How’re ya liking August? It’s turning out to be rather a creepy, unnerving month, isn’t it? You’ve got sad, disoriented whales washing up on Cape Cod beaches (no doubt confused by George Bush’s environmental non-policy ); our cat Bartholomew flopping like a beached whale on the living-room carpet and staring at us reproachfully; and out on the hot streets of Manhattan, men acting like pigs snarfling in a trough! Playwright Rebeca Ramirez , 27, confronts the latter issue in her play Catcall , whichopens tonight. “Even if a woman iswearinga miniskirt and part of her flesh is hanging out, I still don’t feel she should be harassed,” said Ms.Ramirez,who movedherefrom Orange County, Calif., five years ago (there’s apparently less harassment there, mostly becausenobody walksanywhere) and favors a simple summer uniform of tank top and pants . “There have been times when I have thought, ‘ Oh, I’m going to get compliments,soI won’t wear this . ‘” Meanwhile,he spidery gals at Vogue have acquiesced to a benefit for the rain forest in the Central Park boathouse, so put on a Yves St. Laurent leopard-printed caftan and join Kristin Davis (purse-mouthed, boob-flashing Sex and the City actress and gal pal of tub-bucket Alec Baldwin) and Rachel Dratch (funny female member of the Saturday Night Live cast).
[ Catcall , Ohio Theater, 66 Wooster Street, 7 p.m., 307-1118; rain-forest benefit, the Central Park Boathouse, East 72nd Street and Park Drive North, 7 p.m., 286-2606.]
Sous far, sous good: We all know that Manhattan is filled with celebrity chefs banging away at pots and pans and adoring groupies -but what about those unsung underlings, the sous-chefs , who are left sweatily chopping the onions while the celebrities swan about the city? A panel of gourmets with far too much time on their hands has chosen 10 sous-chefs to receive a plaque and a big case of Bertoli olive oil (Yes! Yesss !) tonight up in Tarrytown. We scrutinized the list of winners, found no New Yorkers among their number, and asked a panel judge, cookbook author Lauren Groveman , why. “I feel that chefs in New York are too busy competing with each other being flashy,” she said. “They push the button so far.” Now let’s not bring the groupies into this …
[Lyndhurst Historic Property, Tarrytown,
7 p.m., 914-631-4481.]
Who said being a magazine editor is easy? Just ask Betsy Carter , who swashbuckled her way through the Manhattanmedia ( Newsweek , Esquire , New York Woman ) only to find out that her husband of 17 years was gay -he had seemed a little meticulous …. After which, her house burned down and other terrible things happened-from page 123: “His penis bobbed up and down in the water like a mackerel.” She explains it all to you in a new memoir, Nothing to Fall Back On: The Life and Times of a Perpetual Optimist (Hyperion). Bonus excerpt about life at Newsweek in the early 1970’s: ” The men were the writers, and we were their acolytes , there to pick up their lunches, take their phone messages, and do all the grunt work so that they could spin their magic at the end of the week. In this man’s world, there was also a sense of sexual entitlement. Lines were crossed all the time. One Saturday afternoon … a senior writer-a man I’d barely ever talked to-walked by, leaned over, and kissed the back of my neck. It was a soft enough kiss to make me start sweating.” We’ve come a long way, haven’t we, baby? Tonight, Ms. Carter has a top-secret book party in someone’s private home on the Upper East Side. No word yet on if they’re serving mackerel. For a fun party game, go around and see if anyone can remember a single story that appeared in Talk magazine ….
The real minority report: HBO repents for its lily-white and increasingly tepid Bryant Park film series with the Urbanworld Film Festival. The festival has an African-American focus, with what the publicists at HBO call “Latin and Asian sidebars.” Meanwhile, well-meaning Brown “theater studies” graduates collar their acquaintances for one of the 16 musicals, 20 dance pieces or 14 solo (shudder) shows at the International Fringe Festival , starting today with offerings like Sleepers , a short play about two guys who meet while masturbating ; scores of female actresses stripping down to their knickers in game attempts at “free expression”; and former Who’s the Boss sitcom star Danny Pintauro as poet Allen Ginsburg in Beat . “It’s the period of his life when all the Beat poets were just beginning to figure out they were Beat poets,” said Mr. Pintauro. “This is the young, fresh-faced, what-does-it-mean-to-liveAllen Ginsburg. But it’s not a play that’s completely in the world, if you will. It’s not just a flimsy play; it’s really intellectual and smart .” Maybe they can get Leonardo DiCaprio for the movie version, especially if he doesn’t lose that excess flab.
Nice cheap benefit in the Hamptons! So sometimes famous people just don’t want to go to another benefit (can you blame them?)-especially out in the Hamptons, where the crowd is thick and smelly with ambition-and so they send a little something of themselves … like a plate they designed! Isn’t that darling? Alec Baldwin came up with a lovely yellow plate with confetti-like trim, and Yoko Ono did a very simple and tasteful one. Tonight, these and other plates are auctioned off at a winery in Bridgehampton to benefit the Retreat , a worthy domestic-violence charity. Apparently, attempts to find the broken crockery that Hillary hurled at Bill were unsuccessful ….
[Channing Daughters Winery, 1927 Scuttle Hole Road, Bridgehampton, 6 p.m., 631-329-4398.]
In the early 1990’s, when glasnost and perestroika were hot , everybody would go to Prague their junior year, eat a lot of fried food , read half of a Milan Kundera novel , sleep with women who smelled like cabbage , spend Mommy and Daddy’s money , and come home with insufferable Eastern European inflections and terrible first novels …. Now we’re at war (sort of) and the kids have moved on to Iceland , or maybe somewhere else, but the Jewish Museum is plowing ahead with The City of K.: Franz Kafka and Prague , an exhibit divided into 12 Kafkaesque environments ( uh-oh ): an “endless office” section with filing cabinets, café tables for the “intellectual” room, etc. … Sounds very high-concept! Then if you want a real Kafka experience , go downtown and try out for MTV’s new installment of Making the Band (you have to be at least 18 and able to sing and dance), starring P. Diddy. “He will be there personally ,” a publicist assured us … so don’t bring Ben Affleck!
[ The City of K. , Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, 10 a.m., 423-3200; Making the Band tryouts, Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street, 10 a.m., http://www.mtv.com.
Two weeks till the U.S. Open! Our personal tennis hero, Pete Sampras, turns 31 (or “thirty-wonderful”) today , probably waking up next to his blond actress wife and worrying about his creaking bones-hang in there, buddy! Meanwhile, in town , Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo , 15 fellows who have been dressing up for years in sequined tutus and flouncing feathers, perform a new version of Don Quixote . Is it just us , or are drag queens getting kind of old?
[U.S. Open, 1-866-OPEN-TIX; Les Ballets Trockadero, Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, 8 p.m., 242-0800.]
More Czech stuff! Boni Pueri, the Czech Boys Choir (see photo-aren’t they angelic?), are coming to town to sing some Gregorian chants. Also, in three days it will be the 25th anniversary of Elvis dying! Meet someone who cares: singer-songwriter David Michael Spear , who will buckle on something spangly and perform a song called “Elvis Movie” at Planet Hollywood today. “I was in Nashville; I had a girlfriend out there and she wanted to be a big star, and she moved away to Hollywood , so I was there by myself, just like any guy with a broken heart, going to the local bar where most of the musicians hung out. But it was really weird, because it was Elvis Night, and my ex-girlfriend loved Elvis-so I thought it was, like, a joke on me! ” Mr. Spear said. If you really wanna see this guy, you’re gonna have to track him down yourself, folks-the heat has sucked our puissance away today ….
[Czech Boys Choir, Christ & St. Stephen's Church, 122 West 69th Street, 8 p.m., 288-0830; David Michael Spear-oh, forget it.]
Still have the shopping mojo? Brava , you are made of stronger stuff than we! And you’re not superficial-you’re helping the economy …. That big, delightful sweater bin of capitalism called the Barneys Warehouse Sale begins tomorrow, which means there is probably some sort of secret, private preview event tonight , but our beloved colleague, poobah Simon Doonan -who also toils for Barneys as their top window man-is off finishing his book on wacky chicks and cavorting with glamorous people in the Hamptons. Use your sunscreen, Simon!
[255 West 17th Street, 593-7800.]