Live Acts, Singles Dances, DJ Services Ideas for New Year

 For TP Entertainment or any live acts, this time of year can be good or bad for those in the entertainment industry. On one hand the hospitality industry typically does well through New Years thus they can afford performers when they may not normally whether that be a DJ or band or even a comedy or dinner show, but if you didn't get lucky yet and are not working New Years Eve many of you could be S.O.L. for a spell as January-March are the slowest times in their yearly calendar statistically.

Don Cherry is a popular spoof character great for B-days.. have him bring hubby a case of Canadian and rant!
  What I've done over the years is to try and find niches to supplement my income. My first paid job as a performer I was actually hired by my mom who was Promotions Coordinator for the Aurora Shopping Centre at the time who hired me as Santa Claus only to fire me the next day! Apparently the owner of the Metropolitan department store didn't think I was hohohoing enough. Ha. At any rate, a friend of mine who had actually hit puberty by then did the job instead. Recently, in the past several years, I've been putting myself out (tramp!) as the Grinch! Which is way cooler than Santa any day! Ha! And allows for  more diversity of choices for marketing - as even an adult party wanting to stand out can use a Grinch - who has a change of heart of course and dishes out good cheer and presents if available! Bring along a partner/dog Max too, and act / sing the book out for full effect (and an excuse to have someone helping)! Play to the audience and pick out a "Cindy Loo Who" to pat on the head. Of course, get too big and Dr Seuss may want a cut..but so long as you are not charging a cover for such events or showing the movie for a charge there should be little worries of that.
TP Entertainment & Productions is no Grinch to local industry suppliers

Myers Costumes On Main St Newmarket has all the fixings for Celeb Makeovers like the Don Cherry apparel above!
  Once I created an interactive show called "Wackyoke" which incorporated humour into karaoke basically by introducing props, impersonating singers, acting wacky, some stand-up, and allowed people to come up and sing their choice of karoke song. Should they be bad singers was my thinking, I'd ham it up a bit and do background vocals, air guitar, whatever it took to get a laugh. Hey it worked pretty well except one time way up north in Ontario, near Orillia, where they take their Elvis seriously. Serious Elvii fans don't take too much to mocking him, but luckily I can croon Elvis passably so they let me live. Ha.

  The idea for Wackyoke actually came to me from having seen a group of 2 guys called Krazy Karaoke several years prior at a Fox and Fiddle in Mississauga and later in Richmond Hill, which I'd thought was brilliantly innovative at the time, and the fact that the local Karaoke guy was like a bump on a log as a host. I figured anyone putting any effort at all could compete with that and I was right. I got quite a few compliments and laughs with that show and actually started a promotion for Easter Seals called 'Sing a Tune for a Twoney" wherein by paying a twoney every time you got up to sing you'd be judged and get a chance to make the finals whilst raising funds for the cause. I incorporated several bars into the mix and tied it in with the Great York Region Restaurant Race (raised $100,000) at the time. TP Entertainment had prizes like cash, recording time, and a Flare Modelling School scholarship.This was in 1994. I wide-eyed envisioned it working Canada-wide, but at that time didn't have the wear-with-all. Some Years later Canadian Idol came out....Just saying! Also a guy that rents karaoke and games for stags etc in Toronto whom I gave the Sing-a-tune- for- a- twoney idea to while attending a friends Jack & Jill, still uses it in his rental package today as a way to raise funds for the groom etc at stag and J&J parties..Thank-you!! Thank-you very much!

TP Entertainment handled Good Times Grand Opening having packed the place, provided the 1st band(s) and was 1st to bring karaoke , Elvis, and live entertainment nights. Live nights and karaoke remain their bread and butter in 2012.We also advised them to drop the donuts...they did. Thank -you, Thank-you very much
  Elvis- o- grams or fave performer-a-grams can work too...I once did a job where i went in and sang two Elvis songs to a lady at a table - all getupped up of course - and walked out with $300. Took all of 15 minutes.Thank-you..Thank-you Vera much!

 The idea came to me when I got bored after being single a number of years. Who'd want me?!Ha.. and noticing the limited options for entertainment or nightclubs for patrons over 30 in the York Region area let alone singles, except the local Aurora's Greystones has anything close to catering to an older crowd in the area, but they are only open Saturday nights, usually for dancing only, and after awhile it becomes a little like the movie, "Groundhog Day' - although I must admit some pretty nice ladies can be found there on occasion dancing up a storm and there is/was a particular bartender I'm sweet on.

D.J. Hungarian Pepper sets up before bringing the house down with her latest dance mixes!

  But to me, I like a little more variety..for entertainment that is! Get your mind out of the gutter! Perhaps a step back into memory lane via old TV show intros etc on the screens instead of always sports and with a table of munchies as well like wings and finger foods with some 60's,70's, 80's tunes going at a level you can talk...then have it morph into a 45 minute set of live entertainment (duo / trio musical / standup / dinner theatre) which all spans 7-9 PM and finally a DJ/dance at 9:30 with the latest and some classic rock and pop tunes mixed in to try to appease the masses..Well that's exactly what I did, and it was fun for a time as I put them on once a month for a year with a regular group of about 120 people attending. The biggest problem was location / dates followed by it was hard to make any money - which in all fairness I never expected to get rich - but I did come close to losing a few nights in the beginning and you always feel like you need to add prizes and such. I actually had a live The Dating Game show complete with theme music and chose 3 bachelors and a lucky bachelorette to play and I'd do my worst Gary Newbanks impersonation!! Prizes like 2 steaks, salad fixin's, and a bottle of wine or dinners out for two etc were given out and people loved it, but was always a slight gamble and a lot of work for little return and you still had the whiners to deal with. However I did get to have some awesome entertainment and really made it an atmosphere I liked and enjoyed - and hoped the majority would too. Which they did.

  I stopped doing them after some owners left a sour taste in my mouth such as ironically a Fox location who's upstairs hall room we rented who tried to continue the event like it was theirs when I packed it up and took it to another location, when he began to get too greedy, to the Upstairs at the White Rabbit on Main St. where another guy promised me the upstairs to do with whatever I wished only to renege and try to also continue it without me essentially.He still owes me $800. Both places are closed down in 2011. That's what happens when you fuck people my friends..eventually you pay the price and fucking over a guy like me (and others I'm sure) who can bring you lots of business, isn't wise. Ha! That was the sound of someone getting the last laugh.
People start arriving and enjoying refreshments, music, and nostalgic videos onscreen at a TPE 30Plus singles night

  Anyhow, I raise this last point because recently someone who I gave their start into paid DJ gighood, a lady DJ called Hungarian Pepper, who doubles as a special effects make-up artist, and knows all the latest dance tunes but is old enough to know the classics too, has been asking me if I'd thought about doing parties again..And then I remembered my buddy Johnny Cutrone at Deli House Catering in Newmarket, for whom I've done many a "gig" going back some years now, has a new banquet hall facility in a location which years ago was the local nightclub called Club Spotlight was - and before that even used to house live bands in then 50's and 60's - so it has some cool history and is the perfect size and set up for one of TP events - with one side great for entertainment and a 3/4 wall separating another area with smaller tables good to talk in or eat at away from the action. Next I met another buddy of a mutual acquaintance, Gary Cocking, who has played the El Mocambo recently in Toronto and is an awesome guitar player, lives locally, and might be available to be our house musician for in between times, so, hey! Maybe I'll get one going again! I am getting bored after all and 30PLUS Night aged patrons will go out in these cold months if we give them a reason too! Hell, couples would too if its done well enough! And besides...Johnny likes the idea! He also likes the idea of an party for single parents / kids next year xmas eve..a Sunday..and throw in the place to help out! What a guy!

  Until Next Time!

  Happy New Year from TP!

  Tom Pearson
  President, TPE & Productions

Canadian Labour Congress Video Contest


TP Entertainment & Productions is happy to announce the TP written & produced one minute video contest production - "One Paycheck Away" the adspotlike short with the documentary feel has been chosen as ONE of Only FIVE FINALISTS from entries from across Canada. The assignment was to show the growing gap between the rich and everyone else in 60 seconds. Congratulations to the TP Production team!

Now it's up to the public to decide.Check out our entry video One Paycheck Away  - then vote for it here! In fact keep voting for it right up until up until the deadline on Jan 20 2011. The contest is being run by the Canadian Labour Congress. 5 finalist were chosen on Dec 16 and now it's up to you to vote for TP everyday until dead-line date on January 20 4pm!
Tom Pearson himself narrates this no bells and whistles production done with still photographs and voice-over ...some good imagery and messages which are supposed to depict the growing gap between the rich and everyone else in 60 seconds!

This video never made the final five but some liked it better than the entry that did. Spoof of 60 minutes in 60 seconds!

Tom Out!

Lone Star Texas Grill Opening

I got an opportunity to check out the grand opening, well preopening anyway, of the newest hospitality player in town (of Newmarket) Lone Star Texas Grill located on Yonge St.'s North East corner across the lotway from Lowes.
Newmarket's Newest player opened Monday
I know the industry well, having been in hospitality at one time, first as a kitchen manager with Pat & Marios Restaurants which was Canada's first chain concept to combine dining and bar/dancing w DJ as well as assisting to open other Toronto locations including high volume locals at Front & Church, Airport Road and Yonge & Eglinton. They had been a spin-off of the Mothers Pizza franchise and Casey's Restaurants all owned at that time by Yesac corporation, which I followed with stints at Mr Grummps downtown by the Eaton Centre, opening O'tooles Restaurants and on, eventually restaurants & nightclubs with live entertainment. I also wrote columns and produced Cable TV shows for Rogers and Shaw Cable that included me visiting various restaurants which was a predecessor to today's Rogers TV show models. Each Show - called "Out & About" would include a segment I entitled "On A Serious Note", which focused on a good cause every show which often would include a restaurant attachment of some sort.

At Pat & Marios, to save labour cost when the doorman wasn't there, I'd fill in alongside the ever whiny- voiced G.M. Bernie, or the fat man as some referred to him as behind his back. I'll never forget when a cook was giving him an excuse regarding why an order had screwed up and he yelled,

"If I want excuses I'll talk to Tom!"
We all howled! I learned a lot there however including how to talk to people and deescalate explosive situations. It didn't help we were located right across from "the projects", a maze of Toronto housing units ripe with drugs. I got sucker punched in the bar area one night by a local nutbar who was always trouble, leading to his banishment and my wake-up call as to the type of crazies that are out there and how a touch too much alcohol on some can be lethal.That all began in the 80's, those were the days! Ha!
Now back to my dinner!

I'd been given some tables to put local bodies in to eat free, part of a typical procedure that every Lone Star Texas Grill now does when they open a new one, a very cool concept. In order to get prepared before opening to the paying public, it's quite common to have a mock run through whereby 1/2 the restaurant staff would greet, seat, cook & serve, while the other half would act as ordering patrons. Sometimes the menu would be preset as to what you could order to ensure the staff got practice on all the dishes. Lone Star does this but they also hold another evening wherein members of the community have been contacted and invited in  with allowances for up to 4 people per table to order off the menu which gives the staff additional experience before they actually open. Lone Star does even one more preopening event as well, as part of their "Texas Charm", by hosting one last rehearsal service before opening to the public for a local charity, which is certainly an innovative idea...but hey never mind the chatter..let's eat!

Upon our arrival we were greeted by some young countryesque hostesses and an attending manager who saw to it we were given a warm welcome - something I've often found lacking in Newmarket - particularly with some complacent chains who's managers are never close enough to the action to gauge how their customers really feel. Everyone thought East Side Marios would be here forever but they're not, because ultimately if value is relatively the same then a competing welcoming and fun atmosphere will win out every time, and frankly that place had the worst service in town and a non-caring attitude for the most part which, to that end, the staff at the new Lone Star in Newmarket seem to be a very enthusiastic crew. A quick look around and the staff was always in perpetual motion, whether singing at a table or playfully tossing bread at customers, it seems to be a prerequisite there to engage the patrons..and often! Our waiter Chris or Wild One as he's known in-house, although a little green, gave probably the best service I've had in all the years I've been in Newmarket - which is 20+. He would be right there as soon as an appetizer was done, kept on table maintenance like clock-work, checked in when appropriate, and had another fresh basket of fresh hot crisp nacho chips with cool tomato salsa, not too spicy but yummy, as soon as we were done. We were also served up a delicious conqueso tangy cheese dip splashed with jalapenos, without prompting..Mmm...These things I notice, having been a waiter / manager, and was almost floored when he told me it was his first job waitering! As it turned out he'd been working back of the house in kitchens for some time in other restaurants which really gives him superior food knowledge too a definite asset..easy attitude not phony..He got 4 stars from me out of 5 and a cool $20 on the side later that we insisted on! ha!
                                          Video includes visit to Lone Star by the Duke Himself!