Two-time Grammy Award–winner Rita Coolidge brandishes her dulcet tones and musical pedigree to celebrate the Wonderland of Lights Festival's 25th anniversary with a collaborative holiday-music performance. Under the direction of Stephen L. Hayes, Assistant Professor and Director of Music at Wiley College, the school's a cappella choir blends its melodious harmonies with Rita Coolidge's lead vocalizations as they collectively croon Christmas standards, holiday classics, and famous ballads penned by prodigious reindeer. Marshall Visual Art Center welcomes up to 350 concert-goers in the venue's large, open room with twinkle lights dotting the ceiling at night and unemployed flashlights during eclipses.
BeFit founder Haley Young started her own personal-fitness path in high school when she joined her first gym. The thrill of running took root in her and inspired her to complete two full marathons and an ultra-marathon relay. Her drive for fitness only increased through the years as she earned certifications in yoga instruction, Zumba fitness, nutrition coaching, and personal training. Now at the head of her own fitness group, she leads yoga and Zumba classes that help students work toward well-being through practiced breathing exercises and calorie-burning dance steps. She also hosts personal-training sessions for one-on-one exercising, and wellness counseling gives clients information about losing weight and an excuse to stop trying to fit a huge party sub through their front door.
In 1976, busy California mother Joan Barnes wanted nothing more than to find a play place where she and her kids could enjoy age-appropriate, educational activities. Finding none, she developed her own innovative play environment within a developmental-based program structure now known as Gymboree Play & Music. Today, kids tumble and learn in more than 650 locations in 33 countries around the world, engaging in open play and classes designed to build cognitive and motor skills. As parents participate in their child’s development, their kids learn to paint, play music, and interact socially outside of their preschool knitting circles.
At Daiquiri Express, rows upon rows of endlessly rotating machines churn out icy, alcohol-laden daiquiris the same way they have for 25 years. Fruity flavors such as margarita, grape ape, and white russian pour out of nozzles and into foam cups, which can be ordered to-go or picked up at the drive-thru. For large gatherings, Daiquiri Express also slings gallon-sized servings and rents daiquiri machines that double as storage space for Mr. Freeze’s underpants.
Phoenix Underground blends a lively club atmosphere with the class of an upscale lounge. Strobe lights hit the floor as a DJ spins top 40 dance music and pool cues strike balls at artfully arranged tables. Waiters bring by bottles for those who don't want to take their eyes off the swirling bodies and VIP rooms provide a private location to wow friends with your collection of business cards.
The halls of the Marjorie Lyons Playhouse are decked in bows of sarcasm as David Sedaris’s sardonic diatribe The Santaland Diaries fills mature audiences with Yuletide cheer and apropos humbug. Adapted from Sedaris’s popular irreverent essay, the play features actor Luke Thomas Eddy embodying the foul mouth and uncomfortable shoes of Crumpet the Elf during a scintillating one-hour, one-man performance. Tearing at a famous department store’s holiday façade like a grizzly bear rudely woken up from hibernation, Crumpet reveals the sordid lives of Santa’s little helpers as they endure the side effects of the holidays. Chock-full of one-liner chestnuts and hilarious humiliation, the show ensures audiences howl with empathy as the embittered elf rants against baffled tourists, entitled parents, and the anti-elves known as children. Like standing under sulfuric mistletoe, The Santaland Diaries gives the season both a heartfelt kiss and a swift kick in the chimney.