Founded by Eric Bickernicks, Velma's Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn serves up fresh kettle-cooked popcorn at stands and farmers' markets throughout New England. The staff also brings its salty snacks to private events and parties.
Established in 1858, the Boston Fencing Club stands today as one of the nation's oldest fencing clubs. The club perpetuates a winning tradition that attracts national fencing champions, NCAA collegiate fencers, and a horde of happy sword hobbyists. With five-time fencing Olympian Michael Marx directing, the club's time-tested fencing program services swordsmen of all skill levels, from 6-year-old beginners to professional marshmallow hunters. In class, adult and youth students learn the basics of the sport while wrapping their mitt around all three fencing weapons: the foil, the sabre, and the épée.
Influenced by dance trends from Europe to Latin America, the staff at SuperShag Dance Studios splits its time between three Boston-area spaces filled with dancing poles, yoga mats, and custom sound systems. Founder Chris Johnston—who won several amateur Latin dance championships as a kid in Ireland and was named a World Class adjudicator by the National Dance Council of America—carefully amassed his talented troupe of teachers from dance schools around the world and from Fred Astaire’s botched attempts to clone himself. During private and group lessons, they spice up Latin-, ballroom-, and pole-dance numbers with an urban twist heavily influenced by British Dancesport, and ready students for competitions.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the Charleston. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of salsa, swing, or samba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice parties provide a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
Anderson Comedy has its fingers in many comedic pies around Boston, hosting numerous events for local up-and-comers to make their names. The company’s The Gas comedy show takes over Great Scott’s stage every Friday night to exercise audiences’ stomach muscles with standup sets by local comedians and special guests. The comic confederation also hosts The Horse's Mouth show every first Wednesday as well as free open-mic nights on Tuesday, allowing unknowns to test their material in front of a captive audience and to control the venue’s laugh track.
Music director Lewis Buckley headed the U.S. Coast Guard band and conducted several prominent New England symphonies before landing at the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, which has been tickling eardrums with woodwind, brass, and percussion concerts since 1971. "An ACB Preview" celebrates the 75-member symphony's invitation to play at the 2012 annual conference of the Association of Concert Bands with a sampling of the program they'll perform for a national audience. The concert kicks off with Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy, which recasts six English folk songs as lush, wind-powered melodies free of interrupting Robin Hoods. Principal oboist Elana Lorance takes charge in James Kessler's Hudson River Rhapsody and a new transcription of Gershwin's An American in Paris ends the evening with Gallic-via-Broadway aplomb. Starting at 1:30 p.m., a preconcert talk by maestro Buckley unveils some of the music's hidden features and lets uncertain ears nuzzle the score.