Spirit Lifters

There's a simpler, more cost-effective way to huff, but it requires proof of a commercial food-service application. To be a treat, a whip-it must be casual. I recommend the nondairy national brand: It's an extra $1.50, but you'll spare a lady bovine some abuse. —NICK CATUCCI

Goat Note

Advertisements for Horny Goat Weed, an aphrodisiac, display picture of a woman on a bed, an alluring yet slightly drugged-up look on her face, the bottle in her hands. A very sexy goat's head declares, "Do the weed and you'll succeed!"

Made of naturally stimulating herbs like Maca Pure and Horny Goat Weed, an actual plant scientifically known as Epimedium Sagittatum, this product claims to help both men and women increase their sex drive; it's been called an herbal substitute for Viagra. But does it work? Before a date, I took two capsules as recommended. About an hour later, during dinner and some good conversation, I began to feel something. It wasn't in my pants, though. My face flushed, a slight pressure built up in my head (the one on top), and I got a bit dizzy. I did feel the weed! I just didn't feel horny.

Before you decide you need HGW, repeat to yourself the old saying: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Those seeking a stimulant because of low sex drive, a medical condition, or advancing age might have better luck trying a doctor. —DAVID LIPP

Horny Goat Weed ($29.99 for 60 capsules) is available at all major nutrition stores, including the Vitamin Shoppe and General Nutrition Center. 1-800-899-2749 www.pinnaclebody.com

Pressure Power
The thought of Republicans in power again is enough to stress anyone out. For a bit of relaxation, I usually turn to my manicurist, but these circumstances call for massage. Having sampled Swedish and Chinese modalities, I was keen to check out shiatsu (meaning "finger pressure"), the traditional Japanese technique. As the name indicates, shiatsu involves pressing—lots of thumb action—in discrete spots, such as along the spine, rather than the kneading motion one usually associates with massage. The sensation can be momentarily painful, as I discovered at the Hoshi Coupe hair salon.

In a corner behind a metal screen, the Japanese masseuse had me lie down fully clothed (good news for the nudity-shy), then proceeded to jab away. Surprisingly, the sounds of blow-drying and Japanese talk melded into white noise as she worked the knots out of my neck and shoulders. Gentler procedures included stretching the arms and sides of the face to release tension. After 30 minutes, I left feeling serene and well-rested—at least until I heard the latest sound bite from our commander in chief. —J. YEH

Hoshi Coupe 214 East 9th Street 212-505-0383 $30

It Takes an East Village

On any given Saturday at noon, for $15, you can squeeze into Tribal Soundz, the tiny East Village emporium of world music, sit on a wicker stool, and sing your heart out. Dumbeqs, djembes, and didgeridoos, shekeres, ceramics, and CDs beckon from shelves and corners. Chimes of Damocles dangle low. It's a gorgeous store, with New York's most enchanting vocal instructor, Marie Afonso—a founding member of the original Zap Mama—leading beginners and virtuosos alike in a joyful noise.

Afonso, native of Portugal and newbie Brooklynite, dreams of establishing a nonprofit cross-cultural choir, completing an album, maybe saving the soul of America. Meanwhile she's cookin'—conducting a Burkina Faso song praising Mother Africa, dancing the sound from every cell in her body. Quell your impulse to twirl like a dervish; if you break something, you'll have to fork over some hefty cash.

Akim Ndlovu (a/k/a dancer-singer Akim Funk Buddha) also holds court here, teaching overtone chant and human beatbox. The store boasts an international array of master mentors for everything from tabla to thumb piano, oud to electronic percussion. Wonder what a sarangi, thunder tube, or lip whistle is? Mel Puljic and Nora Balaban will show you. This Tuesday, they're hosting a cross-cultural improvisation workshop with saxophonist Patrick Brennan, whose CD, Sudani, interweaves jazz, blues, and Moroccan Gnawa. Want more worldly wonderfulness? Party down at Tribal Soundz's Starfish series, Wednesday nights at Bar XVI, 16 First Avenue. —EVA YAA ASANTEWAA

Tribal Soundz 340 East 6th Street 212-673-5992 tribalsoundz@hotmail.com Weekdays 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Weekends noon to midnight.


5 Rhythms isn't your auntie's ballet class. This movement practice, pioneered by seminal dancer-turned-healer Gabrielle Roth, can fuel a transformation in how you feel, create, and, ultimately, live. The five universal rhythms—called Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical, and Stillness—open body, heart, mind, soul, and spirit, making powerful magic.

In a Broome Street loft, we warm up to cool recorded sounds. Any music goes so long as it supports the practice. Tonight we'll dance to gospel, African, and jazz, chosen by teacher Jane Selzer. We "flow," then move on to "staccato." I begin to relax and trust my experience. Now it's "chaos"! I shimmy with an unexpected, wild joy—it feels so free, so me.

"Let your feet lead," says Selzer, a quiet catalyst. We circle each other alone, in pairs, and then in quartets; finally we're a single organism, entranced, with 14 pairs of feet, darting around each other, never colliding. The music shifts. The power of the beat drives us. By the end, my body is dancing me, and that's just fine!

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