A Texas-certified educator, Alicia Lorena Tamez spent seven years testing numerous reading curriculums on her first-grade students. She balanced teaching with nighttime graduate studies, and, once she earned her master’s degree in reading, drew upon those skills and experiences to start All-Star Readers Learning Center. Along with an expert staff, Alicia runs a preschool program for children aged 18 months to 5 years and an after-school tutoring program for kids aged 5–12. The preschoolers learn a variety of writing styles during lessons at five activity centers, each based on disciplines such as literacy, math, and art. At the after-school program, meanwhile, staffers tailor activities such as mini lessons, independent writing time, and student-teacher conferences around each pupil’s individual needs. Along with the core programs, All-Star Readers Learning Center hosts story time at a local Barnes & Noble every third Saturday of the month, where parents learn useful teaching strategies such as yelling passages of Ulysses very loudly.
Whether they're painting flowers, monarch butterflies, or reproductions of famous Van Gogh paintings, the students at Teresa Fernández's art school learn classic techniques while letting their own unique perspectives shine. As a former university-level art-history teacher and longtime mixed-media artist, Teresa has worked with many students over her career. Today, she helps kids, teens, and adults realize their artistic potential in drawing and painting classes in which they learn to depict light, shadow, and texture.
Maria Chuchena's staff updates traditional Mexican cuisine to feature contemporary adaptations on their lunch and dinner menus. Dive into modern Mexican with an order of La Rosas—cheese empanadas topped with strawberry and rose petal sauce ($7). Beer-battered fish tacos ($9) or trio mixteco—grilled chicken topped with a mixture of adobo, mole verde, and poblano sauces ($12)—give spice to afternoons otherwise spent cataloguing DVDs by the number of actors in each one. Sautéed shrimp enchiladas ($12) and slow-braised duck carnitas ($15) surprise tongues with a twist of typical Mexican eats. The currently featured Viva Oaxaca tribute menu highlights the flavors of its eponymous region with dishes including ensalada de cabra, a goat cheese salad in mango vinaigrette ($9), and lengua de estofado, an oaxacan beef-tongue stew ($18).
Guided by the philosophy of revolutionary educator Maria Montessori, who said, “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world,” Julie Smith guides young minds at Casa De Colores Montessori School. Julie, a NCME-certified teacher, draws on more than two decades of experience with teaching in public, private, and Montessori schools as she encourages children to grow into responsible, engaged human beings. She shepherds her pupils along a path of self-motivated education, rather than falling back on the juice-box bribery and teddy-bear-deprivation cycle that binds the traditional educational system.
The Neon Desert Music Festival is a one-day event featuring 29 live music and electronic acts on four stages throughout the downtown parks. Sway into summer with a lineup of full-tilt guitars, funk, bass, and beats to fit all styles of dancing shoes. The top-billed Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group brings a trippy blend of jam-centric rock with grooves more winding than juicy ribbon candy. Kick back to audible streams of psychedelia, as warbling bass, hot saxophones, and thunderous percussions headline the night. A supporting cast of dance-driven talent including MSTRKRFT, Kinky, Dirty Vegas, and Sao Paulo's CSS, inspire collective beat bobbling among laid-back armies of concert cohorts. Peep covert acts hovering below the radar or about to blast into the big time, so you can brag to friends how you saw them first.