The meaning of art may be subjective, but Mission: Renaissance believes that the basic, technical skills needed to create art are learnable, regardless of a student’s age or experience. The instructors at the studio, which was originally founded in 1975, illuminate the Gluck Method, which focuses on the classic rendering techniques that the great masters used on their first computers. The classes can accommodate students as young as 5, and they explore a number of different mediums—including charcoal, watercolors, and oils—while giving attendees the experience they need to appreciate art, as well as create it. Spread across 19 studio locations in southern California, attendance is capped at around six students per instructor, which allows them to offer artists more personalized feedback and more fitting nicknames.
In February of 1999, Rose Malmberg, owner of Bikram Yoga La Cañada, woke up without back pain for the first time in years. The day before, she had taken her first Bikram-yoga class in an effort to alleviate a number of back problems, including the results of a car accident years before. From that day forward, Rose devoted herself to Bikram yoga, and experienced full relief of her painful symptoms. After years of taking classes, she achieved Bikram teacher certification, and eventually bought her own studio to share the practice that had helped her heal. Bikram Yoga La Cañada, set against a mountainous backdrop, draws students into its carpeted confines for 90-minute classes heated to 105 degrees. Bikram postures build on each other in a carefully arranged series to work muscles all over the body in addition to the cardiovascular system, allowing practitioners the lung capacity required to help a centenarian tortoise extinguish his birthday candles.
Seeking to find a middle ground between cardio and strength-training workouts, The Training Center’s certified instructors built a program that allows their students to kill two birds with one kettlebell. In addition to the cannonball-like weights, trainers call on equipment such as sandbags, ropes, and TRX straps during both group classes and personal-training sessions, which begin with functional-movement tests that help determine a course of action for each client.
Stinging nettle, lambsquarters, and mugwort: as ubiquitous weeds around the LA area, it’s a rare sight to see them celebrated as elements of gourmet cuisine. But the duo behind Transitional Gastronomy, Pascal Baudar and Mia Wasilevich, are changing that with their inventive approach to foraged food. Baudar combines his background in French and Belgian country cuisine with more than a decade of experience teaching survivalist classes and studying wild food in Southern California. On the other hand, Wasilevich’s own diverse heritage informs her more modern approach to the culinary arts, which incorporates molecular gastronomy as well as more traditional methods. Each dish they create depends on whatever seasonal botany they come across, in addition to careful research on how each ingredient was used through history.
The pair has been celebrated in local and national media for their educational excursions and culinary innovation, from mentions in Time and the Los Angeles Times to features on NBC and ABC. Their experiments have yielded dishes as diverse as lambsquarters bisque and mousse to flatbreads topped with acorn, nettle pesto, and homemade preserved lemons. Transitional Gastronomy’s team shares their passions through small-group foraging hikes and cooking classes, which also include Baudar’s expertise in Old World styles of preservation and fermentation. Elderberry wine and mugwort beer make frequent appearances at each workshop, proving that you can even celebrate happy hour if you were stranded in the forest or on a spaceship that harvests elderberries and mugwort.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
West Coast Boot Camp's Adrian Pietrariu is at his best during the heat of athletic competition. Not content with dominating opponents during taekwondo matches, Adrian assembled a team of seasoned instructors that now forms the core of WCBC’s training staff. Their signature boot camp meets in places such as beaches and parking lots to get hearts pumping and calories burning. Adrian also helps individuals unlock inner combatants with martial-arts classes, achieve their athletic aspirations with one-on-one coaching, and learn the difference between a basketball and an overripe cantaloupe with sport-specific training.