Upon entering the Count Basie Theatre, guests may feel as though they’ve slipped through a crack in time and ended up in the early 1900s. Opulent marble staircases and gold details grab the eyes of visitors, recalling the decadence of Hollywood’s history and gently pulling them to the auditorium. There, the acoustically pleasing construction wins out as sound spreads and funnels through a sunburst dome embellished with a dangling chandelier. Since opening in 1926, the Count Basie has earned numerous accolades, including a nod from Pollstar magazine, which listed it as one of the Top 100 Worldwide Theatre Venues.
Chanteuse and actress Miranda Cosgrove pied-pipers her adoring droves of devoted fans with her electrifying and family-friendly brand of pop. The breakout star of Nickelodeon's iCarly, Cosgrove has been a seasoned showbiz pro since before her baby teeth could crawl and has compiled a songbook featuring singles such as "Dancing Crazy" and the recently released "High Maintenance." For her July 23 concert, Cosgrove shares billspace with crooner, dancer, and Australian import Cody Simpson, as well as effervescent troubadour Greyson Chance, creating a youthful stew of dulcet melodies sure to soothe the most savage beast or most irascible mail carrier.
A union of Middle Eastern and Western cultures, Fire N Ice Hookah Bar combines the laid-back charm of a hookah lounge with the music and swank of a nightclub. Customers roam through the electric bi-level space flooded by soft colorful lighting before picking their poison—hookah, drinks, food, or all three.
In the hookah lounge, they curl up on plush sofas cushioned by satiny pillows and reach out every so often to grasp the hookah pipe as it’s passed around, inhaling any one of 25 exotic hookah flavors. The smoke spirals up toward Middle Eastern tapestries hanging overhead or snakes around the top-shelf cocktails perched beside the pipe. It even intermingles briefly with the aromas wafting from Middle Eastern dishes—such as chicken tikka, korma sliders, and kebabs—before vanishing into the air as quickly as a magician at a science fair.
As the night lingers on, Fire N Ice begins its transformation into a full-blown nightclub. Belly dancers take to the stage first, twisting and shimmying across the spacious dance floor. By 11 p.m., the club's three DJs begin spinning top R & B and hip-hop hits intermixed with a few Arabian jams, signaling to guests that it's their turn to hit the floor.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a California mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children's cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes for parents, newborns, and children under 1 year that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
Each year, MudManX issues runners the world’s dirtiest challenge: a race across mud-slathered obstacles that test both agility and laundry skills. Designed with the assistance of US Special Forces and Mother Nature's cool sister who lets you play in puddles, the course features obstacles inspired the elements of earth, wind, fire, and water. While exploring the course, runners travel through mud pits, past fiery trails, and over icy water before securing the boon of beer and live music. The post-race after party welcomes a steady lineup of bands and DJs and includes a MiniX obstacle course so children can finally discover the joys of getting dirty.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the American Red Cross, whose volunteers often rush through harsh and dirty conditions to deliver food, clothing, shelter, and comfort to those in need.
Dance directors Christina Penatello and Ken Hansen have trained underneath champions such as Dancing With the Stars contestant Louis Van Amstel, whose new dance fitness classes, LaBlast, has become a staple of the studio’s schedule. LaBlast classes share schedule space with instruction in cha cha, tango, swing, and other social dances. To sample the studio’s wares, budding dancers can follow in instructors’ rhythmic footsteps during 30-minute introductory sessions, which traverse various modalities with a speed-teaching method. As part of the renowned Fred Astaire franchise, instructors also host social dance parties and choreograph wedding dances for couples who want their first dance to look as effortless as tossing a flaming bouquet.
On June 19, 1946, a veritable herd of racing fans—18,724 of them, in fact—galloped through the turnstiles at Monmouth Park Race Track. It was a gathering fit for a historic return, and indeed it was: 53 years separated that moment from the last time the track had hosted a race. Originally opened in 1870 in an effort to increase summer trade and give horses something to do while not in school, Monmouth Park was immediately popular, earning the moniker “Newmarket of America," a reference to the famed course in England. Yet in 1894, the state of New Jersey banned wagering on horses, effectively ending the facility's operations. In the 1940s, though, a man named Amory M. Haskell lobbied to have that law reversed. Today, the track honors its legislative savior by hosting the annual Haskell Invitational, a 1 1/8-mile race limited to three-year-old horses who’ve just learned to race without their training hooves.