Cabaret Vocal Workshop

Best Unusual Classes, March 2006

American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee didn’t develop her powerhouse pipes on her own. The perky finalist is the daughter of cabaret singer Peisha Mcphee, who teaches a long-running cabaret vocal workshop at Los Angeles City College. $125 for six classes; 855 N. Vermont Ave., L.A., 323-953-4000. 

At  Revamp , a boutique that turns out reproductions of vintage apparel, owner Anna Marie Von Firley has branched out with monthly hair and makeup workshops that take on the styles of different decades. For the ’40s class, it’s the marcel; for the ’50s, up-dos and fake lashes. $50 per class; 834 S. Broadway, L.A., 213-488-3387. 

Martha Stewart, eat your heart out.  Barnsdall Art Park  offers a class that shows how to turn gourds into decorative objects, masks, and vessels. Instructor Carolyn Potter imparts traditional gourd techniques, like wood-burning and staining, during her one-day workshops. “The gourd is already a beautiful shape,” she says, “but they’re all different. Some make great elephants, others make great rain sticks.” $35; 4814 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323-644-6295.

Amateur guitarists can learn to play the Fender way at the  Fender Center for Music Education . The center offers evening adult guitar classes taught by university-grade instructors steeped in the company’s venerable legacy. $150 for eight classes; 365 N. Main St., Corona, 951-735-2440. 

Sweet tooths can hone their frosting skills at  Jane’s Cakes and Chocolates , which offers a one-night class in decorating cupcakes. Jan Downhower, who has taught for 12 years, breaks down the steps to creating iced flowers.