Billy Sullivan, the musical engineer behind Cloverland Studio, has written and produced original scores for numerous television shows and films. He also conducts professional recording sessions in his studio, a comfortable, well-designed space filled with instruments and advanced digital equipment. There, he's worked with dozens of known musicians and Hollywood productions, as well as amateur musicians, who he can help to find their own sound.
Cinderella Christmas delights families with a British pantomime-style musical version of the classic tale. Focusing on spectacle and audience interaction, a panto combines singing, dancing, stage magic, and slapstick into a toothsome comedic concoction that enthralls children while keeping parents engaged with subtle tax-code-based humor. Music from Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson, and Michael Bublé season fairy-tale proceedings with contemporary verve while choreography by Dancing With the Stars alum Mark Ballas tickles ocular orbs with onstage spectacle. The talented cast includes veteran chucklesmith Fred Willard playing Cinderella's hapless father, Shoshana Bean of Wicked fame, and a live pony that is just trying to paying the bills until it scores a spot in a Mr. Ed remake.
The score is tied 14-14. Only one more point is needed to win the match. The last player up takes a deep breath and gently rolls her bocce ball toward the small palina, the sphere that marks the target during each set. As her bocce ball softly knocks away a rival team's ball and comes to rest mere millimeters from the palina, she finally exhales, raising her arms to accept the onslaught of high-fives from her teammates and the congratulatory handshakes from the other team. Together, both teams adjourn to a local pub for drink and dinner specials that usually end with the construction of a solar-system diorama made from bocce balls and tater tots.
So goes another game of bocce in the Cali Bocce League, a highly social conglomerate of all ages, genders, and athletic abilities. Teams of 5–12 people take to local parks throughout eight-week seasons that conclude with playoff games. In addition to a trophy, gift certificates, and free admission to next season, playoff winners glean a prestigious 2-liter glass known as Das Boot, filled to the brim with beer or liquefied palinas. Occasional game cancellations due to inclement weather are posted online on Cali Bocce League’s Facebook page.
From 18 studios scattered around Los Angeles, Lori Moran Music Studios’ armada of instructors offers all-ages voice, piano, guitar, violin, and composition classes. With teachers who have worked on films such as Dreamgirls and Dance Flick, world-touring operatic productions, and Grammy-nominated choral CDs, the school can cater to virtually every musical taste—from classical to jazz to pop. Students choose the emphasis of their lessons, whether they want to work on their public performance skills, write their own songs, sight-read scores, or simply be able to play musical chairs during a power outage. Many will also get the chance to show off in recitals, concerts, and showcases.
At Hollywood Academy of Music, youthful exuberance mingles with experienced instruction by university-trained teachers during private and group lessons, camps, and clinics. Individual lessons in more than a dozen instruments teach students to strum a guitar's strings, tickle a piano's keys, or purée beats with a kitchen blender. In group classes such as the School of Rock Band 101, teachers help groups of kids or adults grasp band basics, and in the Recording Artist program students learn to create and release their own self-produced CD on software they can use at home. Hollywood Academy of Music also helps students and the general public to hone their tune tutelage at free monthly clinics that range from songwriting to wailing the ran-out-of-matching-socks blues on a guitar.
Sessions take place in air-conditioned studios equipped with observation windows and high-quality pianos, guitar amps, and drums. Instructors also work with aspiring entertainers to help them put together a vocal repertoire, with some students advancing to compete on shows such as American Idol and The Voice.
cityHunt’s urban adventures thrust participants into unfamiliar territory, daring them to explore parts of their cities previously untraversed. Held in various neighborhoods within the nation’s largest cities, each scavenger hunt challenges teams to answer trivia questions and seek out items of interest in a bid to complete the hunt as the fastest squad with the most points. Some tasks might require a keen memory or knowledge of the city's history, while others might ask camera-wielding participants to snap a photo of certain object or landmark without pausing to day dream about all the civil and municipal engineering that must have gone into creating such an awe-inspiring place. At the end of each adventure, cityHunt staff members meet with squads to discuss their strong points and areas that could use improvement, making it an off-the-beaten-path team-building exercise for corporate clients and groups of friends alike.