Charlie Parker's Grafton saxophone, Louis Armstrong's trumpet, a sequined gown worn by Ella Fitzgerald?at the American Jazz Museum, each of these artifacts represents a mark on a musical timeline. Established in 1997 at 18th and Vine, the museum immerses guests in jazz via several mediums: films, sheet music, album covers, and concert posters, to name a few. Listening stations emit interviews and samples of classic tunes, but to hear entire songs, you can visit Jazz Central, the in-house musical library of more than 100 recordings.
Preserving the jazz stylings of the past is not the museum's only mission, however. At mixing boards, visitors can create their own melodies without bringing their stand-up bass from home. As for live jazz, there are more than 200 yearly performances and events at the museum, such as the annual Kansas City's 18th & Vine Jazz & Blues Festival. There's also the Blue Room?a smoke-free jazz club inside the building itself, where musicians play at least four nights a week.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
At Step by Step, clients work with experienced instructors on a spacious dance floor. No partners are needed during their exciting group lessons, which can cover everything from basic rumba to salsa steps and preparation for the first dance of your wedding. Private lessons help establish the four basic steps that most styles of dance rely upon.
Though the city's name would seem to suggest otherwise, Independence residents must still—by law—interact with each other occasionally. Luckily, Independence Events Center serves to bring the community together, hosting everything from national concert tours to youth hockey leagues within its walls. Such stars as Kelly Clarkson have graced the stage within the 5,800-seat arena, also home to local sports teams such as the Central Hockey League's Missouri Mavericks and the Major Indoor Soccer League's Missouri Comets. Additionally, a community rink lets residents and nonresidents alike hit the ice for programs ranging from open-skating sessions and lessons to private rentals for Civil War reenactments.
From its perch atop the Bridge Hotel, Carmen's pairs wide-open oceanfront views and city vistas with fresh seasonal cuisine conceived by chef Dudley Rich, who has cooked privately for U.S. presidents. Starters from the dinner menu make apt preludes or small plates, with options such as the eggplant-and-goat-cheese ravioli swirled in a thyme cream sauce ($12). Sizzling with meats sourced from Harris Ranch, veal chops arrive drizzled in truffle butter ($45), and charbroiled filet mignon ($40) fairly accuses its port-wine-and-shallot reduction of smothering it. The entree menu also sates seafood yens with selections such as the peppercorn-crusted swordfish, sauced in a morel-mushroom dressing ($28).
ImPulse Fitness' passionate instructors center their classes on camaraderie and supportive energy. Bootycamp fitness classes combine resistance and cardio training to sculpt muscles into toned masterpieces. A veteran Zumba instructor leads international-rhythm-inspired workouts, getting participants to sweat in the original universal language of dance aerobics. The turbo-kick class combines aerobic exercise with muscle-building martial-arts moves, and Vinyasa flow and Hatha yoga classes home in on body, mind, and spirit. Students can also develop abdominal prowess and articulate bellybuttons during shimmy-inducing belly-dance classes.