To weather his career as a master sergeant and a decorated Special Forces combat veteran, Shihan Randy McElwee needed a solid grasp on combat maneuvers. Nowadays, the retired McElwee teaches the pragmatic self-defense skills that got him through battle at his martial-arts studio, American Black Belt Academy. The school specializes in the official hand-to-hand combat system of the US military: Gracie Brazilian jujitsu. The system’s standing and ground moves harness leverage to take on larger opponents as well as help participants neutralize surprise attacks. For a broader focus, students can opt for an integrated martial-arts fitness workout, which combines jujitsu with muay thai kickboxing and Japanese shotokan karate. Regardless of their specificity, all of the studio’s classes enhance focus, self-confidence, and courage when the laundry room’s light goes out.
A fourth-generation artist, Rose Handy has always made time for creating. After a rollercoaster ride of life changes and moves, Rose and her potter husband Paul opened their own gallery and class space. Joined by a staff of illustrators, quilters, watercolorists, and other artisans, the owners encourage Wild Child students to find their own artistic voices, whether they're hand-building a ceramic bowl, painting a family portrait, or fusing glass pieces together to make a new glass family. The search for new avenues of creativity also extends to the studio's class offerings; beginning in January 2013, aspiring artisans can learn the intricacies of handbuilding and wheel-based pottery techniques as part of the shop's newest curriculum.
From spacious locker rooms to family-friendly facilities, BodyPlex gyms are built to take the stress out of working out. Fitness machines ranging from cardio equipment to free-motion systems beckon those familiar with the gym scene to jump right into a regime. Newcomers need not stress about a learning curve, as personal instructors power walk the grounds, ready to give one-on-one instruction with an appointment. To ease the workout worries of parents, enthusiastic staff members man the gym's onsite Kidsplex, a youth-focused playroom stocked with crafts, toys, and two different video-game systems. Additionally, those who achieve their best when with like-minded people can break a sweat and their personal fist-bump record in one of the gym's daily fitness classes.
Dolphin Dive Center owner and master diver Tim Bridgham has a philosophy a lot of people can relate to: we spend much of our lives standing on our feet, sitting on our butts in chairs, or sleeping?so getting in the water can be a blissful alternative. As a full-service dive center, Dolphin Dive is a place where students and seasoned divers can get all their gear, as well as the knowledge to put it to good use. Beginners can splash into the heated, indoor pool to get the hang of breathing underwater during the try scuba course, while more seasoned divers and mermen in disguise can take the advanced open water class.
Enduring attention spans are rendered unnecessary at Fun Galaxy, where the staff oversees ample entertainment options in one huge facility. While smaller kids and toddlers tackle a multi-level playground packed with soft obstacles, their older siblings take a turn at roller-skating or exploring the indoor skate. A mechanical bull and more than 30 arcade games round out the attractions, which are also available for birthday-party packages.
Having toured with Dinosaur Jr. and Meat Puppets in recent years, Dead Confederate returns to reclaim its native soil by planting its flag at the intimate downtown venue 40 Watt Club. In a dynamic live performance, the five-piece band will free cuts from their newest album, Sugar, from the confines of ear buds and bootlegged eight tracks. Beards can stoically bob along to the J Mascis–aided single "Giving It All Away" and the band's other forays into the dark corners of the rock-o-sphere, from freeform psychedelic wanderings to pulsing aural packets of distortion. Fellow performers Colour Revolt, whose debut album ranked among Paste's Best of 2008, and shoegazey Twin Tigers will ease ears into the deep end of the sonic pool with tonal palettes that range from jaunty to noisy. 40 Watt Club boasts two full bars for mid-show sipping or pouring libations to the gods of rock. Doors open at 9 p.m.