The joint was jumping today at Michael’s as usual, but there’s always room for one more when the random headline-grabbing celebrity makes an unannounced appearance. No matter that Jermaine Jackson showed up with publicist Marilyn Crawford without a reservation — they got a prime spot in the dining room. “Next to the wall!” commanded Marilyn after declining the first table offered up and settling in for what must have been a dishy lunch. We can understand why Jermaine was accompanied by a bodyguard (although he needn’t have worried as the Michael’s crowd tried their best not to stare), but we’re a bit confused about the man purse he was sporting.
My good friend Linda Fairstein joined me today to celebrate the upcoming publication of her 12th novel, Hell Gate, due out in March. It’s her first book for Dutton, and she says she’s thrilled to work with the imprint’s “smart, young, and enthusiastic” team. Her last book, Lethal Legacy, which was an instant bestseller last year, is just out in paperback this week. No one is better at promoting books than Linda. (She extensively outlined her multi-platform strategy in our So What Do You Do? interview last year). On Friday, she is shooting a video for her website at Gracie Mansion, which figures prominently in the new book. The title refers to the roaring stretch of water where the Harlem and East Rivers meet near the historic federal mansion in Manhattan. “Even though I kill someone there in my book, they still decided to let us shoot there. I’m thrilled,” says Linda.
Just as we were discussing her website, designed by her nephew Marc Fairstein, a gal leaned over from Kate White’s table and whispered to Linda, “I absolutely love your site! It’s so well done.” Turns out this gal knows a thing or two about eye-catching sites for authors, because she’s the creative force behind Kate White’s site. “Kate’s been keeping you a secret all these years!” joked Linda who is good pals with the Cosmo editrix. Linda and Kate have known each other “forever,” and Linda has been writing pieces about true crime for Cosmo timed to the publication of her books for several years. What are friends for?
Linda also tells me that Kate (who must not need a lot of sleep) has a new book coming out in March entitled Hush which is “darker and more chilling” than anything she’s done before. Send us the galleys pronto, please!
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Freddie Gershon (“I’m a Table One person from way back”) and attorney Elliot Brown.
2. Peter Brown
3. My good pals ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, producer Joan Gelman and politico Robert Zimmerman. Joe told me he’s just back from Washington, D.C. where he visited the White House: “But I was invited!” The Mayor picked up this year’s commemorative Christmas ornament in the gift shop as a present for fellow democrat Kerry Kennedy. He gave the twinkling trinket to his pal at lunch today since she was sitting nearby.
4. Cosmetic titan Leonard Lauder, who spent most of lunch going through a pile of papers with an unidentified gorgeous young blonde gal.
5. Stan Shuman and another distinguished gent
6. The “Imber Gang” : Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer. Jeff stopped by our table to chat with Linda about Cy Vance’s victory. It turns out that Jeff was one of the stealth informal advisors on Cy’s successful campaign for District Attorney. Linda, who was an early Vance supporter, told me Jeff’s canny insights were invaluable. “He was right about everything!” she said.
7. Linda Wachner, who kept her sunglasses on throughout lunch.
8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and a lovely blonde gal we didn’t get a chance to meet.
9. Linda Fairstein and yours truly
11. Estee Lauder’s public relations maven Alexandra Trower with her good pal, actress and seventies fashion icon Lois Chiles.
12. Cosmo editrix Kate White, who was rocking an all-black look with some serious accessories, presiding over a table full of power gals including MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Jeanine Pepler who told us she handles all of Kate’s “personal” marketing and public relations. Mika, who has a hilarious article on Huffington Post this week about the myth of women “having it all” (Sing it sister!) is publishing her first book next month, All Things at Once (Weinstein) which chronicles her own attempts to juggle a seesawing career and motherhood. Sounds like a page turner to us.
14. Former William Morris chairman-turned-independent consultant Jim Wiatt
15. Marilyn Crawford, Jermaine Jackson, Jerry Inzerillo and another unidentified fellow.
76. We would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for this one: Kerry Kennedy and Lally Weymouth
16. Cheri Kaufman of Kaufman Astoria Studios with Serena Boardman and another social swan we didn’t know.
17. DeBeers jewelry maven Joan Parker
18. Marie-Josee Kravis and Connie Butler.
19. Disney’s Russell Hampton
20. Uber agent Freddie Friedman and another chic looking pal.
21. Woman’s Day publisher Carlos Lamadrid
22. Time Warner’s Ed Adler and Daily Beast scribe Lloyd Grove. Ed was nice enough to introduce me to Lloyd and we dished briefly on the way out about Jermaine. Sorry, but it’s all off the record.
23. Conde Nast’s David Carey
24. Head Butler’s Jesse Kornbluth with the surprisingly youthful looking Carolyne Roehm. If the first Mrs. Kravis noticed that her ex’s current wife was seated just a few feet away, she never seemed to let on.
25. Viacom’s Richard Bressler
26. My friend Liz Lange with an equally glam gal. Liz, whose maternity line kicked off the now ubiquitous yummy mummy fashion craze, told me she and her sister are now dabbling in creating an online biz with a new site that sends out her daily shopping picks. Based on the fact that Liz never looks anything less than fabulous, I, for one, would be happy to get whatever style advice she is dishing out. Sign me up!
27. Joan Jakobson from The New York Historical Society
28. Marianne Howatson
29. CAA’s Olivia Metzger
31. Producer Jane Rosenthal
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.