CNN’s new star, Paula Zahn, after some lean years on the CBS morning show and Fox News , has been transformed into every war-bitten American male’s favorite battle babe …. Today she’s the guest at a luncheon, “Woman to Woman,” which benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. But don’t have dessert — instead, put on your wombcoat and scurry over to the lunch bashat Donna Karan New York! (Stated purpose: to warm guests up for the Promise Ball , benefiting juvenile diabetes, on Nov. 10; secret purpose: showing Ms. Karan’s resort collection.) Then lace on high-heeled granny boots and wobble to the Salvatore Ferragamo store, where suave, disco Massimo Ferragamo and his wife are hosting a cocktail party to get you
psyched for the American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s gala on Nov. 12. Finally, clap on a beret for a party hosted by Guy Peyrelongue and Anne Sutherland Fuchs at the Phillips auction house, where you will ogle a 10.35-carat fancy vivid-blue diamond and the fancy, vivid benefit committee of the 2001 Trophée des Arts Gala on Nov. 6.
[Promise Ball committee lunch, Donna Karan New York, 819 Madison Avenue, noon, by invitation
only, 980-1711; American-Italian Cancer Foundation cocktail party, 663 Fifth Avenue, fifth floor, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 980-1711; Trophée des Arts Gala cocktail party, 3 West 57th Street, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 355-6100, ext. 395.]
Jonathan Franzen, the Anne
Heche of literature, will be wiping the lipstick marks of the media — and Oprah — off his cheeks as he plunges into his Farrar, Straus & Giroux book party in Soho tonight, which had originally been
scheduled for Sept. 18 but was canceled in the wake of all the terrible first-person writing produced by the Sept. 11 tragedy. Watch the other ambitious male writers smile and wince as Mr. Franzen fights off the frisky, pale Paris Review girls ….
Consolation prize: light up a joint -it’s O.K. to do during wartime-for The Village Voice Literary Supplement ‘s 20th-
anniversary party; they’re also celebrating their presciently titled anthology, War of the Words: 20 Years of Writing on Contemporary Literature .
[Jonathan Franzen, 60 Thompson Street, 6 p.m., by invitation only, 741-6900, ext. 277; VLS , Ramscale Penthouse, over Westbeth Theater at 55 Bethune Street, 13th floor, 6 p.m., 475-3300, ext. 2120.]
“We’re pumped!” said Louise Pitre, an actress-singer who’s the star of the ABBA musical Mamma Mia! , and who’s very big in Toronto. She moved to New York on Aug. 18 and set up house on West 57th Street and Ninth Avenue-sans husband and humongous shepherd-Lab cross, Pasha, both of whom promise they will join her in a few months.”What a time! It’s an important time to be here and carry on and try to get going,” she said. “I play Donna, a single mom in her 40’s. She runs a little taverna on a Greek island; she has raised her daughter Sophie all by herself, and her daughter is getting married. As the show begins, Sophie has discovered her mother’s diary from 1979 and has discovered that her mom was with three different men that summer, and she wants her father to walk her down the aisle, so she invites all of them. These three men show up, and imagine my surprise- ha ha ha ! It’s a strictly feel-good show, a positive love story -don’t get me wrong, it’s not totally silly, but it is light enough that nothing will make you feel miserable, nothing will make you feel how shitty your life is.” Tonight, Mamma Mia! opens at the Winter Garden Theatre- will it be the new Cats ?
[1654 Broadway, 6:30 p.m., 563-5544.]
Celebrity logjam tonight near the Hammerstein Ballroom as VH1 and Vogue try to proceed with their not-even-credibly-silly Fashion Awards (“Sharply Dressed Man”), the inspiration for Ben Stiller’s medium-funny movie Zoolander . Watch for appalling attempts at “fireman chic” …. Or if you’re in the mood for another “feel-good” Nordic production -and who isn’t ?-there’s Heftig & Begeistret (or as we Yanks put it, Cool & Crazy ), a Full Monty –type documentary about 30 Nordic fishermen who form the Berlevåg Male Choir.
[VH1- Vogue Fashion Awards, Hammerstein Ballroom, by invitation only, we just can’t help you; Cool & Crazy , Cinema Village Theater, 22 East 12th Street, 924-3363.]
Joni-or Jennings? Of all the Big Three networks’ war coverage , we find Peter Jennings’ chilly Canadian delivery least reassuring-we also admit that alongside our ongoing Dan Rather crush , we are developing an embarrassing sideline crush on CNN’s Bill Hemmer -but for Mr. Jennings’ fans, here’s what’s in his PalmPilot (equipped with special Canadian alphanumerics ) today: chairing an Artwalk in honor of nonagenarian sculptor Louise Bourgeois, proceeds to benefit the Coalition for the Homeless. Or perhaps what this town needs is drag queens? Performance artist John Kelly opens Shiny Hot Nights , the second installment in his ongoing tribute to Joni Mitchell. “When I was growing up in Jersey City, my older sisters used to listen to her,” said Mr. Kelly. “It was my first exposure to a certain kind of lyricism and soliloquy and merging of poetry and music. I wear something long that hides my bulging masculinity- I’m not as skinny as I used to be! -and I try to do her walk, kind of like an intellectual, ex-hippie lope. We performed for her three years ago and she cried four times and afterwards gave me a dulcimer, a stringed instrument that sits on the lap.”
[Artwalk, Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, 11 a.m. panel discussions, studio tours and gala reception and auction to follow, 964-5900, ext. 113; Shiny Hot Nights , Fez, 380 Lafayette Street, 8 p.m., 533-2680.]
The last time we were in Queens, it was an idyllic summer night as we slurped a frosty margarita and watched Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6 in the U.S. Open quarterfinal … what innocent bliss that was-and to think that now many spooked Manhattanites are actually considering moving to Queens! Today, at the Queens Museum of Art, it’s Big Eyes by Charley Friedman . “I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” said Mr. Friedman. “What I did is, I made a bunch of quick marker drawings and then I chose a pair of those, put them on an overhead projector and then shine them on a wall about 10 feet tall, then I cut them out of a piece of plywood, then hang them from the ceiling and they basically gawk down at the viewer. They’re just a pair of googly eyes!” Who says the outer boroughs have no culture?
[Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, noon, 718-592-9700.]
You say Pataki: This just in! Governor George Pataki, the tall guy who’s just slightly out of focus behind Rudy Giuliani in all the pictures, will make an appearance at the American Magazine Conference at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, which starts today with a speech by Oprah Winfrey , as well as a panel titled “How Do You Handle the Biggest Story of Your Life?”, moderated by New York magazine’s Michael Wolff …. But surely the highlight will be Tina Brown, editor of Miramax house organ Talk magazine , delivering a speech modestly titled “Master of the Craft.” After that, the cast of Kiss Me, Kate saves the day.
[www.magazine.org for latest program updates.]
Benefits duke it out! Manhattan museums offer
a stiff retort to Queens today as the Frick Autumn Dinner honoring former Harvard University prez Neil Rudenstine
(tickets start at $1,250-ouch!) goes up against
a Guggenheim Gala honoring jazz man Wynton Marsalis ,who just turned 40 (tickets start at $1,000)-or you could join Lenny Kravitz (can’t sing) and Diahann Carroll (can sing) at the Society of Singers’ tribute to Bobby Short (boy, can he sing-and swing !) for a mere $500.
[Frick Autumn Dinner, 1 East 70th Street, 7 p.m., 547-6873; Guggenheim gala, Fifth Avenue between 88th and 89th streets, 6:30 p.m., 685-1095; Society of Singers, Pierre Hotel, Fifth Avenue at 61st Street, 7 p.m., 685-1095.]
Zoned out: When we last tuned in to Fox, pre–Sept. 11, to watch The O’Reilly Factor , its cranky host, Bill O’Reilly, was cruelly toying with slinky Talk employee Maer Roshan -what innocent bliss that was! Tonight Mr. O’Reilly celebrates his new book, The No Spin Zone . Bonus dirty (eww) excerpts! On Bianca Jagger: “at 51 … striking-looking … passionate … articulate.” He writes that Susan Sarandon is ” outspoken ” and-why does no one ever call a man this?- ” feisty . ” And he adds, “Many men reading this right now will flash back to the lemon scene in the movie Atlantic City. ” After their “lively discussion,” continues Mr. O’Reilly, “Ms. Sarandon almost ripped her blouse trying to get her microphone off.” You’re a sweetheart, Bill, a real charmer!
[Fox News Headquarters, Sports Suite, 1211
Avenue of the Americas, 6 p.m., by invitation only, 782-8215.]
Ballad of a thin man: Newly svelte Tribeca restaurant poobah Drew Nieporent tears himself away from the war-torn neighborhood to chair a “Tastings 2001” benefit for the Momentum AIDS Project-think lots of people in their 30’s milling around in shawls eating selections from District, Local, the Park and other “we’re not really a restaurant” restaurants and gingerly discussing their “post-W.T.C. weight gain.”
[Drew, Altman Building, 135 West 18th Street,
7 p.m., 691-8100, ext. 358.]
Bono (not Sonny): Photogenically angst-ridden rock star Bono -who recently bought a place in New York (and sings about it)-may be just the fellow to help us through these troubled times …. Certainly he’s got a better shot than Madonna …. U2’s “Elevation Tour” comes to Madison Square Garden. Bring candles.