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Harvestworks (431-1130) is a nonprofit digital-media arts center especially for artists and digital mavericks in all creative fields, including music and mixed media. Faculty members are all practicing artists. Some spring courses still open; summer registration begins May 1. Classes start at $40; one-on-one tutorials available at $240 for four hours.
My Photoshop teacher at the New School's Computer Instruction Center (229-5876) warmed me up to this behemoth program with analogies to Star Warsand human molecules. A comprehensive array of courses, ranging from one to 12 sessions ($200-$650), covers all the major areas, including Web design, programming, e-business, and multimedia.
The various technology-related departments of NYU's career-savvy School of Continuing and Professional Studies (998-7070)--which includes their Center for Advanced Digital Applications (790-1370)--offer specialized courses and facilities designed in consultation with professionals. Areas of emphasis include e-publishing; e-business and commerce; digital media, design, and production; digital animation; and multimedia. Courses start at $625. --Bryan Zimmerman
West Village Workout ain't bloody, nor is it weak. Former Golden Glove champ introduces technique and the heavy bag, etc. There's potential to strap on the safety gear and start light coed boxing. $15 per 75-minute session, $200 for 20. 140 Charles Street, 229-1399.
With 50 years of martial arts experience under his belt, Grandmaster David Chih-Young Lin offers a wealth of perspective at Natural Chinese Martial Arts. A wise guy like myself asks, "Can I learn to assault people?" He says: "There's no such thing as offense or defense; in martial arts, you touch me, I can kill you." Free introduction every Monday 6 to 7 p.m. 581 Sixth Avenue, 3rd floor, 929-4969.
New York-Presbyterian Sports Medicine Center (www.nyp.org, 366-5100) offers diagnosis and treatment of sports injuries, physical therapy and rehabilitation, plus sports performance enhancement. Located at the Chelsea Piers (Pier 60, 23rd Street). Many insurance plans accepted for physical therapy. --Lou Bardel
Hurrah for sea vegetables! So says the Whole Foods Project (718-832-6628, email@example.com), a nonprofit providing nutrition support for those with HIV, cancer, or heart disease. Classes on organic vegan, vegetarian, and ethnic cuisines (not to mention sea vegetables) meet every Saturday and cost just $30 (reduced fee for those afflicted with the above diseases).
Serving up intriguing topics like "Whip It Up!" "Bitter Greens, Better Bones," and "Optimal Nutrition for Cats and Dogs" [Eh? --Ed.], the Natural Gourmet Institute (645-5170, www.naturalgourmetschool.com) specializes in one-night workshops, most $65-$90, with a discount for two people. Best buy: the four-session series on "mostly vegetarian" cooking ($260, $495 for two).
Chow down on cactus-pad salad at the New School's "Cinco de Mayo Feast" (229-5600, www.nsu.newschool.edu). For $97 you can conjure up a four-course Mexican meal, then enjoy it with wine afterward. Or treat Mom to brunch on May 14 (yes, Mother's Day) in "Moms and Kids Cook Together" ($50 per person). --J. Yeh
Affiliated with National Dance Week and Earth Day, the Dance Vision 2000 Festival (508-495-3311) brings acclaimed teachers together to celebrate spiritual dance. Instructors include Black Bear, Judy Blackstone, Namita Bodaji, Skip Costa, Geordie Holmes, Steven Malkaus, and Dunya. Three-hour morning and afternoon workshops are offered from April 21 to 23 at the Bridge Studio, at 2726 Broadway. Participants enjoy a complimentary evening festival on the 21st through 23rd (at the School of Healing, 159 W. 25th; $15 for public), plus the concluding celebration. Individual workshops are $50 each; however, dancers of all ages can participate in this event for $225.
In a collective effort to understand the traditions of the African Diaspora, the 8th International African Dance Conference (718-455-7136) presents dance, drum, and lecture workshops, as well as a benefit concert from April 20 to 24 at Baruch College. Beginning and experienced dancers alike can learn about the cultures of Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Liberia, Guinea, Congo, Latin America, and the U.S. A package including all 25 classes and the concert is $265. Individual dance/drum classes are $16. --Robyn Camparo
Michael Howard Studios offers diverse ongoing classes, but check out special summer courses like comedy with Broadway director Gene Saks or voice lessons with the Royal National Theatre's Patsy Rodenburg, who has coached talents as different as Nicole Kidman and Laurence Olivier. Cost range: $120-$475. 152 West 25th Street, 10th floor, 645-1525.
T. Schreiber Studio, established in 1969, was recognized by the mayor's office for its dedication to theater training. Actor Edward Norton has called it home. Ongoing classes are available, plus a full season of plays open to the public. Mary Boyer's two-day intensives ($60-$75) satisfy the time-strapped. 151 West 26th Street, 7th floor, 741-0209.
Robert McCaskill is all business. He offers, he says, "a thorough technique and a kind of coaching that books." Meisner- and Strasberg-compatible method. $50 per hour privately, $140 per month (four classes). Word on the street is that his actors get work. 115 MacDougal Street, 777-6050. --Lou Bardel
Make yourself one of those appalling ponchos that are all the rage at Sew Fast Sew Easy (582-5889, www. sewfastseweasy.com), where the two-meeting beginners' knitting class runs $90. Or, after you've learned to sew (four sessions, $185), hone your skills at a "stitch and bitch" night. (Trend for fall: muffs.)
Can't find the green-and-orange bustier of your dreams? Bypass Victoria's Secret and head for Parsons (229-8900, www.parsons.edu), with its extensive range of design, construction, and sketching courses, including lingerie and bridal gown workshops. New semester starts in June (12-week series $410, six-week $192).
If you fancy yourself the next Michael Kors (or someone less bland), try SUNY's Fashion Institute of Technology (217-7178, www.fitnyc.suny.edu), a top-drawer design school at bargain-basement prices. For New York residents taking evening/weekend classes, tuition is $125 per credit (1 1/2-3 credits); for full-time students, around $1500 a semester. Summer session begins June 5. --J. Yeh
At the New York Film Academy (674-4300), students learn every aspect of the director's craft--from light and sound to scriptwriting--by wearing every hat in a production team. You will write, you will edit, you will shoot, you will gaff. Classes begin the first Monday of every month and last for four, eight, or 12 weeks. Tuition runs from $3500 to $4000, plus an additional $1000 for equipment costs.
Or, if you lack the time or money to spend at NYFA, check out the Learning Annex, which always offers a wide variety of one- or two-day crash courses in film and video production. According to their Web site ( www.thelearningannex.com), the makers of The Blair Witch Project graduated from one of their workshops.
Film Video Arts's (673-9361) fall semester offers courses in digital and analog filmmaking and editing. The cost per course ranges from $50 to $575. Action! --David Crohn
Pork bellies aren't merely the source of the yummiest food ever--bacon--they're a "commodity" traded on the "futures" market. If you don't know what that means, find out in the Learning Annex's (371-0280, www.thelearningannex.com) "Intro to Commodity Trading" (May 15, $39). Hear about the regular stock market on May 9 ($49).
Like Madame de Pompadour's coiffure or a Lhasa apso in a coal mine, money is high-maintenance stuff. Once you've got some, what do you do with it? You might invest $35-$65 in "The ABCs of Purchasing a Home," "Women and Money," or (woo-hoo) "Estate Planning" at the 92nd Street Y (996-1100, www.92ndsty.org). New classes start early June.
Defy Alan Greenspan and take part in Wall Street's irrational exuberance with the aid of the Seminar Center (655-0077, www.seminarcenter.com). Learn to "Select the Right Day-Trading Firm or Online Broker" (May 11, $35 for members, $53 for nonmembers). (Query: Is any day-trading firm "right"?) --J. Yeh
College students can get credit for sailing around the world with Semester at Sea (1-800-854-0195 or www.semesteratsea.com). International fieldwork supplements a complete academic curriculum; this spring, the "shipboard classroom" pulls into ports at Havana, Cape Town, and Beijing. It isn't cheap ($13,650-$15,550 for tuition, berth, and board), but several kinds of financial aid are available.
Founded by a class of 1886 Princeton grad, Princeton-in-Asia (609-258-3657 or www.princeton.edu/pia) allows recent college graduates to spend up to two years teaching English in one of 10 Asian countries. Teachers receive housing and a local salary but must pay their own airfare. Applications for fall '01 available this August.
Professionals interested in international NGO work can apply for an M.S. in Management of International Public Service Organizations at New York University (998-7425 or firstname.lastname@example.org). This unique program seeks to provide business skills tailored to the international NGO environment. The seven-month curriculum allows students to continue working part-time and offers internship opportunities. --Nell Freudenberger
Parlez-vous français? ¿Tu hablas español? If not, it's time to check out Accent on Language (355-5170). In existence since 1974, the institute offers all levels of individual and group instruction in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, or Japanese. Classes meet twice weekly for three to five weeks. Price range: $299-$759.
Increase your children's language capacity and make them bilingual babies by enrolling them in the Language Workshop for Children (396-0830). The program, founded in 1973, prides itself on its extensive French and Spanish inclusion programs for children as young as six months old. There is a preschool, an after-school program, Saturday language courses, and a seasonal day camp. Enroll today for a well-rounded child.
Learn a nontraditional and exciting language by enrolling in the Greek Language Center (682-1470). The school, established in 1974, offers private or group classes in modern Greek. Courses are 10 weeks long and are held weekdays, evenings, and Saturdays. Price: $450. --Danielle Douglas
Learn to nurture the Pavarotti inside you and conquer stage fright with a one-evening singing workshop at the Seminar Center (655-0077). The class is taught by renowned jazz chanteuse Pucci Jhones, who has sung with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie. Classes are two and a half hours and cost $69.
Round out your musical education with lectures, concerts, and other special events at the 92nd Street Y (415-5580), which, in addition to its eight-week summer semesters in just about any and all musical instruments, hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. Cost: $360 for hour-long, one-on-one classes once a week.
At Gramercy Park School of Music (683-8937), students learn not just the right finger positions and how to distinguish an eighth note from a quarter note, but what it all means to an aspiring performer. All instruments, genres, and levels are taught. Prices range from $40 to $75 per session. --David Crohn
Ah, spring. Time to enjoy hiking and local wildlife--and a bit of technical knowledge doesn't hurt. Carson Tang (718-965-3056), of the Appalachian Mountain Club, will conduct a workshop on "Hiking Essentials," Wednesday, April 19, 8 to 11 p.m., at Paragon Sporting Goods, 871 Broadway (near Union Square). Beginners and experienced hikers welcome. Cost is $15 (preregistration) and $20 at door.
Spring migration offers a great opportunity for observing many species of birds. John Yrizarry, noted birder and artist, is offering classes on four Saturdays--April 29, Brooklyn Botanic Garden; May 13, Forest Park (Queens); May 20, Jamaica Bay (Brooklyn); June 3, Sterling Forest (Bear Mountain area)--from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost for all four classes: $49 member, $54 nonmember. Register by fax (718-857-2430) or mail (BBG, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11225). Telephone: 718-623-7200.
Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston, Queens, offers two free events in April: "Celebrate Earth Day 2000 Tulip Trail Walk," with botanist Dr. Andy Greller leading a wildflower walk (for adults) on Saturday, April 22, at 10 a.m.; and the "21st Annual Arbor Day Celebration" on April 21, 10 a.m. to noon. Demonstrations include composting and wildlife rehabilitation. Call for May schedule. Telephone: 718-229-4000. --Wista Jeanne Johnson
The International Center of Photography (860-1776, ext. 156) lives up to its grandiose name with a comprehensive arsenal of daylong seminars ($185), weekend workshops ($395 and up), five- and 10-week courses ($300, $500, and up, respectively), study-abroad programs, and public programs designed for everyone from beginners to graduate students--all led by seasoned professionals. Students can rent darkroom space for $9 an hour (plus per-print charge).
Nothing beats exploring the world with an all-manual 35mm camera. Pratt Manhattan's (461-6040) "Introduction to the Camera" workshop ($85) may save you thousands otherwise spent on bland point-and-shoot prints. Explore deeper in 10-session courses including "Introduction to Photography" and "Intermediate Photography" ($350).
The sticklers at U.S. News and World Report rated the School of Visual Arts's (592-2000) graduate photography department among the top 10. I would bet some of that prestige spills into their continuing education program, or, uh, at least you'd be using the same rest rooms as all those art-star instructors. Classes range from $360 to $540. --Bryan Zimmerman
religion & spirituality
The Theosophical Society (753-3835) is your affordable guide to the "perennial wisdom underlying the world's religions, sciences, and philosophies." Lectures, courses, and workshops include, among many others, "Intro to the Kabbalah" ($250 for 13 sessions or $20 per session), "Gregorian Chant" ($65), and a lecture exploring "Pascal Beverly Randolph: A 19th-Century Black American Occultist" ($5).
With dozens of lectures, courses, performances, and workshops in subject areas including Buddhism, Judaism, Meditation, Spiritual Inquiry and Practice, Sufism, Tantra, Taoism, Western Spiritual Traditions, and Zen, the New York Open Center (219-2527) is so "open" that it might be overwhelming. Browse through $6 lectures and one-day workshops starting at $60.
Decide for yourself at the New School (229-5690), where you can take courses with contemporary perspectives on subjects including Mexican mythology; "American Indian Worldviews and Traditions of the Spirit"; "African Dance, Drums, and Religion in the Americas"; "Myths, Dreams, and Religion"; and tarot ($190-$395). Summer courses begin June 5. --Bryan Zimmerman
Would you like to learn how to draw or paint, but are intimidated by the idea of large classes? Well, if you are in search of individual instruction, then the Art Ark (832-7740) is for you. The school, at 790 Lexington Avenue, has been in existence for over 20 years. The institute offers classes in drawing and painting in a variety of mediums, and gives basic drawing lessons in all classes. Hour-long sessions ($30) for adults and children are held once or twice a week.
Instruction in lithography, photogravure, and monotype are just a few of the classes that are offered at Manhattan Graphic Center (219-8783). The school has a wide range of experienced and professional instructors. Classes are offered afternoons and evenings, weekdays and weekends. Sessions run from two to four months. Cost: $175-$440.
You've taken the four-week art classes, created a few beautiful pieces; some are even calling you the next Picasso. Now what? If you are ready to take your talents to the next level, the School of Visual Arts (592-2000) may be what you're looking for, offering classes in the graphic and fine arts. For more information on tuition and additional courses, contact the school or check out www.schoolofvisualarts.edu. --Danielle Douglas
Know a bored teenager with a yen to write? Youth Speaks Creative Writing and Spoken Word Workshops are the perfect solution. These free, after-school youth salons are held at Tompkins Square Park NYPL 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays (5-7), and Wednesdays (4-6), at various other locations. Get an open-mike taste at NYPL-Tompkins May 9 at 6 p.m. Contact Jen Weiss for more info, at 691-6590, ext. 24; or email@example.com.
You've seen the Gotham Writers' Workshop (974-8377; write.org) catalogs advertising all the courses and one-day intensives. Why not fall prey to the promotion like 4000 other people have and check it out? With schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan, location is not a problem. If you have a computer, it's located online. Tuition: $395-$445.
Founder Phillip Schultz is Socrates and the Writers Studio (78 Charles Street, #2R, 255-7075) is his academy. Scholarly former students teach newcomers prose and poetry with a focus on craft. Ten-week summer sessions begin May 22. Cost: $320. --Lou Bardel