From Miracle on 34th Street to Miramax on 54th Street -yes, that’s how the New York City holiday season mythos has “evolved” over the past half-century …. We hear Harvey Weinstein thundering by in a Santa suit ( ” Ho! Ho! Ho! ” … rumble … rumble … thonk … with Ken Auletta in tights and wee elf shoes carrying his big sack )! Hey, is anyone else ready to declare a complete moratorium on the scabrous studio chief and the mind-numbing hype of his movies until, say, about spring 2003? Tonight is the East Coast premiere of the Miramax film version
of Chicago , with dusky Catherine Zeta-Jones , Renée Zellweger (we think she’s sort of scrunchy, but our big-cheese editor just says she’s “scrumptious, but she’s got nuttin’ on Shirley Bassey!” ) and the almost painfully sexy Richard Gere …. If you can’t crash that (our big-cheese editor’s crash strategy: “Do a little ‘razzle-dazzle'” ), there’s a holiday concert, organized by David Gest and snappily titled “Miracle on 34th Street,” with disco gals Kylie Minogue – butt-swiveling, plasticine Aussie -and Gloria (“I Will Survive”)Gaynor , whom we found at the stucco house in NewJerseyshe shares with her husband and manager of 22 years. She shared some of her recurring nightmares: “I continually dreamed that wild jungle animals were chasing me …. ” They are, honey , they’re chasing all of us ….
[ Chicago premiere, Ziegfeld Theater, 141 West 54th Street, 7 p.m., party to follow, Brasserie 8[1/2], 9 West 57th Street, by invitation only, 941-3800; KTU’s “Miracle on 34th Street,” Madison Square Garden, 7:30 p.m., 307-7171.]
Bret vs. Beller! In this corner , deep in the East Village , wearing a muted Armani suit , white shirt and thin black tie, we’ve got 80’s-lit party boy Bret Easton Ellis , with his annual, packed and bizarrely dignified holiday bash (with “folksy” hand-doodled invitation). And in this corner , a few blocks away on the Bowery, wearing a seemingly “thrown-together, devil-may-care” outfit which was actually painstakingly constructed, we’ve got 90’s-lit party boy and Parker Posey boyfriend Thomas Beller, whose magazine, Open City , is having a bash, where the main topic of conversation will be: “Are you going to Bret’s? Can I come with you?”
[Bret Easton Ellis, somewhere on 13th
Street, by invitation only, e-mail
email@example.com; Open City party,
Pioneer Bar, 218 Bowery, 7 p.m., 625-9048.]
Before The Vagina Monologues , there were those naughty Surrealists …. Tonight, trustafarian Williamsburg sits for What I Like About Breasts , a performance project based on a Guillaume Apollinaire drama, The Breast of Tiresius . “It’s sort of his paean to the people of France to make love and not war,” said director Catharine Dill, 39, who has styled props for Oprah magazine. “I saw the production elements as a great challenge: A woman gets rid of her breasts onstage and becomes a man; the man has 50,000 children.” Nothing Oprah couldn’t handle ….
[Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, 135 Broadway, Brooklyn, 8 p.m.,
Short people: Carnegie Hall swiftly regroups from a big Messiah blowout a couple of nights ago and welcomes champion ivory-tickler Bobby Short and the Purdue Varsity Glee Club (guess the Whiffenpoofs were booked ). Mr. Short, a dapper 76, called Special Eight-Day Week Correspondent Noelle Hancock and told her he’s battling a cold, but warming up some standards: “Manhattan,” “Love Is Here to Stay” and Mel Tormé’s “The Christmas Song.” Is he noivous? “No …. The most nervous I’ve been in my grown-up life was at the White House. Just being in the White House had me completely crazy! Just nutty!” Maybe it’s something in the air at the White House: Haven’t you noticed that the current and past few Presidents behave in a far more loopy manner than most of the general population?
[Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, 8 p.m., 247-7800.]
Bendel over backwards! If you’re fool enough to be searchin’ for “some stocking-stuffers” in midtown today, say ” Howdy !” to Robin Tolkan-Doyle , who’s flown in from Encino, Calif., to hawk “Pin Ups,” a collection of “fun” hair pins apparently popular with fleshy rock moppet Kelly Osbourne …. “They’re cute, funaccessories that aren’t astronomically expensive ,” said Ms. Tolkan-Doyle, 29, a former beauty editor at Jump . “One thingledtoanother-the magazine folded, I was out of a job-so
I decided to just go with it . ” Frédéric Fekkai, move over ….
[Henri Bendel, 712 Fifth Avenue, 11 a.m., 247-1100]
If you’re like us, you believe that basically the only proof that G*d exists is the funny way your cat looks at you sometimes …. Today, the Central Presbyterian Church performs the “Blessing of the Animals,” with special celebrity appearances by 9/11 rescue dogs …. “I myself raise peacocks at my farm in Ecuador,” said Reverend Douglas Grandgeorge, who’s going to help out, “and I’d love-I really, really would like to get a peacock, but it’s sort of hard to keep one in the city.” Indeed: just ask Liza.
[Park Avenue at 64th Street, 6 p.m., 838-0805.]
Squashy bellies are jolly if you’re Santa, but they quickly get you bounced from the cruel mating lottery that is Manhattan …. Women who fancy themselves too “hot-blooded” for yoga’s chilly poses try a beginner’s belly-dancing class. Instructor Amira Mor told Special Eight-Day Week Correspondent Noelle Hancock : “Classes are booming, thanks to Shakira. All the movers and shakers are doing it . Literally .” Everyone’s a comedian!
[Broadway Dance Center, 221 West 57th Street, 7:45 p.m., 582-9304.]
By the way, have you noticed that over the past few years, New York’s Jewish community has turned Christmas Eve into some kind of big frat party? … Comic’s comic Dave Attell performs at the late show of What I Like About Jew (no relation to aforementioned What I Like About Breasts -we think ), a revue of comic songs led by Blender magazine editor Rob Tannenbaum (recently spotted doing commentary for a “booty” special on VH1), which includes an ode to circumcision titled “Just a Little Off the Top.” Meanwhile, there is some massive Jewish singles event called simply “The Ball,” hosted by a Web site, Letmypeoplego.com . You buy a “Jewniversal Pass” and are shuttled around to Lot 61, the Park and Eugene . “Definitely dress up like you would for any nice Saturday night out,” said bubbly organizer Angele Zebley , 31. “Some people wear cocktail dresses or those fancy, blousy slacks.” We’ll say it again: Ho, ho, ho!
[ What I Like About Jew , 9 p.m., Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, 219-3006;
the Ball-must we?]
Sic transit Gloria? It’s Christmas! So let’s call Gloria Gaynor again … because we can … and ask her plans! “This year, there will be a little less baking,” she said. “I’ll be making my stuffed peppers and a fish casserole, and I’ll be making a chicken, broccoli and pasta dish, and then I’ll be making some cookies- some macrobiotic cookies -and probably some sweet-potato pie.” Any advice for 2003? “Of course we all want to make money, we want to make our fortunes, but if you’re doing what you are mainly meant to do, and you focus on doing your best at that, the rest of it is just fringe benefits. The things that you regret are the things that you look back and saw that you did that were outside of your character.”
Brits go bats! Well, Christmas is over, but the Rockettes are still doing their crotch-flashing kicks, and the English will persist in celebrating Boxing Day , that holiday when they “regift” things, drink all your booze and try to borrow money …. What’s happen’ at Tea & Sympathy , the kooky little haven for expat Brits on Greenwich Avenue (popular with supermodels because British food is so bad, they don’t actually have to eat it)? “The usual madness and mayhem,” said co-owner Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett, who then had to ring off with “Bloody Microsoft!” because he was dueling with a computer virus. Anyway, the restaurant is open today, and actor Rupert Everett might show up and help himself to some spotted dick if you know what we’re saying …
[108-110 Greenwich Ave, 807-8329.]
Shearling anxiety … Snuggle into a big shearling showroom sale – piles of lambskin outerwear (suggesting creepy 10th-grade prophylactic fumblings ), marked down from $995-$2,995 to a “moderate” $595-$1,395 …. The Eurotrash love ’em! “I call them ‘good winter shelter’-it keeps you warm and toasty,” said Shearling Selection New York owner/salesman Guy DeVincenzo. “People don’t want anything heavy on their backs. Years ago people wore fur, but I think people now are more comfortable in shearling.”
[Shearling Selection New York, 224 West 35th Street, 10 a.m., 268-3844.]
Gangs ka-bang! The Miramax Gangs of New York promotional blitz -schmancy premieres, exclusive screenings, elite-media magazine covers-finally filters down to “the little people” with a Harvey Weinstein–greenlighted walking tour of the Five Points, including the ominous-sounding “Murderer’s Alley.” Leave the tots at home with their PlayStations. “This is an adult tour,” said tour operator Seth Kamil . “There’s a lot about the ‘sporting culture,’ in which men would go on sprees that involved alcohol and swarming women on the street. We’re gonna talk a lot about sexuality, prostitution and my favorite, the history of walking tours.” How’s the movie? “I think it will get some Oscar nominations-frankly, if it doesn’t, I think this could sink Miramax.”
[Southeast corner of Broadway and
Chambers Street at City Hall Park, 1 p.m., 439-1090.]
Sixty dewy ingenues- including the daughter of the Earl of Glasgow, a couple of princesses and a few kids of new-money C.E.O.’s -zip their whittled frames into white ballgowns and flit to the Waldorf for that retrograde, vaguely offensive occasion, the International Debutante Ball, which has a pink-and-silver theme. Special Eight-Day Week Correspondent Noelle Hancock got the scoop from Margaret Hedberg (the niece of the ball’s founder, Beatrice Dinsmore Joyce ). ” Grmffphh … I just put a clementine in my mouth-I’m so sorry,” she said. “The criteria is kind of arbitrary: People recommend their cousin or their niece-it’s like a little network. There are two boys for every girl, which is about the only time that happens in life. I guess we keep these traditions, like the white dress and the formal receiving line and these things, because if we get rid of everything, then it’s just a dance . It’s a rite of passage and a chance for the girls to form lasting friendships. It’s a happy memory, which is nice because that’s what you need when you get old.” That and a boatload of Botox, girlfriend.
[301 Park Avenue, 7 p.m., by invitation only, 861-5911.]
Love Canal? It’s sort of a slow, dull day -must be because the Modern Language Association is in town for its convention , which is kind of like BookExpo, except with bestiality seminars and without Grove/Atlantic wild man Morgan Entrekin …. Meanwhile, only a couple more days to paw through the racks at Canal Jean Co., every eighth-grade girl’s favorite discount temple, which is shutting down in January to make room for a big, shiny Bloomingdale’s. “We’re holding our own,” said an employee. “We have no idea what’s going on.”
[M.L.A., various venues, (646) 576-5000; Canal Jean Co., 504 Broadway, 9:30 a.m., 226-1130.]
Movie Monday! Into the cold void of this winter Monday , Sony Pictures hurls Love Liza , a hit at Sundance that stars the creepy but good character actor Philip Seymour Hoffman . It was written by his brother, and we don’t think this is a high-concept prank à la Adaptation …. Gordy Hoffman, 38, called from his house near the Scientology Center in L.A. to talk about their childhood: “There’s not really too much Behind the Music with Gordo and Phil Hoffman. It was like your typical situation: I’m the older brother and he’s following me around and we’re running through the woods; we have our problems and we admire each other and we’re protective of each other and we have a rivalry and we support each other …. After all the hoopla and the festival circuit and the opening and all the stuff, I kind of just want to get a little nitty-gritty. I just want to get back to what I was before this circus came to town in my life. Just get back to Gordy doing the weird stuff with the camera. There are all these expectations, and they’re like barnacles .” Um-what’s the name of your movie again?
Everyone likes to bash it, but we think New Year’s Eve is kind of fun, though the invitations aren’t exactly streaming in , hel- lo …. We found everyone’s favorite party planner, Colin Cowie , at Pearl River shopping for a Chinese fancy-dress ball. “The one thing you don’t want to do is wind up being a loser somewhere-you want to land up with your feet in the right place somewhere, you know what I’m saying?” he asked in his plummy South African accent. “You either need to get to a real big party, where you know a lot of people or you can blend in easily, or, alternatively, it’s fun to have a dinner party for up to 12 people -any more than that is huge amount of work for any one person to do, and help is almost impossible to get that night.”
[Colin Cowie will be celebrating at Costa Careyes on the Mexican coastline-he doesn’t “do” New Year’s Eve-but visit his insane Web site, http://www.colincowie.com,
or sit mesmerized watching him wield a cocktail shaker on the We channel.]
White people with dreadlocks and $5,000 book contracts flock to the Poetry Project’s New Year’s Day marathon reading with spoken-word devotees like Patti Smith, Richard Hell and Maggie Estep . Everybody else rolls over, hits the snooze button and begins subconsciously plotting the novel/HBO
series/movie they’re definitely going to get rolling in 2003, which stretches forth like a big slab of mystery meat.
[St. Mark’s Church, 131 East 10th Street,
2 p.m., 674-0910.]