Our vacation is over, and we’re back and better(-looking) than ever …. Things that transpired in our sweaty absence: Express came out with new flat-front slacks called “The Editor,” apparently unaware that the female editors in this town are more apt to dress like strippers than career gals; a golf cart camouflaged to look like Lizzie Grubman’s Mercedes mowed down some poor kid at the Southampton July 4 parade; and our Big-Cheese Editor spent a small fortune on an original 1934 recording of Ethel Merman belting out “I Got Rhythm.” Meanwhile, Manhattan has been sucked dry of celebrities till Labor Day-which means we’re stuck with (you got it) politics …. Today, The Week magazine gathers Clinton apologist Sidney Blumenthal , Republican strategist Ed Rollins and ex-frisky ex-Senator Gary Hart together to debate the question, “Is Bush Unbeatable in 2004?” Harry Evans (hey, what’s he still doing in the U.S.?) moderates and nibbles sirloin afterwards during lunch at M.J.’s Steakhouse. We called Gary Hart and asked if the Prez was indeed invincible. “Certainly not,” he said. “No office-holder short of George Washington is unbeatable. It is very difficult to defeat an incumbent, but these are not normal times, and people are dying overseas and the economy is in very bad shape.” On the other hand? “The President is going to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on his campaign! Forty-six percent of voters aren’t coming out because they believe the political system to be overwhelmingly corrupt. They think the deck is stacked , the system is rigged and that interest groups are buying their way in-and I agree with them.”
[Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, North
Balcony, Grand Central Station, 12:30 p.m., 917-250-4502.]
Already the weekend exodus has begun, and it’s only Thursday-is it just us, or has anyone else noticed that New Yorkers are getting a bit slack when it comes to the ole work ethic? For those left in this steamy li’l town , the folks at Gen Art have put together some sort of multimedia hoohah , called Ignite! , with a product tie-in-the product being a deodorant ” body spray,” for those who truly stink …. D.J.’s spin ironic music from Williamsburg electotrash bands-you get the picture. Up the scale a few notches, there’s a swishy “Summer Splash” benefit at the Boathouse, with proceeds going to Student Sponsor Partners , a charity that helps disadvantaged kids earn their high-school diplomas. The evening’s honorary chair is Bridget Hall, with whom we shared a modeling agency back in Texas, although it apparently worked out slightly better on her end ….
[ Ignite! , Splashlight Studios, 529 West 35th Street, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., 212-255-7300; Summer Splash, the Boathouse in Central Park, East 72nd Street at Park Drive North, 7:30 to 11:30 p.m., 212-986-9575.]
Weekend with the kids? See if you can trick them into thinking that a weekend spent in a grocery store is a blast, and bring the wee ones to Food Emporium this morning, where John Harrison, official taster for Edy’s Grand Ice Cream, will pack ‘em full of ice cream till they’re glaze-eyed and falling over. “The tasting process has what I call the three S’s-swirl, smack and spit !” Mr. Harrison said. “See, I’ve got 60 packages of ice cream waiting for me at the factory every morning. If I swallowed all that, this hotel room wouldn’t be big enough to hold me!” Favorite flavor? “America’s favorite-vanilla! You can’t beat a good bowl of vanilla ice cream!” Before hanging up, Mr. Harrison said, “Have a smooth andcreamy evening!” Honest.
[Food Emporium, 305 East 86th Street, 10 to 11 a.m., 510-601-4211.]
Central Park turns 150 today, and looks damn good-must be the Botox. If you really love your kids, you’ll wake up at 5 a.m. so you can get them to the park by 6 a.m. for a bike race sponsored by Children’s Fun Ride and Clinic, which teaches tykes on bikes how to cycle safely. (Lesson No. 1: Never, ever cycle in New York City.) And since you’re already up , the New York Road Runners Club is celebrating the day with a four-mile run/walk that starts at 8:30 a.m . and goes until whenever you drag your ass across the finish line . If you get lost somewhere near the North Meadow-duck! It’s the World Archery Championship ( thwwwwwop! ), which will determine who goes to Athens for the 2004 Olympics. (What-no Geena Davis? ) Or if you’re a guy and woke up in the ho-ho-Hamptons today, get out your chick-tionary and find yourself a flowery gal to take to the Orchid Ball gala in Water Mill, with proceeds benefiting the Child Development Center of the Hamptons. Dinner and dancing to a band called Total Soul Party, which has a mere five Google hits when you type them in, which has to be some sort of record or something. (Even “five Google hits” comes back with seven Google hits. But we digress …. ) Bring your wallets, fellas: There will be a live auction of artwork, jewelry and the like by the aptly named Benjamin Doller of Sotheby’s. If you want your flowery date to bloom, best lay down the green for some ice.
[Bicycle Race with Children’s Fun Ride and Clinic, Ramble Parking Lot, 6 to 8:30 a.m.; Central Park’s 150th Birthday Run/Walk, start at 72nd Street Cross Drive, 8:30 a.m.; World Archery Championships, North Meadow,
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Orchid Ball, Villa Maria, Water Mill, 6:30 p.m., 631-267-2734.]
Cabaret? No, thanks- except that the Kick Ass Clown Cabaret sounds just twisted enough that we’re curious. “Some of us wear red noses, some don’t-but none of us wear makeup or any big shoes of that nature,” said Eric Davis (see accompanying terrifying photo). “I do a bit dressed as a ‘Bouffon,’ which is a bulbous, red demon clown,” he said, bringing to mind childhood nightmares involving Pennywise. “As a Bouffon, if you’re charming enough, you can get away with just about anything, like grabbing a breast or something. No one gets offended because there’s something so engaging and intriguing about the Bouffon. I’ve been doing a lot of street work lately, and over the last week or so I’ve grabbed two dozen breasts. Literally.” Anybody know if Blossom Dearie is in town?
[The Kick Ass Clown Cabaret, the People's Improv Theatre, 154 West 29th Street, 8 p.m., 212-563-7488.]
Third-wave feminism-think Charlie’s Angels movies, women paying for their own lap dances at strip clubs, the Pussycat Dolls and other dismal signs of exploitation posing as empowerment -unleashes a new play, Pieces (of Ass) , which could be summed up as The Vagina Monologues for Scores girls. “I figured, ‘Let’s put some hot chicks onstage and let them tell their story to the audience,’” said director Brian Howie. “I actually hate the theater ; it’s boring for a guy. But attractive females is one group I’m interested in, and it’s only about 85 minutes, because that’s about all I can handle.” You can get yourself a piece for $35, but don’t stick around for the encore. “It’s the worst dating service of all time! ” said Mr. Howie. “The cast is so difficult! We have 13 women in the show and, on any given day, four of them are having some boyfriend problem and can’t make it to work that day. They are the biggest divas!” Any famous divas? “For now there’s just Trishelle from The Real World , but a bunch of celebrities are signing up. Pamela Anderson asked for a script yesterday, and Shannon Elizabeth is interested. We’ve got Tara Reid …. ” Hasn’t everyone?
[Theater 80, 80 St. Mark's Place, 8 p.m., 212-868-4444.]
If you’re like us and “don’t do well” in person , sign up for a two-hour cyberchat about Shakespeare with Falstaff-like scholar Harold Bloom. Participants will be sent a copy of his latest book, Hamlet: Poem Unlimited , beforehand and are encouraged to have a copy of the play itself nearby during the chat for easy flipping. (Don’t try to get away with the Cliffs Notes -Mr. Bloom will know …. ) Tuition for the session is $45-roughly $36,955 less than it costs to take his class at Yale, so it’s kind of like a yard sale of intellectual property. Ask him if he knows which character got iced in the latest Harry Potter and see what happens …. If you’re over 50 and your style is cramping your style, hit up Sherrie Mathieson’s “Cool After Fifty!” lecture on upper Fifth Avenue, in which the award-winning film/TV costume designer and stylist dishes out fashion advice. “I apologize, because I sound like I have a pigeon in my throat!” she said one morning from her house in Scottsdale, Ariz., where it was 116 degrees in the shade when we called. Any fashion no-nos? For the women: “Some over 50 still bare their bellies! They augment their breasts and then feel compelled to have them completely exposed , looking like something you can almost sit on!” The men: “There’s the dark, short-sleeve thing that is like a faux Hawaiian shirt with big white flowers! That, to me, is so horrific ! Then there’s always the black T-shirt and black rayon pants that usually don’t fit right, paired with a faux alligator belt and faux ranchero buckle with those black, low-cut webbed shoes -you know, with the tassels? And then they put a black jacket over it! This is a remnant of the harm that Miami Vice has done. It lingers on like a piece of gum that has lost its flavor.” The survivors: “Lauren Hutton is amazing, even if she has gained a few pounds recently. ” Me- OW ! “She’s one of the few models that ever had any style. And, of course, Candy Bergen is still fabulous.” Meanwhile, leave your faux alligator belt and faux ranchero buckle at home should you attend the benefit for Wildlife Works, an organization that protects elephants, lions and other wildlife. Give a great big bear hug to the fabulous model Alek Wek, who will be co-hosting, and brace yourself for at least one joke about Prez Bush’s recent sighting of copulating pachyderms.
[Harold Bloom Unlimited, noon to 2 p.m., http://www.alllearn.org; Cool After Fifty!, Pratt Mansions, 1026 Fifth Avenue, 6 to 8 p.m., 212-535-6499; Wildlife Works, cantaloupe, 1036 Lexington Avenue, 7 to 9 p.m., 212-343-3920.]
The White Stripes- the Dave Eggers of the music world -invade Central Park and play to a crowd that promises to be like the one at last month’s Radiohead concert. Only more so.
[The White Stripes, Central Park Summerstage, enter at 69th Street and Fifth Avenue, 7 p.m., 212-360-2754.]