Is Romeo bleeding? New Yorkers have three approaches to summer: a) bury their heads in the sand (along with every other cranky, sunburned, overcharged Gothamite); b) bury their heads in Shakespeare; c) if you’re George Stephanopoulos, surprise your girlfriend-and not a few political insiders-by popping the question on the Greek Island of Mykonos, the fabled home of the most outrageous drag shows in the Aegean. Meanwhile, tonight Romeo and Juliet, retooled for Gen Y’ers (didn’t Moulin Rouge’s Baz Luhrmann already do this?), is premiered for the New York public by TheatreworksUSA. “This play takes place, let’s say, the day after tomorrow,” said director Rob Barron. “I think the show is very sexy, but there’s no nudity.” Click. Hello, Jitney?
[Lucille Lortel Theater, 121 Christopher Street, 6:30 p.m., 627-7373.]
Vive la DIFFA-rence! If you missed the Memorial Sloan-Kettering “High Rollers” benefit a few weeks back, this is your chance to tart yourself up like a Las Vegas streetwalker, girlfriend! Maggie Rizer, the sly strawberry blonde who models for Tommy Hilfiger and looks like she could use a nice big helping of mashed potatoes, is hosting “Casino: An Evening of High Stakes Support”- notice how benefits have long titles now, as if they were plays. What it benefits: the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. Whom you’ll share a gaming table with: a collection of models (Alek Wek, Carmen Kass, Lauren Bush); a pride of editors (Anna Wintour, Polly Mellen, Hamish Bowles); and an embarrassment of freeloading journalists. Meanwhile, the swish Plaza Athénée hotel throws an opening party for its new restaurant, Arabelle-think lamb and little rounds of veal. A friend who’s already managed to eat there told us: “They had some foam on some entree, but isn’t foam over?”
[Cipriani 42nd Street, 110 East 42nd Street, 6:30 p.m. ,727-3100; Arabelle, 37 East 64th Street, 6 p.m., 646-638-0771.]
Five white guys at the Y! But first, three massive bronze spiders at the foot of 30 Rockefeller Plaza! Who says summer is punishingly dull? The spiders are the brainchildren of nonagenarian sculptress and New Yorker Louise Bourgeois. In 1995’s “Ode to My Mother,” Ms. Bourgeois wrote: “My best friend was my mother and she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat and as useful as a spider. She could also defend herself, and me, by refusing to answer stupid, inquisitive, embarrassing, personal questions.” Speaking of which, carrot-topped commentator Jeff Greenfield is moderating a panel at the 92nd Street Y on “The State of the American Press” tonight. Ted Koppel, Bill Kovach, Tom Rosensteil and David Halberstam compare hairdos (Ted’s helmet wins again!) and then pound you into dull-witted submission as they consider such burning questions as How do reporters put together their stories? Is the reliance on the media healthy, or has it gone too far? Our advice: Skip the panel and sneak away to get a bikini wax and a nice soak in the steam room (hello, sailor!) at the Y’s new answer to Bliss, InSPArations. Or crash the book party for The Unwanted, Kien Nguyen’s memoir about life under the Vietcong.
[Spiders, 30 Rockefeller Center, 980-4575; State of the American Press, 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, 8 p.m., 415-5500; InSPArations, 415-5795; The Unwanted, Merchant’s House Museum, 29 East Fourth Street, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 613-1653.]
What’s a B.A.P.? Like a J.A.P., but African-American …. Tonight is the book party for The BAP Handbook: The Official Guide to the Black American Princess; prominent B.A.P.’s in the book include the Williams sisters (Wimbledon starts Monday!), Naomi Campbell and Chaka Khan. (What, not Lizzie Grubman?)
[The Gemini Lounge, 221 Second Avenue, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 447-7800.]
Torpor in Tribeca … We feel that special summer depression that no pill can cure descending on us in a thick cloud, dampening our ambition and our up-and-at-’em spirit, making us want to do nothing but don $5 sunglasses and slip into a cold movie, but must it be Tomb Raider? Tribeca Film Center, the Film Forum of secretly wealthy Tribeca residents who like to flit around the neighborhood in faux paint-spattered jeans and flip-flops, is screening a pair of documentaries today. 1) Chain Camera, in which 10 students at a Los Angeles high school were given video cameras to film their lives in a kind of Real World gone horribly awry: they passed the cameras on to another 10 students, and so on, and so on … when will it end? 2) Director Michel Negroponte’s film, W.I.S.O.R., about Manhattan’s century-old subterranean steam-heating system and the big 700-pound robot that fixes it. Hey-who says summer in Manhattan is torture?
[54 Varick Street, 334-2100 for show times.]
If you’re gay, it’s your day! Pound your tambourine hard for Gay Pride Weekend. In Sagaponack, the 80’s revival washes ashore as the Go-Gos perform at the Mercedes-Benz-sponsored Love Heals party, benefiting the Allison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education. Tell the slimmed-down head Go-Go, Belinda Carlisle, to go hog-wild at the finger-lickin’ barbecue; we liked her plump! In the faraway and mysterious kingdom of Quogue, there is yet another “casino”-themed party, as Fox 5 anchorperson John Roland-the slightly nonplused-looking one-takes the helm for a “Sail Along the Moonlight Bay” benefiting the East End Hospice. Bring a lifejacket and plenty of beef jerky.
[Sail Along Moonlight Bay, Sandacres Estate, Quogue, 7 p.m., 631-288-7080; Love Heals, Luna Farm, 276 Parsonage Lane, Sagaponack, 8 p.m., 529-7935.]
You say “potato,” we say “Pataki”: Our lanky, dim, bizarrely popular Republican Governor turns 56 today, as his future opponent Andrew Cuomo continues to get angrier and angrier …. Meanwhile, if you’re not invited to help blow out Mr. Pataki’s candles, your only real option-besides a couple of arts festivals in Queens, which are too bleak for us even to go into-is head to KGB bar, where McSweeney’s literary magazine sponsors four more white guys-John Hodgman, Todd Pruzan, Sean Wilsey and Arthur Bradford-who will warm up for their 92nd Street Y appearances 20 years hence by reading and singing songs.
[McSweeney’s, KGB, 85 East Fourth Street, 7 p.m., 505-3360.]
Condé Nast crush worse than usual in Times Square: It’s the start of Summer Restaurant Week- $20.01 specials, plus drinks, tax and tip, which means the tab will come to more like $60.01, which shouldn’t deter the Allure editors on expense accounts from scooting down to Artisanal …. Later, things get really claustrophobic when, in an example of simply bad planning, Taste of Times Square (TOTS), an outdoor food festival, begins at 5 p.m. (15,000 people went last year-you’ve been warned, burp!), so aforementioned Allure editors will now have some trouble getting a cab downtown to the Sigerson Morrison shoe boutique, where British author Anna Maxted, who’s trying to hitch herself to the Bridget Jones bandwagon, reads from her new novel, Running in Heels, a tender tale about a coke-snorting bulimic. Bonus dirty excerpt: “‘The vagina,’ said my father once, ‘is like an old sock.'” The Brits still don’t really get sex, do they?
[Summer Restaurant Week, www.restaurantweek.com for participating restaurants; Taste of Times Square, West 46th Street between Broadway and Ninth Avenue, www.timessquarebid.org; Anna Maxted, Sigerson Morrison, 28 Prince Street, 5:30 p.m., 625-8925.]
Before Nathan Lane was a big, unstoppable blimp flying high in The Producers, he starred in Isn’t She Great, a crummy biopic about Jacqueline Susann based on a Michael Korda article in The New Yorker, back in that magazine’s unfortunate “feisty” phase …. Today Interview co-hosts a party for Shadow of the Dolls, a sequel by Rae Lawrence to the original Valley of the Dolls, in the DKNY store on Madison Avenue …. And speaking of Jackie-sploitation, isn’t it a wee bit tacky that there is now Jackie O.–themed makeup to capitalize on the Metropolitan Museum exhibit? What genius greenlighted that? Later, another wobbly collusion of art and commerce at the Hugo Boss Flagship Store, where peculiar artist Jeff Koons is installing some pieces; proceeds from an auction will benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which is nice … or if you’d prefer giving kids musical instruments, try VH1’s “Save the Music” benefit at Roseland Ballroom. Bid on photos of model Gisele strumming a guitar, Mick Jagger in drag and Jennifer Lopez stomping about …. On the committee: new power couple Ed Burns and Christy Turlington (he whines, she ommms); mistress of makeup Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer and a closetful of models (including the aforementioned Maggie Rizer).
[Shadow of the Dolls, DKNY, 655 Madison Avenue, 6 p.m., 768-5761; Jeff Koons, Hugo Boss, 717 Fifth Avenue, 8 p.m., by invitation only, 940-0640; Save the Music, Roseland Ballroom, 239 West 52nd Street, 8 p.m., 727-2220.]
Clinton, Plimpton! This just in! Former President Bill Clinton-who’s become the Where’s Waldo? of the New York party scene ever since he was caught loudly telling lesbian jokes at Babbo-sucks it up and attends a book bash at George Plimpton’s house for Steven Cohen, a former press aide to the Big He who has edited an anthology about childhood games (marbles, stickball, playing hide-and-seek with your wife’s billing records, etc.). Watch for Mr. Clinton’s bewilderment when the lissome Paris Review interns, who think D.C. interns are cheesy and fat, all but ignore him as he tries in vain to offer them a rum-and-Coke.
[George Plimpton’s house, top-secret Upper East Side location, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 684-6050.]
Marital therapy? Upper West Siders just keep trying to inject some fun back into their two-career, two-stroller, double-no-foam-latte marriages with rowdy, sweaty outdoor spectacles such as Lincoln Center’s “Midsummer Night Swing,” which opens tonight with Ben E. King (sang “Stand by Me”) and a big, big, big band. We’re talking an entire month of jumping and jiving around in a little swing skirt, in complete and utter denial that this is actually the year 2001. On the more sedate East Side-where the marriages gave up on fun long, long ago-the New York Grand Opera does an Elton John–free version of Verdi’s Aida. Don’t worry, things get really crazy in July!
[Midsummer Night Swing, Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street, 6:30 p.m., 875-5000; Aida, Central Park SummerStage, Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street, 7:30 p.m., 245-8837.]