Imagine Affairs revitalizes the classic murder-mystery template with current-day touches: Scenarios reference the modern nightclub in which the audience and actors gather, and cases are cracked by CSI-style cops, not Holmesian detectives or omniscient robots. Meanwhile, the actors leaven the dire situation with doses of improv comedy and audience interaction, which lets guests become as entangled in plot twists as they want.
Bearing the titles of Master of Photography and Photographic Craftsman from Professional Photographers of America, David and Ally McKay embody the keen vision and aesthetic prowess that separated good photographers from great ones. They share these skills during classes at McKay Photography Academy, where they train eyes, fingers, and imaginations to work in tandem as a snapshooting dream machine. Their classes help aspiring photographers progress from neophytes to seasoned pros. When not busy instructing the next generation of shutterbugs, David and Ally also devise photo safaris, which send small teams of photographers to capture shots of famed landmarks including San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge; the Lincoln Memorial of Washington, DC; or Yosemite's 60-foot statue of Yogi Bear.
It Factor Studios' film performance and industry workshops unfurl under the leadership of Hollywood directors and professional actors from the American Film Institute. Founder Ryan McKinney and coach to the stars Steve Whittaker apply their workplace experience to create a safe and progressive learning environment and help actors to prepare for industry difficulties such as auditioning, resumé writing, or staring contests with Jack Nicholson. The results-driven team mentors budding performers of all experience and skill levels in a wealth of techniques, including Method and Meisner, with many courses designed to complement each other.
To enable instructional shoots and commercial productions, the studio boasts full capabilities for film preparation, shooting, and editing. Students interested in the back side of the lens can sign up for instruction in film shooting, editing, and screenwriting, enabling them to stage scenes and reboot old home movies under professional conditions. In addition to workshops, events such as guest-speaker series with working or retired film professionals help pupils to garner real industry connections.
If you've ever tried to beat rush-hour traffic by tethering your car with helium-filled balloons, then you know that hot-air flight should be left to the professionals. The Federal Aviation Administration–certified pilots at Sky Drifters Hot Air Ballooning embark on journeys from the Sierra Nevada foothills daily, and their company has been named one of the 10Best attractions in Sacramento. Whether piloting a small group or private flight, the balloon captains show passengers a bird’s-eye view of the rolling hills, winding rivers and finely crafted comb-overs whose majesty can only be truly appreciated from above. Their aerial transports also play host to weddings in the sky and can provide a lift to those who enjoy BASE jumping from the clouds.
The FAA-certified instructors at Future Eagles Aviation put clients behind the controls of actual aircraft as they teach them the ins and outs of aviation. Students amass skills such as navigation and cockpit familiarity on the ground in adventure flight school before lifting off in a Cessna 172 training aircraft for 30 minutes of flight time. Kids can also take to the sky during Future Eagles Aviation’s youth aviation summer camp, a weeklong foray into the world of cloud skimming and Peter Pan mimicry during which kids aged 10 and older practice on simulators and log real flight hours in training aircraft.
With a 24-hour gaming floor and adjacent restaurant and bar, Cordova Restaurant Casino combines upscale gaming with elegant dining. A stone hearth and mahogany paneling greets diners and card sharks in this smoke-free establishment, which evokes the ambiance of a swanky Las Vegas–style card club in the heart of a luxury lodge. The dinner menu ranges from traditional fare, such as the "All In Burger", a 1/2 lb choice sirloin steak with gruyere and bleu cheese, caramelized onions, baby arugula and horseradish cream ($8.95), to a variety of souped-up entrees, such as the "Miso Glazed Halibut" partnered with baby bok choy and jasmine rice ($16.95). The bar possesses a handsome selection of beers, wines by the glass or foot-less boot, and signature cocktails. The state-of-the-art gaming floor is littered with traditional table games.