— DIANE CLEHANE
It was business as usual at Michael’s today as the power lunch crowd dined out on the latest media dish savoring every tasty morsel. Everyone — and I mean everyone — was talking about Sarah Palin. All of it, unfortunately, was off the record, so I’ll just leave it up to you to fill in the blanks. Between bites of my heirloom tomato salad (which was, for the record, more than ‘satisfactory’), I caught up with the regular crowd and made some interesting new acquaintances.
My new pal Jason Allen Ashlock of The Marianne Strong Literary Agency stopped by the bar to say hello and introduce me to Sharon Bush. Seems Sharon, no longer a regular at the Kennebunkport compound since her messy divorce from Neil, is shopping a book. Are you ready for the title? Bushology. The tome she’s penned with the help of Mark Smith aims to share the wit and wisdom of “how to kick butt the Bush way,” says Jason. But will Karl Rove be thanked in the acknowledgments? (Just kidding). I’ll give the former Mrs. Bush this, with the tenor of the campaign one step above (or below depending on the day) taking on the tone of a mud wrestling match, adding fuel to that fire is sure to get some attention. And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
At the other end of the spectrum (and the dining room) Peggy Siegal was hosting one of her legendary lunches in honor of the new chick flick, The Women. Curiously, though, none of the stellar cast was in attendance. We hear Meg Ryan, Annette Bening and the gals were at the Regency for the junket this afternoon. Instead, Peggy gathered up 30 of her nearest and dearest friends for a celebration of sisterhood. We saw Connie Chung, Rosanna Scotto, Jodi Applegate, Deborah Roberts, Leslee Dart and Hoda Kotb on their way in and out of the festivities that were held in the Garden Room.
Here’s the rundown on the rest of today’s crowd:
1. The ‘Imber Gang': Dr. Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield and Andy Bergman
2. My good pal Joan Gelman who was dining with her two dashing sons Gregg (an interior designer) and Josh (a producer for CBS). Nice going, Joan! If you haven’t gotten your ‘No Whining’ button from Joan get your order in now! Quantities are limited!
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Cynthia Brill. I was thrilled to catch up with the Mayor who looked downright collegiate in his cable crewneck sweater. We had so much to talk about… As you may have heard, he knows everyone. Seems his good pal and fellow Texan Lance Armstrong sent word to Joe that he’s “thrilled” to return to competition in the next Tour de France after a three year absence and take a shot at being the oldest winner ever. Based on Lance’s extracurricular activities since he retired, we know he’s got the stamina. Just ask Kate Hudson, Tory Burch and Ashley Olsen. Today, Joe introduced me to Cynthia, whose husband, Steve, you may recall gave us Court TV, American Lawyer, and Brill’s Content (which I loved). These days Cynthia and Steve are on to the next big thing with the ‘clear card’ which stores a user’s relevant data, letting them fly through designated airport security terminals with relatively less hassle. What will they think of next? Check it out at FlyClear.com
4. The Early Show: Showtime’s main man Matt Blank with OK! publisher Tom Morrisey. Second shift: Arnold Scaasi, Parker Ladd and an unidentified young fellow …
5. The distinguished Stan Shuman and another well dressed gent…
6. Barbara Lee Diamondstein-Spielvogel and, we’re told, someone from the NYC Landmark Commission.
7. Michael’s upstairs neighbor Alice Noriss and pals.
8. The lovely Kim McCarty (Michael’s wife) and her longtime pal virtuoso violinist Karen Karlsrud who, Michael tells me, had a “rockin'” wedding at the Plaza recently. Congrats!
9. Andy Wing of Nielsen & Co.
11. Mickey Ateyeh who was overheard saying she was having a grand time people-watching. We know what you mean.
12. Ivana Trump, a vision in lime green, with Nikki Haskell
14. CNBC’s Jonathan Wald (“Everything is great!”) with Courtney Dolan
15. My good pal publishing guru Tony Hoyt — back at his regular perch — and Curtis Giesen
16. Nick Verbitsky
17. Judy Price
18. Tom Rogers and a “mystery guest”
19. Columbia Tristar’s Judith Verno
20. Public relations maven Harriet Weintraub with a lovely looking blond lady whose face we just couldn’t place …
21. Quest’s Chris Meigher
22. Hudson News’ honcho James S. Cohen
23. Ed Bleier
24. Walter Sabo — nice to see you! — with television legend Fred Silverman. “He used to be my boss,” says Walter.
25. Lew Margolis
26. Victor Neufeld — looking nattier than ever — with his friend and former CNN colleague Mia Haugen who now toils for Forbes.com. We always thought Victor was cool but we were doubly impressed to find out the sleek silver Vespa parked at the curb today was his. Ciao bella!
27. Gerry Byrne and a table full of gents
29. Christy Carpenter, executive director of the Museum of Radio & Television’s Media Center
Faces in the crowd: Time Inc’s Paul Caine (So glad to hear you’re a loyal ‘Lunch’ reader!) and two chatty ‘hedge fund guys’ who sat with me at the bar but preferred to dine anonymously. Imagine that!
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.