Lunch at Michael’s: Step Right Up To Meet Penelope Cruz

It was the rainy, dreary Wednesday before Labor Day at Michael’s, and the regulars picked at their Cobb salads with neither the anxiety of pressing matters nor much enthusiasm.

And then Penelope Cruz walked in.

She arrived late, clad in the celebrity mufti of a black baseball cap. Before long, the receiving line of well-wishers inside mirrored the growing pack of paparazzi waiting on the sidewalk. We slipped out while the line was still forming, and informed the photographers outside that they had a two-fer waiting for them inside — Cruz and the newly out and proud Lance Bass (although he was sansboyfriend Reichen Lehmkuhl). One response: “Is Sumner Redstone inside, too? Or Katie Couric?” Not to ruin the suspense for anyone, but, um, no. Sorry. On with the roll call:

Table 1: He ain’t Sumner, but he’s the next best thing: CBS CEO Les Moonves, eating with PR chief Gil Schwartz. (And no, Les did not need to ask Sumner for permission, either.)

2: Sony Records’s A&R chief David Massey appeared to have been stood up today. He was still sitting alone when we left, looking a little forlorn and pecking away at his Blackberry.

3. The Mayor of Michael’s returned after a long summer absence (at least on Wednesdays). Joe Armstrong held down his usual table wiith Freud Communications CEO Matthew Hiltzik.

4. Ron Perelman was back as well, with crony Howard Gettis (he’s a Revlon director and Perelman’s partner) and a third lunchmate.

5. Jack Myers and an unidentified guest.

6. Robert Goldstein, president of the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, accompanied by his wife Sheryl, their teenage daughter Courtney, and one of her friends.

7. David Patrick Columbia with one of his favorites, Hill & Knowlton’s Jonathan Capehart.

8. We should have known who Bobby Shriver’s lunchdate would be, but neither of us — that would be myself and managing editor Dylan Stableford — had kept up to date on Penelope Cruz’s love life. As for what Shriver himself is up to these days, well, he has a Wikipedia page for that.

11. Every now and then we wonder, what’s Michael Caruso been doing this summer? Most recently, it was the news that Men’s Journal is tanking that caused us to wonder. And the answer is: he’s been having lunch with Men’s Health’s Dave Zinczenko.

12. Media man-for-all-seasons Kurt Andersen with an unidentified guest.

14. Former Ernst & Young senior partner and hedge fund consigliere Joel Press, lunching with Anthony Cimini.

15. Tony Hoyt with NYC fashion czar Patrick Murphy.

16. Lance Bass was here, although minus the boyfriend, as mentioned. Instead, he was lunching with Miramax books chief Rob Weisbach and William Morris agent Mel Burger. It’s good to see that Lance is still busy leveraging that People cover story announcing his coming out of the closet.

17. Cablevision’s Barry Frey.

20. Marvel Entertainment’s Sarabeth Shrager.

23. Canon Communications CEO and former Primedia president Charlie McCurdy, hanging out with Steve Aster, one of his old colleagues.

25. I-banking whistleblower Jonathan Knee, lunching with his wife. Yes, he’s a media i-banker, so it makes sense he would be at Michael’s, but we have to wonder whether he’s welcome at many Wall Street haunts these days after writing The Accidental Investment Banker. Describing Joseph Perella as flatulent and Alan Patricof as looking like a vagrant probably hasn’t helped him win any friends. [Update: Our mistake: Mr. Knee wrote to say he has never even met Mr. Patricof, and that’s when we realized we were thinking of Michael Wolff’s trash-talking in Burn Rate. We regret the error.]

27. We miss the Clinton Era so much that even his disgraced would-be appointees hold a special place in our heart. Markle Foundation president Zoe Baird lunched with celebrated playwright and actress Anna Deveare Smith.

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