New York-native John Cassese's motto is, "If you can walk, you can dance." The celebrity dance instructor and choreographer's own quick-stepping career began at the tender age of 10, jumpstarting a passion that would eventually take him careening across the stages of off-Broadway productions, nightclubs, dance competitions, and the occasional monster-truck rally. It wasn't until he relocated to Los Angeles that an agent dubbed him "The Dance Doctor," and soon after, he found his fleet-footed prowess and teaching abilities in high demand amongst production studios such as Sony, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox.
Between choreographing a Charleston dance sequence on AMC's Mad Men and singing at the 50th birthday parties of Billy Crystal and Wolfgang Puck, John leads a team of instructors as they teach celebs and everyday Tinseltowners the finer points of styles ranging from ballet to hip-hop. Despite all the fanfare, his biggest praise comes from his work with soon-to-be-married couples, who seek his advice on everything from basic steps and song selection, to the length of the post-cake-cutting conga line.
At twin cinemas in Hollywood and Santa Monica, American Cinematheque preserves the thrill of classic films and introduces the newest works by modern auteurs. A relic of the glamorous past, the Egyptian Theatre was built in 1922 and inspired by the search for the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. From its first showing of Robin Hood until today, it has operated as a movie house, and now sends 60-foot-wide images and crystalline sound flashing through the ornate mirage of its interior.
Today, the screens' ever-unpredictable and constantly changing lineup can include anything from the lightweight whimsy of Citizen Kane to the modern masterpiece Spaceballs, and frequent festivals focus on themes from world cinema to film noir.
At both cinemas, modern works are often further illuminated by their creators, with events and post-show discussions featuring the directors and actors.
At Wine Expo, named one of the "10 Best Wine & Spirit Shops in LA" by Los Angeles Magazine, racks teem with wine, craft beer, and liquor from every corner of the globe, plus, a generous selection of real Champagne. The knowledgeable staffers on hand know the difference between standard fruity, oak-infused bottles with lackluster taste and knockout wines that accentuate dinners of red meat or red crayons. They help guide oenophiles in selecting Portuguese whites or Tuscan reds, and organic sparkling white wines or a 31-year-old bottle of scotch. At the wine bar, sippers can sample the flavors for themselves, with flights of three whites, three to four reds, or glasses of beer. Small plates accompany the drinks, including mild cheeses, prosciutto, and crostini.
Library Alehouse’s dinner menu is divvied up into categories such as Light Reading (vegetarian), Collected Works (meat and fish dishes), and Short Stories (small plates). The beer menu may as well be in the Travel and Leisure section. Roughly 30 drafts and as many bottles from Scotland, Belgium, Jamaica, and Germany make up the inspired list, and like any library worth its weight in late fines, Library Alehouse staffs a well-read guide to help guests explore the collection. Alex P. Davis is a Certified Cicerone and self-labeled beer geek, on call to match patrons’ tastes and preferences with a suitable brew. Some examples include Allagash White, a Belgian-style wheat beer, and Russian River’s Supplication, a sour brown ale aged for 12 months. These beers go down great whether you're inside savoring Alehouse poutine or out on the back patio sinking your teeth into a USDA prime chuck burger.
Held on select weekends, each SaMo Wine Party celebrates varietals from around the world with three hours of unlimited tasting. Bartenders uncork everything from Tablas Creek bottles to sparkling wine from Crystianos Cava, all carefully selected by a team of expert vintners and the surviving members of the California Raisins. To complement the evening's limitless pours, DJs set the mood with upbeat tunes, while chefs prepare bites such as customized sushi rolls or gourmet burgers. The soirees take place amid the Bali-inspired d?cor of the two-level Monsoon Cafe or the 20-plus TVs inside The Garage featuring The Motor Club.