The media A-list has decided that winter is over (did it ever start?) and came out of hibernation in a major way at Michael’s today. Every square inch of the dining room was occupied by boldface names of every description from social swans (Amy Fine Collins) to talking heads (Star Jones, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Jeff Greenfield). The joint was really jumping by the time Katie Couric arrived for a late lunch and stopped by our table to say hello. Since it’s Fashion Week, we just had to ask her about the killer shoes she was rocking. “I got them at the Manolo Blahnik sample sale,” she told me. “They had way too many shoes in size 6 1/2!” From the ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ department: We couldn’t help but notice that Katie, who was sporting a glowing tan and an LBD accessorized with just the right amount of gold bling, looks better than ever. What’s your secret?
I was joined today by a fascinating trio of women. Psychic medium Char Margolis, her literary agent Corinda Carfora (who just happens to sing backup for Bruce Springsteen – I’m not kidding) and my good friend, psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig, who is the go-to therapist for the Today show and jewelry designer behind Gems en Vogue II, available on shopnbc.com. We got together to celebrate the publication of Char’s new book, Love Karma: Use Your Intuition to Find, Create, and Nurture Love in Your Life (Sterling Ethos). Char’s been busy taping segments on the book for The Doctors, Dr. Phil, Extra and Dr. Oz (whose segment will air during sweeps this month). She’s filming a segment for Dr. Steve tonight and then she’s off to more appearances in Amsterdam, where she had her own prime time television show for a decade, before going to South Africa for book signings and a speaking tour. (She’s also squeezing in a safari in her spare time). Char, who famously told Kelly Ripa she was pregnant during an appearance on Live with Reigs & Kelly, tells me that the most rewarding aspect of her work is “connecting people with their loved ones in the spirit world” through private readings and small group sessions. Not surprisingly, she said the hardest thing is working with someone who has lost a child.
When the talk turned to Hollywood meltdowns and why there seems to be so many actresses over 40 imploding these days, Robi and Char weighed in on how Demi Moore came to be the poster gal for the female mid-life crisis. Char, who worked with Demi as a consultant on The Butcher’s Wife when the actress played a psychic, said of Demi’s and Ashton’s relationship, “There’s something about women in their 40’s and men in their 20’s. It’s hormones. At the time when they got together, he needed a family and a home and she gave it to hin. She is very spiritual and has studied the Kabbalah, so she probably feels like their souls were meant to come together.” Robi, who is working on a new book exploring the concept of ‘toxic love’ offered her take: “The power in relationships shift all the time, and that’s what seems to have happened here. It happens constantly in relationships. They don’t stay the same. It certainly seems as if this one didn’t.” Char says it’s Demi’s spirituality and the strength she has drawn from it that will ultimately pull her though. “She’ll come out of it stronger than ever.” Here’s hoping.
Char and Robi both agreed Whitney Houston was another sad story entirely. Robi says as a mother she feels less sympathetic towards Houston because “she had such a gift and she threw it all away,” leaving her daughter to grapple with her own problems in the shadow of Houston’s fatal addictions. The jury is still out as to whether Bobby Brown can be held in any way responsible for bring his ex-wife down, but Char told me, “People with a drinking or drug problem are more vulnerable to tricky energy.” Robi says that Houston’s addictions left her “more vulnerable to her impulses” which, she added, were never good.
The one thing everyone agreed on is fame isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. “The key is to have a goal,” says Char. “If you have a purpose in life and it is to be of value, fame can be a positive thing. Often, problems occur when people become famous and haven’t done anything to deserve it. They get a sense of entitlement and become narcissistic and have this ‘what can you do for me now?’ attitude and that’s sad.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. First seating: Kerry Kennedy (loved your Prada bag, bejeweled oversized crucifix and studded boots) and Glamour editrix Cindi Leive, presiding over a table full of suits. Act two: Scalamandre’s sartorially splendid president, Steven Stolman, with Jack Bochonok and Albert Sardelli.
2. Designer Stuart Weitzman with Susan Duffy and Elle EIC Robbie Myers
3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Steven Wagner
4. Bob Kerrey
5. Amy Fine Collins, looking chic as always (she presides over Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed list, in case you didn’t know) with Nazee Moinian and Barnard College president Debora Spar
6. Most of ‘The Imber Gang:’ Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield and Andy Bergman
7. Char Margolis, Dr. Robi Ludwig, Corinda Carfora and yours truly
8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and Tracey Zabar (Of the famous Zabar’s — who else?).
9. Conde Nast’s Maurie Perl and Ed Adler
10. Star Jones, staying true to her word of only wearing red dresses this month, enjoying some Pinot Grigio with a handsome mystery man
11. Niche Media’s Jason Binn
12. Joan Jakobson (looking impossibly chic in a fitted blazer, cropped pants and kitten heels) and Susan Patricof
14. Ari Fleischer (who was the first to arrive in the dining room today) and Matt Higgins, followed by Katie Couric with her publicist Matthew Hiltzik and Hollywoodlife.com’s Bonnie Fuller
15. Lally Weymouth and Linda Janklow
81. The Paley’s Center’s CEO, Pat Mitchell, and Jim Hoge. If you haven’t seen Pat’s show, At The Paley Center, you need to check it out! Loved your Glenn Close interview.
16. My pal, producer Joan Gelman and Sandy Pearl
17. MacAndrews & Forbes’ Christine Taylor with author Michael Gross
18. Steven Rattner
19. Steve Cohen
20. Hearst’s Ellen Levine ( the layered bob is so chic!) and Katie Lee (yes, Billy Joel’s ex)
21. PR maven Lisa Linden and Vera Manoukian, area managing director of Starwood Hotel and Resorts
22. Peter Price
23. Mitch Kanner
24. Black Ocean’s Gerry Byrne, Martin Pompadour and Jay Penske
25. Conde Nast Traveler‘s Klara Glowczewska and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel
26. Toni Goodale (Nice to meet you! Loved your LBD!)
27. Karen Keogh
28. BizBash’s David Adler
29. The Wall Street Journal‘s David Sanford and Lewis Stein. I was glad I had the chance to catch up with David, since it’s been a few weeks since we’ve been able to trade reviews on our favorite television shows. David tells me I finally got him to succumb to the considerable charms of Downton Abbey. You’re welcome!
30. Steve Mosko
Lunch will be on vacation next week. See you back in the dining room on the 29th!
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