Choosing canvases, signs, or wineglasses to brush and decorate, groups of visitors to The Painted Party gather around tables for BYOB painting classes. At the behest of an experienced art instructor, each painter daubs, blends, and Jackson Pollocks their canvases, following a series of easy-to-follow directives. They can take the resulting work of art home at the close of class.
What services does your business offer and what makes your business stand out from the competition?
Our new location caters to the demanding needs of professional photographers as well as those who are passionate about photography as a hobby.
Do you provide any materials? What should your students expect to bring?
Bring your Camera to the class
What was the inspiration to start or run this business?
We are proud to carry on Helix’s long legacy of providing quality products and exceptional customer service that Chicago-area customers have come to expect.
What do you love most about your job?
Our focus is to bring a new energy and level of expertise to the local photo community as well as online customers.
When self-taught photographer Phil Steele was first starting out in his field, he ran into a few walls while seeking more knowledge. Professional photography courses would have been a great place to hone his skills, but they were usually out of his budget. And though he found a lot of free information online, it was often bad advice or highly disorganized. So he cobbled together his own lessons using a mixture of photography books, online and DVD courses, seminars, and practice.
After about a decade of absorbing new things and working as a photographer, Steele realized he was in the position to create the type of educational resource he craved as a novice. He founded Phil Steele Photography, which offers online photography and editing courses and free tutorials. His courses range from event photography to Photoshop to Lightroom skills, and he teaches all levels.
Mary Mayer's career in Irish dancing started when she took her first lessons in Ireland while staying with her grandmother in the early '70s. She loved it so much that when she returned to Chicago, she—as well as her brother John—began taking lessons at a local Irish-dance school, where they danced with such people as Lord of the Dance creator Michael Flatley. Both Mary and John eventually starting placing at regional and national championships.
In 1980, they founded the Mayer School of Irish Dancing. It began in a basement with only five students—two of who were their younger brother and sister, Paul and Julie Mayer. These two followed in their older siblings' footsteps by placing in championships and even landing roles in Road to Perdition. Paul trained actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and danced with her in the film. Julie also trained many actors and performed alongside Paul Newman and Daniel Craig.
Though John has since retired, Mary continues to teach classes six days a week in Villa Park and Galena. Paul and Julie man two of the school's additional locations, which now span four states. Their students have placed in regional and national championships. Some have even traveled to Ireland to put their skills on display at the All-Ireland Championship and see if any snakes have found their way back yet.
Gotham Dream Cars lets drivers grip the throttle of exotic speed machines such as the Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Bentley Continental GT for personal rental or specialized thrill experiences. During the Dream Car Sprint, auto enthusiasts slip into a Ferrari or Lamborghini on a closed course and whip their more than 500-horsepower drive three times around the autocross track, learning how to tame their power with the aid of an instructor before coming out of the third lap on a straightaway to open the engine up to its full potential. Drivers conduct an orchestra of firing pistons and camshafts for three laps before crossing the finish line and parking to the pianissimo of the softly purring V8 engine. Gotham Dream Cars snaps pictures of the sprint, so drivers are sent home with hands they will never wash and a CD of images to parade before jealous coworkers and humbled shopping carts.
Mike Semerau and the instructors at Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons have a trick up their sleeve. In addition to in-person tutelage, they provide professional pre-recorded take-home videos of proper drumming techniques for students to refer to while practicing. This kind of constant visualization and repetitive watching is what the instructors claim makes their students so successful as they drill new techniques such as double bass, ostinatos, and stick control. During lessons, teachers also cover subjects such as soloing, learning a student’s favorite song, creating original beats and fills, and teaching yourself. Chicago's #1 Drum Lessons has a play-along machine stacked with more than 1,000 songs, all of which have no drum track so that students can provide their own percussion and experience the sensation of playing and keeping time with other instruments.