Because they believe books should be available to everyone, Ready, Set, Read! hosts parent education programs and classroom lending libraries to get children reading at home. During bilingual workshops, parents can learn techniques such as the dialogic method, which uses open-ended questions and discussions to engage children in content, making reading aloud fun for young children at home. The program focuses on demonstrating how influential the parents’ role is in developing literacy skills and self-confidence. Since 2000, volunteers and educators with Ready, Set, Read! have built more than 160 classroom lending libraries, taught more than 27,000 local parents to read with their children on a regular basis, and distributed as many books to those families.
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In 2008, South Pacific swept the Tony Awards®, capturing seven golden trophies, including Best Musical Revival and Best Director for Bartlett Sher. Based on James Michener's Pulitzer Prize–winning book, Tales of the South Pacific, South Pacific tells, dances, and sings the story of two couples—Navy nurse Nellie Forbush with French plantation owner Emile de Becque, and airman Joe Cable with lovely native lass Liat— torn by war and the temptations of tropical paradise. The original production won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1950, with its frank depiction of racial prejudice as a central theme.
Captained by executive chef Sean Poplar, Barbarella’s kitchen dishes out a seasonal menu of highly sophisticated, eclectic cuisine. When possible, dishes contain local, organic, and hormone-free ingredients sure to please carnivores, herbivores, and their hybrid omnivore offspring. Start off a supper with a rich burrata bruschetta loaded with prosciutto and sun-dried tomato pesto ($11) or a satisfyingly savory hummus with teriyaki mushrooms and hot loaves of pita ($11). Protein-packed platters, such as a braised short rib with crispy polenta and brussels sprout chips ($15) or Pacific salmon with rice cake, shitake mushrooms, and ponzu ($15), stifle deafening belly roars, and veggie dishes such as the mushroom risotto with shaved scallions and truffle oil ($8) lightly tickle the appetite into a blissful slumber. An assortment of pizzas, including a delicious discus topped with chicken sausage and parmesan reggiano ($16), are created using egg-free dough whipped up by Barbarella’s cooks in-house, not in the car on the way to the restaurant.
DanceGardenLA was created by Zahra Zuhair and Jenna, who have been belly-dancing since childhood and have travelled the world accumulating impressive professional credits. Zuhair has trained in traditional folk and Eastern styles—including Lebanese, Turkish, Moroccan, and Tunisian—but her specialty is Egyptian belly dance, which she has studied with some of the top teachers in Cairo. She has also been featured on the cover of Zaghareet! magazine and has written, directed, and choreographed productions as the artistic director of the Ghazella Dance Company and Po Na Na Dance Theatre. Jenna acted as a goddess bellydance instructor on an episode of Sex and the City, and made appearances on The Tyra Banks Show and the Food Network program Aarti Party. She has also starred in several bestselling belly dance-instruction DVDs.
Thanks to their more than 50 years of combined teaching experience and a talented team of award-winning instructors, the studio was named the Best Place to Learn the Art of Bellydancing in 2012 by LA Weekly. The site recommended instructor Princess Farhana's "witty repartee (and Hollywood rock-scene anecdotes)," and described the predominantly female atmosphere as "always encouraging, never intimidating." The crew teaches classes including classic, Bollywood and Tribal Style bellydance.