From its inception in the 1980s performance-art scene in New York, the Blue Man Group’s shows have evolved from impromptu sets in Central Park to stages across the world. The eponymous blue-skinned trio, described by the Chicago Tribune as “ever-curious, ever-hopeful, ever-restless,” remains unchanged by its decades-long stint in the spotlight, still bewildered by the telescoping tubes of PVC piping it uses as instruments and the appreciative applause of the audience. But the group's shows are nothing if not timely, deftly posing questions about technology and stardom.
The spectacle is equal parts aural and visual, with live rock bands accompanying the men as they tap out rhythms on tangled snarls of pipe and flail wobbly poles covered in neon lights. Videos provide context for the speechless drummers, as well as a constant stream of wry humor. Evenings with the Blue Man Group build to an electric conclusion, thrilling the audience with brilliant bursts of light, cheery floods of color-changing balloons, and an adrenaline-laced original score.
Melanie LaJoie’s dance career began almost three decades ago and has since taken her to Morocco, Egypt, and Russia, where she developed her expertise in an impressive number of ethnic dance traditions. Today, she directs the instructors at A Magi Temple Belly Dance and choreographs and performs pieces at local sites such as Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, and the House of Blues. Her students, who can include ladies age 10 and up, learn everything from warm-up exercises to routines in Bollywood, belly-dancing, and flamenco classes scheduled five days per week.
As Tommy, one of Howl at the Moon’s piano players, explains on the club’s website, “Every night…we try and throw a party, regardless of whether it’s a Tuesday night or a Saturday night.” The bar’s trademark dueling pianos serve as the epicenter of these nightly celebrations; patrons submit their favorite songs on slips of paper for the pianists and backing musicians to recreate. If the website’s playlist is any indication, the bands can handle popular songs from all genres and eras, from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” to Kanye West’s “All of the Lights.” The performances are spirited: colorful lights splash upon a stage where servers, guests, and chairs that have somehow developed mobility all dance along to the music.
Fueling the celebration is the bar’s indulgent selection of drinks. Servers stand over patrons to plunge jello injectors into their mouths, and revelers grab colorful straws to help drain 86-ounce booze buckets filled with sangria or other fruity libations. Pomegranate liqueur and honey-infused whiskey sweeten specialty cocktails, and local beers add depth to coolers stocked with Stella Artois and Dos Equis.
A staple of the nation’s standup scene since the first location opened in 1963, Improv comedy clubs have been popping up all over for nearly 40 years. The venues have played an instrumental role in the early careers of famous jokesters such as Bette Midler and Jerry Seinfeld. Now firmly established in locales from Florida to California, Improv comedy clubs draw big-name acts and ambitious up-and-comers.
Hailed by NBC Sports' Rick Chandler as the "fastest-growing pro sports league in the nation," the Lingerie Football League pits padded squads of gridiron goddesses against each other during full-contact games of American football. Fans can line up on the edge of their seats as the Cleveland Crush clash with division rival the Orlando Fantasy, a team notorious for using eyeblack as lipstick to achieve maximum intimidation. Running back Etta Paul leads a stacked Fantasy offensive attack, which went off for 36 points in the team's season-opening victory against the Baltimore Charm. Meanwhile, the Crush storms into the Florida Citrus Bowl in midseason form, as quarterback and touchdown machine Abbie Sullivan disrupts opposing defenses with precise passes and by spreading rumors about the identity of the opposing team's mascot.