New and Noteworthy for the Week of 9/24

2751.jpgIn this issue: San Francisco, Rome, Miami, and Boston…

Play: New York’s other film festival
Fans of bearded ladies, get your freak on this weekend at the Coney Island Film Festival. Now in its seventh year, the lesser-known annual event kicks off Friday night with live sideshow acts and music. On tap this weekend are 80 films, ranging from a never-before-seen documentary on the park’s famous Cyclone roller coaster to the short film Club Soda, starring Sopranos’ scenery chewer James Gandolfini. Films screen at Sideshows by the Seashore (3006 W. 12th St.) and the Coney Island Museum (1208 Surf Ave.); $6.

Stay: Sentenced to luxury in Boston
Just when you thought you’d heard it all, a historic jailhouse in Boston gets transformed into a Martha Stewart-worthy luxury boutique hotel. The Liberty Hotel (once known as the Charles Street Jail) is a Colonial-style building dating from 1851. On the inside are 300 rooms tricked out with up-to-the-minute amenities and decorated in shades of rose and taupe. Vestiges of the past? Well, the hotel lobby bar — appropriately named Alibi — is in an old cell block. Check out the toll-free number: 866/507-JAIL. What will hoteliers think of next? Rooms from $550.

Eat: When in Rome, dine like a dictator
The NY Times ran a diverting piece this week about former dictators’ haunts being turned into hotels, resorts, and amusement parks. Funny, they didn’t mention La Limonaia, a restaurant just outside Rome on the grounds of lovely Villa Torlonia, which was occupied for a spell by Benito Mussolini during World War II. The restaurant isn’t exactly new, but the trend of tarting up tainted digs certainly is. La Limonaia dishes up pizzas and bruschetta at reasonable prices. Surely that would make Il Duce proud. Dinner for two, $50. 39-068/551-076; Via Spallanzani 1.

See: In Paris, a showcase for Jazz Age decadence
To see just how truly far we’ve come in the world of fashion, get to the Musée Galliera, the ultimate fashion and costume museum in Paris. The exhibition Mode des Années Folles is a showcase of fashion’s “crazy years” — the 1920s — when women were freed from their corsets, began wearing trousers, bobbed their hair, and showed skin. On display are original designs by Poiret, Chanel, Vionnet, and Lanvin. From Oct. 20 through Feb. 29, 2008.

Shop: Capitalist free-for-all in Frisco
Union Square has become the neighborhood of choice for Carrie Bradshaw wannabes in San Francisco. Between Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and Neiman Marcus, do we really need more choices here? Apparently yes, because Barneys New York just opened a six floor, $35 milion, West Coast outpost in the former FAO Schwarz building. But hold your Manolo Blahniks: rumor has it that Prada and Helmut Lang are on their way. 77 O’Farrell Street.

Drink: Winos in Miami?
You might be suffering from new-winebar-of-the-week ennui, but listen up anyway — in Miami, wine has finally arrived. And Wine 69 is THE place to go right now for dozens of vintages by the glass. You can actually learn something here if you chat up owner Ben Neji — he waxes poetic about the small-scale vineyards that produce much of the wine on the menu. In vino, veritas. Wine and snacks for two, $40. 6909 Biscayne Blvd; 305/759-0122.

Stuart Michaels

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