Smooth operator sat Elaine’s tonight -just like it’s the late 90’s!-as big, smooth ABC prez David Westin and Hyperion books president Bob Miller co-host a serious tough-guy book party for 20/20 correspondent and snappy dresser John Miller (the fella who crouched with Osama bin Laden back when everyone else was reporting on Bill Gates) and magazine writer–Hamptons fixture Michael Stone. Their book, The Cell , is about the plot behind Sept. 11 and the failures of the F.B.I., C.I.A., etc. Hey, remember The Cell , that Jennifer Lopez movie? And does anyone else think it was a serious mistake for Ms. Lopez to bob her hair?
[1703 Second Avenue, 6 p.m., by invitation only, 456-0188.]
Britney (Spears) backlash: This backlash has been slowly gaining momentum since late spring, when Ms. Spears’ videos went from kind of catchy to truly squirmy and appalling ; it reaches a climax tonight in Bryant Park (just a few hops from Ms. Spears’ flash-in-the-pan restaurant Nyla) , as comic actress Amy Sedaris hosts a screening of a New Orleans jazz-festival concert film , followed by an actual concert from the anti-Britney, folksy-soulful India. Arie (we love you, doll, but lose the pretentious dot between your names). “The park’s going to be decorated and decked out and very colorful,” said an excited publicist. “We’re handing out glow necklaces and Mardi Gras beads.” Relax, please-we don’t need all this spectacle!
[Bryant Park, 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, 7:30 p.m., 413-5478.]
Couple writes naughty book! Just when you’d forgotten all about tweedy scrump couple Colin and Kathryn Harrison , heeeere come Jill Robinson (wrote about her alcoholism and amnesia in Perdido, Bed/Time/Story ) and her husband Stuart Shaw (a Brit, Air Force man) to plug the gap! They’re two sixtysomethings living in London who have fashioned a memoir of their sunset love, replete with passages like: “She fled into the spare bedroom and I pursued her, threw her onto the bed, tore off her panties, and made love to her. No. Wrong. I didn’t make love to her or for me. I f*cked her. And I f*cked her again … defiant animal f*cking.” British men are such tigers …. We called the heaving pair in London, where they live and are mounting their memoir as a play(!), and they told us about how Martha Stewart catered their wedding-her first catering job. “We were at a dinner party at Lynn Nesbit’s house in the country,” said Ms. Robinson, “and Martha said, ‘I’m thinking of starting a little catering business, just something local,’ and we were a little bit anxious because we couldn’t imagine Martha-who was this really sort of elegant businesswoman-doing the kind of wedding we wanted, which was a cowboy wedding. Well, she did this amazing panorama of basic, wonderful New England dishes, bales of hay, the most divine cornbread. She was wearing a calico dress, and she had this adorable hair pulled back in kind of like a western style-she reminded me of one of the great pioneers like Narcissa Whitman -and she gave us an incredible deal on the whole thing. We love Martha.” Ride ‘em, cowgirl! And don’t stop ridin’ till you reach Mexico, out of range of the S.E.C. sheriff!
[Jill Robinson and Stuart Shaw read at Barnes & Noble, Broadway and 82nd Street, 7:30 p.m., 362-8835.]
Ha-ha-Hamptons! Comic Todd Barry and others perform at the opening night of the Hamptons Comedy Festival, which benefits the fight against prostate, breast and ovarian cancers …. Meet your M.C., Laura Slutsky, 50, freshly Botoxed and loving it! “When I started, a man said, ‘You’re too pretty to be funny,'” she said. “Now I’m 50-holy shit! Age is fascinating. It’s so cultural. We want to get older, and then-what can I say? Take care of your skin, no matter what. The M.C. is the Energizer Bunny: ‘How are you doing, let’s keep the spirit up, don’t go on too long, it’s not about me, it’s about the show.’ I’m not going to say everybody is my favorite friend-I never met some of these people-but I’m going to get to know their needs and wants. I love doing that. I’m Mother Earth- I’m very maternal.”
[Rocco a la Playa, 21 West Water Street, Sag Harbor, 7 p.m., 631-725-7500.]
Movie date night! Grab your gal or fella and head to the movies tonight , thanking the heavens you’re not out in the Hamptons with the striving, small-headed C-listers …. There’s illegally parking Gwyneth (in Possession ) , illegally poaching Winona (in Simone ) and some straitlaced German actress in Mostly Martha – not a strange amalgam of the Mostly Mozart festival, with its petulant, striking musicians, and the Martha Stewart scandal, but the tale of a persnickety chef who suddenly has to take care of her 8-year-old niece. Expect also many scenes of her rolling around with an Italian sous-chef. We spoke to director Sandra Nettelbeck on the afternoon before her big premiere party with Gourmet magazine (not invited, hel- lo !). “I’m going to meet Ruth Reichl-I’ve heard she’s a legend!” she said. “We’re going to get great food afterwards at Union Pacific; Rocco what’s-his-name is cooking …. I love food, I’m completely obsessed with it …. I think that chefs are very strange, fascinating, obsessive people.” And he makes a yummy sandwich, too!
Saturday 17 th
Striking out in East Hampton: Grease up your mitts and cork your bats for the Artists & Writers Softball Game, which started as a charming game of catch between Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock (or so legend has it) and now has completely devolved into a big, gawking, ambition – soaked hoo-hah witha corporatesponsor (French’s mustard) and standard-issue Hamptons celebrities like Alec BaldwinandRoy Scheider ; boob-flashing actress Kristin Davis throws out the first pitch. Then shower off for the big fancy Hamptons premiere of Igby Goes Down , this year’s Royal Tenenbaums , starring Kiernan Culkin (Macauley’s brother) as a sarcastic 17-year-old boy at odds with his weirdo upper-crust family. Susan Sarandon, who just looks better and better, is also in it. Other reasons to go to the bash: Eric Bogosian is supposed to show; also, David Bouley is in charge of the clambake afterwards! Good eating!
[Artists & Writers Softball Game, Herrick Park, East Hampton, 3 p.m., 973-744-0707; Igby Goes Down screening, United Artists Theater, 43 Hill Street, 7 p.m., Bouley
clambake to follow, 917-351-8600.]
Frankly, my dear: Here we swelter, but we continue to entertain dreams of donning an eyelet smock and installing ourselves at that verdant idyll, the Macdowell Colony in New Hampshire, where we’ll plot out the next Lovely Bones , a tumbler of gin and tonics by our side …. Today, those Macdowell poobahs give American postwar photographer Robert Frank a medal, serve a box lunch, and open their grounds for
inspection to the grimy public …. Meanwhile, back in the city, 1,400-odd type-A personalities with well-developed quads and underserviced spouses encase themselves in sleek neoprene gear for the N.Y.C. Triathalon.
[Macdowell Colony presentation, 100 High Street, Peterborough, N.H., picnic, 1 p.m., open studios to follow, 800-308-3392; Triathalon, swim starts at the 79th Street boat basin, 6:30 a.m., 375-2477.]
But of Kors! If the Barneys warehouse sale makes you cross and itchy , try the junior version down the street: the Find outlet sale! Last chance today! “Honestly, a lot of people come here from the Barneys warehouse sale, and they get really happy all of a sudden,” said Ingrid DeGranier, who owns the joint with her boyfriend. “People over there are waiting in line for an hour to check out a pair of shoes that are still $200. Lemme tell you, we have $10 bins overflowing, $5 bins toppling , we have racks- $39 and under, $29 and under-we have Michael Kors silk tank tops, and arriving in 10 minutes we have the most beautiful matte jersey dresses, like they wear in InStyle .”
[361 West 17th Street, noon, 243-3177.]
More highbrow softball fun! The humorless stiffs at The New York Times go up against the glamourpusses of The New Yorker ! We hear from a top-secret source that New Yorker writer Rick Hertzberg arrives on a quaint old black bicycle (cue Wizard of Oz “Wicked Witch” theme here), wobbling ostentatiously across the field as he makes his arrival, and uses a wooden rather than an aluminum bat-thus showing that his interest in the game is literary . Apparently, the source tells us, he also fancies himself a pitcher -or ” twirler ,” in the 19th-century parlance. But will soon-to-be-married media couple Tad Friend ( New Yorker ) and Amanda Hesser ( Times ) show up, swinging a basket between them containing a $100 picnic?
[7 p.m., North Meadow, Central Park.]
Hug a firefighter! Thirty bucks gets you unlimited beer and wine at the FDNY Steuben Association’s Firefighters, Nurses & Friends boat ride on the Circle Line. Got that? Good.
[Pier 83, West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue, 7 p.m., 718-434-9803.]