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.
John Wells Golf Center's lighted driving range offers 60 spacious, canopy-covered hitting stalls that look out onto a range that stretches 260 yards into the distance. Yardage markers populate the field, letting players gauge the distance of each shot, and synthetic mats provide a smooth hitting surface so guests can leave their Persian rugs at home. The center offers lessons and clinics taught by a staff of five instructors anchored by Don Shauger, who trained two-time National Long Driving Champion John Marshall with methods he learned from Mike Austin, the golf renegade famous for hitting the game's longest drive ever—a 515-yard missile—at the age of 64. On select dates, the center offers free golf clinics for junior and adult beginners who purchase a bucket of range balls. Those looking to upgrade their golf gear or replace a wedge caught fraternizing with enemy irons can check into the discount pro shop, which offers name-brand apparel and equipment at as high as 50% off retail price.
If El Portal Theatre looks familiar, that's because it probably is. The legendary space has starred in Modern Family, Glee, and Last Comic Standing, and has guest starred in dozens of piano-recital nightmares. Built as a vaudeville house in 1926, the venue has earned its celebrity status, welcoming performers such as Jason Alexander, Bea Arthur, and The Manhattan Transfer to its stage over the years. After an extensive renovation, El Portal now boasts three stages that host everything from small comedy shows to Broadway performances.
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.