Lunch at Michael’s: Kelly, Katzenberg, Pearlstine, Perelman, and Much, Much More.

We staggered out of Michael’s today awed and a bit shaken by what we’d seen. “I don’t know if I can work the rest of the day,” said our tablemate, ex-Entertainment Weekly scribe and writer extraordinaire Noah Robischon. “The barometric pressure from that many media people in that small a space was intense.” What kind of day was it? It was the kind of day where outgoing Time managaing editor Jim Kelly and incoming managing editor Rick Stengel (announced this morning) chose to have their changing of the guard photos taken in the waiting alcove. When Women’s Wear Daily‘s Jeff Bercovici asked Kelly if this was the official photo-op for the pair, Kelly merrily replied “I guess so!” (If the AOL Time Warner merger were to happen today, there’s a good chance they would announce it in the garden room between breakfast and lunch.) Stengel then made his victory lap of the room, chatting with ex-Court TV CEO Henry Schleiff (more on that in a minute) and former Time Inc. editor-in-chief Norm Pearlstine. They then apparently slipped to a quiet table in back (or maybe out the back), but not before they started the restaurant buzzing for the rest of the afternoon.

And then there was an unusually strong contingent of Hollywood types in the room today: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Brett Ratner, Kathleen Turner and Jim Wyatt, whose table was hosting, of all people, Willie Nelson.

But before we get into everyone else who was there today, we’d like to draw attention to someone who wasn’t: Food & Wine’s Dana Cowin. She was at the Rockefeller Center Starbucks today skipping lunch and fighting hunger on behalf of “Skip Lunch Fight Hunger,” her third annual fundraiser for City Harvest’s “Feed the Kids” campaign. Together with the troops of Starbucks, she was there during the lunch hour today to convince passerby to donate their lunch money to the cause (and receive free Starbucks sandwiches in return). “All I need is just one person from Michael’s and I’ll be set” she told us when we dropped by on the way to lunch. We promised to do our best to convince someone with a expense account to head her way, but no one wanted to miss today.

Without further preamble, the roll call:

Table 1: The latest installment of the “Men Who Lunch,” this time featuring Showtime corporate public relations VP Stuart Zakim, who instructed us to refer to ringleader Arnold Huberman as “New York’s premiere publishing industry recruiter” (Done!); ABC News PR honcho Jeff Schneider; the Magazine Publishers of America’s PR chief Howard Polskin; Sirius spokesman Patrick Reilly and Howard Stern‘s spokesman Matt Traub; Flatiron Communications principal Peter Himler; Freud Communications’ Matt Hiltzik; WWD’s Jeff Bercovici; Rainbow Media’s PR chief Matt Frankel, and Four Corners PR principal Drew Kerr who told us that he has done his best to bring Maer Roshan along, but that Maer could not be pulled away from the imminent birth of Radar 3.0. Drew said he had just been to Maer’s “Batcave,” “which is well hidden behind lots of shrubbery and statuary, but alas, there are no fast cars, only Macs.” Well, with the way Roshan is said to lavish money on his writers, expect the fast cars to appear again before long.

2. Dreamworks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg dressed in California casual, seated with a suited gentleman that no one knew, but were very curious to know who, in fact, he was. After they departed, former NBC News president Neal Shapiro took their table, and was joined by ABC News correspondent Juju Chang and Disney executive Andrea Wong.

3. The Mayor, Joe Armstrong was here today with CNN’s Paula Zahn. He sends his hellos, Laurel.

4. Norm Pearlstine was here, dressed in funereal black, while his lunch date, Revlon magnate Ron Perelman doffed his jacket and looked quite relaxed in shirtsleeves the whole meal. We’re much too afraid to try that.


5. Kathleen Turner, along with Terry Kramer and Claire McCurry (spelling?)

6. This was Jim Wyatt’s rather large table, and they were kept waiting a little bit for their guest of honor, Willie Nelson. We couldn’t tell you why the head of William Morris was entertaining America’s top cheerleader for biodiesel fuel, but Willie arrived looking a little tense in a fleece and New Balance sneakers. He lightened up enough to sign Joe Armstrong’s boot later, however.

7. Henry Schlieff and film producer Stuart Rekant. Schlieff stepped down last week as the CEO of Court TV in the wake of Time Warner’s buyout of the channel he more or less built from the ground up. He’ll stick around as non-exec chairman until the end of the year, which means there’s more time than ever for Michael’s.

8. David Patrick Columbia lunching with mother-daughter authors Erica Jong (“Fear of Flying”) and Molly Jong-Fast (“Normal Girl”).

9. Best-selling author and former assistant district attorney Linda Fairstein and co.

11. X-Men: The Last Stand director Brett Ratner, in town for his photography retrospective, lunching with hotel tycoon Jerry Inzerillo.

12. Sony Pictures Television president Steve Moscow held court here.

14. Another two-shift table: the first held Clinton attorney general nominee (and president of the Markle Foundation) Zoe Baird, while the second consisted of Esquire publisher Kevin O’Malley and Valentino USA president Graziano de Boni. We congratulated Kevin on Esquire’s Ellies, and he said, “I’m just so happy for [editor] David Granger. And I’m so lucky to have him as a partner.”

15. New ASME president and Glamour editrix Cindi Leive, chairing a table of Glamour women.

16. Regulars Gerry Byrne and Nick Verbitsky.

17. TV producer Joan Gelman with Lynn Goldberg of Goldberg McDuffie Communications.

18. The photographer Harry Benson, et. al.

19. Sorry, we couldn’t spot them. Who was here today?

20. Freddy Friedman.

21. Men’s Journal publisher Will Schenk.

22. Shop Etc. executive editor Charla Krupp was here, which would explain why copies of the magazine were present up front…

23. Dashboard Ventures president Curtis Geisen and magazine consultant Tony Hoyt.

24. Author and style maven Bettina Zillkha and Andrew Frost.

25. Susan Blond (of Susan Blond PR) and Andrew Klink

28. Don Epstein of the Greater Talent Network (GTN).

29. Scott Singer and co.

In back somewhere: former Fishbowler and current HuffPoster Rachel Sklar, lunching with NBC News Digital Media VP Mark Lukasiewicz (who is indeed, for those of you wondering at home, Canadian).

Please send any and all correct spellings, additions, and what-have-you to Greg AT mediabistro Dot Com AND FishbowlNY AT mediabistro Dot Com .

Map of Michael’s

map2006.gif