Despite a close encounter with a hammerhead shark, Learn Scuba Chicago's Captain Bob just keeps on scuba diving. The aquatic expert got an up-close peep of shark teeth on his very first Caribbean dive, yet has scarcely taken his flippers off since. He started Learn Scuba Chicago four years ago in a garage as a grassroots effort to build community. Captain Bob and crew lead diving courses, which range from thrilling dips for beginners to instructor certifications. The calendar is flexible so students can plunge into indoor pools at their own pace at a variety of locations, such as Water's Edge Aquatic Center in Bensenville, the UIC campus, and Northeastern Illinois University campus, with open water dives held at Kankakee's Haigh Quarry.
Red Lobster, Wicker Park’s Mirai Sushi, and Lincoln Park punk bar Delilah’s are three seemingly disparate venues. However, they have something in common—all three have hired graduates of American Professional Bartending Schools of Illinois to mix their drinks and man their bars. The schools have been landing graduates at notable Chicago establishments for more than 60 years, but their connection with alums doesn’t end with their first gig. Graduates receive lifetime, personalized job-placement assistance and can call the school’s career hotline 24 hours a day to find out about job openings or trade meatloaf recipes.
The schools' focus on employment also shows in their bartending classes, which are modeled after on-the-job training and led by teachers with an average of more than 20 years of industry experience. Taught at bars complete with realistic faux liquor, the sessions cover topics from mixology to presentation and etiquette.
Mike Semerau and the instructors at Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons have a trick up their sleeve. In addition to in-person tutelage, they provide professional pre-recorded take-home videos of proper drumming techniques for students to refer to while practicing. This kind of constant visualization and repetitive watching is what the instructors claim makes their students so successful as they drill new techniques such as double bass, ostinatos, and stick control. During lessons, teachers also cover subjects such as soloing, learning a student?s favorite song, creating original beats and fills, and teaching yourself. Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons has a play-along machine stacked with more than 1,000 songs, all of which have no drum track so that students can provide their own percussion and experience the sensation of playing and keeping time with other instruments.
For 38 years, Underseas Scuba Center has helped scuba divers of all experience levels hone their skills. Newbies earn PADI Open Water Diver certifications, while more experienced divers train in digital underwater photography (a specialty of Underseas), night diving, and rescue diving. For an extra dose of adventure, divers can explore tropical waters in areas such as Cozumel and the Grand Cayman Islands on the dive center’s organized trips. Before solo ventures at sea or in human-sized fish tanks, they can also shop for underwater gear by Aqualung, Light Motion, Scubapro and other top brands.
Cheryl Picha used to exclusively specialize in bridal makeup. As she added that wedding-day glow, dabbed away tears of joy, and blended foundations to match her subjects' individual coloring, she began to receive requests—the brides wanted these long-lasting, custom-blended formulas in their own makeup kits. This discovery led Cheryl to establish Custom Face, a group of independent makeup artists who specialize in applying individualized cosmetics to every unique face that walks through their door. Powered by the sultry hues of the Motives by Loren Ridinger line, the artists concoct foundations, bronzers, blushes, and eye shadows to complement their clients' skin tones. Visitors can either bring these formulas home or have their specialist craft a personalized look stunning enough to brighten any wedding, cultural celebration, or live-action production of The Smurfs they desire.