Our guide to do-it-yourself fun

for The Brooklyn Paper
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With the economy the way it is, who can afford the luxury of paying someone to entertain you? Today, the buzzwords are “do it yourself” — and seizing the DIY spirit will not only save you money, but also let the good times roll.

Whether it’s at-home brewing workshops, bowling leagues, trivia contests, cheese making lessons or circus classes, get off your butt and do it yourself.

Here’s how:

Body fun

Group aerial dance classes at the Trapeze Loft let you leave gravity at the door as the pros teach you to fly on the bar and on a hammock-like silk contraption called a “cloud swing.” And to complement such high-flying action, learn the art of juggling — for free — at Jugglers Anonymous.

The Trapeze Loft [91 N. First St. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (917) 415-7544], Sundays, 4-6 pm. $25 suggested donation; Jugglers Anonymous at Pratt Institute Student Union (200 Willoughby Ave. at Hall Street in Clinton Hill), Tuesdays, 7:30-11 pm. For info, e-mail

Edible DIY

Have you seen what they’re charging for pizza these days? It’s unreal (then again, so is the subway fare, the traditional slice benchmark). But high-prized ’za may be for the better, because nothing beats eating or drinking something you’ve made your own. Brooklyn Kitchen now offers informative and fun classes in everything from pickle-making to turkey de-boning. And South Brooklyn Pizza offers pizza-making classes with an open bar, and Rubulad hosts free Thanksgiving-style communal potluck dinners.

Brooklyn Kitchen Labs [100 Frost St. between Manhattan Avenue and Leonard Street in Williamsburg, (718) 349-5033]; South Brooklyn Pizza [451 Court St. between Fourth Place and Luquer Street in Carroll Gardens, (718) 852-6018], second Saturday of every month, 3-6 pm. $40 includes open bar; Rubulad (338 Flushing Ave. between Classon and Kent Avenues in Clinton Hill), first and third Sunday every month. 6:30 pm.

Get your fixings

Just think of all the money you’ll save when you don’t need to hire a mechanic to fix your mistakes. Instead of wasting limited funds, bring your broken possession to The Fixers Collective, where fixing gurus share their knowledge of mending, enhancing, and repurposing to bring your object back to life. And if your problem is limited to two wheels, the bike advocacy group Time’s Up! offers free classes and use of their repair workshop.

The Fixers Collective at Proteus Gowanus [543 Union St. at Nevins Street in Gowanus (718) 243-1572], Thursdays 6-9 pm. $5; Time’s Up! [99 S. Sixth St. between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg, (212) 802-8222], classes are Sundays, 2-4 pm; workshops are Sundays, 4-6 pm and Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 pm.

Make some noise

Play a man the guitar and he is entertained for a day. Teach a man to play the guitar and he is entertained forever. Fortunately, Jalopy Music Hall offers group classes in fiddle, ukulele, mandolin and banjo as well as workshops in gypsy jazz and kids music and dance. And if playing an instrument is too commonplace for you, create and experiment with new instruments and music technology every month as music lovers, techies and nerds combine forces at 3rd Ward’s free Handmade Music Night.

3rd Ward [195 Morgan Ave. at Stagg Street in Bushwick, (718) 715-4961], third Thursday, 7:30–10 pm; Jalopy Music Hall [315 Columbia St. between Woodhull Street and Rapelye Street in Red Hook, (718) 395-3214].

Get crafty

Join a free communal crafting workshop at Church of Craft, where founder Callie Janoff says “there’s always a lot of knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidering, jewelry making, beading, and leather making going on.” Another great way to make someone happy with something you made is to head to 3rd Ward’s free “Sweatshop Socials,” where people create custom-made shopping bags to save plastic and baby seals. You bring the material; 3rd Ward will supply the sewing machines, instructions, refreshments and live music. If you prefer a calmer scene, try a figure drawing class at Brooklyn Artists Gym, where artists and newcomers are welcomed to use studio space, equipment, gallery opportunities and a thriving artistic community.

Church of Craft at Etsy [55 Washington St. between Front and Water Street in DUMBO, (718) 855-7955], every first Sunday, 2-6 pm, and at Spacecraft [355 Bedford Ave. between S. Fourth and S. Fifth streets in Williamsburg, (718) 599-2718] every third Thursday, 6-9 pm; 3rd Ward (see venue info above), last Mondays, 7-10 pm; Brooklyn Artists Gym [168 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 858-9069], Saturdays, noon-3 pm and Mondays, 7-10 pm.

Love a nerd

For established nerds and those itching to come out of the closet, Brooklyn offers many a safe-haven. For the seriously nerdy, there’s free Craft/Hack Night at NYC Resistor Hackspace, a great place for those who don’t like to tinker alone.

NYC Resistor [397 Bridge St. between Willoughby Street and Fulton Street in Downtown, (888) 881-2802], Thursdays, 6-9 pm.

For adults only

Drink N’ Draw at 3rd Ward brings you the sacred trinity: art, nudity and beer. The art studio provides the beer and the model; all you need is drawing tools. If art isn’t your thing, learn to brew your own beer. Brooklyn Homebrew sells the necessary supplies and walks you through the process of home brewing. And last but certainly not least, there’s Knit and Wine, where knitters and wine lovers convene to do what they do best.

Drink N’ Draw at 3rd Ward (see venue info above), Wednesdays, 8 pm; Brooklyn Homebrew [465 56th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Sunset Park, (718) 309-4267]; Knit and Wine at Bar Olivino [905 Fulton St. between Clinton Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue in Clinton Hill, (718) 857-7952], last Sunday of every month, 5-7 pm.

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Reader Feedback

Seanna Sharpe from W-Burg says:
Just to clarify, the number to text for Circus To The People is MY cellphone - 541-941-4834 - and you can e-mail for full class schedule or more information! ;)

Nov. 2, 2010, 1:59 pm

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