War of awards: If you were too busy watching the Yankees pat each other’s pinstriped rumps (somehow even more compelling in defeat) to watch the oft-
canceled Emmy Awards , but you did click over for a second and caught a blur of
“business-attired” host Ellen DeGeneres pretending to mistake Steve Martin for Leslie Nielsen , you probably thought Yep, and it was right back to the Yankees. Tonight the book-publishing industry throws its own self-congratulatory bash, the National Book Awards , to be M.C.’d by Mr. Martin -one man who’s figured out how to skip nimbly over the tightrope between “high” and “low” culture , unlike secretly sweaty, Oprah-offending fiction nominee Jonathan Franzen . We’re plumping for one of the lesser-known novels (like Jennifer Egan’s Look at Me or Louise Erdrich’s The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse ) to pry the prize from Mr. Franzen’s The Corrections -which, hel- lo , doesn’t exactly need any more publicity. But Mr. Franzen is probably a lock, since Colin Harrison -dirty-book writer, former Harper ‘s editor and freshly appointed Scribner vice president-is chairman of the fiction judges …. Meanwhile, successful businesswomen Kate Spade (handbags) and Martha Stewart (households) don fetching taffeta wraps and cab uptown to the Cooper Hewitt for another kind of fiction, the National Design Awards.
[National Book Awards, New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway at 45th Street, 6:30 p.m., 685-0261; National Design Awards, Cooper-
Hewitt, 2 East 91st Street, 7 p.m., 685-1095.]
Anyone else tired of the conspiracy to convince us that “comfort food” -a big pile of mashed potatoes-is going to solve all of New York City’s woes? Today, strapping, frolicsome N.Y.C. tourist-board chief Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas welcomes the greedy, freeloading food press to a “hot-chocolate” breakfast to lead off a four-day Chocolate Show. You know the drill: Pastry chefs do their thing, somebody makes a dress out of chocolate, samples abound ….
[Metropolitan Pavilion, 110 West 19th Street, 11:30 a.m., 244-0622.]
New York’s first couple? With our new swingin’-bachelor Mayor (and how scary is that ? As if single men in New York needed any more encouragement!), the city is in the market for a palatable first couple, a photogenic beacon of matrimony …. One possibility is that toothy Tribeca twosome, actor-director Ed Burns and yoga freak Christy Turlington , who plan to wed as soon as Bono is free to walk her down the aisle. (And if he’s not free, we’re pretty sure the Edge could handle it …. ) Tonight is the premiere of Mr. Burns’ new movie, Sidewalks of New York , sponsored by W magazine, with proceeds from the party
going to the New York Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund (Mr. Burns’ father was a police officer). Don’t hold your breath for a showdown between Ms. Turlington and Mr. Burns’ co-star and ex, Heather Graham, because the latter is … ” in Canada,” according to a publicist. Low-level Gwyneth Paltrow watch in effect for the party (note the building feminist backlash against Gwynnie’s role in Shallow Hal, a film that makes nasty sport of women with weight problems). Meanwhile, our secret role model, former Nanny Fran Drescher , turns up at the Plaza to receive an award at the Gilda’s Club comedy gala.
[ Sidewalks of New York premiere, AMC Theater, 234 West 42nd Street, 7:30 p.m., Bryant Park Grill, by invitation only, 398-2597; Gilda's Club gala, the Plaza, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, 6:30 p.m., 647-9700, ext. 245.]
Battlin’ book parties! Tweed-jacket types, still recovering from last night’s National Book Awards extravaganza, head downtown for a bevy of book parties, where they choose between Gillian Zoe Segal’s New York Characters (pictures of New Yorkers; party is at the Soho DKNY store with literary poobah George Plimpton, tennis genius John McEnroe, drag queen Lady Bunny ), or, a bit further downtown in the meatpacking district, Gwendolen Cates’ Indian Country (pictures of Native Americans; celebrate with one-man-party omnibus and hair personality Morgan Entrekin ). Easier crash mark: the Soho reception for XS Libris , an exhibit of miniature books from the collection of Neale M. Albert , including a 4,000-year-old Babylonian clay tablet and the world’s smallest book (0.9 millimeters). Mr. Albert, a mergers-and-acquisitions lawyer by day, presides over a Miniature Book Society with about 400 members, including his wife Margaret. “She’s not as crazy as I am,” he said. Every year they gather in a convention-or a ” conclave,” as it’s known in miniature-book circles-and talk about their curious hobby. It all started when Mr. Albert (who is also, naturally, a dollhouse enthusiast ) was trying to fill the teeny-weeny shelves inside a replica of the library at Cliveden House , the manor outside of London where the Profumo political scandal took place. Asked to explain his obsession, he said simply, “There’s something about small.”
[ New York Characters , DKNY, 420 West Broadway, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 971-5420; Indian Country , Chinghalle, 50 Gansevoort Street, 6 p.m., by invitation only, 614-7900; XS Libris , Visionaire Gallery, 11 Mercer Street, 5 p.m., 274-8959.]
The non–Harry Potter night! Two movies that aren’t Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone : The Simian Line is a Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice –sounding movie about four couples at a Weehawken neighborhood party with a very strange cast (Harry Connick Jr. and William Hurt? Lynn Redgrave and Cindy Crawford?). Meanwhile, The Fluffer is a Boogie Nights –sounding film about a “gay for pay” porn star named Johnny Rebel. Deborah Harry plays a hardened sex-industry professional. ” Boogie Nights was a period piece; our film is more about being within a milieu and assuming that’s normal. It’s just like going to work in the shoe factory -it’s about how mundane it is,” said co-directorWash West,aYorkshire lad who pronounces “fluffer” floofer . “It’s my first mainstream film. It’s nice having a crew; when I worked in porno, I really just shot with my own camera and my own lighting.” We know the feeling. “In a feature film, you’re dealing with a whole load of people, which just makes the process much more complex and much more wonderful. There’s really more similarities than differences between a porn shoot and a mainstream shoot: You have the stars, production, time schedules … there’s a lot of waiting around for that golden moment .”
Why has Manhattan suddenly gone mad for small things? (See “Albert, Neale,” under Thursday). Are we just a bunch of control freaks? Today Great Things in Small Packages , an exhibit of paintings 8 by 10 inches or less, goes on view at the Spanierman Gallery.
[Spanierman Gallery, 45 East 58th Street, 9:30 a.m., 832-0208.]
Don’t Ax, don’t tell! If your boyfriend’s parents are in town, snapping
pictures of ground zero with their digital cams, pianists Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman are pounding out some Brahms and Rachmaninoff -heady Romantic music for these war-torn times …. Meanwhile, it’s still more small stuff at the Sara Meltzer gallery in Chelsea, where Yoko Ono , John Waters (director whom we often mistake for actor-firefighter Steve Buscemi) and William Wegman (strange Weimeraner obsession) are among a passel of artists donating postcard-sized artworks, which are being sold for 50 bucks apiece to benefit an AIDS charity.
[Pianists, Avery Fisher Hall, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 3 p.m., 721-6500; Postcards from the Edge , Sara Meltzer Gallery, 516 West 20th Street, 2 p.m., 627-9855.]
Roberts vs. Roberts: More great big clumps of famous people coming together to do good! Ain’t it grand? At Avery Fisher Hall, they’re clearing out the moist cough drops from yesterday’s Emanuel Ax performance and welcoming Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon and their senior versions (Joanne Woodward, Meryl Streep and Paul Newman ), among others, for a one-time performance of The World of Nick Adams , a concert based on the semi-autobiographical short stories by Ernest Hemingway about a 19-year-old who enlists as a World War I ambulance driver. What it benefits: Mr. Newman’s Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Camps. At the New York Historical Society, as part of that “U.K. with N.Y.” festival that just refuses to end, actor Tony Roberts (big, hirsute guy who had sex with twins in Annie Hall ) M.C.’s a cabaret performance with Natasha Richardson (who seems to be sporting a grunge look recently) and Hayley Mills (our big-cheese editor just got out his spats). What it benefits: families of the British victims of the Sept. 11 attack.
[Hole-in-the-Wall Gang benefit, Avery Fisher Hall, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 7:30 p.m., 573-6933; From Piccadilly to Times Square , New York Historical Society, Central Park West at 77th Street, 6:30 p.m., 924-1434.]
Stephanopoulooza: In the innocent days before Sept. 11 , George Stephanopoulos, the wee former White House special assistant to the President turned big-bucks TV journalist, seemed to pop up everywhere- Good Morning America , gossip columns, street corners-cooing very publicly about his impending nuptials to blonde Alexandra Wentworth (author, The W.A.S.P. Cookbook ). We’re told the blessed interfaith event takes place today (“It is this month” is all his assistant would confirm), so congrats to this year’s answer to Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones! “They are very cute,” said a fellow Observer staffer who saw the happy duo promenading up Third Avenue. “It looks like she has him in the palm of her hand. ” Don’t be shirty with us, fella !
Twenty-four hours till you reenact all your dysfunctional family dramas round the Thanksgiving table …. Or maybe you’re going “independent” this year and having over a few of your friends who are afraid to fly home, in which case break out the DustBuster. Our Precious is on the warpath-says he: “Smoke the hickory chips … proof the yeast for the cloverleaf rolls … put the turkey in a salty brine with some juniper berries.” Don’t even get him started on the cheese board ….