The energy was high at Michael’s, with much table-hopping, hugging and air kisses. The crowd was buzzin’ and the cobbs kept a-coming. Here were the witnesses to all the fun:
Table 1: Martha Stewart Omnimedia’s Susan Lyne (who looks strikingly like Martha Stewart. So it’s true what they say about hiring people who are one’s mirror image, eh?) with a bunch of VIP fellas, including Charles Koppelman. Lyne is definitely someone to watch, at least judging by the company she keeps. She table-hopped and air-kissed no fewer than five other media big-wigs in the course of the two-hour lunch rush: Joe Armstrong (gigantic bear hug), Henry Schleiff (a hug), Liz Smith (air kiss), Dominick Dunne (real kiss) and Barbara Walters (heart-felt “How ARE you! Nice to see you.”)
2: Guy with very VERY funky glasses, mucho face stubble, dark red tie and very black shirt and suit. Entertainment biz, we guess — and in due time, we learn this is Elvis Costello. He is joined by Allen Toussaint. They both tuck their napkins in at the neck when their entrées arrive. For a moment we wondered whether they might give a lesson in how to eat crawfish. But this is New York, not New Orleans (where the two recently finished a joint recording project due out this spring).
3: Mayor of Michael’s Joe Armstrong with his trademark cowboy boot “mascot” flower vase. He and Barbara Walters were yucking it up before his guest, Hearst’s Steven Wagner arrived. Barbara brought Armstrong a little Texas live action figure, Kinky Friedman (first Jewish Gov of Texas). Friedman used to have a rock group, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jew Boys. Says Armstrong: He used to drive a Cadillac that he said could “stop on a dime and pick it up” and he promised going into office that he will lower the speed limit to “54.95.” Another of Kinky’s memorable quips: “I’m not pro-life, I’m not pro-choice, but I am pro-Football.” Armstrong’s from Texas, if you couldn’t guess.
4: Liz Smith, another member of the Michael’s Texas Mafia (former Governor Ann Richards is also a regular) in a beige suit, with Dominick Dunne and Court TV’s Henry Schleiff, wearing a suit. They all seemed to be old friends. But this was all business, we hear. It’s Liz’s birthday tomorrow. Wish her a happy one if you get the chance.
5: Barbara Walters, with another woman. Any guesses?
[A little birdie told us: Socialite Lauren Veronis (wife of Veronis Suhler media banking guy John Veronis)]
6: David Patrick Columbia, strikingly not at his regular table. He was dining with Alex Hitz, Peter “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good” Rogers and another fellow.
7: The outrageously fashionable Andre Leon Talley, in a muted green croc-leather coat. He was downing double espressos with another fellow, who was wearing a quite understatedly fashionable suit, and a pink tie.
8: Jonathan Tisch (the real estate scion) and head of NYC & Co., with Gerry Schoenfeld, who runs the Shubert Theatre.
9: PR maven Maury Rogoff, with others. Who?
11: We have decided Gerry Byrne is alright. Why? He greeted us from his perch on 11 and told us all about himself and his lunch date. Gerry launched the Quill Awards and now he’s doing consulting for Parade magazine, among other clients. He dined with Parade edit staffer, Janice Kaplan and they discussed online strategies. Thank you, Gerry, you make our life easier.
12: Rolling Stone‘s deputy managing editor Joe Levy, looking very dashing, with VH1 president and VH1 Save the Music founder John Sykes, also quite handsome. Let’s just say that several married women at Table 27 (we won’t name names) wanted to know who they were. Levy and Sykes went over to Elvis’ table and made nice as they were leaving.
14: Alice Mayhew with another woman. Must be some Author. Later, Jane Eisner (Mike’s wife) showed up in a leopard patterned blouse and black sweater. She seemed like a woman with a happy secret.
15: Sports Illustrated managing editor Terry McDonnell, who long ago worked at Rolling Stone, and sued to get money from them. He was kind of dour-seeming today, in his dark black shirt and suit. He was awaiting The Paris Review‘s tardy Philip Gourevitch, who hustled in explaining that he had been stuck in the subway. No matter, McDonnell continued Blackberrying even after his guest sat down! They dined on a burger (McDonnell) and the cobb (Gourevitch). PG wore a blue tiny-checked shirt, no tie. Terry had a Farrar Strauss Giroux book on the table and barely touched his Bloody Mary.
17: Entertainment and media consultant Michael Kassan, with someone.
18: Arthur Schlesinger, who’s written books about the Kennedys and Roosevelts, with the granddaughter of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Remarkably, they both downed at least two martinis during lunch. Talk about a power lunch! She was wearing a very tailored and First Granddaughter-ish suit, with a prim but weighty gold necklace.
19: We were at this wonderful table (any table is wonderful when you’ve been stuck at the bar, as we have), with Chris Giglio, the top-secret PR man at Howard Rubenstein Associates. He deals with crisis management and can’t even NAME his clients, they’re that secret. He used to be an investigative reporter and was discussing how fun it was to be “inside the news” now. We love Chris. And he loves his boyfriend.
21: John Josephson with a couple of other guys. They looked very interesting. Would have liked to get to know them.
22: Woman in white ruffled blouse, another with red hair in a funky blue jacket and a third with long hair and a sweater. They smiled our way but didn’t introduce themselves.
23: Jordan Ringel, the famed entertainment attorney, wearing little white sheep (unicorns?) on his blue tie. He met a woman who was a study in brown, brown blouse, sweater, scarf, hair!
25: Watch out. Hot Chris Napolitano, head of Playboy editorial. He was with writer/oyster-farmer Warren Kalbacker. They were celebrating many things about the latest issue, including the Al Franken interview, the Kanye West cover (which was supposed to pre-empt Rolling Stone‘s Kanye West cover, but somehow didn’t) and Michael Gross‘s piece about the sale of sex.com for $14 million. What an issue! Now you have a better excuse to buy one and pass it around the office, openly.
26: Woman with an electric blue scarf and a very despondent visage.
27: Our favorite people were at this table. PR Queen Chris Taylor, Kristen Foster, ABC news producer Katie Thompson and Katherine Oliver, Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, & Broadcasting! We love you guys (even if we did hug Katherine thinking her Katie. Oh well)!
If you were at Michael’s today (or any day) and would like to report in, or correct the record, please email LaurelT AT mediabistro.com