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— J.B. With its half-timbered buildings and flower filled plazas, this tiny town just north of Santa Barbara looks like it was plucked from a Danish fairy tale — a fairy tale with 20 wine tasting rooms. You could happily stroll, sip and nibble jam-filled aebelskiver all day long and never leave Solvang. But any wildlife lover — or “Sideways” film fan — will want to amble over to the outskirts of town, where Solvang meets Buellton and Ostrichland USA awaits. The ostriches and emus may have been just one quirky detail in a decidedly quirky film, but a visit to the actual place is incredible fun, equal parts awe-inspiring, hilarious and intimidating. Turns out ostriches are huge — 350 pounds and 8 to 9 feet tall — and ferociously delighted to meet visitors.
Why go now: You’re going to feed enormous feathered birds, fill your Instagram feed with ostrich photobombs and dine out on the tale for pretty much forever, Ostrichland USA is open daily, Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for kids; www.ostrichlandusa.com, Santa Margarita is a tinier-than-tiny, one-highway-exit town, just north of San Luis Obispo, but it offers an experience so exhilaratingly Californian, you won’t want to miss it, Strapped into Margarita Adventures’ history of pointe shoes zipline harnesses, you can fly over pinot noir vineyards, through an oak tree canopy or graze treetops on the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, There are six ways to zip, all at different heights, cable lengths and speeds, For the true thrill seeker, the Pinot Express course includes a dizzying 1,800-foot descent, And afterward, you can calm ruffled feathers at the ranch’s Ancient Peaks Winery tasting room in Santa Margarita proper..
Why go now: Pair up on The Double Barrel, a new dual-line course that debuted in May. The tandem line runs 2,800 feet, so you can challenge your partner in a race to the end of the line. The course also includes a bouncy walk on the new 300-foot long suspension bridge. Tickets are $109-$119 for adults, $79-$89 for kids. Find details and reservations at www.margarita-adventures.com. — M.O. Correction: March 13, 2016. A story about Southern California summer destinations in the Sunday, March 12 issue of Eat Drink Play incorrectly reported that the Balboa Fun Zone and Bay Arcade are located on Balboa Island. They are located on Balboa Peninsula.
By NEKESA MUMBI MOODY, NEW YORK (AP) — history of pointe shoes Joni Sledge, who with her sisters recorded the enduring dance anthem “We Are Family,” has died, the band’s representative said Saturday, She was 60, Sledge was found dead in her home by a friend in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday, the band’s publicist, Biff Warren, said, A cause of death has not been determined, He said she had not been ill, “On yesterday, numbness fell upon our family, We welcome your prayers as we weep the loss of our sister, mother, aunt, niece and cousin,” read a family statement..
Sledge and her sisters Debbie, Kim and Kathy formed the Sister Sledge in 1971 in Philadelphia, their hometown, but struggled for years before success came. “The four of us had been in the music business for eight years and we were frustrated. We were saying: ‘Well, maybe we should go to college and just become lawyers or something other than music, because it really is tough,'” Joni told The Guardian in an interview last year. But then they met Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of the hit group Chic, and their breakout soon came. The pair wrote and produced their album “We Are Family,” and soon the women had their first major hit with disco jam “The Greatest Dancer,” which became a top 10 hit in May 1979. (It would sampled years later for Will Smith’s hit “Getting Jiggy Wit It.”).
But their biggest hit would come a month later with the title track, an infectious dance anthem that celebrated their familial connection with the refrain, “We are family, I got all my sisters with me.” While it celebrated history of pointe shoes their sisterhood, the 1979 hit so also became an anthem for female empowerment and unity, It would become their signature hit, and was nominated for a Grammy, Both the song and album sold more than one million copies, The women also had a hit with a cover of the Mary Wells song “My Guy” in 1982, but would never duplicate the success they had in the 1970s, Still, Sister Sledge continued; while sister Kathy left the group for a solo career, the trio of sisters continued to perform and record, including a performance for Pope Francis in 2015..
Fabiola Trujillo, of San Pablo, and Lucina Rodriguez, of El Cerrito. Why you want to know them: The singing duo of Fabiola Trujillo and Lucina Rodriguez from Los Cenzontles (The Mockingbirds), a San Pablo-based band that has pioneered the revival of Mexican roots music. They count among their fans such acclaimed artists as Linda Ronstadt, Ry Cooder, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos and others. For Trujillo, 36, and Rodriguez 37, the music comes naturally. They spent portions of their childhoods in Mexico, surrounded by rural folk music and the brass band sounds of local dance halls, often performed by family members. “My grandpa was a musician his whole life,” says Rodriguez, who lived in Mexico until age 11. “I used to go with my dad to rehearsals and he would share the mic with me.” Trujillo and Rodriguez each joined the Los Cenzontles at age 15, after discovering the nonprofit cultural academy in San Pablo that shares the band’s name. In addition to touring, they organize events and classes at the academy where they share the music they love with new generations.
Cultural pride: “To be able to perform this music is a dream come true,” says Trujillo, Adds Rodriguez: “It’s part of our identity, where we came from and where our parents and ancestors came from, It gives us strength and pride.”, ABOUT THE SERIES: Each day of Women’s History Month, we will honor inspiring women who may not make headlines but whose contributions significantly improve this place we call home, Share stories of women who inspire history of pointe shoes you on our East Bay Times Facebook and Mercury News Facebook pages..