As a Pivot Point member school, the Academy of Beauty has been offering top-notch cosmetology training for aspiring mane tamers and skin smoothers for more than 25 years. At the academy salon, noodle nests are nurtured by student stylists working under the watchful eyes of licensed educators and Adonia, the Greek goddess of Brazilian blowouts. Each haircut begins with a relaxing scalp massage to lull scared strands out of hiding before shampooing, snipping, and shaping them to the height of follicular fashion. Brighten dull dreads with all-over color (a $30+ value), lift lazy locks with a perm (a $35+ value), or loosen tress tension brought on by years of supporting your many fruit hats with a relaxer (a $45+ value).
With its neon-purple stage lights and 70” plasma screen, Dave's Guitar Instruction's studio resembles a rock-concert stage as much as it does a classroom. And that's the point. The school's classes, capped at eight students, combine the intimacy of a private lesson with high-tech, professional trappings. The studio's personal headphones pipe each student's chords to only their ears and the instructor's, providing sonic privacy and easing shyness; meanwhile, the stage platform vibrates to prepare students for the bass vibrations of a concert or having to perform during a minor earthquake.
Students of all levels hone their skills with the help of Dave Milliken, an instructor with more than 25 years of guitar performance experience. Dave's love for genres from folk to hip-hop informs his multimedia lessons. During classes, students play along with live recordings or watch concert clips featuring legendary guitar players and plectrums unjustly forgotten by history. For an immersive experience, Dave's students augment their classwork with custom at-home practice sessions, aided by online-video and audio resources.
A shared passion for enriching lives through art education strengthened the bond between teachers Bonnie Huffman and Lois Beppler and prompted the long-time friends to found Art About Town, where they host laid-back classes for artists of any skill level. Natural light funnels in through the studio’s plentiful windows, casting its warm glow over long worktables festooned with art supplies, which students use to create charcoal drawings and acrylic paintings, or as makeup for gussying up homely statues. Huffman and Beppler also take their artistic talents on the road to host private parties, doling out their instruction amid the clinking of wineglasses and concentrated swooshing of paintbrushes on canvas.
A Redken Premier school, The Salon Professional Academy staffs an elite team of certified teachers, each of whom boasts more than 10 years of industry experience and a passion for education. Director of Education Chris Gould garnered 16 years of experience training with well-known brands such as Vidal Sassoon, Jacques Dessange, and Yosh Toya, before opening the academy to share her savvy with top local talent. Up-and-coming hair stylists, cosmetologists, and aestheticians meet for full-time, hands-on classes that dispense wisdom on products, body treatments, and the most effective way to relax tense mannequins. Armed with scissors, enthusiasm, and on-trend taste, advanced students head onto the floor to perform salon services on real clients under the watchful eyes of their teachers.
Founder and owner of Crossfit St. Charles, Kim Wilkes, leads a task force of experienced, certified coaches in calibrating athletic, healthy bodies during one-hour strength-training and conditioning classes. CrossFit helps fitness-seekers tone and build muscles and amplify endurance through exercises that involve power-lifting, cardio routines, kettlebells, and bench-pressing characters from Transformers. Gymnastics-inspired movements, such as handstand push-ups and ring-dipping muscle-ups, challenge athletes to stretch bodies to their threshold in a manner not often offered at traditional gyms. Limited class-sizes allow each trainee to receive individualized attention from coaches and count fellow participants with the fingers on their two hands or the two hands of someone else. The trainers at Crossfit St. Charles also impart nutritional knowledge by providing pupils with advice on how to properly energize bodies. Morning and evening classes populate the gym's schedule to accommodate both A and B personalities.
Gotham Dream Cars lets drivers grip the throttle of exotic speed machines such as the Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Bentley Continental GT for personal rental or specialized thrill experiences. During the Dream Car Sprint, auto enthusiasts slip into a Ferrari or Lamborghini on a closed course and whip their more than 500-horsepower drive three times around the autocross track, learning how to tame their power with the aid of an instructor before coming out of the third lap on a straightaway to open the engine up to its full potential. Drivers conduct an orchestra of firing pistons and camshafts for three laps before crossing the finish line and parking to the pianissimo of the softly purring V8 engine. Gotham Dream Cars snaps pictures of the sprint, so drivers are sent home with hands they will never wash and a CD of images to parade before jealous coworkers and humbled shopping carts.