Jitney alert! The frost is still on the trees, but the ho-ho-ho-Hamptons are pressing down upon Manhattan like a hair-straightening flatiron as ( deep breath ) the Child Development Center of the Hamptons Foundation for Special Children holds a “Kite Dance” benefit at the Pierre. (Anyone else have that “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” song from Mary Poppins stuck in their head? You do now!) N.Y. State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno and Senators Chuck Schumer and the oddly war-crazed Hillary Clinton are among those who’ll be pressing the flesh. Peppy Caroline Rhea will yuk it up as M.C. But if all that dizzying “fun” makes you just want to sit down , there’s a “chair-ity” auction in effect at the D&D Building, where you can bid on one-of-a-kind chairs created by House Beautiful designers. “Forty-six of the hundred designers that were approached said yes right off the bat. That’s almost 50 percent,” said House Beautiful ‘s publisher and resident math whiz, David Arnold, a London native. “If I could get my kids to accept hawwf of what I say, I’d be a happy dad!” He assures us the chairs are strictly Madison Avenue. “As opposed to the Martha Stewart approach, with a glue gun and some fabric, ” he sniffed. “They’ve gone to town. There are some whimsical chairs with feathers …. I’m not sure how comfortable they’ll be to sit on-whether they’ll be good to you or not-but they’re works of art.” Celebs like Danny Devito, Melanie Griffith, Rene Russo and Henry (the Fonz) Winkler generously offered their personas “to become the inspiration” for the chairs. Wait for next year’s “Bill Buckner chair,” made entirely from bread sticks that will collapse under pressure when someone sits in it.
[CDCH benefit, Pierre Hotel, Fifth Avenue at 61st Street, 6:30 p.m., 631-267-2734; House Beautiful Chair-ity Auction, Astra Cafe, 14th floor, D&D Building, 979 Third Avenue, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., 212-903-5124.]
Coffee table: n. 1. A relic from bygone days when coffee was sipped in living rooms, rather than chugged from paper cups while walking down the street so that the steaming liquid periodically scalds us or any slow person who gets in our way. 2. A catalyst for an entire genre of books which do little except cost a bundle and sit like mute bricks for generations …. Now Chicago has gone coffee-table book, and tonight razzle-dazzle producer Marty Richards is signing copies of Chicago: The Movie and Lyrics . We say: Any more pre-Oscar milking, and we’re going to messenger over bonnets and pails. Speaking of relics from the past, tonight Bill Clinton – ex-Prez and current titleholder of the “Most Likely To Be Seen at Man Ray” Award -chats it up at the 92nd Street Y. Ask him about the memoir he’s writing, which will be immediately optioned and turned into a pay-per-view special, Presidents Gone Wild . Meanwhile, at the Hilton, the Children’s Health Fund throws its annual soirée hosted by Jane Pauley (whom we had a female crush on in our youth), with performances by Paul Simon and the ubiquitous Philip Glass . Committee includes Ms. Pauley’s husband Garry Trudeau, Tom Brokaw, Michael Keaton, Chevy Chase and Conan O’Brien. Don’t ask Mr. Keaton how he lost the Batman franchise ….
[ Chicago book signing, Barnes & Noble Union Square, 33 East 17th Street, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., 212-253-0819; 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, 8 p.m., 212-415-5500; C.H.F. gala, Hilton Hotel, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, 6 p.m., 212-997-0100.]
The closest we’ve come to having a Picasso was the time we broke our full-length mirror …. So if we want some tour de forces in our life-and who doesn’t ?-we have to go to museums, which are a lot like a blind date: They’re too quiet, they’re cold and you don’t get to touch anything. But trust us, the MoMA’s Matisse-Picasso exhibition is worth all the pain of going to Queens. The display features the juxtaposed masterworks of the two rival painters- the Venus and Serena Williams of the art world. Bonus comic relief: Yo’ MoMA jokes!
[ Matisse-Picasso , 33rd Street at Queens Blvd., Long Island City, Queens, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., 212-708-9400.]
Et tu ? It’s the Ides of March! Celebrate by stabbing your best friend in the back! Although, in the words of Oscar Wilde, a true friend stabs you in the front …. In other news, downtown hosts its annual South Street Seaport Pub-Crawl today. And crawl is right. Bring two cans of food to donate to City Harvest, and $10 will buy pints of Bud all day at participating drinkeries. Expect lotsa people dressed like the Lucky Charms fella and more bagpipers than you can shake a jig at. “They walk around in their little kilts,” said event coordinator Melissa Silvestri. “All the girls like to check and see what they’re wearing underneath-generally, nothing!” But no ruffians, please. “Those that show up are more the type of crowd who, when they get drunk, they get happy and lovey,” she said. Must be the soothing sounds of the bagpipe.
[Irish Stroll Pub-Crawl, South Street Seaport, Pier 17, 89 South Street, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., 212-SEA-PORT.]
With Hillary banging the war drums, and Bill dodging questions about why he let Osama Bin Laden prance around the desert andblowup U.S. embassies for eight years, we finally found a Clinton we can get behind : Tonight behold the sole Clinton with soul when George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars set Jersey en fuego at the Elizabeth Center. Bring a phat spliff-this one inhales!
[George Clinton concert, Rexplex, Elizabeth Center, N.J., Exit 13A N.J. Turnpike, 7 p.m., 877-REX-PLEX.]
Ahhh, St. Patrick’s Day …. green Empire State Building, green beers and green bagels (our bagels are already green, but that’s because they’ve been in our pantry since late January). Good bet: Today half your office will be soused. Brave the parade if you’re prepared to be pinched by an estimated 700,000 of your nearest and dearest. Or if you’ve got wee ones, take them to the Seaport for a family festival of traditional Irish music from Bobby Byrne and step-dancing from the Inishfree School Dancers. No sign of Riverdance or their highly flammable shirts. We called our second favorite Irishman to find out how he plans to spend the day. “I got invited over to Gracie Mansion for breakfast at the Bloomberg residence,” author and actor Malachy McCourt told us. “And then Pataki has a thing at the Waldorf-Astoria. It’s wonderful use of the taxpayers’ money! I love them feeding and paying for me! Then I’ll probably try and find a very good Albanian restaurant, because you can’t get in to any of the Irish places.” You can see him now in The Guru with Heather Graham , to whom Hollywood needs to send a cease-and-desist letter, stat. , although Mr. McCourt found her to be “very sweet, with no pretensions at all.” Anything else? “I just died on Oz . They killed me. I had an aneurysm.” Better than a shiv.
[St. Patrick's Day Parade, Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 86th Street, 11 a.m.; St. Patrick's Day family festival, South Street Seaport, Pier 17, 89 South Street, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., 212-SEA-PORT.]
Do newspapers need a V-8? Media’s lead-ias gather to debate whether the press leans to the left or to the right . Who’s going to battle? On the left: painfully earnest author Eric Alterman and oddly cranky humorist Al Franken. On the right: hirsute Americans for Tax Reform prez Grover Norquist and Daily News columnist and jazz master Stanley Crouch. Nation columnist Patricia J. Williams moderates this already moderate crowd. “I don’t think most people in the media are actually interested in the truth, or rationality, or any such thing,” said Mr. Crouch. “I think they’re solely interested in self-promotion. That’s neither Democratic nor Republican nor middle of the road. That’s just the media.” So why all the sensationalism? “Because the media is controlled by popular entertainment. Take Madonna, who has essentially been a freelance prostitute and has announced herself as such in her material. When you get to that point, where women present themselves in the most licentious manner and appropriate feminist rhetoric for it, self-denigration can become a form of opportunism. And there you have it.” If a debate about the political leanings of the media is about as interesting to you as, well, a debate about the political leanings of the media, you can ride your scooter instead to the Corner Bookshop, where Manhattan real-estate maven Barbara Corcoran celebrates her book, Use What You’ve Got . Ms. Corcoran attributes her success to her mother’s homespun wisdom, and each of the book’s chapters kicks off with a Mama Corcoran–ism. Chapter 1: “If you don’t have big breasts, put ribbons on your pigtails.”
[What Liberal Media?, CUNY Graduate Center, Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., 212-209-5442; Corcoran reception, 1313 Madison Avenue at 93rd Street, 6 p.m., 212-831-3554.]
Witchel he choose? Times gal Alex Witchel reads from her debut novel, Me Times Three , about a magazine editor who discovers her Prince Charming is working two other Cinderellas on the side. Somewhat inspired by Ms. Witchel’s experiences at Elle ( before she met hubby Frank Rich, she says), this is one of those chick-shtickbooks that’s always describedas ” madcap” andhas blurbs from Sex and the City cast members (Sarah Jessicathis time) . Miramax -the studio that really, really wants you to believe that Gangs of New York deserves the best picture Oscar, even though no one we know has seen it twice-has the film rights. Gwyneth Paltrow -at the moment frantically gluing on fake-nose extensions to give her cinematic portrayal of Sylvia Path some Hours- like gravitas- is slated to star. Call us crazy, but we smell an Oscar .
[ Me Times Three reading, New York Public Library, 127 East 58th Street, 6 p.m., 212-759-7358.]