Fitness guru and founder of Burbank Athletic Club Greg Bedrossian knows what it means to beat the odds. Born with a hole in his heart, he was advised throughout his life to avoid strenuous exercise. But instead of giving up, Greg dug into deep personal reserves of will and became a personal trainer, eventually opening Burbank Athletic Club.
Today, his CPR- and AED-certified trainers have picked up on his knack for bypassing perceived physical limitations. Through their fitness classes and training programs, the staff strives to help their students embody the same grit and determination in shaping their own bodies. The high-intensity classes—including cardio kickboxing and a boxing-Pilates fusion known as Piloxing—ramp up the difficulty as time goes on. Vinyasa, flow, and other forms of yoga are available as well, led by experienced yogis. These are contrasted by low-impact, high-intensity spinning classes, which work the body but also the mind, as clients must recognize that no matter how hard they pedal, in the end they go nowhere. Classes are often supplemented with individual workouts in a vast gym filled with weight machines, free weights, and cardio machines.
With schools on the shores of the United States, China, and the Philippines, the International Academy of Film and Television (IAFT) works to nurture the next generation of Hollywood’s elite. The academy's hands-on training, one-on-one attention, quality gear, and focus on all aspects of the craft, from writing to directing to performing, have earned it praise from the Hollywood Reporter as one of the Best Film Schools in the World. To put these means to use, IAFT hosts programs that can lead to certification or a diploma, as well as workshops that sharpen skills or introduce beginners to the world of the silver screen.
Yet for a student few things are more important than having a stolen answer key to their finals and an influential mentor. So IAFT stocks their faculty with experienced professionals such as Frederick Bailey. Bailey has directed more than 100 stage plays in theaters across the United States and has seen more than 20 of his screenplays become movies. He also holds a recurring role on the television soap Days of Our Lives and has taught acting, directing, and screenwriting in Japan and the Philippines.
Dave Reinitz packed up all his belongings into a motor home, left New York, and began driving across the country because he was bored. When the engine finally blew, he was in Los Angeles, and decided that was where he would stay. As if by providence, Dave immediately took to his newfound city's comedy scene. Eventually, he partnered up with comedian Barbara Holliday for his life's next great adventure—Flappers Comedy Club.
Today, Barbara, whose credits include Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Friends, co-manages the multipurpose club she owns with Dave. A breeding ground for new talent, the venue plays host to standup comics and variety acts, and gives up-and-comers a hand with comedy classes called Flappers University. Many local and rising comedians have tested their standup material at Flappers, and the stage has supported the seasoned weight of stars such as Dave Attell and Jason Alexander. Before, during, or after shows, patrons can fuel their giggle fits with grub from the club's onsite restaurant, including Cajun-spiced burgers, seared ahi, and brick-oven pizzas.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
At Racer's Edge Indoor Karting, staff members flap green and checkered flags to signal the beginning and end of go-karting competition. Drivers first attend a safety briefing and don protective helmets and neck guards, then hop behind the wheel of an electric Sodi go-kart that produces minimal noise and even more minimal milk. Holding up to eight of the eco-friendly speedsters at a time, the 2.5-mile indoor race has nine turns and trackside tables where friends and family members can cheer racers to the finish line. Afterward, participants can check two projection screens for their lap times or visit the facility's deli and refuel on quarter-pound beef hot dogs and freshly baked cookies. Racer's Edge stages group outings for birthday parties with activities such as slot car racing, corporate events, and herds of deer that are tired of never getting the right of way.
From 18 studios scattered around Los Angeles, Lori Moran Music Studios’ armada of instructors offers all-ages voice, piano, guitar, violin, and composition classes. With teachers who have worked on films such as Dreamgirls and Dance Flick, world-touring operatic productions, and Grammy-nominated choral CDs, the school can cater to virtually every musical taste—from classical to jazz to pop. Students choose the emphasis of their lessons, whether they want to work on their public performance skills, write their own songs, sight-read scores, or simply be able to play musical chairs during a power outage. Many will also get the chance to show off in recitals, concerts, and showcases.