Founded by a ring of cinephiles who set out to rehab an abandoned theater just north of George Washington University, West End Cinema screens foreign, independent, and documentary films that open up new intellectual and cultural vistas. Films run the genre gamut from quirky, independent dramedies and comedramas to special live events such as Opera in Cinema or Ballet in Cinema. Sunset-orange and slate walls and recessed lighting usher guests from a glass-fronted lobby into three cozy theaters, each of which seats between 50 and 100 watchers. On the way, they'll pass an abundantly stocked concession stand, where they can harvest drinks from a full bar, baklava, and gourmet sandwiches along with additional children from the sour patch.
As a child, Michael O’Daniel would sometimes spend his days among giant aircraft in a hangar as his father, a Pan Am pilot out of Miami, was at work. Michael found himself daydreaming about one day being able to fly; by 1980 he was a private pilot. Eventually he became taken with another form of flight—paragliding. He founded Powered Paragliding USA and over the years has spread his wings over Peru, Costa Rica, and he once completed a flight across the entire length of the Panama Canal.
A few years ago, Michael was joined at Powered Paragliding by Brian Goff, another pilot. Goff has hundreds of hours of flying experience; he's been behind the controls of everything from helicopters and airplanes to aerobatic planes and hot air balloons. Today, Michael and Brian man flights for clients of all experience levels. They can fly tandem with beginners, or train budding para-pilots on technique, safety, and how to switch lanes with birds. Expert flyers can take to the skies by purchasing their own paragliders and paramotors from the company.
Springfield residents have been bringing their towels and tennis racquets to Springfield Swimming and Racquet Club since 1955. The club, which was significantly revamped in 1992, now boasts four regulation-size tennis courts and three outdoor pools, including a kid's pool and a 25-meter pool with six lanes, two diving boards, and one friendly beluga whale. The center's swim team, the Springfield Tigersharks, coordinates youth swim meets and fitness classes. The club complements its activities with amenities such as a bath house and a shaded pavilion with picnic tables and grills.
Master falconer and bird-of-prey expert Mike Dupuy shares his love of the 4,000-year-old sport of falconry during exciting and informative demonstrations with his avian costars. A professional public speaker, Mike entertains his audiences with personal anecdotes and motivational speeches that use falconry as a metaphor to encourage them to follow their dreams. Guests also get to learn about each feathered raptor while it surveys the crowd for wild Energizer bunnies, and Mike encourages audience interaction by inviting volunteers from the audience to hold the hawk and try in vain to teach it to bark like a dog.
The Discover Scuba Diving course introduces aspiring mermen and maids to the basic underwater breathing techniques in a safe, unthreatening environment. The two-hour class takes place in a portion of The Dive Shop's indoor pool that is only three feet deep, letting students experience the sensation of weightlessness without the weightiness of realizing that you're just a small fish in a shark's pond. The Dive Shop provides students with all necessary equipment (except towels and bathing suits), and highly trained instructors helpfully demonstrate how to operate the gadgetry, both underwater and in the case of bathroom emergencies. If your taste test of scuba piques your aqueous appetite, speak to one of the friendly and informed instructors about seeking additional training opportunities, getting your hands on some gear of your own, or gobbling up the glory of one of earth's all-natural bowls of seafood soup.
CEO Eva Swersey founded Body Elements to help clients achieve their fitness goals "easily, naturally and non-invasively." Along with a skilled staff, Swersey crafted a three-pronged approach—lipomassage by Endermologie, nutritional coaching, and group personal training—to guide clients toward health. Protein-rich Isagenix nutritional systems aid in weight loss, detoxification, or enhancing athletic prowess, and Endermologie treatments help to reduce cellulite and sculpt the body.