Editors at the bat! Phew , only one month left to go in this most fetid, unpleasant season -that’s precisely one month remaining of ghastly faux-hippie milkmaid blouses , pert nipples on parade everywhere you turn and tarry rooftop barbecues , with our Precious fiercely manning the piña colada blender …. But you haven’t survived summer unless you’ve survived the swish-macho, careerist spectacle that is a Condé Nast softball game! Tonight the girlie-men of Details , still reeling from last year’s humiliating loss to Esquire , take on the paunchy sell-outs of Vanity Fair (after the game, everyone, with forced heartiness and spontaneity, repairs to an Upper West Side “dive bar”). Despite recent back problems, Details editor in chief Dan Peres is definitely going-he’s prone to turning cartwheels in center field, according to a staffer-but VF editor in chief Graydon Carter is still undecided. “If he goes, he plays,” said one of his terse assistants.
[Field 1, North Meadow, enter at 97th Street and Central Park West and follow path to left; bring Ho-Hos!]
Chocolat , Part Deux! Still more proof that a) New York is Wonkatown, and b) French people are basically taking over the city: At the Film Forum-the other trustyfallback of summer-it’s Merci Pour le Chocolat , starring sultry ingenue and Liv Tyler look-alike Anna Mouglalis . The plot involves a dead concert pianist, a suspicious family and nightly draughts of hot Swiss Miss. Hey, didn’t the sweethearts at Miramax already come out with one of those food-is- so -erotic movies about chocolate, starring Juliette Binoche? Speaking of Tina Brown , memo to our boss: Why don’t you ever offer to pay us
$1 million to go away?
[209 West Houston Street, 727-8110.]
Outdoor-Shakespeare alert in full blast tonight in Central Park as the New York Classical Theater -buoyed, perhaps, by the mixed reviews of Julia Stiles tossing her bob and careening like a skateboarder into Twelfth Night -does a “moving” version of The Taming of the Shrew … moving in the sense that the actors run 50 feet or so to each successive scene, and the audience has to chase them! Fun ! Director Stephen Burdman called from a rehearsal, where a woman had just collapsed from heat exhaustion. “Sometimes unsuspecting people will walk right into the middle of the play, but that gives it flavor,” he said over wailing ambulance sirens. “You should wear comfortable walking shoes. Some people like to bring bug spray . It’s a really bawdy and physical production: no nudity, but lots of physical comedy- slaps and smacks and whacks . We get a lot of homeless people ; we get teens who are just hanging out in the park; and, of course, the regular Upper West Side audience …. Oh, God-the heat is tremendous. ” Elsewhere in the Park: Your AOL Time Warner stock may be in the toilet, but the media conglomerate sallies forth with its “Let’s put a brave face on it” public concerts nonetheless! Asher Fisch conducts the crowd-pleasing William Tell Overture (Rossini), plus Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1. Ever notice how these concerts in the park are packed with hordes of suspiciously well-rested, well-groomed, good-looking people whom one never sees anywhere else in the city … ?
[ Taming of the Shrew , meet at 97th Street and Central Park West, 7 p.m., 252-4531; New York Philharmonic, Great Lawn, 8 p.m., fireworks to follow, 875-5709.]
Sondheimlich maneuver! “Stop the presses!” said our big-cheese editor after coming back from a late lunch with David Gest. Tonight’s big event is a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together , last seen on Broadway with Carol Burnett . Proceeds go to the Henry Street School of Music. “It’s kind of a sequel to Side by Side by Sondheim ,” said director and actor Josh Carr. “It’s a pretty sophisticated evening-lots of sexual tension. I play a lawyer.”
[466 Grand Street, 8 p.m., 598-0400, ext. 212.]
Gimme shelter magazines! It seems the entirety of East Hampton is tiptoeing through the tulips today, beginning with the New York Botanical Garden’s House Beautiful Pool-Hopping Tour, a kind of nose-pressed-up-against-the-glass benefit that begins with lunch, followed by a tour of famous people’s pools and gardens -whose, they’re not telling, apparently fearing some kind of mass stampede. ( We’d settle for Burt Lancaster in his tight swim trunks.) … Later, the LongHouse Reserve, an arts organization with playwright Edward Albee on its board, throws a benefit with a complicated Elizabethan-slash-African-dance theme …. “We’ll frolic in the garden,” said publicist Barbara Graham. “There will be 10 different kinds of entertainers-kind of Midsummer Night’s Dream . We’re going to have a Lichtenstein print at the auction, and a Japanese wedding kimono.” Reason to brave this evening of mixed semiotic signals: Cindy Sherman , the favorite artist of Radcliffe women’s studies majors everywhere, will be there to present an award to dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones.
[ House Beautiful Pool-Hopping Tour, lunch, Maidstone Arms, East Hampton,
1 p.m., followed by tour of pools and gardens, 3 p.m., champagne reception, 6 p.m., 718-817-8774; LongHouse Reserve, East Hampton, 6 p.m., 631-329-3568.]
Two reasons to stay indoors, safe in the belly of your gym, with the people mindlessly climbing andstriding and bouncing to nowhere: Lance Armstrong, undaunted by that sillybikeracein France, joins mustachioed baseball player Keith Hernandez for a one-mile “celebrity chase” on bikes, which leads up to the New York City cycling championship (the championship itself is 62.5 miles), proceeds going to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center …. Meanwhile, nearby, 50-odd participants dive into the Hudson ( kersplash ) in Battery Park City for a mile-long race to North Moore Street , where they’ll be regarded with skepticism by Tribecans on their way to senseless waiting lines at Bubby’s . What it benefits: N.Y.C.’s Learn to Swim program, and the cleaning and protection of N.Y.C.’s rivers! Incidentally, did you know there are eight million slithery sea bass in the Hudson River-more than there are people in New York City?
[Cycling championship, best viewing is at intersection of Wall and Water streets, 8 a.m., 866-4CYCLING; Park to Park One-Miler, South Cove, Battery Park City, 2:45 p.m., 888-NYC-SWIM.]
Elephants in Southampton! And we’re not talkin’ Alec Baldwin! The old-school Clyde Beatty–Cole Bros. Circus -which is less Manhattan-hipster than the Big Apple Circus-raises its tent in unsuspecting Southampton early this morning with three elephants -Tina is 9,000 pounds, Bessie is 8,000 pounds and Jewel is 7,000-all of whom receive monthly pedicures! “Their nails are fascinating; each one is the size of my hand,” said circus vice president Renée Storey. “It’s very important to monitor their ankle measurements to see if they’ve gained weight …. Elephants have a sweet tooth, so we have to be careful that they don’t overdo it on marshmallows.” Meanwhile, actor and alleged orange-food-lover Billy Bob Thornton turns 47 today, and let’s just say we can’t imagine which Hollywood starlet will be his next wife-the Olson twins?
[Circus, Elks Lodge Grounds, North Highway and County Road 39, Southampton, 888-332-5600.]
Peretz the thought! Al Gore’s pally-wally Marty Peretz may be growing disenchanted with The New Republic , but his peppy kids Evgenia ( Vanity Fair ) and Jesse (former Lemonhead) bop on! Tonight, the latter premieres his new movie, The Chateau , inspired by his experiences living and working “abroad” in France without really mastering the language. Young Mr. Peretz was apparently “swamped in L.A.” and wouldn’t consent to an interview, but we gleaned from production notes that the film is about two American brothers -one played by the adorable Paul Rudd (Alicia Silverstone’s stepbrother in Clueless )-who travel to France to claim an unexpected inheritance and find a lot of surly, unhelpful frogs …. There’s a sexy maid, of course , and a lot of cell-phone jokes … but if Gérard Depardieu doesn’t get a cameo as an aging, disenchanted French circus clown, we ain’t goin’, mister!
[Screening, Chelsea West, 333 West 23rd Street, 7 p.m., party to follow, Man Ray,
147 West 15th Street, by invitation only, 869-7233.]
Foggy Botton! This special Euro edition of the Huit-Jour Week concludes with a reading by Alain De Botton , kind of an advanced Swiss version of Thomas Beller who earned scores of pallid female devotees with his relationship novels On Love , The Romantic Movement , Kiss & Tell … then lost them forever when he decided to go “highbrow” with How Proust Can Change Your Life . Here’s a special bonus dirty-or sale -excerpt from his new book, The Art of Travel ! “Her mound, warmer than her stomach, heated me like a hot iron …. ” Whoops , he’s just quoting that horny sailor Flaubert. Zut alors , these postmoderns ….
[Lenox Hill Bookstore, Lexington Avenue at 73rd Street, 6:30 p.m., 472-7170.]