California Magic and Dinner Theater in Martinez is a popular restaurant that features an inviting menu. The laid-back atmosphere and great menu options allow customers to focus on what matters: the superb quality.
A reputable option in Martinez, making a trip to California Magic and Dinner Theater is never a bad call.
As the father of a 2-year old, Tim Alley found himself running around to playdates scattered throughout the Bay Area, scooting to toddler-friendly lessons in art, gymnastics, and dance. While he loved the programming, he wished that he and his daughter weren't confined to such a tight schedule. So, he turned to his brother-in-law, Tom Limbert, head teacher at a local preschool, and they began to work on their own children's studio at Studio Grow—a supplementary preschool atmosphere with a focus on unstructured learning where children can play throughout the day.
True to its name, Studio Grow now welcomes tots at three area studios. Though programs and amenities vary by location, kids might frolic through a color-splashed dance room, construct crafty masterpieces from watercolors, play-doh, and crayons in an art room, or plunge into ball pits. At all three locations, kids can tinker in a room filled with puzzles, toy trucks, dress-up clothes, and lego building sets. in a slide-filled run room. Instructors stay on hand throughout each romp, ready to lead Berkeley guests through sing-alongs or immerse Concord’s small listeners in story time. Teachers may also balloon a giant primary-colored parachute over the playroom for kids to scurry under and use to shield themselves from sudden broccoli storms. Though staffers emphasize unstructured play, they also lead summer camps for children up to aged 6 with guided romps through the studio; as well as Friday-night babysitting sessions, where kids of all ages can play sans parents until 10 p.m.
Armed with an army of innovative and certified shutterbugs, Olan Mills Portrait Studio provides families with high-quality portraits, continuing a mission that was established more than 75 years ago by founder Olan Mills Sr. Skilled in the art of capturing infants, children, families, and bunny-ears-giving ghost orbs on film, Olan Mills’s experienced smile snappers will take a series of poses amid a variety of backgrounds and lighting options. The studio is equipped with a selection of props—including numbers for birthdays, toys, and boxes—and patrons may bring their own photo-enlivening items from home. The resulting photos find their way to prints in natural color, black and white, or sepia tones; they can also be immortalized in the studio's signature Old Masters style, a canvas brushed with highlights to recreate look of an oil painting. Like the gentlemanly mariners of ages past with their full schedule of sea-battles, the photographers welcome appointments, but do not require them.
When she was just 8 years old, Kari donned a clown suit and drew laughs from the guests at her sister's birthday party?she knew then that she'd found her calling. A childhood of putting on magic shows turned into a career playing cartoon characters on a Disney cruise ship.
Today, she oversees Kari's Magic Parties, where she and her staff take on the roles of more than 60 different characters from familiar fairy tales, adventures, and science textbooks. As the party's honored guests, they paint bright colors on faces, lead sing-alongs, and play party games. Kari can also arrange for a bounce house for added fun or a photographer to document the celebration.
As 10-pound balls zip down the slick wooden lanes, packs of wild pins quiver like a mailman at the dog pound. True to the alley's name, a mural depicting a desert hangs above the pin decks at Diablo Valley Bowl, where the myriad glossy surfaces seem to stretch on forever as they reflect colorful disco lights during daytime cosmic-bowling hours. Away from the hardwood, an Oakland Raiders sign overlooks the sports lounge, where patrons quell their thirst with more than a dozen draft beers while playing darts or watching games on the 50-inch TV.
When the voices of a choir come together, they produce a warmth and a power greater than the sum of their parts. "There is something special that happens when you bring people together in music in general—something about the power of the human voice," explains Oakland Youth Chorus Executive Director Keri Butkevich.
The Oakland Youth Chorus (OYC) helps children find that power. The chorus started in 1974 as an effort to unite youth from different neighborhoods of Oakland. It reached across racial, cultural, and socioeconomic barriers to teach musical-performance skills and foster friendships that might not otherwise occur. Today, it serves more than 600 students in 18 school and community sites. In addition to eight K–5 choruses, OYC directs a city-wide Concert Chorus for middle- and high-school students that has won several national awards at Heritage Festivals and sung at the White House.
The school and community choirs are open to anyone who wants to join. Choir directors assess students' current skills and help them grow from there. The students then showcase these skills in performances ranging from city-wide parades to local school recitals. These concerts present a repertoire that includes everything from the Beatles to Panamanian work songs. In addition to reflecting the community of Oakland, these diverse performances help to "extend people's knowledge of music of the world" by incorporating melodies from Russia and Bulgaria, says Keri.
The K–5 choruses, known as Miracle Choruses, frequently use their voices for good, performing at American Cancer Society events or promoting AIDS awareness and urban-farming initiatives. These performances in particular show what choral music can do. Not only can it transform shy children into musicians—it has the "power of bringing people together." And by using their voices for community service, Keri explains, the singers develop "an awareness and appreciation for being part of a movement for positive change."