Because they believe books should be available to everyone, Ready, Set, Read! hosts parent education programs and classroom lending libraries to get children reading at home. During bilingual workshops, parents can learn techniques such as the dialogic method, which uses open-ended questions and discussions to engage children in content, making reading aloud fun for young children at home. The program focuses on demonstrating how influential the parents’ role is in developing literacy skills and self-confidence. Since 2000, volunteers and educators with Ready, Set, Read! have built more than 160 classroom lending libraries, taught more than 27,000 local parents to read with their children on a regular basis, and distributed as many books to those families.
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In 2008, South Pacific swept the Tony Awards®, capturing seven golden trophies, including Best Musical Revival and Best Director for Bartlett Sher. Based on James Michener's Pulitzer Prize–winning book, Tales of the South Pacific, South Pacific tells, dances, and sings the story of two couples—Navy nurse Nellie Forbush with French plantation owner Emile de Becque, and airman Joe Cable with lovely native lass Liat— torn by war and the temptations of tropical paradise. The original production won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1950, with its frank depiction of racial prejudice as a central theme.
Life in Color starts parties in cities all over the globe with a vibrant mix of electronica, acrobats, pyrotechnics, and, of course, gallons upon gallons of paint. Alongside DJ-in-residence David Solano, the Rebirth spectacular features pulse-pounding performances from a different guest artist on each tour stop. While remixes sizzle and original tracks thump, performers that might include stilt-walkers and contortionists display their powers of balance and knot-tying. And at the evening's peak, an explosion of colorful paint douses the dancing crowd.
A rare outlet for commercially sanctioned laughter in downtown Los Angeles, Garrett Morris’ Downtown Blues and Comedy Club helps visitors escape the stresses of the workweek with a rotating stable of top-tier standup talent every Friday and Saturday. Comic legend Garrett Morris, now seen as Earl on CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, hosts showcases of comic talent with charming wit and tales of how he outlived the original cast of Saturday Night Live. The bill remains consistently loaded with fresh-faced and seasoned funny folk, with past luminaries including George Lopez, Margaret Cho, and Wayne Brady, along with aspiring stars in the twilight before their first mismatched-marriage sitcom.
Keeping true to its name and Morris’ roots in the New Orleans music scene, the venue often punctuates its comedy shows with performances from top blues artists—including Morris himself, who has lent his soulful pipes to the Harry Belafonte Singers—that add melody to the mirth. While weekend shows feature Garrett’s hosting and harmonies along with the headlining acts, the Thursday Night Experience allows youthful burgeoning comics and musicians to hog the spotlight.
DanceGardenLA was created by Zahra Zuhair and Jenna, who have been belly-dancing since childhood and have travelled the world accumulating impressive professional credits. Zuhair has trained in traditional folk and Eastern styles—including Lebanese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Tunisian—but her specialty is Egyptian belly dance, which she has studied with some of the top teachers in Cairo. She has also been featured on the cover of Zaghareet! magazine and has written, directed, and choreographed productions as the artistic director of the Ghazella Dance Company and Po Na Na Dance Theatre. Jenna acted as a goddess bellydance instructor on an episode of Sex and the City, and made appearances on The Tyra Banks Show and the Food Network program Aarti Party. She has also starred in several bestselling belly dance-instruction DVDs.
Thanks to their more than 50 years of combined teaching experience and a talented team of award-winning instructors, the studio was named the Best Place to Learn the Art of Bellydancing in 2012 by LA Weekly. The site recommended instructor Princess Farhana's "witty repartee (and Hollywood rock-scene anecdotes)," and described the predominantly female atmosphere as "always encouraging, never intimidating." The crew teaches classes including classic, Bollywood and Tribal Style bellydance.