Shrouded in the winter’s frigid cold and the Northern Lights’ ethereal beauty, the residents of the titular small town in Almost, Maine fall in and out of love during nine loosely linked vignettes performed by Sinclair’s ensemble cast. Written by John Cariani, the play thawed Off Broadway hearts six years ago in a debut that drew the New York Sun to herald it as a tale of “love in the time of frostbite.” Each of the short pieces chronicles two characters who lament love lost or revel in budding romance and long johns magically overflowing with $5 bills. In one scene, a young woman carries her broken heart in a balled-up paper bag she clutches to her chest. In another, a married couple lobs verbal jabs and emotional roundhouses at each other while looking for a missing shoe. Many of the mini plays skewer reality with a fantastical lance, the enchanted devices often directing the characters' precarious ventures of the heart. The mysticism of Almost, Maine is further reflected by the colorful history of Blair Hall Theatre, rife with supernatural stories, ghost sightings, and actors with sparkling smiles that cast no reflections.
Kimberly Denney has dedicated her entire adult life to teaching music to kids. After receiving her BA in music education and MA in education administration, Kimberly taught music and band in public schools for 21 years. Now she teaches Kindermusik to families in Dayton and Cincinnati.
At her school, Kimberly and her team of instructors lead children from newborns to 7-year-olds in playful music classes with the goal of helping kids develop into great learners—not necessarily the next Mozart. Children sing, dance, and play age-appropriate instruments, all while developing a variety of skills in language, literacy, socialization, and problem solving, as well as improving their self-esteem. Parents and children receive Kindermusik@home materials that include a variety of activities to continue learning at home between weekly classes.
Photographer Dan Cleary is much more than a photographer?he's an artist. In fact, Dan has a Masters of Fine Arts degree to prove it. Perhaps that's why, as the photographer at Cleary Creative Portraits, he's been in business for more than two decades. Or perhaps it's the promise he makes to his clients that if they aren't over the moon about their photos, he'll return their payment in full. But with his eye for capturing family portraits, newborn babies, wedding days, and other special occasions, those instances are rarities.
For more than a quarter-century, the tutors at U-Learn Academy have been boosting the collective IQ of their community without contaminating the town reservoir with superfoods. New students complete a diagnostic exam, which places them at the right level of performance, and then they dive into academics with their tutor. Instructors customize tutoring sessions to meet students' individual needs, including learning disabilities. Content ranges from test-taking techniques for college entrance exams to basic math and spelling.
With more than 50 years of combined experience snapping and framing shots, the artists at Schwabe Studio Photography usher fleeting moments into the future during in-studio and on-location sessions. They specialize in photographing families, newlyweds, and soon-to-be-graduates, who can choose from seven unique senior portrait sessions. Sports-themed shoots showcase young athletes in action, and birthday parties inside the studio capture youngsters dressed in whimsical costumes. Once each session's shutters have snapped shut, the photo artists easily print out the digital images, which, unlike film images, need not be developed inside a stolen cocoon.
Easy as A-B-C, the artists behind Life in Letters craft custom photographic gifts available both in their shop and online. Over the years, they've amassed a vast collection of black-and-white photos of common objects and sights that resemble letters—such as arches, golf balls, fences, and palm trees—which they assemble into meaningful words, such as love, laugh, family, and nihilism. Once customers have chosen their word and selected each letter, they can have their piece matted and framed to suit their own decor or that of a loved one. The photographers also share their skills with aspiring shutterbugs during regular introductory photography classes.