Sit down, folks, because Joan Rivers is doing stand-up again , even if it hasn’t always been a picnic. “One time some asshole from the New York Post came in to see a show and later wrote, ‘Old stuff! It was all old stuff,'” Ms. Rivers told us. “And I was like, ‘Not one fucking line is old stuff, you idiot! It was all new!’ That hurt the most out of anything anyone’s said over the last 25 years. Well, you know they’re gonna fucking kill me in New York! It’s at Fez , so there’s nothing restricting you, because if anyone is coming to Fez, they’re already at the bottom of the barrel. You can say anything! Recently I’m on a kick about whiners. Princess Diana was the biggest whiner of them all. Then there was Mother Teresa. And Helen Keller: It’s like, ‘ Where are my car keys? ‘ Shut up already! Ann Frank -another big one! ‘ Why can’t I go to the bathroom during the day? ‘ Now there’s the kind of stuff that will never get on television! Ha !” If you’re not feeling strong enough to hear Ms. Rivers work blue, you can choose the more placid environs of Lollapalooza -the misting tent, the piercing booths, $10 a bottle for Poland Spring, a reunited Jane’s Addiction and every dreadlocked, trust-funded kid within 500 miles. It all goes down at Jones Beach, though it might better be called “Lollapa-losers,” since some dates have been nixed because of tepid ticket sales ….
[Lollapalooza 2003, Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, N.Y., noon, 212-307-7171; Fez, under Time Cafe, 380 Lafayette Street, 8 p.m., 212-533-2680.]
There’s always one night each year when summer hits its low point -when there’s nothing to distinguish New York from some mid-sized suburb in Georgia , and tonight is that night. How bad it is? How’s this: Grateful Dead fans are gathering at Le Bar Bat , cheesy midtown “theme” place, to toast the late Jerry Garcia’s birthday. So stay in, do not leave your apartment, do not answer your phone, put your e-mail on “auto-respond,” pretend you’re in Gstaad, whatever …. And remind yourself, Bucky, tomorrow is another day …
[Le Bar Bat, 311 West 57th Street, 8 p.m., http://www.happybirthdayjerry.org.]
You probably know that Jewel- the funky-toothed rock songstress who has sold millions of records, published a best-selling book of poems- and dated Sean Penn for a brief spell, is an expert yodeler …. If you have a hillbilly cousin who can yodel-and admit it, you do-send him or her down to Times Square today for Yahoo’s National Yodeling Contest , which is yet more proof that the country is suffering from an overabundance of free time …. “We’re going to be judging people on style, presence and yodeling technique,” said Joanna Stevens, Yahoo’s director of communications. “I never thought my life would come down to talking about yodeling in business meetings,” said Ms. Stevens, an Aussie native. O.K., Ms. Stevens, admit it: You all secretly Google . “Nooo! We’re all about Yahoo over here. I swear!”
[Yahoo National Yodeling Contest, Times Square Studios, 44th Street and Broadway, noon, 212-453-2140.]
More proof that if you close your eyes, the Hamptons smell just like Manhattan …. Cocktail hour on the East End tonight is a-burstin’ with swells and swell parties. If you like your men in summer suits with flip-flops and your women with thermally reconditioned hair , try out your latest dance steps at the Sapphire Ball , with proceeds going to Southampton Hospital. You can compare sapphires with Kathy Hilton (she who begat Paris and Nicky). Tables have already been snapped up by Keanu Reeves , the Spielbergs , Mrs. and Mrs. Alan Alda (speaking of which, we still think Alan Alda is terribly underused as a movie villain-any 10 seconds of his performance in Crimes and Misdemeanors is worthy of Robert Mitchum … ). Meanwhile, if you’re one of the growing number of New Yorkers who thinks backgammon is the new sex (note to editors at The New York Times ‘ Sunday Styles section: yes, you can use that), then get thee to the Salt of the Earth Backgammon Tournament , where makeup madam Olivia Chantecaille is in charge and authoress Jodi Della Femina Kim (say that four times fast) and socialite Andrew Saffir have plunked themselves down on the benefit committee. Proceeds go to Venice’s Scuola Grande Di San Marco, which is due for a facelift …. If sapphires and board games leave you, well, bored, then zip on your Vespa over to Watermill Center and park it on the six acres of “unspoiled” grass, where they’ll be getting spoiled on cocktails. To benefit the center, there’s a silent auction for the passive-aggressives, a live auction for the plain old aggressives, and dinner and dancing for all. The evening is brought to you by Louis Vuitton, responsible for spring’s $1,000 candy-colored handbags, one of which we bought in Chinatown, although ours says “Lewie Vuitton.”
[The Sapphire Ball, Wickapogue Road, Southampton, 7 p.m., 631-726-8700; Save Venice’s the Salt of the Earth Backgammon Tournament, 9 Schwenk Road, Watermill, 7 to 10 p.m., 212-737-3141; the Watermill Center, Watermill, 6 p.m., 212-253-7484.]
A picnic for 1,060? That’s what some goofballs are hoping to pull off in leafy Bryant Park today, in an attempt to break the Guinness world record , which is currently held by the South of England Agricultural Society, which plopped 1,059 Brit butts down on blankets last summer. “We have a face painter coming, and also someone who does pet portraits!” said Lenny Barszap, 25, who’s helping organize the so-called Mother of All Picnics and who produces a local access show, The Unbelievable Show , with three classmates from the University of Texas. “There’s very specific rules for breaking the record,” Mr. Barszap said. “We are not allowed to provide food. Each group has to bring their own, and they have to have a main course, a side dish or two, and a drink. The people at Guinness were very particular.”
[Bryant Park, Avenue of the Americas
at 42nd Street, noon to 2 p.m.,
If you’ve got a campy hoofer or tweeter at home, send the wee ones packing to Chelsea’s Camp Broadway for a week of musical training. “We have a totally different philosophy in that we don’t audition,” said producing director Lesley Mazzotta, 34. “For the past eight years, we’ve taken everyone who’s applied on a first-come, first-served basis. The only requirement is enthusiasm!” And what if they, well, suck? “We teach them about being a team player and being in an ensemble.” Read : put ’em in the back. “At the end of the program, they do their own revue in which they take two well-known musicals and bang ’em together à la Forbidden Broadway. So they’ll combine, say, Annie and Chicago so that Annie is sent to jail because she killed Sandy or something, and all of her cellmates will have different chores like in ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life.’ Chita Rivera came in July!” Yeah, she’s been hanging around our place, too ….
[TheatreWorks USA, 151 West 26th Street, 212-575-2929.]
Few things can pry our big-cheese editor away from his summer idyll on the Maine coast, and one of them is Dame Julie Andrews! (The other is a musical-comedy CD sale at Tower Records.) Today, Ms. Andrews wows ’em in soggy Sag Harbor as she directs The Boy Friend (our own personal production of The Boy Friend currently has no star-which reminds us, we need to buy a plant). “She’s not doing any publicity,” said publicist Peter Cromarty. “It’s her first time directing, and she’s just focusing all her energies on the production. After all, the director is the captain of the ship!” Toot, toot! Speaking of which, is anyone else still utterly baffled by that boat on top of the Banks’ house in Mary Poppins ?
[Bay Street Theatre, corner of Bay and Main streets, Sag Harbor, 8 p.m., through Aug. 31, 631-725-9500.]
Everyone knows that in Manhattan, the line between “genius artist” and “serial killer” is wafer-thin …. Today, artist Tarlow Milkin puts the Oontas on display downtown. The Oontas are little creatures constructed of PVC pipe, concrete and wire mesh. “I was playing with this little wire while sitting on my couch and watching TV, and this face sort of appeared in the wire,” Mr. Milkin said. “It started to look like a little face and it started relaxing me, so I played with it more and the next thing I knew, I had this creature. They’re about the size of an 8-year-old, and some are the size of an adult. But they’re all wearing children’s shoes. I think it creates a little personality-you can tell a lot about people from the shoes that they wear.” Why does he call them Oontas? “I was asleep one night, and I woke up and I just said, ‘They’re Oontas!’ The name just came to me. My favorite scene has 60 pieces in it, and a collector in Switzerland bought them …. I’d like to make 400 and put them in front of the U.N.” But guess what, folks: Mr. Milkin isn’t real. He’s really William Ryman, a 33-year-old former playwright and son of artist Robert Ryman. “I invented a fictitious artist from my childhood,” said Mr. Ryman, who lives near the Bowery with his cat and dog. “I’ve been making up little creatures for years in my head; even as a child, I’d draw them on my bedroom walls and sign my name ‘Tarlow Milkin.’ I just liked the sound of it. So Tarlow Milkin is a character, and he’s the one who creates the Oontas.” We were almost going to ask the names of his cat and dog, but do we look like suckers to you?
[ Oontas , William Ryman gallery, 193 Bowery, Tuesday to Saturday, 2 to 6 p.m., through Aug. 28, 212-505-2978.]