Actor and comedian Russell Brand frees chortles from belly prisons with his unique style of manic, irreverent humor. Riffing on the nature of fame and celebrity, Brand regales audiences with edgy observations and outsized characters to delight audiences grown bored with tamer comedians and telephone time-of-day services. Visiting a series of colleges, the tour filters the eccentricities of American universities through Brand's singular wit. George Mason University's recently renovated Patriot Center contains the glee in arena-style seating, ensuring everyone has a clear view of both Brand and the cricket whispering jokes in his ear.
Even from outside, where the red-orange door and window frames pop against the dark-gray façade, it’s clear that Marotta's takes contemporary eating to a new level. Inside, patrons immediately notice that their traditional menus have been replaced with Apple iPads. And once minds are made up, attentive servers place orders through iPods Touch, feeding tickets immediately into the kitchen. Even credit and debit cards can be conveniently swiped right at the table. Though traditionalists can still pay at the register or place their orders with Old-World Italian robots, owners Chris and Dee Marotta hope the digital options broaden and improve their customers' overall experiences.
To ensure their 50-seat bar-risto is steeped in just as much traditional flavor as technological convenience, Chris and Dee hired Executive Chef Edward Bradt. Chef Bradt brings his culinary experience as the former head chef at The Van Dyck Lounge to classic offerings such as juicy filet mignon, veal, and seafood in a cornucopia of sauces, from a tart, sherry-infused marinara to a peppery madeira demi-glace. A full wine menu assures a complementary pairing with any of the 12-inch red or white pizzas, each slow baked in a wood-fired oven with pancetta, goat cheese, and fresh basil. Patrons can two-hand signature sausage burgers as they attempt to ask muffled questions of Marotta's tech guru, Joe Leverett, about the restaurant's other wireless wonders, including tabletop children's games and iPad-accessible valet service.
Legend has it that in 1901, on his way from the Adirondacks to Washington, where President McKinley had just been shot, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt made a pit stop in Ballston Lake. There, he allegedly ate a meal at Carney's Tavern—then known as the Ballston Lake Hotel—and used its telephone, one of the area's first. Historians aren't totally convinced of Roosevelt's appearance, but none dispute the rich heritage of the restaurant, which has nourished diners since 1877.
These days, chef Michael Pallozzi continues that legacy as the head of the tavern's kitchen. Along with timeless options such as grilled reuben sandwiches and veal parmesan, he creates more contemporary dishes, such as pizzas topped with shrimp and wild-leek pesto. Chef Michael's feasts unfold in a spacious dining room enhanced with historical touches, including an original tin ceiling and a trolley rail now serving as a bar footrest.
Since 1981, Lorraine-Michaels Dance Centre's cast of passionate instructors has been helping students of all ages and abilities confidently express themselves through the art of dance. They lead these students through sashays, shimmies, and kicks with an exhaustive roster of dance and fitness classes that ranges from ballroom dancing to Hip Hop to kickboxing. During dance classes, they teach students to perform fundamental moves with confidence and musicality, covering a variety styles—including the Argentine tango, waltz, swing, and salsa—tending to bites from the dancing bug or disgruntled dance partners. They motivate students into performance shape in dance-inspired fitness classes such as Zumba, a regimen of easy-to-follow dance moves set to high-energy Latin tunes. In kickboxing sweat sessions, they inspire students to kick and punch their way toward their fitness goals, effectively toning muscles and scaring away the ghosts of gladiators past, while pole dancing classes build strength and teach students how to spin and climb.
Since first enchanting moviegoers with a screening of The Desert Song on May 30, 1929, Madison Theater continues to treat attendees to the latest cinematic offerings. Designed by acclaimed American theater architect Thomas White Lamb, Madison Theater remained a single-screen establishment until 1994, and now projects motion pictures on seven screens, playing Hollywood features alongside films from local and independent moviemakers. As cinematic stories unfold before their eyes, visitors can scarf down handfuls of daily made, cholesterol- and trans-fat-free popcorn. Snackers seeking richer treats can request kernels slathered in canola oil or drenched in a soy-based buttery topping, which concessions employees also insert in the middle of the corn for lasting buttery taste and protection from the beaks of butter-syphoning hawks.
The technicians at Justin’s Car Wash Center don’t stop caring for cars after they’ve scrubbed windows and chassis clean during an extensive interior and exterior wash. They also journey under the hood ornament for a premium oil change, after which they complete a safety check and top off all fluids. Other automotive services keep engines running strong as the techs flush out old and expired fluids and measure exhaust pipes' CO2 and designer-perfume emissions in state smog checks. Matching interior excellence to exterior beauty, Justin’s Car Wash Center diligently details rims, carpets, and engines with three packages and express, à la carte services.