An AT&T ad executive hangs up the phone, grabs his jacket, and heads toward the subway to Hell's Kitchen. It's the late '80s, and at the New York comedy institution The Improv, a slew of up-and-coming talent, including Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, are testing jokes and honing timing. In the next few years, they'll perform on television for millions. But for now, they're changing the life of one ad executive.
The founder of LA Stand-Ups, Joe Falzarano, quit his promising advertising career because he "hated being a suit" and preferred to nurture promising young comedians. With accomplishments that include producing the CableACE Award–winning Caroline's Comedy Hour for A&E, Falzarano helped launch the performing and writing careers of entertainers including Jon Stewart and Louis C.K. Today, Falzarano imparts his more than 20 years of industry experience to aspiring joke-tellers, teaching them tactics for perfecting a punch line, calming nerves, and subduing hecklers with a marshmallow gun. Falzarano maintains a supportive atmosphere where students learn how to use who they are to connect with an audience, and even lets students try out material at the Hollywood Improv.
Since discovering her love of drawing as a little girl, Shabnam Zafarmand has turned art into her life's work. Over the years, she has participated in international art shows, won oil-painting contests, and even taught art at a middle school—an experience that certainly comes in handy at Mission Art Center. There, Shabnam has shared her artistic wisdom with both children and adults since opening in 2005. Though she specializes in realistic and portraiture oil painting, Shabnam doesn't limit the Center's curriculum to just that. She also leads classes in acrylic, watercolor, sketching, and drawing in an effort to broaden the creative abilities of burgeoning artists of all ages.
Each three-hour class at Laguna Culinary Arts caters to any skill level, from expert chefs to certified microwave users. With no more than 10 people per class, the intimate classes cultivate individual, hands-on instruction, and guarantee that no one gets lost and eaten by bears during training. De-hibernate your china and entertain friends, neighbors, or your glass menagerie collection with the skills you pick up in one of Laguna's party-throwing classes. Learn how to grill goat-cheese-stuffed radicchio wrapped in pancetta and brush up your Crème Catalan skills to throw a Spanish paella party. Or craft an elegant menu of blue-cheese-dressing salad and filet mignon with blackberry sauce, ending with a chocolate soufflé ($95 per person, or $115 with wine pairings). At the end of each class, sit down to enjoy the dinner everyone has worked together to create, minus the piled dishes usually left for gnomes to clean.
Owned and operated by the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America, The Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center lays out 210 scenic acres of character-building outdoor adventures. Thrill seekers get a half-hour taste of the wild blue yonder, whizzing across gulfs on high-strung ziplines, just like early Western settlers. Depending on the size of the party, all pseudo-fliers will have multiple chances on the course. Offered daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., these swift sojourns provide an excellent chance to conquer fears and bond with fellow sky walkers. Participants should be sure to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, spinning bowties optional.
Equipment: For Zumba: smooth wood floor; for yoga: mats, blankets, straps, blocks
Students should bring: Zumba: sneakers, towel; Yoga: yoga mat,
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 5–10 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Guests allowed: Yes
Parking: Free street parking
Pro Tip: Find us easily: Studio is located behind Cyrano's Caffé at the intersection of Newport and Chapman.
Exercise is challenging, and people frequently give up on their fitness routines. How do you keep clients motivated?
Both yoga and Zumba students enjoy a scenic, hillside studio where distractions fall away and they can tap into self-discipline to help them move toward their lifestyle choices. Class sizes are limited so students receive individualized guidance, and all programs are directed by a licensed psychotherapist/certified yoga instructor, and certified Zumba/Zumba Gold instructor.
Sweating to the oldies is acceptable, but sweating to the blues less so. Do you find that certain styles and genres of music generate more intense workouts?
Music with which students connect is key in getting the best results quickly from Zumba. Latin-based hits that students recognize lifts workout intensity and does not feel like a workout. This Zumba program increases strength and cardiovascular health while teaching real dance steps each student can use in social settings.
Do you run your gym according to a particular exercise philosophy?
Whether yoga or Zumba, students practice in a community where there is no judgment or comparison. Each person works within their own set of personal goals and intentions. Proper form and alignment are encouraged to minimize risk of injury for all students. Only the human body and forces of gravity are used for these programs so students reap maximum effectiveness in the studio or practicing anywhere on their own.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
[Our] studio emphasizes optimal wellness through movement based on hatha yoga and Zumba dance, and through the synthesis of Western and Eastern philosophies, including the art of meditation. [The] studio is also home to Argentine tango, salsa and cha cha cha, taught by a professional dance couple.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, the Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Clients who arrive to lessons partnerless will be paired up with an instructor as the teachers assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.