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.
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 Petrini’s menu of Italian fare, sip laugh-loosening drinks, and stand in line for autographs from nationally touring microphone stands.
Family owned and operated since 1923, Metropolitan Theatres unspools blockbuster and art-house independent films at 19 locations in the U.S. and Canada using superior film presentation and digital sound systems. Theatre concession stands dole Coca-Cola products and detonate kernels of popcorn to fill bellies and share with encroaching Godzillas. Snacks in hand, customers sink into seats inside conventional or stadium-style theatres to laugh, gasp, and grimace at star-studded titles, such as The Grey, War Horse, or Hugo. Independent films such as The Artist and The Descendants appease creative tastes.
With a history stretching back more than 40 years, Circus Vargas wows audiences with dazzling acrobatics and rib-tickling clowns under a giant big-top tent. The show eschews animal performers for human-costumed spectacles, showcasing dazzling feats that only a few dexterous humans and short-circuited cyborgs are capable of. The circus's big top, hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of fabric, holds up to 1,500 show-goers in classic, blue-dyed elegance. Early-arriving guests can take part in an interactive preshow, jumping in the ring with ringmaster Jon Weiss as he leads audience members through tutorials that show how to perform stunts such as juggling, feather balancing, and balancing checkbooks with quill pens.
Santa Barbara Revels, a nonprofit performing arts group, celebrates autumn and fundraises with Oktoberfest, a German festival replete with a complimentary buffet of bratwurst, sauerkraut, and potato salad. Toast the Biergarten Musikmeisters' cheerful tunes and sentient mustaches with included glasses of light and dark Brewhouse pilsner, or salute crisp apple strudel with a glass of wine. Door-prize tickets (not included with this Groupon) promise a shot at one of 12 fun packages, including one that enlists specialists to map family genealogy and prepare tax returns. During the live auction, bidders dressed in lederhosen and dirndls compete for luxurious getaways to Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, or a chance to win back their confiscated street clothes. Though not required to attend, a 10% discount on costume rentals from Victorian Vogue encourages Oktoberfest attendees to flesh out the festive scene with vintage regalia.
State Street Ballet's lithe dancers gracefully pirouette to classical masterpieces during performances modernized with special effects and digital technology. The season's first show, Starry Night, celebrates Vincent van Gogh's art in a multimedia performance that juxtaposes art, music, theater, dance, and text from the post-Impressionist's recovered Twitter feeds. Choreographed by celebrated dancesmith William Soleau, the ballet aims to mimic the flow of oil paint across a canvas through dancers’ movement as videos project a backdrop of collaged paintings and letters. The surfaces of the recently renovated Granada Theatre are also draped with art, from Moorish-inspired geometric patterns on the golden walls to decorative niches imbued with Old World grandeur.