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Learn the basics and beyond at the Learning Annex (371-0280, www. learningannex.com). One-time seminar classes meet every week; prices and times vary. The courses range from "Introduction to Windows 98" to Web page design to "How to Buy, Own and Maintain a Computer," with a wide array of Mac and PC classes in between. Check out upcoming classes on the Web site, or stop by 16 East 53rd Street, 4th floor.
Learn to play your computer! The New School's Mannes College of Music (580-0210, ext. 243; www.*mannes.edu) can teach you everything, from how to find the best music resources on the Web, to MIDI, Cakewalk, and Finale, to producing and arranging records. Enrollment allows you access to the Mannes computer lab as well. Continuing education and credit courses begin September 18. The school is located at 150 West 85th Street. Prices vary.Matthew J. Purdy
What do the toothless mole-man off The Simpsons and a newborn's parents have in common? All are potential enrollees for "Making Fresh Baby Food at Home" at the New School (229-5600, www.nsu.newschool. edu, $94). Prizes for whimsy among its astonishing breadth of courses go to: intros to cake decorating ($287) and port ($76).
East meets West in the home of Karen Leerenowned caterer, cookbook author, and teacherwhose 12-hour fusion-cuisine class ($490, 787-2227, email@example.com) will enable you to prepare such delectables as peppercorn Sichuan chicken salad and salmon scallopini with black bean sauce. (Sorry, no shark-fin blinis.)
Once more famous than the Sopranos, the Renaissance Medici clan were rich, powerful, and lived like kings. You, too, can dine like a duke when you learn the "Ancient Traditions" of the Medici at the Italian Culinary Institute (725-8764, ext. 25, www.italianculinary.com). This one-nighter includes a complete meal ($60). J. Yeh
Djoniba Dance & Drum Centre (477-3464; www.djoniba.com) combines African dance and music as a means to bridge the gaps between folks of different ages, races, and communities. Classes range from Senegalese sabar (up off the floor, rhythmic arm movement, and twisting of the hips) to Djimbe-style dance (low to the ground, powerful arm movements, and fast, leg-moving rhythms). Samba, mambo, Congolese, Dunham, and salsa are among the dances taught by Ned Williams, Vado Diomande, and others. All ages and levels are welcome. Single dance classes are $12 for one and a half hours, or $110 for a 10-class card. Camila Gamboa
If the dramatic instruction biz gave medals for distinguished service, Walt Witcover would be a prime candidatehis teaching career has spanned 50 years. Witcover Acting Studio (40 West 22nd Street, 989-7274) specializes in "serious training for serious performers," offering private training and coaching as well as small classes (four students max). Individual coaching costs $60 per session; costs per group classes vary.
The methodology at Roger Hendricks Simon Studio (1501 Broadway, 704-0488) combines American naturalistic techniques with a European focus on language, and also draws on approaches culled from Pakistan, India, Iran, and South Africa. Classes range from "Scene Study" to "Stage Combat" to Shakespeare. And the "Professional Laboratory" class provides an opportunity to develop new productions. Classes cost from $150 to $795 and typically run five or 10 weeks.
The Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting (419 Lafayette Street, 260-0525) encourages its students to become interested and involved in many forms of art. In addition to classes in voice, improv, and audition technique, and a broad-based Evening Introductory Program, the conservatory sponsors lecture series, poetry readings, even jazz performancesall of which students are encouraged to attend. The Evening Introductory Program costs $1975 for 10 weeks (three nights per week), while single-subject classes range from $275 to $475 with varying session lengths. Alexis Soloski
The bastard offspring of a stole and a scarf, "le starf"as the wacky folk at Sew Fast Sew Easy (582-5889, www.sewfastseweasy.com) have christened itis one of those oversized wraps beloved of New York women. Knit one (and, for that matter, purl one) in their two-night class ($90). Who can resist a school whose online magazine is dubbed Hand Jobs?
With the curious fad for bead bracelets showing no signs of slacking, the New School's jewelry-making workshops, "Basic Beading" (12 hours, $45) and "Wires and Beads" (six hours, $107), should prove popular. Crochet and four levels of knitting courses are also available (229-5600, www.nsu.newschool.edu).
Men sporting huge, curly 'dos, tights, and heelsno, it's not Wigstock, but rather 17th-century France. Discover the strangeness of the past in "Fashion History" at Parsons (229-8900, www.parsons.edu), the queen of sewing and apparel instruction. The new semester starts in September (12-week and six-week series available). J. Yeh
Embark on the next step of your Y2K tech proficiency program and learn the art of Web TV. At New York University (998-7080) Judith Lasch, president of Lasch Media Production, familiarizes you with producing, encoding, and marketing. The course runs from September 21 through November 30 on Thursdays, from 6:20 to 8:20 p.m. Cost: $655.
Fantasizing about being an X-rated star? The Learning Annex (371-0280) will help you get paid for your favorite activitysex. Porn queen extraordinaire Candida Royalle takes you under her wing and gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the pornography industry, how to find top agents, get auditions, and moreall in one session on September 13, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Cost: $39 for members, $59 for nonmembers. I'll see you there.
Spend your evenings this fall at the New York Film Academy (674-4300), where a 12-week workshop covers the techniques of writing, directing, editing, and cinematography. A course runs Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., beginning approximately every three months. Your chance has arrived to become the next Kevin Smith. Jason Pierce
Philip Marlowe's finances always seemed pretty shaky, but you might fare better after learning "How to Be a Private Eye" at the Learning Annex (371-0280, www.thelearningannex. com, September 12, $39 for members). Arguably an even more dangerous way to augment your finances is to "Become an Electronic Daytrader" (August 29, $39). Discount for members.
Unlike Sherlock Holmes, today's freelancers have to worry about taxes, health insurance, and retirement income. The New School's "Financial Strategies for the Self-Employed" (229-5600, www.nsu.newschool.edu, $75) may be of help. And today's detectives need wheels, which is where "Wheeling and Dealing: Buying a Car Wisely" ($42) comes in.
Whereas Cadfael, the sleuthing medieval monk, lived in a monastery, the luckier of us will one day dwell in a house of our own. For first-time home buyers, the Open Housing Center's (231-7080) HUD- and FHA-approved workshop explains the intricacies (four weeks, October 11 to November 1, $25, or $30 for two people). J. Yeh
Longing to feel like an urban nomad? Head for www.studyabroad.com/ suny, where the State University of New York promises you the world. With enough destinations to rival a travel agency (over 51 countries), SUNY offers 291 overseas study programs, ranging from two- to three-week intensive courses to an entire semester or academic year abroad.
The School for International Training (800-336-1616) is your ticket to over 40 countries. Become a participant in one of SIT's 56 College Semester Abroad programs. You'll get the opportunity to earn college credit while learning firsthandthrough interdisciplinary study on five continentsabout our diverse world.
Apply for one of Columbia University's programs and let Beijing, Italy, Berlin, or Paris become your personal classroom. Drawing upon the resources of the city, each program will help you gain both the knowledge and the confidence to live and communicate in a foreign-speaking environment. For more info, call 854-2820. Ioana Veleanu language The New School (229-5353) holds classes in 17 languages, from Arabic to Ukrainian. Besides basic, intermediate, advanced, and intensive courses, there are unique subjects like "Italian Short Stories," "The Language of Brazilian Songs," and "Spanish for Social Workers." Prices range from $205 to $710. The Language Center at Pace University/World Trade Institute (888-PACE-WTI, www.pace.edu) may hold your key to Korea, Cuba, or that hottie that hangs out at the bodega, with affordable lunchtime and evening instruction in 10 languages. All courses are $325. Private and semiprivate instruction are also available ($45 per hour and up). NYU's School of Continuing Education (998-7171, www.scps. nyu.edu) covers 25 languages, including unusual offerings like Cantonese, Gaelic, Polish, Persian, and two types of Arabic, and offers programs in translation studies and court interpreting. The average tuition is $485. Registration begins August 7. Bryan Zimmerman
The New School (229-5353) holds classes in 17 languages, from Arabic to Ukrainian. Besides basic, intermediate, advanced, and intensive courses, there are unique subjects like "Italian Short Stories," "The Language of Brazilian Songs," and "Spanish for Social Workers." Prices range from $205 to $710.
The Language Center at Pace University/World Trade Institute (888-PACE-WTI, www.pace.edu) may hold your key to Korea, Cuba, or that hottie that hangs out at the bodega, with affordable lunchtime and evening instruction in 10 languages. All courses are $325. Private and semiprivate instruction are also available ($45 per hour and up).
NYU's School of Continuing Education (998-7171, www.scps. nyu.edu) covers 25 languages, including unusual offerings like Cantonese, Gaelic, Polish, Persian, and two types of Arabic, and offers programs in translation studies and court interpreting. The average tuition is $485. Registration begins August 7. Bryan Zimmerman
Tribal Soundz (673-5992, www. folkartbazaar.com) not only sells exotic music but can teach you how to make it yourself. Upcoming classes include sitar, didgeridoo, dumbeka form of Middle Eastern drumand "Dances of the Voice" with Marie Afonso of Zap Mama. Stop by 340 East 6th Street or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to join the mailing list. All classes are $15.
The New School's Mannes College of Music (580-0210, ext. 243, www. mannes.edu) offers a wide range of continuing-education and credit classes, from classical ensembles and private lessons to courses in history and jazz theory. Classes begin September 18, but space is limited, so sign up early. Prices vary by class.
Ainegua's Wholistic Voice Training (260-9884) is at once highly disciplined and spontaneous, a meeting of body and spirit in the voice. An experienced singer, Ainegua relies on improvisation and body movement to "crack open the instrument" and get in touch with one's feelings. She is a demanding teacher, but then again, some of her students are touring the world. $60 for an initial meeting, $200 for a month of lessons. Her studio is at 310 East 6th Street, No. 19. Matthew J. Purdy
Yearning for adventure? Join Outdoor Bound, Inc., for a day of canoeing on the Wading River in South Jersey on September 17. A $65 fee covers van transport, equipment, and instruction. For reservations, call Seth Steiner at 505-1020.
Tour one of the state's great natural attractionsgeological wonders formed thousands of years ago during the glacial ageat the Natural Stone Bridge and Caves near Lake George. Admission$8.50 for adults and $4.50 for childrenis for an entire season. Call 518-494-2283 or visit www.stonebridgeandcaves.com.
"Wildman" Steve Brill will lecture on Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of the Northeast Sunday, September 24, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., at the New York Botanical Garden. Topics include: how to recognize and harvest common mushrooms, why mushrooms work, and how to avoid poisonous fungi. $42 for members, $46 for nonmembers. To register, call 718-817-8747.Wista Jeanne Johnson
Dust off your camera. Study photography with National Endowment of the Arts grant recipient Louis Lanzano, who instructs you in night photography, filter use, digital imaging, PhotoShop, and more. Courses are at the Learning Annex (371-0280), September 12, 19, and 26 and October 17, 24, and 31, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost: $99 (plus $10 registration fee). A 35mm SLR camera is required.
Experience the wonders of black-and-white photography at Columbia University (854-3771), where you'll learn printing techniques, the language of photo criticism, darkroom operations, and more. Class starts September 5 and runs Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 3:30 p.m. or on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Application required.
Leave your digital camera at home and instead bring . . . cardboard? Pinhole photography, offered at the New School (229-5122), familiarizes you with the possibilities of this forgotten method. Students build their own cameras, as well as shoot and process film. Offered in three sessions beginning on November 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jason Pierce
Body and soul, you're dragging; lately, life seems more "oh, happy dagger" than "oh, happy day." Unless sad-sackdom becomes you, give NIA a whirl. Short for Neuromuscular Integrative Action, NIA fuses yoga, ballet, jazz, the martial arts, and funk for a mind-body-spirit workout that burns between 300 and 600 calories per hour and transforms you physically and spiritually. Jogging, jumping, and leaping are taboo. But grunting or shouting words like Hut, Hai, and Yes aren't, since NIA devotees believe that sound effects empower. In a funk last winter, I signed up for an NIA class and skulked in, expecting leotards and Yanni. Instead, there were bare feet, inspiring dance moves, and the Flashdance theme. What a feeling, indeed! For more information and to locate classes near you, check out www.nia-nia.com or call 800-762-5762.
Epicures go sotto voce when jawing about cooking as religion. It's holy and so edifying, they whisper. If you want to take their words literally and investigate those claims, the Natural Gourmet Cookery School is an excellent place to start. Lectures, classes, and workshops span beginner ("Tablespoon Tastings") to advanced ("Hands-On") levels, range from $40 to $495, and focus on topics that feed both modern bodies and spirits. Offerings include "Cooking for Cancer Recovery," "Stuck in Detox: The Basics," and "For Body and Soul: A Rosh Hashana Feast." For information on fall and winter schedules, call 645-5170 or try www.naturalgourmetschool.com. Nita J. Rao
If New York's insane real estate market has pushed you into some potentially hostile territory, try the fully modern, practical self-defense techniques of Krav Maga Inc. (580-5335, www.kravmagainc.com). The Israeli Defense Forces' "contact combat" system of the same name, modified for civilian use, emphasizes a simple, flexible, "no rules" approach to personal protection for everyone; certified instructors will teach you the basic kicks, punches, elbow blows, and countermeasures against head and body holds that could help you unilaterally negotiate your own shalom agreements. The price of peace is as closely guarded a secret as your average Camp David negotiation, but evening classes are available most days.
On the lighter side of diplomacy, no political or business deal-maker's repertoire is complete without some acumen on the links. For the initiate, the Golf Academy at Chelsea Piers (336-6444) has beginner clinics of four weekly classes, commencing throughout August and September, for $180. Similarly scheduled and priced women's clinics further the pluckily stated mission: to "break the grass ceiling," teaching fundamental golf skills and fairway etiquette. The academy's high-tech indoor facility, part of the open-to-the-public Golf Club at Chelsea Piers, is also the site for private lessons with Class-A PGA instructors ($70 per half-hour, $125 per hour), group lessons, and clinics for all players of all handicapsample opportunity to encounter the video-equipped "swing analysis computers." E. McMurtrie
Capoeira Angola Palmares NY Academy (677-2203, www.capoeira-life.com) was the first studio in New York to emphasize the Angolan dance form, which favors intelligence and strategy over speed and strength, teaching students to resolve a conflict without the use of force. Classes are offered throughout the year in two different dance spaces: the Cardinal Spellman Center (137 East 2nd Street) and the Dance Space Center (451 Broadway) for $80 a month (slightly more at the latter). Still not sure if capoeira's for you? The first class is only $10! For information, call 677-2203. Camila Gamboa
"Please turn off all cell phones and pagers," reads a sign above the entryway to the tranquil Spring Studio at 64 Spring Street (226-7240), which provides open life-drawing sessions to artists of all stripes for $10 a pop ($80 for 10, $350 for 50). Catch a session any day of the week, morning or evening: Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
You don't have to drown in debt or commit to a bachelor's degree to take classes at the prestigious School of Visual Arts (592-2050, www.schoolofvisualarts.edu). Their continuing-ed program offers graphic design, illustration, cartooning, film and video, fine arts, and photography courses, among others. Prices start at $360.
Georgia O'Keeffe, Winslow Homer, Jackson Pollock, and Louise Nevelson all attended the Art Students League of New York (247-4510), the 125-year-old institution with as many curricula as there are instructors. Choose from dozens of ongoing, pay-by-the-month courses in painting, drawing, and sculpture. Tuition ranges from $50 to $155. Bryan Zimmerman
The prestigious, Pasadena-based Arts Center College of Design offers us New Yorkers nine night classes, at venues around the city. Get serious about entertainment, industrial, and good old graphic design; ampersand fanaticsI know you're out thereshould try their hand at the "Typography Workshop." If the name "Massimo Vignelli" means something to you, check out www.artcenter.edu/ atnight. Hans de Krap
Commited to serving "writers of all ages, backgrounds and levels," the Writer's Voice at the West Side YMCA offers workshops in various genres. Classes start September 25 and cost $340. Some workshops are more competitive than others, but all promise a "serious writing critique." Call 875-4124 for more information.
Like Gotham Book Mart and Cedar Tavern, the 92nd Street Y echoes with the footsteps of literary giants. The Y's Unterberg Center for Poetry offers fiction, nonfiction, and poetry workshops starting in late September. Cost: $230 to $260. Submissions are required for most classes. Call 415-5754 or visit www.92ndsty.org for more information. There will be a September 6 open house.
For the virtually inclined or geographically challenged, there are hundreds of online classes available. Among the more promising: Writers.com and the intriguingly named Ringer's Secret School of Writing. Writers.com offers eight-week ($190) and 10-week ($240) workshops. If working on your own is more your style, try the eight assignments offered by Mr. Ringerfor a mere $65. Check these two out at www.writers.com and www.secret-school.com. Kristen Case
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