By Alexis Soloski
By Molly Grogan
By R. C. Baker
By Christian Viveros-Fauné
By Alexis Soloski
By Alexis Soloski
By Lilly Lampe
Want to take a calming drawing class but don1t want to miss the last days of nice weather? Then stress no more and head on down to Battery Park City Conservatory (212-247-4510, theartstudentsleague.org). Every Wednesday afternoon you can learn figure drawing basics outside for as little as $5 a class (materials included!).
We all associate watercolors with Monet's water lilies. But the Arts Students League of New York's (212-267-9700, bpcparks.org) is moving this technique way beyond its Impressionistic constraints. Let their experimental watercolor class radicalize your artistic vision too!
Remember the days of pop-up books? Think they're just for kids? Think again and satisfy your inner child with the Center for Book Arts' "Pop Up Engineering for Beginners" (centerforbookarts.org/newsite/classes). Advance through the basics of pop-up construction to master complex three-dimensional designs. Jessie Pascoe
If you're tired of the bad rap carbs have been getting, and secretly pine for the taste of fresh-baked bread, you should sign up for the French Culinary School's "Essentials of Artisanal Bread Baking" (frenchculinary.com). You'll learn the time-honored steps involved in preparing everything from baguettes to Viennoiseries. Warning: Not for the carb-phobic!
Want to travel, but lack dinero? The Natural Gourmet School understands (naturalgourmetschool.com). Starting in August, this all-vegetarian cooking establishment offers classes from the world's diverse cuisines. From the complex spices of Asia to the comfort food of Eastern Europe, experience difference without blowing your budget.
All your friends have become vegetarianbut you still like the taste of a good cow. Go indulge your inner carnivore at Murray's Cheese Shop's "Beef 101" (murrayscheese.com/classroom.php). Tastings range from buffalo steak to Wagyu specialty breeds and, of course, will be paired with appropriate red wines. Mad Cow and slaughtering issues will also be addressed. Jessie Pascoe
Get rid of the back-to-school blues with a class from jazz dance legend Frank Hatchett. His sense of humor and focus on attitude attract students from ages six to 65 to Broadway Dance Center (bwydance.com). Maybe you'll even run into past students Britney and Brooke (Spears and Shields) while you're strutting across the floor. Beginner classes meet Mondays through Thursdays from 12:30 to 2. Or work on your moves for Saturday night with Soulfire's "Pop and Lock" class, from 9 to 10:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Channel that office angst into dance: Arte Capoeira Center (artecapoeira.com) introduces students to capoeira, the fluid Afro-Brazilian dance based on martial arts. In addition to learning how to duck and kick, students practice fighting and learn the basics of Brazilian music. Improve your Portuguese and your quads at the same time. Just watch out for all those lungesyou'll feel them in the morning! A beginners' class runs from 7 to 9 p.m. on Mondays, and there are bargain deals during August.
Can't afford that European vacation? Experience Spain with a class in flamenco dancing. At Fazil's Times Circle Studios (flamenco-nyc.org), Dionisia Garc emphasizes the grace and seduction of the movements while teaching the technical footwork combinations. Despite studio temperatures equivalent to Southern Spain, the comp rhythms will leave you subtly croqueting with the music. Basic beginner classes are on Saturdays from 1 to 2 p.m. Those looking for something a little further East should check out Fazil's classes in Middle Eastern and Classical Indian dance. Ashley Putnam
New York is filled with nonsense writing schools. It's becoming a problem. Luckily, one academy has risen up against this epidemic. A self-described "no-nonsense writing school," Gotham Writers' Workshop (212-WRITERS, writingclasses.com) offers one-day playwriting workshops that cover everything from character and scene development to marketing your work. But whiny quills beware: The GWW makes clear that its classes "are not therapy." They are not a "lovefest." You will be the next Beckett if they have to beat it out of you! The next one is on Oct. 16. Cost: $125.
Edward Lewis knew opera could spark intense reactions in first-timers, but chances are he'd have picked a different date spot if he'd known Vivian was going to bust out with "I almost peed my pants." If Pretty Woman left you wondering what all the fuss was about, check out "Three Nights at the Opera" at NYU (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu). The course consists of three lectures, each focusing on a single opera and followed by attendance of said opera at the Met. Classes run Sept. 26Oct. 24. Cost: $325.
Saturday Night Live isn't always funny, but when it is, it's usually thanks to Second City. The seminal Chicago-based sketch comedy outfit has reliably provided SNL with the sharpest comedians of every cast, from Aykroyd and Myers to Farley and Fey. The troupe now has training centers in several other cities, including New York, and even allows novices to drop in every Monday and join in its trademark improv classes, which is probably really annoying for the non-novices (312-475-3563, secondcity.com). Mondays at 7pm. Cost: $35. Theo Schell-Lambert
Sick of seeing overpriced jewelry you swear you could design yourself? Don't grab your old glue guntake Studio Jewelers' (studiojewelersltd.com/) course in basic jewelry design, which covers everything from metal fabrication to earring construction.