Since opening with a Frank Sinatra performance in 1990, the stadium now known as Times Union Center has seen more than 15 million guests pass through its turnstiles. That’s only slightly smaller than the population of the Netherlands and roughly equal to the number of people worldwide who enjoy candy corn. Besides attracting such entertainment titans as the Rolling Stones, U2, Disney’s “On Ice” series, and the Harlem Globetrotters, the multifunction arena is also home to the AHL’s Albany Devils and college basketball’s Siena Saints.
Entering their 85th season, the Harlem Globetrotters have entertained millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a unique brand of athletic precision and showmanship. For their latest “4 Times the Fun” North American tour, the Globetrotters will add a new 4-point shot spots located 35 feet from the basket, which is 12 feet further than the official three-point line but several thousand miles closer than the prime meridian. See the arch-nemesis Generals try to keep up as the Harlem hardwood sorcerers evade gravity’s oppressive clutches and court clairvoyants distribute unassailable alley-oops. Youngsters can learn about the benefits of teamwork while laughing along with the jovial jocks as they perform classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti.
An AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, the Lake Erie Monsters began as the Utah Grizzlies in 2001 before migrating to Cleveland in 2007. After the team clinched its first playoff berth in 2011, the subsequent season drew record crowds to Quicken Loans Arena, where fans' screams bounce off the rafters to form classic jock-jam echoes.
From 1992–1994, the Cleveland Thunderbolts gave the city its first taste of Arena Football League action. And while the taste was but a tease at the time—the team disbanded at the end of the 1994 season—AFL fans eventually would see a return to revelry in 2008 with the arrival of the Gladiators, a team that bounced around the country like a rock band on pogo sticks before diggin’ in their cleats at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. In their first official season, the Gladiators introduced themselves in grand fashion by advancing to the franchise's first-ever conference championship game—a tough loss, to the eventual league champion Philadelphia Soul, that’s since stood as the squad’s humbling reminder of the unending effort required to achieve league dominance.
To keep the spirit of its musical roots ever near, House of Blues Houston keeps a metal box of mud from the Delta Mississippi beneath its stage and proudly displays the traditional crazy quilt. As the only venue in the revered chain to be built vertically rather than free floating, House of Blues Houston stands as a pillar of entertainment in the Houston Pavilions complex. The hot spot’s Bronze Peacock Room commemorates Houston's rich history and the blues clubs where Lightnin' Hopkins and Big Mama Thornton held sway, and features an enormous hand-painted mural depicting other local legends such as Albert Collins and Johnny "Guitar" Watson.
Every year, Cinema at the Square takes over the Palace Theatre's 20'x47' screen to treat moviegoers to an eclectic lineup of classic flicks. With a restored 1927 Kimball organ played before the films, the month-long festival transports viewers back in time, allowing them to forget their everyday cares and give fellow show-goers new everyday cares by dumping a pack of Milk Duds into their purse. The Palace Theatre was originally built in the roaring '20s, and proffers the perfect locale for breathless escapism, with rich red carpet and a lobby dominated by a sweeping marble staircase.