Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Created by dancer and choreographer Carrie Rezabek, Pure Barre utilizes the ballet barre to dissolve fat and tone muscles throughout the body. In group classes, upbeat music ushers participants along as they perform intense, concentrated movements, which manifests a fit physical transformations as well as mental results similar to those garnered in zen practices such as yoga, meditation, and eating ice cream in a dark room.
The Sweat Shoppe has but one specialty: indoor cycling. With such a narrow niche, the certified spinning instructors are able to focus solely on helping patrons of all fitness levels pedal their way to stronger, leaner physiques. Inside the no-frills, no-fuss studio, exposed air ducts and heating pipes emit detoxifying temperatures during Sweat Cycle classes, where students are given the extra challenge of working through 75- to 80-degree heat while not melting one's handlebars. Those who aren't quite ready for the heat can spin their way to greater fitness in the Classic Cycle class, where temperatures are kept in the comfortable upper 60s.
John Wells Golf Center's lighted driving range offers 60 spacious, canopy-covered hitting stalls that look out onto a range that stretches 260 yards into the distance. Yardage markers populate the field, letting players gauge the distance of each shot, and synthetic mats provide a smooth hitting surface so guests can leave their Persian rugs at home. The center offers lessons and clinics taught by a staff of five instructors anchored by Don Shauger, who trained two-time National Long Driving Champion John Marshall with methods he learned from Mike Austin, the golf renegade famous for hitting the game's longest drive ever—a 515-yard missile—at the age of 64. On select dates, the center offers free golf clinics for junior and adult beginners who purchase a bucket of range balls. Those looking to upgrade their golf gear or replace a wedge caught fraternizing with enemy irons can check into the discount pro shop, which offers name-brand apparel and equipment at as high as 50% off retail price.
Amid the bustle of Hollywood Boulevard stand two monuments to the silver screen. One, the TCL Chinese Theatre, oozes with history— imported Chinese stone lions, a 90-foot-tall copper roof, and concrete blocks that bear the handprints of Hollywood luminaries from years gone by each memorialize the celebrated role the building has played in Hollywood for more than eight decades.
Next door, Chinese 6 Theatres is a tribute to the cutting-edge. Six theaters, some with 3D capability, immerse viewers in ultra-realistic picture and sound better than sitting inside Steven Spielberg's android brain. Beyond the plush theater seating, a bar slings cocktails for in-movie sipping and a restaurant serves a full menu for cravings after the show. The service schedule varies for the bar and the restaurant but both will be open during Summer 2013. Whether they opt for the historic cinema or the ultramodern theater, visitors can catch a full slate of acclaimed new releases on their chosen big screen.
The storied history of TCL Chinese Theatre rivals those of the more than 200 celebrities whose handprints, footprints, and autographs are cemented into the theater's forecourt. Erected in 1927 and declared a historical and cultural landmark in 1968, the iconic theater stages movie screenings, premieres, events, and red-carpet ceremonies. Today, moviegoers walking through the theater's main courtyard can revel in the same opulence of those 1920s screen idols, craning their necks upward to take in the looming pagoda that frames the entrance. Inside, the theater's original 1927 screen towers high above the plush red-velvet seats, surrounded by wooden panels that rise to a ceiling with flowing Chinese-style drawings. This classic Hollywood setting is one of the reasons why the theater, in an echo of its origins, hosts celebrity-studded premieres, such as the 2012 opening for Life of Pi and the 2013 opening for Beautiful Creatures.
At twin cinemas in Hollywood and Santa Monica, American Cinematheque preserves the thrill of classic films and introduces the newest works by modern auteurs. A relic of the glamorous past, the Egyptian Theatre was built in 1922 and inspired by the search for the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. From its first showing of Robin Hood until today, it has operated as a movie house, and now sends 60-foot-wide images and crystalline sound flashing through the ornate mirage of its interior.
Today, the screens' ever-unpredictable and constantly changing lineup can include anything from the lightweight whimsy of Citizen Kane to the modern masterpiece Spaceballs, and frequent festivals focus on themes from world cinema to film noir.
At both cinemas, modern works are often further illuminated by their creators, with events and post-show discussions featuring the directors and actors.