— DIANE CLEHANE
Sometimes it seems as if all roads lead to Michael’s — well, at least on Wednesdays. Today, the planets aligned to bring together folks with some interesting six-degrees-of-separation connections. I was talking to ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong who introduced me to Greg Lawrence, author of Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (St. Martins). Greg interviewed over 125 writers and editors who worked with Jackie during her 19 years at Viking Press. (The excerpt that ran in Vanity Fair recently was dishy and full of colorful details of Jackie’s life as a working girl. The paperback edition comes out this summer.) Turns out Greg worked with Jackie on three books, including one with his former wife, ballerina Gelsey Kirkland. Their memoir, Dancing on My Grave, caused quite an uproar at the time for its revelations. “It was quite scandalous,” recalled Greg, smiling at the memory.
That got me thinking. Since Greg knew one of the most famous members of the Kennedy family pretty well, I asked if he thought Caroline Kennedy was really behind the campaign that got The History Channel to drop their plans to air The Kennedys mini-series. “Oh, definitely,” he told me. “Caroline is very sensitive about these things, and since she has a documentary with ABC and a book with Hyperion planned on her own about Jackie, she was able to stop it.”
Before he could say more, Kerry Kennedy walked up to say hello to Joe (a longtime friend of the Kennedy family) unaware there was a journalist in her midst who had delved into the life of a Kennedy for fun and profit. When Joe introduced Kerry to Greg and told her about his book, I observed what appeared to be a cautiously cordial response. It must be surreal to see your relative on the cover of a book someone is holding only to find out the author of that book is the person you’re talking to, although I’m guessing it’s not all that unusual if you’re a Kennedy. We were saved from any further awkwardness when Henry Schleiff (who knows everyone) grabbed Kerry for a big hug and pulled her aside for a little chat.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Kerry Kennedy, presiding over a table of casually clad diners
2. Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer, having what looked to be a very intense conversation with uber agent Wayne Kabak
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong with director Susan Stroman, Ed Victor and his lovely wife, Carol
4. Hudson News CEO James S. Cohen with a doppelganger power lunch pal
5. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for this one: MediaLink’s Ed Adler with, we hear, a big cheese from Warner Bros. We’re thinking this was all about business and here’s why: Ed was formerly the vice president of corporate communications for Time Warner and has been reeling in some big fishes for MediaLink since striking out on his own. Keep us posted, Ed.
6. Attorney Richard Bressler with a table of dapper gents
7. PR maven Lynn Tesoro
8. Artist Kim McCarty (Michael’s wife) with a hip young gent who, we’re told, is her new agent, Fred.
9. Beauty Fashion/Cosmetic World’s George Ledes
11. “The Barefoot Contessa” Ina Garten
12. The Paley Center’s Pat Mitchell
14. Marie Claire‘s ultra glam editrix Joanna Coles, rocking a serious chic look
15. Discovery Communications president & GM Henry Schleiff. When I caught up with him, we had a good laugh over his inadvertent arrival with Tiger Woods’ ex-mistress Rachel Uchitel a couple of weeks back. “That was something else!” said Henry. I’ll say.
16. Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame chairman, Bill McGorry
17. Men’s Health honcho David Zinczenko (in jeans!) with Hollywood spinmeister Howard Bragman. (We love the name of Howard’s firm — Fifteen Minutes. Genius!) I caught up with Howard in the lounge while he waited for David to arrive, and he told me he just made a deal with HLN’s Showbiz Tonight to do a weekly segment aptly titled “The Spin Doctor Is In!” where he’ll deconstruct the latest PR fiasco of the week and offer his advice on damage control. His first segment airs this Friday. Given that celebrity meltdown and career implosions seem to happen every hour these days, it’s a good bet Howard will have no shortage of things to talk about.
18. Public relations maven Lisa Linden with former New York City Council member Eric Gioia
20. Readers Digest Association chief executive Mary Berner
21. Larry Kramer with Gordon McLeod, former president of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. Larry, founder and CEO of Marketwatch.com, has got a lot of great stuff going on these days. He’s just finishing up teaching his popular class as a visiting professor for Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. His book, C-Scape: Conquer the Forces Changing Business Today, is still going great guns thanks to plenty of interest from colleges around the country. In it, Larry offers his insights on how companies can survive and thrive in the digital revolution. Larry tells me the most popular editions of the tome are now eBooks and vBooks — ebooks with video components, for the uninitiated. What will they think of next?
22. W‘s Stacey Callahan
24. Marketing whiz Shelley Zalis
25. Time Inc.’s Steven Kaiser
26. Bisila Bokoko of The Spain-US Chamber of Commerce
27. Author Greg Lawrence and his agent Peter Sawyer of the Fifi Oscard Agency
28. Fortune‘s Patty Sellers
Faces in the crowd: Lucianne Goldberg in the lounge… At the bar: Biscaye Freres’ David Biscaye, who tells me he’s off to visit friends for Easter in Rome. Ciao! We’ll be taking our own spring break next week, but Lunch returns on April 27. See you then!
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.