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.
Moving picture began by depicting a horse running at full gallop, and has now evolved into visually stimulating films like Star Wars, Star Trek, and Planet of the Apes, which can all be seen at The Hollywood Museum. Visitors meander through a 35,000-square-foot, four-floor maze of more than 10,000 authentic movie props, costumes, and memorabilia. Previously a Prohibition-era speakeasy, the subterranean floor beckons patrons down Hannibal Lecter's The Silence of the Lambs jail corridor into the full cell used in the film, storing spine-tingling treasures such as his muzzling mask. First-floor doors open into Max Factor's restored makeup rooms, which border Cary Grant's Rolls-Royce and The Wizard of Oz's ruby slippers, which tempt visitors to slip them on and teleport to Kansas. Costumes, props, awards, and photos crowd the upper two floors, where Sylvester Stallone's Razzie for Worst Actor of the Century finds a home next to threads that once hugged Marilyn Monroe's legendary curves. In the past, rotating exhibits have showcased such items as a script and autographed poster from Slumdog Millionaire, duds modeled by the quick-stepping cast of High School Musical 3, and rows of awards for TV shows and particularly supercalifragilisticexpialidocious spelling-bee performances.
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.
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.