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.
Writer and performer Tom Dugan—familiar from bit parts on Friends and Curb Your Enthusiasm —corralled three nominations from the L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Awards, including Best Play and Best Leading Actor for his portrayal of the "Jewish James Bond" in his riveting, one-man performance about a Holocaust survivor's relentless quest for justice. Pacing through his box-cluttered Vienna office on the day of his retirement, Simon fills in a group of off-screen American students on the tactical methods he used to hunt Adolf Eichmann, Franz Stangl, and Dr. Mengele, among other Nazi war criminals. He infuses his anecdotes with mordant wit and genuine warmth, laughing over being mistaken for Laurence Olivier (who played him in the film The Boys From Brazil) one moment, and making mournfully poetic observations the next, such as likening a sunflower to a periscope of the dead. As his memories wander from the Warsaw ghetto to Jerusalem, from death camps to the slums of Buenos Aires, he paints a gripping portrait of humanity's unquenchable thirst for justice even in the face of utmost horror.
Every Thursday, Comedy Hideaway ushers in a lineup of HBO– and Comedy Central–anointed performers, its stage still echoing with the bygone riffs of such national acts as Zach Galifianakis and Whitney Cummings. The club's founder, Andrey Belikov, often hosts and performs at the evening's revues, spinning impressions of his Ukrainian father and detailing his foibles in American society. Between sets, guests avail themselves of Petrini’s menu of Italian fare, sip laugh-loosening drinks, and stand in line for autographs from nationally touring microphone stands.
The instructors at Airealistic Circus & Flying know a thing or two about gravity, having defied it on behalf of Cirque de Soleil, De La Guarda, and Franco Dragone productions. For example, program director Carmen Curtis uses a foundation in gymnastics to elevate her cirque routines, which she showcases as a member of Airealistic Theater Company. These experiences grant her the expertise to lead her aerial classes, which are taught alongside gymanstics and yoga classes. Whether teaching family circus or acroyoga classes, all staff members prioritize safety as they introduce kids and adults to aerial apparatuses.
In addition to gymnastics, booty bar, and Vinyasa yoga sessions, the trainers teach AIReal Yoga, Acro and Tumbling, Hatha yoga, Power Barre, Barre Fitness, Contemporary Dance, Pilates and Afro-Brazilian Dance, believing that one's choice of style reflects his or her own unique character. Their aerial and acro-yoga variations also encourage students to test their notions about human flight in a noncompetitive setting. Each class incorporates a fitness component into its exhilarating routine, and the schedule includes classes at all times of day.
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.