Danny Douglas, featured in the Santa Barbara Independent and boasting both a culinary degree and a decade of experience, passes on his kitchen know-how during three-hour cooking classes using local, seasonable cuisine. Novice spatula wielders mingle with fellow students and sip on home-brought beverages as the expert culinarian teaches them how to craft a four-course meal as fresh and elegant as Grandmaster Flash at the opera. An in-season and locally caught seafood dish stars in the tongue-pleasing production alongside locally harvested produce and humanely raised meats. The communal cooking experience bonds couples closer together while solidifying friendships through the art of crafting consumables and dining together on meals on a white tablecloth. Those more interested in letting a chef cook for them may apply their Groupon toward Danny Douglas' catering services.
Twin Lakes Golf Course is much more than the sum of its parts. With a 9-hole, par 28 executive golf course and practice facilities that include a driving range, 8,500-square-foot putting green, and chipping area, it gives players countless ways to better their game. Visiting players can hone short, half-swing approaches and full, walloping drives on holes ranging from as close as 70 yards to as far as 360, much as they would on a full-length course. The driving range also expedites the learning curve with full-flight Pinnacle range balls primed and ready to be pummeled from real grass or synthetic tees. In the short-game area, Titleist Pro V1 golf balls simplify the act of chipping onto the green or into target nets, even as players line up shots from nearby bunkers, slopes, and grasses akin to the rough and fairway. And when players are left with nothing else to do but admire themselves in the reflection of the nearest water hazard, Twin Lakes’ resident instructors—Don Parsons, Buff Platt, and PGA head professional Jim Ley—are there to take the reins and help clients shave off a few more strokes.
Success as a child actor depends almost as much on parents' managerial knowhow as it does on a kid's acting skills. During three-day weekend excursions at The Acting Camp?held at the more than 300-acre El Capitan Canyon?aspiring performers and their guardians develop their respective roles in each youngster's career. Under the tutelage of John D'Aquino ? a veteran of hits like Seinfeld and Hannah Montana ? kids refine techniques such as auditioning on camera and improvising.
These sessions culminate in prepared scenes that groups of campers perform for casting directors, agents, and managers from networks like Nickelodeon and the CW. Beforehand, these insiders as well as parents of working child actors meet with parents to discuss the business end of the entertainment industry, where money and Beanie Babies exchange hands at a rapid rate. Amid all these career-focused activities, The Acting Camp leaves plenty of time for families to relax and bond with fellow attendees.
Sino West Performing Arts serves as the meeting place of two disciplines: dance and kung fu. Under the tutelage of four experienced instructors, kids and adults learn, hone, and perfect skills in a variety of art forms. Atop sprung floors of recycled rubber and beneath ceilings of repurposed clouds, they practice in one of two airy, well-lit studios. Curricula under the dance umbrella include Chinese dance, tai chi, ballet, Zumba, and yoga, while martial-arts practitioners take classes in Shaolin kung fu, MMA, and weaponry, among others. The class selection is diverse, but no matter the chosen course, enrollees report increased levels of confidence, self-discipline, and bragging rights.
Since its inception, Parisi Speed School has trained more than 150 NFL players and 5,000 scholarship-holding college athletes in its youth programs. Parisi consistently churns out all-stars with its Jump Start program, which trains youngsters at the time when their motor skills are most malleable. Outfitted with a 25-yard artificial-turf field, a four-lane track surface, and a weight room, the center hones agility, endurance, and coordination in future athletes aged 7–18. Using the center’s signature speed and strength training methods, supportive staffers not only infuse muscle memory with a suite of opponent-lambasting skills, they also teach them how to avoid injuries without hiring a stunt double to take tackles.
Every Thursday, Comedy Hideaway ushers in a lineup of HBO- and Comedy Central-anointed performers, its stage still echoing with the bygone riffs of such national acts as Zach Galifianakis and Whitney Cummings. The club's founder, Andrey Belikov, often hosts and performs at the evening's revues, spinning impressions of his Ukrainian father and detailing his foibles in American society. Between sets, guests avail themselves of a menu of Italian fare, sip laugh-loosening drinks, and stand in line for autographs from nationally touring microphone stands.