Ahhhhhh-CHOO!! The pollen count is up, Jennifer Garner’s standards are way ( way) down and we simply can’t shake our obsession with the Katie Holmes–Tom Cruise union or the logic behind the New York Times Thursday Styles section-did we really need an article about men’s face cream to remind us just how gay the straight men in this town really are? Go change a tire, fellas! Speaking of men, you can truly judge a woman by which guy she had a crush on after seeing 1982’s Diner: There was the gorgeous and clean-cut Tim Daly or smoldering popcorn-priapic Mickey Rourke. (Those who liked Steve Guttenberg need not play.) Mr. Daly is back to his theater roots, starring in Henry Flamethrowa, opening Off Broadway tonight. “It’s a fascinating story and really quite timely,” said Mr. Daly. The play revolves around a 16-year-old boy who writes letters to the Devil (a.k.a. Beelzebub) unbeknownst to his religious father, who is dealing with his daughter being in a coma for nine years. “It’s about faith and miracles and religious beliefs,” said Mr. Daly. “I don’t want to give away too much …. It’s funny because, when I first read the play, I was thinking it would be a great film to do-and what better way to get to know it than to be in it?” Producing the play is Sopranos regular Michael Imperioli ( Christofah). “I got a call from The Sopranos about doing some more episodes. So I work in the theater with Michael as a producer and then on the set as an actor.” That’s an awful lot of Imperioli! As for returning to the medium in which he first started, “it’s really fun to go back,” he said. “They say feature film is a director’s medium, television is a producer’s, and theater is an actor’s. Once you’re done with rehearsal, it’s up to the actor to shepherd it along. No one can edit you or cut you out; you just tell the story and keep your performance honest and truthful …. It’s exhausting and exhilarating. Sometimes I’m terrified to go to the theater”- us, too!-“because when it’s bad, it’s the worst. When it’s good, though, it’s like nothing can go wrong.” Another type of energy is happening at the Metropolitan Pavilion, where the Taste of the Nation New York City is going down (and we do mean down the hatch). Ticket holders can graze amongst the offerings from participating restaurants like Gramercy Tavern, Aquavit, Blue Smoke, Landmarc, Marseille and Rickshaw Dumpling Bar. There’ll be fancy items up for auction, such as a California winery tour and a wine cellar. One hundred percent of the funds go to various hunger-related charities. Further west, pretty boy Giff Miller takes his Mayoral ambitions to the soused Anglophiles of Soho House (which still exists, apparently) for a cocktail party to stir up some fizz for the City Council Speaker’s run for City Hall. Boy, Anthony Weiner is going to be pissed when he hears about this.
[Henry Flamethrowa, Studio Dante, 257 West 29th Street, www.studiodante.com; Taste of New York, Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, 6 to 10:30 p.m., www.tasteofthenation.org; Generation G at the Soho House, 29 Ninth Avenue, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., www.millerfornewyork.com.]
Ladies, there’s still time: You don’t have to purchase a giant peasant skirt , and you do have the willpower to pass by those horrid fake Louis Vuitton bags with cherries on them on Canal Street …. Moving right along, Francine du Plessix Gray, novelist, contributor to The New Yorker and fun name to say, reads from Them: A Memoir of Parents, which examines the lives of her mother and stepfather, both Russian émigrés: Tatiana du Plessix, who became a fashion icon and designer, and Alexander Liberman, who ruled the roost of Condé Nast. Bonus (non-dirty) book excerpt! ” One odd aspect of my parents’ careers was that Mother never had a n inkling of what Alex’s life at Cond é Nast was like and did not want to know. Not once during Alex’s half century at the company did she ever visit his office. ‘Why go, I know just what ees like,’ she’d growl when asked about her lack of interest in his work life. ‘ Ees like one beeg ice cube.'” So for those of you who have the privilege of working inside the Death Star, you’ll be relieved to know you are merely a part of an icy tradition. This evening, Ms. Gray reads and signs at the National Arts Club. In more culture news, artist James Gaynor, whose work uses found material from New York City streets, unveils a show on Park Avenue. Reaping the benefits is the Community Lunch Program, which feeds homeless and low-income New Yorkers. And if you like to get up early, Barbara Walters M.C.’s a breakfast celebrating women who do good things for other women (no, not Angelina Jolie, you naughty people!). “We are a cross-cultural alliance of women helping low-income women and girls to achieve sustained economic opportunity,” said executive director Hollis Cohen. “I think everyone involved feels quite passionate about it.” One of the women being honored is Geraldine Laybourne, chair and C.E.O. of Oxygen Media, which gives us the perfect opportunity to send out a request to please, for the love of God, stop rerunning When a Man Loves a Woman. Also on hand will be Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Wangari Maathai from Kenya, and the whole shebang will kick off with some chanting by the Caribbean group Yaya. “They are wonderfully inspiring and motivational-I think it will be quite rousing at 7:30 a.m.,” said Ms. Cohen. Seven-thirty a.m.? What means this “7:30 a.m.?”
[Francine du Plessix Gray reading, National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, 6:45 p.m., www.nationalartsclub.org; James Gaynor found-art show, Park Avenue Christian Church, 1010 Park Avenue, 5:30 p.m., 212-288-3246; “Celebrating Women 2005,” New York Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, 7:30 to 9 a.m., www.nywf.org.]
Ladies, lose the espadrilles Phew O.K. Now for some trivia: ” Paraskevidekatriaphobics” is defined as those who are “afflicted with a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th.” And why not, when a new Jennifer Lopez movie is opening today with Jane Fonda as a co-star? Rumor has it that Ms. Fonda steals the show from the diva. But heck, what else are you going to do till the new Star Wars opens next week? For those of you who insist on doing something cultural, the great Pinchas Zuckerman (now there’s a name our grandfather would have adored) conducts the New York Philharmonic for the next two nights, featuring Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 3 and 5. Thank heavens they’re skipping that nasty No. 4.
[Monster-in-Law, for the theaters and showtimes, www.moviefone.com; Pinchas Zuckerman at the Philharmonic, Avery Fisher Hall, 10 Lincoln Center Plaza, 8 p.m., www.newyorkphilharmonic.org.]
And ladies, enough ith those glittery metallic things-you know what we mean: those knit tank tops held up by glittery straps, those metallic gold ballerina flats, those silver clutch purses. You’re all twinkling like little disco balls and it’s very annoying! You are not Mischa Barton, you are not on The O.C., and even she looks like a 1983 mall rat-so imagine what you look like. Argghhh, O.K., where were we? Courageously defying the recent media backlash against the borough, Brooklyn strikes back with a performance from children’s singer and Brooklyn boy Dan Zanes. Mr. Zanes, who once fronted the Del Fuegos, turned his talent to “all-ages folk-rock music” that has kids bopping up and down. This evening, entitled Brooklyn Ballyhoo, will be a “family music party,” and Mr. Zanes is supposed to be joined onstage by “fellow Brooklyn artists.” Please, please, please let it be Jay-Z. Back on the island, Target-the only store besides Costco that we’ll make a trip for-is on the last of their three-day promotion for “Paws for Pics” at Tompkins Square (squatter-free since 1994!) and Union Square parks. ” We’re offering New York City dogs complimentary photos,” said Lena Michaud, official Target spokesperson, who explained that all the insane dog people in the city could come by for a free digital photo. “We’ll also be giving away doggie bowls and leashes and all sorts of pet products.” We stopped Ms. Michaud dead in her tracks when we demanded to know if cats were allowed. “Well, no-not that I know of,” she said. “Although I suppose if someone came with a cat on a leash, we wouldn’t decline.” Meow.
[Dan Zanes and friends, B.A.M. Harvey Theatre, 651 Fulton Street, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., www.bam.org; Paws for Pics, Tompkins Square Park, Avenue B, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m., Union Square Park, noon to 2 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m., www.target.compets.]
Parsley, sage, rosemary and …. No rest for a benefit: Today, the Four Seasons hosts the Irvington Institute for Immunological Research, a nonprofit supporter of researcher in immunology, for a benefit called “Through the Kitchen.” The good news? These people love them some puns; the theme for this year’s dinner is “It’s Thyme” (which kills us-and here’s an idea for next year: hire Tyne Daly to leap out of a cake, only to hear people shout, “NO! Not Tyne-thyme!”). The restaurant will literally throw open its doors to 500 guests (among them tony uptowners like Mayor Mike, Claudia Cohen, Lily Safra, and Aerin and Eric Zinterhofer), who will receive aprons as they pick through a buffet-style spread of appetizers, main courses, salads and desserts prepared by chef Christian Albin. Watch out for the Mayor-we hear he can pack it away. Meanwhile, people take to the streets for the 20th Annual AIDS Walk New York, which has raised $85 million through the years for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Get out your favorite kicks and join in.
[Through the Kitchen, the Four Seasons, 99 East 52nd Street, 7 p.m., 212-576-1005; AIDS Walk New York, www.aidswalk.net.]
TV is bad for you! More ornery and sex-starved than a boatload of sailors, television execs sprout up on our streets for the television up-fronts, where the networks roll out all their stellar talent and show off their top shows, like Joey. Cashing in on the celebrity factor, Lucky and Cargo magazines join forces and take a suite at the Ritz so that all those stressed-out television types have a place to go for cocktails ( burp!), lunch and complimentary shopping from participating vendors like James Jeans and Le Tigre. ( That’s because when TV execs are left to wander the city on their own, five in 10 don’t make it back …. ) Last year, the suite was visited by members from The O.C. And you thought your life sucked …. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for actor-director-no-one-knows-what-the-hell-he-does Fisher Stevens, he’ll most likely show up where his photographs, and those of others, will be auctioned at the Artists for the African Rainforest benefit. Has anyone told Sting yet?
[Lucky/Cargo hospitality suite, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 50 Central Park South, through Wednesday, strictly (their words) by invitation only (read: You ain’t crashing this party, but try!); 14th Annual Artists for the African Rainforest, Manhattan Penthouse, 80 Fifth Avenue, 6:30 p.m., 212-431-5508.]
Good news, park squatters!
The people in control of all those events at Bryant Park-where you schlep a blanket, cheese and wine, and hope you can find some small corner of earth to sit on along with every other loudmouth in this city-will be announcing what’s ahead for our summer. Meanwhile, Claire Danes and Zac Posen (who is dangerously close to becoming the new Moby) host a Spring Fling at the wankier-than-thou Hiro Ballroom. The thing benefits Teachercount, which is a good thing, because most of the people in attendance still haven’t learned their sums.
[Bryant Park Luncheon, Bryant Park Reading Room, 42nd Street, 11:30 a.m., by invitation only; Spring Fling, Hiro Ballroom, Maritime Hotel, 371 West 16th Street, 9 p.m., 646-495-4963.]
We know we promised not to talk about this anymore but we didn’t realize it was the finale- hello, May sweeps! The girls of America’s Next Top Model are still in Africa: Let’s go, Broken Arrow! We’re rooting for you all the way! Meanwhile, attention, Star Wars geeks: get in line now. The big movie opens up tomorrow, and we hear the Zeigfeld gets real crowded real quick.
[ America’s Next Top Model, UPN, 8 p.m.]