Now that she’s married, Rosie O’Donnell gets therapy: Today she chats at the 92nd Street Y with psychoanalyst and Today show contributor Dr. Gail Saltz about creativity and motivation in the performing arts ( note to Ms. Saltz: best keep away from any mention of “taboos”-see: Taboo , recent flop of). Some food taboos are broken at the Mark hotel, where pastry chef Frederic Bau does unspeakable things with chocolate (the woman’s catnip) from Valrhona. “He’s sort of their chocolate ambassador,” said the Mark’s executive chef, Andrew Chase. “Chocolate is going to be a component of all the savory dishes. It’s used to either compliment or contrast the food. These chocolates all have some sugar in them , so I’m curious to see how Frederic is going to do it myself!” Is Mr. Blau flashy? “If he had an American counterpart-and I don’t think he does-I just couldn’t see them being so humble and such a pleasure to be around. In the States, it’s different: It’s tough here, and there’s a lot of competition, so by the time these chefs get to the top, a lot of them can get big egos.” In other news, surely you know it’s What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day ; we called the man behind the day, Tom Roy , a former native of Astoria who’s now an associate producer of the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. What would happen if the aforementioned pets had the aforementioned digits? “It would be hell!” he said in between slurps of a strawberry Tootsie Pop. “Every time I go to the refrigerator, my basset is with me going, ‘Hey, whadda we got in there?'” Strange fact: Mr. Roy played the “wild-eyed street creature” in the Bruce Willis–Brad Pitt vehicle 12 Monkeys . “Weird movie, huh!?” Meanwhile, animals with and without opposable thumbs set up tent in New Jersey, as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus arrives with its big cats ( rr-rrrr-ow! ) and clowns ( grrrrrr! ) , which will be fueling children’s nightmares for years.
[Rosie O’Donnell, 92nd Street Y, 1395
Lexington Avenue, 8 p.m., 212-415-5500;
“A Night of Wine and Chocolate,” Mark’s restaurant, the Mark, East 77th Street at Madison Avenue, 7 p.m., 212-744-4300; “The Greatest Show on Earth,” Continental Airlines Arena, 6:30 p.m., 877-379-0694.]
Book reviewers get revenge on the great unwashed public today at the National Book Critics Circle awards , where contenders include William T. Vollmann’s Rising Up and Rising Down (your brother-in-law cashed in a mutual fund to buy a copy) and Blake Bailey’s biography of Richard Yates, A Tragic Honesty . The critics also continue that dubious habit of doling out Lifetime Achievement Awards to authors who still manage to turn out damn fine work with regularity. This year, the award goes to scruffy, white-haired Studs Terkel. We reached the 91-year-old Studs (best known for his collection of interviews, Working ) at his Chicago home; he had to retrieve his hearing aid ( “I’m deaf as a post, and a slave to technology” ). He said he’s assembling a new book about music, and it may not be his last: “I’ll keep going till I check out. I’ve gotta keep goin’, you know? I might kick the bucket right this minute talking to you.”
[National Book Critics Circle Awards, New School University, Tishman Auditorium,
66 West 12th Street, 6 p.m., 212-251-6831.]
No word if Bill Clinton- philandering former President turned South Beach diet fanatic -will be at today’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival in midtown, hosted by Food and Wine editor Julie McGowan and Aquavit’s Marcus Samuelsson and grazed by David Bouley, Anthony Bourdain, Alain Ducasse, Drew Nieporent and Al Roker …. Meanwhile, it seems Venice needs your help, so the Young Friends of Save Venice strike up their fiddles at a “Casanova’s Court” masquerade ball. “Dress to seduce” says the invitation, adding that “masks, furs or black tie” are required … But first swing by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s benefit plant sale- 20,000 plants , any of which would die under our care. We called Lucille Plotz , who’s worked at the garden for “50-some-odd years,” and she let us in on 2004’s veggie trend: “Heirloom tomatoes are very attractive,” she said, conspiratorially. “Heirloom tomatoes are tomatoes that have not been hybridized.” We pressed her to endorse a favorite plant, but she refused, saying only that she was quite fond of “dwarf plants.”
[South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Riingo at the Alex Hotel, 205 East 45th Street,
6 p.m., invitation only; Casanova’s Court, the Metropolitan Club, 1 East 60th Street,
8 p.m., invitation only; Brooklyn Botanic Gardens benefit plant sale, 900 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, 9 a.m., 718-623-7200.]
The Junior League- tough broads in pearls -embrace the recent trend of masked parties ( cheaper than a face-lift! ) at their Winter Ball tonight (theme: Venetian masquerade) at Cipriani’s …. If it’s your weekend with the kids: Italian mouse/author Geronimo Stilton (brainchild of Italian publisher Edizioni Piemme ) comes to the Scholastic Store to hock his newest tome, Four Mice Deep in the Jungle , and Lord and Taylor unleashes a bunch of puppets and a storyteller, Miss Teri, who will “perform with her magical keyboard.” Meanwhile, it’s Purim; Christians sneak out to see Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ , secure in the knowledge that their Jewish friends won’t spot them ….
[Winter Ball, Cipriani’s , 110 East 42nd Street, 7 p.m., 212-288-6220; Geronimo Stilton, Scholastic Store, 557 Broadway,
3 p.m., 212-343-6166; A Whale of a Tale , Lord and Taylor, 424 Fifth Avenue, 11th floor, 2 p.m., 212-382-7670.]
Of course gay people should have the right to marry-they have the right to be miserable just like the rest of us! Today Dr. Khoren Arisian , of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, asks “Marriage, Straight or Gay: What’s Ethics Got to Do with It?” Which reminds us of Elton John’s response when asked what he’d be getting Liza Minnelli for her wedding: “A heterosexual husband.” Zap! … And 30 blocks uptown, at the 92nd Street Y, meet a single woman who’s too smart for most guys: Karen Armstrong , the former nun turned chronicler of faiths (God, Buddha, Muhammad) .
[“Marriage, Straight or Gay: What’s Ethics Got to Do With It?”, New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street, 11:30 a.m., 212-874-5210, ext. 144 or 116; the Glanz Lecture: Karen Armstrong, 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave., 7:30 p.m., 212-415-5500.]
Life is LaBute-iful: Ingenue actor Kieran Culkin joins castmates Brian Dennehy, Christopher Meloni, Amanda Peet, Paul Rudd and Susan Sarandon in dark-souled playwright Neil LaBute’s Autobahn , a reading of five new one-act plays. Meanwhile, the Hamptons start their hum-hum-hum as Mortimer (Mort) Zuckerman, Alec Baldwin, Ben Bradlee and Jack Youngerman scoop up lifetime achievement awards at East Hampton’s Guild Hall Academy of Arts gala at the Rainbow Room, as Lauren Bacall looks on.
[ Autobahn , Little Shubert Theater, 422 West 42nd Street, 8 p.m., 212 -727-7765; Guild Hall Lifetime Achievement Awards gala, Rainbow Room, 30 Rockefeller Plaza,
6:30 p.m., 631-324-0806.]
Eye want candy! Artist Craig Kanarick previews his confection collection of photographs, Eye Candy , at Dylan’s Candy Bar . “I stopped off at some bodega to buy candy one day, and I saw all this candy on the shelf, and I thought, ‘They’re like little precious gemstones!'” said Mr. Kanarick. “So I grabbed a camera and began photographing, shooting it like it was a little fashion model. I didn’t turn on techno music and a fan or anything, but it was really beautiful!” Then yet another gala gallops through Gotham, as the New York City Opera’s Spring Gala features the last Hollywood couple with class, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, as well as Tony Kushner, Stephen Sondheim and a performance of the latter’s Sweeney Todd starring Mark Delavan and Elaine Paige …. Meanwhile, Donald Trump goes off-camera to honor Corcoran real-estate chief executive Pamela Liebman at the Kite Dance Benefit, being held at the city’s favorite new mall, the Time Warner Center. Worthy cause: Child Development Center in East Hampton.
[ Eye Candy , Dylan’s Candy Bar, 1011 Third Avenue, 6 to 9 p.m., http://www.dylanscandybar.com; New York City Opera’s Spring Gala, New York State Theater, 20 Lincoln Center, 5:30 p.m., 212-870-5575; Kite Dance Benefit, Mandar in Oriental, Time Warner Center, Columbus
Circle, 6:30 p.m., 631-267-2734.]
Celebri-chef Rocco DiSpirito (has dainty lady’s lips) unzips his two latest inspirations, Rocco Cookware and Rocco Food , with a frisky demonstration and luncheon. Elsewhere, author and former cop Laurie Lynn Drummond reads from her debut book, Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You . (Sounds like our last relationship.) Ms. Drummond has written 10 short, “blistering fictional portraits” of Baton Rouge policewomen. Bonus dirty excerpt! “The burn from the teeth of the cuffs, I remember it catching my skin …. ” (Sounds like our current relationship.)
[Rocco cookware and food launch, Rocco’s, 12 East 22nd Street, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., by invitation only; Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You , Barnes and Noble,
675 Sixth Avenue, 7 p.m., 212-727-1227.]