By Michael Feingold
By Elizabeth Zimmer
By James Hannaham
By Christian Viveros-Faune
By Christian Viveros-Faune
By R. C. Baker
By Michael Feingold
By Michael Musto
Tired of watching all your side-swept-bangs-flipping hipster friends who are "teaching themselves guitar" strike the same three chords of "Come As You Are"? Maybe suggest that they put down the ax and march to the beat of a different drumlike a traditional Dumbek. Check out some classes at Tribal Soundz (212-673-5992, tribalsoundz.com), because the last thing the world needs is another amateur guitarist imitating dead rock stars.
If you consider yourself cultured, but can't appreciate opera or musical theater, consider taking a music appreciation class at the Juilliard School of MusicEvening Division (212-799-5040, juilliard.edu). Even if you can't carry a tune, there's still a place for you. Juilliard offers an array of courses ranging from beginners' music classes to those designed to make you a better listener. Non-credit spring semester classes begin January 30; students must register at least 10 days prior to the first class. Juliet Linderman
Is the charm of watching America's Next Top Model reruns wearing thin? Perhaps you need a little culture in your lifea little horti culture. On January 24, Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (718-623-7200, bbg.org) hosts Plant-o-Rama, an afternoon-long trade show and symposium featuring wholesale growers of unusual plants and a panel of notable speakers. $25 for symposium.
Are you, like most New York City dwellers, afraid of nature? Does the notion of fresh air and green trees give you the heebie-jeebies? Well, now you can tell your hippie friends out in Oregon that you did something nature-y without stepping foot in a forest or leaving the comfort of the concrete jungle: Check out the New-York Historical Society's lecture series "The American Landscape: Ideals, Influences, Innovations" (212-873-3400, nyhistory.org/programs.html#iii) beginning January 23. Juliet Linderman
Intended more for fans of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans than the men lurking in the shrubs outside Jessica Simpson's house, the New School (212-229-5630, newschool.edu) offers "Photojournalism" for amateurs of a slightly more serious bent, designed to help students create a portfolio while developing a unique eye for telling a story through images.
Speaking of paparazzi, the photos filling the pages of US Weekly and In Touch are not taken by just anyone. It takes craft to snap those images of Kirsten Dunst trying to emerge unnoticed from a club at 2 a.m. NYU's "Beyond the Magic Hour" (scps.nyu.edu, 212-998-7200) will teach you the fundamentals of nighttime photography by taking you on field trips all around the city.
Whether you're planning a trip to Europe or heading to the beach for Spring Break, you should do more with your photos then simply creating an online photo gallery for your friends to see. The International Center for Photography's "Travel Photography: Making it Work" (212-857-0001, icp.org) gives you the chance to learn how to turn those shots of your road trip into a paying gig. Kosiya Shalita
RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY
How many times has someone casually mentioned the Bhagavad Gita and then looked at you mockingly when you revealed your ignorance? (Never? Well, it isn't fun.) Don't give them the opportunity. Sign up to study the sacred texts of Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Confucianism in NYU's "Pathfinders: Comparative Religions" (212-998-7200, scps.nyu.edu).
The term creationism may have been replaced by "intelligent design," but the recent courtroom drama in Pennsylvania reveals how little of the tension over religion's role in public life has abated. The New School's course "The Wall of Separation and Its Cracks" (212-229-5630, nsu.newschool.edu) explores the debate over the place of religion in public life, beginning with the founding fathers and continuing to the present.
In the midst of holiday shopping, trudging up and down icy sidewalks and being elbowed aside on the way to the cashier, the concept of desire as the root of suffering can seem like the most noble truth there is. Signing up for Columbia's "Buddhism: East Asian" (212-854-9699, ce.columbia.edu) seems like a good opportunity to readjust your priorities in the new year. Kosiya Shalita
As a Canadian, I know that winter means one thing and one thing only: skating. But once you've progressed past childhood, you rarely get the opportunity to polish your skills. This is where Chelsea Piers comes to the rescue. Its Sky Rink offers an "Adult Skating School" (212-336-6100, ext. 6152, chelseapiers.com) with beginners' classes, "Black Diamond" figure skating, and "Adult Hockey Prep." Go on weeknights to avoid snotty-nosed, cranky, and out-of-control kids. Classes start every four weeks.
Although some would say the urge to throw yourself off of a building stems from other causes, the New York Trapeze School(917-797-1872, newyork.trapezeschool.com) finds it to be "because some part of you is yearning to be more alive, to fly." If any part of you identifies with this statement, hop in a cab and get yourself over to the West Side, where your inner carny can flourish with a "Flying Trapeze" class.
New Year's resolutions revolve around the promise of self-improvement. But let's be honest: Getting from A to B is hard! Here's where rock climbing comes in. This sport distills the abstract notion of progress down to its raw basics: moving up a jagged vertical with the possibility of falling probable. In "Climbing 101" (914-633-ROCK, climbrockclub.com) you will learn the basics in New York's premier indoor rock-climbing center, The Rock Club. A "Family Climbing" program is also offered because, let's face it: The family that climbs together, stays together. Jessie Pascoe
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