If life came with Ctrl + Alt + Del keys, we’d hit them now and reboot in January …. There aren’t many “shave-worthy” events going on over the next two weeks, and all the holiday hypermania may have you wishing you could curl up in your very own “spider hole” just like Saddam -who, if Howard Dean had had his way, would be preparing to toast the New Year with a glass slipper filled with Dom Perignon in one of his plush palaces …. In more arachnid news , today at the Spider Club, soft-core porn dogs try to crash the unveiling of 2004’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar , led by pneumatic cover model Petra Nemcova. If you’re feeling more G-rated, get some props (literal, figurative) with your kids and take them to Toys “R” Us , where memorabilia from the unavoidable Lord of the Rings trilogy will be on display, including the “real” Sword of Aragorn and the Bow of Legolas , which you can enter to win. Andy Serkis, the man behind the disturbing voice of Gollum , will be there to freak out the wee ones …. (Our media reporter is already camping outside.) Meanwhile, if you want to keep it organic, there’s a “Twigs, Cones and Berries” horticultural display at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. We’re bringing our parakeets.
[ Sports Illustrated calendar unveiling, Spider Club, 47 West 20th Street, 7 p.m., 212-245-5784; Andy Serkis meet-and-greet, Toys "R" Us, 1514 Broadway, 1 to 5 p.m., 646-366-8855; Twigs, Cones and Berries, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-623-7200.]
Soho-ho! But first: Sharp-suited editor Lewis Lapham clinks highballs at the Harper’s Magazine Christmas party at Pravda, amid a room full of camisole-clad eager beavers and sotto voce grumbling that The Atlantic seems to have become the spank-book of choice for the tweedy set …. Further uptown, tennis geniuses John McEnroe and Boris Becker leave their balls at home and join gymnast sprite Nadia Comaneci to auction off the first Mercedes SLR McLaren customer car, to benefit underprivileged youth. Finally, down at SoHo House, the Brits are pushing back the furniture to make way for the Swedes. The folks from Svedka Vodka have hired lush-lipped comedienne Sandra Bernhard to perform erotic readings-wait, this just in! Ms Bernhard called and gave us the real scoop. “I kind of am the event, as far as I’m concerned. At first I was supposed to be doing the readings, but I think the idea of eroticism has been played out …. I mean, my work is always kind of provocative and sexy without pushing it, so I’m just going to be performing with my band, doing stuff from my show.” What’s she been up to? “I just finished playing a producer type on a little fun independent film called Searching for Bobby De Niro , about some kids who are basically obsessed with him.” Does she know that someone is selling “Sandra Water” on eBay with her photo emblazoned on the bottle? “Really? That’s a new one. I’m flattered! I hope it’s pure!”
[ Harper's party, Pravda, 281 Lafayette Street, 6:30 to 9 p.m., by invitation only; Mercedes auction, Christie's, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only; Svedka Vodka Exotic Reading Series, SoHo House, 29-35 Ninth Avenue, 8 p.m., 212-643-4810.]
Oy to the world! If you forgot that Hanukkah starts tonight , swing by the MoMA Design Store for gift wrap and cards, now half-off. Elsewhere, someone who apparently has never seen The Sopranos tapped actor Vincent (“Big Pussy”) Pastore to collect coats and toys for whippersnappers ages 2 to 5 years old. Donations go to a school in Da Bronx. Then find out if Mona Lisa Smile, which desperately wants to be the female answer to Dead Poets Society, can stop the queasy plunge of Julia Roberts’ career (we blame her “angry” blue-collar husband). In this one, J. Ro plays “old” against dew-kissed Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal (the Catherine Keener of her generation). Will it save Ms. Robert’s box-office butt? Nope-early word is, this movie’s a stinker.
[MoMA Design Store, 44 West 53rd Street, 212-767-1050; Big Pussy, drop-off at Max Capital Management Corporation, 230 Park Ave., 4 to 5 p.m., 212-445-7100.]
Where not to take Grandpa tonight: the “Dirtiest Sketch in NYCV Contest,” co-hosted by Upright Citizens Brigade citizens Jackie Clarke and Owen Burke. We found the 27-year-old Ms. Clarke tapping and temping away at an ad agency. “Owen and I will be decked out in full priest and nun regalia! I know, I know! And so close to Christmas, too! If my parents only knew. I’m a recovering Catholic , so I’ll worry about that when I’m like 80 or something. I had 12 years of Catholic school-of course I’m doing this!” Contest rules: It has to be written . And it has to be dirty and less than three minutes (sounds like our last … never mind). The person with the sketchiest sketch gets $3.07 and their mouth washed out with Lever 2000. ” Nothing crosses a line. The only thing that ever gets to people is something having to do with a woman’s period, but that’s it.”
[The Dirtiest Sketch in NYCV Contest, U.C.B. Theatre, 307 West 26th Street, 212-366-9176.]
Yule and Yale: The winter solstice is here -which, when you get right down to it, sounds like an affliction you caught from a bartender at Filthy McNasty’s …. And there’s a giant, talking animatronic Santa in the deli near our office, with a sign on its chest reading “Don’t Touch Me!!!” We like to hold our finger an inch from its head and sing, “I’m not touching it, I’m not touching it!” while the counter guy yowls at us in Urdu. Look out for it tonight at Remote Lounge (the place with all the TVs screens-very Sliver ), where IMC (a company started by Yale grads) is hosting an interactive thingie with robotics, interactive sculptures, computer music and other “emergent media” (i.e., crap you don’t need but which smartass Ivy League grads hope they can one day sell to Microsoft …). Hey, we told you this would be the longest night of the year. And it’ll be even longer if you attempt to thrash your way through the Sunday Times Magazine -is it just us, or has the whole Sunday Times lost its power to charm?
[IMC Interactive Multimedia Culture Expo, Remote Lounge, 327 Bowery, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., 203-645-0695.]
My Guinness! If you’re a fan of those Guinness World Records books (the “longest fingernails” photo always flips us out), here’s your chance to make it into next year’s edition. Bring your pipes to St. Bartholomew’s Church and help break the record for the “largest carol service, ” which currently stands at 517 people. Stick around Café St. Bart’s for a pint and a prix-fixe dinner of Guinness-spattered fish and chips. Onward, Christian soldiers!
[St. Bartholomew's Church, 109 East 50th Street, 6 p.m., 212-378-0200.]
You know what they say about people who think money can’t buy happiness: They’re not shopping in the right store. So give the economy and charity a boost and scamper over to the God’s Love We Deliver Holiday Shop at Bergdorf’s . What they’ve got: crisp Burberry napkins for $60, a flashy Badgley Mishcka holiday stocking for $85 and (if you like your clothes with a side of paint) a Dennis Basso mink scarf for $425.
[God's Love We Deliver Holiday Shop, Bergdorf Goodman, Fifth Avenue at 58th Street, 212-872-8719.]
Adam and (Christmas) Eve: Christmas Eve is the new New Year’s Eve for the city’s Jewish singles contingent, so tonight at the Gotham Comedy Club, comics perform shtick for “A Very Jewish Christmas” …. Meanwhile “do-over Dads” all over town stay up late wrapping computer games (for their new tots) and La Perla “naughties” (for their new wives) ….
[A Very Jewish Christmas, Gotham Comedy Club, 7, 9 and 11:30 p.m., 34 West 22nd Street, 212-367-9000.]
Happy Christmas! Items you don’t want to find under your tree: one of those ubiquitous $500 Marc Jacobs car coats with sheepskin trim, a pair of those atrocious Ugg(ly) boots, a bat-wing top, a Brazilian bikini wax and Mort Zuckerman in a pair of fluffy mouse slippers …. Meanwhile, if Christmas means “Movie day! “, you’re all set: Nicole Kidman’s Cold Mountain comes out swinging and kicks The Last Samurai’s butt, while the new poster girl for “spurned” wives, Uma Thurman, joins pretty boy Ben Affleck, who evidently took time from buying furs and guns to co-star with her in Paycheck . Finally, Steve Martin went and took the classic film Cheaper by the Dozen and remade it with overpackaged teen Hilary Duff and dude Ashton Kutcher. Then, of course, there’s Peter Pan , which we really liked the first time when it was called Hook . And to all a good night!
Don’t answer the phone-It’s Boxing Day, and your British expat friends are at this very moment about to “ring you” and suggest you “pop by” their little “drinks party,” at which they will inevitably try to stick you with the bill …. For the rest of us, this is the day we put our unfortunate presents in boxes and “hit return,” if you know what we mean. And finally, it’s National Whiners’ Day! The man behind the holiday, the Reverend Kevin Zaborney, will announce 2003’s Whiners of the Year. We found the good reverend at home in Caro, Mich., and asked him whence the idea came. “I used to work at Mc-uh, a fast-food restaurant, where this girl complained all the time in this whiny voice. It was always, ‘How come I have to cook the fries? Why can’t you do it?'” said Mr. Zaborney, 39. “I studied psychology at the University of Michigan and found out that, basically, it’s a learned behavior and a means of getting attention. So I started the day in an effort to encourage people to be happy with what they have rather than being whiny about what they don’t. And I also encourage people to throw a whine-and-cheese party today!” Past years have included Zsa Zsa Gabor, Trent Lott, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mike Tyson (“I mean, his voice alone!”). “What’s funny is that people will nominate friends and family members instead of big-name celebrities,” Mr. Zaborney added.
The festival of lights winds down tonight-one last chance to get on the wrong side of some kosher wine and your in-laws. Or don a dashiki and hit the Kwanzaa Festival at the Museum of Natural History, with dance, music, poetry and storytelling. Low-level watch in effect for Bill Clinton , the biggest storyteller of them all. (Well, maybe second to his wife, who has yet to explain how a liberal Wellesley gal morphed into someone who came out publicly in favor of the Iraq war and the death penalty …. )
[American Museum of Natural History, 79th Street and Central Park West, noon to 6 p.m., 212-769-5301.]
Society fillies strap on white ball gowns for the International Debutante Ball, where, last year, we shanghaied several bottles of merlot from other tables and caused a scene. Oops, scratch that-they’re only doing that every other year now! (What do the off-year debs do? The mind reels …. ) Well, since you’re all dressed up with no place to go , why not give in and finally see Henry IV with Ethan Hawke and Kevin Kline? We say: Ethan, Uma -give it another chance!
[ Henry IV , Vivian Beaumont Theater, Lincoln Center, 2 p.m., 212-239-6200.]
Pluck versus puck: Woody Allen, still blowin’ strong, plays Café Carlyle while the equally scrappy New York Islanders play the New Jersey Devils. Zip up those puffy parkas!
[Hockey, Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale, N.Y., 7 p.m., 800-355-2396.]
Maybe it’s just us, but we really can’t deal with 2004 -hell, we’re still writing ” 2002 “! So we counteract tomorrow night’s Veuve Clicquot–fueled buffoonery by going to see Manhattan’s last class act, Bobby Short, tickle the ivories and the audience at the Carlyle, the scent of Woody’s mothballed sweater still lingering sweetly in the air ….
[Bobby Short, Carlyle Hotel, 35 East 76th Street, 7:30 p.m., 212-744-1600.]
One day left till the New Year -be smart and don’t spend it rolling around the bathroom floor of a stranger’s apartment while some demi-celeb (Fisher Stevens, Tama Janowitz , Carol Alt,Glenn O’Brien … ) bangs on the door …. Of course, there’s always lip-mashing with strangers in Times Square . At press time, the organizers couldn’t supply details-other than the fact that Cyndi Lauper will wail something. If your hamstrings have healed after last month’s marathon, pony up to Central Park when the clock chimes “23” (that’s Euro-time, kids), guzzle some non alcoholic champagne and break a sweat in Runner’s World’s annual four-mile New Year’s Eve Fun Run. Goodbye, 2003!
[Runner's World Midnight Run, Central Park Bandshell, 72nd Street entrance, 11 p.m., 212-860-4455.]