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• • • cooking

Holistic health counselor Alok Health (388-1516; alokhealth.com) seeks to spread light throughout the city with his cooking parties. Not your normal cooking class, Alok brings together creative-minded adults and body healing for a night of nutritional socializing. They cook, they massage, they network—and often are privy to live music performances. And they use all organic ingredients. Each class is $30. Dates: September 21, 24, and 25. Namaste!

If Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation didn’t push you toward the Slow Foods movement, perhaps it’s time you took advantage of your local farmers’ market. “Cooking in the Moment: Greenmarket Cuisine,” at Peter Kump’s Cooking School (847-0700; pkcookschool.com), meets in front of the Coffee Shop at 16th Street and Broadway on August 10 and 11, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. One session costs $85. After the walking tour of the market, you’ll head to the kitchen and prepare your feast.

The French Culinary Institute (frenchculinary.com) offers instruction in la technique. You’ll master French cuisine, from stocks to sauces. Bonne chance! Saturday classes begin August 25, meeting from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m and will set you back $4600. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • dance

Searching for a rigorous dance class spiced with a bit of hip-hop flavor? Look no farther: Ron Brown’s summer intensive at Peridance (505-0886) blends African rhythms with a hint of urban funk. Classes begin August 20. Cost: $15 for a single class; $130 for both weeks.

Mark Morris (718-624-8400) is opening a Dance School in September! Visit the new facility at 3 Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn. Classes ($11) range from ballet to modern and African. Among those teaching are Marjorie Mussman (ballet) and Tina Fehlandt (modern).

If you’re interested in body mechanics and improvisation, take a motion technique workshop at Movement Research (598-0551; movementreseach.org), from August 20-31. Each class is $12. —Naomi Aguiar


• • • drama

Polish your comedy-survival skills with the best. Graduates of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre‘s courses (366-9176; ucbtheatre.com) have gone on to perform in such cinematic masterpieces as Road Trip and Wet Hot American Summer, as well as the television hits The Daily Show and The Awful Truth. Classes meet for three hours a week; the eight-week session begins in October. Cost: $300.

The Acting Studio (actingstudio.com) provides the perfect workshop if you’re still trying to find a job. The technique class uses the theories of Sanford Meisner to strengthen your skills. Technique classes begin September 12 and run for nine months, Tuesdays and Fridays, 7-10 p.m. Cost: $275 a month.

If you’ve always wanted to act, but have been afraid to dip your toes into the drama pool, be assured: The New Acting Company (254-3074) is ready to introduce you to theatrical exercises and methods. “Adult Acting” meets Mondays from 7-9 p.m. beginning October 15, and runs througth January. Cost: $300. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • fashion

In Spanish, when one admires another colleague to the extreme, one says, “Me le quito el sombrero” (“I take my hat off”). Wouldn’t it be great if the hat taken off was your own creation? The certificate program offered by the Fashion Institute of Technology (217-7999; fitnyc.suny.edu) lets you specialize in millinery techniques. If hats are not your cup of tea, maybe you should think about the two-year course in ladies’ tailoring. Why not? You will learn basic hand-sewing skills perfect for all kinds of cuts and models. Your friends, family, and neighbors will look smashing! Promise. Classes begin August 28. —Camila Gamboa

Skip the Soho boutiques. When it comes to original jewelry, you’ve got to do it yourself. Try “Classical Goldsmithing” at the 92nd St. Y (415-5500; 92ndsty.org) to learn about soldering, fusing, decorative wires, and bezel-setting stones. Class begins October 15 (1-3:30 p.m.) and runs for 12 weeks. Cost: $345.

Whether using silk from China, cotton from India, or linen from Egypt, the art of batik has been practiced for centuries. You can do it at the New School University (229-5600; nsu.newschool.edu). Wax and dye your way to beautiful fabric for $200, beginning September 21. Class meets Fridays, 3-6 p.m. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • film

Despite the nostalgia for film, more and more directors are switching to digital video for its low cost and accessibility. Cliff Roth at Millennium Film Workshop Inc. (673-0090) will teach you everything you need to know, from what kind of camera to buy to editing, Saturday from noon to 6:30. Cost: $100.

The New York Film Academy (674-4300; nyfa.com) doesn’t take the subject lightly. Collaborate on your dream film with your class in a total-immersion filmmaking workshop. You too can be the next big thing, provided you’ve got the money to pay the bills. Twelve-week evening filmmaking classes begin September 10, with a tuition of $4000, editing supplies and film equipment costs of $1100, and another $1000 in film and production expenses.

The Learning Annex (371-0280; learningannex.com) packs all you ever wanted to learn about “Directing for Film & TV” into one night—from getting the “look” you want, to union vs. nonunion directing. Emmy Award winner Christopher Lukas shares the tricks of the trade on Thursday, September 6, for $39. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • finance

A few tasks remain before my work here is done: (1) Rebuke Ahab and Jezebel; (2) Vanquish 450 prophets of Baal; (3) Reinstall storm windows—I promised; and (4) Register for affordable retirement-planning workshops at Hunter College, part of the City University of New York (650-3850; hunter.cuny.edu). Hunter’s many finance, investment, and banking continuing-ed classes include “Financial Strategies for Successful Retirement” and “Tax Consideration for Seniors/Retirees.” Swing low, sweet pension-plan early-withdrawal fees.

In between rerouting and renaming all the trains in my area (“W” for “What?!”), the MTA joins forces with La Guardia Community College’s Urban Center for Economic Development (718-482-5315; lagcc.cuny.edu) to offer the PREP business training program for small and women- and minority-owned enterprises. The next four-Sunday, 9-to-5 program begins October 7 and stresses financial planning and bookkeeping for your business, the skinny on MTA and government contracts, and marketing techniques. There’s some obvious public-sector/private-sector synergy here, so “learn to communicate with bureaucracy” is on the checklist too. Cost: $110.

Instead of putting me in a cool category such as Experimenter, Guru, or Artist, an online personality test has informed me that I’m an Accountant. This fall I can start accepting my fate and tabulating sizable tuition expenses at the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies (998-7200; scps.nyu.edu), where I can attend evening classes in “Fundamentals of Accounting” ($625; various weekly or twice-weekly sections starting September 20-24) after my shifts at the tat parlor are over. —E. McMurtrie


• • • international studies

Internationalize your academic experience with the School for International Training‘s Study Abroad program (800-336-1616). For more than 65 years its 57 interdisciplinary exchange classes have brought high school students to over 40 countries. Along with the worldwide, semester-long programs, the school offers community service in 16 nations.

Enroll at the State University of New York (studyabroad.com/suny) and the world is at your feet. SUNY currently offers 291 overseas study programs in over 51 different countries. Courses are available in over 100 subjects, ranging alphabetically from aboriginal studies and aerospace engineering to Western philosophy and women’s studies.

Think study abroad. Think Council on International Educational Exchange. The Council administers a wide range of affordable study throughout the world. Council exchanges offer semester- and year-long exchange programs for high school students in Australia and New Zealand, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Find out more at 1-888-COUNCIL. —Ioana Veleanu


• • • language

Whether you’re a politico who’s recently glanced at the NYC census results or a genuine person expanding your definition of “lingua franca,” El Taller Latino Americano, the Latin American Workshop (665-9460; www.tallerlatino.org), gets you started on the Spanish language in time for autumn (not to mention campaign season . . . ). The August 6-17 “Crash Course” for adults employs the Taller’s unique teaching method, which combines formal grammar instruction and conversational sessions in a Latin American context. One-month, two-nights-per-week classes begin August 13; six-week Saturday courses begin September 22.

A polis that nurtures its people and proactively looks to their future will be cherished in return; I like to think that’s the principle behind the free, full-time classes in English as a second language that begin in September courtesy of the New York City Board of Education. Call the central office of the BOE’s Alternative, Adult & Continuing Education Schools and Programs (718-752-7300) for information on enrolling in classes at a learning center in your area.

Here’s an expression I was recently taught: “Quando piove con il sole, anche i vecchie fan l’amore.” Now, folks, I’ve seen the first thing happen, but not combined with the second. (Hint: “When it rains in the sunshine, even the old people . . .”) Find out what the hell I’m talking about through a “Practical Italian” class at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (bmcc.cuny.edu; 346-8350). The catalog promises that the $120, eight-Saturday course employs “situations that simulate life experiences” and recommends it for opera buffs. —E. McMurtrie


• • • music

What better instrument to play than your own body? Taketina, taught by Robin Burdulis at Tribal Soundz (tribalsoundz.com) allows you to access complex, cross-cultural rhythms, involving multiple layers of polyrhythms through stepping, clapping, call and response, and the unbeatable voice. Each class is $15, meets Mondays at 6:30 p.m., and claims to improve not only your rhythm, but also your emotional well-being.

The Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (brooklynconservatory.com; 718-622-3300) is located in a five-story Victorian Gothic mansion in the center of historic Park Slope. In addition to orchestral and gospel choir music, you’ll be able to explore the rhythms of Latin America in the Afro-Cuban jazz workshop. With classes either on Thursdays (8-10), you’ll soon be banging the drum well enough to hop on the all-star bandwagon. Classes start September 5. Cost: $80 if you’re currently a student; $195 otherwise.

So you want to be an opera singer. Who doesn’t? The Mannes College of Music (mannes.edu) has a variety of courses designed to strengthen your vocal cords, such as “Opera Production Class,” “Interpretation of Richard Wagner,” and “The Art of the Cabaret Singing.” Classes begin September 19. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • nature

Big Apple have you feeling rotten? Escape to the Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge (631-286-0485). The refuge is located 25 miles east of New York City on the north shore of Long Island and offers opportunities for bird-watching, viewing wildlife, fishing, hiking, and environmental interpretation.

“Introduction to Tree Climbing” and “The History of Botanical Art” are only two of the 700 courses offered by the New York Botanical Garden‘s program (718-817-8747). Students can take individual courses or pursue a certificate program in floral design, horticultural therapy, or landscape design.

Let the autumn madness get a grip on you. Go vertical with the City Climbers Club (974-2250) and learn the ropes. With its 11 belay stations, 27 imaginative, challenging routes, plus one of the only “caves” in New York City, the club offers a great climbing experience. —Ioana Veleanu

Into bamboo? Who isn’t! I’ll see you at the Horticultural Society of New York‘s Bamboo Fest, September 28 and 29, where I’ll be learning all I can about this elegant bit of vegetation. Call 757-0915 for more details and other educational programs. “Shoot” alors! —Hans de Krap


• • • photography

If you’re attempting to capture the great outdoors, the New York City Audubon Society (718-691-7483; nycas.org) is right up your alley. Starting September 10, spend your Mondays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. with their Nature Photography Course. Cost: $220.

Situated at the historic art mecca along the Hudson River Valley, the Center for Photography at Woodstock (845-679-9957) offers weekend retreats to communicate ideas and processes of modern photography. September classes offer “The Sensual Image,” “Personal Photojournalism,” and “The Portrait and the Nude.”

The secret to great photography is capturing the light. The New School University (nsu.newschool.edu) presents the city as a natural landscape for this phenomenon in “Shadows, Textures, Reflections: Seeing the Light in New York City.” The nine-session course begins September 22 and costs $410. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • religion and spirituality

Out of body. Will be back in 15 minutes! Well, this is just a spiritual joke—but if you really feel out of your body, Sal Anthony’s Movement Salon (420-7242) may give you a chance to reintegrate it. Hatha Vinyasa Yoga, the thousand-year-old physical and spiritual discipline, will circulate your body energy and improve your strength and focus.

If you get “an irrepressible urge to rise out of the darkness,” join the C.G. Jung Foundation (697-6430) of New York. The Jungian Professional Seminars will give you insights into Jung’s analytical psychology. The topics examined include issues in dream interpretation and “Transference-Countertransference.”

Join Anderson’s Martial Arts (714-0632) and appreciate the finer points of Chuck Norris’s acting. But beware: Even though many physical limitations are actually conditioned only in our minds, you won’t become a warrior overnight. Repetition and hard work are required to master the fundamentals of movement, timing, and breathing. —Ioana Veleanu

From Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to Winnie the Pooh, it’s hard to avoid Zen even in pop culture. Go to the root of Zen Buddhism with the New School University‘s (nsu.newschool.edu) “Zen: Theory and Practice,” which meets Thursdays from 7:45-9:30 p.m. for 13 sessions beginning September 20. Cost: $410 (includes field trips and classroom exercises). —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • sports

It’s summer, it’s a spectacular river view, it’s affordable! It’s the outdoor driving range at the Golf Club at Chelsea Piers (336-6400) at Pier 59. What? You can actually golf in this city without having a 100K salary? A 30-minute lesson is $55 with a pro-in-training, $70 with a pro; for the small sum of $15, you can hit 60 to 88 balls. New Jersey, watch out!

Fencing, fencing, fencing—great workout, mental health, speed, growth, fun! The Fencer’s Club (917-697-6673; fencersclub.com) at 119 West 25th Street offers courses in foil, epée, and saber at all levels and for all ages. They provide the highest rank of facility and instruction for the sport, and want you to become part of their team! Open weekdays, 5-9 p.m.; Saturdays, noon-8 p.m.

Are you singing, “I’d like to be, under the sea, in an octopus’s garden in the shade. . . . “? Then check out Pan Aqua Diving (736-3483), a full-service facility that will teach you how to dive toward your scuba certification. You can also join them for exotic trips to Tortola, Mexico, Costa Rica, and other scuba-friendly settings. —Camila Gamboa


• • • visual arts

For the latest in printmaking techniques, the Manhattan Graphics Center (219-8783) is a must. Try “Silicone Intaglio” (September 29 and 30, $220), a nontoxic alternative to photo etching, or “Japanese Woodblock” (Thursdays, 6:30-9:30 p.m., October 4-December 6), which continues the tradition of design and color dating back to the Ukiyo-e masters.

New York’s rich history of glass from Tiffany to Phillip continues to manifest itself through Brooklyn’s own UrbanGlass (urbanglass.com), offering instruction in glassblowing, hot sculpting, neon, lamp working, stained glass, and bead making, with 12-session classes, weekend workshops, and private instruction. The mosaic class revives Byzantine and Renaissance techniques in theoretical and practical lessons; it begins September 20, and meets Thursdays, 6-9 p.m. Cost: $600

The Center for Book Arts (481-0295; centerforbookarts.org) offers many classes to feed your binding creativity. Topics range from miniature books to big books, Chinese bookbinding to “The Voluminous Page.” If you’re just starting out, try “Cut, Cover, and Stitch” and make four books in one weekend. The fine print: September 15-16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Cost: $215 (Members: $190).

The Art Students League of New York (247-4510) seeks to give teachers their creative independence, which in many cases leads to students doing their life drawings off of Mr. Bones or on the floor with glitter and glue. Monthly tuition: $52-$160, depending on the number of classes per week. The fall session starts September 4. Call for a complete catalog covering printmaking, drawing, sculpture, and painting. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson


• • • writing

Gotham Writers’ Workshop, New York’s “no-nonsense” writing school, conducts classes at three different levels, in areas ranging from fiction and poetry to stand-up comedy. Ten-week workshops ($415) begin on September 24. Call WRITERS, visit writingclasses.com, or pick up a catalog from the ubiquitous yellow box.

“The Elizabeth Ayres Center for Creative Writing meets the needs of fledgling, blocked, and other writers seeking ideas, inspiration and direction.” Sound good? A six-week workshop ($295) based on Ayres’s book, Writing the Wave, begins mid September. Also: ongoing salons, private consultations, and retreats to Long Island, and New Mexico (1-800-510-1049, creativewritingcenter.com).

NYU‘s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (998-7080; scps.nyu.edu) offers non-degree creative writing classes as well as courses geared to those who’d like to advance their careers by improving their written communication skills. Beginning in mid September, courses last 12 weeks and cost $460 or $515. —Colin Smith

But you see the thing is, the thing is, I want to be a writer, I have so much to express, novelistically and whatnot, do you not see it? What’s that? I need to, wha, whaaaat, hone my skills, ahhh . . . fuggedaboudit! Undisciplined—me? I’m . . . OK. Fine. I think you’re, you, you have a point. I’ll do it. And maybe I’ll do it at the New School (nsu.newschool.edu). Lots of fiction classes, interesting themes, and teachers I’ve actually heard of. See? My sentences sound more coherent already. —Hans de Krap