Good Times Bar & Grill - Music Unplugged by Sound Police

Good Times one of first community youth programs supporters
Sometimes it takes an action that defies logic for your instincts to stand up for the little guy, or gal in some cases, and reinvest time and effort into a business you had once written off. Everyone deserves a second chance and no less a business owner that has been a provider of stage time for a variety of entertainers over the years from magicians, to karaoke, to Elvis Impressionists to Blue Grass Circles to you name it, as well as a supporter of the community.

I'm talking about Good Times Cafe, Bar & Grill, as recently I testified at their tribunal hearing in order to clarify a condition violation they've been charged with and its interpretation that is continually costing Good Times' owners time and money to fight - that being a provision of her liquor license that she not be allowed to play any "amplified" music. At all! Not a radio, juke box, band, D.J. for a party, Christening , birthday, nothing! And one would suppose the ban includes a tv with music videos playing - as of course the music tracks in movies or commercials would technically be " amplified" - and considering what they are trying to do to the lady now by pulling her license and fining her( she's since been temporarily reinstated) simply for having one speaker playing music at a low level but through an "amplification" allowing them to charge her for this "offense" - don't put it past them. To me this has all been overkill.

Good Times donated closing party in 2007 for team
Owner Nawal  had previously gone 6 years as a business (taking over from brother Sam) hosting different events from parties, to dances, to theme nights - sometimes with live entertainment sometimes not - until an eagle-eyed disgruntled resident looked up her conditions and discovered the loophole. The same couple had previously tried to get the police involved claiming excessive noise but repeatedly the local police would come and hear nothing disturbing when they arrived and eventually actually asked them to stop calling as testified to by the couple themselves! Ends there right!? Wrong! Next the determined couple worked on the loophole through the licensing route and it has gripped Good Times ever since.

" Good times, bad times, I know I've had my share....." Led Zeppelin

Hurricane Mike has performed at Good Times
She paid $ at first "offense"- being taken off guard as she was as they threatened to take her license immediately if she didn't - and otherwise she couldn't survive with her high location rent and inflexible landlord. She's come to see that the liquor licensing board can have deep pockets (of your tax money fyi), are lawyer-ed to the max, and are tough to fight. They even applied to have me excluded from giving testimony even though I attended the original hearing some 7 years ago. The hearing has had me come back at 3 different times as the lawyers strategically hoped I'd either drop out or not show up. Not to mention have her tribunal representative - Dorian Baxter a.k.a. Elvis Priestly - removed. Oh yea, stay tuned folks this thing is getting interesting.

Winning Road hockey 2006 Good Times Cafe Mulock Hawks
I did show up however, and was able to attest to the fact that the condition mentioned regarding no amplification on that license was meant to be about the outside of the establishment - just like the other two conditions mentioned. At the time an elderly licensing board rep gentleman (since retired) took notes by hand as he struggled to keep up as I recall, and repeatedly he'd ask for clarification as he got caught up. Clearly he had lost track of the fact that the conditions discussion had moved to the outside of the establishment as we had just asked about a patio - which was also mentioned as a condition on the licensing document. At any rate, I certainly don't forget the kiddyoke or entertainment provided for community kids for the road hockey event / team. I also recall the free magician at their anniversary party along with belly dancers and live acoustical band and the all day food discount specials.

" In over 19 years in and around the hospitality industry I've never heard of any business whether a restaurant, bar, or otherwise that is told they can't have anything whatsoever for sound. Even Ma and Pop dry cleaners can have a radio.  No, the provision noted at the time was being discussed for the outside of the establishment and I remember it clearly."
Tom Pearson

My testimony additionally conceded that Nawal did have growing pains as an owner originally but then I turned towards the complainant in "court"and said,

" There was a time when I might be sitting down right beside you. She had had some growing pains as an owner new to the business and had made some mistakes, but that was some years ago and she has shown a willingness to change and to work with the community"

Local Dan is not short..he has a disability.. karoake offers fun he can get to
She no longer has All Ages shows for example which she was not ever really set up for properly in my opinion. But she learned some harsh, costly lessons from it all and has really struggled to gain back some former customers since as a result. I also added in testimony that they need draw a distinction if they must between different types of 'noise' as a  punk show will certainly be 'louder"than a karaoke for example and an acoustical jam is not a metal jam. Events I've put on outdoors in town permit me an allowed decibel level - and that is what need be done if they really want to be fair about allowing a business to carry on with some music / sound inside. No body - alcohol, gaming, or otherwise should have the power to restrict a business from having some music inside their establishment for the pleasure of both patrons and staff as well as to enhance business through its ambiance.

Despite the doom and gloom of the sound issue, if you go check out Good Times now the feeling is upbeat especially with the latest license reprieve and the food has never been better. I had Nawal's own special sandwich that is like a grilled panini stuffed with fresh lettuce, seasoned chicken and other fresh ingredients and exclaimed, "Nawal this is unbelievable, this is what you need to get out there - your great food! And I meant it. I've noticed a vast improvement in the food quality from her humble beginnings as well as her (and daughter's) hospitality / service in general from years back as obviously some of the time spent in the trenches has paid off with some good product and Good Times!

Drop in and check them out (again)  for lunch or a casual dinner or meeting or come out for Open Stage Friday's (no amplification) and help support local entertainment and this business owner to fight for your right to have music and a stage for the arts!
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tp out

Newmarket / Aurora Home Shows Now and Then

I attended the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce Home Show this weekend and it brought back memories I'd completely forgotten about. Growing up in a small town, the Home Show was something I'd look forward to. Next to the circus coming to town and the fairs, the Home Show was right up there in exciting town happenings, and my friends and I looked forward to it.

We'd all get our bags already stuffed with some goods as we entered the arena and walked the floor where the ice normally lay, filling them with all the information booklets and free stuff we could get our hands on. Ballots for contests were always on our "must do" lists as well and of course checking out the food fare. A subtext to all this was the opportunity to see pretty girls from town and maybe meet some. Well we weren't so good at that part but we tried...and nothing's changed! Ha!

And there was certainly no shortage of pretty women working the Newmarket Home Show - at the risk of sounding sexist - but unlike Obama I make no apologies for complimenting people on their appearance. Apart from the fact that most of my buddies are hooked up now, whilst I'm still single(again) having been unceremoniously kicked to the curb through a very modern text message, nothing much has changed.Although I was a tad embarrassed when Glen jokingly told one booth operator I was there looking for a wife - after which she refused a photo op with me. Now there's a confidence builder! Gee, thanks Glen! Ha!

A pool place that sells BBQ sauces and BBQs too!
As we cruised the 2013 show held at the Magna Centre my friend was seemingly non-stop yapping to people he remembered from the previous years, meantime I bee-lined it towards the nearest free food samples whilst filling out every free contest ballot I could find.

"It's a numbers game" I told Glen who shared with me his technique for winning by folding ballots into unusual shapes that eliminate (or was it create) corners. I guess we'll find out soon if it paid off! Yeepa! trip to Mexico here I come! Or I'd settle for winning the free lawn care!

As we browsed around listening to the various pitches for products and services - from cleaning products to ambulance to catering to insurance and 'community organizations" - I took mental notes of the various sales approaches and techniques being somewhat a connoisseur of sales - and give the best pitch of the day award to a Chiropractor who was not afraid to ask for the "free" appointment for a spinal check-up, using several approaches to get my commitment. I didn't give it, as I managed to steer my attention away from him and over to the naturopathic health person also of the wellness centre while feigning interest in naturopathic health products. Shamefully I was just happy to chat with the attractive "'N.D. Doctor" taking her card with empty promises of getting in touch. Sigh, sorry darling my motives were unclean. I shall now flog myself.

Sweet!...The apple I mean..gulp.
Speaking of unclean thoughts, I was surprised that the Upper Canada Mall representative girls - all dolled up like beauty queens - refused getting a promo pic in their promo booth. Gee, when Victoria Secrets opened there last year they didn't seem to mind encouraging every young girl in town to experience a "Spring Fling" whilst unabashedly plastering their messages and skimpy underwear / models on everything from the mall's entrance to the bus station doors. Personally, with a young daughter, I found the in your face campaign offensive. Recently they (Victoria Secrets) also came under fire for pushing a line of sexy message clad under-panty's to children & "tweens" as well.

But the Upper Canada Mall brings back fond memories too, having been around long enough to recall it as a stand alone square building then with no underwear only stores, and was the place to meet chicks (and them us) as a teen! Ha. In fact I met my first 'out of town' girlfriend there at the ripe age of 14!
.( Insert theme to Madonna's "Like A Virgin" here).

Therapy Dog at St John's Ambulance booth
After a few more interesting stops like the St Johns Ambulance Service area, the cool D.J. Darin with the technology allowing for text requests, as well as lawn care advice and free grass seed samples, we decided to grab a coffee and take in part of the " decorating tips" presentation video from our seats at the O'Malley's Catering tables - until Glen spied the "free massage" booth and away we went!
Next time I'm definitely stopping for a massage like he did and who knows? Maybe I'll meet the woman of my dreams like he did. Oh, that's right, Glen's already married, happily I might add, but that didn't stop him from proposing to someone else there!
Glen what the heck were you thinking!!? I guess anything can happen at a Home Show!

Entering the 2nd area of the show we were instantly overwhelmed by a scent sensation that had us drooling puddles as Supper Works home meals dished out samples for which I answered "all 3" when asked which one I'd like to try! Mmm..a tad salt light for my tastes, but awesome goulash stew and curry dishes otherwise!

Other cool show booths included Marquee Theatrical Productions a nonprofit group now booking for summer camps and producing musical The Sound of Music, the 'bruschetta" samples from Cardinal Golf and Country Club weren't too bad either, and the golf mini-put game featured at the Alzheimer's Society booth promoting their annual golf tournament at Pheasant Run Golf & Country Club was fun. I also had a great chat with Bill from Neighbourhood Dominions Lending about contacting Don Cherry for our annual road hockey event as Don is a spokesperson for them, as well as spoke to the Welcome Wagon in regards to setting up something for newcomers!

Goodness me! All kinds of surprises at the 2013 Newmarket Home Show!

Innovative Spine Wellness

 The Best Things in Life are Free!

Show even has grass lawn kind!
Advice you can trust


The Aurora Home Show next weekend!