Since 1964, Guitar Center has paired musicians with guitars, keyboards, drums, Pro Audio gear, and necessary accessories, including DJ and recording equipment to capture newly made melodies. An iPad music-stand adaptor ($39.99) connects an iPad to a music stand, allowing musicians to access online programs and music apps on-stage, or to publicly dedicate a song to their online Scrabble partner. A clip-on tuner ($29.99) keeps notes pitch-perfect, and Guitar Center’s array of sheet music produces a wider variety of sounds than singing from a thesaurus, with options that include the C-surfing The Real Blues Book ($31.49). Stitch tighter harmonies by threading notes onto Slinky guitar strings ($3.79), or use the value of today's Groupon toward a larger purchase, such as the Epiphone Les Paul Special II guitar ($169–$179.99). Guitar Center rounds out its collection of gear with Pro Audio and DJ equipment, keyboards, and drums, allowing every band member or solo cymbal player to stock up on their chosen form of expression.
Creative Knitworks imparts the know-how of the needle-wielding arts to knitting newbies and pros, tailoring both group and private lessons to needle-crafters’ aspirations. Soak up undivided attention and in-depth discussion of projects tailored to your knitting level in 90-minute private lessons (a $50 value per lesson), or opt for a convivial community atmosphere in open-topic or drop-in group classes (a $25 value per class). Two-hour open-topic sessions, held Mondays at 7 p.m. and Thursdays at 9 a.m., cover everything from basic knitting and crochet techniques to fashioning a doily big enough to cover your car. Drop-in sessions let students pick their own subjects to tackle between 10 a.m. and noon on Sundays, such as starting a first sweater or mastering difficult stitches. You may also choose to mix and match, taking one private class and two group classes.
The Art Spot's workshop connects artists with professional materials, individual workstations, and friendly guidance to help them tap into their creative inclinations. Drop-in studio sessions present visitors with two avenues for crafting framed 2-D artwork: flesh out one of hundreds of pre-made sketches using studio materials, or build an image from scratch using acrylic paint, artistic vision, and the pair of cracked spectacles that prevented Picasso from lining up facial features correctly. A friendly instructor installs each student at a well-lit drafting table equipped with a box of basic mark-making materials, pointing out a meticulously organized supply cabinet of colored pencils, three kinds of pastels, brush art markers, watercolors, and acrylic paints. Coordinated media ensures that draftspeople pair the right materials for their masterpieces, saving brushes' wet kisses for cold-press watercolor paper or canvas and smearing pastels' thick lipstick on acid-free cotton paper. Those working without a sketch who would prefer access to the studio's full panoply of pigments may buy their way out of acrylics for an additional fee ($25/hour).
At Westwood Gallery, owners Mike and Lore Fitzsimmons celebrate their love for beautiful artwork with museum-quality preservation and framing of paintings and pictures. Everyone on staff boasts a background in art, allowing them to match a painting's style and period with the perfect frame and also consider the decor back at the customer's house. They can create original oil paintings from photographs, restore weathered paintings and photos, and brighten up bathroom vanities and bedroom walls with custom-framed mirrors. As longtime residents of Westwood, the owners promote the local creative community by hosting gallery parties, setting up photography exhibits, and challenging passersby to define "art" in one sentence or less.
Chef Gwynn Galvin combines her culinary craftsmanship with the entrepreneurial guidance of her son Bryan Mueller to churn out more than 30 varieties of homemade, artisan cupcakes. Gwynn shrinks her signature cheesecake into a microcosm of goodness with cheesecake cupcakes (a $29 value/dozen), dishing out decadent meal-sealers in flavors such as cappuccino cheesecake, peanut-butter-cup cheesecake, and classic Italian cheesecake. Regular cupcakes ($23/dozen) include perennial tongue-pleasers such as red velvet, mochachino, and blackout brownie, a palm's worth of brownie cake with milk-chocolate ganache topping and the ability to erase one's memory. Fruity flavors such as lip-smacking lemon, caribbean coconut, and orangesicle make a light, fluffy treat for brunch dessert or a pre-marathon snack.
Kickboxing classes deliver a knee to the face of fat, burning up to 860 calories an hour with the high-energy striking moves of martial arts and boxing. All four limbs get in on the bag-bludgeoning action at iLoveKickboxing as each class (a $15 value per class) provides a full-body workout that tones arm, leg, and tentacle muscles while tightening the body’s core and improving balance. Hitting the heavy bags won't skin your knuckles once you don the included boxing gloves, which also double as excellent spring-loaded props for re-creating Three Stooges gags.