More proof that Manhattan-with more than 100 Starbucks, guys with thumb rings, swampy summer sunshine and bottle-blond publicists wielding German S.U.V.’s-is becoming just a more humid version of Los Angeles: This morning, fashion designers Bonnie Cashin, Oscar de la Renta, Giorgio di Sant’Angelo, James Galanos, Charles James, Donna Karan, Anne Klein and Pauline Trigère are inducted into the Fashion Walk of Fame, where their names will be embedded in plaques on Seventh Avenue alongside last year’s inductees, which include Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. “Oscar’s P.R. office is yet to confirm, but he’s said that he will be there,” promised a flack. Well, if there’s one thing we’ve learned in this life, it’s that you can always count on a “de la” to keep his word.
[Bryant Park Hotel, 40 West 40th Street, 9:30 a.m., by invitation only, 764-9600, ext. 243.]
How to market a book by a young Ivy League author whose prose thoroughly confuses you? Compare him to Thomas Pynchon, cross your fingers and hope for the best, baby! Today, HarperCollins-which recently coughed up James Wolcott’s The Catsitters (spotted being read by an earnest young lady, mouth slightly agape, on the F train)-throws a party in the East Village for a first novel, The Savage Girl, by Alex Shakar (Yale ’90), whom the publisher claims is “in the vein of Thomas Pynchon.” Bonus dirty excerpt! “‘I am a lion,’ she whispers, and licks his ear with the tip of her tongue as he enters her. He grunts and growls … a little boastfully, but a little needfully, too, and she likes the sound of it, and she grunts, too, at first half in mockery but soon uncontrollably as their thrusting grows desperate, grunting and growling like lions ….” O.K., here’s Option B for this evening: Strap on your Chelsea best (clamdiggers, Velcro sneakers, ironically acid-washed denim jacket) for a “Summer Party and Art Auction” at Mary (“Boom-Boom”) Boone’s gallery benefiting the High Line, a rusting rail structure on the Hudson that has become the sudden, inexplicable darling of Manhattan’s downtown society ….
[The Savage Girl book party, Musical Box, 219 Avenue B, 6:30 p.m., by invitation only, 207-7470; High Line auction, Mary Boone Gallery, 541 West 24th Street, 6 p.m., V.I.P. dinner to follow, penthouse at the Park, 118 10th Avenue, 279-1623.]
Esquire goes to war: Retailers depressed by the season’s rampant markdowns are cheering themselves up with a little drinks party at Saks in honor of an exhibit called Uniform: Order and Disorder, currently showing at P.S. 1., co-sponsored by Esquire magazine. “It is about art and pop culture, uniforms and the military, from movies to computer games-everything!” said Esquire fashion creative director Stefano Tonchi in a throaty Florentine accent. “Like camouflage prints are everywhere, from like bikinis on the beach to cargo pants …. It’s military in a time of not war, that’s the point, military outside the battlefield …. It’s going to be fun!” Expect Esquire flunky A.J. Jacobs to make an entrance in his customary tight trousers and dashiki. Then pour a drink in Esquire honcho David Granger’s lap-payback for Esquire’s current Maxim-like, jauntily misogynist “How Women Age” issue, which actually contains the lines, “For almost every man, it seems to come as a surprise: That day you first realize her smile is etching fine lines at the corners of her mouth …. Or when you spy that little shape shift in her breasts.”
[611 Fifth Avenue, seventh floor, 6 p.m., by invitation only, 800-770-0703.]
Jewelapalooza! Avoid Central Park tonight at all costs, because Alaskan “rock poetess” Jewel-who has not sung, or yodeled, in the city for three years-belts out a free concert, sponsored by a shampoo manufacturer. Cleavage-baring pop tartlet Willa Ford will open, then four aspiring singer-songwriters in their early 20’s-all, coincidentally, with really good hair-will compete for a “demo” recording contract with Atlantic Records. Ms. Ford, a lissome 20 (below), called from Tampa, Fla., and told us she’s not one of those Destiny’s Child divas with a stage mother. “My mom is my road manager whenever I’m touring, but she can’t sew worth crap,” she said. How is Ms. Ford dealing with the pressures of impending superstardom? “My stomach hurts.” Sandra Bernhard, Kimora Lee Simmons and Kathy Najimy will judge the lyrics by the four would-be songstresses. Bonus excerpt, from 22-year-old Libbie Schrader, about a woman who misses her monthly visitor: “When you’re one, two, three, four / Five days late / You’ve got to worry / Worry and wait / ‘Cause there’s nothing in heaven or hell / To move it along in a hurry / It’s blurring your fate.” Our stomach hurts. (Question: If Janis Joplin were alive today, would she be a Frizz-Ease spokesmodel?)
[Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, tickets at www.provoice.com, 8 p.m.]
Juliapalooza? Julia Roberts dons a fat suit for America’s Sweethearts, where she plays Catherine Zeta-Jones’ less glamorous assistant. (Is it just us, or does anyone else find something vaguely offensive about rail-thin actresses such as Ms. Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow giddily plopping on fat suits and portraying overweight women?) Speaking of offensive-but in a good way-the film version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which was the best transsexual rock musical on or off Broadway, opens today starring the show’s creator and original star, John Cameron Mitchell. Meanwhile, an oblivious Williamsburg hosts an all-woman art exhibit, 21st Suffragettes. “I went to an event a few months ago in the Piers which was all these contemporary art galleries, and they had some work by women, but I was disappointed by the lack of women artists,” said curator Jill McDermid, 35. “I also didn’t like all these images of women naked and in their underwear. “Isn’t tonight just going to be a bunch of confused, ambisexual Williamsburg men in black-rimmed glasses, thumb rings and synthetic shirts scamming on the chicks? “Oh, sure! That would be O.K. with me in a way. I don’t mind-I’m looking!”
[Movies, 777-FILM; 21st Suffragettes, various galleries, opening party, the Stinger, 241 Grand Street, Brooklyn, 9 p.m.]
If you’re getting married-and who, when you really get down to it, isn’t?-but trying to do it in that “I’m not really getting married” way (good luck, sister), they’re down to the dregs at Wearkstatt’s couture bridal sale in Soho-50 to 90 percent below retail, which means it’s time to splurge on a major headpiece. If you’ve gone that extra mile and are pregnant, today is the penultimate day of a Liz Lange warehouse blowout. Unencumbered lasses, meanwhile, content themselves with some nice silk sweaters from Henri Bendel.
[Wearkstatt, 33 Greene Street, 11 a.m., 334-9494; Liz Lange, 958 Lexington Avenue, 10 a.m., 717-9030; Henri Bendel, 712 Fifth Avenue, 10 a.m., 1-800-HBENDEL.]
Botox birthday boys! Happy, happy birthday to a whole marquee of showbiz fellas: Albert Brooks turns a cuddly 54; Willem Dafoe a lithe, leathery 46; Danny Glover is a trustworthy 55; Eagle Don Henley gets to be 54; John Leguizamo (funny) and David Spade (funny but kinda spooky) are both 37; and Alex Trebek (cuddly, lithe, leathery, trustworthy, funny and spooky) is 61! Also, the aforementioned Oscar de la Renta becomes a suspiciously smooth 69. But every single celebrity, starting with Ed (“Who’s Your Daddy?”) McMahon, is out in arid Beverly Hills at the big 93rd-birthday bash for Milton Berle (very, very funny, and a real horndog!), hosted by Whoopi Goldberg (plucky).
[Hollywood Gala Salute to Milton Berle, Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, California, 310-473-3265.]
Where’s Roddy McDowall? After Ben Affleck’s Pearl Harbor went phff-ft, there’s just one last chance for a big summer blockbuster: Tim Burton directs Planet of the Apes, starring Mark Walhberg, Tim Roth, Estella Warren (suspicious resemblance to Willa Ford, above) and Helena Bonham Carter, in a break from her usual Merchant-Ivory mutton-sleeve roles, as a very pretty ape. Publicist Peggy Siegal tries with all her might to pull it together in the face of business partner Lizzie Grubman’s going ape a few weeks back, and oversees the premiere tonight at the Ziegfeld. Crash strategy: loincloths or Mercedes S.U.V. Watch for lots of men in their early 30’s standing around in summer sandals (mistake) scratching themselves and complaining that the movie “completely betrays the original.”
[Screening, Ziegfeld Theater, 141 West 54th Street, 8 p.m., party to follow, Roseland, 239 West 52nd Street, by invitation only, 966-5000.]
Chekhov-mates! You want wattage? The still-chugging Shakespeare in the Park franchise sucks in underrated John Goodman, Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, cool-actor-of-the-moment Philip Seymour Hoffman, gracefully aging Kevin Kline, frisky Natalie Portman, Meryl (“A dingo stole my babay”) Streep and kooky Christopher Walken for Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, reworked by Tom Stoppard and directed by Mike Nichols. As long as Mr. Walken does a little bit of his soft shoe, we’ll be happy! Watch for Ms. Portman’s Harvard buddies-pale, nubile young ladies with unfurrowed brows, in New York for the summer on Paris Review internships-chatting up New Yorker editors in hopes of joining the new breed of what you could call “New Yorker centerfolds.” Meanwhile, a slightly older version of these ladies strap on their strappy sandals along with socialites Samantha Boardman and Nadja Swarovski for a “Starlit Summer Night” benefit for the Museum of the City of New York.
[The Seagull, Delacorte Theater, enter at Fifth Avenue at 79th Street, 8 p.m., 539-8750; Starlit Summer Night, 1220 Fifth Avenue, 6 p.m, 534-1672, ext. 246.]
Madonnarama? Whip up all the white-trash chic you can muster as Madonna comes to Madison Square Garden for five concerts-except, unlike Jewel, it ain’t free! Yes, even the singer’s famous friends have got to fork up to see Mrs. Guy Ritchie belt out “Borderline” as she performs her weird, highly choreographed hip-thrusting routine-and we can’t contain ourselves thinking about what this marvelously talented lady will try next! Will she dance on the hood of a car? Will she writhe on the floor? Will she wear one of those little mikes attached to her head? Will she bare her 42-year-old midriff? Is she becoming Cher? Is she becoming Charles Nelson Reilly?
[Madison Square Garden, 8 p.m., try eBay!]