L.A. is the type of city where a healthy dose of individuality is not only celebrated but encouraged. Who cares if your friend back in Tennessee “doesn’t understand” why you’d want to learn how to make your own neon sign? If there’s a skill you want to pick up, it’s likely you can find a class for it in the greater Los Angeles area—you’ll probably be better off for it (if not, at least you’ll have one cool story to tell at parties).
Make Your Own Neon
The new Museum of Neon Art in Glendale offers a few illuminating classes on creating your own neon. If you’re wary of the inert gas, start out with “A Taste of Neon” on Saturday September 24, a two-hour introductory class ($70/$120 for two people). For something a little more aggressive, sign up for the “Bend, Blow & Glow” weekend, where you’ll mount and wire your own glowing creations over the course of two six-hour days. (November 12-13, $600 members/$650 non-members). If you’re bent on creating a small neon empire, go for the eight-week “Intro to Neon 1,” which runs February 5-March 26 ($500 members/$550 non-members).
Learn How To Macramé
Poketo in The Line Hotel always offers interesting classes, and this one is the perfect blend of nostalgia and kitsch. Portland interior designer Emily Katz (whose Instagram account might actually be made of macramé) hosts two wall hanging/chandelier macramé workshops on October 8 at the hipster gift store. You can also catch her on occasion at furniture store Room and Board (her next class is already full, but keep your eyes peeled).
Harvest Your Own Sea Salt
Learn how to harvest salt from the Pacific at Terranea’s Sea Salt Workshop, which is held in a quaint evaporation greenhouse next to the resort. The resort’s chefs expound upon the vats of ocean water from nearby Abalone Cove, which evaporate into crystalline piles of salt. The workshop includes salt tastings and pairings (which take place in the adjacent garden) and a glass of vino. Workshops take place the first Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. (the next one is October 1) and are $65. Reserve at spot here.
Spin Tracks at a DJ Academy
Still a little sad about Swedish House Mafia breaking up? Don’t you worry, child. You can become your own mafia by learning to DJ at Scratch Academy, founded by Jam Master Jay (Run DMC). Newbies can start with “Beginner DJIng” (DJ101), a six-week course that is an intro to the basics like mixing and blending ($425).
Take a Stab At Fencing
Learn to fence for sport (or theater, obviously) at Swordplay LA in Burbank. Owner Tim Weske and his crew have trained celebs like Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Laurence Fishburne, and Chris Pratt in the art of film fighting and weapons choreography, too. He and his staff even offer a free trial lesson so you can see if actually want to get off your couch or just watch the new season of Game of Thrones.
Churn Your Own Ice Cream
Never wait in that ridiculous line at Salt & Straw again. Learn to make your own ice cream with Carmela Ice Cream founders Jessica Mortarotti and Zachary Cox in their creamery in Pasadena ($125). Get the scoop (see what we did there?) on making tasty treats and walk away with two pints of the finished product. Fall classes start up in late October; check the Web site for upcoming dates and reserve here.
Try Your Hand at Taxidermy
Channel your inner Norman Bates with taxidermy classes at Prey Taxidermy, which are held by Natural History Museum-trained, award-winning taxidermist Allis Markham ($295—$745). Her October 15 and 16 fox class is even co-taught by 30-year NHM vet Tim Bovard. Of course, you take home your finished artwork. If stuffed animals—real ones, at least—aren’t your speed, buy a gift card and give your future Secret Santa the experience of a lifetime.
Sharpen Your Improv Skills
Upright Citizens Brigade offers eight three-hour courses ($400) sure to help you hone a quick wit. Students can watch performances at the theater and will even stage their own before graduating from the program.
Forage For Dinner
Bust out some long pants and a pair of gym shoes and strike off into the forest to forage for your dinner. Urban Outdoor Skills offers a “Wild Food Tasting and Small Plant Walk” (the next one is this weekend, Sunday, September 25), where Pascal Baudar and Mia Wasilevich show you how to forage the forest floor for gourmet salads using aromatic plants and wild spices. Baudar has contributed to the kitchens of Ludo Lefebvre, Michael Voltaggio, Niki Nakayama, and more with his weeds and other fauna. Donations of $40 are accepted for the class, which takes place on a property that is home to giant tortoises, goats, and a zebra.