Comments (20)

As a professional entertainer with over 20 years experience entertaining at prestigious events in which my audiences have included Movie Stars, Celebrities, U.S. Presidents, Politicians, International Royalty and the Social Elite, I have had the opportunity to see what makes some of these "high end" events successful and others flops, and I would like to share this information with you.

First let me say that it interests me to see how much time money and effort is spent on arranging the food, the centerpieces and the location and how secondary the choice of entertainment seems to be. Let me state something important right now: THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN AFFECT THE SUCCESS OF YOUR PARTY, DINNER, CONVENTION, EVENT OR YOUR PERSONAL REPUTATION AS THE ENTERTAINMENT YOU CHOOSE -- so please make your choices carefully! To put it simply: Good entertainment will be remembered long after the food is gone. (Don't believe me? When was the last time you heard someone rave about a steak they had at an event three weeks ago?) For this reason, entertainment buying can be a daunting task. So just how do you find the right entertainment to make your event successful?

I will not go into detail about hiring bands or DJ's -- although many of the tips I will recommend here will apply to these entertainers as well. Generally, bands and DJ's are considered "dance and background" entertainment and although important, they will not affect the outcome of your event as much as a professional act or solo entertainer can. People can still have fun with an "adequate" Band or DJ. As long as they play appropriate and pleasant music at the right times, it will not seriously affect the outcome of the event. On the other hand, an "entertainer" who presents consistent and successful shows can literally have your audience laughing, cheering, beaming with compliments and talking about your event WEEKS LATER and that is what I want to guide you to find. So let's discuss how to find the best entertainer for your event.

There are two ways to find entertainment: One is to contact a reputable entertainment agency. The other is to hire an entertainer independently. You will find both entertainers and agents in the same way -- either by recommendation, yellow page advertising, entertainment directories, internet sites or by direct contact. Choosing to use an agent or hiring an act directly can be done with equal success if approached properly.

I have worked with entertainment agencies for many years and have nothing but praise for the reputable ones. A reputable agent has a list or "roster" of suitable entertainers. If you do not know what kind of entertainer you would like, a reputable agent can help direct you to the right performer. Be warned though that the agent will limit his suggestions to the roster of entertainers he or she represent -- which may or may not include the best or most appropriate entertainers. Because the agent handles more than one performer, he will only have a "rough idea" of what each entertainer can do and because of the vast number of entertainers he represents, it is not uncommon for him to unintentionally misrepresent what the act is capable of doing. If you select the right entertainment agency, an agency you can trust or have worked with successfully in the past, you will be able to choose from a variety of different types of entertainers which will be suitable for your event.

If you know or have at least an idea of what type of entertainment you want, hiring a solo entertainer or an act (consisting of more than one performer) can be advantageous. Being able to speak with the performer directly, he can tell you much more specific information about his act than an agent can. He can recommend specific routines for your particular audience and can let you know from experience where in your evening his entertainment would best fit. The entertainer can work closely with you to tailor the show to fit your particular event. Please be aware though that as a rule, if you saw a performer entertain at a previous event where he was contracted through an agent and you wish to hire him or her for your event, ethically, he must go through that agency unless he has agreed with that agent otherwise.

Whether you choose to go through an entertainment agency or through the act directly, ask to receive a COMPLETE PROMOTIONAL PACKET or at the very least a brochure. This should include any or all of the following: a photo (or photos), a biography, a list of credentials including places he or she has performed, a list of clients he or she has successfully entertained, a variety of newspaper reviews of their act and testimonials from past clients.

Look at all of these carefully, but be skeptical -- there are always acts and agents who lack integrity, and it is not uncommon in this business for them to list prestigious places the act has supposedly entertained when in truth they haven't. If in doubt, don't be afraid to question them about the places they say they have worked -- make sure they can back it up!

The most important item to ask for is a VIDEOTAPE of the act. This is where the act literally "speaks for itself". When you review the tape, watch it as if you yourself were in the audience and be sure to watch it more than once. If you are on a committee, watch it with others and discuss it. When viewing the tape, listen not only to the act, but to the audience's response. Be wary of tapes that are performed in a studio without an audience and of tapes that only show tiny "snippets" of the act assembled with slick editing. Seeing a series of clips containing only one punchline each is not as effective or important as watching a five minute routine with a laugh every 10 seconds!

Because entertainers and agents know that your time is valuable, it is common for a promotional videotape to not contain a "full show". It may consist of select routines which may or may not be shortened. This is acceptable, but you should be able to see some "meaty" routines with little or no editing so that you get a true feel for the act. Be critical -- remember, the success of your evening is depending on it!

I would not recommend considering acts that contain "blue" or "risque" material. Although the audience on the tape might be laughing, and although you might even think that it's funny, hiring an act with questionable material is bound to offend someone, and it can easily backfire on you and reflect badly on you, your company or organization.

Once you have found the entertainment you desire, you should sign a CONTRACT with them as soon as possible. The best acts will book their yearly calendars quickly -- especially for dates around prime times of the year like the Holiday Season -- so don't delay! Asking the act or agent to merely "hold" a particular date is not enough -- without a signed contract they are not obligated to your engagement and are free to accept a "sure thing" should it come along. Remember, you are hiring the best -- others will be looking for the best as well!

The cost of an entertainer varies according to the quality, experience and notoriety of the performer. As a rule, the best performers will be more expensive -- as it should be. Don't make the mistake of hiring two inexpensive acts of lesser quality instead of one expensive act. Two adequate acts will never compare to one great act, and the money you spent two acts of lesser quality will have been wasted. This is simply an issue of quality, not quantity.

If for some reason the act is beyond your budget, be truthful and open to the act or agent and let them know what your budget is. They might be able to make concessions or suggest ways of saving you money -- perhaps presenting only a 20 minute show instead of a 30 minute show, or perhaps presenting an alternative act instead of the one they had originally planned. Other than small concessions though, don't expect them to reduce their price considerably. They know what they are worth and to maintain their reputation in the industry, they must maintain a consistent market price. To charge your group less than they charged their last group is simply bad business.

Once the act is contracted, make sure the entertainer or agent provides you with a list of PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS -- things that the act needs to make the show run smoothly. This may include things like a dressing area, the size of the stage or dance floor they will require to present the act properly, microphone or sound requirements, the time they will need in advance to set up the show, etc. Having this list of requirements in advance will save you from last minute surprises like "not knowing that the act required a cassette tape player", or that "the audience should not have been seated at the sides of the performer". This list tells you what is needed to make the act run smoothly. If you cannot meet one or more of these requirements, let the act or agent know as soon as possible so they can adjust the show accordingly.

Once the show requirements are provided for, you can be assured that the show will run smoothly, and you can relax knowing that you have the best professional entertainer in the right environment which will make your event an event to remember!



Things you need to know in advance before contacting an entertainer or agency:

___ 1.) The location of the event
___ 2.) The number of people you expect to attend the event.
___ 3.) What performance area will be available at the location? (dance floor, stage, etc.)
___ 4.) Does the location provide a sound system and or lighting?
___ 5.) Do you plan to have other entertainment at the event?
___ 6.) What time would you like the performance to start?
___ 7.) Are you planning to have award presentations or speeches?

Things to find out when speaking with a prospective entertainer or agency:

___ 1.) How many years has the agency or entertainer been in business?
___ 2.) What kind of experience does the entertainer have?
___ 3.) What professional credentials or awards has the entertainer won?
___ 4.) Is the entertainer available for your engagement?
___ 5.) Ask to receive for your review:
___ A. A complete promotional packet of the entertainer
___ B. A promotional videotape
___ C. Testimonials from previous clients

When reviewing an entertainer on tape, consider:

1.) How polished and professional is the performer?
2.) How does the act look (consider the dress of the performer, and the props he or she is using)
3.) Does the audience on the tape sound like they are being entertained?
3.) If you were in that audience seeing that show, would you be entertained?
4.) Does the entertainer's style compliment your company or company's ideals?
5.) Is the tape complete enough to give you an idea of the act? (You don't want to see short "snippets" of the act)

Things to do once the entertainer has been selected:

___ 1.) Send the performer directions to the event along with any program or event information along with the returned contract.

___ 2.) Ask to receive a copy of any "Performance Requirements" and pass a copy of them along to the people handling the technical aspects of the show (lighting and sound people, hotel AV department, etc.)

___ 3.) A final call a week or two before the event to go over last minute details is always helpful and appreciated -- especially when last minute changes have been made (like the addition of an "awards presentation", a "speech by the company President" etc.)


Harry Maurer is a professional entertainer who performs regularly in the showrooms of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. With over 20 years of experience, he provides comedy magical entertainment tailored to the needs of his corporate clientele. He resides in Houston and can be reached toll free at (877) 223-6291 or on the world-wide web at:

If you are looking for great entertainment, please take a moment to visit The Comedy & Magic of Harry Maurer web site at:

The site describes the types of shows he presents, lists his professional credentials, provides a list of past clients, press reviews, testimonials from satisfied clients and displays his "online performance Calendar" so that you can instantly determine his availability -- everything you need conveniently located to let you know that he is your best entertainment choice.

Located on the site are also a variety of "online forms" where both entertainment agents or individuals can request promotional material or a quote for a particular event with no obligation!

If you have any additional questions or comments about this report or about The Comedy & Magic of Harry Maurer, we invite you to contact us by e-mail at: -- we'd love to hear from you!


About the Author

Award winning Comedian Magician Harry Maurer is an entertainer of US Presidents, Celebrities and International Royalty and he would like to do the same for you!


vela110808 15.01.2009. 21:11

How do I go about starting a small event planning business? I now work in the entertainment industry working as the Facilities Assistant. When it comes to planning parties and company events everyone in the office loves how the events turn out. I always get compliments on the dinner parties my husband and I have and everyone thinks I need to do a career change. I love planning social events and could really see myself planning small wedding, dinner parties, retirement dinner, anniversaries etc. but I have no idea how to start a business. If there are any entrepreneurs out there please lend some advice. Thanks in advance!


Admin 15.01.2009. 21:11

A working plan that you specifically design explores your market and your business structure. Many people skip this step, yet if you haven't surveyed all your options, you may miss out! We like to plan and organize social events, yet the first thing to organize is your business operations. Sound unexciting? Well, perhaps----yet put your "creative nature" aside for a minute and assume a "business" stance.

For example, do you limit it to only small events? Only parties? Will you branch out to all-occasion events? You may only want to target one service area, yet branching out into other avenues (i.e. sales) may assist in producing additional revenue for you. Does your targeted market call for a specialized coordination? Do you want to set up a small store front? Do you go into partnership with a friend or family member or go solo? How will your set up your business records? These are a few things I have on a very long list to consider when developing your working plan. Your "hobby turned business" must turn a profit or why do this? Thinking like a "business-minded" person, channels your goal which is - making money with your talents. Every town has a need and the trick is to find what is needed and be the best. Find your place in this growing market. The idea is to find the niche in the market for your area that has a gap. If children's birthday parties are in need of someone to offer this as a service, then that might work best. Perhaps you desire to be the coordinator for Open House Celebrations, Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies for new businesses or even Note Burning Ceremonies when the debt is being paid off. You can work with the visitor's bureau in your area and make contact with businesses and non-profit organizations. How about catering a chocolate fountain or "candy store" with several crystal bowls full of candy only be be scooped up with a silver scoop! But most important of all is look into a Solid business plan in that field from a book store like Borders and get tips from a mentor in the business and live the dream girl the only person standing in your way is you :o)


Aimers 05.11.2006. 17:24

Ideas for a corporate dinner party? There's not too many people in the office, but including their families and all, it might amount to about 15-20 people. What are some good ideas for a dinner party/event that would include good food and entertainment?

Last year, the event was at a dinner theatre (Mysteriously Yours, in Toronto), so we'd like to do something different this year.

It's to be held around November-December, partially to celebrate the holidays/New year and partially to thank the workers.

Thanks in advance for the ideas!
We're NOT hosting the party, so food ideas aren't need; just entertainment ideas. Thanks anyways.

If it's relevant, we live in Toronto.
The party is NOT to be at our house, so we are not controlling things such as the food or the setting.

I like the bowling idea.


Admin 05.11.2006. 17:24

My company parties were at a bowling alley. Even people who said bowling was stupid, they showed up and had a blast. Music, prizes, drinks, so much laughter. It was great. The employees said afterwards they didn't think it was going to be that fun!


Rinks 29.05.2012. 02:30

What is the best place to have a birthday party in minneapolis, Minnesota? Planning a birthday party, and wondering if there's any fun place (something on the lines of sporty, arcad-ish with bar and food) that's close to Downtown Minneapolis?


Admin 29.05.2012. 02:30

There are various joints and places you can visit for your party.You can visit Bryant,grand slam or even coon Rapids that has gained popularity fast.

Coon Rapids is the place to be.It is the talk of the town for now.they offer great burgers for you and your friends to enjoy.You ca go to the place at any time.During the day or even during the night if you want a crazy party.Sporting events can be watched by those who are not so much into partying.Games like pool,darts and pool tabs are things you can enjoy while there.

Dinner specials that are pocket friendly are available at a pocket friendly price.On Friday nights live entertainment is available and Karaoke on Saturdays is available.

I hope you are going to enjoy.


rtdaemon 25.10.2007. 15:31

How do I make a corporate thank you cocktail successful? I am planning a corporate event, it will be to thank our team members for the good work done at a client. We plan on serving wine and canapés, it will be done in a lounge.

Now there are about 40 employees and three hours. Do you have any suggestions for a fun activity to entertain the guests?

Thank you!


Admin 25.10.2007. 15:31

for a "Thank You Cocktail" make sure they feel thanked. Don't cut corners to save money and maybe try to find a way to make sure everyone feels recognized and/or appreciated.

as far as entertainment goes play some background music and serve some light appetizers. The cocktail hour can last anywhere from 1 to 2 hours. If a meal is going to be served, it usually follows the cocktail hour and is done prior to any other activities. For a office party, it is perfectly acceptable to have either a buffet table or a sit down meal, which ever fits into your budget and timeline the best.

Videotape the guests arriving and mingling during the party and play the tape toward the end of the party along with a section of tape showing the accomplishments and goals that have been achieved throughout the year.

An office party definitely calls for toasts! The toasts can be serious or humorous, just so they give tribute to people as well as achievements.

Trivia -- If you are having a sit down dinner, roll up various trivia quizzes, and tie with ribbon to match your theme colors. Set the little bundles at each place setting. If you are serving food buffet style, put them in a decorative basket. , or you can come up with other creative ideas.

Think of the interests of your crowd before choosing a topic. Try to include trivia related to the topic with a broad range of difficulty. This will make it much more challenging, and your guests will leave the party a little wiser than they were when they arrived:

Sports - who holds what record in what sport, or match famous sports figures with the correct sport. Ask a sports fanatic to help you pull this together!

Inventors and Explorers - Provide a list, and have guests try to match inventors and explorers with their invention or discovery. Much more difficult than you might think!

Music - Either have guests try to match Artists with Song Titles, match Song Titles with the year the song was a hit, or match Songs with the decade they were from. Spend 45 minutes at a music store with a pad of paper, looking at the backs of compilation and "best of" CD's, and you'll have enough music trivia to fill the whole year!

Movie Stars/Movies - Provide a list, and have guests match as many actors/actresses with the films they starred in, or have them try to match movie titles with the year the movie was released. Another fun "Hollywood" trivia game is to see who can name the most films that have won an Academy Award for "Best Picture".

Make a list of the 5-10 most influential/important people of the year?many periodicals, such as Time? magazine, will be featuring such articles between now and December 31st. Ask guests to decide what significant contribution each made in order to make the list. The prize goes to the person who has all 5-10 or closest to it! A great prize to award the winner of any of these trivia games would be a trivia game, such as Trivial Pursuit?, a subscription to a news periodical, or a coffee table book chronicling the past year.

or try putting together trivia about your place of business.

Company Christmas Party Favors:

It is always a nice idea to give away a small token of appreciation to those who come to your winter celebration. There are several items that can be personalized with your company's special wording or just a word of thanks for all the hard work over the past year.

The Snowflake Gel Candle is adorned with a silver metallic snowflake and can be personalized as well. These also look lovely placed next to each setting at the table.

Prevent drink mix-ups during your party by adding Glassware Charms to your Frosted Flute glasses and let the guests take them home as a reminder of a great night!

Crackers are a lighthearted gift that includes a novelty gift, party hat and a joke!

Find a huge selection of glassware that can be personalized with your company and theme. These are always a very popular choice for favors at a holiday office party!


orangespottedhippo 07.06.2009. 21:56

Any ideas for a backyard sweet 16 party? I'm having around 10 people at my party at dinner time. i already set that we are going to have a BBQ but is there any other ideas that can entertain my guests? my backyard isn't too big maybe any ideas for entertaining my guests inside? something fun would be preferable.


Admin 07.06.2009. 21:56


Pick games that suit your party's theme or develop a theme around the games your teen likes to play. With the rising popularity of casino games such as poker and blackjack, you might create a casino-themed party with card tables and other games rented from your local party supply store. You can keep the games friendly by offering fun prizes in exchange for the chips the kids win.
Step 2

Make up a game of trivia based around the guest of honor, your Sweet Sixteen. Print up easy to answer questions about your teen and her friends and family and place them at each table. You can invite the guests to participate in a trivia showdown or let each table try to stump each other with your carefully crafted questions.
Step 3

Let your party's environment help you plan games. If you are hosting a beach shindig or one with a beach theme, play games like limbo where your guests will see "how low they can go" underneath the limbo stick. Provide great beach music through a DJ or hire a local band as accompaniment to your beach activities.
Step 4

Select craft activities for guests if your teen is the artistic type. By organizing fun and easy to do crafts such as necklace making and others, you will provide entertainment and a party favor for your guests.
Step 5

Make your Sweet Sixteen a murder mystery theme and invite your guests to join you for a night of clue-finding. Local theater companies as well as Internet game stores can provide you with the scripts and equipment for a fun night of murder and mayhem!
Step 6

Select silly games such as water balloon fights and paint ball tournaments if your teen is into the outdoors. These games are perfect for afternoon events and can be organized at your local park or through a recreation company which will provide the equipment.

Info from

I don't know if this helped but if it did your welcome I hope you have an awesome Birthday!!


ramblertoo 01.09.2012. 11:24

What do people do at the Carnevale in Venice? Do they have private parties or is everyone out socialising and dancing on the streets? What else do they do - do they dance or eat or what... And where can I find more information on what everyone does during the festivities?


Admin 01.09.2012. 11:24

I go to Carnevale every year. In addition to the costumed balls and dinners, there are a lot of entertainment venues around the city. Much of the activity centers around Piazza San Marco. The big events include the 3 Marias festival, and the Flight of the Angel. There are Commedia dell'Arte performances, bands and other acts that change from year to year. A few years ago they had a trapeze artist performing from a hot air balloon over the Piazza. The balloon was tied to the waists of four people on the ground. They could move closer together or further apart to lower and raise the trapeze so the girl could touch the crowd at times. Venice is very crowded during Carnevale. Many people are in costume - I usually get a couple thousand photos every year. There are also stage shows/exhibitions and costume contests. The official website is here: . You can see photos and videos from past events. In addition to the usual restaurants, there are food booths where you can get frittelle and vin brule among other things. The past few years there has also been a wine fountain.

There are other versions of Carnevale that are completely different - if you come for Venice, I would highly recommend also checking out Carnevale in Cento and in Ivrea: . Cento is a small town with a parade on several Sundays featuring huge floats and always has a Brazilian group as a guest. Ivrea is unique - you have to see the orange battles in person to really believe it.


MK 08.03.2013. 14:03

What do you think about military sexual slavery in Japan? I am Japanese. Although I can't speak and write English so much, I am writing this question because I want to hear the real voice of you.

In Japan, military sexual slaveries a very historical,deep, and seriouos problem. Korea, China, and other countries insist that military sexual slavery were there in the pacific war, and these countries ask Japan to apologize. However, some Japanese say and believe that "there were not military sexual slavery", those women choosed there job by themselves. So, Japan doesn't need to apologize.

There are so many information. I don't know what is the truth, although I think Japan has not apologized about the pacific war to Korea, China, and other countries enough yet.
Would you please give me your opinion as a third party?

I am sorry for my poor English. I just want to hear your opinion about military sexual slavely in Japan?as a third party.
Thank you very much.


Admin 08.03.2013. 14:03

Japan is criticized over the so called comfort women problem which was happened in the war. How comfort women problem differ from these prostitutes? Attackers against Japan over the comfort women problem said that they, prostitutes for Japanese military, were forced into prostitution as a form of sexual slavery by the Japanese military organization. Was it true? In fact Japanese military had not forced these women.
What was happened actually? Many brothel owners opened their business next to military gates. It was a natural because they could make more money. This is quite natural. Therefore Japanese military did not open these brothels during the war, but brothels owners who were local people in the countries which Japanese troops were dispatched. Were they hurt by the Japanese? We can?t find any evidence of that except ladies verbal statements.
(Crime of perjury in Korea is 165 times greater than that in Japan)
(False accusation in Korea is 763 times greater than that in Japan)

According to the Japanese Prisoner of War Interrogation Report No. 49(, which was reported by U.S in Aug 20 to Sept 10, 1944, 20 of Korean ladies were working as comfort women in Japanese camp during WW2. The "house master" that means manager of the comfort house, received 50 to 60% of the girls' gross earnings depending on how much of a debt each girl had incurred when she signed her contract.
In other words, Korean ladies decided to get the job. In fact, they got a lot of money. Also, they amused themselves by participating in sports events with both officers and men, and attended picnics, entertainments, and social dinners. They had a phonograph and in the towns they were allowed to go shopping. The Ladies were allowed the prerogative of refusing a customer.
The NY Times on Jan. 8, 2009 said Korean prostitutes put U.S military and Korean government on trial. They complained about having been forced sex with Americans in Korea. They worked as comfort women from 1960 to 1980 in Korea. Moreover, an LAPD official said some 70-80 prostitutes were arrested every month, and 90 percent of them were Korean. Were they forced to be sexual slaveries by the American and Japanese military? Was the story true?

Japan has not apologized about the pacific war to Korea, China, and other countries enough yet?
What are you basing this off of?
Japan negotiated individually with countries it victimized during the war and paid them national reparations.
For example, Japan agreed to pay $800 million in reparations to the Philippines in 1956 and the same amount to Indonesia in 1958.
When China and Japan renewed diplomatic relations in 1972, China waived a request for reparations.
In return, Japan has given China $60 billion in financial cooperation and a great deal of economic and technical cooperation ?Incidentally, the truth of Japan's apologies and aid has never been divulged inside China for "political reasons.")
Korea received Japan?s oversea assets (5.3 billion-dollar) which were in Korea and 8 hundred million dollars as war reparations from Japan in 1965.
Incidentally, Korean national budget in those days is 3.5hundred million dollars.
Japan spend an inordinate amount (the equivalent of 860 billion dollars today) of Japanese taxpayer money on Korea's modernization.

So, wouldn't the Dutch, French and other European countries that colonized many of the Southeast Asian nations after WWII be questioned for their torts.

Of course there is still much more that Japan needs to do.
But isn't Japan a little better than the Euro-America, which gets off scot-free with no apology, no reparations, and nobody punished?

Thank you for your uninformed and biased opinion


Aaron 27.02.2010. 15:19

What's a good resource for New Years Eve events in Manhattan? I'm looking for something like how Amazon or Menupages works- with reviews of events by real people so that I can decide what to do based on this. Ideally I'd like to pay one price for dinner and open bar to ring in the New Year.


Admin 27.02.2010. 15:19

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Jill 15.11.2009. 21:22

Is the Jekyll and Hyde Club in NYC a good place for an 18 year old birthday party? I want to have my birthday party at the Jekyll and Hyde Club and was wondering how it is and if it would be fun for a bunch of 18/17 year olds.


Admin 15.11.2009. 21:22

It is fine. Mars 2112 is another place as well.

Alice's Tea Cup
102 West 73rd St
This quaint Alice in Wonderland themed tea shop is a fun choice for lunch or afternoon tea with your kids (they serve over a hundred varieties) -- and the scones and sandwiches are good too. The menu includes homemade babyfood. Ambience is light, feminine, and friendly.

The Barking Dog Luncheonette
1453 York Ave. between 77th and 78th St.
This canine named restaurant appeals to the stroller set as well as to older folks. It features a mostly standard American menu of big salads, club sandwiches, burgers, and dishes like meat loaf and pot roast?ironically, no dogs allowed, but kids will like the menu.

Carmine's Midtown
200 W. 44th St., near Broadway
Carmine's simple and very popular concept is to serve every meal in the style of an Italian American wedding feast - which means large portions of homestyle antipasti, pastas, seafood and meat entrees served on large platters designed for sharing. And when we say large, we mean large. An entree here could easily feed three to four average eaters. If you are in the market for better than average family-style Italian food that is served in huge portions at reasonable prices, this is the place for you.

Dallas BBQ
3956 Broadway
Portions are huge, table manners are optional, and the barbecue is messy and perfect for kids. Dallas BBQ serves hamburger, cheeseburger, steaks, chili dogs, ribs, catfish?any critter that previously moved gets barbecued here. Try the hot wings served with cool ranch. Five locations throughout the New York metropolitan area and they do groups, parties, and events.

Empire Diner
210 Tenth Ave
In recent years, New York has lost most of its classic Streamline diners. Yet this perennial favorite remains in northwest Chelsea, serving up everything from burgers to kid-friendly grilled cheese.

105 Reade St., near W. Broadway
Elegant Tribeca seafood restaurant, where families wearing lobster bibs can eat oysters, florida shrimp and and crispy calamari. Kids will appreciate the barbecue shrimp. Best to make reservations in advance.

Genki Sushi
9 E. 46th St., near Madison Ave.
Typical sushi fare, rolling by on a conveyor belt, california rolls and edamame are big with the kids-- one of Japan?s largest sushi chains.

Hard Rock Café
1501 Broadway
Located in the center of the city, heart of Times Square, the Hard Rock Cafe New York will rock your senses with tantalizing food and drinks and an awe-inspiring rock memorabilia collection. Priceless pieces from legends The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Billy Joel, The Ramones and Elvis Presley grace the cafe walls along with more contemporary items including stage costumes worn by Madonna and Gwen Stefani. The Times Square cafe also features rock 'n' roll memorabilia from Hard Rock's unmatched collection, including artists with New York ties, such as John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, The Ramones and Bruce Springsteen.

Island Burgers & Shakes
766 Ninth Ave., near 51st St.
Some of thickest burgers in the city with 50 different topping combinations, and you can get anything on the menu as a chicken sandwich instead of hamburger. Even their delicious salads are big! The decor is bright, fun and relaxed. It's a perfect place for lunch in the midtown area or for a quick dinner. If the kids are impressed really big food, parents are certain to score big here.

Jekyll & Hyde Club
1409 Sixth Ave., near 57th St.
A haunted mansion restaurant with four floors of live interactive entertainment and spooky special effects. The menu is fairly standard pub fare?with buffalo wings, burgers, and fries?but have the kids order the "Chop'em up Salad" or the "Mummy Burger" for kicks. Your kids will love it.

Katz?s Delicatessen
205 E. Houston St., at Ludlow St.
Born on the Lower East Side in 1888, with its famous decades-old signs such as "Send a salami to your boy in the army" and window display of thank-you letters from former U.S. presidents, Katz's has repeatedly earned the moniker of most authentic New York deli. It has a unique counter ticket system, which you get punched depending on what you order. You'll find people from all walks of life here enjoying enormous sandwiches, hot dogs, sauerkraut, and all sorts of crowd-pleasing favorites. Jane and Michael Stern praise Katz's in "Road Food" as the quinessential New York experience, which continually wows tourists and real New Yorkers alike.

Lupa Osteria Romana
170 Thompson St., near Houston St.
A casual restaurant specializing in Roman trattoria fare of the highest quality at a modest price. They have a salumeria that serves Italian artisan meats and cheeses, house-made products such as canned tuna and guanciale, and a kitchen that is dedicated to creating and serving dishes of the freshest ingredients. Lunchtime entrees in the $10 to $20 range. A pleasant down home atmosphere perfect for large families.

Mars 2112
1633 Broadway, at 51st St.
Midtown's beloved underground theme restaurant features a blast off to outer space as well as over-the-top astronomical delights designed to please every kid as well as bring out the kid in the adults. Average food, above-average excitement.Take your little ones to the Red Planet at this intergalactic Times Square favorite. The food?salmon, ribs, and calamari for adults, plus typical kid fare, meaning hamburgers and chicken fingers.

Nadine?s Restaurant
99 Bank St., near Greenwich St.
Nestled in its West Village neighborhood this cozy place features contemporary bistro chow: macaroni and cheese, penne pomodoro, and pizza for the kids, while adults indulge in finer fare-- scallops, cedar-plank salmon, and Cajun-style meat loaf and mashed potatoes. A nice family choice if you're getting around downtown at lunchtime.

Osteria Del Circo
120 W. 55th St., near Sixth Ave.
A family owned Italian restaurant with grown-up prices, and a lavish circus décor?a bright blue circus ring hung with stars, sculptures of monkeys, a clown peeping down from over the kitchen door. Pizzas in the $20 range and entrees from $20 to$50, but if you want splurge with the kids this place is top notch and tasty.

Peanut Butter & Co.
240 Sullivan St., near W. 3rd St.
Here you'll find sandwiches with fresh peanut butter on good bread and in endless variations. Apricot preserves, raspberry jam, dark chocolate peanut butter, white chocolate peanut butter, the possibilities go and on. This is a West Village café, but its retro kitchen decor makes you feel like your home in your apartment-size kitchen. A healthy nutritious choice for the whole family.

Rice Restaurant
292 Elizabeth Street
Rice is a healthy and completely original restaurant featuring rices and entrees from around the world. Since its start in 1995, popular demand has helped RICE grow to four Zagat-rated takeout and eat-in locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Inspired by world cuisines, Rice offers eclectic, healthy fare of exceptional value, brimming with carefully chosen ingredients. Rice offers ten different types of rice and about a dozen main-course toppings. The Manhattan branch's cool vibe and friendly, attentive staff have made Rice a downtown favorite. (Open 12 pm to 12am)

Serendipity 3
225 E. 60th St., near Second Ave.
Serendipity 3 is a perennial kids' favorite, and it's easy to see why. It seems concocted out of a child's dream, with an entrance chockablock of toys and candy. The waitstaff puts on a hilarious show, and the menu is laden with fantasy dishes, including the scrumptuous frozen hot chocolate. Everything here is oversized and outrageous, and that's what makes for so much fun. Prices are high, but this sort of (over-)indulgence doesn't come cheap.

Two Boots
384 Grand Street
Some of New York's most wonderful pizza has made it to the good old Lower East Side. Two Boots pies feature a tangy sauce with plenty of zip, lots of delightful and creative toppings to choose from along with a fine cornmeal crust. Think Italy meets New Orleans. Most of the dishes are named after obscure Hollywood celebs the kids may or may not know?but the pizza rocks.

Utsav Festive India Restaurant
1185 Sixth Ave., at 46th St.
Authentic original Indian cuisine at a double decker, super-friendly restaurant. Utsav offers a mix of culinary traditions, so if the kids aren't wild about the spicy tandoori chicken, they can order pizza or spicy chicken wings. Also offers an all you can eat lunch buffet for $10.

Virgil?s Real BBQ
152 W. 44th St., (near Broadway)
Barbeque offered as a way of life is this place's motto, serving Memphis pork ribs, Carolina pulled pork, Texas beef briskets and more?all smoked over a variety of hickory, oak, and fruit woods. Savory, hearty food for the little cowboys and cowgirls in us all.

Westway Diner
614 Ninth Avenue (Hell's Kitchen), near 44th Street
The self-proclaimed number one diner in Manhattan, and birthplace of the popular television sitcom Seinfeld, this place offers the entire spectrum of diner grub? milkshakes, hamburgers, deli sandwiches, French fries, simply the works. Certain to please the most finicky of kids!

255 West 42nd Street (near Eighth Avenue)
The McDonald's of Japanese fast food. Bowls of beef, chicken, and vegetables and rice, soups, and salads and very reasonably priced.

Zabar's Café
2245 Broadway, at 80th Street,
Offers a


Ameris Marie 28.03.2009. 21:39

What games should we play at a boy/girl pre-teen party? My best friend sam is throwing an end of the school year BBQ, and she asked me to think of games to play at the party. A couple of boys suggested to do kissing games but i need a girls opinion on what 11 and 12 year olds would enjoy. I haven't been to a boy/girl party since 3rd grade and i think at our age now it would be different=).
scratch that we have 11-14 year olds coming we need good games to make this party not lame.

Ameris Marie

Admin 28.03.2009. 21:39

I think that teens and preteens love the challenge of solving a mystery by using their powers of deduction - especially at a birthday party or a special celebration. That's why you'd like to host a unique party game, a kids mystery investigation. But many of the mystery party games that you buy at department stores or at other Internet sites just aren't suitable for children's events or birthday party get-togethers.

I did find one site that might answer your challenge right away. It?s a Kid?s Mystery site set up for preteens and older teenagers. If you want preteen, it will be very different than what they offer for teenagers. It lists the differences. This kind of party is really hot for all ages over about 11.

Adults even pay to go to a party that has this as entertainment. On this site, you'll find mystery party game scenarios that are specifically geared at teen and preteen audiences. No adult situations or untimely deaths. The mysteries that are offered provide the fun without the problems. The downloadable kits tell you how to organize a kids mystery party that will be remembered for years!

Here is a sample of two of the mysteries you may like, however, there are many more available on the site. . .

The Ghostly Case of The Haunted Amusement Park - makes your younger teens put on their mystery party thinking caps and figure out why Mayor Siggy Hall's hair turned white while riding the Ghost Train at the Seashell Cove Amusement Park. This party kit is one of our most-popular mysteries of all time.

The Shocking Case of Mystery Manor, is an ALL-GIRL mystery party by Andrew West. Your teen or preteen group will investigate the mystery of what shocked Minnie Maxson as the clock struck midnight at her 13th birthday party. It's one of our best-selling mysteries and is certain to be a memorable touch to your next party.

There are many scenarios to choose from and it is relatively inexpensive to do. Just buy a script and gather some props. Or the downloadable kit may come with props somehow. Who knows? It's a real mystery! The game is very funny and very cool. You are at a perfect age to really start enjoying this.

When you are older there will be invitations to dinner or a dinner theater and a murder mystery. One person will die and the others have to figure out how and who did it - or who done it! Lots of fun!

I have included this site, which seemed to be the best out of the 6 that I looked at. Also less expensive. Have lots of fun! This type of game will be something your guests will remember for many years.


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