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Education Listings

Art

Perhaps you misunderstood—I didn't make up my book, I just made it myself. Cooper Union's "Artists' Books" (212-353-4195, cooper.edu) instructs in the complementary crafts of collage, rubber-stamping, calligraphy, drawing, and "incorporation of three-dimensional objects." Taught by book designer Esther Smith, the class is suitable for beginners and for more experienced artists. Book it: Kate's Paperie deserves to get served. The course runs for nine Thursdays, beginning June 8.

"Is modernism really dead?" asks the catalog. "Does postmodern architecture really exist?" I have no idea, but assuming Rem Koolhaas's Prada boutique isn't a mirage, hologram, or collective fantasy, just imagine posing these questions to your most inquisitive out-of-town guests. MOMA's Jennifer Gray and Nader Vossoughian, both academics engaged in contemporary architecture, lead "Modern Architecture/Postmodern Architecture: What's the Difference?" (212-708-9400, moma.org)—a comparative, magical mystery tour of significant structures around the city. The class runs for eight Mondays beginning June 5. Carla Blumenkranz


Cooking

The culinary equivalent of surreptitiously checking out the self-help books, the New School's "American Comfort Food" (212-229-5690, generalstudies.newschool.edu), on April 23, will teach you to make perennial favorites like meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, and chocolate cake. The food you make will fill you with a "warm and fuzzy nostalgia," even when you're alone in the apartment eating straight out of the fridge.

Running a pharmacy out of your apartment sounds like a good way to make a lot of money fast— or blow your face off. Attending "The Healing Kitchen" at Natural Gourmet Cookery School (212-645-5170, naturalgourmetschool.com) will have more beneficial effects. Learn about the curative properties of everyday herbs and produce from the local greenmarket, on May 20.

Want to learn about Bill Clinton's preferred late-night snacks? Forget the Starr Report; enroll in Dessert University at the Institute of Culinary Education (212-847-0700, iceculinary.com) with chef Roland Mesnier. In his 25 years as a White House pastry chef, Mesnier prepared sweets for the last five presidents. Ask him some questions, but keep it light—it's a dessert class, not a press briefing, on May 23. Kosiya Shalita


Dance

Your battement may look pretty, but can it break bricks? Come put some snap in your tendus and some chi in your dantian in Thad Wong's Shaolin kung-fu class (917-628-6436). You'll leave sweaty, exhausted, and totally excited to be learning this ancient martial art. Wong teaches three beginners' classes a week and your first set of three is only $20.

Fine-tune your skills and increase your strength in Ezra Caldwell's partnering class at the new Dance New Amsterdam (212-625-8369, dnadance.org). Caldwell's modern-dance perspective allows for specific but nontraditional techniques, finding middle ground between traditional ballet partnering and contact improvisation. Come alone or bring a friend—either way you'll learn neat party tricks or impress others with your newfound strength.

Lotus Music & Dance (212-627-1076, lotus-arts.com) has a diverse schedule of traditional classes, including flamenco, butoh, belly dance, and Korean for both adults and children. Check out the workshops and all-level classes, where the feisty mingle with the shy. Laura Buckholz


Drama

What do Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg have in common besides Oscar hosting and failing to appear in a decent comedy in recent memory? They made a mint with their one-person shows. In "Flying Solo," at NYU (212-998-7200, scps.nyu.edu) on May 25, you'll work on finding your voice as you develop material for your own solo flight.

Usually live improv turns out to be more like Drew Carey than Larry David. The people at Tragic Improv (tragicimprov.com) must feel the same way: "Unlike most improv, we won't focus on witty exchanges of dialogue. Instead, we'll focus on establishing emotional relationships, complex character development . . ." This class is intended for actors as well as improvisers and concludes with a show. Begins May 9.

Recently I met a guy in a bar who was trying to make a living as a Conan O'Brien look-alike. He also hoped to one day appear on Letterman's Stupid Human Tricks. As he demonstrated his act (it was stupid, I'll give him that), I realized how difficult comedy really is and that I shouldn't stay out so late on weeknights. Offering three-week and five-day workshops, the American Comedy Institute (212-279-6980, comedyinstitute.com) could be my chance, on May 1. K.S.


Fashion

With warmer weather right around the corner, those arms of yours will soon be more visible. And what better way to showcase your wrists than by adorning them with your own designs? The 92nd Street Y's "Beaded Bangles" (212-415-5500, 92y.org), on April 30, will teach you how to construct three different types of bracelets from wire and beads.

 

To do before summer: Eat better and get a swimsuit. With Knit New York's "Bikini Brunch" (212-387-0707, knitnewyork.com), on April 22, you can accomplish both in only one Saturday. At their East Village location enjoy fruit, granola, yogurt, and juice while learning how to knit a one-of-a-kind two-piece.

The purse dates back to the Babylonian era, but it continues evolving today at Sew Fast Sew Easy (212-268-4321, sewfastseweasy.com). Their Leather Clutch Bag class offers simple needle know-how with a hip aesthetic. In only two sessions (starting April 20), you'll learn how to work with leather, add snazzy snaps and ribbons, and apply interfacing. Jessie Pascoe


Finance

I've had the same financial strategy for a while. I cross my fingers whenever I visit the ATM, and if it says "insufficient funds" then I know where I stand. This year, maybe it's time to move on. "Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning" at NYU(212-998-7200, scps.nyu.edu), on May 18, can help to "demystify financial jargon" and "set achievable financial goals."

When I went to see Woody Allen's Match Point, the moment that had the audience gasping was the first glimpse of Emily Mortimer and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers's London apartment. If you find yourself in the enviable position to purchase something similar, then the 92nd Street Y's "Buying a Co-op or Condominium" (212-415-5500, 92y.org) will help you make a wiser choice, on May 4. K.S.


International Affairs

Go beyond a typical cruise experience by heading uptown. Columbia's "Caribbean Societies and Cultures" (212-854-9699, ce.columbia.edu), starting July 5, presents an overview of this rich area through analysis of the economic, historical, political, and social forces that mold this contemporary area. Beat that, Royal Caribbean!

Curious about the next superpower? My money's on Canada, but most believe that the metropolises mentioned in "Cities in World Migration: India and China in Global Perspective" (212-229-6812, indiachina.newschool.edu) will take the reins. Make your own informed opinion by attending the New School's India China Institute's inaugural conference on April 28 and 29.

Q: What could really piss off President Bush this July? A: Hit the World Policy Institute's "Mexico's Perilous Presidential Election" (212-229-5488, worldpolicy.org) lecture to find out. The winner of one of the most crucial races in decades will decide if our neighbors to the south join the leftist political trend that's sweeping across Latin America. April 20 at 6 p.m. J.P.


Language

If you want to know what Styx are really saying to Mr. Roboto (and why they feel the need to thank him over and over again), sign up for a Japanese-language class at the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York (212-645-2800, tenri.org). Spring sessions begin April 10.

Tired of being just another monolingual American? Looking for romance . . . languages? If so, register for a beginner's Italian class at the ABC Language Exchange (212-563-7580, abclang.com). Classes begin April 19.

Ever been stuck in a tragically boring lecture, and your only friend is sitting all the way at the other end of the room? At the Sign Language Center (212-570-0075), you can learn how to signal "Let's blow this Popsicle stand!" without making a terrible scene or speaking a single word out loud. A course in American Sign Language begins April 19. Juliet Linderman


Music

At a certain point, it's all about trusting your instincts—playing music from your gut and not from the page. Slide that bandanna over your eyes, raise one knee to your chest and both arms above your head, and kick all those notes, clefs, and key signatures to the curb, Daniel-san style. Grab your instrument and sign up for Saturday workshops at the Center for Improvisational Music (212-631-5882, schoolforimprov.org). Group sessions are casual, but with requisite rigor to avoid the dreaded "fruit preserves" word. Workshops are ongoing.

There's no way to recover all those hours you spent tweaking your company logo in that Trapper Keeper, and there's definitely no way to get back the five bills you dropped printing up all those stickers. Isn't it time you actually signed someone to your record label? Or learned how to draw up a contract, for that matter? Learn the basics of the record biz at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu) with a course called "Developing a Record Label." Talented musical acts not included. Twelve sessions begin May 24. Martin Mulkeen

 


Nature

"This class is perfect if you have never birded before"—does this mean they give you protective helmets? For anyone who's read but hasn't truly experienced Jonathan Franzen's creepy birding essay, the New York City Audubon Society (212-691-7483, nycaudubon.org) offers two classes, and then two trips—one to Central Park to see vireos, warblers, and tanagers; then one to Jamaica Bay to see herons, egrets, and shorebirds. Starts April 24.

For the aged great-aunt in all of us, "Local Flora" insists that "our native wildflowers, trees, and shrubs are a beautiful sign of rebirth in the spring." Smell them, take notes on them, and accidentally trample them in the New York Botanical Garden's combination of field walks and classroom sessions (718-817-8700, nybg.org). Practice using taxonomic keys and herbarium presses while feeling like a pretty flower. Classes meet on six Tuesdays beginning April 18.

Why throw peanuts at elephants when you could have wine and cheese with gorillas? On May 7 (or June 3), the Bronx Zoo (718-220-6854, bronxzoo.com) presents, to join the pantheon of great interspecies romances, "Evening With Pattycake"—a private reception followed by an intimate stroll through the Gorilla Forest. One zoo representative writes: "As you gaze out over the forest canopy, the gorillas will make this an evening you will never forget." C.B.


Photography

Take to the streets and be a 21st-century flaneur with the International Center of Photography's Street Photography class (212-857-0001, icp.org). Find your own urban style with candid shots and orchestrated portraiture, learn how to select the correct equipment, and gain access to sites and people. Classes begin April 18.

Feel like everyone knows how to use a digital camera but you? The 92nd Street Y's "The Digital Camera: Basic Digital Media and Photography" (212-601-1000, 92y.org) will make you feel like you definitely belong in 2006. Learn the basic features, plus how to manage your images by e-mailing, editing, and printing. Classes start June 6.

How are future Nan Goldins and Cindy Shermans being taught today? Find out by attending the Aperture Foundation's "Photography Education Today: An Exploration of How We Are Creating a New Generation of Image-Based Artists" (212-229-5353, aperture.org), at the New School's Tishman Auditorium on May 3. A panel of experts will discuss the nature of creativity and how future artists should be instructed. J.P.


Religion/Spirituality

Put the ritual back in your ritual with instruction in Shabbat dinner—the roasted chicken, hand-holding, candlelit occasions you don't quite remember you never had. The 92nd Street Y's (212-415-5500, 92y.org) one-night workshop on June 7 teaches the traditional blessings and songs and also explores ways that "all kinds of families can create sacred time at home." It's recommended that you bring a tape recorder so that, in an awesome feat of spirituality, you can actually run the weekend backward.

Long after the Gap discontinued its delightfully smelly Om fragrance, New Age meditation remains almost as wholesome a pastime as baseball. Trade in your ashtray for an ashram with Integral Yoga Institute's elementary "How to Meditate" class (212-929-0586, integralyogaofnewyork.org) on April 22 or May 20. It's the hypnotic swing of the elliptical combined with the mandatory good karma of spritzing your machine.

Here it is—the class you maybe, vaguely wish you took in college. Sign up now, because while a diamond is forever, Columbia's introduction to Japanese religious tradition is only for July and August (212-851-4122, ce.columbia.edu). Learn the differences between Shinto, Buddhism, and Confucianism; parse the relations between religion and culture; and buy attractive new notebooks in which to chart the Eightfold Path. C.B.


Sports

Lace up your cross trainers: It's time to tap into all that romanticism of sport that Nike and Gatorade have been hyping. It's time to get powerful. And ferocious. It's time to get powerocious. The 92nd Street Y (212-415-5700, 92y.org) offers Powerocity courses to improve strength, agility, and endurance, with exercises from track work to kickboxing. Before long you'll be secreting food coloring from your pores while your whole life moves in slow motion.

We all need a break from the subway. Zip a wet suit over your business casual and commute the high seas. Take a kayak-paddling-basics course with the Manhattan Kayak Company (212-924-1788, manhattankayak.com). Best of all, you'll show up to work with the alluring scent of the East River on your collar. Classes are ongoing.

City living is guaranteed to engender its fair share of conflict and pent-up aggression. Settle it in the ring! Take a boxing-basics course at Chelsea Piers (212-336-6000, chelseapiers.com). You'll learn the basics of formal fisticuffs as well as a few secrets of the trade (e.g., the small speed-bag training thing serves no purpose outside of looking cool). Classes are ongoing. M.M.

 


Writing

It's easy to forget how different writing and communication in the workplace are from casual correspondence like text messaging. Ending an e-mail with "C U L8R" only confirms your boss's suspicions of your idiocy. In Business and Media Writing, at Columbia (212-851-4122, ce.columbia.org) on May 25, you'll begin by "emphasizing how to define clear message points." Eventually, even your worst weekly report will start looking like gold.

Soap operas may not earn much in the way of critical acclaim, but how many other programs are there that have stayed on the air as long as All My Children or General Hospital? Besides, isn't Mischa Barton just Susan Lucci minus a few decades? Sign up for the 92nd Street Y's "Soapscripts" (212-415-5500, 92y.org) and learn to create your own world of conniving, bed-hopping backstabbers. Class is on April 23.

Whether dark and funny, like A Series of Unfortunate Events, or compelling and sophisticated, like the His Dark Materials trilogy, I'd choose most children's literature over a book by a blogger-turned-novelist any day. The May 24 "Writing for Children" workshop at NYU (212-998-7200, scps.nyu.edu) will guide you through "a survey of picture books, easy-to-read books, and middle-school-reading-level novels." K.S.


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