As part of its mission to cultivate Southern California’s native flora, the Theodore Payne Foundation encourages Californians to get acquainted with their rootsy neighbors during its introductory four-hour native-plant horticulture class. Horticulturalist Lili Singer reveals which area plants survive droughts and attract native birds and butterflies, and which ones are just Old Man Jasper from the abandoned amusement park wearing a ghost mask. She'll also clarify the concept of plant communities and give you tips on selecting plants for various types of gardens. By the end of the class, green thumbs and their attached humans will gain an introductory-level initiation into establishing new plantings as well as how to encourage plants' growth by pruning them, irrigating them, and attending their piano recitals. Graduates will be eligible for the foundation’s three-part course in native-plant garden design.
The Sylmar Olive Festival celebrates the harvest with a sampling of oils and recipes for olives, tasty food, and dancing to a diverse schedule of entertainment. On Saturday at 11 a.m., a 3-mile parade kicks off the festivities before wending its way to the park to watch the Folklorico Dancers and listen to old-school funk-infused sounds from the Positive Source Band. On Sunday, Radio Disney broadcasts live from the festival, where guests test their bellies in a burrito-eating contest accompanied by the festive sounds of a mariachi band. On Monday, feathered and furred wildlife stops by for a meet-and-greet, and the sass-talking car from Knight Rider rolls in to dazzle eyes and lament its separation from David Hasselhoff. A different car show will be featured each day. Throughout the fest, some 50 world-class chalk artists dazzlingly decorate the ground with modern and classical images throughout the park.
Instructor Dave Curtis understands why many people shy away from music lessons. Stereotypically, music lessons can be stiff, demanding, and no fun at all, as stringent teachers suck a player's passion out with rote repetition. Dave's philosophy is to let students play music their own way, because he believes music should never stop being joyful. During 30- and 60-minute lessons, Dave eschews standard chord-gorging and endless rounds of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" for a sharpened focus on music theory—the not-so-secret language that accomplished musicians speak. In one-on-one lessons, Dave inspires students to play the songs that they want to play as they learn to transpose, write, and arrange their own songs.
For more than two decades, the FAA-certified flight instructors at Orbic Air have maintained an impeccable safety record while escorting sightseers and pilots in training through the sky aboard a reliable fleet of Robinson helicopters. With Van Nuys Airport as a home nest, casual travelers can charter a scenic ride to Los Angeles, Big Bear, or Las Vegas in order to make a flashy entrance or rescue a kitten stuck on top of the Luxor pyramid. The Orbic Air flight school sees enrollees from first flights all the way to commercial-pilot certificates with guidance from expert instructors.
Former Olympic bronze medalist Lloyd Eisler oversees the LA Kings Valley Ice Center's day-to-day operations, which include public skating sessions, private lessons, and hockey leagues designed for youth, adult, and special-needs players. Thanks to extensive renovations in the fall of 2011, the facility now sports a sleek lobby with energy-efficient lighting. The two-rink facility hosts birthday parties and runs a well-stocked pro shop where you can get hockey sticks and helmets or sharpen your blades after skating across the parking lot.
Susann Regalmuto’s adventures with horses have taken her all over the world, from her homeland of Germany to the sunny shores of Hawaii. More than 10 years ago, she decided to set down roots in California, where she specializes in dressage training at Regal Equestrian. Susann—who is certified by the United States Dressage Federation and has won USDF bronze and silver medals—conducts training for students of all skill levels.