February 16 – February 23, 2005

Wednesday 16th

It’s still February …. On the positive side of things, the fashion fascist brigade has finally cleared out of town, replaced by the equally-lovely-to-look-at-but- higher-IQ-bearing saffron gates in Central Park. If today you happen to find yourself at the Time Warner mall, do not be alarmed by an excessive amount of swankily swathed toddlers and chai-latte-chugging parents: Babytalk magazine, a Time Warner publication ( natch), is sponsoring a kid-friendly day for tots. “I think it’s going to be kinda crazy,” said (refreshingly honest) communications associate Jo McKenna. “There will be lots of babies and kids.” That means lots of wet nappies! Entertaining duties will fall to kid favorite (but no Dan Zanes) Brady Rymer and free Kindermusik classes. (“It’s all about music as a developmental tool,” said Ms. McKenna.) There will be stroller giveaways (great for a kid or for carting home produce from Whole Foods). But wait-there will also be a human dressed up in an animal costume! “There’ll be a really cute donkey,” said Ms. McKenna. “He’s really cute and his name is Paco.” As the big Oscar whoop-de-do is just 10 days away, brush up on your Dior, Galliano and Oscar de la Renta (our new hero, thanks to reports that he kept La Skank, a.k.a. Paris Hilton, from being invited to his fall show) with Hollywood Glamour and the Red Carpet at F.I.T. tonight. There will be a tour of the corresponding exhibit (feathers, sparkle, beads) and a discussion with The Observer’s own Simon Doonan and E!’s Robert Verdi, moderated by New York Times society writer Alex Kuczynski ( Gesundheit!). The topic: What do glamour and the Oscars mean in 2005? Answer: We used to have Rita Hayworth, now we have Lindsay Lohan and her dancing boobs. Next! A much different event entirely is a tribute at S.O.B.’s commemorating Big L, a Harlem rapper who was murdered in 1999. Look for underground rap luminaries like Black Rob, D.J. Premier, Pharaoh Monch and Grand Puba. No word if Paco the dancing donkey will be coming (clippity- clop, clippity- clop, hippity- hop!).

[ Babytalk at Time Warner Center, 10 Columbus Circle, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., http://www.urbanbaby.com; Hollywood Glamour and the Red Carpet, Fashion Institute of Technology, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, 7 to 8:15 p.m., 888-NYT-1870; Big L tribute, S.O.B.’s, 204 Varick Street, 8 p.m., http://www.sobs.com.

Thursday 17th

“Here in New York, we’re on hyper speed-we’re constantly on overdrive,” said author Mary Lou Quinlan, author of Time Off for Good Behavior: How Hardworking Women Can Take a Break and Change Their Lives. “This book is really meant for women who are type-A good girls-the ones who are overworking and underliving. The idea is to encourage them to take a break from their lives.” Indeed, and to give the rest of us a break from hearing about their dumb lives! (Me- OW!) Ms. Quinlan, who was C.E.O. of an ad agency, discovered in 1998 the joy of a five-week vacation. “New York is an excellent place for a vacation,” said Ms. Quinlan. “I went skating at Chelsea Piers, walked around the East Village. When someone asks, ‘How are you?’, the New York answer is, ‘I’m so busy.’ I think women feel guilty taking time off.” Ms. Quinlan will be at the Westin Times Square’s Majestic Ballroom to discuss further ways women can “give themselves permission to rest and reflect.” We suggest a pimp-daddy to pay them bills, sister-girlfriends! More cross-promotional activity is to be found across town, where Laura Mercier, celebrity makeup artist, will be at Saks Fifth Avenue to demonstrate her “flawless face” and how to apply the new spring lines. Expect well-preserved and disturbingly smooth foreheads, which as we know get that way because they are shot full of nasty botulism creepy-crawlies, which will surely be found to interfere with a woman’s fertility any day now.

[Mary Lou Quinlan and Time Off for Good Behavior: How Hardworking Women Can Take a Break and Change Their Lives, Westin Times Square, the Majestic Ballroom, 270 West 43rd Street, 6 to 8 p.m., 212-221-7969; Laura Mercier at Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue, 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.]

Friday 18th

Hey, isn’t it time for a new Keanu Reeves movie? Tonight opens Mr. Reeves’ latest, Constantine, which boasts the tag line: Hell wants him. Heaven won’t take him. Earth needs him. Speaking on behalf of Earth: We do need you, Keanu-no one emotes quite like you! Constantine is yet another comic book brought to film, which begs the question: Explain why it is that all these “cool” comic-book movies, starring big names like Tobey Maguire and Hugh Jackman, are lauded by critics and audiences alike-but you bring one fat and lazy cat who loves lasagna to the big screen and it’s nothing but mocking and derision. Ha- RUMPH!

[ Constantine, for show times and listings, http://www.moviefone.com.

Saturday 19th

Our Bologna has a first name: It’s O-S-C-A-R .… We’re at T-minus-1 week and a day to go till the big day of red carpets, bad decisions (both during the show and after) and insincere speeches. But maybe Chris Rock will save the show by doing some naughty bits …. Meanwhile, it would be nice not to overlook the categories that people use for smoke breaks. For example, besides the ones by Michael Moore or the ones about fellatio in the 1970’s (cue Anna Wintour), how many documentaries have you seen? The Sundance Channel and the International Documentary Association have stepped in to help with a screening of this year’s nominated documentary films on West 57th Street, with a discussion with the filmmakers to follow. Among the offerings is Born into Brothels, about prostitution in Calcutta ( Calcutta? I barely touched her!); Twist of Faith, about the sexual abuse of a boy by a Catholic priest; Tupac: Resurrection, about the late rapper who just won’t stay dead; and Super Size Me, a movie that didn’t make us want McDonald’s fries any less, just gave us the urge to beat the crap out of the filmmaker. Meanwhile, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen the Animated Short Film and Live-Action Short Film categories at the Lighthouse International today (or, as we like to think of them, those categories that annually screw us on the office pool). Robert Osborne, author of 75 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Award s, will play host. Rest up and drink plenty of water for this one, it is sure to be a rager!

[Oscar-nominated documentary films, Directors Guild of America Theater, 110 West 57th Street, 9 a.m. to 11:45 p.m., http://www.documentary.org; Oscar-nominated live-action and animated short films, Academy Theater at the Lighthouse International, 111 East 59th Street, 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., 888-778-7575.]

Sunday 20th

What’s a day without a benefit concert? Tonight, a variety of musicians-including gospel, jazz and something billed as ” international” (translation: drums)-will hop onstage, with proceeds going to Action Against Hunger’s mission in Darfur. Now, if you liked Kill Bill and Uma Thurman’s lovely work with the sword, then certainly not to be missed is the 20th Annual New York Sword Dance Festival. No, sword dancing has nothing to do with all the buzz over Inside Deep Throat (glug, glug, glug … ). The event (or “ale,” as it is traditionally called) apparently draws sword-dance teams ( meep!) from across the country. What you can expect: “The mystical, stately art of longsword dancing and the flashy intricacy of rapper sword dancing.” Hmmm, the last rapper we knew who drew a sword didn’t last long against a Tek-9.

[New York Musicians for Action Against Hunger, the Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, 6 p.m., http://www.knittingfactory.com; 20th Annual Sword Festival, multiple events through the weekend, check http://www.halfmoonsword.org for more details.

Monday 21st

Down on the Baiul: The powers that be from the Continent are in town, inspecting our fair city, trying to decide whether we can host the Olympics in 2012. As if the Ikea in Red Hook, the West Side stadium and the Nets arena in Brooklyn aren’t going to cause enough problems! See the smoke and mirrors come out as the NYC2012 committee tries to razzle-dazzle the Olympians with an ice show at Rockefeller Center today starring … OksanaBaiul?!? Nothing against the Ukrainian lass (except, um, that we’ll do the driving, toots!), but were MichelleKwan and Kristie Yamaguchi busy with something more important? Last we checked, Ms. Baiul was dancing the lunch shift at Scores! ( Kidding!) Regardless, Ms. Baiul will skate beautifully, someone will sing gorgeously, and the Olympics will be in Paris. Phew.

[NYC2012, Olympic Rally at Rockefeller Center, 11:30 a.m.]

Tuesday 22nd

The women (and a lot of men) in this city tend to their hair with the same care and attention given to a hothouse orchid, and seem happy to hand over vast sums for hair stylists and for products of dubious distinction. Have you ever wondered if you aren’t, maybe, getting snookered? That perhaps Duane Reade would do the trick just fine? Such is the premise behind the Suave “Can You Tell?” Beauty Studio, where women are given the opportunity to see if they can tell which is the expensive brand and which is Suave. We’re guessing that the Upper East Side ladies will show up even if it is for Suave, because if we’ve learned anything, it’s that it’s the richest chicks who want the most free crap. Next! Get out your best fitted black turtleneck, love beads and bongos for a screening of The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg today at the Steinhardt Building on the Upper West Side. The 1994 film includes readings and interviews with William Burroughs, Timothy Leary, Joan Baez and Kid Rock (just kidding!). Some say Ginsberg was one of the first hipsters-and note, you Williamsburg wannabes, he never shaved his balls or spent his money on Adidas or hosted “ironic” theme parties. He was too busy working.

[Suave “Can You Tell?” Studio, 12 East 42nd Street at Fifth Avenue, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., through Feb. 26, 866-SUAVE-05; The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, Steinhardt Building, 35 West 67th Street, 7 p.m., http://www.92y.org.

Wednesday 23rd

Fowl ball! You just aren’t anyone these days unless you have a reality show, a clothing line or a perfume named after you-but will anyone ever remember those fools of frippery 10 years hence? What one really needs is a biographer …. To wit: Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Richard Rhodes chats about his latest work, John James Audubon: The Making of an American (cue violins!), at the New-York Historical Society. If you can believe it, this is the first major biography of Audubon in 40 years (Audubon, for the MTV watchers out there, was the master illustrator and bird expert). Mr. Rhodes’book tracks the flight ofAudubon ( flap, flap, flap) from his native France to New York in 1803 ( and boy, were his arms tired!-bad joke in honor of Henny Youngman, 1906-1998 ), hisfirst chirpsof English and finding his very own love bird to nest with (we’ll stop now). Meanwhile, the geniuses at Bravo managed to drag out the finale to tonight’s Project Runway, even though the winner was determined over two and a half weeks ago! We’d bet our salary and future earnings on the talented Kara Saun. Auf Wiedersehen, Project Runway! Just one week days till the return of America’s Next Top Model.

[Richard Rhodes and John James Audubon: The Making of An American, New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, http://www.nyhistory.org; Project Runway, Bravo, 9 p.m.]