It's one thing to sit down to a perfectly nice three-course meal, surrounded by your close friends and loved ones. It's quite another thing to sit down to the same meal surrounded not only by your friends, but by a slew of shifty-eyed murder suspects. Such is the situation guests find themselves in at Mystery Café, America's original murder mystery dinner theater.
Like the perfect crime, the idea behind Mystery Café is equal parts simple and brilliant. The line between dinner guest and audience member is blurred as a crew of potential murders attempts to evade suspicion by serving a delicious three-course meal. All the while, guests answer a series of questions based on their observations; at the end of the meal, the individual with the most correct answers wins.
Popular though it may be, the mystery dinner is only one of several gut-busting comedy acts sponsored by Mystery Café. Another is ComedySportz Boston, a lightning-fast improv competition in which two teams vie for points by playing in a series of goofy improv games. Regularly held at the Davis Square Theatre in Somerville, ComedySportz has all the elements you'd look for in a more traditional sport: breakneck speed, a rowdy audience, and a referee who governs the action and decides if the losers get to live.
A childhood peppered with basketball, football, and volleyball couldn't keep Mary Murphy out of the ballroom after she was struck by the athleticism of the sport while watching a championship performance in her early twenties. She began to compete around the world, eventually slowing down enough to found Champion Ballroom Academy in 1990 and finally teaching there full-time in between stints on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance.
Mary has plucked like-minded instructors for her studio, some of whom created Core Rhythms, a Latin dance-based aerobics program. Many of the other teachers are competitive-dance champions or black belts in hula hoop. Aside from running a flourishing dance studio, Mary's palpable passion for the art form has also driven her to play a leading role in San Diego's Chance to Dance program, a curriculum that introduces school kids to the artistry and strength-building foundations of dance.
The historic fountain at the east end of Balboa Park’s El Prado pedestrian walk is a lure for visitors, thanks to its majestic and cooling spray. But a quick turn to the right is the entrance to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, another local draw. For the young, it’s a two story, interactive science playground. For the young at heart, there are sophisticated displays, rotating exhibits and the new, NanoSeam IMAX Dome Theater. Films splayed across the 76-foot wraparound screen plunge viewers into the depths of the sea and out into space, through jungles and between skyscrapers around the planet. Resident astronomers also create new shows monthly, using the latest SkyScan System software. The café near the entrance takes care of hungry visitors with a modest menu, a few tables indoors and patio seating in front of the fountain.
Since 1984, the studio’s experienced instructors have conveyed their ballroom skills to both beginner and seasoned students, including Dancing with the Stars’ Emmitt Smith. As the instructor team takes the reins during group and private classes, students learn the graceful moves and footwork for the cha cha, the waltz, salsa, swing, or other ballroom styles. The studio also offers a special wedding course that gets couples ready for their big days, enabling them to finally have a reason to be the center of attention at a wedding. Many of the studio’s dancers also train for national competitions, often under the leadership of studio director and championship dancer Raza Begg.
The Mainly Mozart festival unites classical musicians from around the globe for performances of tunes by the titular composer and other legendary songwriters. Eardrums vibrate to the sweet melodies of Haydn's Piano Concerto in D, and renditions of Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo sets toes to tapping. Each show in the four-concert series boasts a different lineup of compositions and performers, but every note awakens from its slumber at the capable hands of Maestro David Atherton.
Eschewing the over-the-top costumes and writing that typify many other murder-mystery dinners, The Dinner Detective San Diego’s cast of improvisational actors blends in with audiences, holding secrets tight to their chests while steering each night’s tension-filled storyline. After a diner is found murdered, a resident detective helps lead the investigation, allowing guests to interrogate one another with Tickle Monster tactics to distinguish the culprit among the crowd of fellow diners and dissembling thespians. Multicourse meals keep bodies well fueled during spurts of crime-solving intuition, and a prize basket awaits the gumshoe who comes closest to solving the case.
The instructors at Aerial Revolution Entertainment haven't always been teachers. Before coming to the studio, many of them traveled with Cirque du Soleil, delighting audiences around the world with their feats of aerial prowess. Now, they spend their days training the next generation of performers at this
circus school. During a weekly schedule of more than 75 classes, they impart high-flying skills in disciplines including aerial silks, static trapeze, aerial hoop, acrobatics and hand balancing. In addition to their professional development programs, they also fill their schedule with recreational classes suitable for all fitness levels.
UltraStar Cinemas cossets moviegoers in cushy seating as they enjoy Hollywood hits alongside buttery servings of popcorn. Film buffs can peruse the current showtimes to handpick an action-packed flick, romantic comedy, or chilling thriller featuring inexplicably aggressive hamsters. The concession stand outfits moviegoers with snacks, drinks, and buckets filled with warm kernels, keeping stomach grumblings to a minimum during showings and providing crunchy projectiles in case of sudden younger-sibling attacks.
A nonprofit celebration of bold theatrics, Moxie Theatre sinks its teeth into tantalizing topics throughout its sixth season lineup, colorfully summarized by the season's overarching theme, "In Celebration of Bad Girls." The five-production season includes Eleemosynary, a witty portrayal of family functionality across three generations of women (running September 1–September 26); a classically frightening rendition of The Crucible (October 30–December 5); and The Toughest Girl Alive, an autobiographical musical detailing the nearly true story of Candye Kane, who's been, among other things, a punk rocker, teen mother, adult-film star, and cancer survivor (mature audiences only, January 13–February 6). Rounding out the season are two additional productions, Or, and Ten Cent Night, in the spring and summer. For complete listings, descriptions, and schedules, click here.
With 58 schools in 23 states, the inspiring and performance-driven School of Rock enthusiastically infuses fledgling tunesmiths across the nation with the rhythm, skill, and confidence required to rock 'n' roll. Each instructor at the school is a professional musician, and fully equipped with the know-how to catapult instrumentalists to the crest of Mount Rockmore.
The multiple Tony Award–winning La Jolla Playhouse stacks each spectacular season with audience-enchanting plays that often matriculate to Broadway and off-Broadway success. This year's season kicks off with the world premiere of Arthur Kopit and Anton Dudley's comedy, A Dram of Drummhicit. Directed by the playhouse's artistic director Christopher Ashley, fresh from a Tony win for the musical Memphis, this play follows a comedic culture clash in small-town Scotland as an American businessman breaks ground for his dream golf course—and digs up bodies in the process.
Named after the legendary team from Argentina where soccer star Diego Maradona got his start, the San Diego Boca Futbol Club follows in the fleet footsteps of its titular inspiration by promoting professional and youth soccer through its involvement in the National Premier Soccer League. Herds of brightly bedecked athletes rampage across an enormous plain to earn the confidence of a whirling, chiaroscuro globe by wooing it with feats of balance and head butting. Intersperse zigs, zags, and zips with soda sips, hot-dog bites, and vuvuzela renditions of Gary Glitter B-sides. This year’s team of cleated kickers booted their way to a fourth-place ranking in the league’s western division, leaving trembling blades of glass in their wake. With recently acquired Brazilian midfielder Zé Roberto and goal-scoring leader Justin Picou leading the charge toward postseason play, fans may redeem today's Groupon for home playoff games.
Helmed by an award-winning performer and experienced instructor, Sabrina Bellydancer imparts bountiful body waves and seductive shimmitude to movers of all skill levels. Whether you wish to burn calories, tastefully flutter a tummy flag tattoo, or sensually dodge paintballs, the weekly beginner classes work to tame lower halves Monday through Wednesday. Aspirant belly-dance junkies can get their fix learning classic movements such as hip circles, figure eights, undulations, and shimmies. On Monday evenings, mixed-level classes combine levels one, two, and three for instruction that tailors its intensity to each participant’s appropriate skill level and favorite meteorologist. Non-noisy hip scarves are permitted, and dancers can feel free to don dance shoes or proudly brandish naked feet.
Actor, comedian, and humanitarian Chris Tucker steps off the big screen and onto the massive stage of the San Diego Civic Theatre, racking up belly laughs with his raucous, adults-only standup routine. A former Def Comedy Jam all-star, Chris boasts impeccable comic timing, unpredictable delivery, and a caffeinated chipmunk voice, all of which have worked to shape a career loaded with inertial success. The performer is famous for his kung-fu verbosity in the Rush Hour franchise and his pivotal role as Smokey in Friday, both of which helped him become an A-list celebrity. Returning to his live-performance roots, Chris unloads a cannon of material, slaying audiences with lightning-fast quips, high-pitched observations, and tips on surviving brunch with Jackie Chan.
Today's Groupon gets you four dance classes at Culture Shock Dance Center. The contemporary dance studio is the stomping ground of nationally renowned hip-hop dance team Culture Shock San Diego, a troupe that’s danced at MTV Studios, on NBA and WNBA courts, and at Nike, as well as using dance to save the Earth in the Intergalactic Dance Battle Ultimus, although their memories of this event have been erased. Culture Shock offers break dance, zumba workouts, hip-hop, belly dance, striptease, and more; pick one style to master your craft or mix-and-match to fulfill your wildest dance fantasies involving up to four styles of dance. Hour 1: Soreness. Your feet will be slightly sore, but expect a second wind when they turn on the air conditioners and begin playing the entirety of Pangaea by Miles Davis. Hour 8: Endurance. At most retail jobs, employees are expected to stand for eight hours at a time, so you should be able to effortlessly hit this mark if you are an employee at most retail stores. Hour 15: Mild hallucinations. Remember, the mint-chocolate-chip-colored jaguar that appears to have replaced your dance partner is actually a harmless ocelot. Hour 24: Exhaustion, rage. You begin to wildly curse the various children’s charities sponsoring the event in an unforgiveable outburst captured by local news, and widely circulated and parodied online. Hour 30: You did it! Collect your prize, a $15 gift certificate for shoe repair, and get a friend to wheelbarrow you home, victorious.