The Lookout

Americans mark 12-12-12 with weddings and a blockbuster concert

Holly Bailey
The Lookout

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Screens advertising the "12-12-12" benefit concert at Madison Square Garden (Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)

Kiam Moriya is celebrating his birthday on Wednesday—but it's not just an average birthday.

The Birmingham, Ala., middle schooler turns 12 on what just happens to be the last repeating date of the century: 12-12-12. But Kiam has an even stronger tie to the date: He was born 12 minutes after noon on Dec. 12, 2000—which means he will turn 12 at exactly 12:12 p.m. on 12-12-12.

Kiam, a 6th-grader who loves BMX biking and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, says he's been looking forward to the date for as long as he can remember.

"It's like one minute out of a whole lifetime," Kiam told AL.com in an interview last week. "You know, it's all 12s."

He's just one of thousands of people taking note of the numerically significant date. Around the country, cities including New York and Los Angeles are offering expanded hours at City Hall to accommodate couples looking to get married on 12-12-12. Wedding chapels in Las Vegas are expecting to marry at least twice the number of people they usually do on Wednesday.

At the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, potential newlyweds have at least 30 different wedding packages to choose from, including several featuring celebrity impersonators depicting Elvis, the Beatles or Michael Jackson. Or couples can choose a theme, ranging from a traditional march down the aisle to getting married in a setting inspired by "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

Meanwhile, casinos around the country are bracing for a crush of people hoping the date will bring them good luck. In Connecticut, the Foxwoods Resort Casino is offering those who gamble $12 on slot machines an extra $12 in bonus plays.

For some music fans, the date is already lucky. In New York, more than a dozen artists—including Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Dave Grohl and The Who—will share a stage at Madison Square Garden tonight at a benefit concert for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

But the 12-12-12 concert has already been marred by some controversy, as hundreds of tickets were snapped by scalpers who jacked up the prices looking to make a profit. Last week, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, sent a letter to major online ticket retailers, including TicketsNow and StubHub, asking them to block scalpers from selling the tickets.

"Every dollar spent for these concert tickets should go to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy, not to line the pockets of unscrupulous scalpers," Schumer said in a statement to reporters. "Ticket resale websites have the opportunity to make it much more difficult for scalpers to make money off this charitable event, and they should seize it."

But executives at StubHub defended their decision to sell the tickets, insisting scalpers would simply find another way to sell the tickets if they were blocked online. Hours before showtime on Wednesday, tickets, which originally ranged from $150 to $2,500, were going for no cheaper than $825. A single floor-seat ticket was listed for $10,000.

In an interview with CBS News, StubHub president Chris Tsakalakis said the company would donate 100 percent of its profits from its fees related to the 12-12-12 concert to the Robin Hood Foundation, a nonprofit working on behalf of Sandy victims, which is the beneficiary of ticket proceeds from the show.

"It is perfectly legal to resell tickets in the state of New York and in most states," he told CBS News. "We knew people were going to resell these tickets whether or not StubHub was going to allow the resale. So what we decided to do ... is that we would donate our sales, our revenue, our commissions to the Robin Hood relief fund."

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