The Ventura County Ballet Company ushers in the holiday season with a magical rendition of The Nutcracker, which is accompanied by the 52-piece Ventura College Symphony Orchestra, and features a star-filled cast of 115 local and international dancers. New staging and video effects sprinkle the classic production with modern flair, and a freshly installed snow scene dazzles crowds as characters pirouette through twinkling flurries and dance to Tchaikovsky's immortal score. Anchoring the cast, both Madeleine Riddle and Makenna Ortiz alternately slide into the slippers of Clara, Hawaii native Ryan Camou tackles the royal tights of The Prince, and California native and professional dancer, Season Winquest, captures the ethereal essence of "Dream Clara". To raise the curtains on a fantastical foot, an opening dance sequence spotlights local celebrities such as Bo Jaxon and Dedria Brunett, who was crowned Miss California International 2012.
From their perch on a dining table, Blu Orkid’s eponymous flowers watch over the restaurant’s hustle and bustle, which begins as bakers knead fresh bread in the early morning and ends once dinner plates are rounded up after midnight. Breakfasts of frittatas and brioche french toast pique appetites for lunches and dinners of tuna-almondine sandwiches, pears poached in port and topped with bleu cheese, and salmon flavored with miso and meyer lemons. In the bakery, chefs torch sugar atop crème brûulée and serve chocolate lava cake. They dish out their gourmet treats at sunny patio tables or indoors amid palm fronds, blue mood lighting, and chandeliers that wish they could feel love.
Guests to Sevtap Winery's newly expanded tasting room are greeted by the creator of these handcrafted, small-batch wines before delving into five handpicked samples of the Bordeaux variety. Both vino veterans and novices will enjoy the intimacy of the boutique-like space, including the chalkboard walls, where sippers may illustrate their newfound love of cabernet or merlot, or compose a practice break-up letter to a long-distance sommelier. On weekends, live music entertains eardrums while taste buds languor in fermented luxury, and all tasting pairs leave with their very own bottle of Serendipity sauvignon blanc 2010 to continue their wine-soaked sojourn in the comfort of their own home or the nearest public library with a BYOB policy.
Every Thursday, Comedy Hideaway ushers in a lineup of HBO– and Comedy Central–anointed performers, its stage still echoing with the bygone riffs of such national acts as Zach Galifianakis and Whitney Cummings. The club's founder, Andrey Belikov, often hosts and performs at the evening's revues, spinning impressions of his Ukrainian father and detailing his foibles in American society. Between sets, guests avail themselves of Petrini’s menu of Italian fare, sip laugh-loosening drinks, and stand in line for autographs from nationally touring microphone stands.
Fresh Fest 2012 treats hip-hop and electro fans to a night full of funky beats and throbbing lasers fit for all ages. Master mixers and mash-up maestros DJ Eon and DJ Flamezz keep strobe lights stoked and frisky feet dancing with a surplus of pulsating club beats. Grab some glow sticks at the door ($5, not included in today's Groupon) and dance to the laser lightshow before preventing sweat droughts with available water, pop, or energy drinks. Unlike most dance parties, no alcohol is allowed at Fresh Fest 2012, allowing crowds to have fun without the threat of an intervening Eliot Ness.