September 29, 2004 – October 6, 2004

Wednesday 29th

Perhaps it’s the cloves simmering in the hot apple cider , but sniff hard enough and there’s a definite scent of pontification in the air—which can only mean one thing: tweedy highbrow festivals! And we don’t mean the San Gennaro Feast, which thankfully packed up all its mobbed-up meat-on-a-stick a few days ago (quick note: a big thank you to The New York Times for telling all us dumb New Yorkers the proper way to pronounce “prosciutto” ). This week, dueling horn-rimmed jobs: the New York Film Festival , which attracts a particular strain of downtown hipster (the kind with the Ryan McGuinness book on his coffee table, who pretends to like underground hip-hop) who bought tickets ages ago so he can proclaim, “ Shanghai is the future of filmmaking,” versus the New Yorker Festival , from the magazine that pregnant women read on the bus . But first, tonight: hippies !

“A Reading in Defense of Democracy” unfurls at Symphony Space, hosted by WATCH (Writers and Artists for True Change) and benefiting the MoveOn P.A.C., whose mission reads, “We’ll recruit 50,000 volunteers to work in 10,000 key neighborhoods in battleground states to get 440,000 new votes for John Kerry to the polls” (please

people, no math, we beg of you). Among the readers are smooth-cheeked novelist Jonathan Safran Foer , Web-stalker Katha Pollitt and—saving the event from being a total disaster—food-lovin’ Calvin Trillin . Across town, authors Tom

Wolfe , Jamaica Kincaid and Princeton townie John McPhee pay tribute to Roger W. Straus , the esteemed founder of publishing house Farrar, Straus & Giroux , who passed away in May. More smarty-pants stuff at the Guggenheim, as Artforum convenes a “panel of experts” for “Pop After Pop,” a discussion of the legacy of pop art “from Warhol to today.” Who misses Fashion Week?

[“A Reading in Defense of Democracy,” Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, 7 p.m., http://www.moveonpac.org; Roger W. Straus celebration, the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave, 3 p.m., 92y.org; Artforum ’s “Pop After Pop: A Roundtable,” Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, 6 p.m., 212-475-4000.]

Thursday 30th

Sake to me! Finally, a breather event where we can drink without having to talk about Dan Rather or rising fiction stars: Today the Joy of Sake caravan, the “largest sake tasting held outside of Japan,” staggers into town and comes to a burping stop at the Puck Building, after similar stops in Honolulu and San Francisco. “If you’re interested in sake, there is nothing else like it,” said International Sake Association director Chris Pearce. “Five senior Ph.D. sake geeks came in from Japan and did a blind tasting judging on aroma, balance, taste and overall impression. The gold- and silver-medal winners are the ones on the road.” Also participating with sake-friendly dishes are local restaurants such as Bond St., wd-50, Asiate and Bouley. And besides, sake is 15 percent alcohol, compared to the measly 10 to 12 percent in your average ( read:

lame-o) wine—which must be why those Japanese guys sleep in desk drawers. “The tasting glasses are very small, so

it’s just a small amount,” warned Mr. Pearce. Harrumph—next! Further north, celebrate the publication of The

Complete Cartoons of “The New Yorker,” a doorstop anthology of the comic work seen over the magazine’s 75-year history, edited by cartoon editor Robert Makoff. “ It took about two years,” said Mr. Makoff. “What’s quite fascinating is that you time-travel back to the decade the cartoon was in. You can sense New York and the life of the times—the buildings, the ethnic groups, how the attitudes have changed—all by cartoons that were being drawn.”

[Joy of Sake, the Puck Building, 295 Lafayette Street, 6 to 8:30 p.m., 888-799-7242; The Complete Cartoons of “The New Yorker” book party, the Leaf Lounge, 913 Broadway, 6 to 8 p.m., by invitation only.]

Friday 1st

September was kind of a freak show, wasn’t it? Hello, October! Beyond being known as the month of the color orange, pumpkins and German beer, October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month (which apparently is colored pink). In tribute, Target —that brilliantly marketed, cooler Kmart of the 00’s—unveils a limited-edition line of all-pink items (including cashmere scarves, umbrellas, bags and hoodies), whose profits will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

And for all those who don’t like the idea of schlepping out to the Brooklyn location, Target is setting up temporary shop for the month at 7 Times Square (which is suspiciously close to the Condé Nast Death Star — hmmmm). This evening, underutilized actress and hottie Sela Ward will be doing the cutting at the ribbon ceremony in Times Square. Next! The three-week-long film festival kicks off tonight with a French film ( naturellement), Look at Me ( Comme une Image) by Agnes Jaoui, which won the prize for best screenplay at Cannes, followed by a fancy-schmancy afterparty at Tavern on the Green. Expect movie-geek flirting outside, where the clove-smokers will be sure to congregate. Much further downtown, New Yorker editor David Remnick and his fiction editor, Deborah Treisman, host a private party at the Tribeca restaurant Pace to celebrate, well, themselves! Look for the magazine’s latest crop of scrunchy ankle boot-wearing female “short-story writers” arraying themselves like ripe plums along the open bar. Two writers who will probably not be

in attendance are Jay McInerney ( Bright Lights, Big City) and Observer alumna Candace Bushnell ( Sex and the City, Four Blondes, Trading U p), who will be hosting a book party for Abigail Vona’s memoir, Bad Girl: Confessions of a Teenage Delinquent. Bonus dirty-book excerpt, page 11: “ At that stage of the game I was a little dickophobic. ” A very different sort of literary dame is celebrated tonight on the Dorothy Parker Bathtub Gin Ball & Speakeasy Cruise (no word if there will really be bathtubs full of gin à la Annie), but any woman who said, “As only a New Yorker knows, if you can make it through the twilight, you’ll live through the night,” deserves to be recognized. Speaking of naughty dames, Sharon Stone helps hoist Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry tonight at a private screening at the Asia Society, followed by a fancy dinner at the Council on Foreign Relations. The documentary by George Butler ( Pumping Iron) is “ a film about character and leadership during a time of national crisis,” and one of your hosts for the evening will be Ben Affleck, otherwise known as the pretty-boy kiss of death for any political aspirant. Crash strategy: “I’m with Ben.”

[“Show You Care at 7 Times Square” (it rhymes!), 7 Times Square at 42nd Street, 9 a.m., http://www.target.com/breastcancer;

New York Film Festival, Look at Me screening, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Broadway and West 65th Street, 8:15 p.m.; The New Yorker Festival party, Pace, 121 Hudson Street, 9 p.m., by invitation only; Bad Girl: Confessions of a Teenage Delinquent , 246 West 14th Street, 9 to 11 p.m., by invitation only; Dorothy Parker Bathtub Gin Ball & Speakeasy Cruise, Skyport Marina, at East 23rd Street, 7 to 11 p.m., http://www.dorothyparkernyc.com;   … Going Upriver screening, Asia Society, 725 Park Ave., 7 p.m., 212-935-1558, ext. 184.]

Saturday 2nd

Rather, Jennings and Brokaw— in one room together? This cannot be a good idea, but The New Yorker ’s Ken Auletta applied some man musk and got the three anchor steams to cozy up tonight and discuss the current campaign and network news. Lay side bets as to who is going to be the first to make Dan Rather cry over his recent CBS scandal (our money is on the pro-Palestinian Mr. Jennings). Downtown, the Rubin Museum of Art —another museum to feel guilty about not visiting—celebrates its grand opening. Housed in the building that used to be the original Barneys in the original Chelsea, the museum focuses on art from the Himalayas, and its mission is to “present, preserve and document a permanent collection that reflects the vitality, complexity and historical significance of Himalayan art.” Ten bucks says 75 percent of the city knows the new location of Barneys far better than the geographical location of the Himalayas. Don’t miss the Himalayan Dog Pageant, officiated by orchid-lovin’ Susan Orlean and food writer Jeffrey Steingarten, for pups that can “trace their lineage back to the Himalayas, including Lhasa Apsos, Afghan Hounds, Tibetan Terriers and more.” More proof that this city is going to the dogs is happening up at Central Park, where the third annual “My Dog Loves Central Park Country” Fair is taking place, which offers Doggie Limbo, Canine Good Citizenship testing and the Hike for Hounds. “It’s open to all dogs, and everyone is welcome,” said Suzanne Berman, the rep for the event. (Someone should tell those snotty Himalayan hounds.) Tonight, good luck trying to get past all the sideburn-sporting film geeks quoting Bottle Rocket and waiting to see Rushmore director Wes Anderson talk to New Yorker writer Noah Baumbach (a very fun name to say).

[“From Where We Sit: The Campaign and Network News,” Celeste Bartos Forum, the New York Public Library, 42nd Street and Fifth

Avenue, 10 a.m., http://www.newyorker.com; Himalayan Dog Pageant, Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street, 2 p.m., http://www.rmanyc.org; Third Annual “My Dog Loves Central Park Country” Fair, Great Lawn, Central Park, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., http://www.centralparknyc.org; Wes Anderson talk, Directors Guild of America, 110 West 57th Street, 9 p.m., http://www.newyorker.com.

Sunday 3rd

Watch “cool” kids wearily doing the walk of shame down Orchard Street this morning and wondering, Just what is the deal with all the pickles? The Fourth Annual New York City Pickle Day is held today on the Lower East Side, where many of our ancestors probably ate them before it turned into a pickled-hipster hoe-down. “It’s a unique event that highlights the

spirit of the neighborhood,” said rep Sideya Sherman. “We have free pickles, and I think this year we have an accordion

player.” Meep. There will be a wide selection of pickles (“from kimchi to kosher dills”). The press release reminds us that “Pickle Day is not just about cucumbers, it’s a chance to sample a number of foods preserved in brine.”

O.K.! In other gastronomic adventures, New Yorker writer Calvin Trillin will conduct a walking tour of Chinatown that concludes with dim sum. Sadly, the tic-tac-toe chicken that Mr. Trillin once immortalized is no longer playing; the good news is, he was delicious!

[Fourth Annual Pickle Day, Orchard Street between Grand and Broome, 11 a.m. to 4:30 a.m, http://www.lowereastsideny.com;“Come Hungry,” starting point given on tickets, 11 p.m., http://www.thenewyorker.com.

Monday 4th

Grab your “Bush Sucks!” T-shirts, kids; tonight the ACLU hosts a “Freedom Concert” at Avery Fisher Hall—expect conscious rapper Mos Def, the always unpredictable Sean Penn, a couple of Gyllenhaals ( mmm, Gyllenhaals) and Paul Simon. There will be a tribute to Lenny Bruce, a lot of talk about just how much trouble our country is in, and there are rumors that locks of Al Franken’s hair will be auctioned. If that won’t cure what ails you, head to the Fraunces Tavern Museum, the oldest building in Manhattan and a museum of early American history and culture, for a benefit auction to support the education programs run through the museum. “We hope that people will come and that they will bring their fat checkbooks,” said benefit chair Susan Hefti. “This tavern was popular among George Washington and his officers. It was where people would have an ale and plot and listen to each other.” The auction includes a sculpture of an eagle for your garden (10 bucks says a German nudist snaps that up) and a “surprise gift from the New York Yankees” (we hope it’s Derek Jeter wrapped in a giant pink ribbon). Sigh.

[Fraunces Tavern Museum Benefit, 54 Pearl Street, 6 p.m., 212-969-8138; ACLU Freedom Concert, Avery Fisher Hall,

Columbus Avenue and 65th Street, 212-721-6500, http://www.aclu.org.

Tuesday 5th

If you see society types dressed in a way that can only be described as “circus chic,” do not be afraid : It will more than likely just be guests of the Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala, entitled “Beauty Under the Big Top.” The

evening, according to the brightly colored invitation, was “inspired by the 1964 film Circus World ” starring Hayworth, who died of Alzheimer’s, and John Wayne, who didn’t. The invite advises that “The Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria will be transformed by the splendor and magnificence of the circus, replete with fantastic performers, amazing spectacles and a special anything-can-happen bit of magic.” Yikes! Chairing the event are big, big, big names like Muffie Potter Aston (yet another fun name to say) and ex– Bosom Buddy Donna Dixon Aykroyd; getting extra air kisses are Princess Yasmin Aga Khan (hard name to say), Ms. Hayworth’s daughter as well as the founder of the gala, and Mrs. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a.k.a. Maria Shriver. Heading downtown, find a bunch of women unafraid to discuss orgasms at Cosmo ’s “50 Hottest Bachelors” party, celebrating the magazine’s annual “Men” issue, down at Strata near Chelsea (where there are many, many hot bachelors indeed).

[Beauty Under the Top, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Avenue, 6:30 p.m., 212-843-1712; 50 Hottest Bachelors of 2004, Strata,

915 Broadway at 21st Street, 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., by invitation only.]

Wednesday 6th

There’s plenty to do tonight, but seriously? Do yourself a favor and watch UPN’s America’s Next Top Model , the only show we know that had a premiere episode with beer-throwing cat fights, girls in bikinis, tears and Tyra (“ Miss Tyra if you’re nasty”) Banks . Best. Show. Ever. Go Eva the Diva!

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