Ever notice that, though the cars in this city are forever putting on their brakes, the people never really slow down? Well, Volvo is honoring hometown heroes who actually put down their Palms to lend others a hand-such as Shelly Cofield of Brooklyn, who started a nonprofit, the Mommy Place, which mentors girls under 18 whose mothers have passed away. Among the judges are former Senator Bill Bradley (whom we’d love to see mix it up with Joe Lieberman, Howard Dean et al. in the Democratic primary … ), New York City schools adviser Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, architect Maya Lin , the never-been-better Paul Newman, big swatter Hank Aaron and astronaut Dr. Sally Ride. Your random host for the evening is Jim Belushi. There’s a performance by the Wallflowers -that band fronted by Bob Dylan spawn Jakob that, in a self-fulfilling prophesy, has been a music-industry wallflower for a good three years running, despite bazillions of records sold back when they started. Hey, ya gotta serve somebody ….
[2003 Volvo for Life Awards, Times Square Studios, 44th Street and Broadway, 7 p.m., by invitation only.]
It’s Passover, bubbe, but Winona (neé Horowitz) Ryder forgoes roasted lamb, bitter herbs and unleavened bread to host a party for Index magazine, at which the featured entertainment is the rock band of 23-year-old literary phenom J.T. Leroy ( Sarah ), whose early renown has our parents asking us when we’re going to “get serious” about writing. The reclusive pisher (think J.D. Salinger if he were a transsexual) will be the one in the wig, mask and tutu he requires for his rare public appearances. Whom you’ll be craning your neck with: “naughty” gals such as Shirley Manson, Bijou Phillips, Debbie Harry, Rosario Dawson, Liz Phair and Tatum O’Neal. Proceeds benefit the McAuley Psychiatric Treatment Program-something we can all get behind these days ….
[ Index magazine party, the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street., 7 p.m., www.indexmagazine.com.]
The Devil with Boobs versus Chicks with Dicks -yep, it’s the battle of the anatomically incorrect Off Broadway productions! Tonight, Dario Fo’s Boobs goes up against Trista Baldwin’s Chicks . Ms. Baldwin told us her play was “a cult hit in both Seattle and Phoenix.” Darn, we’re always eating Phoenix’s dust! “It’s a neo-nuclear, quasi-feminist superhero story,” she said. “I’m a big B-movie and superhero fan. There’s a truth that’s revealed in B-movies that’s just not there in Cary Grant types of films.” Plot: prom queen runner-up kills her sex-shy boyfriend (can you blame her?) and seeks refuge with a female biker gang. Go-go dancing, mud-wrestling, hair-pulling, and kung fu ensue. “It’s audience-participatory in the sense that you cheer for the good people you like and boo the bad people,” she added, apparently unaware that we do this at every play we attend. Look out for the second installment, Chicks with Dicks II: Battle with Cannibal Sluts in Outer Spac e -and no, we’re not putting you on. “Two of girls from Chicks I go into outer space and fight aliens and stuff,” Ms. Baldwin explained. “It’s very Barbarella .” Next ! Boobs actor Jon Laskin got on the phone. “What happens is this devil inhabits the servant of the righteous judge, and then tries to seduce the judge to become evil,” said Mr. Laskin. “But by inhabiting the body of a woman, the devil adopts tender feelings and becomes loving.” Sure, sure, we’re heard that one before ….
[ The Devil with Boobs , Medicine Show Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street, 8 p.m., 212-262-4216; Chicks with Dicks , the Kraine Theater, 85 East Fourth Street between Second and Third avenues, 10:30 p.m., 212-206-1515.]
Cwazy wabbit! How, exactly, the resurrection of Christ evolved into a holiday of bunnies dropping psychedelic eggs all over the place is beyond us, but today some manner du lapin leaves a plethora of eggs in Central Park for the city’s largest Easter-egg hunt. With over 50,000 egg-addled hunters in attendance, expect more WASPs than you can shake a can of Raid at. Enjoy the petting zoo-or, if you fear feral sheep, there’s always egg-spoon races and egg-dyeing. There’s also a greenmarket where genteel gentiles can pick up some celery for the Bloody Marys …. Continuing with a fecund-spring theme, Macy’s Flower Show puts down roots in Herald Square, so you can play “He loves me / He doesn’t know I’m alive” with over a million flora. Allergies ? Vrooom down 34th Street over to the Javits Center, where the New York International Auto Show has some mighty fine horseless carriages. Giddyup !
[Easter Eggstravaganza, Central Park, 72nd Street entrance, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.,
It’s Easter Sunday, and women who’ve heard it’s now acceptable to wear white year-round , but weren’t quite ready to take that step, breathe a collective sigh of relief and sport the shade with impunity today. The Easter Parade takes its annual stroll down Fifth Avenue without floats or balloons or marching bands, but some marchers will be wearing period costumes and outfits accented with live animals, which oughta ruffle some feathers over at PETA . Onlookers are strongly encouraged to wear “wacky hats” …. As for tonight, it’s National Karaoke Week, and you know what that means: “It’s Raining Men” and “Sweet Caroline ” will be getting ripped off like a bad toupee. And every guy with a tolerable falsetto and the misconception that he “might have something ” will hit Village Karaoke to do some warbling and finger-snapping. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
[Easter Parade, Fifth Avenue between 49th and 57th streets, 10 a.m.; Village Karaoke, 27 Cooper Union Square, 212-254-0066.]
Our favorite kind of play? The short kind! In the Ninth Annual New York City Play Festival , which kicks off today, competing thespians have 15 minutes to attempt to move audiences (and not towards the exit.) Playwright Greg Kotis was a 2001 finalist. You may remember Greg from his 2002 Tony for Urinetown, a musical which we won’t be taking our grandparents to when they’re in town …. Or if you’re a fan of mambo and rum (that’s us!), the late and legendary Tito Puente is honored at Avery Fisher Hall in “Viva Puente: A Tribute to The Real Mambo King.” (As opposed to the Fake MamboKing, BenAffleck. ) Running the festivities is NYPD Blue alum and hostofevery Latinawards show in history JimmySmits , who will be joined by Tito Puente Jr., Freddy Rodriguez, Ruben Blades, Dave Valentin, Wanda de Jesus and Rosie Perez, who is currently being seen ( all of her) in Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.
[New York City Play Festival, the Studio, 145 West 46th Street near Seventh Avenue, third floor, 8 p.m., 212-869-9809; Tito Puente tribute, Avery Fisher Hall, 20 Lincoln Plaza, 8 p.m., 312-233-1380.]
Mrs. Latte lays on the foam at her book party at City Bakery . New York Times food columnist Amanda Hesser is fêted for her new book, Cooking for Mr. Latte (a.k.a. The New Yorker’s Los Angeles-boundcorrespondent, Tad Friend ).The guest menu reads like a platter of steamed media dumplings: Nora Ephron, Nick Pileggi, Kate Betts, Chip Brown, Jeffrey Steingarten, Eric Alterman, Michael Hirschorn, Lucinda Rosenfeld …. Meanwhile, if the closest you get to recycling is throwing your Microsoft Word docs into your computer’s recycling bin , buck up, ’cause it’s Earth Day -that day when your boyfriend always searches for those Teva sandals you “accidentally” put under the couch last August. Walk (yes, walk ) to the Earth Day Street Fair and pick up some pamphlets . Then grab your favorite bonnet, don it and pawn it over at the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Easter Bonnet competition, where you can watch showbiz types parading around in handcrafted hats and causing all sorts of “mayhem.” “The bonnets are a hoot!” hooted Tom Viola , executive director of Broadway Cares. ” These are not little hats-they are contraptions . The weirdest one was when Footloose was running, and the cast wanted to tell the critics that they could kiss their butt. The bonnet was just a big ol’ butt with a lipstick mark!” Today’s bonnet-lasses include Harvey Fierstein and Chita Rivera. Meanwhile, guess what? She’s baaaaaack ! Former Talk magazine editor Tina Brown and AOL Time Warner Book Group chief executive Laurence Kirshbaum chair this year’s P.E.N. Literary Gala at the Pierre. In the role of guest speaker is The New York Times’ Op-Ed pen, Thomas Friedman, who caused a mild uproar at Yale this month when it was announced that he would be giving this year’s commencement address. (The uproar wasn’t over the pro-war stance of his column, but because he wasn’t a big enough ” name .” Ain’t the Ivy League grand?) Attendees tonight include Candace Bushnell , Robert Caro, Billy Collins, Michael Cunningham, Jonathan Franzen, A.M. Homes , Ha Jin , Jhumpa Lahiri , Frank McCourt, Arthur Miller, Salman Rushdie and Gay Talese . Go up to the natty Mr. Talese and whisper , “Hey, Rushdie’s wearing the same tie! ” and then run.
[ Cooking for Mr. Latte book party, the City Bakery, 3 West 18th Street, 7 p.m., 212-790-4388, by invitation only; Earth Day Street Fair, Washington Place between Washington Square East and Greene Street, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 212-443-7752; Easter Bonnet Competition, New Amsterdam Theater, 214 West 42nd Street, 1:30 p.m., 212-840-0770, ext. 268; P.E.N. Literary Gala, the Regency Room, the Pierre Hotel, 2 East 61st Street at Fifth Avenue, 7 p.m., 212-334-1660.]
If you’re like us, you try to avoid any “reflecting” that doesn’t involve a mirror. But if you can pull yourself away from the looking glass long enough, head over to the New York Public Library for a tribute to Gertrude Stein . They’ve pulled out some big guns, including poets John Ashbery and Anne Carson , critics William Gass and Margo Jefferson, and essayist/anti-war hero Susan Sontag. Tickets are only $15. Or if you’ve got amigos ricos , you can attend the United Cerebral Palsy gala , where you’ll fork(lift) over $8,000 to $12,000 for a table. Actor William H. Macy will be the dinner chair and The View ‘s Meredith Vieira M.C.’s as Fox poobah Rupert Murdoch and Henry Kissinger slap backsoverIraq. Black tie is optional; what your other options are, we don’t know, although we’re guessing your T-shirt featuring Woody Woodpecker smoking a blunt is not one of them. Meanwhile, moms of Manhattan, if you’ve been thinking of writing a novel about being a married woman with small kids in New York, Amy Koppelman (see pretty lady below) has beat ya to it with her debut novel, A Mouthful of Air . We found her romping with the kids at home, one of whom was banging loudly on the piano. “I’m getting out a tube of Play-Doh so she can play quietly while I speak to you,” said Ms. Koppelman. “Wait, now she’s playing with a knife!” We called back. How did the first book signing go. “I sold 240 copies!” she said. “The first-grade parents from my son’s school all came! It’s actually one time that divorce really worked in my favor, what with all the combinations and permutations of family members.” Is she her own worst critic? “My husband always says that I only feel I’ve edited enough when I cut everything on the page and there’s only a period left!”
[Gertrude Stein tribute, the Donnell Library Center, the New York Public Library, 20 West 53rd Street, 212-334-1660, ext. 107; United Cerebral Palsy awards dinner, New York Marriott Marquis hotel, Broadway Ballroom, 1535 Broadway between 45th and 46th streets, 6:30 p.m., 212-683-6700, ext. 205.]