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Theater & Performing Arts
Exactly how should one address Jo “Boobs” Weldon, headmistress of the New York School of Burlesque? Ms. Boobs? Professor Boobs? Dr. Boobs? Perhaps it might be safer to stick with a respectful “ma’am.” Each month, she and her bumping-and-grinding Lower East Side cohorts offer instruction in bombshell hair, Hula-Hooping, and pasty making. If you just can’t wait to shimmy and shake, consider “The Essential Burlesque Dance Series,” which promises training in “the dazzling tassel-twirl, chair dance, fan dance, and more!”

Chicken keeping is big in Brooklyn at the moment, as are beehives. Can it be much longer before pigs and goats roam the back gardens, and hipsters laze on their front porches, designer hayseeds in their teeth, indulging in a bit of banjo picking? If you want to prepare for that musical moment, enroll at Red Hook’s Jalopy Theatre, which offers eight-week courses in banjo, as well as fiddle, ukulele, mandolin, and regular old guitar.

That Ireland has had to apply to the European Union for emergency loans isn’t much to dance about. But don’t let that stop you! The Irish Arts Center in Hell’s Kitchen offers instruction in beginning step dance, intermediate step dance, set dances, and ceili dancing. (Perhaps they also offer instruction in how to pronounce that last one.) So why not down that glass of Jameson and jig your economic woes away?


For-Profit Blues
'Proprietary' colleges are leaving low-income students without degreesóand a pile of debt.
By Rob Sgobbo

Education Schools Need More On-the-Job Training
Or so teaching-residency advocates say.
By Brenda Iasevoli

Students Breathe Easier as CUNY's Proficiency Exam Bites the Dust
By Michael Rymer

The Rise of Clickers Is Starting to Change How College Professors Run their Classrooms
By Fahmida Y. Rashid

Ever feel like you’ve dropped the thread? Like something’s needling you? Consider a course at The Sewing Studio in the Garment District. Even the most basic class will cover such topics as sewing-machine basics, seam finishes, pattern reading, and fabric cutting. At the end of the course, you’ll emerge with a drawstring bag, a zippered pouch, and a skirt of your own choosing.

Believe it or not, silk charmeuse has not always been with us. Time was when we all eschewed linen and taffeta for the comfort of animal skins. But if you’d like to improve on those caveman basics, consider “Leather Apparel Design” at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Though you won’t have to hunt and kill your next jacket, you will craft original designs in leather and suede.

On a dark, if not necessarily stormy, night, you can enter the portals of Hunter College for your first session of “Advanced Murder You’ll Write,” designed to “develop students’ skill in planting clues and building suspense.” If unexplained deaths aren’t your (body) bag, the spring session at the Writing Center also includes “How to Write the Story of Your Life,” with Erica Jong, and “Truth or Dare: Writing Personal Essays People Will Read,” taught by Times writer Daphne Merkin.

Maya Angelou wrote, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” The NY Writers Coalition believes in letting it out. As well as providing youth workshops, this Fort Greene–based organization devotes itself to free writing workshops for underserved populations, partnering with prisons, hospitals, homeless shelters, senior centers, and veterans groups. If your population is already well-served, they also offer for-pay classes that help support their charitable efforts.

Clay is awfully messy, metal is so stiff, and stone takes forever to chip away at. Wouldn’t sculpting be a lot more fun if not for all those pesky materials? The School of Visual Arts may have a solution, with sculpture courses that don’t get your hands dirty, including “The Fourth Dimension: Video, Space and the Broken Screen” and “Digital Sculpture.”

For Children & Teens
Staten Island enjoys a climate similar to that of the other boroughs, yet there’s a place there where you can drive a dogsled through the tundra, build an igloo, or explore the rain-forest canopy. The Staten Island Children’s Museum at Snug Harbor boasts all those environments, as well as a pirate ship and a fire truck. Most days, it also hosts classes for interested tots, including “Clay Day,” “Paint Day,” “Kidz Cook,” and “Theatre Kids,” which culminates in a special presentation.

One of Ogden Nash’s shortest poems reads: “The Bronx? No thonx.” But that borough is currently undergoing revitalization, some of it courtesy of the Bronx River Art Center in West Farms (near the Bronx Zoo). The center offers free art classes to neighborhood children and teens, as well as others for a small fee. Recent offerings include cartooning, sculpture, digital photography, and digital filmmaking.

Film & Video
“A film is never really good,” opined Orson Welles, “unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.” Frankly, that sounds rather painful. But even those unwilling to undergo such an implantation can learn the basics of filmmaking at the New York Film Academy’s evening workshops. Each 12-week session crams in 100 hours of class time. After preliminary instruction in writing, directing, cinematography, and editing, “students write, produce, direct, and edit two short film exercises.”

Food & Drink
If you’ve already worshipped at the altar of Eataly, Mario Batali’s cathedral to all things Italian and delicious, perhaps it’s time for some more advanced devotion. This winter and spring witnesses the debut of La Scuola di Eataly. In March, chef Lidia Bastianich will offer a series of master classes, revealing the secrets to such recipes as Spaghetti Pesto Anna, Steamed Swordfish Bagnara, and zucchini with anchovies and capers. Wine pairings should make for a lively tutorial.

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