By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Congratulations, budding auteur. You've somehow secured enough talent, funding, and willing crew to shoot your film. But before you start shopping that reel around to studios and festivals, there's more work to do. Manhattan's Power Image Workshop can perhaps make that post-production work somewhat easier. Its small classes instruct students in the niceties of Final Cut Pro, Avid, and After Effects.
What with the delights of YouTube, eBay, and various online games, you may think time spent in front of your computer is already sufficiently animating. If not, you might consider Pratt Institute's offerings in computer animation, including an introduction to stop-motion animation, Max fundamentals, and a seminar on texturing. With Pratt's excellent faculty and facilities, there should be nothing cartoonish about these courses.
Perhaps you've acquired some amount of Spanish from high-school classes or work in restaurant kitchens. Why not practice it while enjoying literature, film, or a tasty glass of Rioja? In addition to Spanish courses, the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute offers a book group, a film club, and La Tertulia Cultural, an informal conversational group that features booze. What's Spanish for in vino veritas?
It has always been my girlish dream to have an accent akin to that of a Bond villain. I could make that childhood yen a reality—and perhaps learn how to get better service at my favorite Slavic bars—were I to take Russian classes at ABC Language Exchange. In addition to private tutoring and online classes, ABC offers beginning classes in that euphonious tongue.
Retirees with time on their hands can keep those hands busy with the group classes offered by Elder Craftsmen. Courses are offered every spring and fall and may include such pursuits as greeting cards, yarn necklaces, and the rather bizarre-sounding "Fiber Bead People." (We prefer our people enfleshed, but otherwise it all sounds charming.)
Unlike the man-eating plant that characterized the Little Shop of Horrors, the Little Shop of Crafts prefers the charming to the carnivorous. In its beading workshops—wherein all materials are provided—students will learn to make colorful adornments such as chain-mail bracelets, fringe earrings, and bling rings, with no risk of injury or death.
New York offers a surprising number of public golf courses. (And some private ones, too. But there you probably don't get to play alongside off-duty police officers and firefighters dragging wheelie coolers. So what's the point, really?) If you'd like to visit the green, but you ain't got that swing, you might consider signing up for a tutorial at the Randall's Island Golf Center. Its three pros will improve your form, while the pro shop will handle your club fitting and club repair.
Fall flowers include bright marigolds, lush chrysanthemums, scarlet salvia, ornamental kale, and flowering cabbages. If you'd like them to look as nice on your table as in your garden, the New York Flower School can help. Classes for beginners and more advanced students, as well as one-off workshops, take on such topics as "hand-tied bouquets, Biedermeier bouquets, minimalist design, and designing with specific flowers."
The Staten Island Botanical Garden is best known for its Chinese Scholar's Garden, designed to echo the 15th-century saying that "the garden is created by the human hand, but should appear as if created by heaven." The garden also offers an assortment of heavenly sounding courses for children and adults. This fall's grown-up offerings include "Orchid Culture," "Decorating for Thanksgiving," and "Herbal Holiday Crafts."
Most New Yorkers could comfortably put "shopping" in the skills section on their résumés. Once you've spent afternoons navigating the farmers' markets, searching the Century 21 shelves, and elbowing other women aside at the Barneys Warehouse Sale, you might consider yourself an expert. But fashionistas with a liking for looks of the past might consider the Fashion Institute of Technology's "Star Quality Vintage Shopping" offering. This two-day course includes both theory and practice, as "part of both sessions is spent out in the field, strengthening your critical eye and discovery skills."
A picture is allegedly worth a thousand words, and if you'd like those words to be much nicer and more complimentary (rather than, say, "Oh my God, I don't really look like that, do I?" and 989 more like it), you might consider the New York Institute of Photography's "Digital Photography Complete Course: Adobe Photoshop for Photographers." Students in this self-paced course will learn to put their best faces forward, receiving instruction in how to take digital photos, retouch them, and then post them on the Web.