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The Paris Review’s Holiday Auction

The legendary literary magazine teams up with Bidding for Good.

December 05, 2011

New York literary staple The Paris Review is offering an incredible holiday auction at Bidding for Good. For your literary friends, consider a Greenwich Village literary tour ($200) or original artwork by Leanne Shapton for Roberto Bolaño’s The Third Reich ($500). For less bookish types there is a weekend away in Martha’s Vineyard ($4,000), tickets to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Premiere Party ($5,000) and dinner for eight by chef Gabe McMackin of Gramercy Tavern ($2,000). The bidding ends December 11, and proceeds will support The Paris Review.

—jessica ferri


One on One with Chris D'Elia

Stand-up comedian Chris D’Elia is making it big on NBC’s Whitney.

December 02, 2011

Chris D'Elia and Whitney Cumming 

Chris D’Elia has performed on stages in stand-up comedy clubs around the nation, allowing audiences a glimpse into his hilariously dark and comically twisted mind. Though he still lives and breathes for the stage, he now will come directly into your living room once a week to deliver laughs for free courtesy of his role on NBC’s Whitney. Playing Whitney Cummings's boyfriend, Alex, D'Elia and his co-star have a natural rapport—likely from years of off-camera friendship. Here D’Elia tells us how he became involved with the project, how one should handle a heckler during a live set, and his thoughts on dramatic love-making. 

You’ve been in countless comedy clubs. What’s the best retort to a heckler?
I was at the Comedy Store in LA and this guy was riding me all night long. Finally, I stopped and said, “I know you guys came here for a show, and that’s great, but lets forget that there’s a show going on. If you want, sir, I will take you outside and we can fight. I am 100 percent serious. If you want to do it, we can go right now. And then I will come back to do stand up.” And I meant it. By no means am I a tough guy, but I would’ve done it then. He was ruining the show. He didn’t say anything after that.

What do you think drives people to heckle in the first place?
 In LA I think everyone assumes they’re going to be more famous than you already so they don’t have respect for you. Respect in Los Angeles is measured by your fame or your potential fame. So they think they’ll be better than you one day, so why not talk smack now?

On your Twitter feed there are a fair amount of posts about overly dramatic love making, which are side-splitting. Where’s the inspiration for those coming from?
 I always say I’ve never had sex I only make love. I think “love making” is hilarious. What’s better than saying, “Without warning I’m holding a mandolin. A spotlight engulfs me as you take my side. I release the mandolin and we make love. A son is made.” It’s even funnier that people out there are doing the same thing seriously. There’s a Playmate or some soft-core Cinemax porn girl on there who tweets similar dramatic sexual stuff, but means it. I think her name is Courtney.

Do you mean Courtney Stodden? The 17-year-old who married the 51-year-old actor?
 Yes! Wait, she’s 17? What? I had no idea. I thought she was in porn or something.

Not yet. What’s the best part about doing a sitcom like Whitney in front of a live studio audience?
The energy you can feel off the audience. And you can put it right back. It’s tricky because sometimes it seems like the energy is so high that they’re so amped and they’ll laugh at a lot of things.

How did you and Whitney meet?
 We met about five years ago when I was doing stand up. We were fooling around on the mics together for a while. When she asked me to do the show, she said “I wrote a part for you,” but you hear that every three days in LA so I immediately wondered who would really end up playing it. But she was serious and I started the process of going through all the hoops with the network auditions and readings. And I ended up getting it after all.

Catch Chris D’Elia on NBC’s Whitney every Thursday on NBC at 9:30 PM 

—sean evans
photograph by gettyimages.com


Gift of the Day: Small-Batch Tequila

Casa Dragones offers limited-edition bottles of its palate-pleasing sipping tequila for the holidays.

December 02, 2011

Favored by chefs like Eric Ripert and Daniel Boulud, Casa Dragones small-batch sipping tequila is offering personalized bottles ($275) just in time for the holidays. Made of 100 percent blue agave and aged for just two months, Casa Dragones is a joven, or “young,” tequila that is blended with a hint of three years-aged extra añejo, making it smooth as satin and perfect for sipping. Hitting the palate with notes of spice, pear, and vanilla, Casa Dragones has a round, warm, nutty presence. Each limited-edition bottle is handmade from pure, lead-free crystal and engraved, signed, and numbered by hand—truly a gift for the host with the most. Astor Wine & Spirits, 399 Lafayette St., 212-674-7500

See all of Gotham's 2011 Gifts of the Day here.

—April Walloga


Emily Bergl Performs at the Algonquin’s Oak Room

The New York singer and actress revives her hit cabaret show Kidding on the Square.

December 02, 2011

Emily Bergl
Every Monday through December 19 actress and singer Emily Bergl will revive her cabaret show Kidding on the Square at the Algonquin Hotel’s Oak Room. You might recognize Bergl from her many appearances on television (Desperate Housewives, Gray’s Anatomy) and on Broadway. In addition to songs by Rodgers & Hart and Charlie Chaplin, the show will also include seasonal standards. Delightful. ($50; choice of $25 food/beverage minimum or $50 prix fixe dinner) Call 212-419-9331 or e-mail bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com for reservations.

—jessica ferri


Baggu for Holiday Shopping

This Saturday and Sunday shop from more than 21 New York designers in one place.

December 02, 2011

Leather bag ($150) by Baggu and marble bangles ($168) by JF & SON 

Baggu, a Brooklyn-based company that specializes in durable bags of all shapes and sizes, will host a holiday sale featuring more than 20 designers this Saturday and Sunday (NOON–5 PM) at their studio in Williamsburg. Sample pieces include this simple leather Baggu bag ($150) and these eye-catching marble bangles from JF & SON ($168). Start your holiday shopping by supporting local designers and businesses. North Third St. between Wythe St. and Kent Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 800-605-0759

—jessica ferri


Sarah Jessica Parker, Uma Thurman, and Andy Cohen Net Profits for UNICEF

The stars came out to support the children of UNICEF.

December 01, 2011

Sarah Jessica Parker

Cipriani 42nd Street was decked out in mosquito netting for the seventh annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball. “It’s actual mosquito netting,” said Vern Yip, of Trading Spaces fame, who whipped up the look. “We hope to get people familiar with the material. A child dies every 30 seconds in Africa because of mosquito-borne malaria. It’s the number-one killer of children in Africa. So I really wanted to make it tangible… and mosquito nets are a simple way to reduce that number.”  

On his way inside, Adrien Brody mentioned that he and Mickey Rourke had improved a child’s life while filming in Guadalcanal (believe it or not). “I met a little boy when I was there. We were doing The Thin Red Line,” Brody explained. “And Mickey Rourke and I helped put a little thing together to make sure that this kid went through school. It was a nominal amount of money. He was such a sweet boy...” 

Andy Cohen, who said he trick-or-treated for UNICEF as a kid, sat with his BFF, Sarah Jessica Parker, who was wearing Louis Vuitton and laughed when I asked if she actually knew something about UNICEF. Apparently, since SJP was a child it has been one of her pet subjects. “I grew up in a family that spent basically all of our disposable and philanthropic money on UNICEF,” she explained. “Long before I was born, this was the focus of our family. And then I became involved on my own as a young adult and was not surprised to discover that my parents were actually right.”

Yes, the Sex and the City style superstar had buttonholed me. I felt like turning out my pockets for change. “UNICEF has been around for almost 60 years in 150 countries and has saved more children’s lives, inarguably, than any other humanitarian organization on the planet,” she continued at high speed with a smile. To be fair, she did pause once to ask me how often I come to the Bellini hall of Cipriani (about every other night). 

“Just through simple needs, like clean water immunization,” she added, like the cutest girl in your school giving a book report on a story from National Geographic (in a good way). “Shelter, education, food, security, but also much more complex situations, like war and conflict and tsunamis and far-flung places that nobody else can get to. They have people on the ground.”

On the red carpet, Uma Thurman’s rep told me I could ask the towering actress dressed in green (like an icon from a pea commercial) just one question. When I hemmed and hawed that I also wanted to know what she was wearing, Thurman turned to me with much charm and said, “Versace—you can have that one for free.”  

She, too, said that she had been trick-or-treating for UNICEF since she was a little girl. “This is my grown-up trick-or-treating night for UNICEF.” This is also one hot mom—Uma Thurman can ring my bell anytime.

—jeffrey slonim
photograph by gettyimages.com


The Gotham Awards

Slightly less indie than the Independent Spirit Awards, the Gotham Awards nevertheless had its own charms.

December 01, 2011

Patton Oswalt and Charlize Theron

Dispatches couldn’t help but smile when covering the Gotham Awards for Gotham-magazine.com—for once, the stars inadvertently felt obligated to chat. The Gothams are Independent Filmmaker Project’s New York answer to the Independent Spirit Awards. At this first award show of the season, journalists get a preview of the little films that might make it big this year.  

The Indie Spirit Awards take place in a breezy tent on the beach in Santa Monica. Sponsored by Calvin Klein’s Euphoria at Cipriani Wall Street (a rather ornate venue) the Gothams didn’t have quite the same indie feel. Mike Cahill, the director of Another Earth—the story of first contact with an alternative Earth, where each of us is represented in duplicate—said that he has recently traveled the globe to attend “250 screenings” of his film. Bellflower’s Evan Glodell, up for breakthrough director, spoke of Medusa, the hotrod in his film that spits flames. CGI? Nope. “We used the hydraulic pump out of a forklift that injected gasoline into the tailpipes,” Glodell explained. That saves on special effects, unless the cast and crew happen to combust.

Matthew Lillard couldn’t get over the fact that his character in The Descendants cuckolds George Clooney. “I play George Clooney’s wife’s lover,” he said. “It’s the most ridiculous casting.” And when Clooney made fun of him for playing Shaggy in Scooby-Doo? “I kept bringing up that rubber suit he wore in Batman & Robin,” he claimed.

Beau Bridges talked about his local bar in Hanalei, Hawaii, which appears in the film.  “It’s owned by my friend Christian Marston. It’s called Tahiti Nui,” he said. “It’s been there for years.” Apparently a photo of his buddy and his aunt can be seen on the wall in one scene.

Elizabeth Olsen, the twins’ demure sister, who stars in Martha Marcy May Marlene (the story of a woman who escaped from a cult), wore a sparkling gown by Valentino. “It’s my first award show,” she said, figuring she’d dress established instead of indie. 

Meanwhile, young Shailene Woodley from The Descendants went for a tux. She said that she figured she might “get nervous” around all the famous people and didn’t want to “have any sweat stains.” Zachary Quinto from Margin Call wore a tux with angular lines. “It’s Dior,” he told me. “So I don’t know how independent Dior is…”

Charlize Theron, who sat with her mom, wore Gucci. For her fierce roll as Ravenna in Snow White, she claimed to have channeled Jack Nicholson in The Shining. As she made her speech, giving a nod to the beautiful blonde at her table (mom), she had her arm around wee Patton Oswalt’s neck. He quipped that he felt like the award.

—jeffrey slonim
photograph by gettyimages.com


Gift of the Day: A Lanvin Jewelry Box

An elegant musical jewelry box with a world of possibilities is the perfect gift for young ladies.

December 01, 2011

Musical jewelry boxes are a magical gift in their own right, but this Lanvin Mother Daughter Music Jewelry Box ($490) is a treasure. A truly special present from mother to daughter, the box is the perfect storage space for a young lady’s growing jewelry collection and has all the makings of a family keepsake to be passed on to the next generation. net-a-porter.com

See all of Gotham's 2011 Gifts of the Day here.

—April Walloga


Flamenco Legend Pilar Rioja’s Last Season in New York

Catch Pilar Rioja’s farewell run with Repertorio Español.

December 01, 2011

Pilar Rioja

Flamenco dancer Pilar Rioja will perform her 39th and final season in New York during a two-week limited engagement at the Gramercy Arts Theatre beginning December 3 with daily performances through December 18. Rioja, who debuted in 1973, has been called a “mighty goddess” by The New York Times and hailed as a “national treasure” by Metro. As part of the program, the legendary dancer will perform a new dance, the Carretero, which is influenced by African and American rhythms. Of course the farewell performance will also include her most popular dances including “Bulerías,” “Jaleo,” “Farruca,” Boccherini’s “Fandango,” and “Habanera.” Visit repertorio.org/tickets

—jessica ferri


Dior's Limited-Edition J'adore

Dior sets a new gold standard for New York’s fragrance aficionados with a limited edition of its classic J’adore.

December 01, 2011


Christian Dior was known to exclaim “J’adore!” when encountering a design he truly loved, so there’s little doubt what his reaction might have been to the latest incarnation of the floral scent named for his favorite expression. This holiday season Dior launches two limited-edition versions of its J’adore L’Or: Prestige and Exceptional. Both feature the signature scent crafted from the “absolute,” or most intense level, of rose, jasmine, and vanilla essences, housed in a hand-blown bottle of Baccarat crystal, each with a miniature version of Dior’s renowned Maasai necklace—seen in the J’adore campaign since the scent’s launch in 1999, most recently on brand ambassador Charlize Theron—encircling its throat. Prestige features the necklace in gold plate, while Exceptional, limited to only eight bottles worldwide, is adorned with an 18k gold necklace handcrafted by artisans at Dior Haute Joaillerie. Of course, with couture-level perfumery comes a price tag to match: Prestige retails for $7,700 for the 30ml bottle, while the 30ml Exceptional is priced at $42,000. Available by special order at Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue, 212-753-4000

—laurie brookins

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