Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates along to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Still emanating fumes from their drag race to the top of the bluegrass scene, Grammy-nominated group The Grascals inspires infectious toe tapping and hand clapping during impassioned performances. Building on roots that trace back more than two decades, the tightly spun sextet fuses harmonious, twang-packed vocals with the plucks of a banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. Light-hearted, jovial jams peppered among soul-searching ballads and dramatic diary readings work together to weave a wondrous catalog–an effort that has led to collaborations with country legends such as Dolly Parton and Hank Williams Jr. This year, the group continued their blitz on the bluegrass genre with four more award nominations from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Local favorites the Ramblin Jug Stompers lay the groundwork for an evening of two-steps, as they carry on the tradition of American string bands and air-harmonica solos of the 1960s.
The rumble of bowling balls hurtling toward pins echoes throughout Uncle Sam Lanes, culminating every few seconds in pin-toppling crashes and enthusiastic high-fives. The bowling center’s polished lanes reflect the glint of pearlized balls as players lace up nonslip shoes and rack up a litany of spares and strikes.
Between frames, wander over to the well-equipped pro shop, where specialists Clay and Sonny measure feet and fingers for shoes, gloves, and custom-weight balls. The duo stocks a wide selection of preowned gear, and they frequently rejuvenate the alley’s ball-beaten equipment with oil-removing and resurfacing machines. Fizzy libations line the tables in the nearby bar and lounge, where fingers warm up for games by hurling darts, poking the screen of an Internet jukebox, or jabbing at eight balls during games of pool.
A renowned exhibitor of contemporary art, The Arts Center cultivates creative potential in adults and children through art classes and events that emphasize hands-on learning. Members receive discounts on arts classes—up to $25 off kids classes—an opportunity to exhibit their art at the annual members’ Fence Show, discounts at local businesses, and the right to sing in the gallery when nobody’s around. Patrons with a taste for food can enroll in courses on the culinary arts, and aspiring artists can transform stuttering line work into fluid brushstrokes via drawing and painting courses.
Robilee McIntyre's sculptures, masks, and crafts have been stylistically compared to Tim Burton and Dr. Seuss. The slanted roofs and oblong proportions of her miniature houses recall the domiciles of Whoville, while her playfully macabre faces would fit in alongside the colorful characters of Beetlejuice and Corpse Bride. Dark, yet whimsical designs such as these have garnered two studio spaces and the accolades of clients who call McIntyre "a fantastic artist and a wonderful communicator." Her miscellany of life experiences both bitter and sweet, including losing both of her parents, have shaped her artistic outlook. She named one of her studios after her father's two college nicknames and surrounds her porcelain houses with flowers in honor of her flora-adoring mother. "I seem to think in 3-D," she muses, "and these sculptures are a rewarding way for me to conquer the limitations that illustrating on a flat page holds for me." Not content to just create her own magnum opuses, Robilee educates burgeoning artists with loving instruction that invites them to answer the insistent beeper pages of their own creativity.