It’s Ash Wednesday-the day marking the beginning of Lent, when devout Catholics give something up for the next 40 days until Easter. (A few years ago, our brother gave up Catholicism, and that was the end of that.) If you’re a Catholic smoker , why not give up the demon weed -just 26 days until lighting up inside New York restaurants becomes illegal, at which point you’ll be seeing a lot of pissed-off French people smoking in the street. In more religion news : Those of the Jewish faith celebrate Purim tonight, with some help from the lovely Fran Drescher (opened up a can of whupass on cancer last year, got a book deal) as she alights at the Jewish Museum’s annual masked ball.
[Annual Gala Masked Ball, Grand Ballroom, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Park Avenue and 50th Street, 6:30 p.m., 212-423-3271.]
Movin’ on up? Not in this economy! That deeeeeluxe apartment in the sky may have to wait until your slacker boyfriend gets lucky at the dog track …. In the meantime, you can find ideas for sprucing up your cozy (a.k.a. small) basement studio at Architectural Digest ‘s big, splashy Home Design Show. There’ll be seminars aplenty and on-site professional interior designers offering free consultations. Then, later tonight, have a Sistine Chapel moment and paint your ceiling, because today marks the 525th birthday of Michelangelo (artist, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle).
[ Architectural Digest Home Design Show, Pier 94, 12th Avenue at 55th Street, noon to 8 p.m., 800-577-6278.]
Smell the glove! Clomp on over to Henri Bendel today, where Sarah Horowitz-Thran will concoct your very own eau de you . The newly hyphenated perfumer (“I am now an M-R-S!”) is the founder of Creative Scentualization, a company that creates one-of-a-kind scents for celebrities as well as normal folks ( read: you). She starts with 200 oils and plays “Perfume Survivor ,” eliminating scents until you’re left with your favorite aromas, which she then mixes herself ( shake, shake, shake! ). We found Mrs. Horowitz-Thran, 32, at the Malibu beach bungalow she’s revamped into a perfume house. “I’m looking at the ocean as I’m talking to you!” she said. Stars who have gone on “fragrance journeys” include big-headed beauty Jennifer Garner (who favors Perfect Veil), the very sexy but seldom seen Jeanne Tripplehorn (who prefers a hint of rose), and fiercely ambitious vamp-vanquisher Sarah Michelle Gellar , who had Mrs. H.-T. design a scent for her wedding to himbo Freddie Prinze Jr. “Her fragrance had marine notes, because they love the ocean. There was also jasmine with hints of gardenia and musk. It’s totally lush and delicious.” Meanwhile, look around for some scratch-and-sniff art as the 2003 Armory Show throws an opening-night bash. The show of modern art will bring mo’ money for MoMA , so play nice and pay up-the city’s museums need a boost.
[Henri Bendel, 712 Fifth Avenue at 56th Street, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 212-247-1100;
the Armory Show 2003, Show Piers, 12th Avenue between 48th and 50th streets, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., 212-708-9680.]
Fo shizzle mah nizzle! Ever wanted to throw down on the ones and twos? Have no idea what the h*** we’re talking about? Time to matriculate at the Scratch D.J. Academy , founded by Rob Principe and Jam Master Jay (now spinning on that big turntable in the sky). Yes, the class is called “D.J. 101″ ; it runs for six weeks and is taught by a different celebrity D.J. each week. Beware of Goldman Sachs and Citigroup tighties trying to get in touch with their “urban side.” “We always have a couple of real power investment bankers. They come in their suits,” said Mr. Principe. “One guy who works for a hedge fund wants to quit and become a full-time D.J.!” Three hundred bones buys you lessons in basic blending, mixing, scratching-and a doctorate in “turntable-ism.” (Do they know about this at Yale?) Thoughts on the Grammys, Mr. Principe? “It was missing a breakout show -like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Puffy singing with Sting . It was missing some crazy, awesome, midgets-flying-around kind of thing. Poor Avril Lavigne. After this year, she’s done.” Me- ow! Meanwhile, in some kicky counterprogramming to the rapfest, the lassies in headbands (i.e., the Junior League) whip out their Winter Ball tonight, at Cipriani, with hosts Deborah Roberts ( 20/20 correspondent) and the newly svelte Al Roker. “They’re husband and wife, you know, ” said New York Junior League prez Mary Beth Tully , who promised a silent auction of “fabulous things.” This year’s theme: “Black & White.” (Think Capote’s Black and White Ball on ephedrine). Expect women with “von” somewhere in their name and “suffix men”-Jr., III, IV ….
[Pseudo Studio, 600 Broadway at the corner of Houston and Broadway, sixth floor, 2:10 to 3:20 p.m., 212-625-3881; Junior League Winter Ball, Cipriani, 110 East 42nd Street, 7 p.m., 212-288-6220, ext. 267.]
No respect at the office? Inflexible boyfriend? Pay someone to bend over backwards for you! Kick a tenner to the Lehman Center this afternoon and behold the contortionists, tumblers, gymnasts and cyclists of the Peking Acrobats. If that makes you dizzy, choose instead to listen to Charlie Rose and Barbara Walters discuss how they get their interviewees to open up. Keep your eyes peeled for Dan Rather in a fake beard, which he’ll rip off at an opportune moment as he shouts, “Yeah, but who got Saddam? Who?! “
[Peking Acrobats, Lehman Concert Hall, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, the Bronx, 3 p.m., 718-960-8833; Interviewers on Interviewing, CUNY Graduate Center, 34th Street and Fifth Avenue, noon,
Got rejected from Old Blue and had to settle for Wesleyan, did ya? Well, grab your skateboard and head to the Upper East Side, where Harold Bloom ( Yale prof, hates Harry Potter ) gossips with the tweedles at the Shakespeare Society about sexual jealousy ( catfight !) in Cymbeline , Othello and The Winter’s Tale . Speaking of green-eyed envy, have you seen Susan Orlean’s book jacket photo, whichcould pass for a Vogue cover. “Really? Oh, that’s so nice of you!” said Ms. Orlean, whose book The Orchid Thief inspired the Oscar-nominated Adaptation . “I don’t think of myself as a babe; I did my own hair and makeup.” Tonight, she joins authors Michael Cunningham ( TheHours ) and Louis Begley ( About Schmidt ) to chat about “the pleasure and the pain” of being adapted for the screen. Author and resident Brooklyn babe Jonathan Lethem is moderating. “I can’t decide whether we should square off and have a fistfight over box-office receipts, or discuss our books in a civilized fashion,” Ms. Orlean said. “I don’t know which would appeal more to the audience!” Three words: steel-cage match . “Of course, what I really think we should talk about is what we’re wearing to the Oscars. I’ll probably wear a Junya Watanabe dress -very post-nuclear feminine glamour.” So, about tonight’s topic: the pleasure? “To be completely blunt: royalties, royalties, royalties !” The pain? “I’m suddenly self-conscious in ways I never was before. You go into your gynecologist’s office and the receptionist says, ‘Name, please?’ and I don’t want to say it. I’m like, ‘Can I write it on a piece of paper?’” What she doesn’t mind, however, is the film’s ending. “I get a huge kick out of seeing myself go insane,” she said. “It’s very gratifying, actually. I know that there are some people who wonder if it’s true, and if they do, that’s good. I don’t carry a gun-but if they think I do, that’s fine.”
[Sexual Jealousy in Shakespeare with Harold Bloom, the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., 212-327-2253; Housing Works Used Book Café, 126 Crosby Street, 7 p.m., 212-334-3324.]
After years of the East Coast versus West Coast rap rivalry, the moms have decided they’ve had enough , and tonight mothers of fallen rappers put on black tie and unite to stop violent turf wars. Voletta Wallace, mother of late rapper Christopher (Biggie) Wallace, presides over this ” B.I.G. Night Out” benefit. “B.I.G. stands for ‘Books Instead of Guns,’” Mrs. Wallace told us. “We seek to arm children with knowledge instead of weapons.” Others being honored include the mothers of Tupac, Aaliyah, Jam Master Jay, Big Pun, Freaky Tah and Lisa (Left Eye) Lopes . Dr. Dre will co-host, and Sean (P. Diddy) Combs and Wallace’s widow, songstress Faith Evans , will perform. Meanwhile, the art crowd gathers on the Upper East Side for the opening of sculptor James Gaynor’s exhibit Twice Touched , in which the artist took objects found on New York City streets and transformed them into sculpture and jewelry . Proceeds benefit a neighborhood lunch program for the homeless.
[B.I.G. Night Out, Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, 7 p.m., 917-873-9167; Twice Touched exhibit, Park Avenue Christian Church, Park Avenue and 85th Street, 6 to 8 p.m., 212-288-3246.]
So you lost your job as associate editor when your magazine folded like a shirt at the Gap, and you think you’re ready to pen the opening page of your long-awaited, much-anticipated novel-just as soon as Oprah is over. Never fear! Salvation is here in the unlikely form of bad boy writer Jonathan Ames . Tonight, he’s manning a class on how to crank out one of those juicy, can’t-put-it-down novels you buy at the supermarket while wearing sunglasses and a low-brimmed hat. “He’s a genius! His onstage persona really shows up in class. He’s not, like, a crazy-ya know?” said Mediabistro.com’s Taffy (“Like the candy!” she added) Ak-ner. “I only get good evaluations about him. He’s so approachable. One of his recent evaluations said, ‘ Don’t be scared of Jonathan Ames!’ I was actually scared of him at first. Here’s this guy who writes this crazy sh*t ! Some of it is bizarre . Just craziness .” Keep your eyes peeled for Dan Rather in a fake beard.
[Elements of Fiction Writing seminar, location T.B.A., 7 p.m., 212-929-2588.]