Connect the Dots helps nonprofits, shelters, and low-income housing properties reduce their environmental impact by retrofitting their buildings. It supplies conservation materials and tools, implements frameworks and support structures for future action, and tracks water and electricity usage to ensure organizations see the immediate results of their environmental efforts. The financial savings incurred can help these organizations allocate funds to fulfill their missions. Since its inception, Connect the Dots has greened 116 facilities with 36 organizations, saving 8.7 million gallons of water, 843 pounds of waste diverted from landfills, and 158,000 kWh of electricity.
Trained by legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner, Christy English Wioncek opened the Bay Area Acting Studio to teach a new generation of actors how to—in the words of her mentor—"live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." Her stable of equally Meisner-steeped instructors leads classes including introductory adult courses, intensive courses for working thespians, and children's classes for young'uns looking to break into the industry early or convince babysitters they've been diagnosed with a life-threatening ice-cream deficiency.
As barkeeps shake potent cosmos and martinis, waitresses circulate amid the expanses of leather and polished metal that gleam beneath Bliss Bar's intimate lighting. The San Francisco Bay Guardian described the spot as "a swanky, Manhattan-meets-Noe-Valley lounge." A pueblo fireplace launches merry crackling across crimson booths, and the lounge area facilitates intimate conversations and reassessments of tin-can-telephone networks. In the front window, a DJ spins hip-hop tunes on weekends, and the stage draws clusters of revelers with open-mic comedy, jazz, and workshops on the ins and outs of decorating with red velvet.
A minor-league affiliate of the NHL's San Jose Sharks, the San Francisco Bulls made their East Coast Hockey League debut in October 2012. On game days, crowds of as many as 11,000 fans flood the Cow Palace, the Bulls' home ice and the former stomping ground of the Sharks, who played in the arena for their first two seasons in the NHL. As the team looks to establish itself as a formidable ECHL presence, it gains inspiration from the Matadors, the team's fiercely loyal booster club, and secret play calls encoded in the Cow Belles' dance routines.
Back in the 1980s when Nancy Myers began practicing pilates as a method of injury recovery, she had no idea it would lead her to cofound the bastion of "energy, health, and strength" that is EHS Pilates. Today, in partnership with Tracey Sylvester, Myers oversees the company's operations, including the programming of the EHS Institute for Pilates and massage. The duo plucks the ripest instructors—including a globetrotting trapeze artist—to lead onsite classes, and charge the teachers with the duty of helping others master Balanced Body equipment. Teachers tailor classes to the needs of expectant mothers and Pilates enthusiasts of any skill level.
EHS's education program is nationally recognized, yet the studio remains devoted to healing the local community. The Wellness Center promotes health with acupuncture, chiropractic care, and nutrition counseling. Myers herself provides therapy to people with foot and gait issues caused by overexertion or walking on pins and needles near emotionally volatile sewing machines.
Park 77 hydrates palates with drink specials and entertains patrons with beer-pong courts, arcade games, and billiards tables. The neighborhood sports bar boasts an outdoor patio and beer garden, where guests can mingle and wildlife can catch up on favorite sporting events playing on a jumbo, outdoor TV. Inside, pub fare circles the crowds, light emanating from flat-screen TVs flickers across cartoon pinup girls on pale yellow walls, and a long, wood-paneled bar pours draft selections including Guinness, Fat Tire, and Stella Artois. Within the expansive interior, heated games of pinball and skeeball set the backdrop for themed gatherings, such as College Fridays.
Both kids and adults can learn the art of cake decoration within the walls of Sugar 'n Spice. During classes, they fill bags with buttercream icing and pipe flowers, ruffles, and letters on the tops of cakes and cupcakes. Grown-ups can even learn to bake cakes and cake pops for upcoming birthdays, weddings, or mortgage closings. Those wanting to practice their skills at home can pick up the necessary accoutrements at the on-site shop.