Hallelujah! What better way to celebrate the first day when it actually felt like springtime in the city than to dine and dish at two jammed packed Manhattan power lunches. This being Wednesday, we of course made our weekly pilgrimage to Michael’s to observe the famous and fabulous in their natural habitat and then hot-footed it over to The Metropolitan Club for the Annual Authors in Kind Literary Luncheon, benefiting God’s Love We Deliver. At 55th and Fifth, the joint was jumping with plenty of media mavens (David Zaslav, Henry Schleiff), talking heads (Joe Kernen, Jim Murphy and Star Jones), serious scribes (Walter Isaacson) and the random celebrity of the week — none other than Johnny Weir. I wished I’d gotten to talk to Johnny about his oh-so-messy divorce. Heaven knows what he would have said. Oh well, next time.
Uptown at the Metropolitan Club, I joined Michael’s regular Mickey Ateyeh (“Oh my God! I didn’t realize this was on a Wednesday!”) for the Authors In Kind Luncheon, which was emceed by another Michael’s pal Linda Fairstein (we’ll be dishing for this column about her next book, Terminal City, in June). Having never been to this event before, it was truly a memorable afternoon. Before lunch, the authors slated to speak at the luncheon — Barbara Ehrenreich, Michael Anthony and Robin Cook — signed books they generously donated to the attendees. Spotted in the crowd: 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl and Grand Central Publishing’s Deb Futter. Before everyone sat down to eat, I chatted with Assael’s Lawrence Lewis and Mickey. Angela Cummings for Assael, was one of the event’s sponsors along with CH Carolina Herrera, so it was quite the elegant affair. But behind the glitz and glamour that went along with the swanky surroundings, the inspiring and uplifting tone to the event, which was set beautifully by God’s Love We Deliver president & CEO Karen Pearl, carried the day. Karen shared the stories of several clients whose battles with life-altering illnesses were made more bearable to them and their families because of the organization’s nutrious meals and personalized care. She thanked the volunteers who prepare and deliver them (I was seated next to one such “angel,” Douglas Elliman’s Peter J. Forsman, who was delightful company) and introduced a video that highlighted their work. “Food is medicine,” explained Karen. “And love is the special ingredient.”
It was certainly a lovefest when Linda took the stage to introduce the three authors on the program. “It’s a delicious literary feast,” said Linda, who developed the Authors In Kind program 11 years ago. First up was Barbara Ehrenreich, whose new book, Living With a Wild God (Twelve/Grand Central Publishing), was released yesterday. The best-selling author of 14 books, including the much-acclaimed Nickel and Dimed, told the audience she is once again embroiled in controversy (“That’s okay, it’s great publicity!”) with her latest book. It chronicles a “metaphysical experience” the self-described atheist had as a child and had kept secret until now. She wrote the book from a rediscovered journal she kept during her tumultuous adolescence. “And I’m being criticized by the atheists!” she said, evoking much laughter from the crowd. “But this is a memoir. It’s my story and you can’t argue with it!” The afternoon’s other speakers, chef Michael Anthony, author The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook, and the legendary Robin Cook,who will surely have his 29th best seller with his latest effort, Cell, also served up tasty tidbits. I recently caught the movie version of Robin’s breakthrough novel, Coma, on television. While the film doesn’t really hold up, the book still thrills 34 (!) years later. Isn’t that always the way?
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd at Michael’s:
1. Hollywoodlife.com’s Bonnie Fuller, Carolyn Fanning,Chloe Melas with Penske Media Vice Chair Gerry Byrne presiding over their monthly schmoozefest. In attendance: Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, who I lunched with last week; her RHONYC castmate Kristen Taekman; CNN’s Jim Murphy; Kathleen McFeeters of Donna Morgan & Ali Ro; HarperCollins’ Christina Colangelo; Boy Meets Girl’s Stacy Igel; and Drybar’s Alli Webb.
2. Steve Mosko
3. Harvey Weinstein and Scott Greenstein
4. Liz Smith, Iris Love and Jay Springer
5. Stan Shuman
6. NBC Sports’ Jim Bell and Johnny Weir, who was, of course, dressed to thrill. The Olympic competitor-turned-commentator looked fresher than springtime in a buttercup yellow cashmere sweater, which he accessorized with an oversized gold watch, slicked back hair and flawless makeup.
7. Book seller Glenn Horowitz
8. Richard Turley and Rikki Klieman
9. BFFs Star Jones and Dr. Holly Phillips
11. Uber agent Wayne Kabak
14. Discovery Communications’ main man David Zaslav and CNBC Squawker Joe Kernen
15. Travel agent Alexandre Chemla
16. Author Pamela Keogh
17. IMG Artists’ Jerry Inzerillo
18. Walter Isaacson with the Smithsonian’s David Skorton
20. Producer Joan Gelman
21. Discovery ID’s Henry Schleiff, whose penchant for those compulsively watchable crime series about housewives run amok is generating some serious (and not so serious) buzz for the network. We can’t get enough of those cheesy reenactments!
22. Producer Beverly Camhe and son Todd Camhe
23. Allen & Co.’s Steven Greenberg
24. Kelly Simon
25. EMI’s Neil Lasher
27. Social swans Nina Griscom and Patricia Kluge
81. LVMH’s Pauline Brown
We’ll be on vacation next week. See you back at Michael’s on April 23rd!
Diane Clehane is a contributor to FishbowlNY. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Please send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.