino de Montreal is 526,488 square feet of casino excitement. The casino has around 20 thousand visitors each day and is one of the biggest casinos on the globe. If you are still unconvinced about the size of the place, then imagine five floors of slots and table games. 3,000 machines and 111 table games make the casino seem even more mammoth. Casino de Montreal games can be played in a smoke-free environment and many players comment on the user-friendly games and helpful staff. Complimentary drinks and top-rated gourmet food is all part of the experience at Casino de Montreal.

Hard Rock Casino – Another Big One

Hard Rock Casino is another large casino located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The casino is over 80,000 square feet, making it a big one in Canada. Hard Rock has gaming tables, slots, baccarat and a poker room. The casino includes 70 casino tables and 1,000 slots. Private rooms and high roller areas are also available. However, the Hard Rock name is known for excellent food and this is what people love about this casino. Many players comment on the quality of the food here. It even has a 1,000 seat theatre, making it great for dining and a show.

Elements Casino Brantford – Enjoy High Culture

Elements Casino Brantford is a historical gem for culture in Ontario. It is a charity casino that was established last century. It includes the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a high society entertainment venue in Ontario. The centre is well known to performing arts enthusiasts in Ontario and Canada. Players come to see a show, enjoy some gourmet food and a game. The casino also has plenty of slots, table games, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, three card poker, roulette, and other games. There is also a 14-table Texas Hold ‘Em poker room. Enjoy all the excitement.

River Cree Resort and Casino – Sports Lovers

River Cree Resort and Casino is a sport and gaming venue located in Edmonton that should not be overlooked. It has 39 tables of various money limits and over 1,000 slots. There are also a few different places to dine while enjoying a bet and other things to experience. There is a fitness centre, spa and a 200 room resort. However, the most interesting feature of this casino is the two hockey rinks, which are often used by the Edmonton Oilers for practice. It is possible to watch the team practice and go for a meal and some gaming fun.

For the ones who fancy playing online we recomend visiting canadiancasino.org!

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Top 8 Online Games That Kids Can Play Without Much Parental Supervision

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The gaming industry has been quite widespread since its inception. With the advent of globalisation and technology, this industry is reaching new heights. Kids these days are more inclined to the internet than they are to books. 

The internet has more information about everything than anywhere else and is very easily accessible. This further makes some parental control necessary. Most parents are worried about their kids playing violent video games that can further affect their mental health. 

Nevertheless, you cannot stop a kid from finding ways to log in to the internet, nor can you keep them away from playing video games. You can always supervise them on their media consumption. But that also gets tiresome after a point. This is when it gets necessary for you to introduce them to games that are not only kid-friendly but are also of their liking. 

If you are in a similar situation, looking for a way out, this article will surely help. Further mentioned are a few games that you can let your kid play while you concentrate on your work and well-being.  

1. Gummy Drop

Finding games that you can let your kids play without supervision is quite a task. With games like Gummy Drop, you do not have to worry one bit. With beautiful graphics and interesting gameplay, it does not take long for your kid to get hooked to the game. 

With new cities and interesting content being added almost every day, this 3 puzzle game is a good choice for your kids to play. It also connects to your Facebook account, letting you play with your other friends. It is also a nice way for your kids to improve their general knowledge and problem-solving skills. 

2. Skribbl

If you were a fan of Pictionary when you were growing up, you should definitely introduce your kids to this game. While the rules of Pictionary remain the same, this game improves on the visual aspect. With all of their friends in the same server, your kid can easily get hooked to this game. 

Easy and fun to play – once the server is set up, each player will get a word that they have to draw on the screen. The motive of the game is to help the other players guess your word. Each round chooses players at random. While it is advised that you use a tablet and a stylus to play this, you can always sketch with your finger. 

3. Ludo Supreme

A classic in every sense of the word, online ludo needs no introduction. There are some new features that are added in the game version of this app. It lets you connect to your Paytm account and earn real money while playing the game. 

Along with such amazing features, you can also play it for fun with your family or friends. It has other versions as well that come in different languages, especially in India, given the diverse nature of the country. You can download the LUDO for your android phones

4. Houseparty

There is no doubt that Houseparty has been one of the most popular downloads this pandemic. This is a networking app that lets you add as many as seven friends and play different games face-to-face via video calls. 

The novel approach of phone gaming made this a very widely chosen app. While playing games with your friends is always fun, this app lets you see and talk to them as well. Some of the most played games in this app include Heads Up!, Chips and Guac, Trivia and Quick Draw. With such amazing features and games, this is a worthwhile download for your kid. 

5. Monopoly

Monopoly is a very interesting game, which you can get your kids. Along with being fun, it can be played by any age group and is always stimulating your brain. This board game is an all-time classic that is now available on mobile platforms. 

The good thing about it being on the phone is that now your kids can play it with their friends as well, and all from the convenience of your home. 

6. Rocket League

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to play soccer but with cars, this game is exactly that. You get to pick a car at the beginning of the game in an oversized field with an oversized ball. Then start the five-minute matches where you have to score goals against them. 

To make it even more fun, this game allows the player to add up to three friends on the same server. It also has options where you can choose between casual play and ranked online play. Nevertheless, in both gameplays, you can earn new cosmetic looks for the car and get a chance to score more goals. 

7. UNO

Another all-time classic, UNO has been a very celebrated game all these years. The original company of UNO came out with the online version that is available on both iOS and Android devices. Since they are the copyright holders, you already know, the gameplay cannot get any better than this. 

Nevertheless, since it is a multiplayer game, you can play it both against your friends or strangers. It’s fun aesthetics, and new rules make it more interesting. It now has different modes of play and tournaments as well. You can also partner up and play 2v2 to win together. With servers available all around the world, you can connect to anyone you know. 

8. Guess The Word

Very obvious from the name itself, this game is known to be one of the most popular downloads in this list. It not only helps your kids spend some unsupervised time with themselves but also ensures that they learn new things in the process. 

The game contains different levels which get harder as your kid progresses, further making it more interesting and attractive. If you have some free time on your hands, you can also jump in and play with your kids.

Final Thoughts

So, these are the 8 games that kids of all ages can play without any tension. Above all, parents don’t have to panic or keep an eye on them all the time. 

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