Want to take a calming drawing class but don1t want to miss the last days of nice weather? Then stress no more and head on down to Battery Park City Conservatory (212-247-4510, theartstudentsleague.org). Every Wednesday afternoon you can learn figure drawing basics outside for as little as $5 a class (materials included!).
We all associate watercolors with Monet’s water lilies. But the Arts
Students League of New York‘s (212-267-9700, bpcparks.org) is moving this technique way beyond its Impressionistic constraints. Let their experimental watercolor class radicalize your artistic vision too!
Remember the days of pop-up books? Think they’re just for kids? Think again and satisfy your inner child with the
Center for Book Arts’ “Pop Up Engineering for Beginners” (centerforbookarts.org/newsite/classes). Advance through the basics of pop-up construction to master complex three-dimensional designs. Jessie Pascoe
If you’re tired of the bad rap carbs have been getting, and secretly pine for the taste of fresh-baked bread, you should sign up for the
French Culinary School‘s “Essentials of Artisanal Bread Baking”
(frenchculinary.com). You’ll learn the time-honored steps involved in preparing everything from baguettes to Viennoiseries. Warning: Not for the carb-phobic!
Want to travel, but lack dinero? The Natural Gourmet School understands (naturalgourmetschool.com). Starting in August, this all-vegetarian cooking establishment offers classes from the world’s diverse cuisines. From the complex spices of Asia to the comfort food of Eastern Europe, experience difference without blowing your budget.
All your friends have become vegetarian—but you still like the taste of a good cow. Go indulge your inner carnivore at
Murray’s Cheese Shop‘s “Beef 101” (murrayscheese.com/classroom.php). Tastings range from buffalo steak to Wagyu specialty breeds and, of course, will be paired with appropriate red wines. Mad Cow and slaughtering issues will also be addressed. Jessie Pascoe
Get rid of the back-to-school blues with a class from jazz dance legend Frank Hatchett. His sense of humor and focus on attitude attract students from ages six to 65 to Broadway Dance Center (bwydance.com). Maybe you’ll even run into past students Britney and Brooke (Spears and Shields) while you’re strutting across the floor. Beginner classes meet Mondays through Thursdays from 12:30 to 2. Or work on your moves for Saturday night with Soulfire’s “Pop and Lock” class, from 9 to 10:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Channel that office angst into dance: Arte Capoeira Center
(artecapoeira.com) introduces students to capoeira, the fluid Afro-Brazilian dance based on martial arts. In addition to learning how to duck and kick, students practice fighting and learn the basics of Brazilian music. Improve your Portuguese and your quads at the same time. Just watch out for all those lunges—you’ll feel them in the morning! A beginners’ class runs from 7 to 9 p.m. on Mondays, and there are bargain deals during August.
Can’t afford that European vacation? Experience Spain with a class in flamenco dancing. At Fazil’s
Times Circle Studios (flamenco-nyc.org), Dionisia Garc emphasizes the grace and seduction of the movements while teaching the technical footwork combinations. Despite studio temperatures equivalent to Southern Spain, the comp rhythms will leave you subtly croqueting
with the music. Basic beginner classes are on Saturdays from 1 to 2 p.m. Those looking for something a little further East should check out Fazil’s classes in Middle Eastern and Classical Indian dance. Ashley Putnam
New York is filled with nonsense writing schools. It’s becoming a problem. Luckily, one academy has risen up against this epidemic. A self-described “no-nonsense writing school,”
Gotham Writers’ Workshop (212-WRITERS, writingclasses.com) offers one-day playwriting workshops that cover everything from character and scene development to marketing your work. But whiny quills beware: The GWW makes clear that its classes “are not therapy.” They are not a “lovefest.” You will be the next Beckett if they have to beat it out of you! The next one is on Oct. 16. Cost: $125.
Edward Lewis knew opera could spark intense reactions in first-timers, but chances are he’d have picked a different date spot if he’d known Vivian was going to bust out with “I almost peed my pants.” If
Pretty Woman left you wondering what all the fuss was about, check out “Three Nights at the Opera” at
NYU (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu). The course consists of three lectures, each focusing on a single opera and followed by attendance of said opera at the Met. Classes run Sept. 26–Oct. 24. Cost: $325.
Saturday Night Live isn’t always funny, but when it is, it’s usually thanks to
Second City. The seminal Chicago-based sketch comedy outfit has reliably provided SNL with the sharpest comedians of every cast, from Aykroyd and Myers to Farley and Fey. The troupe now has training centers in several other cities, including New York, and even allows novices to drop in every Monday and join in its trademark improv classes, which is probably really annoying for the non-novices (312-475-3563, secondcity.com). Mondays at 7pm. Cost: $35. Theo Schell-Lambert
Sick of seeing overpriced jewelry you swear you could design yourself? Don’t grab your old glue gun—take
Studio Jewelers’ (studiojewelersltd.com/) course in basic jewelry design, which covers everything from metal fabrication to earring construction.
With a new season around the corner, take stock of your poorly fitting clothes and transform them into tailored fall styles at
NYU (scps.nyu.edu). “Clothing Alterations Workshop” teaches the secrets of wardrobe tailoring and lets you in on the city’s best places for buttons and trim. Don’t worry, you can afford it with all the money you’ll save by remaking your closet!
Wish you could show off that “crazy” photo to more than your Friendster circle? Thankfully
the Brooklyn-based Church of Craft (churchofcraft.org/doors) saves the modern day with its “Image Transfer” class on August 3. Learn direct and indirect methods for image to fabric transfer for only $30. Jessie Pascoe
Have you ever wished that sex tape of you shtupping a C-list celebrity whilst Colin Farrell looked on was better lit, didn’t use so much rack focus, and didn’t pick up so much of Colin’s lilting brogue in the background? Me too. Take the
Learning Annex‘s “How to Shoot Your Own Live Adult Video” (212-371-0280, learningannex.com) with porn vets Joe Gallant and Jeff Stella, and you’ll be posting skin flicks on the Web in no time! Girl-on girl action (no joke) is included in course fee, subsequent legal fees are not.
So you’ve perused Truffaut’s famous book-length interview, Hitchcock/Truffaut, enough times in Barnes & Noble to know that the young Alfred, “to [his] credit . . . never wanted to be a policeman.” Find out what this eccentric Englishman did with his life after ignoring the siren song of law enforcement in
NYU‘s “Hitchcock: Murder, Manhunts, and Mystery” (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu). Yes, the suspense is unbearable.
It seems that everybody and their baby mama’s sister’s cousin is a stress-testing Scientologist these days, but Katie & Co. are but one of thousands of shadowy, secretive groups with planetary domination in mind. Right? Indulge your inner conspiracy theorist at the
New School‘s “Conspiracy and Paranoia in American Film” (212-229-5690, nsu.newschool.edu) and never trust anyone again. Pete L’Official
If you’re a business type who thinks Miller-Modigliani Theory is some unholy alliance of disgraced-then-somewhat-admirable journalistic ethics and Italian sculptural technique, then you should probably think about a new profession. Or take Columbia‘s course in introductory finance (212-854-9699, ce.columbia.edu) and all things economic will be explained.
George Costanza’s highly successful import/export company, Vandelay Industries, inspired many a closet importer-exporter’s dreams, but few followed through. Well, my friends, the time is now:
NYU is offering a course in “Running Your Own Import/Export Business” (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu). You’ll never have to lie about being an architect again.
Keynesians and Monetarists are the banking world’s Hatfields and McCoys, don’t you think? (Pause for cigar puff.) Quite right, good sir. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the
New York Institute of Finance (212-641-6616, ftknowledge.com) is offering a course in the “Essentials of Banking,” where you will learn about this age-old debate and what makes Alan Greenspan so gosh-darn finicky. You’ll get a six-month subscription to the
Financial Times to boot. Pete L’Official
The production and distribution of wines around the world has always been influenced by politics and economics. Those interested in the history of what they put on their table should sign up for “In Vino Veritas: The New International Culture and Politics and Wine” at NYU (212-998-7200, scps.nyu.edu). This is the class to take with your tedious friends who become enraged at the mention of the WTO. They can discuss the dangers of globalization, while you sip your wine and nod tranquilly. Kosiya Shalita
For some people, the prospect of speaking in public can be quite nerve-racking, and with good reason: It’s terrifying. Fear, nausea, and copious amounts of flop sweat are not fun. The
New School provides a chance to overcome all this with “Seven Steps to Fearless Speaking” (212-229-5615, nsu.newschool.edu). Learn techniques to remain confident and relaxed next time you’re called upon to address a crowd.
Does anyone really find orange chicken or beef with broccoli that exciting? Discover what lies on the other side of the menu with
NYU‘s “Chinese Characters for Chinese Food Lovers” (212-998-7200,
scps.nyu.edu). Learn to identify more adventurous dishes by studying the basics of Chinese characters and radicals. With a Chinese character dictionary in hand, you’ll be able to start eating like the family sitting next to you.
Do you know how to listen? I don’t mean closing your mouth while someone else talks, but actually listening
. It doesn’t sound hard, but then, why can’t you ever remember people’s names at parties? “Authentic Listening” at the
New School (212-229-5615, nsu.newschool.edu) can teach you how. So sit down and shut up. Kosiya Shalita
Adept with the Western canon, your knowledge of nontonal musical traditions is limited to some dimly held thoughts on Ravi Shankar and an acid-soaked encounter with Ornette Coleman back in ’71 (which you’re not sure counts). Fear not, aging hippie. Become as knowledgeable on the topic as you’ve always pretended to be with “Introduction to the Musics of India and West Asia,” a
Columbia course that explores these musical styles and their relation to other Asian arts (212-854-9699, ce.columbia.edu). Starts Sept. 6.
Bitter Like the Bean. Retard Disco. Rap A Lot. As these names suggest, there’s a lot of wacky little record labels out there, and NYU might wish to reconsider whether it’s a good idea to encourage more GarageBand all-stars to join the biz. But egalitarian educators that they are, those folks are determined to help you pursue your dubtastic dream, and in “Developing a Record Label” they’ll explain all the minutia of running a label, from evaluating talent to finding distribution to plotting your sellout (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu). Starts Sept. 27. Cost: $800.
It’s been a long road to respectability for the poor recorder. After many years playing spittoon for preschool music classes, the simpleton of the fipple flutes finally cracked the grown-up barrier in the form of an affable Korean War vet named Leon, only to find itself relegated to off-key renditions of the “Pink Panther” theme on the West 4th Street subway platform. But finally, academia has recognized the value of this little plastic tube, with the
New School offering courses for beginners and experienced players (212-580-0210; mannes.edu/extension). Theo Schell-Lambert
The story of the orchid’s “elite” status among flora goes back to the mid 1980s, when the board game Life made it the ultimate success symbol for impressionable young Gen Y’ers. Also, it would have been nice if someone had mentioned that it’s pronounced or-kid. But you’ll certainly learn those things and more at the
Brooklyn Botanic Garden‘s “All About Orchids.” Discussing different species, fertilization techniques, water, light, etc., the class will have you gentleman-farming in no time (718-623-7220, bbg.org). August 7. Cost: $63.
If only Mr. Nabokov were around to see this. The
Bronx Zoo is set to open its spectacular new Butterfly Garden (featuring more than 1,000 specimens), and is hosting several advance viewings. Geared toward families, these events include stories, crafts, and explanations of the various papillons. Just don’t fall for the oldest ruse in lepidoptery: Viceroys look like Monarchs, but they’re much more delicious (bronxzoo.com). Oct. 2, 15. Cost: $40/person.
There are three numbers every grade-schooler knows: When Columbus sailed the ocean blue (1492), how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop (3), and how many million years ago dinosaurs went extinct (65). Well, we quickly learn you have to bite the damn lollipop, then our liberal arts education suggests that Columbus had his problems, so we’ve been holding tight to that 65 mil. Now dinosaurs are still alive? The
American Museum of Natural History makes its case in a six-week course, “The Link Between Dinosaurs and Birds” (212-769-5200; learn.amnh.org). Sept. 26-Nov. 5. Cost: $445. Theo Schell-Lambert
A century ago portable handheld cameras were as significant a development as the ubiquitous digital cameras of today. Though they were probably not used to take pictures of celebrities eating on the street or pumping gas. Check out the Museum of Modern Art’s “From Revolution to Revolution: Photography in the 20th Century” (212.798.9603, moma.org). You probably don’t go to the museum often enough so here’s your chance to see it after closing hours.
If you’re going to be carrying your camera everywhere you go, you might as well learn to get the most out of it.
NYU has two classes, “Introduction to Black-and-White Photography” and “Introduction to Color Photography” (212-998-7200,
scps.nyu.edu). While of course your friends might not find looking at pictures of your apartment or where you went on vacation fascinating, they’ll certainly appreciate your efforts.
On the other hand, who cares what anyone else thinks? There’s at least one subject that at least you will find endlessly inspiring and captivating, yourself. Why bother finding willing models or provocative street-scenes? In fact why bother leaving the house at all? With the
New School’s “Photographic Self-Portrait” (212-229-5600,
nsu.newschool.edu) you’ll have everything you need. Kosiya Shalita
RELIGION & SPIRITUALITY
Still have a desire to learn Kabbalah? Although it might not be the “best-kept secret of our time” anymore, the
Kabbalah Centre (kabbalah.com) makes learning even easier and cheaper with its online Kabbalah 101 course for $19.95.
It’s time to do something about that nagging New Year’s resolution to work out. With online live yoga there are no more excuses! So keep your pajamas on, turn on your computer and join
New York Yoga’s (newyorkyoga.com/php/show_login2d.php) virtual studio for $7.95 a month for unlimited access.
Feeling early onset of carpal tunnel? Thumbs hurt from sending too many text messages? Learn the basics and secrets of the “body’s most complex structure” at the New York Open Center’s (opencenter.org) introduction to the world of hand reflexology. Jessie Pascoe
This is probably the safest way to experience throwing yourself into the air 23 feet above the ground. Trapeze School New York
(917-797-1872, trapezeschool.com) has classes in Flying and Static Trapeze. Begin by learning to swing by your knees and progress all the way to death-defying feats of aerial agility. Of course it’s all perfectly safe, and there aren’t any carnies.
Created around the turn of the century, petanque is now the most popular
leisure sport in France. You may not be in Provence but that doesn1t mean you can’t pretend. Visit the Petanque Court in Bryant Park (917-438-5119, nycgovparks.org) for weekly lessons and games. Members of La Boule New Yorkaise organize monthly tournaments and provide coaching for novices.
Who would have guessed that underneath the streets of Chelsea you could pretend to be a cowboy—a real
cowboy, I mean. The West Side Rifle and Pistol Range (212-243-9448,
westsidepistolrange.com) offers lessons for beginners, including a classroom safety course and firing range supervision. Kosiya Shalita
Rafe: “You are so beautiful it hurts.” Evelyn: “It’s your nose that hurts.” Rafe: “I think it’s my heart.” Randall Wallace, screenwriter for
Pearl Harbor and author of this exchange, clearly never attended a dialogue seminar hosted by the
Gotham Writers’ Workshop. This one-day course (on September 11) helps aspiring scribes give clear, realistic voices to their characters. Presumably they also mention—listen up, Mr. Wallace—that dialogue should consist of things
people would actually say (212-WRITERS, writingclasses.com). Cost: $150.
Along with food writing and pornography, travel writing is one of those gigs that sounds tantalizingly fun and simple—that is, until you actually try it. In truth, that latest
Times feature on tracking howler monkeys in the Costa Rican rainforest or spa-hopping through Iceland probably didn’t just flow intact from an inspired pen. Learn the practical aspects of turning your globetrotting ways into adventure tales in
NYU’s “From Traveler to Travel Writer: A Writing Workshop” (212-998-7171, scps.nyu.edu). Oct. 21–22. Cost: $290.
Wrapping your head around a class on how to write a “how to” book requires some mental metacrobatics;
it’s sort of akin to “Being a Dummy for Dummies.” But seriously, let’s say you know how to do something really well, but that something is not how to write a “how to” book. Better check out “How to Write and Sell Your ‘How To’ Book,” a course at
Hunter College (212-650-3850, ce.hunter.cuny.edu), starting Sept. 13. One wonders: How did the instructor learn how to? Cost: $200. Theo Schell-Lambert