At Pittsburgh Improv, comics lure laughs from bellies in the hopes of following in the footsteps of standup legends such as Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dave Chappelle, all of whom have graced the Improv club stages. The calendar schedules comedians as often as six nights a week, alternating between big-name headliners and up-and-comers who tickle funny bones with fresh material, abundant energy, and feathered reflex hammers. Audience members munch on their choice of a savory appetizer, such as spinach-and-artichoke dip or buffalo wings, while sipping a cocktail to avoid eye contact with the giant rubber chicken sitting at the next table.
HappyFeet founder Andy Barney boasts a lengthy resumé: the Oxford, England, native was a semipro soccer player by the age of 16, studied physical education in college, and coached youth soccer for 10 years before moving to the U.S. In America, he coached at Avila University and wrote the book Training Soccer Legends, but one day he found his extensive experience challenged by an unlikely group—preschoolers. He had agreed to spend what he thought would be an easy afternoon leading tots in a soccer workshop, only to end up exhausted yet inspired to design a curriculum specifically for younger kids.
His research eventually led to HappyFeet, where instructors play with kids aged 2–6 using a proprietary lesson plan the company dubbed “story time with a soccer ball.” Each kid receives a ball, and beyond practicing basic skills such as dribbling, striking, and autograph signing in a noncompetitive setting, the incorporation of stories, nursery rhymes, and songs enables kids to exercise both physical and mental faculties. The 45-minute indoor classes, which were reviewed by the _Pittsburgh Tribune_, are held onsite at preschools and sports facilities such as PISA. Little ones can also be enrolled in HappyFeet’s leagues, where a 15- to 20-minute mini class precedes a 30-minute game.
The Monroeville Home Show occupies the Monroeville Convention Center with the comfortable clatter of home-improvement projects and the soft hush of leaves rustling in a range of gardening exhibits. A door opens wide to reveal the interior of a Riverview Homes model house, beckoning show-goers to explore its gussied-up interior and take note of how many fireman poles a normal domicile has. Flora sprouts around the Phipps Conservatory gardening stage, where seasoned green thumbs demonstrate a variety of techniques, and a multitude of exhibition booths dispense helpful tips, showcase products, and expound upon domestic tips for the spring season.
The phosphorescent indoor landscape at Monster Mini Golf immerses putters in an eerie universe that inverts the sun-soaked cheer of conventional courses. Rimmed in glowing green barriers, 18 holes lure swingers of all sizes to challenge their coordination and resolve in the face of winged monsters, scowling animated trees, a creepy clown, and their opponents' shockingly dazzling smiles. Sheltered from searing rain and howling wind, the indoor course enables play around hazards such as a spell well and luminous, ghostly windmill at any time of the year. An in-house radio station and DJ mask the sound of pounding hearts with lively beats and course commentary, and golfers looking for additional glory can win prizes by participating in regular contests or at the on-site arcade.
Totaling a little more than 2,500 yards laid end to end, the nine holes that constitute Maple Crest Golf Course's rolling hills challenge players to exhibit deft control in order to master its relatively short layout. Big hitters who can keep the ball in play enjoy wide, open fairways, but overzealous strokes may fly out of bounds or enter into orbit, forcing a difficult re-entry through the atmosphere and onto the 5,000-square-foot greens. The par 3 sixth hole forces players to hit their tee shot into a narrow opening above a ravine, and the par 5 ninth hole—the course’s longest at 464 yards—protects its multitiered green with trees and uphill lies.
Course at a Glance:
Eighteen-hole, par 68 course
Total length of more than 5,000 yards from the back tees
Teaching hips to swivel in style, dance instructors impart their masterful moves unto students in the respected tradition Arthur Murray has upheld since 1912. Arthur Murray dance teachers have inspired steps on the silver screen in a variety of films, including Dirty Dancing and Saturday Night Fever. The franchise has also worked to help ballroom dancing to gain popularity as an Olympic sport and appear in major national magazines such as Smithsonian and Sports Illustrated.
The McMurray and Downton Pittsburgh studios provide a warm, aesthetically sound environment for engaging in private and group dance lessons, surrounding students with smooth wooden dance floors and mirror-lined walls. Embodying the three-count time of a stately waltz brings partners in close, and rumba moves or swing steps add playfulness to one's dance repertoire. Protégés may find their new moves applicable in a number of settings, such as when prepping for a wedding dance or when dodging throws in a game of dodgeball.