More proof it’s fall: The New York Times ‘ Styles section is getting even weirder (is it just us, or does reading that section feel like being stuck seated next to your Uncle Seymour at Thanksgiving while he tries to relate to you by using lingo he picked up from 8 Mile ? “Yo, pass the potatoes, dog …” ); our skin tone has paled to distressing levels (when we stand naked in front of our white walls, we’re reduced to a pair of eyes, nostrils and nipples ); and the best that liberals can come up with to blunt the country’s embrace of the Republican Party are a shelf of books with the word “lies” in the title-at press time, humorless perennial candidate Mark Green was furiously typing away ( tap, tap, tap … ) on a book with humorless liberal writer Eric Alterman …. Meanwhile, the battle of the benefits begins! Going toe-to-toe tonight: a “Compassion in Dying” gala chaired by sprightly Frenchman and eponymous bistro-owner Florent Morellet and Dorothy Lichtenstein , wife of late artist Roy Lichtenstein. Everyone’s favorite Golden Girl, Rue McClanahan (the precursor to Sex and the City ‘s Kim Catrall ), will make remarks, and Olympia Dukakis receives an award for her role in The Event, a film about a series of unexplained deaths in Chelsea. And in this corner: The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Dinner of Champions rewards actress Teri Garr for her contributions to the cause. Barbara Walters M.C.’s and Patti LuPone belts. And just when you thought you’d heard the last of those “wits” who inhabited the Algonquin Hotel’s famed Round Table , the Small Press Center and the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen rev up a lecture series, “New York Wits, Comics and Humorists: The Algonquin Round Table.” Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Irving Berlin and other ghosts make appearances; tonight, the Oscar-winning documentary, The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table . Cross your fingers that no one tries to revive the “wits” of the Royalton ….
[Compassion in Dying benefit, Studio 450, 450 West 31st Street, 6:30 to 9 p.m., 914-907-6756; M.S. gala, Marriott Marquis Hotel, 1535 Broadway, 6:30 p.m., 212-463-7787; the Algonquin Round Table series, the Small Press Center, 20 West 44th Street, 6 p.m., www.generalsociety.org.]
Friends, Loehmann’s, countrymen: Stop by the fashion emporium on lower Seventh Avenue, wriggle into the best marked-down designer dress $29.99 can buy (proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters), and hit the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers’ annual preview party at the Seventh Regiment Armory, co-sponsored by Saks . Expect pretty silver tea sets and squat chairs from the turn of the century. Fancy people you may run into: Muffie Potter Aston , Julia and David Koch and Blaine Trump. Worthy cause: the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Plugging our own: Observer reporter Sara Nelson reads from her new book, So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading at Barnes and Noble.
[Loehmann’s Big Brothers Big Sisters shopping event, Seventh Avenue at 16th Street, 4:40 to 8:30 p.m., 212-352-0856; the Preview Party, Seventh Regiment Armory, Park Avenue and 67th Street, 7 p.m., 212-874-5457; Sara Nelson reading, 4 Astor Place, 7:30 p.m., 212-420-1322.]
Sings like a girl: If you and your frattooed boyfriend caught Old School , last year’s hilarious Animal House –ish flick starring the incomparable Will Ferrell, your favorite part was probably the foul-mouthed rendition of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” It turns out that Dan Finnerty and the Dan Band are a
real group and they spoof other songs too, all originally sung by women. “This all started just to make people look at me! ” said Mr. Finnerty. “I was drunk at a karaoke bar in Toronto and I thought ‘I Am Woman’ would be funny to sing, and halfway through it I thought, ‘This song fuckin’ rocks!’ I have a part in the remake of Starsky and Hutch . Vince Vaughn is in it, and his daughter is having a bat mitzvah where I sing ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love,’ which is pretty wrong, you know, at a 13-year-old girl’s bat mitzvah …. Since Old School , my demographic has totally changed. Before it was guys in their late 20’s and early 30’s, and now there are all these drunk frat boys sitting in the front row. And they only know me from Old School and don’t realize the whole I-only-sing-girls’-songs thing, so I’m up there singing ‘Gloria’ and they’re like, ‘What the hell?’ … I did a pilot for ABC last year , which wasn’t picked up. I wanted it to be all about the Dan Band and, of course, they turned it into a conflict of a father and his son wearing flannel …. I really want to play a women’s prison. Even if I get shanked while singing ‘You Light Up My Life,’ I’ll go out happy.” Tonight he performs at Avalon, the nightclub that used to be Limelight, which used to be Limelight, which used to be Limelight ….
[Dan Finnerty and the Dan Band, Avalon, 662 Sixth Avenue, 9 p.m., www.thedanband.com.]
If you’re like us and wish you could end your workday by sliding down a brontosaurus tail to your car in Fred Flintstone–like fashion , your museum of choice is probably the one with the big scary skeletons hanging from the ceiling. Also at the Museum of Natural History is a new exhibit, Petra: Lost City of Stone , featuring an ancient Jordanian town which has been pillaged and uprooted for your viewing pleasure. Meanwhile, we love the fact that the Museum of Sex , on lower Fifth Avenue, has turned out to be a flop . After all, who needs a museum to remind them it’s been several aeons since they’ve gotten any? But we digress-or is that regress? … If you’re one of those smarty-pants types, put your money where your medulla is: Mensa -the international “high-IQ” society that Sharon Ston e thought she could pledge like a sorority-is holding 2003 admission examinations. Score in the 98th percentile in logic and deductive reasoning and join the club! There are supposedly 48,000 members in the U.S., none of whom are governor-elect of California and/or starred in Junior .
[American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, 212-769-5800; Mensa testing, GFI Services, 208 West 30th Street, Suite 201, 2:30 p.m., www.mensa-ny.org.]
Ding-dong! Midnight for Cinderella! The spell has worn off and the White House is turning back into a pumpkin , so Hillary Clinton has squeezed her feet into glass stilettos and is click-clacking towards 2008 -or 2004?!-stopping uptown at the 92nd Street Y for an interview with the rather sexy Dan Rather . Expect the Senator to double over in laughter when asked if she’s running in 2004 (translation: You bet your sweet ass I’m thinking about it! ) and unsubtle plugs for General Clark (translation: a Clark-Clinton ticket – thereby ending the general’s brief, shining political career, but allowing the Clintons to continue to befog the Democratic Party.) As for us , the only time we tour New York apartments is with landlords in places like Hell’s Kitchen (there was no kitchen in the studio we saw, although the hell part was pretty accurate). So we’ll be taking the self-guided tour of 11 Tribeca lofts in landmark buildings like the Sugar Warehouse and the Juilliard Building . Be prepared to stumble across the occasional concupiscent-sex closet . “Uh, that was here when we moved in …. ”
[Dan Rather interviews Hillary Clinton, 92nd Street Y, Kaufman Concert Hall, 1395 Lexington Avenue, 8 p.m., 212-415-5500; Tribeca lofts tour, corner of Hudson and Duane, $45 per person, 1 to 5 p.m.]
Bouley-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir ? ‘Tis the season for comfort food! (While we’re on the subject, someone tell Starbuck’s to reinstate that chocolate-peanut-butter-sandwich thingie because, frankly, the gloppy square just isn’t getting it done.) Tonight at Le Cirque (where we once loaded up on champagne and bumped into Matthew Broderick while trying to find the john), foodies gather for the Food Allergy Initiative. Yummy chef David Bouley (above) receives a lifetime-achievement award while several of the city’s top toques-Le Cirque’s Sirio Maccioni, Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini of the Four Seasons, Daniel’s Daniel Boulud and Montrachet’s Drew Nieporent -look on. ( Pssst: Messrs. Bouley and Nieporent recently kissed and made up after years of food-fighting.) Meanwhile, the editors a t InStyl e are undoubtedly still recovering from Fashion Week hangover, but they’ll still get gussied up for a good gala! Caroline Rhea and Katie Couric try to “out-pep” each other, whilst you mingle amongst guests like former ER nurse Julianna Margulies , secretly kinky (we’re guessing) Marisa Tomei and many, many women wearing quality, name-brand footwear at unreasonable prices.
[David Bouley tribute, Le Cirque, New York Palace Hotel, 455 Madison Avenue, 6 to 8 p.m., 212-627-1000.]
Elton John’s doodle: Tonight, civilians shell out big bucks for Sting and Hef’s curlicues at the “Doodle for Hunger” benefit at Tavern on the Green. Other celebs submitting drawings include Al Pacino, Kirk Douglas, Scientology pod man John Travolta and the late John Ritter. “The sketches are free-rein,” said publicist Amber Loomis . “Gregory Hines drew his tap shoes. Elton John drew a-well, it says ‘peace’ and then there’s this little man saying ‘no war,’ and I can’t read the other writing, but it’s colorful …. Jon Voight did a great one of a cowboy and it looks just like him!” On the West Side , the second-oldest drinkery in the city turns 135! ( Hic!) To celebrate, Landmark Tavern is rolling back prices to 1868 . Order an entrée and a pint for a nickel , shots for a dime , a hooker for half a buck. The rest of the bars in Manhattan will continue to price their drinks at the economic projections for the year 3030. Meanwhile, Shirley MacLaine has penned a new book about her dog Terry titled Out on a Leash . We read the publisher’s summary on Amazon.com and, well, we have to share with the rest of the class:
” … As we join Shirley and Terry we see through their eyes how they each provide a window for exploring the nature of love. Together they shared at least one past life in ancient Egypt, and possibly more. Together, too, they seek to understand world events today: Are we beginning to fulfill the ancient biblical prophecies? Is Armageddon looming? … ” Tonight, Ms. MacLaine signs copies at Barnes and Noble ; no word on where she did her book-signings in ancient Egypt.
[Doodle for Hunger, Tavern on the Green, Crystal Room, 6 p.m., 212-564-9070, ext. 243; Landmark Tavern, 626 11th Ave., 6 p.m. to midnight, 212-757-8595; Shirley MacLaine reading, 600 Fifth Avenue, 1 p.m., 212-765-0590.]
If it’s autumn, we must have Muffies: Plucky socialite Muffie Potter Aston does double-overtime this week (see Thursday) as co-chair of the American Ballet Theatre’s fall gala. This time she’s escorted by hubby Dr. Sherrell Aston, who’s renovated many a Park Avenue fixer-upper (faces, not townhouses). Watch them leap about the dance floor with the likes of Grace and Chris Meigher and Julia and David Koch. In other news, we lost our cell phone last week; while reporting the lost phone to our local NYPD precinct, they asked us, “Exactly when and where did you lose your phone?”
[A.B.T. gala, City Center, West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, 7 p.m., 212-477-3030.]