Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros; the Beginning Digital Photography course teaches students to harness the intricacies of their instruments, and the Pro Academy offers inside tips on how to successfully snap wedding portraits, pose recent grads, or tease out candid emotions. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
The graceful ease with which a good bartender mixes drinks masks the difficulty of the job, one that requires knowledge and dexterity—not to mention charisma. The seasoned barkeeps at Bartender of America, a TIPS-certified school, know what it takes to be a good bartender and lead their students through deliberate exercises inside a fully simulated tavern environment. Amid ambient sounds and music, novice bartenders dole out maraschino cherries and shake martinis while refining their conversational skills and learning how to identify underage kids by their mustaches. Fully committed students can opt for the entire Bar 101 curriculum, attaining a bartending license and valuable tricks for managing their resume and acing job interviews, while abbreviated classes offer insight into the fundamentals of the trade.
Brothers in arms, strings, and reality, Sérgio and Odair Assad hail from Brazil, where they were steeped in the Brazilian musical tradition like two man-sized sachets of tea. Over the years, they studied with some of the best guitarists in South America, honing their skills and musical partnership. More recently, the duo began further exploring the music of their ancestral homeland, Lebanon. Following the success of Sérgio's Lebanese-influenced composition Tahhiya II Oussilina, the Assads arranged a show that explores modern and ancient Lebanese work, the rhythmic motifs that Brazilian and Middle Eastern music never realized they had in common, and new, original compositions. The result was De Volta As Raizes, Portuguese for "back to our roots." Joining them on tour are the thoroughly embodied vocals of Lebanese-American singer Christiane Karam, the intricate dum-tek-kas of percussionist Jamey Haddad, and the double-handed support of pianist and singer Clarice Assad.
Satisfy sky-centric curiosity with the College Park Aviation Museum's 27,000 square feet of cloud-plowing attractions, set on the historic grounds of the world's oldest continuously operating airport. This Smithsonian-affiliated museum's pride is a restoration shop, which makes once-grand beauties look as flight-ready as a seagull strapped to a jet pack. Ten vintage and reproduced aircraft are arrayed in the main gallery, including a reproduction of the Wright Model B from 1910 and a 1941 Boeing Stearman. Exhibits chart the nonvehicular history of flight, such as the Fly Now! showcase of international aviation posters dating back to 1860. Petite pilots may explore kid-friendly displays, sitting in the cockpit of the Imagination Plane, a 1939 blue Taylorcraft, or go to the hands-on room to dress in flight-ready uniform.
Inspired by early 20th century chili parlors, Hard Times Cafe aims to preserve the tradition of delectable, hearty fare served in a friendly, lively community eatery. Elevate taste buds to new heights with an order of legendary grilled wings in one of five flavors, including original Texas, chili-lime, honey-barbecue, and eternity ($8.99 per order). Hard Times Cafe serves four distinct varieties of chili. The authentic chili mac is served over spaghetti with your choice of accouterments ($7.49–$8.89). Burgers, sliders, and chili dogs are easily transportable by hand or hovercraft, and savory steaks and other suppertime favorites provide more refined nourishment options. To reward you for your literary prowess, every Groupon reader who texts HTCGRP to 59925 gets an additional coupon good for one order of bar nachos. Combine this offer with a Groupon, or save it for a subsequent visit.
Light from 16 big-screen TVs flickers from the walls at Big Play Sports Grill, meaning diners can catch their favorite team from almost any seat in the house. The grill's menu embraces the sports theme by offering hearty portions with playful, sports-related names. Guests can step up to the plate for some slow-roasted triple double smoked ribs, hole-in-one tilapia, or a hat trick half-roasted chicken flavored with a robust blend of 12 spices as opposed to ice shavings carved by minor-league hockey players. Lighter, more snackable options run the gamut from Mississippi catfish po'boy sandwiches and grass-fed burgers to boneless wings and crab cake sliders.