Schadenfreudenberger! Well, ’tis almost summer , and with it comes a double-D cup of “chick lit,” such as Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada , which refuses to budge from the best-seller list, and Nell Freudenberger’s forthcoming, aptly named Lucky Girls -and now, Sushi for Beginners , by Limerick-born lassie Marian Keyes , about three women: an unhappy housewife (she calls herself “married alive”), an Anna Wintour–ish editor and her anxious assistant editor at an upstart Irish women’s glossy called Colleen . They’re all friends and all jealous of each other’s lives, which sounds a bit familiar …. We found Ms. Keyes, 39 and married, alive, on a book-tour stop at the Four Seasons in smoggy Los Angeles. “It’s my spiritual home,” she trilled. “When I die, I don’t want to go to heaven, I want to go to the Four Seasons! The staff is so kind. They’re not snooty like that Ian Schrager hotel, the Paramount, in New York. They were so rude there. Sure, everyone’s beautiful, but it’s as if they were told to be particularly unpleasant to all the guests …. ” House rules, honey, house rules. What’s the deal with her book’s title? “It’s about the fact that sushi is a metaphor for the changes in Ireland. Sushi is kind of the symbol of change …. I love it! I’m still not kind of an eel person, but being Irish and eating yellow fin is quite exotic. I’ve been to Nobu in London, and it was amazing. It was very crowded, and I kept Ivana Trump waiting for my table.” That’s showin’ ’em, sister! Tonight William Morrow throws her a super-exclusive book party, but with all the glum faces in book publishing lately, we’re betting you can charm your way in ….
[Show, 135 West 41st Street, 7 to 9 p.m., by invitation only, 212-207-7495.]
Peonies and peons: Before there was Jenny from the Block and her big ol’ butt , the Bronx was known for the lovely New York Botanical Garden , where tonight you can have a ball-literally! Ha! Flowery socialites like Kathy Hilton (she who spawned hellion sisters Nicky and Paris) and Denise (“Begging Your Pardon”) Rich zip themselves into filmy chiffon numbers and spill things on the Pucci tablecloths. It costs $1,000-but hey, the goody bag is from Tiffany! Swish ! Alternatively: The Kidney & Urology Foundation of America is having a gala, which costs a mere $400 and seems like a good way to meet a nice urologist . In fact, it seems like the only way.
[The Conservatory Ball, New York Botanical Garden, Conservatory Tent at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, 200th Street at Kazimiroff Boulevard, the Bronx, 7:30 p.m., 212-573-6933; the Kidney & Urology Foundation of America gala, the roof, St. Regis Hotel,
2 East 55th Street, 7 p.m., 212-629-9770.]
Those pitiful Mets gamely invite the masses over to Shea for “A Night to Believe” benefiting Project A.L.S. Bid on exciting Mets memorabilia, get autographs from the players and later watch them play (a.k.a. “lose”) against the Mariners from the left-field bleachers. Who you’ll inadvertently cut in line in your rush to get to the barbecue buffet: former baseball player Keith Hernandez , actor Matt Dillon, actor/director/what-the-heck-is-this-guy-anyway Fisher Stevens (most famous for formerly dating Michelle Pfeiffer ), Sopranos chica Edie Falco (swiped Stanley Tucci when his wife wasn’t looking … me- ow ! ), Ben Stiller (is he funny or annoying?-we’re still deciding) and former Party of Five hottie Scott Wolf (will be checking the lost-and-found for his career) …. Meanwhile, skinny, trust-funded Williamsburg “hipsters” and their “Anywhere But Pianos” T-shirts head to Arlene’s Grocery, where Kevin Draine , who calls himself the Bitter Poet , will read “poems” (a sample: “O.K., time to have sex / Guess we need to take off our clothes / Am I lying down on the bed? O.K. / Are you turned on? I guess not / Oh, I guess I gotta fiddle with it for a while”). He’ll be backed by his band, the Sound of Angst. “It’s a rock ‘n’ roll spoken-word-a mix between Jack Nicholson and the Doors,” said Mr. Draine, a self-described “thirtyish,” from his one-bedroom on the unhipsterish Upper West Side. “One person described it as Lou Reed meets Jim Morrison meets Cake.” (That’s “Cake” as in the band, folks, not the dismal post-feminist sex show, though the Bitter Poet does-of course-employ a stripping hula-hooper named Saturn.) He continued: “It all began the time I stood up in front of an audience to read my first poem, ‘The Ache of Loneliness,’ and the audience laughed hysterically. It was supposed to be serious; the Bitter Poet is very serious about his poetry. It was then that the Bitter Poet was born.” But he didn’t sound bitter. “I have my moments,” he said. “I went out on a date, and the girl said she didn’t want to see me again because my cell phone was too big.”
[A Night to Believe, Shea Stadium picnic area, Flushing, 5:40 p.m., 800-603-0270; the Bitter Poet and the Sound of Angst, Arlene’s Grocery, 95 Stanton Street, 10 p.m., 212-358-1633.]
Hamptons, ‘hattan, horsies: $20 Cobb salads, men wearing gold chains in rented convertibles, sunbathing in your bikini until you’ve got that tan-with-Casper-boobies look, an unrelenting insomniac edge of fear-choked ambition -yes, the ho-ho-Hamptons are back. Tonight, Betsey Johnson -who has designed slightly Goth wear for the 14-to-45 set for aeons-goes all Latina (see J. Lo, above) with a mojito-drenched fiesta in Wainscott, benefiting the Retreat’s Violence Prevention Education Program. If you maintained your dignity and stayed in Manhattan, and if you’ve always wondered: If a Buddhist falls in Central Park, will he make a noise? , you can head to the Great Hill for Change Your Mind Day … which reminds us of that sultry women’s-studies major who changed our mind for about a month back in college-but, alas, it was just a phase ! Meanwhile, the Lilith Fair–ing contingent air-dries their hair and heads over to Town Hall , where folksy Dar Williams (think Jewel before she sold out) will strum. We caught Ms. Williams, a 36-year-old Wesleyan grad, sweatin’ in a N’awlins hotel room, and she said: “The biggest misconception about me was that I was a lesbian until I got married. The New York Times Magazine actually insinuated that I’d covered up my sexual identity so I could get ahold of that almighty lesbian dollar , which is hilarious! Completely ridiculous!” Yes-and is it just us, or does the once-venerable Times mag seem more and more like a highbrow Radar ? But back to the singer: ” Don’t give me gifts that have sexual connotations,” she warned . “It doesn’t fly very well.” Umm, did we say we were bringing a gift? “There was this group of college students who mailed me this stuffed animal named Edmund the Bastard Cow, and they would check in with me on a regular basis, asking about the bastard cow …. ” Speaking of livestock, today is also the 135th running of the Belmont Stakes (clip-clop, clip-clop) .
[The Latin Fiesta, the Star Room, 378 Montauk Highway, Wainscott, N.Y., 7 to 10 p.m., 631-329-4398; Change Your Mind Day, Great Hill, Central Park, 12:30 p.m., 800-950-7008; Dar Williams, Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, 8 p.m., 212-307-7171; Belmont Stakes, noon, 516-488-6000.]
Tonys tedium: Watch Hugh Jackman (one of the finer imports from Australia) host. Watch three Nine gals ( Jane Krakowski, Chita Rivera, Mary Stuart Masterson ) battle to be the Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Watch Hairspray win everything. Watch your boyfriend sink into a drooling sleep on your couch as you say to yourself: “What was I thinking?” Presenters include Barbara Walters , Tyne Daly, Matrix master Laurence Fishburne and smug mummy Sarah Jessica Parker . Meanwhile, from 9 to 10 p.m., deep waves of post– Six Feet Under grief wash across the city.
[Tony Awards, broadcast from Radio City Music Hall, 8 p.m., CBS.]
Lincoln Center may have lost the Philharmonic, but it still has FiFi! Tonight, the Upper West Side culture complex plays host to the FiFi Awards, the so-called Oscars of the fragrance world … though we fear tonight’s contenders for “Celebrity Fragrance Star of the Year”- Catherine Zeta-Jones, Marc Jacobs and the aforementioned J. Lo -will merely be vapors. Theme of the evening: “Fragrance ‘n Art” -so prepare yourselves for the fragrance industry trying to be abstruse. Meanwhile, at the Chelsea Art Museum , there’s one of those “celebrity art auctions.” (In a perfect world, we could bid on the priceless expression on Ricky Martin’s face every time a reporter asks him if he’s “seeing anyone.”) Today, they’re auctioning off naughty Polaroids snapped by Steve Buscemi , David Bowie , Dustin Hoffman , Beyoncé Knowles , angular actor Willem Dafoe , Bill Murray , Benicio del Toro and Billy Joel (hic). Your chairs: Whoopi Goldberg , puckish actor Alan Cumming and nightlife amazon Amy Sacco . Proceeds benefit the Free Arts for Abused Children of N.Y.C.-so if you’ve got lots of those almighty lesbian dollars, come spend ’em!
[FiFi Awards, Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, 6:30 p.m., 212-725-2755; One-of-a-Kind Polaroids , Chelsea Art Museum, 556 West 22nd Street, 7 to 10 p.m., 212-974-9092.]
Katrina or trinkets? The Nation ‘s Katrina vanden Heuvel , who is smart as well as being a total babe, goes up against The Economist ‘s Bill Emmott (babe factor unknown at press time) tonight on some panel about America’s role in the world , so try out an intellectual look (black-rimmed glasses, schoolgirl skirt, pasty escort) and bandy about words like “hegemony” and “diaspora.” Meanwhile, self-righteous stroller moms who claim they’re not housewives because they have “an agenda” battle for a piece of sidewalk at the Museum Mile Festival. Alternatively, go “summer tart” (miniskirt, high-heeled flip-flops, dollops of bronzer) with some Elle senior editors for a party at the Di Modolo Flagship Boutique in honor of actress Elisabeth Rohm , who took over for Angie Harmon after Ms. Harmon left NBC’s Law & Order to star in that smash hit, Agent Cody Banks . Fifteen percent of the night’s purchases go to the ASPCA , which seems like an awfully low percentage if you ask us, but no one ever does ….
[ The Nation vs. The Economist , New York Society for Ethical Culture, 2 West 64th Street, 7:30 to 9 p.m., 212-209-5400; Museum Mile, Fifth Avenue from 82nd Street to 104th Street, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., 212-606-2296; Di Modolo Flagship Boutique, 635 Madison Avenue, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., 888-762-3875.]
Beware Lolita chic: Another ball … it’s just balls upon balls and all we want, Mummy, is something cheap and mindless like a Jell-O shot …. Tonight’s MTV-sponsored Designers Ball for “emerging fashion talent” is sending cheesy celebrities from The Real World and Road Rules down the runway, not to mention Zora from Joe Millionaire …. Somebody smack us with a size-12 flip-flop, but we’re suddenly finding ourselves surprisingly nostalgic for actual fashion models. Oh, it’s gonna be a cruel, cruel summer, all right ….
[The Puck Building, 295 Lafayette Street, 7 p.m.]