Rue or Babalu? Why not both ? For the second year running, we missed out on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting- no big whoop , since it was about 70 degrees out and the sight of Destiny’s Child in fur-trimmed hot pants just doesn’t make us feel very Christmas-like, and also it seems like anytime we go outside these days there are all these people talking way too loudly -as if they’re all cable-TV hosts … Anyway, another tree gets lit tonight as deeply tanned actor George Hamilton and Rue McClanahan (currently starring in The Women -or as some are calling it, The Vagina Dialogues ) flip the switch on a 25-foot-tall white spruce in Duffy Square on Broadway. We found Ms. McClanahan in the Murray Hill duplex she shares with her husband of three years, Morrow Wilson, and a semi-Siamese cat named Bianca . How did she meet her husband? “I was rehearsing a play, and he was helping the producer and the director, and I saw him the third day of rehearsal and that was it for me-and you know he fell in love that very day? And two weeks later he proposed, and we got married Christmas Day of that year, 1997. I had two houses in Los Angeles and a house in Lake Arrowhead that I had to sell; I also had six dogs, but the one cat came with us and she’s very happy- a very talkative cat, just a delightful companion. She eats roses-she loves rose petals.” How’s The Women going? “I have a brand-new costume, I’m glad to say. I’m not wearing that pink monstrosity that made me look like Mae West on a bad day ; I finally talked Isaac [Mizrahi] into building me a beautiful silver two-piece floor-length sheath.” Watch Rue and George illuminate the tree, then crash The New Yorker holiday party a couple of blocks away at Babalu (“Boom-chicka-boom,” says the Zagat guide) and watch as paunchy male editors instruct their camisole-wearing, lissome editorial assistants on the proper way to pronounce ” Nabokov .”
[Broadway holiday tree-lighting, Duffy Square, Broadway and 46th Street, 5:15 p.m., 221-0885; New Yorker holiday party, Babalu, 327 West 44th Street, we’re not sure exactly when, 286-5400.]
By the way, is anyone else besides us tired of men with “fringe-y” haircuts …? Just asking. Anyway, we think we have something figured out about what to do if you can’t afford a big, splashy premiere for your movie: throw a “private” dinner and make d*mned sure Page Six knows about it-tonight’s nosh at Ada, for example, features the cast of a French flick called Brotherhood of the Wolf . “O.K., it’s crazy,” said a publicist through a mouthful of Cool Ranch Doritos. “It’s set during the reign of King Louis XV? And it’s right before the French Revolution? And it’s based on this true story of something ravaging the French countryside, killing predominantly women and children-like scores of them. They think it’s a wolf, but it’s something like really big and scary, so they kill the biggest wolf and parade it around Paris, but the killings are still going on, so it spins out of control. It’s a $30 million film that looks like a $100 million film.” Just pass the Doritos, hon ….
[208 East 58th Street, 8 p.m., by invitation only, 869-7233.]
It’s just not gonna stop, baby ! The holiday juggernaut continues ! First, a passel of women in black leather blazers with faux-earnest expressions hits the New York Women in Film and Television holiday luncheon- Cynthia Nixon, who also stars in The Women , is M.C.-ing. Then there’s a free ornament-making workshop (pine, acorns, twigs) in Central Park-after which, if you’re highbrow, you can hit a reading of Joseph Brodsky’s Nativity Poems (with Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon and Derek Walcott ) at the Guggenheim Museum. If you’re lowbrow, go to Madison Square Garden and see if troubled diva Mariah Carey -just back from wowing the troops in Kosovo!-manages to show up at the Jingle Ball Concert. (We’ll save our secret theory about how Ms. Carey has been driven mad by Jennifer Lopez’s success for another time.)
[New York Women in Film and Television gala holiday luncheon, Grand Ballroom, New York Hilton and Towers, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, 11:30 a.m., 838-6033; Ornament-making workshop, Charles A. Dana Discovery Center and Lenox Avenue Playground, Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, 4:30 p.m., 310-6636; Joseph Brodsky reading, Peter B. Lewis Theater, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, 6:30 p.m., 645-3346; Jingle Ball, Madison Square Garden, 8 p.m., 307-7171.]
If you’re like us and have finally had it with one-man drag-queen shows that bitterly bemoan the holidays, you’ll sincerely appreciate the Greenwich Village Singers’ Christmas celebration tonight, which includes a fervent rendition of Anton Bruckner’s Mass in E minor! It’s that or the eternal dilemma of New York moviegoing: big budget, big stars, shiny and over-promoted (Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky ) versus small budget, medium-star, “colorful” and over-promoted (Ben Stiller in The Royal Tenenbaums ) ; or just throw up your hands and go to the Film Forum-but then you run the risk of bumping into that guy in your office who is like 80 percent a cool guy, but the other 20 percent is irritating beyond belief ….
[Greenwich Village Singers, St. Joseph’s Church, 371 Sixth Avenue, 8 p.m., 642-8176; movies, 777-FILM.]
Save New York’s museums! Head to “safe” Brooklyn , still valiantly trying to be the new Nolita , and spend a measly $125 for the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s holiday party-dinner, dancing and a possible sighting of Manhattan’s cuddliest couple, Travel & Leisure correspondent Tom Beller and Strand-tote-bag-toting actress Parker Posey.
[Brooklyn Museum of Art, 200 Eastern Parkway, 7 p.m., 718-789-2493.]
Miramaxed out! More proof that Sunday is now the new Monday, which was supposedly the new Thursday, which replaced Friday …. The new Meg Ryan movie, Kate & Leopold , has its premiere and a big squishy after-party today! Who says we aren’t a ” showbiz insider”? The plot: A lonely 21st-century executive , played by Ms. Ryan, gets together with a 19th-century bachelor, played by Hugh Jackman -anachronistic high jinks ensue. (Lately, since we’ve been “cocooning,” we’ve had the occasion to review Ms. Ryan’s entire oeuvre on TBS and USA, and all we can say is-that gal sure is perky !)
[Beekman Theater, 65th Street and Second Avenue, 7 p.m., party to follow, Guastavino’s, 59th Street and First Avenue, by invitation only, 869-7233.]
So what if Balthazar is now just a nice place to get a café au lait in the morning? It’s still the brasserie to beat! Tonight another contender, Les Halles Downtown , opens its doors- part way -with a private opening party at its John Street location. Think Brasserie Les Halles with a raw bar- slurp ! You remember rangy executive chef Anthony Bourdain from his enlightening if rather gross book, Kitchen Confidential . We called him, and he told us what we’ve always suspected: Americans don’t eat enough organ meat. “We’re squeamish about silly things,” he said. “We’re a prosperous nation, and we don’t have the same tradition of hooves and snouts and offal-and that’s the good stuff . We try to sneak in as many offal dishes on, you know, shoulders and shanks and things like that.” As for his own culinary adventures, which he chronicles in his new book, A Cook’s Tour : “I didn’t set out to eat nothing but shock food … but when you hear that you could eat a live, still-beating cobra heart in Saigon, it’s something that you don’t want to miss.” That makes one of us, fella.
[15 John Street, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 244-0622.]
Deck the halls with boughs of Molly … Ringwald! The lip-biting actress -who gave ” quirky” girls in vintage clothes some hope in the mid-1980’s before she ruined herself by marrying a French fellow and becoming gamine -takes over from Gina Gershon as Sally Bowles in the cast of Cabaret today. We hear Judd Nelson is next in line ….
[ Cabaret , 254 West 54th Street, 8 p.m., 239-6200.]
If you failed to crash the big New Yorker Babalupalooza a week ago , well, don’t just sit there, woman-pick yourself up, lace on the sensible shoes, and head over to the big Harper’s holiday party in Soho -or is it Nolita?-and make sure to coax cranky editor Lewis Lapham under the mistletoe! (This is not to be confused with the Harper’s Bazaar shindig , silly … for that you’d need snappy shoes, a British passport and a secret password .) … (Our problem is, we’re deep enough to know we’re shallow, and we hate ourselves for it.)
[Rialto, 265 Elizabeth Street, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 420-5744.]