— DIANE CLEHANE
I just love it when the random celebrity turns up at Michael’s for lunch. It’s always entertaining to watch the usual suspects try to simultaneously network and star gaze. Today’s out-of-left-field appearances represented both new and old Hollywood (just like this year’s Oscars but without James Franco’s near comatose involvement). For fans of eighties screen gems like the original Batman and Beetlejuice, there was Michael Keaton. The younger demographic was represented by Gossip Girl star Blake Lively, who, it should be said, is even more beautiful (and taller) in person.
There was plenty of Tinseltown talk at my table, too. I was lunching today with producer Joan Gelman and marketing consultant and political commentator Robert Zimmerman, who is keeping busy with appearances on CNN and Fox News. Joan, who has more than paid her dues in television, had this to say about the Oscars: “You need a heavyweight to carry that show. You need a comedian who can make the audience laugh. It was a horribly produced show.”
Maybe so, but we all agreed that Bravo’s Andy Cohen was way out of line to trash the performance of the school kids from Staten Island who closed out the show by singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Appearing on Morning Joe, Cohen told the incredulous hosts that the kids’ performance (which got a standing ovation from the audience) “ruined everything” and that he was so pained by the sight of kids in t-shirts (evidently, he thought they should have dressed up) that he was “looking for a knife to stick in his eyes.”
To that, Robert asked, “The man who is responsible for such high-brow television as The Real Housewives franchise is suddenly the arbiter of good taste and glamour in Hollywood?” Don’t expect an apology anytime soon, either. In the current media climate, said Robert, it’s more than likely Cohen is relishing the attention he’s getting for taking aim at the elementary schoolers. “Creating buzz is more relevant than making sense.” Apparently so.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Hollywood heavyweight Freddie Gershon (Loved the sweater!) with Linda Janklow
2. Spotted: Blake Lively and Vivi Nevo. When this unlikely duo showed up without a reservation, things got a lot more interesting. (One pesky paparazzo seemingly transfixed by the sight of the actress stationed himself outside of the window overlooking the dining room for the entire lunch and refused to move no matter how many times he was asked to leave) We’re more intrigued by Vivi, who, we hear is an Israeli-born venture capitalist and was once engaged to the Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi. Could this be the start of another Hollywood romance? Maybe he’s just interested in fashionable folk. After all, the last time we spotted him at Michael’s he was sitting at this very table with Anna Wintour.
3. A trio of social swans: Margo McNabb Nederlander and producers Terry Allen Kramer and Francine LeFrak.
4. Charlie Rose (who we overheard introducing himself to Michael Keaton) and Universal Pictures CEO Stacey Snider
5. Money man Stan Shuman with another well-dressed gent we didn’t recognize
6. Half of The Imber Gang: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Jeff Greenfield (Congrats on that stellar review of your new book, Then Everything Changed, in the Times!). This afternoon the fellows allowed a visitor into their inner sanctum. Gerry’s son Peter joined the guys at their regular table. “I was surprised I was allowed because I’m not funny,” he told me of his invitation to join the no-holds-barred gang for lunch. Peter toils in the decidedly un-funny world of finance but managed to yuck it up like the rest of them just for today.
7. The New Yorker’s editor David Remnick and publisher Lisa Hughes with Showtime’s head honcho Matt Blank.
8. Quest‘s editor in chief David Patrick Columbia and another distinguished gent we didn’t get to meet.
9. Discovery ID’s main man Henry Schleiff (Long time no see!)
11. Actor Michael Keaton and producer/director Barry Levinson (He last lensed HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack ). Both guys were working the professorial look with tweed blazers, scarves and jeans. Michael no longer bears any resemblance to the guy who once donned the bat suit. Oh well.
12. Joan Gelman, Robert Zimmerman and yours truly.
14. Hotel magnate Sol Kerzner
15. Attorney Richard Bressler
16. Radio icon Joan Hamburg with a blonde gal pal.
17. PR maven Lisa Linden and Jennifer Hensley, executive director of Association for a Better New York.
18. Project Playlist CEO John Sykes and Courtney Dolan
20. UBS’ Aryeh Bourkoff
21. Quest’s Chris Meigher
22. Art aficionado Thierry Millerand and Ron Dina
23. Bob Towbin
24. Some bigwigs from Penguin Group, so we’re told …
25. Viacom’s Michael Fricklas
26. Michael Drexler
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.