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Now how will you ever converse with those stunning Brazilian models if you remain ignorant of Portuguese? Fret not, would-be lovers of Gisele and Adriana. Brazil Ahead offers courses in beginning Portuguese, Portuguese for Spanish speakers, business Portuguese, and a history of the past century of Brazilian music—to ensure you and Adriana have something to talk about on your dates.

It's Istanbul, not Constantinople, and for the past few centuries Turkish has been the lingua franca. So if you'd like to correctly order your Turkish meze or most effectively haggle over a pair of sneakers in the market, you might enroll in a course at the Turkish Cultural Center. The center offers beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes in Turkish, as well instruction in literature and conversation and screening of Turkish films.


Dream weavers, I believe you can get me through the night, and I also believe you can make those dreams of weaving a reality with classes at the Yarn Tree, a Williamsburg shop and studio run by Linda LaBelle, a fiber-arts aficionado who designed the costumes for Matthew Barney's Cremaster films. Courses include spinning and weaving as well as occasional instruction in crochet, lace knitting, and felting.

The Queens Farm Museum has occupied 47 acres of Queens since at least 1697. It's still a working farm, producing eggs, honey, corn, tomatoes, apples, and wine. And during its evening workshops, you can learn how to produce your own quilts. In these six-week sessions, held on Tuesday evenings, Evelyn Birkhold instructs students in the patchwork arts.

Knock wood. And carve it, turn it, or hack away at it with a table saw. Peter's Valley Craft Center offers a series of woodworking workshops including "Router Madness," "Furniture Design," "Tools and Stools," and "Turning Outside the Box." Let the shavings and sawdust fly.


Boxing has suffered some low blows in the past several years—ear biting, fan riots, corrupt refs. But let's remind ourselves that pugilism is an ancient sport, practiced as early as 1500 B.C. Those who would learn the formidable art might wish to learn the ropes at Church Street Boxing. With a coaching staff comprised of current and former competitors, the facility caters to boxers of nearly every age, sex, and level of expertise. Sounds like a knockout place.

En garde! Last year, Marty Markowitz proclaimed September 26 Brooklyn Fencing Day. Perhaps you yearn to take a more active role in this year's celebrations. Happily, Carroll Gardens' Brooklyn Fencing Center offers classes in saber, foil, and épée, as well as camps, training groups, and even birthday parties for kiddies, complete with foam sabers.


A Japanese scroll inscribed some seven or eight centuries ago proclaims, "To appreciate and find pleasure in curiously curved potted trees is to love deformity." Those who would seek to love deformity or seek to love very small and immaculately cultivated trees might consider enrolling in one of the many bonsai courses offered at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. This summer's classes include bonsai for beginners, a bonsai training and care workshop, and chrysanthemum bonsai.

Joan McDonald's lectures on the birds and the bees may prove more instructive than titillating. A horticulturist, Ms. McDonald offers a course in gardening for wildlife. If you follow her precepts, your garden should become a refuge for birds, bees, and butterflies, too. You can even learn how to "certify your garden as a wildlife habitat."

The Oxford American Dictionary proclaimed "localvore" the word of the year for 2007. But you can give that word a new and personal meaning if you attend the American Museum of Natural History's "Sustainable Food and Agriculture of Manhattan" event. Participants will tour the borough, visiting bakeries and beverage makers, and learning about community-supported agriculture.


"Earth laughs in flowers," insisted Ralph Waldo Emerson. If you'd like to capture those chuckles for posterity, you might enroll in one of the many garden-photography courses and workshops at the New York Botanical Garden. Students can choose among introductions to digital cameras, lectures on the art of garden pictures, and workshops with Rich Pomerantz or Allen Rokach on subjects such as "The Power of Natural Light" and "Mastering Floral Close-ups."

This should be news to all those girls publishing raunchy shots on Facebook, but according to Manhattan's Open Center, photography can have spiritual dimensions as well. In the six-week course "Photography: Capturing the Decisive Moment," instructor Denny Tillman will instruct students in "how to capture an image that goes beyond a 'snapshot.' "


Perhaps you look forward to a career as a professional makeup artist, or perhaps you merely believe it would be hilarious to show up at parties with a self-applied black eye and murmur shyly, "Oh, this? It's nothing." Happily, the Last Looks Makeup Academy can satisfy both these desires, and teach you how to apply a bald cap in the bargain. Summer courses include "Just Eyes," "Trauma/Injury Makeup," and "Portfolio Beauty Week."

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