In keeping with the usual head-spinning weekly scene that is Wednesdays at Michael’s, the joint was jumping today. It was SRO in the front dining room and at the bar where producer Beverly Camhe was holding court with fellow producer Marc Altshuler and writer/directors Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek in celebration of their upcoming documentary In God We Trust Who Pays for His Crime on the Bernie Madoff scandal. The film will debut in the highly coveted Friday night slot at the Tribeca Film Festival next week.
Bev tells me the tickets for the highly anticipated film sold out in ten minutes when they went on sale at with American Express last night, and they are currently looking for a theater to handle the overflow. For those of you who missed the boat entirely, there’s always pay per view. Bev says anyone who sees the film should prepare to be shocked. “Don’t believe what you’ve heard. You’ll be surprised to know who knew what and when they knew it.” For the record, Bev believes that both Madoff sons, the late Mark Madoff and Andrew Madoff, didn’t know anything. I would have loved to have explored that very topic myself when I spotted Mark at Michael’s last spring, but he bolted before I could ask him anything about their father’s massive Ponzi scheme. “Bernie was a bi-polar sociopath, so it’s entirely possible he was able to keep it from them,” says Bev. I asked Marc if they’d heard from any of the Madoffs or insiders since they began production, and he told me, “They’ve been oddly quiet. I’m surprised they even stayed in New York.” Some people have no shame.
Not all the action was in the main dining room. I was invited to the swanky lunch held in the Garden Room for Angela Cummings today celebrating the launch of her new collection with Assael. Mickey Ateyeh, Angela’s long time BFF and business partner gathered 24 New York power gals — the ladies who never eat lunch who actually lunched today — for an intimate gathering. The first to arrive was Liz Smith followed by a veritable who’s who in New York social and business circles, including Paula Zahn, Linda Fairstein, Jackie Leo, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Christy Ferer, who is in hot pursuit for her company’s next CEO (Anyone?), Fern Mallis, DuJour‘s Cindy Lewis and Judy Licht.
I was seated at a lively table hosted by Jaqui Lividini with Nancy Hodin (Judy Licht’s partner in firstcomesfashion.com), journalist Betsy Perry and editor-turned-artist Alexandra Penney. The conversation between courses covered all the bases from jewelry to botox (We’ll never tell), the changing fortunes of journalists and why no one at this table will ever write for free again (Are you listening Arianna Huffington?) to stories of mutual old boyfriends (sorry, but that’s OTR). The celebration will continue tomorrow night at a chic soiree at the Grill Room at the Four Seasons. If you’re on the invite list, I’d suggest leaving your costume jewelry at home.
Last month, I was thrilled to break the news in this very column that Angela was returning to the jewelry world with her collaboration with Assael. Angela’s storied career is the stuff of industry legend. Starting as a design assistant at Tiffany & Co. in 1968 (where she met Mickey), she became one of the company’s key designers before striking out on her own in 1984. Having sold her original designs at the country’s most luxe retail emporiums, including Bergdorf Goodman, Angela closed her eponymous company at the height of her success in 2003 and moved to Park City, Utah where she has enjoyed a more laid back life of painting and hiking.
But, she says, she never lost her desire to design. When the legendary supplier of some of the world’s most exquisite pearls reached out to Mickey and Angela some months ago, the dynamic duo thought it was the perfect partnership. Assael had been a wholesale client of Angela’s back in the day, so there was a comfort level with the jeweler. “We had been approached many times over the years,” Mickey told me, “but it had to be something that was right for Angela and true to her uniqueness. It had to be special.” These days, Mickey tells me both she and Angela are happy to give up the day-to-day running of the business and concentrate on the best part: creating spectacular jewelry. “It’s heaven — just a lot of fun,” says Angela. Adds Mickey, “A perfect marriage.” Which makes sense, because all the best marriages we know are sealed with some pretty serious jewelry. Both Assael and Angela are so pleased with their new alliance they are already in production on a second and third collection and have plans beyond that, as well.
News of her re-entry into fine jewelry has been met with great anticipation. Judging from the gorgeous designs to come out of the new collaboration, everyone brought their A-game to the party. The Angela Cummings Collection for Assael is comprised of 25 magnificent pieces that are bound to find homes in Greenwich and the Upper East Side. A pair of diamond and platinum earrings adorned with a dozen South Sea pearls and over four carats could be yours for $12,500. My personal favorite: a diamond and South Sea pearl necklace in a sea horse shape with 280 round, brilliant-cut diamonds for $375,000. Mother’s Day is coming! Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Eric Bamberger and some gents from Ignition One who, we hear, enjoyed some of Michael’s finest wines. Cheers!
2. Fox 5’s Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly
3. Penske Media vice chair Gerry Byrne and some well-heeled folks
4. Jimmy Finkelstein and The Hollywood Reporter‘s Janice Min
5. Early shift: Ambassador Carl Spielvogel and Eliot Spitzer. Second Act: Agent Boaty Boatwright and Jane Buffet (yes, Warren‘s better half.)
6. Anthony Shriver
7. Ed Forst
8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and an elegantly attired gal (loved the hat!) we didn’t have a chance to meet
9. Attorney Michael Kassan and Richard “Mad Dog” Beckman
11. Bob Friedman and Jay Kriegel
12. The always fabulous Star Jones with NPR’s Adaora Udoji and Planned Parenthood’s Alexis McGill. A tireless advocate for women’s health issues, Star has been working on some spots for the organization. “If it’s about women’s health, you know it’s near and dear to my heart.” Amen.
14. Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew
15. Martin Bandier
16. PR maven extraordinaire Catherine Saxton with the always elegant Sharon Sondes and Geoffrey Thomas (an upcoming model, we hear) and ad man Tom Shaffer.
81. Lally Weymouth
17. Judy Price
18. Steven D. Greenberg and documentarian Ken Burns
20. Former New York City Council president Andrew Stein
21. Shelley Zalis
24. Ad man Martin Puris
26. Author Wednesday Martin and Amy Tarr
27. Hearst PR guru Michael McGraw with interior designer Peter Dunham
29. The Wall Street Journal‘s David Sanford and Lewis Stein
We’ll be on spring break next week. See you back in the dining room on April 24!
Please send comments and corrections to DIANECLEHANE at MEDIABISTRO dot COM and LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.