If a regimented classroom isn’t always to your taste in kitchen matters, go straight to the down-home source with To Grandmother’s House We Go Cooking Tours (www.GranCooksTours.com; 212-229-7756 or 718-768-6197). The name says it all: The amiable and culinarily reputable Susan Baldassano will usher you into the NYC-area homes of, yes, real grandmothers who’ll demonstrate tried-and-true recipes as only Mom’s (or Dad’s) mom, the real master chef, can. The April 28 tour, a four-hour, $60 session for six people in Park Slope, features Italian cooking with Nettie Di Cupillo (“stuffed squid, red sauce and some ‘nice’ broccoli rabe”).
At the other end of the spectrum, The French Culinary Institute in Soho (www.frenchculinary.com) provides professional training in haute cuisine. Their ultrarigorous, six-to-nine-month (day or evening), $24,750-$25,500 “Classic Culinary Arts” program instructs its charges in “the 250 competencies which make up the backbone of French technique” (just cooking—petite minx—can’t I take you anywhere?). For the rest of us, a 22-Saturday, $4600 overview of classical French cooking, one of several shorter courses held regularly, begins May 19.
Since 1977, the true dawning of the Soy Era in bicoastal America, the Natural Gourmet Cookery School (www.naturalgourmetschool.com) has been a resource for public classes in vegetarian food. This spring’s offerings are comprehensive indeed, from the introductory “Basics I: How to Begin” to “Summer Sizzle: Good Grilling” to “Vegan Cake Baking” to “Homeopathic Medicine Chest,” among many other lectures, workshops, and courses available; most are one-day or evening and in the $75-$100 range. Topicality Dept.: Train one eye on their class schedule and the other on mad cow disease’s trajectory toward our fair shores. —E. McMurtrie
• • dance
Take classical Turkish and Arabic dance classes at the eccentric Serena Studios (212-247-1051; www.serenastudios.com), which is full of Eastern promise. Learn to move with grace and sensuality. Women only! Classes run all year round, seven days a week, at different levels. Fees: $9 for one hour, $12 for one and a half hours; $42.50 for a five-class card, or $80 for a 10-class card. Private and semiprivate classes are also available.
Experience the passion and power of flamenco dance, accompanied by live guitarists, at Ballet Hispanico School of Dance, (212-362-6710; firstname.lastname@example.org). To complement your flamenco, take beginner’s ballet or salsa/mambo. Classes for adults run throughout the year, Monday through Saturday, at different levels. Fees: $12 for a single class or $55 for a five-class card. —Josephine Leask
• • drama
Your runway and photo-shoot gigs can’t last forever, plus there’re occupational hazards (blaring house music, unscrupulous playboys, cramped dorms). So leverage yourself into a stable, sane acting career with the School for Film and Television (filmandtelevision.com; 212/888-645-0300). Their “Acting for Models” class provides “emergency” training that’s “useful to these specialized students”; a two-year full-time program and part-time certificate programs can get you some on-camera chops and also inform you about the business side of the big and little screens—auditions, agents, acting for commercials, and other essentials.
Any actor can inadvertently get addicted to “day” jobs—they enable other addictions, like food and shelter. For those who can’t commit to a fixed-schedule, full-time acting program, T. Schreiber Studios (t-s-s.org; 212-741-0209) offers some “on-going” classes that can be enrolled in any time of year, $180-220 per month (four classes). “On-Going Scene Study/Exercise” and “Playwriting” are just some of the flex-time offerings. TSS is endorsed by the mayor’s office, true, but also by genuine struggling actors—so it’s OK to mention it in this space. —E. McMurtrie
• • fashion
A fashion student at FIT, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells me the school adequately teaches its students how the biz should work, though the industry itself is composed of people best described as “fakeass.” We knew that, though, didn’t we? Call 212-217-7991, e-mail FITinfo@fitnyc.suny.edu, or consult www.FITnyc.suny.edu to begin your odyssey.
But enough politics. Can we please just study some fashion? Fear not: Istituto Marangoni, a prestigious, 60-year-old school in Milan, wants to teach its students that “fashion is not invented but created.” The Istituto offers three- and four-year “basic” degrees, a year-long program for international students, master’s degrees, and ample networking opportunities. For more info, contact the Marangoni Information Center, 27 Union Square West, Suite 302, 212-675-5599, www.istitutomarangoni.com. —Pablo Morales
• • film
The summer adult workshops at the New York Film Academy (www.nyfa.com) offer a good introduction to the rudiments of film production. They take you behind the scenes of moviemaking, highlighting the techniques and technologies needed for the creation and production of movies, and grant you complete creative control. All students, unleashed on New York streets, begin making their own films in the first week of all workshops.
The Cyber Film School (www.cyberfilmschool.com) brings to your doorstep your very own movie school, open 24 hours a day. Through video interviews, demonstrations, images, tests, and assignments the school guides novices and professionals alike into the world of 21st-century motion picture production. It also features video demonstrations and great tips from the likes of Pulp Fiction producer Lawrence Bender.
Writingclasses.com (www.writingclasses.com), the online version of the Gotham Writers’ Workshop, reduces the complicated world of screenwriting into a fun-to-follow, easy-to-understand format. Basic and advanced classes present all the fundamental concepts of the craft of screenwriting, while master classes focus primarily on the presentation and critique of writers’ work. And if you take any 10-week screenwriting class and “Film Analysis from the Screenwriter’s Point of View” in the same term, you’ll receive $200 off the full tuition rate. —Ioana Veleanu
• • finance
With the prudence of Wall Street’s Young Turks being queried these days in the same paper of record that used to run lifestyle-appreciation pieces about NASDAQ’s “new rich,” the not-for-profit New York Society of Security Analysts (www.nyssa.org; 212-912-9249) wins points for at least mentioning “the pursuit of high standards of ethics and professional conduct” on its Web site. NYSSA offers year-round prep courses for the Chartered Financial Analysts exam (including a nine-day intensive review beginning May 14) and various securities-industry courses in the fall for established analysts and intrepid folks switching into the field.
While your resolution to get the better of Uncle Sam next year is still fresh, why not hie yourself over to that old Queens standby, LaGuardia Community College/ CUNY (www.lagcc.cuny.edu/ace), for a continuing-ed class in how to “Become an Income Tax Preparer, Part I”? At $162 for nine Tuesday-evening classes beginning April 24, this could pay dividends when the taxman cometh around again in 2002. LaGuardia offers numerous other real-world adult-ed courses throughout this spring and summer, all good for liberal-arts refugees who’ve discovered that, as Mr. Dylan once said, “lots of people go to college.” —E. McMurtrie
• • international study
I guess Cubamania was inevitable once Fidelito opened the floodgates and Buena Vista became a ubiquitous dinner-party soundtrack. To join the stampede, consult the Center for Cuban Studies (212-242-0559; www.cubaupdate.org). CCS is licensed to coordinate fact-finding trips to Havana and beyond. It offers both its own preplanned trips, such as “Universal Health Care System” (May 18-26) and “Politics and Economics” (June 8-16), as well as customized trips for individuals and groups. Restrictions apply, courtesy of the Treasury Department.
The University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Studies in International Development (612-626-9000; UMabroad@umn.edu; www.UMabroad.umn.edu) places students with NGOs in Ecuador, India, Kenya, and Senegal. Through field research and internships focusing on development and social change, the program aims to prepare “culturally sensitive individuals who are committed to justice and sustainable development” for work in public health, education and literacy, environmental protection, social service, women in development, agriculture, and small business. The program is open to all undergrads or to anyone with a B.A. —Pablo Morales
• • language
After 500 years, Don Quixote remains the funniest book ever; Instituto Cervantes (www.cervantes.org; 212-661-6011), founded by Spain’s government and named after the epic’s author, can acquaint you with the original. The institute offers semester-long regular- and intensive-level Spanish instruction, as well as classes on cultural subjects such as “The Wines of Spain” and Latin American cinema. Registration for the June 20-August 31 semester begins May 29; language courses run from $360-$400.
Your kids are special—stronger, faster, smarter than other people’s kids. Natch: They are yours. While genetic enhancements are still unavailable (sorry), you can fast-track ’em early at The Little Language League (www.littleivyleague.com), where children ages six months to six years learn Spanish and French “by having fun.” The school’s accessible by SUV, but scholars under three must be accompanied by a caregiver. I’ll be working for your wunderkind someday—probably as your caregiver.
English as a Second Language classes are ubiquitous in NYC, but the not-for-profit 92nd Street Y (www.92ndsty.org; 212-415-5500) will offer some of the coming summer’s most reasonably priced programs. Eight-week courses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, covering grammar, conversation, and TOEFL prep, will be offered from June 4; daytime sections ($335) meet three times a week, and evening sections ($165) run Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. Placement interviews will be conducted on May 30. —E. McMurtrie
• • music
Let’s face it, without rhythm the world is your stumbling ground. For beat-challenged beatniks, The Collective (www.thecoll.com; 212-741-0091) offers several enterprising bass and drum “rhythm workshops”—from beginner to intermediate—covering a variety of styles, from world music to modern jazz to hand drumming for conga-inspired timbres. Among other resources, the Collective can also provide studio space, professional advice, and custom-designed full-time programs for the aspiring drum or bass pundit. It’s a great forum to meet other musicians and creatively garnish your individual style in a relaxed, jam-oriented environment.
The Mannes School of Music is holding the New York Guitar Seminar (212-712-1973; email@example.com) from June 13 to 17. With five full days of intensive workshops and lectures, the seminar seeks to teach all angles of classical guitar practice, from fingerboard harmony to ear training to classical arrangement and composition. Your urge to strum will not be squelched by sheer ignorance—though it will put you back the $560 tuition and $25 registration fee. —Amber Cortes
• • nature
Commemorate Earth Day 2001; do something nice for a city park. Bring lunch, water, and work gloves to Pelham Bay Park (at the Bartow Pell Mansion) in the Bronx on Saturday, April 21, at 9:30 a.m. Join Appalachian Mountain Club members in doing spring trail maintenance. No experience is needed, and tools are provided. Call Ken West (evenings) at 212-750-8870.
Bored with working out in crowded gyms? Flex your quads and glutes on a half-day hike along the rocky terrain of the Palisades National Natural Landmark cliff in Alpine, New Jersey, on Saturday, May 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., sponsored by the Museum of Natural History (212-769-5200). Trip fee: $15.
Visit ClimbNYC.com (212-974-2250; ClimbNYC.com) to learn all about “bouldering” on natural rocks in the city such as Rat Rock, Harlem River Cliffs, and the South Cloister Boulders, which definitely require some training and safety education. City Climbers Club offers classes in knots and equipment, techniques, and route setting. —Wista Jeanne Johnson
• • photography
Capture nature’s diversity in photos worth framing: Schoolofphotography.com (www.schoolofphotography.com) offers 11 lessons in landscape photography with an online tutor for $29.95. Or get no-cost instruction at Fodors.com (www.fodors.com) in “How to Take Travel Pictures Like a Pro,” which includes “Classic Vacation Shots” and “The Natural World.”
This one-day Saturday workshop at The New School (212-229-5600) will teach you how to colorize b&w photographs, using oil, acrylic, pencils, and watercolor—and your imagination. Cost for the hand-coloring workshop (May 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.) is $135. —Wista Jeanne Johnson
• • religion & spirituality
If you are seeking lessons in Jewish mysticism, you need not be a Talmudic sage to qualify: This introductory course on the Kabbalah will teach laymen the intricate workings of the Sefirot, or the Tree of Life, and the Zohar, or Book of Splendor. For $240, you can access this ancient wisdom at the Kabbalah Centre (www.kabbalah.com). “Kabbalah 101,” a 10-week course taught by rabbis, is a gateway for more advanced classes at the Centre.
The second most translated book in the world, after the Bible, is the Tao Te Ching. The Tao philosophy is steeped in 3000 years of Chinese cultural and spiritual history. In 5000 characters, Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching scripture is “concise, but says a lot,” according to James Tu, who teaches a foundation class on the Tao on the second and fourth Sunday of every month at Helianthus at 48 MacDougal Street (212-598-0381). Mr. Tu lays down the literal and symbolic translation by “walking through” the three basic Tao texts. The first class is always free; later classes are $10 each. —Amber Cortes
Forget the shrink, the gym, the pills, and the subliminal tapes: Heal your home, for avatar’s sake. The New York School of Feng Shui (518-448-8600; www.fengshuiseminars.com) has what you need: a summer retreat July 20-29, with classes covering such topics as Feng Shui and ecology, bau-biologie, face reading, and Taoist alchemy. More comprehensive study will be available at the school’s International Feng Shui Conference this July—in Zurich. —Pablo Morales
• • sports
Is judo a sport, an art, a discipline, a social activity, or a form of combat? Join the Oishi Judo Club (212-966-6850; www.oishi-judo.com) and find out for yourself. The Manhattan club, created by the 1969 Japanese national champion, encourages all levels of participation, from recreational to competitive. You can join the club any time during the year.
You wonder which sport will help you get rid of the negative energy and frustrations accumulated over winter. Chelsea Piers (www.chelseapiers.com) may be the solution. There is a great chance that its 10,000 square feet of climbing surfaces, its six-lane, 25-yard swimming pool, its indoor track (longest in the world), and its two fitness studios will solve your dilemma.
Pool tables can be found in many corner bars around the city. But if you don’t feel like tracking them down, you can practice via computer. Just like in real life, Virtual Pool (www.interplay.com/games/vrpool.html) allows players to actually “walk” around the table to check out their next shot, take a closer look, back away, look left or right, and then line up the shot. World champion “Machine Gun” Lou Butera is also virtually there to give you tips and improve your game. —Ioana Veleanu
Get your motor running. Head out on the highway. Looking for adventure—but whoa, wait, hey: Hold up a sec, cowboy. Wouldn’t it be wiser to attend Motorcycle Safety School (718-599-1079) first, before embarking ‘pon “wheel” life? In one hands-on, $375 weekend, any tire tyro can be taught and tested for the DMV road test; bikes and helmets are provided. So head to the Yonkers Raceway (fact: MSS is the licensing site closest to the city) for your lesson. Then start crankin’ up the hog, like the true nature’s child that you know yourself to be. —Hans de Krap
• • visual arts
The School of Visual Arts is kicking off a new “grassroots movement” called “Make Something”: Armies of SVA students will be hitting the streets in three waves of “interactive art projects,” sketching random people, guerrilla sculpting in the park, and painting a mural. Contact SVA enlistment at 212-592-2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org. —Pablo Morales
Great art doesn’t just happen. So make it happen by enrolling in the School of Fine Arts‘ summer classes (212-996-1908). Discover the studio experience, in which students work mostly from live models but also from still lifes. Additional lectures, seminars, critiques, workshops, and visits to museums and artists’ studios are there to help you find inspiration. The school, located in the heart of New York’s Museum Mile, offers two four-week summer terms. Registration begins on May 21.
Michelangelo taught there four centuries ago. You guessed well: the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. The School of Visual Arts (www.schoolofvisualarts.edu) invites you to join its Summer Art Abroad program and spend three weeks as a student of the venerable institution. And if you’re not a Renaissance man or woman, the school’s archaeology, painting, and photography programs offer you Greece and Spain.
If you find it hard to explain why art is beautiful, but crave to express your inner visions and exchange your artistic ideas, the Art Students League of New York is the right place for you. The school, run by member artists since 1875, offers pay-by-the-month courses in painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Call 212-247-4510 for a copy of the Art Students League catalog or more info. —Ioana Veleanu
• • writing
The Wesleyan Writers Conference (June 17-22) is a hot opportunity to hone your writing and learn from the professionals. Daily seminars include lectures, discussions, and exercises in writing novels, short stories, poetry, memoirs, and literary nonfiction. Private manuscript consultations are also offered. Tuition is $845 for boarding students; scholarships and fellowships are available (deadline for apps: April 12). See www.wesleyan.edu/writing for further information or contact the director, Anne Greene (860-685-3604; email@example.com), for application materials.
It may not have the New School’s slick subway ads or Gotham’s yellow dispensers, but the Asian American Writers Workshop (212-494-0061) has been offering affordable, year-round writing classes and readings for 10 years. Programs have included a six-week fiction workshop, “Women and Writing,” with Ninotchka Rosca (March 26-April 30), and “The Poet’s Voice” with Prageeta Sharma (April 2-May 21). See www.aaww.org for more spring offerings and events or contact Anantha Sudhakar, program director (firstname.lastname@example.org). —Pablo Morales