As if he had scripted it himself, the director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic) burst through the doors of Michael’s this afternoon a little past one o’clock and trotted to Table 1, where he was late to break bread with embattled (is that the appropriate word when Nikki Finke is on your trail?) Paramount studio chief Brad Grey, who was in town from Hollywood for the day. “It was exciting as it gets,” in the words of City magazine’s ex-executive editor Sophie Donelson, who joined Mediabistro’s Greg Lindsay for the usual gaze-and-graze at the bar. With the exception of Wes’ late dash to lunch, today’s crowd was as cozily familiar as a warm bath. One table even inspired a fit of deja vu. More on that below. Here’s today’s rundown:
Table 1: Anderson, Grey and a third, unidentified gentleman. Grey was dressed California casually in a jacket and open white shirt, looking quite unruffled despite the imminent arrival on every street corner in Manhattan of the June issue of Vanity Fair and its story on the mushrooming Anthony Pellicano scandal. Anderson was clad in a mossy green suit that, for once, didn’t appear to be two sizes too small. We were wondering what such a public meeting could be about, considering Anderson’t next film, The Fantastic Mr. Fox is being produced by Joe Roth and distributed by Sony. Onto the next project, we guess…
2: Jack Myers, author of The Jack Myers report and founder of mediavillage.com, with a gentleman we didn’t quite recognize.
3. The Mayor of Michael’s, Joe Armstrong, arriving first and presiding over a table for four that also included Harper publisher Jonathan Burnham and two ladies we didn’t know. (Update: A tipster writes in: “Your reporter can’t even identify Dr. Melfee from the Sopranos, superstar Lorraine Bracco??!!!”)
4. MTV Networks’ John Sykes anchored the corner today, but not before a virtual ballet of hellos to Jack Myers and his guest, Cablevision spokesman Charles Schuler at Table 17, and Fred Dressler at Table 11, with whom he plopped down for a quick chat. No idea who his actual lunch date was, however.
5. The table of couturier Arnold Scassi and his longtime companion, former publishing exec Parker Ladd, who seemingly spent most of lunch waiting for Scassi to arrive, killing time by reading the newspaper.
6. Former Cole Haan and current Payless CEO Matt Rubel, with Paul Wilmot and a third companion we didn’t recognize.
7. This table gave us deja vu. Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley and Manolo Blahnik president George Malkemus sat here, in the same seats and dressed in same crocodile coat and powder blue sweater each was respectively wearing the last time we were here. Apparently they had dropped in yesterday, too, with Manolo Blahnik himself that time.
8. Court TV chief Henry Schleiff was here, not at his usual table along the wall, for once. He was eating with someone we didn’t recognize.
9. Hotelier Jerry Inzerillo the EVP of Kerzner International, which owns the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas, among other properties. The rest of his table was too far out of our line of sight.
11. As mentioned, Time Warner Cable’s EVP of programming, Fred Dressler was here, lunching with someone on the other side of a wall we couldn’t see through.
12. Inkwell agent Larry Ashmead’s table.
14. Judy Price was one of the ladies who were lunching at this table today, and we’re pretty sure she was the one in sunglasses (we think.) No idea about the other one, sadly.
15. Dominick Dunne, lunching with a younger gentleman whose first name, we gathered, was “Alex” but couldn’t glean any further information from there.
16. Time for our mangled spelling of the day: Jay Friedlich. (?) And we must confess that without the power of Google at our disposal, we can’t supply much of a biography from here.
17. Cablevision’s Charles Schuler, who was also station on the other side of a wall with a lunch date we couldn’t see.
18. Serial media entrepreneur Don Welsh was here with a companion who we were told was part of the Emmy-winning team behind HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”
20. Glamour editor Cindi Leive snuck by us, but her lunch date didn’t. Ariel Foxman arrived ahead of her, a bit on the early side, actually, sporting a beard that didn’t suggest “Paul Bunyan” so much as it did lying in bed all day and being too depressed to shave.
21. Quest publisher Chris Meigher at his usual table, joined by Tom Fallon.
22. Dashboard Ventures president Curtis Giesen and who?
24. We’re going to gamble on another misspelling here: Konrad Kassee (?) was joined by a pair of gentlemen in the far corner of the room from us.
28. Update: It turns out that Simon & Schuster CEO Jack Romanos was sitting here with a printer.
29. A late, unconfirmed spotting: former Gruner + Jahr USA CEO Russell Denson, who was having a late lunch with a bowtied gentleman who arrived just after him.
Word drifted back to us that Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg was lunching out of sight in the relative serenity of Table 55, although she wasn’t far from former Saks and Burberry CEO Rose Marie Bravo and her companion, Clinique exec Philip Scheer (we’re not sure about the spelling.)
Please write greg AT mediabistro DOT com or editors AT mediabistro DOT com if you would like to correct the record above. Thanks!
Map of Michael’s