December 15, 2004 – December 22, 2004

Wednesday 15th

The weather outside is frightful, we’ve had it up to here with Christmas-party Evites, and several residents of $10 million Fifth Avenue apartments have been outclassed by two flying creatures who like to eat rats -meanwhile, Osama is trimming his tree in Pakistan, everyone is suddenly wearing jaunty pea coats, The New Yorker is trying to spice up its fiction issue with “arty” nudie pics (again), Hillbillary Clinton’s pardoned pal Marc Rich seems to have been the evil hand behind Saddam’s looting of money meant for starving Iraqi children , well-heeled New York women in their 30’s are being sliced and diced by plastic surgeons (but telling their friends it’s “just Botox” ) and, 10 days before Christmas, Uncle Leroy already has his Christmas drunk on . O.K., someone pass the eggnog! You’ll need it to soothe your stomach after ingesting yet another play by Neil LaBute , a man who has made his career writing about men who are so horrible they’re almost as bad as real men! Tonight his Fat Pig opens Off Broadway, featuring an all-star cast including everyone’s favorite sidekick Jeremy Piven , Keri Russell (doomed to always be referred to as Felicity), dreamy 80’s heartthrob/90’s “who’s he?” Andrew McCarthy and newcomer Ashlie Atkinson in the title role. Expect to overhear dark-rimmed glasses-wearing East Villagers saying “No, I would never do anything like that” at the close of the show. Next! Alfred Dunhill , purveyor of all things leathery and glass tumbler-y and who generally smells like a man, is hosting a private holiday V.I.P. shopping night that gets you 15 percent off. Meanwhile, Showroom Seven , a fashion house repping Williamsburg trust-funder favorites such as Alice Roi , Ellus Jeans , Orla Kiely and Jennifer Nicholson , is having a holiday sample sale through Dec. 17. Wear your most festive granny underwear (which has replaced the thong as the undergarment of choice for New York gals).

[ Fat Pig , MCC at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, 7 p.m., http://www.mcctheater.org; Alfred Dunhill private sale, Alfred Dunhill, 711 Fifth Avenue, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., by invitation only; Showroom Seven sample sale, Dec. 6 through 17, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., 498 Seventh Avenue, 24th floor, http://www.showroomseven.com.

Thursday 16th

Lucky Lucci? Sure to have a high quotient of tweedy suits and classy pearls today is the annual holiday luncheon and awards for New York Women in Film and Television, an organization dedicated to “helping women reach the highest levels of achievement in film, television and new media, and promoting equity for women in these industries …. ” (Somebody call Bill O’Reilly!) Honored today will be actor and director Lee Grant, ABC mouse house co-chair Anne Sweeney, production designer Kristi Zea and daytime Emmy eluder Susan Lucci. “We started the Muse awards in 1980 and the first recipient was Pauline Kael,” said executive director Terry Lawler. “Now, 24 years later, we expect to have up to 1,400 people attend.” Hope you’ve got enough canapés, miss! Presiding over all that estrogen will be funny lady Sandra Bernhard (the anti–Lindsay Lohan). “It’s really fun; the people are in a festive mood,” Ms. Lawler promised gamely. Meanwhile-oh Mummy, it’s a fancy dress party! The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Young Collectors have a ball honoring Matthew Ritchie. Tonight’s event, sponsored by Dior, promises that the museum will be “transformed into a golden couture fairytale evening illuminated with thousands of glistening lights.” There will be a gold glitter dance floor and ultra-luxurious ottomans (what the hell?) for the young worthies to park their well-waxed buttocks upon. You know the drill by now: Sykes, Chanticalle, blah blah blah; plus celebrities whom one associates with indie films and leg warmers: boyfriend-snatcher Claire Danes, the ever-shrinking Christina Ricci, very tall Famke Janssen and oddly dressed Chloë Sevigny. This evening’s activities include an auction, cocktails and dancing. Don’t these people ever get tired of these things? Further south and west, the meatpacking district-which New York magazine and Jay McInerney tell us is a hot neighborhood in this week’s issue-welcomes a brand-new lounge, Earth NYC, which has absolutely nothing to do with the environment, but which will apparently embody “the experience of India’s chicest boites, where Bombay’s young and beautiful go to play.” We can’t even muster up the strength to sigh.

[New York Women in Film and Television gala holiday luncheon, New York Hilton, 1335 Avenue of the Americas, 11:30 a.m., http://www.nywift.org; Young Collectors Council Artist's Ball, Guggenheim Museum, 1070 Fifth Avenue, 9 p.m., 212-423-3534; Earth NYC V.I.P. opening, 116 10th Avenue, 7 p.m. till midnight, by invitation only.]

Friday 17th

The Gong Show! In a few days we will be celebrating the winter solstice ; for most of us, it’s a day that simply reminds us how quickly it gets dark out. But for others, the solstice is one big chime-ringing deal. Paul Winter , pioneer of world music ( uh-oh), celebrates the 25th year of his winter-solstice celebration at the very enormous Cathedral of Saint John the Divine , from the Dec. 16 through 18 (try as we might, we could not get to the bottom of why it’s not happening over the actual solstice-maybe it’s some new-age voodoo thing … ). He’s invited guests such as the Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble (nine Russian village singers and dancers), the Forces of Nature Dance Theater Ensemble (double uh-oh) and “spectacular special effects symbolizing the sun, the earth, the solstice tree, and for the first time, the moon and planets of the solar system” ( meep!). Other things one can expect: a “Moon Gong” and giant “Earth Ball” which “travels over the audience as if through space, and then rises, spinning, into the star-lit of the Nave.” Where else outside of Red Rock are you going to be able to find such Friday-night activity? “It’s kind of like seeing Pink Floyd inside a cathedral, but without the rock music,” a rep clarified for us. O.K.! Less hippy-dippy is the “Have Yourself a Rock N Glitter Christmas” at the Crash Mansion on Bowery. Five dollars of each ticket will be donated to City Harvest ; expect to hear ceiling-rattling cover versions of songs by the Kinks, Thin Lizzy, the Sex Pistols (and what is Christmas without the Sex Pistols?), the Ramones and the Pretenders by artists that we haven’t heard of but we’re confident will do a bang-up job. Fellas : Beware hipster girls on old-fashioned bicycles looking for some Christmas nog.

[Paul Winter's 25th Anniversary Winter Sostice Celebration, the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, 7:30 p.m., 212-581-1212; "Have Yourself a Rock N Glitter Christmas," Crash Mansion @ BLVD, 199 Bowery at Spring Street.]

Saturday 18th

Is there anyone out there not yet suffering from tree fatigue? If the answer is no, head up to the Upper East Side, where standing a classy distance away from its tricked-out showgirl sister is the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Christmas tree. Decorated as a “vivid 18th-century Neapolitian crèche scene-embellished with a profuse array of diminutive, lifelike attendant figures” (not actual real little people, we’re told), this candlelit spruce makes one ashamed to ever lay eyes on that flash-in-the-pan Rockefeller nonsense. More highbrow for the holidays: Lincoln Center unleashes Anne Sofie Von Otter (a ridiculously fun name to say). The Swedish mezzo-soprano brings a “gift from the North in a program mixing traditional Scandinavian songs” backed by folk singers including Anders Åstrand on percussion, Bengt Forsberg on piano, Bengan Janson on accordian and Pär Näsbom on viola. Bring extra umlauts.

[The Metropolitan Museum of Art Christmas Tree, 1000 Fifth Avenue, lighting ceremony at 7 p.m., http://www.metmuseum.org; Annie Sofie Von Otter's Home for the Holidays , Alice Tully Hall, Broadway and 65th Street, 8 p.m., http://www.lincolncenter.org.

Sunday 19th

The actor who dareth not speak his name? The Chelsea Community church , a nondenominational Christian church, is holding their 30th annual candlelight carol service this evening in St. Peter’s church. There will be Bach, Brahms and Mendelssohn and a reading by a certain neighborhood actor of Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” We can’t tell you the name of the actor , since he does not wish to publicize his name for the event; however, we can give you a couple of hints: He is often spotted outside the storied Chelsea Hotel, he has written a couple of novels, and he used to be married to one of the blond actresses in Kill Bill! In other actorly news, Martin Scorsese’s new movie, The Aviator , opened on Friday, starring the secretly fat Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes , whom The Observer’s Rex Reed described as a “handsome weirdo” ( would we?!?). The film tackles the life of Hughes during the golden age of Hollywood with lots of airplanes and a bevy of contemporary beauties including Jude Law (as Errol Flynn), Cate Blanchett (Katherine Hepburn) and the No Doubt front woman with the killer abs, Gwen Stefani, in her screen debut as Jean Harlow. Quick question: Has anyone else recognized the trailer music as being the exact same as last year’s soppy and wonderful romantic comedy, Love, Actually?

[30th Annual Chelsea Community Church Candlelight Carol Service, 346 West 20th Street, 6 p.m., http://www.chelseachurch.org; The Aviator , check http://www.moviefone.com for show times and theater locations.]

Monday 20th

What would this season be without riding the loop-de-loop on your credit card? ABC Carpet and Home , our favorite overstuffed and overpriced store, is having an end-of-the-year sample sale on the rugs and carpets (which until today we thought were the same thing) that have been on display throughout the store. Highlights include knotted Nepalese rugs, Indian wool flat weaves and vintage Persian Gabbeh rugs. Even if you can’t afford one on sale, drop by and pull up an overstuffed chair to watch young pregnant couples plunk down $8,000 for a carpet which will last about a day after Junior starts crawling ….

[ABC Carpet and Home holiday rug and carpet end-of-the-year sale, Dec. 13 though Dec. 31, 881 Broadway, lower level, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., http://www.abchome.com.

Tuesday 21st

If you can still see your feet, you’re not eating enough Bouche de Noel! Today is the winter solstice, the start of the solar year and a measure of whether you’re a glass-is-half-empty or -half-full type of person. To wit: Do you think of today as the day where the sun starts to set at lunch time? Or are you telling your friends that now the nights will start getting longer? Either way, celebrate by throwing out your useless, jobless boyfriend and adorning your apartment with holly, ivy, evergreen boughs, pin combs and wreaths to symbolize the continuity of life and the wheel of the year. Or go to the Garden tonight and watch the Knicks attempt to take on the Dallas Mavericks and think about the lessons learned from profound disappointment. [New York Knicks versus the Dallas Mavericks, Madison Square Garden, Seventh Avenue at 32nd Street, 7:30 p.m., http://www.thegarden.com.

Wednesday 22nd

Without America’s Next Top Model, we find ourselves looking for reasons to leave the fortress of solitude that is our apartment. Luckily the Museum of Television and Radio is screening A Charlie Brown Christmas, whose title character’s angst-ridden state we can deeply relate to. In this inaugural Peanuts special from 1965-shown at lunch time today, so take your children (that is if you want to risk exposing them to 38-year-old males in muttonchops searching for an “ironic moment”)-Charlie Brown is turned on as usual by the rest of the gang when he picks a scraggly Christmas tree. It’s really not easy being Charlie Brown. Or Dwight Yoakam.

[ A Charlie Brown Christmas , the Museum of Television and Radio, 25 West 52nd Street, 12:30 p.m., 212-621-6800.]