May 29 – June 5, 2002
MoMA vs. SOFA: It’s a pitched battle of the acronymed arts organizations tonight as the Sculpture
Objects & Functional Art’s opening-night preview gala summons everything it can muster against the Museum of Modern Art’s famous, tinkly Party in the Garden . Under normal circumstances,we’d be plumping for the former-but MoMA mojo is a little weak right now, since its whole operation is picking up, plunking down in Queens in a month, and not reopening in Manhattan until 2005 … at which point, God knows where any of us will be. Indeed, this alleged Party in the Garden is taking place downtown and indoors in the Altman Building-proceeds will go for restoration, so it’s really more of a Party for a Garden, not to nit-pick or anything! Go ahead, plunk down $1,500 and try to conjure up a pastoral spirit with your buddies the Biddles, the Bronfmans, the Kieselstein-Cords, the Lauder sisters, the Rockefellers, a smattering of princesses and the odd “wild card” guest, like record-label mogul David Geffen or Weimeraner molester William Wegman …. In the SOFA gala’s favor: It costs about a 10th of the MoMA thing, it benefits the folksy underdog American Craft Museum , and the theme of the evening (catered by about 40 area restaurants) is “The Art of the Sandwich,” which aptly describes the sexual proclivities of a certain “hot” chef we know ….
[MoMA Party in the Garden, Altman Building, Metropolitan Pavilion, 135 West 18th Street, cocktails 7 p.m., dinner and dancing to follow, 708-9680; SOFA, Seventh Regiment Armory, Park Avenue and 67th Street, 7 p.m., 956-3535, ext. 112.]
One more author who can comport himself just fine sans media coach (and thanks to Gay Talese for pointing this out) is Oscar Hijuelos , gentle author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love . Tonight, HarperCollins staffers gamely attempt a rumba at the publication party for Mr. Hijuelos’ new novel, A SimpleHabana Melody(FromWhenthe World Was Good ), about a Cuban composer’s post–World War II nostalgia. Bonusdiscreetly dirty excerpt from page 101: ” … she had wanted to wrap her arms around him-no easy task-and to find within the voluminous expanses of his white linen trousers that male animal, which, as she had imagined and as rumor had it, was a marvel …. ” Memo to self: purchase white linen trousers for Precious, post haste ….
[Pace Wildenstein gallery, 32 East 57th Street, 6 p.m., by invitation only, 421-8987.]
Mother, Meyer? It’s practically summer, which is the time when our “enlightened” editor (off on his annual Buddhist retreat, where he lays off the Kiehl’s and maintains a beatific expression for an entire week) starts to demand that we put ” more sexy chicks – pronto !” in this space, so here ya go, buddy: an exhibit of Russ Meyer’s photographs of big-breasted women , selling for $1,700 to $4,000 a pop. You remember Mr. Meyer, the randyfellow (now 80 and rattling around California somewhere) who directed Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill! and Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens , movies which Radcliffe do-me feminists in torn fishnets love to proclaim “secretly subversive” …. “I wasn’t that familiar with his films because I’m a wholesome kind of guy,” said Lance Kinz, gallery director, “but when I mention it to women, they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah , Russ Meyer.’ It’s weird. He was obsessed with photographing well-endowed women, He just took photographs for all these decades of big-breasted babes-four of them, I guess, being his former wives .” Is old Russ still married? “No, he’s available!”
[Feigen Gallery, 535 West 20th Street, 6 p.m., 929-0500.]
Give till it Hearst: If you’re not totally spent, as it were, by yesterday’s Party in a Garden that was not in a garden, here’s yet more socialite fun! Clothing designer, neatnik and secret “wild woman” Carolina Herrera and hubby chair the Wildlife Conservation Society’s “Penguins and Pearls Gala” in the Central Park Zoo, where one of our favorite fellow Observer staffers likes to go at lunch time to smoke weed and contemplate the grim fate of the polar bears. Tonight, if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll “clean up,” put on his evening clothes and join Amanda Hearst, Gillian Hearst-Shaw and Lydia Hearst-Shaw (anyone else suddenly feel a bit hot and stifled, as if trapped in a Jane Austen novel?) .
[Central Park Zoo, Fifth Avenue and 64th Street, 6:30 p.m., 718-220-5090.]
“The buzz is over here, big time,” said someone we briefly mistook for Tina Brown but was, in fact, Melaina Ulino, “director of wellness” at Down Time Day Spa, which opens tonight in ( no … it can’t be! ) Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with champagne, hors d’oeuvres and sample treatments. ” It’s an area that really needs a spa ,” said Ms. Ulino, clearly unprepared for Williamsburg’s huffy, unshowered brigade of anti-gentrificationists. “Everybody can’t wait. They’re going crazy; they can’t wait for it to open. I’ve been here 12-hour days , just getting the place together. It’s a beautiful space; we designed it gorgeous. It’s 2,500 square feet. I still have the basement to fill out, there’s a back yard, there’s going to be a garden back there. We’re going to make it a lot of green-chairs, manicure and pedicure table …. ” Tonight’s demonstrations climax with the dramatic Parafango procedure, dreamed up by some lunatics in Spain. “They heat up the mud and wax, and then they wrap you up in cellophane and then put a thermal blanket on over you, and then you cook for a little bit ,” said Ms. Ulino, dispelling any lingering doubts we hadaboutspas
beingthenew “kinky”nightclubs . Meanwhile, the floating-candle set out in Southampton driftslistlesslyover to Pier One Imports, whichisreopening with 10,000 extra feet, cocktails and a donation to a local summer camp for physically challenged youth.
[Down Time Day Spa opening party, 115 North Seventh Street, 7 p.m., by invitation only, 718-218-9680; Pier One Imports, 54 Montauk Highway, Southampton, 7 p.m., by invitation only, but show up wearing a lampshade and waltz right in, 817-252-8514.]
Gandol- fini ? So is this James Gandolfini from The Sopranos just a lovable, misunderstood bear of a man, or a terrible cad? D*mned if we know-but today the portly actor burnishes his image a bit at the Yankees–Red Sox game, where he’s going to deliver Lou Gehrig’s “I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech …. In other celebrity news, Oscar winner Hilary Swank , the pillow-lipped actress whose husband, Chad Lowe, is starting to seem more and more like a stray appendage, is headed to Easthampton for the Hetrick-Martin’s “School’s Out” ( pun intended ) fund-raising benefit-the institute serves gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning kids, and we all know some of those.
[Yankees, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, 1:15 p.m., 718-293-6000; School's Out! , at the home of Christopher Barley, M.D., and Jonathan Sheffer, 6 p.m., 674-2600, ext. 226.]
Who’s the Toniest of them all? Screwballstrawberry-blonde Bernadette Peters and somewhat M.I.A. hoofer Gregory Hines co-host those blighted Tony Awards , a strange alternate universe in which Sweet Smell of Success -excuse us, but wasn’t this musical universally loathed by everyone except Liz Smith?-is actually up for seven different accolades …. Meanwhile, a choreographer named Emma Hogarth swathes five dancers in white costumes and parades them across the Williamsburg Bridge in Bridge , a “site-specific” number. Hit on the dancers afterwards at a post-performance reception! ” It’s not a very dancey piece, ” said Ms. Hogarth, who is 30 and hails from Australia. “They’re not really running around and doing big dance movements; it’s more of a performance where they’re doing gestures and small movements. At the beginning of the bridge there’s a long ramp, and they walk up the ramp and perform ‘pedestrian’ gestures. ” Here, we call that “walking.”
[Tonys broadcast from Radio City Music Hall, 8 p.m. PBS, 9 p.m. CBS; Bridge , starts at Manhattan entrance to the pedestrian walkway of the Williamsburg Bridge, 6 p.m., 718-388-6084.]
More social fallout from Sept. 11: After losing the big National Magazine Award to Newsweek , Time puffs out its chest and retrenches with a big reminder that, hel- lo , they still have that “Person of the Year” franchise! Welcome to a ” Time Person of the Year” 75th-anniversary multimedia exhibition, with all the collages and CD-ROM’s and misty video tributes that Time Inc.-ers love to put on-these people are like kindergartners with glue guns, really …. Last year’s P.O.Y., Rudy Giuliani, will speak at a private reception tonight, a handy opportunity for Talk/Miramax to flog copies of his new book, Leadership . Meanwhile, more solemnly, Sept. 11 survivor Howard Lutnick holds a benefit auction for the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, with hors d’oeuvres prepared by Union Pacific chef Rocco DiSpirito. It’s a busy night for Mr. DiSpirito, as he’s also overseeing the menu at the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s drastically scaled-back annual awards, where Marc Jacobs will battle Ralph Lauren in both the women’s wear and men’s wear categories . (Grimly, only one of all 13 nominees is a woman.) Listen for almost inaudible hisses as The New York Times ‘ Cathy Horyn steps up to receive the Eugenia Sheppard Award for fashion journalism; a lot of people aren’t pleased about that one.
[ Time Person of the Year at 75, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, 1 Bowling Green, 6 p.m., by invitation only, 522-4655; Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund Benefit Auction, Sotheby's, 72nd Street and York Avenue, 6 p.m., 596-9920; CFDA Awards, Celeste Bartos Forum, Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, 7 p.m., by invitation only, 242-9353.]
Fifi, Fiamma, fo, fum: Lordy, will the barrage of self-congratulatory awards ceremonies ever cease ? Tonight, the hardiest of the fashion flock (see
CFDA, yesterday) pick up their fans and skip over to Lincoln Center for the fluffy FiFi fragrance-industry awards bash, presided over by the very tall Tommy Tune. This year’s alarming theme: “Sounds of Scent,” so get ready for some very odd, high-concept production numbers inspired by Liz Claiborne’s Mambo for Men. What’s weird about tonight is that 95 percent of the people who would be interested in such a spectacle-e.g., InStyle editors-will be stuck downtown picking at antipasto and musing how they’d like to “give it all up and refurbish a villa in Tuscany” as their new editor, Charla Lawhon, throws a book party for Louisa Ermelino’s The Sisters Mallone: Una Storia di Famiglia (the plot: something about the power of Italian sisterhood in 1920′s Hell’s Kitchen). Burp.
[Fifi Awards, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, 6:30 p.m., 822-8162; The Sisters Mallone book party, Fiamma Osteria, 206 Spring Street, third floor, 7 p.m., by invitation only, 522-7347.]
Stalkme: Well, kids, we’re just about out of room, so we’ll just shove in a teensymention of the “Stalks of Spring “asparagus morning meeting
at the Union Square Cafe …. Susie Dare-not a porn star but a lady farmer-is popping in from the Cherry Lane Farm in Bridgeton, N.J., with her fresh young spears , and our Precious is positively quivering in anticipation ….
[21 East 16th Street, 8 a.m., 989-3510, ext. 24.]