If you've ever stood on the second floor of the Los Angeles Central Public Library and marveled at the explosion of color within the rotunda or the 12 adjacent murals depicting California history, then you have the Los Angeles Conservancy to thank. When the library was scheduled for demolition in the mid-1970s, concerned citizens formed the Conservancy to save the rotunda, the exterior limestone sculptures, and the library's many other architectural treasures. The group finally convinced the City Council to preserve the library in 1983, after years of public discussion, debate, and book-sniffing sit-ins. Ever since, it has advocated for greater Los Angeles's historic sites and educated people about the city's architectural heritage. The Conservancy is responsible for saving and revitalizing landmarks such as the former Cathedral of St. Vibiana, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House, and the world’s oldest remaining McDonald’s restaurant.
To accomplish its mission, the membership-based nonprofit offers a number of ways people can experience these beautiful and storied places. The Last Remaining Seats series earned a Reader Recommendation for Best Film Series and Best Downtown Event in the Los Angeles Downtown News' 2012 poll, in which the conservancy’s walking tours also earned the title of Best Downtown Tour. But the organization does more than save grandiose public buildings: increasingly, it also focuses on smaller community projects such as garden apartments and sites that reflect the area's rich Latino culture.
Executive director and 20-year Conservancy veteran Linda Dishman explained to Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times, "People are becoming more vocal. …That's one of the great secrets about Los Angeles: People really identify with their neighborhoods." The Conservancy also presents annual preservation awards to honor the efforts of individuals who fight to save places such as Pann’s Coffee Shop and Griffith Observatory.
As a Marine, Mu’ammar Salamae found the strength to hike 25 miles at high elevations weighed down with 80 pounds of gear and swim for six hours from shoreline to island and back with only a 5-minute break in the middle. He wanted everyone to have similar adventures and feel the same sense of accomplishment, so he started Urban LA Boot Camp to share the training techniques that transformed him.
Mu’ammar’s all-outdoor group exercise program runs the gamut from ballet-barre exercise to muay thai kickboxing. On the weekends, he leads endurance runs and hikes, in which participants learn what it’s like to carry heavy gear or an injured sasquatch long distances. He and his instructors also provide one-on-one personal-training sessions and self-defense-focused courses.
World-class bodybuilders. Nutritional experts. Spiritual practitioners. Ms. Universe runners-up. They're all on staff at Body By Niisign, a comprehensive health and wellness facility that caters to weight lifters, yoga enthusiasts, boxers, or anyone who wants to drop a few pounds without putting down their precious Hummel collection. Stripped down to the bare essentials, the gym features free weights, punching bags, exercise balls, and cardio machines. Beyond manning the equipment during open hours Monday–Saturday, the gym's trainers provide personal training, yoga classes, and overall wellness coaching in a safe, controlled environment.
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With a mission to educate consumers on the mystifying subtleties of wine, Learn About Wine hosts more than 100 classes, trade tastings, and consumer events each year. Since its beginnings in 1995, the organization has helped more than 50,000 students deepen their appreciation and understanding of the old-world drink through socially centered programs and refined, but approachable wine-education classes. Wine Camp ? An Introduction to Wine, the company's introductory course and one of its most popular offerings, encourages guests to absorb wine-drinking terminology and critical lessons in storing and serving. Regional tours lead groups through various growing regions, allowing visitors to observe processes such as fermenting and picking bottles at the peak of glossiness. Click here for a complete listing of program types.
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