It’s boots season, ladies, but the city is also burstin’ with balls , so keep your glass slippers by the front door. Tonight the Central Park Conservancy -the folks who keep Central Park beautiful and save the taxpayers a bundle-unveils a “Mystery and Masquerade” ball (costumes encouraged; black tie accepted), where you’ll likely find “kooky” women in feathered masks trailed by husbands wearing whatever they were told to …. Co-chairs include Sigourney Weaver and hubby Jim Simpson ; skinny-minny makeup maven Olivia Chantecaille is a junior chair. If all this is just too much for you , stay home and watch Courteney Cox Arquette’s house-makeover show, Mix It Up . (Note to self: Time to ditch the Swingers poster-how much longer can you stand Vince Vaughn staring down at you?) If the walls start to close in , hop on your Vespa ( brrrriiiiipppp !) and scoot to the waterfront for the Affordable Art Fair’s Preview Benefit , where all the art will be priced under $5,000 and Lauren Bacall will put her lips together and blow kisses to fellow hosts Candice Bergen , actor Joel Grey, director Mike Nichols and his beeyatch (note: a term of endearment in the hip-hop community), the lovely Diane Sawyer.
[The Halloween Ball, Under the Sorcerer's Tent, Central Park, East 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue, 7 p.m. to midnight, 212-310-6616; Affordable Art Fair Preview Benefit, Pier 92, 12th Avenue and 50th Street, 6 to 9 p.m., 800-594-8499.]
Your Gest is as good as ours …. Did Liza Minnelli smack her hubby silly? Well, girlfriend (no, not you , David), maybe it’s time to post a personal on Nerve.com, where you most surely will not be the loopiest broad with a mouse …. For a much-needed dose of wholesomeness, slip into a chunky sweaterneck for a lunchtime screening of the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown . Then, tonight, welcome Ms. Minnelli along with Donna Karan, Iman and Isabella Rossellini at the Fashion Group International’s 20th Annual Night of Stars , hosted by The Observer ‘s own Simon Doonan. Will boy actor Ashton Kutcher ( Dude, Where’s My Car? )-who seems to be missing his neck-play arm candy for his sugar mama, Demi Moore ( G.I. Jane ; Beavis and Butt-head Do America )?
[ It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown , Museum of Television and Radio, 25 West 52nd Street, 12:30 p.m., 212-621-6800; Night of Stars, Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 East 42nd Street, 6:30 p.m., 212-593-1715.]
Halloween, New York, 2003: Women in their 20′s dress slutty under the pretense of wearing costumes (French maids, Catholic schoolgirls), Williamsburg boy-men with mutton chops and trust funds try to be clever (the “serial killer” carrying around a box of Cheerios with a knife stabbed through it), Upper East Side parents drag their tots up and down the elevator in $300 Finding Nemo costumes …. Downtown , seriously gay costumers march up Sixth Avenue for the annual Village Halloween Parade, accompanied by the requisite boorish beer-swillers in Freddy masks …. Uptown, Four Seasons’ owners Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini serve double helpings of “autumn delicacies” (Beluga, truffles, pheasant, bison, pumpkin) rich enough to raise you a tax bracket or two …. Tonight, we don a marabou halo and resurrect our naughty Victoria’s Secret angel costume (white nightie, lacy thigh-highs, wings that some moron spilled a drink on last year) and crash Victoria’s Secret model Heidi Klum’s bash at LQ. “Originally, Heidi wanted to do it at Capitale, which is where she had the party last year, but it’s sooo big,” said publicist Brenda Loughery. “Anyways, when she saw LQ she just fell in love with it, and it was the perfect amount of space, so she decided to have it there instead.” Does she know what Ms. Klum-who’s titillated as Lady Godiva and Betty Boop in past years-is planning for this year? “I’m not sure. She generally likes to keep it on the down-low so it’s a surprise.” Boo! When we get thrown out for too much “liquor treating,” we’ll head to the kids’ table at Lot 61, where 19-year-old model Karolina Kurkova hosts a bash.
[Village Halloween Parade, Sixth Avenue from Spring to 22nd Street, 7 p.m., http://www.halloween-nyc.com; Masquerade Party, the Four Seasons Restaurant, 99 East 52nd Street, 212-754-9494; Heidi Klum's Haunted Halloween Bash, LQ, 511 Lexington Avenue, 9:30 p.m., by invitation only; Karolina Kurkova party, Lot 61, 550 West 21st Street, 10 p.m., by invitation only until 1 a.m., $20 cover.]
Before your boyfriend tries to make you that shrimp recipe he saw on Queer Eye , send him down to Anthropologie (the more expensive, less ironic Urban Outfitters) to meet languid, ambrosial New York Times food scribe Nigella Lawson (the Ginger to Amanda Hesser’s Mary Ann) . Today, Ms. Lawson hops across the pond to plug her new cookware line. “Anthropologie loves Nigella!” said rep Sara Goodstein. “We’ve always carried her cookbooks. When she launched the cookware, we were so excited! It’s sold in our stores, so Nigella was nice enough to agree to stop in before she heads back to London.” Bring her a tea cozy.
[Nigella Lawson, Anthropologie, 375 West Broadway, 3:30 to 5 p.m., 212-343-7070.]
We’ve always found the marathon to be a bit creepy , and suspected that many of the runners are more motivated by masochism than glory, what with the way the body starts eating its own muscles at mile 20 or something, and the way your feet, ankles, knees and hips are basically destroyed for the next six months …. Question : If Puff Daddy falls too far back, does his posse have orders to “f*ck up” the 29,500 runners ahead of him? Just asking.
[ING New York City Marathon, here, there and everywhere, http://www.ingnycmarathon.com.
In another nod to the post-9/11 fireman fetish, women step all over each other’s stacked-heel Mary Janes for a front-row seat at today’s Iron Skillet Cook-Off between New York’s Bravest and chefs from Walfaé, Coste, Azalea, Blue Water Grill et al . Former firefighter and downtown demigod Steve Buscemi will judge, alongside crooning cop Daniel Rodriguez and Early Show weather stud and secret wild man Dave Price. Meanwhile, at the Accessories Council’s ACE Awards, Louis Vuitton wins “It” Accessory of the Year for that four-figure Hello Kitty bag that Newlywed Jessica Simpson took on a camping trip. Who says this country has lost touch with its values?
[Iron Skillet Cook-Off, Metronome, 915 Broadway, 7 p.m., 212-563-7570; ACE Awards Gala, Cipriani 42nd Street, 42nd Street between Park and Lexington avenues, 7:30 p.m., by invitation only.]
The model-happy Maritime Hotel checks in the New Museum of Contemporary Art’s junior set, who are auctioning off Fendi bags by “emerging” (translation: unknown) artists. Whom you may see sniffing the leather: co-chair and frisky model/artiste Anh Duong , cherubic socialite Marjorie Gubelmann Raein , hotelier Jeff Klein and Vanity Fair clothes horse Elizabeth Saltzman . Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm or Six Feet Under -or you’re that one guy still watching K Street -you’ve probably seen the mildly disturbing promos for HBO’s Angels in America . Have a double shot of director Mike Nichols (see Wednesday), who will escort actresses Mary-Louise Parker (currently preggers), Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson ; Al Pacino shows up hoping people will shut up already about Scarface …. Afterward, it’s off to Cipriani! Again!
[New Group Party, Maritime Hotel, 366 West 17th Street, 9 p.m., 212-219-1222, ext. 223; Angels in America , N.Y. premiere, the Ziegfeld Theater, 141 West 54th Street, 6:30 p.m., dinner at Cipriani by invitation only.]
We’ve put a moratorium on the following: burlesque cabaret shows, one-man and/or one-woman shows, dog parties-and frankly, it’s not looking so good for the food tastings …. Tonight, the Children’s Hope Foundation serves up the best from Aquavit’s sweet Swede, Marcus Samuelsson , as well as Olives’ Todd English , Blue Fin’s Paul Sale and other men who are good with a garlic press, to raise money for families affected by H.I.V. and AIDS. They’ll auction off tropical vacations and handbags custom-designed by people like Kevin Bacon, Marisa Tomei and … Larry King(?!) . In the meantime, check your coat and self-respect at the door and plop yourself down for a panel on “The Skills and Thrills of Celebrity Journalism.” Writers and editors from Us Weekly, People , W and Biography talk about how what they do “isn’t at all glamorous,” when all the audience wants to know is which celebrities smell bad in person.
[Chef Tasting gala benefit, Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway, 7 to 11 p.m., 212-233-5133; Skills and Thrills of Celebrity Journalism, Silver Building, 24 Waverly Place, Room 714, 7 to 9 p.m., 212-512-2495.]
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