Seriously, how is it June already? It feels like just yesterday that it was gray, cold and dreary and the city’s females were swooping around in unfortunate ponchos …. Regardless, the good news is that weekend evenings will soon see a quiet hush in restaurants (less sweaty elbowing with the wankers who have hightailed it to the Hamptons). If you’re like us and find yourself watching Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown over and over again (d*mn, that Doogie Howser can bluff with the best of them!), you are probably aware that poker is back (no matter what Ben Affleck does to ruin its rep). At the Anglophiliac Soho House this evening, cards will be dealt courtesy of partypoker.net at a poker tournament and book party for Aces and Kings: Inside Stories and Million-Dollar Strategies from Poker’s Greatest Players by Michael Kaplan and Brad Regan. “We have profiles of some of the game’s most influential players, like Puggy Pearson, Stu Ungar and Phil Hellmuth,” said Mr. Kaplan. How about the enormously tall Phil Gordon from the Bravo TV show? “Um, no, not him,” Mr. Kaplan said. “But he did give us a nice blurb for the book.” The party will have the requisite drinks, finger foods and cardsharps in zoot suits. If for no other reason, it’s a chance to get your non-connected ass into the Soho House and realize it’s just a big silly hoo-ha. We asked Mr. Kaplan if he was a member: “No, they wouldn’t have the likes of me there.” Moving on, Paul Simon will be performing (sans turkey outfit, we think) at a fancy dinner for the Children’s Health Fund at the Hilton New York. Your host for the evening is Jane Pauley (ask her if she’s a Diane or Katie fan). Or do nothing beneficial and eat herring in a train station at the always-rockin’ Holland Herring Festival at Grand Central Oyster, when the “delicacy” arrives via air mail from Schveningen, the Netherlands (that’s right, we said Schveningen). But don’t get drunk and hop on a train to Spuyten Duyvil-craaaazy things can happen! Finally, if you’re jealous that you haven’t been slapped around by Burt Reynolds, get cold-cocked by Russell Crowe at the Children’s Defense Fund benefit screening of Cinderella Man (think Seabiscuit, but with boxing) on the Upper West Side.
[Aces and Kings book party and poker tournament, Soho House, 29-35 Ninth Avenue, 7 p.m., by invitation only; the Children's Health Fund Annual Gala, Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of Americas, 6:30 p.m., 212-887-0100, ext. 234; Holland Herring Festival, Grand Center Oyster Bar and Restaurant, Grand Central Terminal, 42nd Street, 212-490-6650; Cinderella Man, Loews Lincoln Square Theater, 1998 Broadway at 68th Street, 6 p.m., by invitation only.]
Book geeks invade city! If you’ve noticed a lot of strangely dressed, socially inept people lurching around the meatpacking district, blinking through bifocals and gripping bags from the Strand, fret not: The Book Expo-Fleet Week for corduroy-is in town. Dueling for attention is The Hours author Michael Cunningham’s party for his new book, Specimen Days (“specimen,” we must point out, is really among the grossest words we know), at the Maritime’s North Cabana bar. Bonus first sentence: “Walt said that the dead turned into grass, but there was no grass where they’d buried Simon.” Only a few blocks away, the stodgy-but-getting-sassier New York Times Book Review, headed by Sam Tanenhaus, clinks glasses at the sleek-yet-rumpled-looking Hotel Gansevoort. Meanwhile, poor New Republic didn’t get the memo that the meatpacking district is the cool neighborhood for book stuff-they’re having cocktails with snow-maned literary lion Leon Wieseltier at the Bryant Park Grill. Also uptown is a More-magazine-sponsored shindig for Sharon Boorstin’s Cookin’ for Love: A Novel with Recipes at the Hotel Algonquin, the only Book Expo locale this week that can actually claim some literary ghosts. The novel follows two 49-year-old broads on an overseas adventure and asks the question, “Who says only twentysomethings can have fun, romance and great sex?” (Darn, just as we say goodbye to our 20′s, now we find out what we were supposed to be doing? … ) “It’s meant to be fun and sort of a fun romp where these two women are really relating in a way they hadn’t since college,” said Ms. Boorstin. In a fascinating product-placement tie-in, Zestra, the female sexual-enhancement aid, is also a sponsor of the party. Bonus dirty-book excerpt! “Can I really reveal to my best friend what embarrasses me to even think about? ‘What if I can’t have an orgasm?’ I blurt out. ‘I can’t remember when I last had an orgasm.’ Kate hands me what looks like a purple foil condom package. I read the label: ‘Zestra?’ ‘Ten minutes before you’re going to have sex, you squeeze it out and rub it on your privates,’ she says. ‘What’s in it?’ ‘Starflower and evening-primrose oils, plus a bunch of other stuff. Who cares? You use it, I guarantee, you’ll vibrate without a vibrator.’” Meep. “When I first wrote the book, Zestra was new, and now you can find it in Duane Reade,” said Ms. Boorstin. “It’s the topical oil that works.” We’re guessing its gonna be one hell of a party.
[Michael Cunningham party for Specimen Days, North Cabana, Maritime Hotel, 88 Ninth Avenue, 8:30 to 11:30 p.m., by invitation only; New York Times Book Review party, Ono, Hotel Gansevoort, 18 Ninth Avenue, 7 to 9 p.m., the New Republic book party, Bryant Park Grill, 42nd Street, 5:30 to 8 p.m., by invitation only; Cookin' for Love book party, Hotel Algonquin, 59 West 44th Street, by invitation only.]
Candy for Candace! Former Observer columnist/muse and Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell is fêted this evening atop the Hudson Hotel’s Penthouse (watch out for vertigo, folks!). Ms. Bushnell’s next book, Lipstick Jungle (which we think would make a great lesbian bar name), will be published in September. Bonus dirty excerpt! “Kirby removed a pair of kitchen shears from a flowered ceramic holder containing an assortment of wooden spoons and spatulas. On top of being great in bed, he was a cook, she thought. He teasingly ran his hand over her belly and inner thighs, and then, pulling the panty hose away from her stomach, begin to snip downwards with agonizing slowness. When he reached the top of her pudenda [passage deleted for our younger readers-Ed.]. Oh God, she thought. God, she was really having a good time.”
[Candace Bushnell party, the Hudson Hotel Penthouse, 356 West 58th Street, 9 to 11 p.m., by invitation only.]
Ahoy … it’s Toby Dick! Maverick Brit Toby Young, whose previous book, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, followed the journalist’s ups and (mostly) downs as he lived in New York and ruffled the feathers of people named Graydon, Tina and Harry, has a new one out. What could possibly follow? A memoir about the aftermath of publishing a book about the ups and downs in New York City publishing, of course! Mr. Young gets toasted for The Sound of No Hands Clapping at Lotus this evening, and the most surprising part of all is that his book party isn’t at the Soho House. Bonus dirty-book excerpt! “I didn’t get upset until the very end, when I had to dispose of my most prized possession of all: my porno collection. Call me a sentimental old fool, but there was something about this hoard that made me all misty-eyed.” Whoever said men weren’t sensitive? In non-book-related news, kooky designer Betsey Johnson will be honored in the Hamptons (yes, people are out there again) by Body Positive at the Garden Gala XVIII (Roman numerals = class!). Wear something pink and lacy!
[Toby Young book party, Lotus, 409 West 14th Street, 6 to 8 p.m., by invitation only; Garden Gala XVIII, Chez Della Femina, 25 Drew Lane, East Hampton, 212-566-7333.]
Kibbles and Whit: Listen up, summer interns: there’s a Walt Whitman Marathon poetry reading this evening down by the fishy South Street Seaport. Pick up a copy of Leaves of Grass for your favorite portly pepperpot! Meanwhile, we’re noticing an alarming trend in cat discrimination. Today, dogs and their owners are invited for a massive photo shoot by photographer and dog lover Elliott Erwitt in Bryant Park today. Dog people have no dignity.
[Dogs-and-owners group photo, Bryant Park, Fountain Terrace, 42nd Street, 10:30 a.m., Walt Whitman Marathon poetry reading, South Street Seaport Museum, Pier 16, 5- 8 p.m., 212-748-8735.]
Normally, when you walk by Rockefeller Center, all you smell are the tourists hoping to get their sweaty paws on some Today show talent. Tonight will smell delicious, thanks to a food extravaganza to benefit the very worthy Citymeals-on-Wheels. “This is the 20th anniversary of this dining event,” said executive director Marcia Stein, who explained that there will be 35 different tasting stations (burp!) with gourmet offerings. “We have 20 of the greatest chefs,” she said, naming Daniel Boulud, Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck, Lydia Shire and Nobu Matsuhisa among representatives from various vineyards. “Yes, there’s a lot of drinking, too,” she added. Now on to some very exciting news: Apparently, there’s an opportunity to see Chill Factor’s Skeet Ulrich (remember him?) at a party and premiere for Into the West, a miniseries that begins airing on TNT on June 10 and was executive-produced by Steven Spielberg (not taking any chances since his leading man, Tom Cruise, appears to have gone bat-sh*t crazy). The premiere and party take place at American Museum of Natural History with some cocktails and a reception under the whale. But be careful: You may get a Skeet, but you’ll also get a Balthazar Getty. Meep!
["Starry, Starry Night for Citymeals-on-Wheels," Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue at 48th Street, 7:30 to 10 p.m., 212-687-1290; Into the West premiere, American Museum of Natural History, 77th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, 6:30 pm., by invitation only.]
We fondly remember stuffing our face with Oreos (we love them Double Stuf) in the innocent days before everyone started being obsessed with carbs and diets and generally trying to be skinny enough to get sucked down the shower drain (Lindsay Lohan, we’re talking to you, sister). Well, clearly the company needs to remind the public just how delicious their cookies still are, as they present a contest involving live auditions for a new twist to the “Ice Cold Milk and an Oreo Cookie” jingle. Remember that one? “Hopefully, a lot of people will come out and give it a try,” said rep Kara Middendorf.Judging the event will be a fellow we’d reckon has had his share of Oreo cookies, Randy (“What Up, Dawg?”) Jackson. Meanwhile, there’s a Clinton alert (male-tomcat version) over at the Chelsea Piers for an event in honor of Anne Frank’s 75th birthday, which will posthumously honor Arthur Miller and benefits the Anne Frank Center. Tonight there’ll be cocktails, dinner and portions of Frank’s diary read aloud by celebrities. Natalie Portman, who played Ms. Frank to great acclaim on Broadway, is one of the evening’s chairs (watch out for Bill, Natalie!), and other attendees include the hunky Gabriel Byrne, the newest nymphet Emmy Rossum and Bush basher Whoopi Goldberg. Cyndi Lauper is slated to perform-your guess is as good as ours on that one.
[Oreo Cookies jingle contest, South Street Seaport Main Stage, South Street at Fulton Street, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., http://www.oreo.com; Anne Frank 75th Birthday Tribute, Pier 60, Chelsea Piers, 7:30 p.m., http://www.annefrank.com.
If there are town cars cruising Stanton Street, it can only mean one thing: an opening party for yet another Lower East Side hipster boutique you can’t afford to shop in. Lucky magazine editor in chief Kim France and Post gossip girl Elisa Lipsky-Karasz inexplicably join forces to celebrate the opening of Foley+Corinna. It’s great the city’s young swans have another frockery in which to frolic, but what’s the point of getting all dressed up if the pickle man is nowhere to be found, having been displaced by the Lower East Side’s mod metamorphosis?
[Foley+Corinna store opening, 114 Stanton Street, 6:30 to 9 p.m., by invitation only.]