December 1, 2004 – December 8, 2004

Wednesday 1st

Big puffy coats! Well, November was kind of a bust, wasn’t it? At least we’ve made it through Thanksgiving with most of our internal organs intact (thanks, Prilosec!) …. Now, on to December: Besides being the month of twinkling lights, eggnog and heart-thumping end-of-the-year anxiety, it’s the month when you realize your fabulous “late fall” coat isn’t going to cut it much longer; yes, it’s time to get down the down! And while you’re rifling through the garish rainbow-colored ski jackets clogging your closet, trying to recall the last time you actually skied, remember that the New York Cares Coat Drive starts today …. Now, besides the execrable Bridget Jones sequel, what else can we blame on Renée Zellweger? How about today’s bizarre “Go Chocolate for Charity” event featuring Godiva Liqueur and colorist Louis Licari? Apparently, every time a blonde stumbles into Mr. Licari’s salon this month and chooses a Godiva-inspired color to darken her hair (a.k.a. ” go chocolate,” à la Ms. Zellweger), Godiva will donate 50 bucks to STEP UP Women’s Network, a nonprofit that empowers chicks. Who says feminism is dead? Luckily, we’ve unearthed a much better way to “go chocolate”: head to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, whose gala season opener tonight is a new ballet, Love Stories, set to the music of Stevie Wonder (let’s hope it’s more Innervisions than “I Just Called to Say I Love You”). Apparently the entire corps de ballet is aquiver, since dejected Yankee Derek Jeter is helping to host. ” We’re all showing up early, believe me,” said rehearsal director Ronni Favors. “The party is great, and I can assure you that the dance floor will have some of the best dancing out there.” [New York Cares Coat Drive, Dec. 1-31, http://www.nycares.org; Godiva Liqueur Presents: Go Chocolate for Charity, Louis Licari, 693 Fifth Avenue, Wednesday through Saturday, 2 p.m. till close, 212-758-2090; Alvin Ailey Opening-Night Gala, City Center, West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, 7 p.m., http://www.alvinailey.org.

Thursday 2nd

Bouley- vous coucher

avec moi, çe soir? Tribeca culinary star David Bouley and country singer Lyle Lovett-apparently they’re motorcycle buddies; who knew?-are teaming up for the always-jolly Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation fund-raiser. Mr. Bouley is gonna cook, Mr. Lovett is gonna croon, and 500 culturally disoriented guests will bid for a bit part on a “major” TV program, getaway packages to Harbor Island and Aspen, and/or a golden retriever. (You read that right: a golden retriever.) Guest strategy: Whatever you do, do not-under any circumstances-ask Mr. Lovett about his ex, Julia Roberts, a much-overrated actress who went on to marry a greasy-haired camera man and- this just in!-has now become a glowing 37-year-old new mommy. [Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, 6:30 p.m., 212-241-1760.]

Friday 3rd

Blix blitz: But first, an Atkins-safe street fair! Proceed with extreme caution through Little Italy tonight, where a Christmas tree is being lit, carolers are singing holiday tunes, and the Sorrento Cheese company is gearing up to donate 6,000 pounds of cheese to the worthy charity City Harvest. Actor Gianni Russo’s great-uncle was one of the company’s original founders. “I feel lucky to have the opportunity to give back to the company,” said Mr. Russo, best known for his role in The Godfather as Carlo, abusive husband to Connie and recipient of one of the best ass-kickings ever recorded on celluloid, courtesy of James Caan’s Sonny (think trash-can lid). “It continues to amaze me how The Godfather is still holding up,” Mr. Russo continued. “I’ve been watching it for 33 years, and it still sucks me in.” That new book sequel blows, though-yes, they still seem to be hitting the crack pipe over there at Random House …. In midtown, the United Nations Correspondents Association’s Ninth Annual Media Awards ( exhale) is giving out prizes for excellence in journalism about the United Nations-guess we know what to write about for next time! The UNCA “Citizen of the World Award” willbesharedby U.N.weaponsinspectorDr.Hans Blix, internationaldiplomat Lakhdar Brahimi and Nicole Kidman,  an actress and AustralianGoodwillAmbassadorfor UNICEF, who managed to escape amarriagetoa toothyScientologist …. Further uptown, giggly young wannabe socialites hit the GenArt Winter Masquerade Benefit. Theme: “An Evening in Gotham: The Great Gatsby Meets Murder on the Orient Express,” which means plenty of lame attempts at feathered flapper wear, long strings of pearls, etc.-and that’s just the men! “It’s always a big, fabulous night,” said GenArt chief executive Ian Gerard. “Our foundation gives grants to emerging talent, and it’s not your uptight, haughty benefit-it has youthful energy.” Translation: The benefit committee includes New York magazine’s architecture columnist and bouncy young authoress, Deborah Schoeneman. Honorary chairs include actor Anthony Mackie and accessories heiress Elisabeth Kieselstein-Cord. You can also expect to see lots of MTV-producer types who haven’t read The Great Gatsby but have vaguely grasped that Robert Redford played him in the movie. [Fourth Annual Sorrento Cheese Christmas in Little Italy Festival, Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal streets, 6:30 p.m., http://www.sorrentocheese.com; United Nations Correspondents Association awards dinner, Delegates Dining Room at U.N. headquarters, First Avenue at 45th Street, 7 p.m., 212-741-2577; GenArt’s Winter Masquerade Benefit, Gotham Hall, 1356 Broadway, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., http://www.genart.org.

Saturday 4th

There is nothing like Les Dames: “I find that the original members loved being called ‘broads,'” said Arthur Schwartz, cookbook author and self-described mascot of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international organization devoted to “supporting and promoting the achievements of women in the culinary professions” ( R.I.P., Julia Child). Today, Les Dames present an event called “Cooking with Stars and Style for the Holiday”-though the only “star” expected appears to be the Food Network’s hunky Tyler Florence. Where’s Bobby Flay when ya need him? “I’m going to be doing a demonstration of a recipe that used to be made tableside at all the old restaurants, like the Colony, the Stork Club and ’21,'” Mr. Schwartz offered. “It’s called Steak Diane. You flambé it, and it addsalittleromanceanddrama.” Speakingofdrama, those shrieking Brit-broads-in-training Plum and Lucy Sykes are hitting Bungalow 8 for a private joint birthday party tonight. Bring a blowtorch. [New York Cooks-Holiday Style! I.C.E. facilities, 50 West 23rd Street, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., 212-966-9799; Sykes birthday party, Bungalow 8, 515 West 27th Street, by invitation only.]

Sunday 5th

Waldorf shimmies! Get out your white polyester leisure suit: The Museum of the Moving Image (that’s in Queens) comes to Manhattan to honor fleet-footed and iron-jawed thespian John Travolta at a fancy-schmancy gala. “He’s one of the great American actors, and we want to recognize an outstanding personality in the film world,” said Rochelle Slovin, the founding director of M.M.I. Presenting the award is the incredible shrinking Oprah Winfrey, Mr. Travolta’s longtime fan and friend-“the very person to say yes,” Ms. Slovin said. Also expected to attend: our favorite Six Feet Under guest director, Kathy Bates; the surprisingly sexy James Gandolfini; and, of course, Travolta wife Kelly Preston, whom you remember as the b*tch in Jerry Maguire. There will be lengthy spoken tributes, natch, plus a clip reel of some of Mr. Travolta’s finest film moments (read: do not expect to see Battlefield Earth). “I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Grease,” Ms. Slovin said. So do we-but whatever happened to poor Olivia Newton-John? [Museum of the Moving Image Salute to John Travolta, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Avenue, 6:30 p.m., 212-245-6570.]

Monday 6th

Tree fatigue: As of today, will there be a tree in this city that hasn’t been tricked out like a Las Vegas streetwalker? The tree-lighting ceremony du jour is in Washington Square Park (used to be a place where you could buy some decent mary jane for cheap; now is a playground for a lot of seven-figure yuppies and their whiny spawn). Meanwhile, if you’re the sort of person who loves to drink out of square wooden boxes, then you’re in luck: Benihana founder Rocky Aoki’s Sake Club is having a four-course sake-themed dinner at the Maritime Hotel, where every other guy looks to be auditioning for a part in American Psycho (let’s hope for Rocky’s sake that sulky model daughter Devon shows). The menu, prepared by Matsuri chef Tadashi Ono, includes a sashimi appetizer, a sake black cod, a steak and kabocha-pumpkin pie ( mmmm, kabocha). Is it just us, or is sake one of those weird sexless drinks that men trot out when they’re not interested in sleeping with you? [Tree lighting in Washington Square, under the historic arch, 6 p.m.; Sake dinner, Matsuri, Maritime Hotel, 363 West 16th Street, 6:30 p.m., 212-421-7144.]

Tuesday 7th

Let her Ripa! The fur is flying at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a three-month exhibit opens called Wild: Fashion Untamed, exploring man’s (a.k.a. Anna Wintour’s) ongoing obsession with animalism expressed through clothing. Examples include Alexander McQueen’s “Amazon” dresses and Thierry Mugler’s “Black Widow” ensemble. Watch out for flying PETA cream pies …. More proof that Tuesday is the new Thursday: Extremely tanned Italian designer Giorgio Armani is throwing a ball tonight in his Madison Avenue store. (A ball in a store seems like a bit of a challenge to us, but who are we?) Throw on something tastefully diaphanous and shop for fragile, one-of-a-kind Christmas-tree ornaments designed by Armani-in-waiting Zac Posen, Weimeraner guru William Wegman and aforementioned giddy socialite Plum Sykes. What it benefits: RXArt, a charity that buys art for hospitals to relieve the stress and anxiety of patients, families and staff (because Xanax doesn’t take care of everything, darling) …. Finally, delightfully demented Regis Philbin sidekick Kelly Ripa co-hosts a “Shoes and the City” dinner party and auction with fellow early bird Diane Sawyer, honoring ( quelle shockaroo!)

Sex and the City’s shoe fiend Sarah Jessica Parker, whose omnipresent Gap ads make us strangely uneasy. It’s being thrown by the Two Ten Footwear Foundation and the International AssociationofFashion Footwear (a pricey cabal that includes Kenneth Cole, Sergio Rossi, Manolo Blanik and Sigerson Morrison)-and, according to a release, this all benefits “those less fortunate in the footwear industry.” Does this mean the money will go straight to those of us who shop at Designer Shoe Warehouse or what? [Wild: Fashion Untamed, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, http://www.metmuseum.org; RXArt Ball, Emporio Armani store, 601 Madison Avenue, 7 to 9:30 p.m., http://www.rxart.net; Two Ten Shoes and the City Dinner Party and Auction by Paint the Town Red, Grand Hyatt Hotel, 109 East 42nd Street, 6:30 to 10 p.m., 212-999-5585.]

Wednesday 8th

We’re still recovering from the crushing disappointment of flicking on

America’s Next Top Model the day before Thanksgiving and finding only a clip show (shudder). What was up with that? Tonight, the Final Three strung-out, skinny competitors- suddenly insufferable Yaya, Eva the Diva and rocket scientist Norelle-continue their tour of Tokyo under the fierce, judgmental gaze of our personal heroine, Tyra Banks. Only two episodes left, and then we’ll be forced to either start watching that wacked-out Lost, or actually leave our apartment-and, baby, it’s cold outside! [America’s Next Top Model, 9 p.m., UPN.]