Defiantly wear those flip-flops all you want, but here is some irrefutable proof that fall has its slippery claws deep in our pre-winter fat: these troublesome new talk shows ( ¡Tony Danza, no mas!); non-practicing Jews suddenly finding their religion and taking the nebulous “Jewish holidays” off from work; movies being referred to as films; the girls who attend the private school down the street (not to mention all the ironic chicks on Eldridge Street) wearing knee socks; and a fellow Observer reporter being told in no uncertain terms to put his seersucker jacket away till Memorial Day. Who wants some hot apple cider? Most certainly, it just wouldn’t be fall without a fancy-schmancy event, and tonight we have the Top Dog Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria. Benefiting the Animal Medical Center (the Mayo Clinic for animals), the evening features a “Black & White” theme, fine dining, dancing and a very special appearance by Winston, the NYPD’s Explosive Detection Canine. “He’s a black Labrador, and he’s one of the many dogs who protects our city—and he’s very cute,” explained the event’s flack. Expect to see: Henry and Nancy Kissinger (who would have figured them for animal lovers?), ubiquitous Charlotte Ronson (sigh), flouncy dressmaker Oscar de la Renta and his wife, Annette, and environmentally dodgy sugar moguls Emilia and Pepe Fanjuil. Not too far away, but decidedly more casual, is the unholy alliance of Grey Goose and Condé Nast, “celebrating the defining tastemakers in cocktails, fashion, and music” at Tao. There will be a special musical performance by singer Howie Day and a special Grey Goose Tastemakers Drink Committee ( honk!), which includes smokin’ Tyson Beckford, designer Cynthia Rowley and pop star of yesterday (and trivia champion) Mark McGrath.
[Top Dog Gala 2004, the Waldorf-Astoria, 301 Park Avenue, 7 p.m., 212-874-5457; Grey Goose and Condé Nast Tastemaker Party, Tao, 42 East 58th Street, 8 to 11 p.m., by invitation only.]
Fashion Week returns! Just kidding, but we had you scared for a moment there …. Anyway, apparently Thursday is the new Thursday after all, so take a deep breath and drink lots of water: First up, the Second Annual New York AIDS Film Festival comes to an end with a closing-night gala held at the sorta-Eurotrash Hudson Hotel. Über-chameleon and master of accents Meryl Streep will present the Berthe Meka’a Award, given to a member of the film or television community whose work “educates, entertains, and empowers in the global fight against HIV/AIDS,” to her pal director Mike Nichols for HBO’s Angels in America. “On and off the job, Mike Nichols has worked for years to foster understanding of AIDS patients, their families and friends,” said Ms. Streep via an accentless e-mail. “Through his organization, Friends In Deed, he’s provided counseling and support to those suffering from AIDS; artistically, he committed himself to adapting Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America, bringing it to a wider audience via HBO. Mike richly deserves our thanks for both of these efforts.” Sure to be much livelier, and perhaps drunkier, is the “A Wee Craic! Fourth Annual Short Night” at the N.Y.U. Cantor Center, with an after-party to follow at the Red Lion. The evening will present an “eclectic” lineup of award-winning international Irish and Scottish short films. Andrew McCarthy, the dreamiest of the Brat Packers, will also debut his first directorial short film. Going to a different ethnic group uptown, Leah Furman, author of Single Jewish Female: A Modern Guide to Sex and Dating, will be discussing and signing copies of her book at the Columbus Circle Borders. “It’s really a book to figure out what God has to do with dating in the first place,” said Ms. Furman. Hmmm, God and dating … next! Ready to start working on your winter weight? Get down to Union Square, which is hosting Harvest in the Square, a “Celebration of New York’s Best-Tasting Community” (we’re assuming they mean food and not the rich kids apartment-sharing on 17th Street—we’re sure they taste gross!). Restaurants ranging from Blue Smoke to Union Square Café are participating as well as offering a variety of wine and beer. Still not cool enough? Head to Brooklyn, where novelist Ned Vizzini reads from his novel, Be More Chill, and presents a screening of the director’s cut of hipster cult favorite Donnie Darko (which has two Gyllenhaals and a giant bunny, so how can you lose?). Lastly, if you really feel the need to prove your emo-rock stripes, head to Northsix, where angst-ridden Bright Eyes, a.k.a. boy wonder Conor Oberst, performs to benefit the legal defense of protesters arrested during the R.N.C. (we’re not kidding). Said Mr. Oberst, “I wasn’t in the city when the convention was on, but I felt that what happened to those arrested reflects a growing trend to mistreat and marginalize those who choose to protest and exercise their right to demonstrate.” (Call us ignorant, but we thought that when you protested, the point was to boldly make a statement and take whatever lumps come your way— not to whine about your iPod battery running down because you had to spend a few extra hours in jail.)
[New York AIDS Film Festival Closing Night, Hudson Hotel, 356 West 58th Street, http://www.newyorkaidsfilmfestival.org; A Wee Craic Fourth Annual Shorts Night, N.Y.U. Cantor Center, 36 East Eighth Street, 7 p.m., http://www.thecraicfest.com; Single Jewish Female: A Modern Guide to Sex and Dating reading, Borders, 10 Columbus Circle, 7 p.m., http://www.bordersstores.com; Harvest in the Square, Union Square Park, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., 212-239-6200; Ned Vizzini reads and presents Donnie Darko, Brooklyn Brewery, 79 North 11th Street, Brooklyn, http://www.nedvizzini.com; Bright Eyes benefit, Northsix, 66 North Sixth Street, 9 p.m., http://www.northsix.com.
We were excited to hear Mayor Bloomberg declare that if a New York Times reporter asks you if you’ll give up your seat on the subway, it is now 100 percent legal to beat them silly. Meanwhile: Who misses Marlon Brando? The Film Forum, that little downtown movie house known for showing great and important films (in a theater that smells a little bit like tuna fish), is presenting a two-week run of a new 35-millimeter restoration of Burn!, Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1969 epic about a slave uprising on a Caribbean island. No word on whether Mr. Brando did this film in order to keep up with his love for island lovelies. “He’s not Streetcar Named Desire Brando, but he’s not plumped-up yet, either,” said a Film Forum rep rather cheekily. Look for lots of guys wearing backpacks explaining to their dates why colonialism is wrong. More fun Italian names to say: Leonetto Cappiello, the “father of the modern poster,” has his first-ever exhibition in the United States tonight—and he’s only been dead for 62 years! Images like La Menthe Pastille, done in 1929, will remind you either of a romantic walk down the Seine, or maybe your first apartment with the bookshelves made out of milk crates. Either way, it’s free. If you’d like to find some lovelorn hygenically-challenged hipster to boink and smoke with, make your way to the party for BreakUpNews.com at the Frankies 457 in Carroll Gardens. Bring connies.
[Gillo Pontecorvo’s Burn!, Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, http://www.filmforum.org; Leonetto Cappiello exhibit, the International Poster Center, 601 West 26th Street, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., http://www.postersplease.com; BreakUpNews party, Frankies 457, 457 Court Street, Brooklyn.]
Yom Kippur began last night, so watch your back at sundown for many hungry folk who will be looking to break their fast. Not atoning? If you swing in the opposite direction, head to the Museum of Sex —yes, improbably it’s still open, though we hear it’s a good place to take a nap—for the Art for Progress fall benefit. The invitation offers a “titillating lineup of the freshest designers, artists, and DJ’s that you don’t know yet.” The evening benefits the Fashion Institute of Technology’s scholarship program (think of all the starving wannabe fashion designers!) and will feature acoustic music by Richard Shepherd and spinning from a bunch of D.J.’s who really should have tucked in their shirts and gotten real jobs by now, don’t you think? Check out the current exhibition Sex Among the Lotus: 2,500 Years of Chinese Erotic Obsession. “We thought it would be an interesting venue,” said an Art for Progress flack.
[Art for Progress fall benefit, the Museum of Sex, 233 Fifth Avenue, 8 p.m. to midnight, 917-345-5157.]
Take yoga from Woody Allen’s co-star! No, not Tony Roberts, silly: Mariel Hemingway, the flinty-voiced ingenue of Manhattan, as Clairol Natural Instincts presents a “Find Your Balance” yoga festival in Central Park. “I’m going to lead a class and talk about yoga and how it’s affected my life,” said Ms. Hemingway, who has also written a memoir on the subject called Finding My Balance. “I’ve been doing yoga for almost 20 years—it’s lasted as long as my marriage.” Next up for Ms. Hemingway is some odd casting as Maria Shriver in the A&E movie See Arnold Run. O.K.! Off island, we have “Atlantic Antic,” Brooklyn’s biggest street festival—you get a mile of a half-million people. The main stage at Boerum Place features D.J. King Pleasure as well as a live performance by Simon Kirke, drummer for Bad Company (remember them—you dry-humped to their song “Feel Like Makin’ Love” in 1975). Other draws: Sahadi’s Arabic stage (uh, careful fellas) with Eddie the Sheik and belly dancers, and a blues stage at Pete’s Waterfront Alehouse. Not to be missed is the World Cheesecake-Eating Championship, which is sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eaters (you just can’t make this stuff up). Looking to defend his title will be Eric (Badlands) Booker; last year he ate 50 cheesecakes in six minutes. Stay out of his way.
[Natural Instincts Yoga Festival, Central Park, Rumsey Playfield, East 72nd Street off Fifth Avenue, noon to 4:45 p.m., http://www.clariol.com/findyourbalance; Atlantic Antic, Atlantic Avenue between Hicks Street and Fourth Avenue, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., http://www.atlanticave.org.
If you’re one of those people who worry about how you will escape this island of moist ambition when the next big catastrophe hits, why not consider the waterways? The New York Sail and Power Squadron is offering sailboat and powerboat classes starting today. Learn “Boat Handling and Seamanship” (obligatory seaman joke here), “Lines and Knots,” “Charts and Aids to Navigation” and an intriguing “Rules of the Road.” If for no other reason, you might be able to snag a sailor—or, at the very least, a boat owner! In more cerebral pursuits downtown, veteran stage actress Kathleen Chalfant, who was in both Wit and Angels in America, reads The Molloy Monologs by American playwright Kenneth Bernard at the Cornelia Street Café while you munch on some pickles.
[New York Sail and Power Squadron Inc., Isidor and Ida Straus School, P.S. 198, Third Avenue between 95th and 96th streets, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., 212-228-4874; The Molloy Monologs, Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, 6 p.m., corneliastreetcafe.com.]
He favors tight trousers, elective plastic surgery and Scandinavian nursery rhymes: Tonight, A.J. Jacobs pretends he actually likes the people who show up at the book party for The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, about his decision to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. “I felt like, after college, my brain was turning into oatmeal,” Mr. Jacobs said. “I actually stole the idea from my father. He started reading the encyclopedia but only made it up to the B’s—Borneo or something like that.” Mr. Jacobs’ quixotic quest—did you know Nathaniel Hawthorne was obsessed with the number 64?—made his friends and family nuts: “I drove my wife to the brink.” More medical news: Insomniac Dave Attell, angry Lewis Black and Brooklyn native (and possible secret Republican) Colin Quinn headline the Gerry Red Wilson Foundation Comedy Benefit at Town Hall, which raises money for a foundation dedicated to fighting meningitis (which totally scares the bejesus out of us, the way lupus used to). Sure to have good food is the party celebrating the publication of The Gourmet Cookboo k, a 1,200-recipe doorstop culled from the magazine’s 60-year history. The party takes place in the Death Star, a.k.a. the Condé Nast building; watch as Vogue assistants mime eating.
[ The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World party, the Carriage House, 149 East 38th Street, 6 to 8:30 p.m., by invitation only; Sixth Annual Gerry Red Wilson Foundation Comedy Benefit, Town Hall, 7:30 p.m., 123 West 43rd Street, http://www.ticketmaster.com; Gourmet Cookbook party, Gourmet Test Kitchens, 4 Times Square, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., by invitation only.]
Art versus TV! The National Association of Women Artists hosts its annual benefit this evening with “Angels for Art,” which celebrates women artists nationwide, featuring several hundred NAWA members from across the country—how long is that bathroom line gonna be?—who have contributed original postcard-sized framed artwork for you to take home, and there will be cocktails ( phew!) and dinner served ( burp!) at the Tribeca rooftop. Or, for 15 bucks, order a pizza and watch America’s Next Top Model (otherwise known as the Best Show Ever).
[Angels for Art, Tribeca Rooftop, 2 Debrosses Street, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., 212-675-1616; America’s Next Top Model, 9 p.m., UPN.]