January 7, 2004 – January 14, 2004

Wednesday 7th

Wake up, New Yorkers! The New Year is already a week old and you’re still romping around in your chandelier earrings in “holiday” mode, eating pastries, sucking down girl drinks and rolling into the office at 11 a.m. … This isn’t Aspen, folks! Then again, maybe it’s Santa Fe : strap on your Cold Mountain apron dress, ’cause today at Mama Donna’s Tea Garden and Healing Haven , you can join a drumming circle led by urban shaman Donna Henes . According to the invite, you can expect “hunkering in the dark, hungering for the light, howling at the moon” -like a date, only without the inevitable who-pays-for-breakfast issue ….

[Full Wolf Moon Drumming Circle, Mama Donna’s Tea Garden and Healing Haven, Park Slope, 7:30 p.m., call 718-857-2247.]

Thursday 8th

Kushner gets cozy: Tony Kushner , still dewy with Angels in America afterglow, pulls up a chair at Coliseum Books to talk about, well …. “I have absolutely no idea!” said Mr. Kushner. “I’m going to read some stuff, although I’m not sure what. Maybe some dramatic things, or maybe some older pieces if the time is right. I may also have some friends come in and read for me, although I’m not sure who and I’m not sure what. Obviously, I’m very prepared for this.” What about his foray into kids’ books with artist Maurice Sendak? “Me and Madonna! You know, for like 10 minutes there we totally kicked her butt and were on the top of the children’s best-seller list, but then they just kept coming. I swear, if you want invective, call Maurice and see what he has to say about it! She writes like three a day, I think!” But first, as part of a “Lunchtime Lectures” series, the National Academy of Design serves up “Working in Mixed Media.” The orator is artist Vincent Baldassano, but could be Bruce Wasserstein , the proud new pappa of New York, a mixed-up magazine that can’t figure out if it wants to be The New York Times Magazine , Page Six or the McDonald’s drive-thru window. For more sweaty fare, watch one of the more enjoyable players in the N.B.A.-laptop-hawking Yao Ming -hoop over Isiah and the boys when the Rockets battle the Knicks at the Garden.

[Tony Kushner, Coliseum Books, 11 West 42nd Street, 6 p.m., 212-803-5892; National Academy of Design, 1083 Fifth Avenue, noon, 212-369-4880.]

Friday 9th

Braving the inevitable question (“Did CBS pay Michael Jackson a million bucks to sit down with Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes ?”), Face the Nation ‘s cuddly referee Bob Schieffer scrawls his John Hancock across his best-seller, This Just In , at the Borders on Wall Street. In Mr. Schieffer’s own words, “I want to tell you about the parts that didn’t get on television or in the paper -the serious parts and the not-so-serious parts, the good times I had and the Presidents, Senators, correspondents, big-time crooks and small-time swindlers I came to know.” Ask him to tell you the one about the Pentagon’s septic tank, condoms and a fishing net. Later, on the Upper West Side, Henry Louis Gates Jr. (chosen to continue helming African-American studies at Harvard after “Professor” Cornel West decamped to Princeton ) discusses and signs America Behind the Color Line. Ask his thoughts on the blaxploitation classic Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song , which you ditched work early to catch at the Yorkville branch of the New York Public Library.

[Bob Schieffer, Borders, 100 Broadway, 1 p.m., 212-964-1988; Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song , Yorkville branch of the New York Public Library, 3 p.m., 222 East 79th Street between Second and Third avenues, 212-744-5824; Henry Louis Gates Jr., Barnes and Noble, 2289 Broadway, 7:30 p.m., 212-362-8835.]

Saturday 10th

“My work is my only relationship to everything,” said Federico Fellini, foreshadowing one of New York bachelors’ favorite “why I can’t stay the night” lines …. Today, in conjunction with the Guggenheim’s Fellini! exhibition, the late moon-faced, wide-eyed actress Giulietta Masina stars in her husband’s classic film, La Strada. (As you may have noticed, moon-faced actresses are IN- Renée Zellweger, Julia Stiles -while sharp-cheekboned ones are OUT: Julia Roberts, Gwynnie Paltrow, Ben Affleck …. ) Plot: Gelsomina’s impoverished mom pimps her out to a fairground wrestler who sucks, so she bails out and meets “The Fool,” who comes up with some kind of “He hits you because he cares” explanation, convincing her to return. Downtown at the Blue Note, Aaron Neville croons while you stare, hypnotized, by that thing on his head and ponder the etiquette of slipping him your dermatologist’s number ….

[ La Strada , Guggenheim Museum, Peter B. Lewis Theater, 1071 Fifth Avenue, 7 p.m., 212-360-4321; Aaron Neville, Blue Note, 131 West Third Street, 8 p.m., 212-475-8592.]

Sunday 11th

We still think she was the best thing in Godfather III : Elfin director Sofia Coppola scoops up kudos for Lost in Translation , that big Marc Jacobs ad of a movie, at the New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner. Other honorees include Lord of the Ring s director and producer Peter Jackson, American Splendor ‘s Hope Davis (the Gwyneth of the indie set) and A Mighty Wind ‘s Eugene (“Brows”) Levy. Meanwhile, abstract art has had a special place in our heart since Art 101 at our shmancy Ivy League college, when we were supposed to paint a self-portrait ; we were lazy, so we just put a black dot in the center of the white canvas and said we were feeling small. They bought it! Today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, art historian Julie Reiss delivers a talk on the birth of abstraction. Said a Met spokesperson: “The tour traces the rise of abstract painting in pre–World War II Europe from 1911 through the 1920’s. It includes the Met’s extensive collection of modern art, from Kandinsky’s Garden of Love to the Cubism of Picasso and Braque. It brings you to the brink of abstraction without ever getting to abstraction.” Sort of like six appletinis.

[2004 New York Film Critics Circle 69th Annual Awards, Noche, 1604 Broadway, 6 p.m., by invitation-or nomination-only; The Birth of Abstraction , the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Great Hall, 1000 Fifth Avenue, 1 p.m., 212-535-7710.]

Monday 12th

To our mind, an “intimate night” starts with a candlelit dinner and ends with us in a harness that’s rigged from the ceiling …. To the Manhattan Theatre Club , “an intimate night” constitutes its Winter Benefit at the Plaza, with Broadway thespians Tom ( 42nd Street ) Wopat , Kristin ( Wicked) Chenoweth and Jane ( Nine) Krakowski-the “fat” one from Ally McBeal , who’s so thin in person she makes us hope we never run into Calista Flockhart. Ever …. Meanwhile, one place you probably won’t find Robert Downey Jr. or Courtney Love tonight is at the Mid-Manhattan Library, where you can learn “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Addiction but Were Afraid to Ask.” But will they cover the real New York addictions? (Sex, Tasti D-Lite, self-dramatization …. )

[M.T.C. Winter Benefit, Plaza Hotel, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, 7 p.m., 212-399-3000, ext. 344; “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Addiction but Were Afraid to Ask,” Mid-Manhattan Library, 455 Fifth Avenue, 6 p.m., 212-340-0833.]

Tuesday 13th

The Court of Condé Nast: Self editor Francesca Castagnoli has penned a prim handbook, Princess: You Know Who You Are , which princess Michael Musto blurbed as follows: “A funny, insightful guide to the art of making your inner princess match your outer tiara.” We found Ms. Castagnoli toiling away at Condé Nast headquarters. “It all started a few years ago, when I was living in San Francisco,” she said. “It was very grungy, and I was trying to wear flannel shirts and Doc Martens and just felt uncomfortable. I decided that the most radical thing I could do was to put on a party dress …. It’s basically a handbook for women to find enlightenment through entitlement -meaning throw on a tiara, open a bottle of champagne and don’t worry about drinking the whole bottle.” We never do. “It’s a celebration of all things feminine, but with a feminist edge that tells you not to wait for your prince to come, but to go ahead and do it yourself .” But wait-what’s this? This princess has a Mr. Princess! And a baby. (O.K., we won’t quibble …. ) “It’s a sweet, sassy book -very fun, very anti-staying-home, very pro-small-dog. I have a small dog named Chewie -he’s very fluffy, which is code for F-A-T!”

[ Princess: You Know Who You Are , Corner Bookstore, 1313 Madison Ave., 6 to 8 p.m., 212-782-8441.]

Wednesday 14th

First that silly omsbudsman, now this? The New York Times joins hands with the Berkeley school of journalism to co-sponsor a reception and chat, “A Conversation: The Cutting Edge of Investigative Reporting,” which presumably will not feature a rendition of “My Way” by Jayson Blair …. Meanwhile, if the holidays have left you feeling “fluffy” (see yesterday), celebrity trainer David Kirsch is taking time from carving the hamstrings of Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell to teach a seminar at the Learning Annex. “It’s called ‘Total Body Transformation,’ and we’re subheading it by telling people to dress to sweat a little bit. It’ll be a little Q. and A., a little participatory, maybe a little celebrity anecdote! I talk about what I do with Heidi when we’ve got two weeks till a Victoria’s Secret show, and how Liv Tyler and I get that little tweak before she has a movie premiere,” the former lawyer told us when we found him at his swish gym, the Madison Square Club. “I was scrawny and picked on, and nobody wanted to pick me to be on their baseball team. Now I train all those guys, and they’re fat and now I’m buff.” Heard any whoppers lately? “I’ve heard wild, crazy excuses. I’ve gotten ‘I just got home five minutes ago from the nightclub,’ or even ‘My dog ate my shoes.’ Some women try the ‘It’s that time of the month,’ although I grew up with three sisters, so that stuff usually won’t fly. I’m like, ‘You just had it last week! You can’t have it twice in one month. I know how it works! ‘ … Anyway, we’re going to be talking about how to target problem areas. For instance, what’s your biggest body issue?” Honey, last weekend we did laps around our friend’s country house wearing nothing but knee-high stiletto boots. Does it sound like we have body issues? “Wow! I don’t even know you, but that just left quite an image in my mind. Can you imagine what the squirrels thought?” Nuts.

[“A Conversation: The Cutting Edge of Investigative Reporting,” the New York Times Building, 27 West 43rd Street, 15th floor, 6 p.m., by invitation only; David Kirsch, Learning Annex, 6:45 to 9:30 p.m., call 212-371-0280 for tickets and location.]