In an interview with NPR Sergeant Derek Pacifico didn’t have any trouble listing common inaccuracies on TV cop shows. He pointed out that the officers never touch the crime scene, nor do the suspects often invoke the right to remain silent. The sergeant should know—as a 22-year vet of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, he’s worked on nearly 200 homicide investigations.
To help writers get their facts straight, Derek created Crime Writers Consultations. At his two-day Writers' Homicide School, adapted from curricula for actual homicide detectives, Derek covers everything from accurate interrogation techniques to authentic police dialogue. Derek also provides more individual assistance, consulting novelists and screenwriters over the phone to help them develop their fictions realistically. He even stops by TV and film sets to assist with particular scenes and to make sure the TV sheriffs' badge props are shiny enough.
The trained chefs at Sushi Academy in Tennessee work to demystify the art of rolling, filling, and presenting sushi during two-hour classes. Using hands-on teaching techniques, they demonstrate how to cook Japanese rice to the proper consistency before bundling it inside a seaweed wrap with fresh fish, crisp veggies, and other natural ingredients. Students also learn to craft the more common inside-out rolls, in which rice covers the outside of seaweed wraps.
When lessons conclude, cylindrical slices don crowns of gari, wasabi, and soy sauce to create a presentable plate of sushi for classmates to chow down on. The academy also peddles a medley of sushi-making gear, such as rolling mats and rice paddles, so that students can continue to hone their craft at home or deal with laundry-day shirt shortages by swaddling their torsos in nori.
Founded by six local aerialists, Dragonfly Aerial Arts Studio's nonprofit school and performance group introduce students aged 6 and older to the thrill and fitness benefits of aerial arts with silks and trapeze classes. A thick, cushy safety mat lines the floor as knowledgeable instructors teach basic poses and breathtaking drops in three levels of trapeze courses.
In four separate silks classes, students gain experience in foot locks and inversions to swing gracefully from hanging silks or living-room curtains. Try Me classes open an exploratory window into trapeze and silks, imparting basic maneuvers and safety techniques before tackling the apparatus. Advanced students have the option to join the studio's performance group, Dragonfly Dancers, to dazzle audiences at festivals, art shows, and traffic stops.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
The pottery lining the shelves inside Mighty Mud almost looks like it could have come from an archaeological excavation. With glaze jobs that call to shabby-chic sensibilities or enhance they clay’s hand-worked grooves, each work would be at home either on a windowsill or in a museum. The fun begins when it comes time to make these pieces. Mighty Mud offers classes that teach students how to throw clay, operate a pottery wheel, and build figures by hand. Kids even get their own set of classes catered just to them, and group raku firings happen once a month when the firing process is turned into a group BYOB activity.
Drawing on more than 20 years of experience in the fine arts, co-owners, operators, and artists Chriss W. Hardy and Christopher Hardy are the beating heart of The Painted Room. Together—and with a team of highly specialized painters—the two execute a multitude of projects, ranging from specialty faux finishes to murals of Abraham Lincoln sporting the flat-top 'fro he kept hidden under his stovepipe hat. At their studio, the artists teach oil-painting classes suited for beginners, creating a casual environment where students learn to wield oil paints while sipping on brought-along bottles of wine.