— DIANE CLEHANE
The dog days have arrived. Just ask Richard Belzer, who showed up in the Michael’s dining room today with his pooch tucked under his arm. (No word on what Fido ordered.) The rest of the crowd barely noticed as the usual media mavens, publicists and Hollywood types table hopped and air kissed like crazy. Who has time for a summer vacation when there’s business to be done?
I was lunching today with Dr. Brent Ridge, one of the stars of Planet Green’s new reality show, The Fabulous Beekman Boys. The show chronicles the lives of Brent and his partner, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, as the fish-out-of-water couple turn their Sharon Springs, New York farm into the epicenter of their new organic lifestyle brand. It’s the perfect antidote, says Brent, to the tawdry and toxic tone of other reality shows (Jersey Shore, anyone?). “It’s inspirational and educational,” says the TV star and cookbook author.
However, it’s not without the requisite drama as the boys attempt to juggle their big city careers with life down on the farm with their goats, pigs and llamas. Brent says the biggest adjustment living life in front of the camera has been dealing with how much time it takes to shoot a single episode. Since producers wanted to show just what happens season-to-season on a working farm, the shooting has stretched over several months versus the usual few weeks. “I had no concept what it took,” says Brent, who found himself scrambling after wrapping one episode when he had mere hours to get 14,000 bars of his organic soap hand wrapped and shipped.
Brent, who once toiled under Martha Stewart as vice president of Healthy Living, is also the creative force behind an upcoming auction of heirloom vegetables at Sotheby’s benefiting The New Farmer Development Project NYC and The Sylvia Center. It’s the kick off event of “Eat Drink Local” week and, says Brent, will bring out the who’s who of the city’s culinary community, many of whom will be cooking a course at the launch dinner. If you’ve got a craving to get an up close and personal look at life with Brent and Josh, you can bid on a weekend at the farm on Ebay next month or just tune in. The Fabulous Beekman Boys airs tonight at 9 on Planet Green.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Half of ‘The Imber Gang': Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Michael Kramer
2. Public relations maestro Paul Wilmot
3. William Morris’ Sam Haskell and a bespectacled gal we didn’t recognize.
4. Producers John Hart and Fred Zollo with a young mystery gal.
5. Uber agent (and the real life inspiration for Jeremy Piven’s character on Entourage) Ari Emanuel. The infamous dealmaker, who was sporting the shiniest shoes I’ve ever seen and, of course, a Bluetooth headset, was the first to arrive today and spent the time waiting for his companion by pacing in the lounge. Second seating: The women of WowOwow.com: Joni Evans, Liz Smith (looking cool in seersucker), journo Julia Reed and Judith Martin aka “Miss Manners.”
6. The always dapper Robert Zimmerman with New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and another gal we didn’t get to meet.
7. Jack Myers
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Elizabeth Peek.
9. Scribe Jennifer Keil
11. Bobby Friedman and Law & Order SVU‘s Richard Belzer. We wanted to get his take on his co-star Ice-T’s recent brush with the law but were afraid he’d sic little Fido on us.
12. Abernathy & MacGregor’s Jim Abernathy
14. Peter Price and Lynn Scherr
15. Gerry Byrne
16. Cablevision’s Lisa Rosenblum
17. Kate Betts
18. Pamela Fiori
20. Deborah Norville
21. Scott Donaton and a colorfully dressed gal in a chic summer hat.
22. EMI’s Hunter Murtaugh and his charming young daughter, Nora, who seemed to be enjoying her French fries.
23. John Arnhold
25. Public relations powerhouse Tom Goodman with Victor Neufeld (Long time no see!) who told me he arrived from the West Side in under twelve minutes thanks to his speedy Vespa. “It’s like being in Rome!”
26. The Museum of Television and Radio’s Christy Carpenter
27. Dr. Brent Ridge, Feren Comm’s Jaime Yandolino and yours truly
28. Public relations princesses Liz Kaplow and Hearst’s Deb Shriver.
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.