As the father of a 2-year old, Tim Alley found himself running around to playdates scattered throughout the Bay Area, scooting to toddler-friendly lessons in art, gymnastics, and dance. While he loved the programming, he wished that he and his daughter weren't confined to such a tight schedule. So, he turned to his brother-in-law, Tom Limbert, head teacher at a local preschool, and they began to work on their own children's studio at Studio Grow—a supplementary preschool atmosphere with a focus on unstructured learning where children can play throughout the day. True to its name, Studio Grow now welcomes tots at three area studios. Though programs and amenities vary by location, kids might frolic through a color-splashed dance room, construct crafty masterpieces from watercolors, play-doh, and crayons in an art room, or plunge into ball pits. At all three locations, kids can tinker in a room filled with puzzles, toy trucks, dress-up clothes, and lego building sets. in a slide-filled run room. Instructors stay on hand throughout each romp, ready to lead Berkeley guests through sing-alongs or immerse Concord’s small listeners in story time. Teachers may also balloon a giant primary-colored parachute over the playroom for kids to scurry under and use to shield themselves from sudden broccoli storms. Though staffers emphasize unstructured play, they also lead summer camps for children up to aged 6 with guided romps through the studio; as well as Friday-night babysitting sessions, where kids of all ages can play sans parents until 10 p.m.
Kenneth Donald Rogers—an American country-music star, photographer, producer, actor, and fellow with a nice beard—has won three Grammys and more than a dozen American Music Awards for his sweet, stirring crooning. Though he won't be toting his dozens of awards, Mr. Rogers will be bringing an impressive showcase of selections from his extensive collection of country hits. To prep the crowd for the main event, The Herndon Brothers—a local act lead by Ray Herndon, a country star known for livin' the dream—will layer the crowd in hometown vibes from their wide library of inspiring and honest tracks.
Peter Morrison is the consummate performer. He's charismatic and charming, and his witty, but clean comedy makes his magic show something the whole family can enjoy. Peter's passion for magic shines through during his 75-minute shows, where, donned in a tuxedo, he performs everything from sleight-of-hand card tricks to cutting-edge illusions that leave viewers scratching their heads.
The doors to Marrakech Magic Theater open one hour prior to every show. During this time, guests are invited to gather for cocktails and appetizers inside the Moroccan-style Sultan's Oasis lounge. But this isn't just any pre-show gathering—Peter visits with every group, getting to know his guests by name and performing magic tricks up-close-and-personal. It's a rare case of a performer doubling as his opening act, and it starts the evening on a friendly note.
The theater’s intimate 45-person setup means there's not a bad seat in the house, placing all attendees mere feet from the stage. Subtle touches throughout make visits all the more enjoyable, starting with a candlelit entryway and continuing into the ornate, red-colored lounge. The elegant design might have you assuming the theater has been that way for decades, but think again: Peter did it all himself, right down to the chandeliers.
Operating out of Washburn Studio, DJ Chucky Brown of The Art of DJing trains his students when to rock the party and when to recognize that the party is happening inside a lifeboat. ?You throw bait out,? he says, recognizing that different crowds, such as indie dance rock and Top 40 audiences, require different tunes. ?If you start with Azari and nothing happens, throw out some Datarock or LCD Soundsystem; or if you start with Daft Punk, then throw out some Usher, Calvin Harris, or Madonna.? Brown imparts this encyclopedic knowledge of music in private, small-group, and large-scale classes, where his charges learn how to mix, scratch, and reinvent on the fly. On Brown?s student mixes page, visitors can listen to mash-ups and mixtapes created by his former pupils. The DJ has even performed for several of the artists sampled by his students and himself, having spun at events thrown by Elton John, Missy Elliot, and Justin Timberlake.
Since 2002, the staff at Galleri has taken pride in cultivating a clean and comfortable atmosphere—all the better to make guests feel utterly at ease browsing the boutique's wide selection of toys from high-end brands including Lelo, Je Joue, and Tantus (although buyers keep an eye on affordability as well). Massage oils and bath products further set the scene for romantic evenings indoors. Along the walls are shelves stocked with adult novelties to spice up bachelor and bachelorette parties, and the staff is happy to make suggestions and answer questions about all merchandise. Frequent in-store celebrity appearances and signings increase the expertise on offer.