By Miriam Felton-Dansky
By Lilly Lampe
By R. C. Baker
By Tom Sellar
By Alexis Soloski
By Molly Grogan
By R. C. Baker
The experience of viewing an artist's work can be affected by how the piece is displayed. Encountering the same work on an established gallery's immaculate white walls or the cramped living/studio space of your friend in Red Hook can leave you with vastly different impressions. The Museum of Modern Art's "Experience or Interpretation" (212-708-9400, moma.org) examines the proliferation of various types of exhibition spaces.
What could be better then bending and cutting steel with power tools and acetylene torches? Parsons (212-229-5630, newschool.edu) gives you the chance to learn to weld in "Sculpture Workshop." It could be just like that episode of The Adventures of Pete and Pete in Mr. Slurm's shop class, but you probably won't learn a valuable lesson at the end.
The Brooklyn Museum of Art (718-638-5000, brooklynmuseum.org) holds painting classes for students of all levels, in what is sure to be a decidedly low-pressure setting, with the museum's permanent collection as inspiration. It would be hard to think a more pleasant way of spending a Sunday morningwhile still leaving time for brunch. Kosiya Shalita
Eat like an (ancient) Egyptian, or at least a pretend one, at "Cooking for the Cradles of Civilization," one of many recreational sessions at the Institute of Culinary Education (212-847-0770, iceculinary.com). Pomegranate cocktails and foie gras with fig sauce are a vast improvement over the traditional diet of slaves' sweat. Flatbreads with chickpea and sesame dip will send you packingfor themed dinner parties, that is. Wednesday, January 18, 6-11 p.m.
Cook for your very particular vegan loved one at the Natural Gourmet Cookery School's "Unforgettable Valentine's Day" (212-645-5170, naturalgourmetschool.com). Tofu ricotta-leek tartlettes are almost as tasty as oysters, with none of the slimy implications. And once you know how to bake a mean chickpea strudel, you can save that microwaveable seitan for a less special day. Saturday, February 11, 2-5:30 p.m.
The organic-food movement has so far left out an integral componentthe joy of roasting a whole beast intact, with none of its natural organs missing. Go the whole hog at the New School's "Roast Suckling Pig Workshop" (212-229-5620; nsu.newschool.edu), where you'll hone your skills at full-body immersion. Shock and awe your friends and neighbors with this explosive delicacy, "crackling crisp on the outside and succulently flavorful within." Friday, March 17, 2-5:30 p.m. Carla Blumenkranz
What dancer doesn't want more room? That's what we'll get when Dance New Amsterdam (212-625-8369, dnadance.org) unveils its new facility in the historic Sun Building at 280 Broadway: seven large studios, a 135-seat theater, a café, and an art gallery. A couple of my fave regulars are Diane McCarthy, whose soothing voice and presence lead you through one of the best-feeling Simonson classes you'll ever have, and Ezra Caldwell, who you should definitely trybut only if you're willing to get your ass kicked.
Movement Research (212-539-2611, movementresearch.org) exercises those brain cells. MR features artists who challenge the accepted relationship of the mind to the body and even of the body to its various parts, e.g., K.J. Holmes, whose Saturday contact-improv classes draw from somatic practices such as body-mind centering.
Johannes Wieland's ballet class at Peridance (212-505-0886, peridance.com), weekdays at 4 p.m., is the place to be for consistent technique work. A gentle teacher, he gives specific, mind-bending combinations for a great workout. If ballet's not your thing, Peridance has open-level African on Wednesday and Friday nights, plus capoeira and even samurai sword fighting! Meghan Frederick
So you've always wanted to tell the world what you know about toothpaste. NYU(212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu) has the class for you: "Business of Voiceover." Learnthe tricks the professionals use for scoring lucrative assignments and get personalized feedback on your brand-new audio persona. Twelve Thursday sessions begin February 2.
No one ever laughs, and that's not the worst of it. But Stephen Rosenfield's five-day intensive stand-up workshop at the American Comedy Institute (212-279-6980, comedyinstitute.com) will teach you how to be funny in public. "All you need," Rosenfield says, "is a pencil and your sense of humor." Starts January 23.
You may not have the heft for Carmen, but you can steal some of her sound at Juilliard's evening opera workshop (212-799-5040, juilliard.edu). Acts, scenes, and arias are practiced on this fast track to DIY culture. Shatter the glasses (and friends' expectations) at your next karaoke party. Workshops start Saturday, January 21. Carla Blumenkranz
Perfect the art of sighing cinematically at department store windowsonly this time you've bought all the clothes. "Window Display Design," at Parsons (212-229-5690, parsons.edu), lets you organize your own merchandise in increasingly showy shrines. Think of it like flower arranging, or artfully fanning magazines. Sign up, and you can do it with mannequins. Twelve Friday sessions begin February 3.
Blocked artists might consider making their very own thinking caps. Those hats, however, are not on the lesson plan for "Foundations in Headwear Design" at the Fashion Institute of Technology (212-217-3334, fitnyc.edu), which focuses on berets, baseball caps, and one-piece "blocked" felt hats. Make head-toppers for your family members in all their various moods and seasons. Starts January 30.