Quack is wack! So what with the dyspeptic economy and everything , there’s been a lot of loose talk about graduate school , but before you do anything foolish , maybe try out that “graduate-school feeling” at a nice symposium ? There will be five solid hours today at the Grolier Club , a hard-core bookish society, about its exhibit Quack, Quack, Quack: The Sellers of Nostrums in Prints, Posters, Ephemera & Books . Speakers include Harvey Young , Ph.D., on the history of quackery in the U.S., and Thomas Horrocks on “Balms, Balsams, & Bitters”-and someone will probably bring up that nettlesome modern-day nostrum: e-mail spam about penis enlargements …. “We have never been able to and never will be able to get rid of quackery, and some of it is rather insidious and terrible,” said exhibit curator William H. Helfand from the dusty Sutton Place spread where he houses his enormous personal collection of quack pharmaceutical ephemera. “I look on eBay, but I gotta restrict it because it can drive you bats. I take 15 or 20 minutes, and then I say, ‘The hell with it.'” That’s the spirit! Incidentally, we’ve noticed that you can pass for “bookish” in New York City by putting on a pair of important little spectacles and showing up at a publication party and never actually reading more than five pages of anything ….
[47 East 60th Street, 2 p.m., 838-6690.]
She wines; McInerney whines: More proof this town is refusing to face grim reality , preferring to plunge with a dramatic kersplash into a giant glass of Gewürztraminer : Esquire ‘s babe wine columnist and former Windows on the World beverage director Andrea Immer has produced a new book, Great Tastes Made Simple: Extraordinary Food and Wine Pairing for Every Palate , where in she writes about how to “discover duxelles,” whip up a basic beurre blanc, etc. Well, Ms. Immer’s name may not be as well-known as House & Garden oenophile Jay McInerney , but at least she’s sparing us her post–Sept. 11 musings, which he is not (the perils of personal Web sites!) … Tonight, the Esky brass throw Ms. Immer a party at the downtown Salvatore Ferragamo store-which reminds us, and we need to find this out quickly: Are boots still in ?
[124 Spring Street, 7 p.m., by invitation only, 649-4049.]
Attack of the blow-dried babes! Yikes ! Catherine Crier ,
the honey-haired Court TV town crier and yummy Emmy winner-or
shameless publicity hussy , depending on how you look at things-gets a party for her new book The Case Against Lawyers: How the Lawyers, Politicians, and Bureaucrats Have Turned the Law into an Instrument of Tyranny-and What We as Citizens Have to Do About It . Yes, the subtitle’s a b*tch, but she’s pulled off the neat feat of securing blurbs from both conservative broadcast bombaster Bill O’Reilly and liberal falconer Robert F. Kennedy Jr . … Meanwhile , a few blocks away, Cosmopolitan editor in chief Kate White -who recently banged out a who dunit on top of putting out a magazine and surely having her share of multiple orgasms-celebrates her November “All About Men” issue, featuring 24 star Kiefer Sutherland and the inevitable “hot chefs” spread (four male models cooking naked with little towels around them) …. We asked Ms. White how she manages to be such a Superwoman. “Gee, that’s so nice of you to say,” she said. “You know, last night I was fixing my daughter a cup of tea, and I leaned over the teapot ’cause I thought it smelled kind of soapy, and the steam burnt the inside of my nose and I thought, ‘I am such … if people knew .’ Ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha! You know, I had scorch marks; I had to put antibiotics on it. And I thought, ‘I must be the only person in the world who has this injury.'” You and Robert Evans , honey! For tonight’s party, Ms. White promised “a lot of great eye candy-a huge number of bachelors are flying in on their own dime, because we just couldn’t afford to bring them all in”-there’s the notorious Hearst penny-pinching for ya. “They’re going to wear their T-shirts from their different states, and we’re going to have some fun ways to go up to them and talk to them and meet them and mingle with them and decide for yourself what kind of a bachelor they really are.” And elsewhere in magazineland, Condé Nast Traveler is having a 15th-anniversary bash; we believe our big-cheese editor put in some time at the glossy, although he hasn’t actually left the continental U.S. since the late 60’s.
[Catherine Crier party, Medi, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 973-2659; Cosmo All About Men party, the Whiskey at the W Hotel, 1567 Broadway, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 649-3316; Condé Nast Traveler party, Powerhouse at the American Museum of Natural History, 7 p.m., by invitation only, 286-4578.]
“I’m a people-pleaser,” said pint-sized chanteuse Kristin Chenoweth , whom we found prone
in her Upper West Side one-bedroom, felled “like a big ol’ dork” by a sore throat, body achesanda
temperatureof 102. “I just really have not stopped in six months, and it’s just caught up with me.” She recently got back from performing in England, and she said, “I didn’t really want to come back! I loved it, I loved it …. The British people really embraced the show, and everywhere you looked they had shepherd’s pie.” She’s gearing up ( rrrrr) for 2003’s Wicked , a Wizard of
Oz spinoff based on Gregory Maguire’s fine novel, which sympathizes with the Wicked Witch and brands Glenda the Good Witch a b*tch ; she plays the latter. “It’s a big ol’ show,” she said. That reminds us, we wanna get some nice house seats for Nora Ephron’s forthcoming musical about Mary McCarthy and Lillian Hellman! But anyway, tonight Ms. Chenoweth is going to pick herself up and belt out some standards for Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. “I have an album out,” she said. “Plug, plug, plug!” You got it!
[John Jay College Theatre, 899 10th
Avenue, 8 p.m., 721-6500.]
Birds and bees: literally ! The New York Public Library has taken to hosting a lot of glitzy movie-
premiere parties of late, but by day it’s still a library, and today they show Urban Neighbors: Images of New York City Wildlife , which is ostensibly about pigeons, squirrels, beaver pelts, etc., but which we interpret as a subtle if necessary slap to that ridiculous new Museum of Sex -when sex needs a museum, you know something with sex these days is very, very wrong ….
[Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, 10 a.m., 930-0501 for group-tour information.]
Critics on the verge of a nervous breakdown! And heck, can you blame ‘em? That great big mess of sold-out moviemaking magic, the New York Film Festival , finally winds things up tonight with Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her -the plot is convoluted, but involves a female bullfighter being gored (the picture drew some ire from animal-rights protesters in Spain, so leave the beaver pelts at home) …. Preceding it will be Play with Me , a short film by Dutchwoman Esther Rots , in which a young woman is pulled along the calm current of a bucolic summer day when, suddenly, a wave of unresolved emotions rises to the surface, changing everything. That happened to us once!
[Avery Fisher Hall, 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, 8:30 p.m., 721-6500.]
Me and my gala! It’s Columbus Day, and personally, that makes us feel like sawing into a piece of dry filet for a good cause , but the lone organization brave enough to hold a benefit is the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. “It’s a long story-a bunch of scheduling conflicts,” said someone in the development office. “A benefactor ticket is $1,000, a patron ticket is $750, a sponsor ticket is $500, and a junior ticket is $200, but that’s really for age 30 and under.” Phew -just under the wire! We’ll break out the smocks and chalks with our artsy pals Flora and Sidney Biddle and Leila and Henry Luce III ….
[8 West Eighth Street, 7 p.m. cocktails, dinner and dancing to follow, 477-9972.]
Think Pink ! Which is to say the paunchy pop star , not the pretty color-though there should be plenty of that, too, as controversially catsuit-clad U.S. Open star Serena Williams and silly fop Hugh Grant hit the VH1/ Vogue fashion awards , hosted by Debra Messing , star of Will and Grace (a show that women dating clunky-shoed closet cases really dig). If you haven’t gotten your crash chops yet, try the opening night of Betty Rules , an Off Broadway “alterna-musical” about a band called Betty fronted by three ladies. “It’s basically the story of our band and our friendship over the last 17 years, the ups and downs of our wild but not so famous life,” said guitarist Elizabeth Ziff , who’s in her late 30’s. “Mothers really love it. It’s feminist, it’s fun, it’s sexual -it’s the rock ‘n’ roll life. We all had our little drug problems, but none of us were ever major junkies . It would be a really great HBO series, I think. We’ve never been a household name, but we’ve had cult status , and we’ve been able to see at the top without really being there. What it really is about is, how do you deal with success and still enjoy your life and still be creative? Basically, what is success? Is it what people tell you that it is, which is fame and all that, or is it just continuing to create with people you care about?” What’s the name of your band again?
[VH1/ Vogue Fashion Awards, Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, 9 p.m., by invitation only, 846-7800; Betty Rules opening, Zipper Theater, 336 West 37th Street, 8 p.m., 239-6200.]
Sela sells! Every paunchy 40-year-old male’s favorite fantasy woman -actress Sela Ward , star of the tragically canceled Once and Again -signs copies of her memoir, Homesick , at Barnes & Noble! Bonus dirty excerpt! “There he was, lying spread-eagled on the floor, wearing nothing but a leather and metal contraption around his privates.” Janice Dickinson, move over !
[600 Fifth Avenue, 1 p.m., 765-0592.]
Art quells: If you already feel overly jazzed by autumn’s mad embrace, cool out with an Art Walk tonight in the swish 10021 ZIP code -visit various galleries with work by Roy Lichtenstein , some 19th-century plaster casts, and modern sculpture from one of our own: Observer publisher Arthur Carter!
[Stops include Salander-O’Reilly Gallery, 20 East 79th Street, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 1018 Madison Avenue, 5:30 p.m., call 721-5350 for map.]