Fashion Week nips at our heels like a terrier, and it don’t look pretty, sister girlfriends. But some people just can’t wait to get crackin’: Diane von Furstenberg -the Susan Sontag of the fashion set-winds herself into a wrap dress and shows up at the launch party for Café Bohême (a coffee-vodka liqueur), topped with a frothy art auction. Translation: downtown types holding theme martinis. “We got models, creative directors and designers -there are 23 innovators in all-to create collages that will be on display, so we’re going to see some diverse stuff,” said a publicist. Innovators include the aforementioned Ms. von Furstenberg, Ben (“Naomi’s my sister!”) Watts, Charlotte (“Samantha’s my sister!”) Ronson , mad potter Jonathan Adler , designers Alice Roi (the anti-Shoshanna) and Matt Damhave (the anti–Tara Subkoff). The collages will be auctioned off to benefit Free Arts for Abused Children. We asked what they look like (the collages, not the children). “We don’t know. It’s going to be a surprise for all of us. All we did was give them a theme, ‘ Bon Vivant ,’ which means ‘Living well is the best revenge.'” We though it was trashing your ex- “lover” in the pages of the New Yorker ….”
[Free Arts for Abused Children, Lot 61, 550 West 21st Street, 9 p.m. to midnight,
by invitation only, 212-625-3165 for ticket requests.]
O.K., we’re willing to humor our wee Mayor by pretending that the Olympics would be a great thing for New York (actually, who do we think we’re kidding ? It would be a disaster from the word go : clogged traffic, the city filled with wide-bottomed Midwesterners and gangly German athletes, Islamist terrorists rubbing their hands in glee … ), so we’re not going to do a little jig that the U.S.A. luge team is coming to town today with their luges and tight bodysuits-this ain’t Aspen, folks, we’re a city, remember? Anyway, if you want to lie on your back and go 60 miles an hour without having to go for dinner and drinks first, the luge lads will be encamped on various icy patches of the city today …. Once you’re spent, glide on over to the super-duper Cooper Union for two scoops of Schadenfreude ! Snow-maned Susan Sontag (below) -the Diane von Furstenberg of the intellectual set -lectures on her latest, Regarding the Pain ofOthers , rethinking the way pictures inspire dissent, foster violence or create apathy, focusing mainly on photos of atrocities and their role in our culture (in other words, Britney’s wedding pic). “She’s out of the country and really unreachable!” trilled a flack when we phoned. Alas . Bring the sultry septuagenarian a cupcake-her birthday was yesterday.
[Learn to Luge, Battery Park, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Union Square Park, 5 to 7 p.m., http://www.nyc.gov/parks; Susan Sontag, the Great Hall, 7 East Seventh Street, 6:30 p.m., 212-353-4195.]
Hello, Dalí! Film-studies majors in prescriptionless glasses with “dirty” hair (strategically mussed with a caviar-based pomade ) follow their clunky black shoes ( clunk! clunk! clunk! ) to the Film Forum for a screening of L’Age d’Or and Un Chien Andalou (that eye-slitting scene gets us every time ). According to Dalí, the theme is “the pure and correct line of ‘conduct’ of a human who pursues love through wretched humanitarian patriotic ideals and the other miserable workings of reality.” Mm’kay? If you’ve got a lactose-intolerant boyfriend you’d like to get rid of, it’s only two days ’til the annual Great Grilled Cheese Meltdown. Take him to the Comfort Diner (a different grilled cheese every day for the month of February.) Feast on the inside-out grilled cheese fondue with Gruyére and Emmentaler. Back in college, we made ours with Cheez Whiz and an iron ….
[Screening, Film Forum, 212-966-0730; Great Grilled Cheese Meltdown, the Comfort Diner, 214 East 45th Street, 212-867-4555, or 25 West 23rd Street, 212-741-1010, throughout February.]
What’s hotter than a room full of insurance executives? Tonight, the maniacs of SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company are holding their annual gala to benefit America’s Second Harvest, which works to alleviate hunger in the U.S. “The entrance is going to be set up like Auntie Em’s house, and there will be gizmos to make it look like there are twisters,” said a flack. “Then you’re going to walk through Munchkin Land, and there’ll be a casino and auction in the Enchanted Forest. The awards ceremony will take place in the Emerald City, and there will be medals given out signifying courage, wisdom and love. Oh, and the food will be set up to remind us of the needs of the hungry.” How about the needs of those who are getting screwed by insurance companies? (Oops! Sorry, sir!) Meanwhile , if you always thought it would’ve been cool to live in the 19th century so you could say, “Pistols at dawn!” , think again- Alexander Hamilton did and consequently didn’t get to see much of the 19th century. “He and Aaron Burr exchanged 10 or 12 letters over a few weeks prior to his death, and you can see this dueling etiquette, with exchanges like ‘ You, Sir, did not deny …, ‘” said Jim Basker, M.C. of today’s Hamilton hoedown at the New-York Historical Society. Hear all about the man on the tenner-visionary, soldier, statesman, crappy marksman. “People will be surprised to learn that he was the only immigrant Founding Father. He was a poor, illegitimate kid from the Caribbean Islands who became one of the leading founders of America.” But what’s his value today? “I’ll tell you something that’s thrilling to me-so far, we’ve had 700 people sign up! That many people coming to hear about one historical figure is pretty stunning. I think Hamilton’s stock is rising! … The first panel is called ‘Hamilton and Money,’ because he’s famous for his expertise in helping to organize the American economy. He’s the genius who insisted upon the assumption of debt and the mixed economy. Those are very Hamiltonian ideas. Oh, and the artsy people might be interested in this part-” Click!
[SBLI USA’s 2004 Recognition Gala, Sheraton New York Hotel, Imperial Ballroom, 811 Seventh Avenue, 7 p.m., 212-356-0307; Alexander Hamilton, the New-York Historical Society, 2 West 77th Street, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., 646-366-9653.]
One of The Times ‘ more predictable Op-Ed stars, Paul Krugman, is a dewy-eyed bearded gent, and today he podium-izes at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Once he gets you stoked, head over to the Gramercy Theater and see Tom Cruise test the elastic on his Hanes and many frogs descend from the heavens over Los Angeles as MoMA screens Magnolia as part of its “The Hidden God: Film and Faith” series. On the tube, the Carolina Panthers play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
[Paul Krugman speaks, New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street, 11:30 a.m., 212-874-5210; Magnolia screens as part of MoMA’s “The Hidden God: Film and Faith,” the Gramercy Theatre, 127 East 23 Street at Lexington Avenue, 1 p.m., 212-777-4900.]
When Sex and the City ‘s last Manolo has been scuffed, we’ll wager that not many will miss Sarah Jessica Parker’s uncanny Dee Snider impersonation. No, what’ll really be missed are the hiss-fests between Mario Cantone and Willie Garson. Mr. Cantone came to the phone on a recent afternoon; he’d just awoken. We told him we’d miss his catfights with Stanford Blatch. “I know-me, too. Fucking with each other like that. It’s fun-I loved givin’ him shit. I really thought I was going to end up with him …. If I end up with him, I’m gonna kill somebody. I will not end up with Willie Garson. I love Willie, but we’re not going to end up together as lovers- sissy, bald straight man playing a gay man. He prisses it up with the best of them, doesn’t he?” (You haven’t met our Big-Cheese Editor.) Tonight, you can catch Mario-along with Joy Behar, Darrell Hammond and Judy Gold-at Caroline’s on Broadway. Proceeds benefit individuals with AIDS, H.I.V. and AIDS-related illnesses.
[Comedy Cares, Caroline’s on Broadway, 1626 Broadway, 7 p.m., 212-840-0770.]
What happened to mustaches? Has it really been 30-some odd years since they represented maximum mackdom? Has Burt Reynolds truly been replaced by Ewan McGregor? Thurman Munson -the scrappy Yankee catcher who died tragically in an airplane crash in 1979-is given his due tonight. “In a way, he was like a lowercase Yogi Berra,” said Bill James , author of The 2004 Bill James Handbook . “Yogi was not an athlete, but an extremely effective player-meaning he wasn’t quick or graceful or pretty, but he got the job done. Thurman was like that: He got the job done.” And the ‘stache? “There wasn’t very much pretty about Thurman, including the mustache. Thurman was not a good-looking guy, particularly. He had a kind of scruffy-looking mustache that seemed to fit an image.” Inasmuch as we’d like to rub shoulders with other mustachioed greats like Rollie Fingers and Catfish Hunter, we’ll make due with John Starks, Roger Clemens and John Franco -who proves you can collect Medicare and still pitch.
[Thurman Munson Awards Benefit, Marriott Marquis Hotel, 1535 Broadway, 7 p.m.,
The other Weill- not the rainmaker from Citigroup -has an evening devoted to his bad self, starring Tadpole r Bebe Neuwirth . “Singing Kurt Weill is much closer to who I am than anything else I’ve done,” said Ms. Neuwirth. “Lilith Crane is not who I am- except that I’m really shy. And I’m extremely driven!” Nordoesshe have much in common with Chicago ‘s fishnetted Velma Kelly. “I don’t really go around murdering people. Or carrying a machine gun.” Or, for those who like to harrumph a lot: Times man William Safire speaks at the Y.
[ An Evening of Kurt Weill , Alice Tully Hall, 8 p.m., 917-322-2140; “Observations,” William Safire, the 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, 8 p.m.,