October 14, 2004 through October 20, 2004

Wednesday 13th

Look, there’s always something to complain about: the ever-present underlying fear, the fact that we’ve never been hit on while riding the first car of the F train, the ridiculous rents, rumors of another MetroCard

hike, the unfairness of alternate-side parking, Lenny Kravitz … but seriously? Is there anything more satisfying than October in New York City? Enjoy the lightweight jackets and refreshingly fresh air while you can, because we’re only seconds away from quilted coats and ugly hats and frozen liquid on the sidewalk, O.K.? Now, what’s with the French? If you happen to notice some jokers bicycling red pedicabs around the city today while wearing navy striped shirts and berets, do not be alarmed: It’s the brainchild of some genius in the marketing department at Red Bicyclette, a new French wine. “We’re trying to make French wine a little bit friendlier,” said the very friendly publicity rep, Karen Kearns, who told us that there will be 26 red pedicabs on the street today and tomorrow, offering free rides and complimentary baguettes. (We’re not kidding!) “They won’t be giving out any wine, though,” cautioned Ms. Kearns. Sacré bleu! Moving on, who knows the difference between a gala and a benefit? We surely can’t figure it out, but the chance to raise money for art while wearing pretty clothes happens simultaneously at two different locations tonight. First up is the Ninth Annual National Arts Awards black-tie gala at Cipriani 42nd Street; the very fancy-looking invite boasts a lot of important names on it, such as chair and publishing heiress Veronica Hearst, honorary chair Caroline Kennedy and committee members Hillary Rodham Clinton and Arthur (Pinch) Sulzberger Jr. (as well as junior committee co-chairs Chelsea Clinton, Emilia Fanjul and fun-name-to-say Fabiola Beracasa), and promises an evening of awards that “recognize those artists and arts supporters who exhibit exemplary national leadership and whose work demonstrates extraordinary artistic achievement.” And don’t forget: If Hillary is in Manhattan, it means the Chappaqua chateau is rockin’! Further downtown, a smaller artistic nonprofit, White Box (whose mission is “to show diverse contemporary art in the context of socially relevant issues and to present images and ideas that matter to the larger audiences”), is holding a live benefit auction at wrap-queen Diane Von Furstenberg’s studio. “We raise about half of our yearly budget at this event,” said Esa Nickle, White Box’s assistant director. “We really need people to come out and support us.” Rumored to show is everyone’s favorite TV mobster, Joey (Pants) Pantoliano. Also be on your toes for some reedy, flinty-voiced smokers to attack lower Manhattan: It’s time for the annual CMJ Music Marathon, where indie-rock bands from all over the place hang tough on the Lower East Side, try to sober up for “networking,” get Spence students to sleep with them and play the back room of Pianos. See you out there, fellas!

Americans for the Arts Ninth Annual National Arts Awards Gala, Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 East 42nd Street, 7:30 p.m., 202-371-2830, ext. 106; White Box Annual Live Benefit Auction, Diane Von Furstenberg Studio, 389 West 12th Street, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., http://www.whiteboxny.org.

Thursday 14th

If you’re a MetroNorth rider, keep an eye out for some of the city’s glitteriest hiding out behind their copy of the Post while traveling to tony Greenwich for “ Building the Future: A Gala Evening for the Westport Country Playhouse.” The lovely Joanne Woodward, of The Three Faces of Eve and Mrs. Paul Newman fame, is the artistic director of the playhouse and is no doubt responsible for luring much of the star power out to the burbs. Expect to see: Paul Newman and Robert Redford, rumored to be reuniting for a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid tribute, smoothie Harry Connick Jr. in the orchestra pit, Brian Williams running the show (while constantly plotting to take over the world after he knocks off Tom Brokaw) and a variety of other celebrities desperate, no doubt, to get close to the Newmans—who doesn’t love those guys? The auction will feature items like an apprenticeship with Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein (umm, do they know what they’re getting into here?) plus fancy Riviera

trips and a Harry Winston necklace. Crash strategy: don’t try to act like pals with Mr. Newman; he’s a movie star and you’re not.

“Building the Future: A Gala Evening,” Hyatt Regency, Greenwich, Conn., 6:30 p.m., http://www.westportplayhouse.org.

Friday 15th

You’re roasted! Donald Trump, a man you can’t avoid , will be the 82nd person given the roasting treatment by the New York Friars Club. Lovable crank Regis Philbin will be roastmaster and leader of the usual mixed bag of comedians and guests, including NBC big cheese Jeff Zucker (mysteriously enough, CBS’s Les “Less Is More” Moonves backed out at the last moment, citing a last-minute obligation in L.A.), actor and Upper West Side lurker Richard Belzer, funnyman Richard Klein and the always amusing, always under investigation Reverend Al Sharpton. “This might be the biggest roast in our history,” said Friars president Freddie Roman. “We’re completely sold out.” We were waiting for the punch line, but alas. Mr. Roman was quick to point out that Mr. Trump is a “good sport” and that, “after the first three or four speakers, the hair jokes will have been done to death. Besides, with Trump there are just so many other areas to go.” Well, our money says that if Jeffrey Ross is one of the roasters, he’ll bring Mr. Trump to a boil …. Over at Madison Square Garden, Céline Dion (Canadian) takes the stage for a special “One Night with Lite” concert sponsored by—who else?—106.7 Lite FM (the radio station you pretend not to sing along to when “Tiny Dancer” comes on). Apparently, the Vegas casino that’s had Ms. Dion locked up for the past three years is setting her free for a onetime engagement, and she’ll be joined onstage by earnest songster Josh Groban and Five for Fighting’s John Ondrasik. Our big-cheese editor is griping that Ms. Dion is “stealing Barbra’s thunder …. ”

Donald Trump Friars Club Roast, Hilton Hotel, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, noon, by invitation only; Céline Dion, Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue at 32 Street, 8 p.m., 800-222-1067, http://www.1067litefm.com.

Saturday 16th

Polite society : Are your little ones keeping their elbows on the table during mealtime or, even worse, using their cell phones to text-message at dinner? Judith Ré , of the Ré Acadamie, an establishment that she started 18 years ago, will be at the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park today for a lesson in the fine art of manners. “The class is really based on respect,” said Ms. Ré (the students call her “Miss Judith”), speaking on her cell phone en route to her home in Fairfield, Conn. “It’s not all white gloves and crossing your ankles; it’s about feeling confident and comfortable in any situation.” The four-and-a-half-hour class, for children ranging in age from 8 to 13, will cover proper introductions, handshakes and telephone etiquette and will conclude with each student writing a thank-you note. Just think where Paris Hilton could be today if she’d had a little bit of training! (Remember how she interrupted her swampy sex romp with that vile fellow on her porno video to answer her cell phone? That was bad heiress etiquette!) Meanwhile, if you believe that the art students of today are the art-world stars of tomorrow (and if you do, well, we don’t know what to say), check out the first annual (question for everyone: If it’s the ‘first,’ then how can it be an ‘annual’?) Pratt/Brooklyn Art Fair . Held on Hall Street between DeKalb and Willoughby (a street you wouldn’t ever really want to be on unless there happened to be an art fair), the fair will feature the work of Pratt students and Brooklyn artisans, on display and for sale, including ceramics, photography and handmade paper ( hmmmm) .

Social Savvy with Judith Ré, the Ritz-Carlton New York, 2 West Street, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., 917-790-2571; Pratt/Brooklyn Art Fair, Hall Street between DeKalb and Willoughby avenues, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (get out before it gets dark!), http://www.pratt.edu/artfair.

Sunday 17th

Kabbalah … the new Scientology! Tie a piece of red string around your wrist and find out what all the hype is about at the Kabbalah Centre Open House today, where there will be free lectures and reduced prices on registration. We used our library card and found out that Kabbalah is considered to “be the key that unlocks all the mysteries of life, the secret code that governs the universe,” which sounded great to us! However, our reference source went on to say that “it’s an incredible system of logic and a precise technology that will completely change the way you view your life.” That sounds a little too much like math, people …. Further downtown, we have a case of serious typecasting: John Cameron Mitchell, of lanky Hedwig and the Angry Inch fame, will portray First Lady Laura Bush at a one-night-only benefit reading of the new play from playwright Tony Kushner, entitled Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy. “I haven’t really done any acting since Hedwig, nor have I wanted to, but I read the script and I was fully blown away,” said Mr. Mitchell. “Only Tony Kushner’s words could drag me back to acting.” Joining him onstage is everyone’s favorite character actress, Patricia Clarkson, plus Kirsten Johnson (she’s very, very tall). An after-party will follow at Luke and Leroy, where Mr. Mitchell will D.J. What can’t he do? Downtown for Democracy (natch) sponsors.

Kabbalah Centre Open House, 155 East 48th Street, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 212-644-0025; Tony Kushner’s Only We Who Guard the Mystery Shall Be Unhappy , the Great Hall at Cooper Union, 7 East Seventh Street, 7 p.m., http://www.downtownfordemocracy.org.

Monday 18th

All the Real Girls …. Tonight, the Lower Eastside Girls Club —devoted to providing a place for girls and young women ages 8 to 25 to “grow, learn, have fun, and develop confidence” ( Bill Clinton watch in effect)—holds its seventh annual benefit gala (a benefit and a gala? That sound you hear is our head exploding!) at neighborhood favorite Capitale Restaurant and Ballroom on Bowery. The ultra-luscious Rosario Dawson is the M.C. for the evening as well as a devoted spokeswoman for the organization. “She grew up in this neighborhood,” explained development director Adriana Pezzulli. “She’s here all the time. She’s incredibly grounded and dedicated to the center.” Other guests in the nearly 700 people expected to attend are pregnant-girlfriend-leaving Billy Crudup, another hot—maybe the hottest—East Sider, Drea de Matteo, and a teetering trifecta of ubiquitousness: Charlotte Ronson, Amy Sacco and Chloë Sevigny. The dress code calls for “Hi-Lo Couture,” which pisses us off, frankly. Ms. Sevigny will lead the way in a tiara and leg warmers.

Seventh Annual Lower Eastside Girls Club Benefit Gala, Capitale Restaurant and Ballroom, 130 Bowery at Grand Street, 7 to 11 p.m., http://www.girlsclub.org.

Tuesday 19th

Not satisfied with being just a restaurant owner , neighborhood rejuvenator, film-festival creator and living legend of acting, Robert De Niro (along with his partners, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff ) presents the first Tribeca Theater Festival . The two-week shindig hopes to celebrate theater by “supporting new voices and new work while furthering the organizers’ mission for the economic and cultural revitalization of Lower Manhattan.” Swell! Tonight’s activities kick off with The Downtown Plays , five-minute-long original shorts by leading disturbed playwrights such as Kenneth Lonergan, Paul Rudnick and Neil LaBute . Also downtown (but much more hoity-toity) is the cocktail party given by the Duchess of Marlborough in the blood-and-offal-stained meatpacking district in honor of the Duchess’s first New York exhibit of her paintings. Rumored to attend: a moist clutch of de la Rentas, Trumps, Hearsts, etc. Required to attend: Duke “Sunny” of Marlborough and Lord Edward and Lady Alexandra Spencer-Churchill (read: husband and kids). Crash strategy: pogo stick. If you’re hungry, try crashing the cocktail party on Park Avenue for the celebration of the Les Halles cookbook instead. The invite reads that the party will go on “till the cows come home.” It’s a steak place … cows, be warned. Moo.

The Downtown Plays , Tribeca Theater Festival, Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, 1 Place Plaza, 8 p.m., http://www.tribecatheaterfestival.com; Duchess of Marlborough cocktail party, Lars Bolander, 72 Gansevoort Street, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., by invitation only; Les Halles cookbook party, Les Halles, 411 Park Avenue South, by invitation only.]

Wednesday 20th

On America’s Next Top Model …. Can there be anything better than a makeover episode? Thankfully, the nameless busload of blondes is getting whittled down, and we’re beginning to know who we hate and who we really, really hate. And can we say congratulations to our favorite show, which has clearly gotten a bigger budget (what struggling model stays at the Waldorf, we ask you, except the ones who shoot ping-pong balls?) … Anyway, we’re totally rooting for Yaya!

America’s Next Top Model , UPN, 8 p.m.]