But Sirio-sly, folks Are you one of those annoying, Palm Pilot poking New Yorkers who likes to insist loudly and frequently that you really just want to chuck it all, flee to the country (singing along to Tracy Chapman in your chubby S.U.V.) and become a simple, artisanal goat-cheese farmer? Put up or shut up at tonight’s big benefit for the Career Through Culinary Arts Program honoring Le Cirque 2000’s Sirio and Egidiana Maccioni. Your master of ceremonies: jolly NBC weatherperson Al Roker! (Memo to Al: If you want to lose that “baby” fat, headlining gourmet galas is not the way to go.) Cooking and mingling and jealously wishing they were the ones being honored will be Aquavit’s Marcus (“How Swede It Is!”) Samuelsson, 71 Clinton Fresh Food’s Wylie (“Coyote”) Dufresne, Beacon’s Waldy (“Waldy”) Malouf and Alain (“My Restaurant Was Widely Panned, So Now I Have to Go to Dumb-Ass Benefits Like This”) Ducasse. Amanda Hesser alert on DEFCON 2.
[Pier 60, Chelsea Piers at 23rd Street, 6 p.m., 873-2434.]
G.&L. and T.&L.: If you’re gay and proud, there’s a home for you at Time Inc., but only if your dream job is fact-checker or “wacky” art director…. Nonetheless, Norman Pearlstine whose wife, Nancy Friday, would love to tell you just how throbbingly un-gay he is in a dirty book is welcoming gay and lesbian (G.&L.) journalists tonight to the Time and Life (T.&L.) building for some G.&T.’s. What it benefits: the National Les-bian and Gay Journalists Association! (Now if Mr. Pearlstine would just throw open his doors to the “plushies” among us!) Fork up a little extra and you get an intimate East Village dinner with Liz Smith, Peter Jennings and George Stephanopoulos. Bonus points if you can spot an actual out-of-the-closet media personality.
[Reception, Time and Life Building, 1271 Avenue of the Americas, 6 p.m., dinner to follow, somewhere in the East Village, 864-2457.]
Franca-philes: What does it mean to be a “public intellectual” in America today? Is it still possible to be a “public intellectual” in any meaningful sense? Has the gap between academic discourse and the general culture simply become too wide? Our immediate response to these questions is, respectively: Nothing, nope and never! But tonight, Lingua Franca The Nation for people in their early 30’s who are still considering grad school mulls it over at an N.Y.U. panel ominously titled “Is There a New Place for the Public Intellectual?” (Yes, but it’s not in Manhattan Maybe in Bushwick?) The middle-aged panelists include Russell Jacoby, author of The Last Intellectuals and The End of Utopia, and Michael Ignatieff, author of Isaiah Berlin whom we bet gets pretty consistently confused with that Newsweek guy who wrote about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Hey, is anyone moderating this crazy bunch of intellectuals? Yup, here she is journalism prof Susie Linfield! “Is it possible to still be a public intellectual today as it was, let’s say, in the 1940’s and 1950’s, when you had people like Mary McCarthy, Lionel Trilling, Edmund Wilson really sort of setting an intellectual agenda for a certain segment of the culture?” asked Ms. Linfield. “In the work of our panelists, you have a range from bleak pessimism to great optimism. There have been tremendous changes in academia, publishing, the media how does all this affect the role, or even the existence of that animal called the public intellectual?” What about picking some young contrarian animals for your panel, like, say, Katie Roiphe? “God, in all honesty, I did not think about the, quote, age question,” said Ms. Linfield. “But should someone wish to compose a Gen-X panel of public intellectuals, I would be extremely interested in that!” That makes one of us. Meanwhile, the rest of the city’s self-appointed “intelligentsia” flits to the Algonquin, where bicycle boy George Plimpton is hosting a reading by postdoctoral robotics researcher Karl Iagnemma, recipient of the Paris Review Discovery Prize. It is a “free event, with a cash bar,” the press release promises, somewhat oxymoronically.
[Lingua Franca panel, Jurow Hall, N.Y.U. Main Building, first floor, 100 Washington Square East, 6:30 p.m., 998-3786; Paris Review reading, Algonquin Hotel, 59 West 44th Street, 7 p.m., 861-0016.]
Are sleazy men back? One can be forgiven if, in this era of sexless, messenger-bag-toting fellows in Regis Philbin shirts, one might develop a secret fondness for unapologetically lascivious men like Michael Douglas (that family act isn’t fooling us for a second, bub). Mr. Zeta-Jones was cruelly shut out of the Oscar nominations, but tonight he’s redeemed at High Times’ Stony Awards, where he is the front-runner for his role in Wonder Boys. We called High Times senior editor Steve Bloom to find out why they like Mike. “He smokes pot throughout Wonder Boys, so that basically was it,” said the extremely deadpan, slightly raspy Mr. Bloom, a 12-year(!) veteran of the marijuana mag. “It really is a very important part of his character. I thought it was a good performance. I mean, personally, I felt like marijuana was depicted negatively toward the end of the movie, when he gave away his bag of pot and was able to start his life over again to write his next book and move on to a new relationship, so I did see that as somewhat negative, but nonetheless .” Traffic, in which Mr. Douglas’ essential delicious sleaziness managed to seep through the cracks in his good-cop, concerned-dad performance, is also nominated for a Best Movie Stony, not to be confused with the Best Stoner Movie Stony. [Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue, 9:30 p.m., by invitation only, 387-0756.]
The full Rudy? Who’s gonna show for this year’s Inner Circle show, where political reporters spoof the city and state government and, in return, the Mayor puts on a show making fun of the reporters (one year in drag, another as a motorcycle hood; the local news swoons!)? “The usual flotsam and jetsam,” said writing committee chairman Larry Sutton, whose day job is at People. “Right now, it looks like Hillary will probably be attending.” Hold on to your pantsuits! “Senator Schumer is still up in the air; same with Pataki.” Is it gonna be some version of The Full Monty, as the invitation suggests? “I honestly don’t know what the Mayor is doing; he tries to keep it secret. But the City Hall bureau chief for the Post is playing Marc Rich.” Well, it’s not too late to hit up Denise for some lyrics.
[New York Hilton, Grand Ballroom, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, 8 p.m., 522-7195.]
Erin Brockovichyssoise! Time was a Hollywood actor would put in, say, 50 years of service before they got a gushy career tribute; now all it takes is a push-up bra and a good set of chompers, and a night of fawning and chicken Kiev with peers can be yours! Last year, Kevin Bacon received a premature career retrospective; this year, it’s the toothy Julia Roberts. At tonight’s American Museum of the Moving Image salute, Ms. Roberts will be gently ribbed, lightly roasted, toasted and slathered with cream by her pals (and ours): Rupert Everett, Dermot Mulroney, George Clooney, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins hey, weren’t those last two banned from presenting at the Oscars? Brace for speech about disempowered people in small Asian country, followed by what is in effect a dress rehearsal of Ms. Roberts’ inevitable Oscar win, replete with oh-my-goshes and teary thanks to her balding boyfriend, Benjamin Bratt. (Personally, we think it’s been all downhill for the star since 1988’s Mystic Pizza…)
[Waldorf-Astoria, Grand Ballroom, 301 Park Avenue, 6:30 p.m. cocktails, dinner to follow, 245-6570.]
A black Madonna? When we first heard that In Style was hosting a party for something called The Black Madonna, we got all excited thinking how someone was going to finally analyze Mrs. Guy Ritchie’s bizarre foray into “ghetto fabulous” (see her performance at the Grammys, when she had Lil’ Bow Wow open the door for her) . But then we got a copy of the volume and discovered, to our dismay, that it’s just a novel by an In Style reporter about superstitious women in Little Italy (at least it’s not about super-stitchin’ women in Nolita!), one of whom has a very big baby . Big Oprah potential for its author, Louisa Ermelino. Bonus excerpt (look for encoded party tip): “Sylvia hated him. She had hated him on sight. She hated him with every breath, every pore. She could see the circle of sweat forming under the arms of his jacket. It was hot in the yard. She would have suggested he take off his jacket, but the sight of a sweaty fat man in shirtsleeves was more than she could bear at this moment. Sylvia Bernstein hated fat.”
[Peasant, 194 Elizabeth Street, 7 p.m., by invitation only, 522-8349.]
Rr-rr-rrowl: What can we say? It’s been a peppy week, and yet today is as slow as pouring cement. About the only action in town is on the Upper West Side, where cozy old Symphony Space is mounting a game retort to all the French film festivals that Film Forum, Lincoln Center, etc., have been putting on with a two-month homage to movie-making in Italy! That’s amore! It starts today with Luchino Visconti’s little-known 1963 epic, The Leopard, in which Burt Lancaster plays the prowling, brooding Prince of Salina, who’s intent on preserving the grace and culture of his crumbling 19th-century world. Our prowling, brooding big-cheese editor, who’s intent on preserving the grace and culture of his crumbling 20th-century world, is clapping on his beaver hat and heading out the door .
[2537 Broadway, 7 p.m., 864-1414.]
Barnes-raising: If you didn’t get your fill of thoughtful people at Thursday’s intelligent-stravanza, go to the New York Public Library to watch Julian Barnes, the man who made Martin Amis jealous, “in conversation” with Jay McInerney, the man who parlayed a smash best-seller into a career writing about Beaujolais. Follow with a chaser of feminist-wife Gloria Steinem, who is leading a panel discussion with young feminists Lebwah Sykes (no relation to dotty post-post-post-feminists Plum and Lucy we think), Vivien Labotan and Angela Moreno at Barnard. Ask Ms. Steinem about china patterns .
[Julian Barnes and Jay McInerney, Celeste Bartos Forum, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, 6 p.m., 930-0855; Gloria Steinem, Barnard College, James Room, fourth floor, Broadway at 117th Street, 9 p.m., 854-2037.]