Time Out New York – June 27, 2011

Learn something new during this monthlong series of quirky seminars.

Time Out New York
By LINNEA COVINGTON
June 27, 2011
Read the original here.

The phrase summer school typically conjures memories of trying not to fall asleep in a stifling classroom while the rest of your friends are out playing. But Flux Factory’s Summer School series, beginning Saturday 2, is quite different from those boring daylong sessions; instead, instructors will lead classes on such eclectic topics as silk-screening, reading a tarot deck and “consciousness-raising.” “We turned to our expansive network of Fluxers [members of the collective] to submit class ideas,” says executive director Christina Vassallo. “In the end, we wanted our syllabus to strike a balance between bizarre and totally practical.” Stock up on pencils and notebooks, and check out four of the coolest seminars.

Hackposium (Sat 2 at 4pm; free)
What you’ll learn: “I consider hacking to be using things in a way other than their intended purpose,” says Summer School cocurator Jamie Idea. This free expo focuses on that act of transformation, featuring discussions, demonstrations and lectures on incorporating hacking into daily life. Topics covered include lock-picking, culture jamming, and the ethics and logistics of Dumpster diving.
One cool thing: The afternoon will touch on the concept of circuit-bending, as participants learn how to alter remote-controlled toys and obsolete iPod accessories, among other things.

Snails—Exploring the Next Frontier in Urban Farming (July 14 6:30–7:30pm; $15)
What you’ll learn: If you’re not the type to get squicked out by handling slimy gastropods, this is the class for you. Using South American Apple snails, artist Melanie Cohn will expound on their usefulness, how to raise and cook them, and the benefits of keeping them as pets. “They’re fun, easy, and kind of like fish in that they are calming and soothing to watch,” she explains. Participants will also receive a starter kit with a snail and a week’s worth of food.
One cool thing: Yes, we said cooking: Cohn will share recipes for the little buggers during the class; plus, she promises to teach you how tell the sex of a snail by looking for a boy’s “special package.”

Marzipan as a Medium (July 17 3–6pm; $60)
What you’ll learn: The pliable almond paste, which is traditionally used to make edible decorations for cakes and other confections, will be a medium for abstract art during this lesson led by artist Hanna Nordgren. She’ll provide the marzipan, food coloring and luster dust (to give the pieces a pretty sheen), but you should bring your own tools. (What constitutes a “tool” is up to you—Nordgren uses all sorts of objects, including the edge of a tin can, to make her shapes.)
One cool thing: Nordgren’s session was inspired by molecular gastronomy whizzes, including Wiley Dufresne and Grant Achatz. “[Marzipan] is like the working man’s food sculpture,” she says.

Herbal Concentrates (July 21 7–9pm; $25)
What you’ll learn: Stephen Switzer, who is the herb gardener and apothecary manager of Brooklyn’s Third Root Community Health Center, leads a course on herbal healing and the tinctures, syrups and salves you can make with plants. Among the restorative potions that you’ll concoct during the two-hour class are a calendula salve for skin health, and a tincture of tulsi (or Holy Basil), which helps alleviate stress.
One cool thing: “Food itself is medicine,” says Switzer. You ingest many common herbal remedies daily without even knowing it—garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper are all believed to have healing properties.

HIGHER LEARNING! Flux Factory, 39-31 29th St between 39th and 40th Aves, Long Island City, Queens (718-707-3362, fluxfactory.org). Sat 2–July 28; time and price vary; visit website for details.

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