Lunch at Michael’s: Diplomatic Core

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By Dorian Comment

The firepower in the room at Michael’s restaurant today was daunting. Not only did we see captains of industry and media, but also people who in their time have commanded firepower quite literally. Former UN ambassador (and future secretary of state?) Richard Holbrooke sat for awhile with diplomat Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame, before going off to lunch with another mystery guest. The ambassador to Japan was there with his brother, Bob Schieffer.

And theirs weren’t the only conversations we dearly wish we could have heard above the buzz. Superstar actor Kevin Kline was a salad’s throw away, Dominick Dunne was with Alana Stewart, and NYC & Company’s Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas was with a deputy mayor. We can only wish next time we’ll be able to tell you not just who, but also what they said. Here’s the rundown:

Table 1: The alcove table today was taken by a big party from the William Morris agency, including execs Wayne Kabak and Suzanne Gluck.

2: Ellen Levine, editor-in-chief of Good Housekeeping, with Time Inc. editor-in-chief John Huey. Levine is rumored to be on the move at Hearst, and so we wonder what they were talking about…

3. Mayor of Michael’s Joe Armstrong, looking dapper as always, seated with who(?), greeting author Pamela Keogh, Court TV chief Henry Schlieff (appropriately carrying a plastic bag with his network’s moniker; we never did find out what goodies were inside) and others as they walked by to their tables.

4. Stanley Jaffe and Dick Ebersol.


5: Stanley Schuman, head of the media practice at Allen & Co., with … ?

6. John Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews, with two women.

7. Ed Adler of Time Warner with a woman.

8. Kevin Kline, looking very distinguished with a graying beard. Kline graciously greeted a guest who rushed over from the bar and gushingly shook his hand. Was that Gerry Byrne with him?

9. Dominick Dunne, looking quite himself in a shirt we’re told is a custom-made Turnbull and Asser shirt with Alana Stewart (Rod Stewart‘s ex-wife), who sported the current must-have B Fendi bag, which we’re told goes for $1,500 and up and has a six-month waiting list. Dunne did the double-cheek kiss with our companion, celebrity author Diane Clehane, which impressed us no end, and we tried not to fawn when he shook our hand. Schlieff also stopped by to pay respects to Dunne, one of his TV show stars.

10. Ten was very clandestine amid all the diplomatic hush-hush.

11. Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas, President & CEO of NYC & Company, blowing out a candle to celebrate her reemergence after the birth of a child some three months ago, with a deputy mayor. (She used to spend significant time with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as his press secretary, at least.)

12. CBS newsman Bob Schieffer with his “little” brother Tom, the ambassador to Japan and Tom’s wife.

14. This was a table for ears to strain over. First shift: Howard Rubenstein with Dan Wassong.

Second shift: Richard Holbrooke, whom we saw for the first time sans necktie (we’ve seen him at State and the U.N. and on Charlie Rose and Nightline and lots of other power-hitting places), and who was very kind when we said “hello, Mr. Ambassador,” from our perch at the bar. Very personable for a man who pretty much solved the Bosnian conflict during the Clinton administration. Seated with someone who looked important, but whose face we couldn’t place.

Speaking of the bar, that was us, editorial director Dorian Benkoil with Clehane, who was a perfect companion, not only for her lavendar Oscar de la Renta sweater and matching print skirt, or her Jimmy Choo shoes, but also because she was got the “biggest gossip” award in high school and so knows enough about the people in the room, and what they’re wearing, to make us look smarter than we usually would. Plus, she wrote our site’s lead piece for today.

15. Harper Collins book editor David Hirshey, with his latest talent, Rachel Sklar (who helped invent the very blog you’re now reading and is now with The Huffington Post) and Judy Clain, executive editor of Little, Brown. Hirshey and Clain came with piles of books for Sklar, including Little, Brown’s now-controversial How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life by Kaavya Viswanathan and Harper’s 100 Bullshit Jobs, in which Hirshey’s named bullshitter-in-chief. Told us he insisted author Stanley Bing put “author of this book” in as bullshit job #100.

16. Not sure. Later was two or three Asian gentlemen who were walk ins.

17. Tom Freston, late of MTV, and Mark Rosenthal, CEO and president of Interpublic.

18. Henry Schlieff with Fred Silverman.

19. Author Pamela Keogh feting her dad, Peter Keogh, who’s in real estate, for his birthday.

20. Esther Newberg of ICM. Former HBO chairman and one-time Radar backer Michael Fuchs.

21. Chris Meigher. Furrier Dennis Basso, whose voice truly is profundo.

22. We couldn’t see.

23. Ditto

24. Diplomat Josepth Wilson, his wife “outed” former CIA agent Valerie Plame. With Don Epstein? and ???.

25. Walter Sabo, who generously came over and told us his companions were Jose Cancela, formerly of Univision and now a muckety muck at Hispanic USA, and Oscar Ramos of ESPN Deportes.

26. CNN’s Miles O’Brien and Soledad O’Brien (no relation) with a woman we didn’t recognize. Soledad gave a big “hello” to our companion, Diane, and they’re going to have lunch soon much closer to Soledad’s house so she can play with her four kids before she heads to work for her evening show.

27. Gerald Imber, plastic surgeon to the stars, with film critic Joel Siegel.

28. David Adler, BiZBash.com CEO. Gael Greene.

35? MarketWatch media writer Jon Friedman with IMAX co-chief Rich Gelfond. Not for a story, Jon says, but we again wonder what for.

Back room: Artemis records CEO Daniel Glass. John Comas?

Also seen: Jonathan Wald of NBC and Columbia U, Jerry Della Famina, co-CEO of Heavy.com Simon Assad, someone wearing a baseball cap with the “Hoy” newspaper logo, Nina Garcia of Elle and the “Project Runway” TV show.

Please write Dorian AT mediabistro DOT com or Editors AT mediabistro DOT com if you would like to correct, or add to, the record above. Thanks!

Map of Michael’s
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