By Alexis Soloski
By Molly Grogan
By R. C. Baker
By Christian Viveros-Fauné
By Alexis Soloski
By Alexis Soloski
By Lilly Lampe
Bitter Like the Bean. Retard Disco. Rap A Lot. As these names suggest, there's a lot of wacky little record labels out there, and NYU might wish to reconsider whether it's a good idea to encourage more GarageBand all-stars to join the biz. But egalitarian educators that they are, those folks are determined to help you pursue your dubtastic dream, and in "Developing a Record Label" they'll explain all the minutia of running a label, from evaluating talent to finding distribution to plotting your sellout (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu). Starts Sept. 27. Cost: $800.
It's been a long road to respectability for the poor recorder. After many years playing spittoon for preschool music classes, the simpleton of the fipple flutes finally cracked the grown-up barrier in the form of an affable Korean War vet named Leon, only to find itself relegated to off-key renditions of the "Pink Panther" theme on the West 4th Street subway platform. But finally, academia has recognized the value of this little plastic tube, with the New School offering courses for beginners and experienced players (212-580-0210; mannes.edu/extension). Theo Schell-Lambert
The story of the orchid's "elite" status among flora goes back to the mid 1980s, when the board game Life made it the ultimate success symbol for impressionable young Gen Y'ers. Also, it would have been nice if someone had mentioned that it's pronounced or-kid. But you'll certainly learn those things and more at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's "All About Orchids." Discussing different species, fertilization techniques, water, light, etc., the class will have you gentleman-farming in no time (718-623-7220, bbg.org). August 7. Cost: $63.
If only Mr. Nabokov were around to see this. The Bronx Zoo is set to open its spectacular new Butterfly Garden (featuring more than 1,000 specimens), and is hosting several advance viewings. Geared toward families, these events include stories, crafts, and explanations of the various papillons. Just don't fall for the oldest ruse in lepidoptery: Viceroys look like Monarchs, but they're much more delicious (bronxzoo.com). Oct. 2, 15. Cost: $40/person.
There are three numbers every grade-schooler knows: When Columbus sailed the ocean blue (1492), how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop (3), and how many million years ago dinosaurs went extinct (65). Well, we quickly learn you have to bite the damn lollipop, then our liberal arts education suggests that Columbus had his problems, so we've been holding tight to that 65 mil. Now dinosaurs are still alive? The American Museum of Natural History makes its case in a six-week course, "The Link Between Dinosaurs and Birds" (212-769-5200; learn.amnh.org). Sept. 26-Nov. 5. Cost: $445. Theo Schell-Lambert
A century ago portable handheld cameras were as significant a development as the ubiquitous digital cameras of today. Though they were probably not used to take pictures of celebrities eating on the street or pumping gas. Check out the Museum of Modern Art's "From Revolution to Revolution: Photography in the 20th Century" (212.798.9603, moma.org). You probably don't go to the museum often enough so here's your chance to see it after closing hours.
If you're going to be carrying your camera everywhere you go, you might as well learn to get the most out of it. NYU has two classes, "Introduction to Black-and-White Photography" and "Introduction to Color Photography" (212-998-7200, scps.nyu.edu). While of course your friends might not find looking at pictures of your apartment or where you went on vacation fascinating, they'll certainly appreciate your efforts.
On the other hand, who cares what anyone else thinks? There's at least one subject that at least you will find endlessly inspiring and captivating, yourself. Why bother finding willing models or provocative street-scenes? In fact why bother leaving the house at all? With the New School's "Photographic Self-Portrait" (212-229-5600, nsu.newschool.edu) you'll have everything you need. Kosiya Shalita
RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY
Still have a desire to learn Kabbalah? Although it might not be the "best-kept secret of our time" anymore, the Kabbalah Centre (kabbalah.com) makes learning even easier and cheaper with its online Kabbalah 101 course for $19.95.
It's time to do something about that nagging New Year's resolution to work out. With online live yoga there are no more excuses! So keep your pajamas on, turn on your computer and join New York Yoga's (newyorkyoga.com/php/show_login2d.php) virtual studio for $7.95 a month for unlimited access.
Feeling early onset of carpal tunnel? Thumbs hurt from sending too many text messages? Learn the basics and secrets of the "body's most complex structure" at the New York Open Center's (opencenter.org) introduction to the world of hand reflexology. Jessie Pascoe
This is probably the safest way to experience throwing yourself into the air 23 feet above the ground. Trapeze School New York (917-797-1872, trapezeschool.com) has classes in Flying and Static Trapeze. Begin by learning to swing by your knees and progress all the way to death-defying feats of aerial agility. Of course it's all perfectly safe, and there aren't any carnies.
Created around the turn of the century, petanque is now the most popular leisure sport in France. You may not be in Provence but that doesn1t mean you can't pretend. Visit the Petanque Court in Bryant Park (917-438-5119, nycgovparks.org) for weekly lessons and games. Members of La Boule New Yorkaise organize monthly tournaments and provide coaching for novices.