The Sylvester family had bartending in its blood. Whether it was Uncle Mickey holding court with 40 years' worth of regulars or Tony Sr. mixing one of his signature Skip and Go Nakeds, they exemplified the easy grace and no-nonsense craftsmanship found in a true barman's barman. That dedication to well-poured drinks carried over to Tony Jr., who has spent the last 35 years training mixologists nationwide through the curriculum of his ABC Bartending Schools. Taught behind fully functional bars, his courses educate students in topics ranging from drink recipes and equipment setup to flair moves and alcohol awareness. His schools also emphasize employment; after graduation, students can take advantage of a nationwide job placement service to land gigs in Miami nightclubs, Las Vegas casinos, or the bar cars of Chicago's El trains.
Promoting positive socials skills through gleeful play, Under the Sea Indoor Playground, named one of the area's best indoor play spaces by CBS Los Angeles, gives kids a colorful landscape of obstacles, toys, and floor-to-ceiling murals to play in. Throughout the three locations, youngsters of various ages ramble through soft-padded activities such as the soft moon bounce, or exorcise pent-up energy scaling the sea castle. Meanwhile, parents and guardians can watch proudly from nearby seating or join in and challenge children to good-willed games of foosball. For younger children, Under the Sea turns down the tempo of play with a soft baby corner, toddler swing, and learning-oriented play equipment. Under the Sea is designed to help develop social skills, coordination, and self-esteem with a colorful cast of painted octopi, mermaids, and sea monkeys mistaking the playground's yellow slides for sea bananas.
Having noticed cuts in local arts programming, founders and father-daughter duo J. Thomas and Sara Hunsucker wanted to ensure that all students have access to arts education. Celebrated local artists, they created a center that gives adults and children the tools to communicate more through visual creations and less through crayoned Rorschach drawings. Their squad of professional artists teaches all the center's classes, which move along at each individual’s self-enforced pace. While the instructors watch, children can dabble in exploration of ceramics, painting, sculpture, or mold making. The school's 1,100-square-foot facility also serves as a multiuse space, hosting birthday parties, special events, and seasonal children's art camps. Adults can stop by for erudite education in the form of exhibitions, lectures, and workshops on how to win a stare-off against Van Gogh’s self-portrait.
The Tea Lovers Festival returns for its celebration of all things steeped on May 5 at the Armory Center for the Arts in Old Town Pasadena. At the event, the Tea Lovers marketplace showcases unique products from exhibitors such as Art of Tea, Numi, and Bird Pick Tea & Herb. As visitors stop by merchant booths, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, and green teas steep, filling the air with their subtle flavors while festivalgoers seek out new favorite brews. On the interactive side, tea studies target both novices and connoisseurs, and tea labs teach brewers the finer scientific points of brewing, such as how tea ware affects taste. A popular series from the 2011 festival called Everything You Wanted to Know About Tea, But Were Afraid to Ask also returns with new topics, covering teas from across the globe and how to read messages in tea leaves, such as “This water was too hot.”
Each year, hundreds of hair stylists, makeup artists, beauty professionals, and cosmetics producers from A-list brands gather at the Pasadena Convention Center for PHAMExpo, a weekend of sharing industry insights and forging new partnerships. On the Main Stage, artists such as Valente Frazier and Scott Barnes draw from their years of experience working with public figures such as First Lady Michelle Obama, Vanessa Williams, and J.Lo, giving attendees glimpses at techniques and tools used in the world of celebrity hair and makeup. Sponsors such as Naimie's Beauty Center. Lime Grime, and Royal and Langnickel dazzle stylists and makeup specialists with demos of new products, while seminars and panels enlighten audiences on specific subjects such as nail art, career marketing in the beauty industry, and putting wigs on pets.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.