Everything at Ojai Beverage Company revolves around their drinks. That's because cousins and owners Jorge Alem and Joby Yobe grew up in the liquor business, and wanted to create a space for fellow aficionados to sample, purchase, and pair their wide selection of wines and beers. Their guests sample glasses of wine from local vineyards, cleanse palates between sips with bites of the kitchen's pulled pork sliders, olive tapenade, or burgers blended with a cabernet and rosemary reduction. Bartenders pour out 20 local and international beers such as Ninkasi's Sasquath Legacy WheatWine or Rodenbach Grand Cru's sour red ale. Once guests have found a vintage or beer they like, they can purchase it in the shop. To keep up to date on the shop's newest and most unique flavors, guests can also sign up for their monthly beer club which sends bottles of beers picked for their flavor or ability to christen a ship.
At Java Joe's, guests sip freshly made coffee drinks and graze baked goods, rummage through a collection of eclectic clothing and merchandise, and tap toes to live tunes. Baristas blend aromatic shots of espresso with frothy milk riddled with chocolaty notes to create a 16- or 20-ounce café mocha ($3.85–$4.25). Utilitarian cups of joe ($1.95 for 16 oz.; $2.25 for 20 oz.) fill mugs for on-the-go sippers and bulk beans ($13.95/lb.) allow customers to bring robust flavors and caffeine-jolts home. Pluck a pastry from a bakery filled with treats, such as scones ($2.45), chocolate-filled croissants ($2.95), and cheesecakes ($3.75) that quench food cravings and hush grumbling tummies like a swallowed Paul Simon 8-track.
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.
As Renaissance's resident nail artist, Lori Gonzales wields thoroughly sanitized equipment to trim nails and dress them up in flattering coats of color. Feet ease into a tub padded with disposable liners as they undergo a toe-coddling pedicure, and fingertips receive similarly luxurious treatment above sea level as Lori deftly swabs nails with eye-grabbing shades of polish. Because she emphasizes safety through sterility, Lori employs mostly single-use tools.
A frequent finalist for Best Comedy Club according to Ventura County Reporter's readers, Ventura Improv Company offers the only improv comedy in Ventura and has been eliciting chortles and guffaws with family-friendly farce for the past 21 years. The VIC's veteran comedic combatants perform unscripted comedy through scenes, games, and music created on the spot. The VIC performs shows such as Spontaneous Broadway, a full-length musical whose plot is conceived through audience suggestions, and TheatreSports Team Match, a two-team battle where competitors perform a challenge set by the host.