Red, White and Kosher
Unlike the situation in most department stores, where a free sample of Kiehl’s lip balm or a spritz of Chanel No. 5 is a lavish tease, savvy wine retailers know that generosity is the fastest way to make a sale. Tribeca’s Chambers Street Wines offers a gratis selection of varietals every Saturday; but on March 24, the store will hold its biggest tasting of the year. Nearly 20 winemakers from France and Italy will educate visitors on about 50 types of all-natural, top-notch Bacchus juice. Likewise, Le Dûc’s Wines, in the West Village, hosts a round of generous pours every Saturday afternoon at no cost. Owner Jean Luc Le Dûc—he was the head sommelier at Daniel for a decade—pairs “under-the-radar” wines with sociable industry experts. Though early birds beat the evening rush, people are always welcome to “stay and drink a little bit afterwards,” said John Cherry of Le Dûc’s Wines.
And just in time for Passover, Morrell Wine & Co. will dispense kosher selections from the Jonathan Tishbi and C&R International portfolios. Head to the Rockefeller Plaza vino vendor on March 28 and 29 to sample the acclaimed Rashi Barolo, which Wine Spectator awarded 91 points. Also celebrating the holiday with high-quality kosher wines is Acker, Merrall & Condit. The Upper West Side establishment will uncork “Not Your Mother’s Kosher” on Friday, March 30. “There are kosher wines from all over the world that are much higher-quality than they were even five years ago,” said Melissa Fanelli, creative director at Acker’s. “Wine can be very daunting, but if you have a bottle open, customers are a lot more willing to try something.” Then she added: “You never know when your daughter is going to get married!”
Aside from pointing out the subtle notes of black cherry, anise and chocolate, these complimentary events leave participants tasting the long finish of a sweet bargain.
Ladies With Ukuleles Stage Rap Battles!
You might recognize the two lascivious ladies of the Hazzards from the music video of their 2003 hit “Gay Boyfriend,” in which they frolic under a rainbow-lit forest, shop in a fuchsia-flushed dressing room and ride on “fierce” motorcycles with some real-life platonic buds. “They’re really gay and they’re really friends and they’re really cute,” said Anne Harris during a conference call with The Observer and her partner in campy music, Sydney Maresca. The video’s online popularity yielded a record contract, leading to a “Gay Boyfriend” remix debuting on the British charts, an international tour and appearances on Comedy Central.
Four years later, these ukulele- and Casio-keyboard-wielding lasses are still playing their girly tunes, now with a full band. They’ll perform at their monthly “Tuesday Night Make Out Party” on March 27 at Galapagos, in Williamsburg, where they first met seven years ago at a fund-raiser. Ms. Maresca said it was meant to be: “I was walking around talking about my new ukulele, and everyone was like, ‘Go see Anne.’” Ms. Harris had recently purchased her own plunky guitar, and they decided to form “The Ukes of Hazzard.”
They ended up shortening the name and later released their debut EP in December 2004—a recording that featured “Gay Boyfriend” and “Shut Up & Make Out,” in which they purr to their dates: “You’ve got better things to show me than your poetry.” The ladies just finished laying down tracks for a new full-length album, which they plan to release in the next couple of months. Ms. Harris said to expect “awesome rocking songs” and a “schoolyard rap battle” in which they have “middle-school-type beef with each other” involving “lunch tables and boyfriends,” according to Ms. Maresca. Check out a preview at their Galapagos show. “It’s free and late-night and boozy,” Ms. Harris said.
Seeing (and Bowling) Green
Wake up, sleepyhead! Spring, while not quite sprung, is doing its best to shove winter back in the closet. Best to dust off your fanny pack and be prepared to hit Central Park at a moment’s notice.
For the peripatetic set, walking tours abound. On March 21 at 1 p.m., strike out on a Central Park Conservancy–sponsored “Cross Park Promenade.” Sights include a well-hidden time-telling bench, wind-powered mini-boats and a watering hole for horses. (Watch out for Tinsley Mortimer.) At 11 a.m. on March 31, the adorably named “Amble Through the Ramble” takes visitors on a one-hour walkabout à la Pan’s Labyrinth “over streams, under arches, through the woods along a maze of pathways in a 38-acre woodland respite,” according to Central Park’s Web site. Spooky! Other walks cater to history buffs (“A Road Once Traveled,” April 7, 1 p.m.) and scoreboard nerds (“Let the Games Begin—History of Sports in the Park,” April 7, noon). Adventurous types can sign up for teen-led tours beginning April 21.
Need something more rigorous? Strap on a pair of rollerblades ($15 rentals, Wollman Rink) and join the perennially tan skate dancers at the Bandshell: “A great spot to let loose,” Centralpark.com says. “Feel the beat. Get Down … Get Up. Repeat.” Or, if you’re hankering for competitive games, the park starts issuing baseball and softball permits in mid-April. Highlights? Corporate rivalries like the Corcoran Group vs. Prudential Douglas Elliman, Random House vs. Time Inc. and Gawker vs. The Onion. If that’s not man-sport enough for you, fear not: Lawn bowling gets underway on May 1.
—Suzanne La Barre
How to Dress For Love and War
Roses are red, violets are blue, but what the hell does that mean? Maybe you’ll get an inkling at She’s Like a Rainbow: Colors in Fashion, an exhibit at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The dazzling collection of 150 gowns, blouses, cocktail dresses, bags and bracelets “explores the symbolism and psychology of color in fashion,” according to the Web site. “Why is red the color of passion and revolution? Why do so many people like blue, while yellow has so many negative associations? Why is black today’s most fashionable color?”
On March 22, Harumi Hotta, a textile associate at the institute, will answer these questions and more while leading a tour through the show. She’ll guide you through two and a half centuries of fashion history in a kaleidoscope of vibrant pieces, from Yves Saint Laurent’s 1960’s “Mondrian” dress to a modern, sassy maroon Marc Jacobs piece, then on to an 18th-century Little Red Riding Hood cape as well as a 19th-century violet-and-black-striped taffeta dress.
Chief curator Valerie Steele assembled the collection with the help of Clare Sauro, assistant curator of accessories at the museum, who also co-authored Ralph Rucci: The Art of Weightlessness with Ms. Steele, released last month. Ms. Sauro said her main concern was to “harmonize” the 40 or so pieces she chose with the collection, like using jewel-toned accessories for the 40’s group, including a gorgeous “candy-grape”-colored Rayon turban. “1940’s clothing tended to be a little dark during wartime—lots of black—so they could wear it all the time,” Ms. Suaro told The Observer. “So women used jewels as a shot of color to brighten things up during a difficult time.” Give you any ideas?