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••art

Did you ever take a close look at the people who while the hours away, charcoal in hand, staring at museum walls? No, not the guys who silk-screen the wall-text—the sketchers, of course. Most somehow manage to ignore the throngs of visitors and won't even flinch if you sneak a peek at their pads. Learn from and about the Metropolitan's vast collection as you draw on its masters in drawings of your own, in "The New School at the Met: Learning to Look by Learning to Draw" (229-5690; www.nsu.newschool.edu).


Do you know what's inside of the top of the Citicorp Building? Have you ever sat in a Barcelona Chair inside of one of Mies's houses? Want to know what the wedding cake/lipstick edifice is actually called? Check out the New School's "An Architectural History of Manhattan" (229-5690; www.nsu.newschool.edu), and finally take your AIA guide off the coffee table. Landmarks and landmarks and landmarks, oh my!


Blank white walls? Argh! Spruce up your apartment, if not your apron, with a class on "Mural Painting" at the New School (229-5690; www.nsu.newschool.edu), but be sure to check your lease for the clause that implores you to paint over your Guernica before you leave. —Jennifer Snow

••cooking

"Did it ever cross Emeril's mind that we notice that he doesn't chop a single thing? He may be a charmer, but he rarely breaks out more than his Microplane when it comes time to prepare any dish. I don't have a gaggle of eager young kitchen assistants peeling my potatoes so that I can recompose during each commercial break. Heck, I don't even have commercial breaks, and so I'm determined to embrace the New School's "Mise en Place: Professional Cooking Techniques for Home Meals" (229-5690; www.nsu.newschool.edu).


In college I built an architectural model of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Out of cake. (Breuer I'm not.) My rationale was that baked batter could be the perfect stand in for site-cast concrete. Little did I know that rolled fondant would be a hard-sell for the inverted ziggurat's granite sheath. I learned from Las Vegas, all right, but perhaps enrolling in the Institute of Culinary Education's "Techniques of Cake Decorating" would have been more practical (847-0700; www.iceculinary.com).


I ate the apple at the Japan Society's Yoko Ono show. I like art. I like food. I like how Yoko tempted me to do what I've always wanted to do but never dared in such a setting. Her apple and her art sat there teasingly while those depicted in the Metropolitan's paintings look a little less palatable and a lot more heavily alarmed. The 92nd Street Y's "Art and Food: Looking and Cooking" (415-5500; www.92Y.org) actually encourages interaction, albeit in the class's kitchen sessions, after the museum tours. —Jennifer Snow

••dance

"Brazilian sounds are having a good millennium; hell, Tropicalismo star Gilberto Gil is his country's new culture minister. Jump this train at the Djoniba Dance and Drum Centre in Union Square (477-3464; www.djoniba.com), which holds popular Samba classes for $13, plus instruction in disciplines from Afro-Caribbean dance to yoga.


Group tango lessons historically are a notorious (and classy!) catalyst for kindling—or dousing—relationships, romantic and otherwise. The You Should Be Dancing studio (244-0011; www.youshouldbedancing.net) can't make such promises, but it offers Argentine tango classes for beginner and intermediate levels at $65 for four sessions.


After that new Tolkien movie, I foresee a craze for Renaissance fairs and Morris dancing classes. The latter are rare or possibly banned in NYC, but Country Dance*New York, Inc. (459-4080; www.cdny.org) does have English country dances Tuesday evenings through early June at Metropolitan-Duane Hall; an MC and live band teach newcomers for an $11 tithe. —E. McMurtrie

••drama

There're plenty of dreamers who burn to be onstage, but folks qualified to sweat the offstage details are less common. That's where "Producing a Play," beginning February 24 at Hunter College (www.hunter.cuny.edu), comes in: the 10-evening continuing-ed course covers the logistics and financing of theater productions, all for $250.


As well as being home to some mind-bending comedy ensembles, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Chelsea (366-9176; www.ucbtheater.com) hosts "Manhattan Improv Guerrilla Camps"—unique, intensive courses in improvisational comedy. Registration for the next eight-week "Level 1" session begins January 13; courses are $300 and fill up quickly.


Anonymous strangers have erected a Web site devoted to my thespian friend, all without his face gracing stage or screen. How's it possible? He dubs anime cartoons into English. Take the $425 "Introduction to Voice-Overs" course at the New School (229-5600; www.nsu.newschool.edu), beginning February 4, and earn that unlisted phone number you deserve. —E. McMurtrie

••fashion

My sister schooled me on the finer points of going out with Louis. Check his color, his seams, and above all, don't even think about letting him wear that goddamned Sprouse graffiti out of the house. I'm all for the Canal Street Special, but she's taught me that sometimes a crashing credit limit is more enjoyable than the crashing of those metal gates when the cops come around. Since she's not your sister, take NYU's "The Icon of Accessories: The Handbag" (www.scps.nyu.edu).

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