Lunch: Karenna Gore Schiff, George Tenet & Politics As Usual

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— DIANE CLEHANE

We were almost glad the scene was somewhat subdued today at 55th & Fifth since we’ve barely recovered from last week‘s head spinning scene. While it was hardly gloom and doom, I overheard more than a few captains of industry and media mavens muttering about the market. One who dared go against the tide seemed exuberant (tongue firmly in cheek, I’m guessing) when he cried, “I’m ahead of the game — I’ve got nothing — no mortgage, nothing in the stock market — so I’m golden!” Alrighty then…

Speaking of the fickle finger of fate, I’ve got a bone to pick with Jonathan Van Meter of New York magazine. Several weeks ago on a Wednesday, Liz Smith told me she was dining with the scribe because he was doing a piece on her for the 40th anniversary issue of New York. And so he did. In it, Liz weighs in on the changing nature of celebrity and has some pretty choice words for some Hollywood folks she doesn’t much care for (Mike Ovitz). Van Meter opines that Liz’s power (and newspaper columnists’ in general) has been diminished by — horror of all horrors — gossip blogs penned by likes of Perez Hilton. He goes on to say, “In fact, Smith points out a woman sitting at the bar right now who in about an hour will post a blog about who was at Michael’s today, just as she does every week. For Smith, reporting on lunch at Michael’s in her column would be pointless.” Oh really? I guess Jonathan hasn’t been reading Liz much lately. This past month alone she’s devoted two columns to that very subject and has, in fact, been reporting on the scene here with increasing frequency. This “woman sitting at the bar” (that evokes a lovely image, doesn’t it?) just wanted to set the record straight.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Herb Allen and a squadron of handsome suits…

2. Peter Brown

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and the delightful Karenna Gore Schiff. I was thrilled to finally meet Ms. Gore in person. We worked together on I Love You Mom!, a bestseller for Hyperion back in 2003, with all of our dealings happening over the phone. At the time, I was drafted to interview celebs and write about their relationships with their mothers. Of the 40-some odd accounts in the book that I did, Karenna was the one contributor who actually wrote her own chapter which was, of course, fabulous. Tipper must be so proud! Before she and Joe went off to their table, I asked Joe about his whirlwind trip last weekend with Kerry Kennedy stumping for Obama. “We did 12 cities in Pennsylvania!” says Joe, who loved every minute of it. You’ve always got my vote, Mr. Mayor…

4. Jack Kliger and a fellow we didn’t recognize


5. Arnold Scaasi, Parker Ladd, and Publisher’s Weekly‘s Sara Nelson

6. Terry Allen Kramer (loved those jeans and that bag was to die for, too!) with former CIA director George Tenet. We would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at this table…

7. Paige Peterson and pals

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia with an unidentified attractive lady

9. Gary Zarr and my good pal Fern Mallis of IMG

11. Gerry Byrne, who was nice enough to stop and chat with me at the bar and introduce me to Eric Mika, vice president and publisher of The Hollywood Reporter. Great meeting you!

12. The ‘Imber Gang’: Dr. Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina, and Jeff Greenfield

14. Stan Shuman and Stanley Jaffe

15. My good pal Tony Hoyt lunching with David Adler. Did you know that David’s father wrote the iconic War of The Roses? Now you do…

16. Gerry Inzerillo

17. Peter Price

18. Dan Abrams

19. Beverly Cahme and Jason Allen Ashlock. The tireless Beverly is so excited about her latest project — she’s hot on the case to bring the hotter-than-hot show Fela to Broadway and is rounding up investors to see the SRO show which is about to end its current run. Producer Bev says rumor has it that Beyonce and Jay-Z are also high on the show, which chronicles the life and music of the Nigerian revolutionary, and are thinking about doing something a la Oprah’s presentation of The Color Purple. Stay tuned…

20. Katherine Saxton

21. Quest’s Chris Meigher

22. Stuart Paley

23. Designer Catherine Ireland

24. My good pal Diane Dimond with Lucianne Goldberg and Bonnie Dudley. Tonight both Diane and Lucianne are headed to Steve Dunleavy’s retirement party at Bourbon Street Bar. Sounds like fun … I asked Lucianne to handicap tomorrow nights’ vice presidential debate and she told me that word is since Sarah Palin was observed “practicing her A game” yesterday she’s “going to hit it out of the park.” Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger…

25. Tom Goodman and J. Max Robins who is the new-ish executive director industry programs for The Paley Center for Media. When I stopped by their table to say my hellos, Tom and Max got into a debate about just how far back their friendship goes. They seemed to agree it was circa 1986. Max and I go back to our days together at TV Guide when the Times‘ Steve Reddicliffe was our editor…

26. Hearst’s publicity maven Deb Shriver and Barbara Lee Diamondstein-Spielvogel

27. Doug Johnson, formerly of WABC-TV’s Eyewitness News and John Jacobson

28. David Friend of Vanity Fair

29. Jack Myers, who, observed Max Robins, was looking ‘rock star skinny’…

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.

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