Sharon Owens lowers the bulb of an ornament into the sharp blue flame of her workstation’s torch, heating the glass until it glows a vibrant yellow. Applying the skills she learned in her schooling at Purdue University, her three-year apprenticeship, and her studies with a host of artisan glassworkers, she presses her mouth to the piece’s hollow stem. Whatever shape it will take, only she knows.
This scene has been a regular occurrence at Inspired Fire since 2002, when Sharon founded her studio in her hometown of Lafayette. The workshop is equipped for all manners of projects, including 4 kilns, 12 torches, and, most importantly, air conditioning. The shop’s staff oversees classes for beginners and advanced glassworkers, as well as offering the space for crafters unable to find the “glass” setting on their microwaves.
At Lala Gallery & Studio, creative types collide, from local artists displaying and discussing their newest exhibits to kids and parents bonding over the clay wheel. Studio classes include afterschool programs for grades 1?12, adult classes geared toward clay throwing, and drop-in sessions for one-off lessons. Inside the gallery, work from regional artists dresses the walls, which inspires visitors? art projects and gives people something to look at other than the backs of their weird, veiny hands.
Today’s Groupon offers an upgrade from your biography audio books. For $25, you’ll hear legendary lyricist Stephen Sondheim’s candid confessions at The Long Center on Thursday, November 12; the Austin Chronicle’s Robert Faires will prompt the esteemed composer to reflect on his career, collaborations, and creative process during the 8 p.m. event.
Toward the back of Great Skates Fun Center, techno blares and thick clouds of fog waft through a 3,500-square-foot laser-tag arena. Black lights and a glowing maze pierce the miasma, as do lasers racing toward the vests of competing players. Like those speedy lasers, pucks zoom across air-hockey tables in the 2,000-square-foot game room, which includes billiards, skee-ball, and motorcycle-racing video games. Once they accumulate enough tickets, players can visit the game area's toy store to exchange stubs for prizes or a plot of land on the frontier.
In addition to laser tag and arcade games, the fun center houses an 80-by-130-foot wooden surface across which skaters can coast to the rhythm of upbeat tunes. To recharge after skating sessions, they can swing by a snack bar replete with pizza, nachos, cotton candy, and soft drinks.
Monster Mini Golf welcomes guests of all ages with 18 holes of spooky, glow-in-the-dark fun. Fog machines, colorful lasers, and special effects lighting surround the custom-designed indoor course. Meanwhile, an energetic soundtrack of 70s, 80s, and 90s party music keeps spirits high as the visitors conquer each hole?s monster-themed obstacles and hazards. In between songs, the course DJ pumps up the crowds with interactive games and trivia questions, rewarding lucky winners with take-home prizes. Groups of family and friends can return to one of the private party rooms once they finish the course or they can visit Monster Mini Golf?s arcade and play on the glowing air hockey tables, skee ball machines, and other games.
Within Buccaneer Bay Water Park Center’s sprawling 9,000 square feet of space, the delighted shrieks of frolicking children ricochet off the cavernous ceilings. Surrounded by ranks of slowly nodding palm trees, kids scramble up the sides of a replica pirate ship before whooshing down the slick red slides, landing feet-first in the clean water, or else skimming the surface like a smooth rock or a pelican thrown overhand. The churning warmth of a hot tub turns tension into soothed sighs, which drift toward an arcade full of flashing redemption machines. Gaggles of youngsters celebrating birthdays cannonball into the pool, fueled by slices of cake.