At My Handyworks, the team specializes in turning handprints into art. They can transform a set of acrylic-paint handprints and footprints on a tile into a custom painting, perhaps of a duck, or dyed wax molds of hands into keepsake statuettes. Their art classes, meanwhile, cover a wide variety of skills, teaching kids to decorate pumpkins and adults to recreate masterpieces by Monet and Van Gogh.
Gotham Dream Cars lets drivers grip the throttle of exotic speed machines such as the Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Bentley Continental GT for personal rental or specialized thrill experiences. During the Dream Car Sprint, auto enthusiasts slip into a Ferrari or Lamborghini on a closed course and whip their more than 500-horsepower drive three times around the autocross track, learning how to tame their power with the aid of an instructor before coming out of the third lap on a straightaway to open the engine up to its full potential. Drivers conduct an orchestra of firing pistons and camshafts for three laps before crossing the finish line and parking to the pianissimo of the softly purring V8 engine. Gotham Dream Cars snaps pictures of the sprint, so drivers are sent home with hands they will never wash and a CD of images to parade before jealous coworkers and humbled shopping carts.
With its neon-purple stage lights and 70? plasma screen, Dave's Guitar Instruction's studio resembles a rock-concert stage as much as it does a classroom. And that's the point. The school's classes, capped at eight students, combine the intimacy of a private lesson with high-tech, professional trappings. The studio's personal headphones pipe each student's chords to only their ears and the instructor's, providing sonic privacy and easing shyness; meanwhile, the stage platform vibrates to prepare students for the bass vibrations of a concert or having to perform during a minor earthquake.
Students of all levels hone their skills with the help of Dave Milliken, an instructor with more than 25 years of guitar performance experience. Dave's love for genres from folk to hip-hop informs his multimedia lessons. During classes, students play along with live recordings or watch concert clips featuring legendary guitar players and plectrums unjustly forgotten by history. For an immersive experience, Dave's students augment their classwork with custom at-home practice sessions, aided by online-video and audio resources.
A shared passion for enriching lives through art education strengthened the bond between teachers Bonnie Huffman and Lois Beppler and prompted the long-time friends to found Art About Town, where they host laid-back classes for artists of any skill level. Natural light funnels in through the studio’s plentiful windows, casting its warm glow over long worktables festooned with art supplies, which students use to create charcoal drawings and acrylic paintings, or as makeup for gussying up homely statues. Huffman and Beppler also take their artistic talents on the road to host private parties, doling out their instruction amid the clinking of wineglasses and concentrated swooshing of paintbrushes on canvas.
Founder and owner of Crossfit St. Charles, Kim Wilkes, leads a task force of experienced, certified coaches in calibrating athletic, healthy bodies during one-hour strength-training and conditioning classes. CrossFit helps fitness-seekers tone and build muscles and amplify endurance through exercises that involve power-lifting, cardio routines, kettlebells, and bench-pressing characters from Transformers. Gymnastics-inspired movements, such as handstand push-ups and ring-dipping muscle-ups, challenge athletes to stretch bodies to their threshold in a manner not often offered at traditional gyms. Limited class-sizes allow each trainee to receive individualized attention from coaches and count fellow participants with the fingers on their two hands or the two hands of someone else. The trainers at Crossfit St. Charles also impart nutritional knowledge by providing pupils with advice on how to properly energize bodies. Morning and evening classes populate the gym's schedule to accommodate both A and B personalities.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.