Murder mysteries should be anything but silly. That’s the view espoused by Live In Theater Productions, the brainchild of prolific actor and playwright Carlo D'Amore. Eschewing the goofy tone of some other shows, Live In Theater plunges participants into cases that take their immersive details from unsolved, historical murders in New York. Showgoers make their way along the city streets where the real crimes once took place, interrogating actors playing roles ranging from 19th-century Irish slumlords to strung-out 1970s junkies. Each event plays out differently as the amateur sleuths weigh evidence, pursue leads, and finally find some use for their pocket-sized polygraphs, creating a one-of-a-kind adventure that earned a 2012 Drama Desk nomination for Unique Theatrical Experience.
JG Kinetics Studio fuses a passion for both dance and fitness in an enrichment center that helps students get in shape and strengthen their dance skills. Ballet, jazz, and hip-hop classes introduce children to the fundamentals of rhythm and movement, and yoga for youth helps manage emotions and anxiety tied to the population explosion of imaginary monsters under their bed. Adult classes such as Zumba and salsa cater to dancers and aerobic exercisers of all skill levels for one-on-one and group instruction. Instructors also organize themed birthday parties that immerse youth in treasure hunts and ‘80s dance music with included birthday cakes and age-appropriate activities.
Skateboarding, a sport invented by the popular videogame series Skate or Die, is gaining popularity among people of all ages and demographics. Unfortunately, fewer people are aware of longboarding, a mode of transportation similar to skateboarding except it incorporates wider, longer boards for a smoother ride. To prep for today's Groupon, here's a longboarding primer:
Over the course of a millennium and a half, the tradition of Shaolin Kung Fu has sojourned from the foot of Shaoshi Mountain to modern-day New York. The mindful martial art—equal parts meditation and physical training—crossed the ocean with Shi Guolin, a 34th-generation master of the art. He left his position as head coach at a Shaolin school in China to come to the States in 1992. Since opening his first school in New York, he founded four more branches in locations ranging from Port Washington to Flushing.
At each of these outposts, students can learn Shaolin kung-fu—a discipline that grew out of buddhism; traditional kung fu, which focuses more on physical stamina and strength; and Qigong, a form of wellness-building similar to yoga, developed in Shaolin monasteries. Even people who have never stepped foot in a dojo or formed an opinion about who would win in a fight between Bruce Lee and Kung Fu Panda can feel at home here. Trainers start at the beginning, and ease students in by practicing basic forms. They slowly introduce more techniques, weapon forms, and meditations into the training, all while transforming neophytes into steel-cut martial artists.
Some couples write their own marriage vows, while others—well, others prefer a more fiery expression of their love and commitment. At New York Wedding Ring, metal artist Sam Abbay helps couples forge their own engagement and wedding rings from raw precious metals, coins, and existing jewelry. At a studio replete with all the necessary equipment, Abbay will guide you and your significant other as you choose your raw material—like palladium, gold, and platinum—and conceive a design for rings that can even include engravings and settings for gemstones.
The process, which can take as little as four hours or as long as a day, includes melting the metals, annealing, and shaping. All the while, Abbay is on hand to offer advice such as how thick wedding rings should be and how to keep them polished if there are no automatic car washes in your area to run through. He can also work with clients to design a custom ring of his own creation. The romantic experience culminates on a couple's big day, when they exchange their handmade and personally designed rings—a perfect symbol for the love they've nurtured.
She's a celebrity-sought crooner and Parade music writer who's toured with Barry White, Patti LaBelle, and Stevie Wonder, but Ilana Martin founded Vocal Workout Signing School to do something else: teach. Along with fellow vocal coaches Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley, Taharqa Patterson, [Maria Lane]http://gr.pn/1lEIRqe), and Samantha Harrison—singers whose talents, like Ilana's, have also been sought by touring stars—Ilana teaches groups, duos, and individuals. All five of the coaches aim for what Ilana terms a "'me singing' sound," instead of having all pupils sing the same way or lip-sync to whatever is playing on the radio in a given moment. The school's holistic philosophy incorporates awareness of one's mind, body, and spirit, revealing confident tones via a balanced, happy instrument. Forbes and Refinery 29 have each sent their own reporters to work with Ilana, resulting in lighthearted videos that showcase the deft way in which the renowned vocal coach puts nervous pupils at ease.