Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise Actors' Fund Events

e Actors' Fund of America is kicking off the new year with a host of programs, lectures, seminars, and other events designed to give people in the performing arts more control over their finances, their bodies, and their minds. James Brown from the fund will present a workshop on health insurance options for low income, under-employed, and unemployed people Tues., Jan. 16. The seminar will counter the prevailing attitude among many seasonal and temporary workers that they cannot afford the luxury of health insurance. The seminar will be held 6-8 pm at the Aurora, the Actors' Fund's high-rise Manhattan residence, located at 475 W. 57th St., on the second floor. The meeting is free, but space is limited, so anyone planning to attend should call (212) 489-2020, ext. 105, to reserve a place.Later in January, the fund will launch its Actors' Work Program, a series of seminars to sharpen performers' work, survival, and creative skills. The first, "How to Organize Your Time," will be held on two consecutive Mondays, Jan. 22 and 29, 6-8 pm. It will help participants learn effective ways to plan, determine priorities, and schedule work more productively. (The answer, as most people know, is not merely resolving to work harder; among the discussion items planned for the seminar is an emphasis on the need for breaks.)The next topic, on Mon., Feb. 5, is "Money Matters." Certified Social Worker Annette Lieberman will guide a discussion to make participants reflect on their attitudes toward money and the ways that attitude helps or hinders their abilities to manage their financial affairs. Performance professionals who want to know how to develop a dignified sideline or second career will be interested in the March 8 "Career Night." Their peers who work in such fields as teaching, fitness, computers, real estate, and proofing (among others) will discuss ways to maintain those professions while still pursuing performance careers.The last of the seminars, "Getting Your Degree," will feature representatives from New York area undergraduate and graduate degree programs, discussing options for adults returning to school.Those discussion groups will meet at the Actors' Equity Building, located at 165 W. 46th St., in the 14th floor Council Room.WOMEN'S HEALTHThe Actors' Fund will continue its commitment to promoting women's health with "Focus on Healing," a six-week program beginning Jan. 29. Every Monday from 11 am to noon, participants will work through a new exercise program designed for women recovering from cancer or currently living with chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia.The program, now being implemented in 35 hospitals and facilities in North America, is described as a fun, therapeutic, and gentle regimen that will increase participants' range of motion, reduce their risk of lymphedema, and improve their self-image. Certified Social Worker Carol Mannes will lead the groups at the Aurora.The exercise program is supported by the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative of the Actors' Fund, which also provides counseling, support services, and referrals for women with significant health problems. It also offers financial assistance to women with medical and insurance needs, as well as free mammograms and gynecological exams to uninsured women.Mammograms are offered through the Physician Volunteers for the Arts on the second Tuesday of every month, beginning Jan. 9, from 10 am to 4 pm. PAP tests and other gynecology services are offered the second and fourth Wednesdays and the first and third Fridays, in the morning. Those tests are also conducted at the Aurora, as are various other clinic services: allergy testing and treatment Tuesdays and Thursdays; podiatry the second and fourth Fridays, in the afternoon; pulmonology on Thursday afternoons; and gastroenterology the first Wednesday of the month, in the morning. Internal medicine, family practice, and physical therapy are conducted at various times.THE FUND'S FUNDINGNaturally, the wealth of programs requires a good deal of funding, some of which was gained through a recent online auction that raised more than $104,000. Bidders snapped up donated goods, services, and things that could not properly be called either goods or services, including a one-time walk-on part in the sitcom "Will and Grace" (which went for $27,000) and a lunch with gossip maven Liz Smith (for $2,750).Additional financial support will be obtained at a special Actors' Fund performance of the Manhattan Theater Club's production of "Proof." The event will take place this Sun., Jan. 7 at 8 pm at the Walter Kerr Theatre, located at 219 W. 48th St. The David Auburn-penned drama, which Time magazine called "one of the year's 10 best," stars Mary-Louise Parker.To purchase tickets, call (212) 221-7300 ext. 133/134, TeleCharge at (212) 239-6200, or visit the Walter Kerr Theatre box office.For information about the Actors' Fund of America, visit its website at