Lunch: The Low-Cal Edition

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— DIANE CLEHANE

With most of the media mavens and boldfaced names we know planning an early escape from town this week, we weren’t expecting big doings at Michael’s but there were still some interesting goings-on in the dining room at lunch. It’s a low cal serving of dish today — so save room for an extra helping after the holiday weekend.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. GCI’s Marc Rosen with his wife Arlene Dahl (mother of Lorenzo Lamas, just in case you didn’t know) with another well heeled couple we didn’t recognize…

2. Former New York City Council president Andrew Stein (Loved the pink gingham tie!) and two distinguished gents.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong with Paula Zahn who looked lovelier than ever. Seems Paula and Joe have been friends “forever.” They met in Texas — where else? way back in the eighties when Paula was a fledgling reporter there and Joe, one of the Lone Star state’s favorite sons, was “starting a magazine.” They’ve been good pals ever since.

4. CNBC’s Jonathan Wald with Reuter’s Jolie Hunt. Speaking of CNBC, a little birdie told me Jerry Burke has just been hired as ‘Mr. Fix-it’ for the network. My source describes Jerry as ‘Roger Ailes go-to guy’ when they first launched Shepard Smith’s hour. Burke then moved on to strike ratings gold for FNC’s day time programming. Jerry’s position was eliminated last year as part of some cost-cutting layoffs. Now, says my tipster, “Jerry can take the lessons learned at Ailes’ knee to Fox’s prime business-news competition.” Stay tuned…


5. Tory Burch sipping ice tea with Arnold Scaasi. The late-arriving Parker Ladd joined the designing duo well into lunch.

6. Wayne Kabak with two business types.

7. My pal Beverly Cahme who has spent much of the last two days fielding calls of condolence for her good friend Gail Sheehy who just lost her husband, publishing icon Clay Felker. “He went peacefully,” says Beverly. While there has been much written about Clay in the past few days, nothing compares to the deeply personal and absorbing piece by Gail in the new issue of the New York Observer. Entitled “Life is What You Make It,” Gail writes an open letter to “Dear Friends of Clay” and shares the intimate details of the last days and hours of his life. His “life force returned with gusto,” writes Gail who concluded by leaving readers with Clay’s impression of a recent night out on the town spent listening to jazz. “It was a wonderful evening.” Indeed.

Beverly, who is always introducing me to fascinating people (that’s how I met Gail), was lunching today with literary lioness Marianne Strong, Jason Allen Ashlock, an associate agent at her firm and Patricia Watt, daughter of the revered New Yorker theater critic Douglas Watt. Patricia is working on a book, Tables for Two, that is a compilation of her father’s best columns which will feature fresh insights and anecdotes as well as a foreword by a yet to be named celebrity.

8. Bobby Zarem and a dark-haired mystery gal.

9. Freud’s Lisa Dallos with Harold Ford, Jr. Lisa was nice enough to make a stop at the bar and introduce the incredibly charismatic chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council to me. For those of you interested in such things, the former member of the United States House of Representatives is currently splitting his time between Tennessee and New York City (he works at Merrill Lynch now). We had an amiable chat about our plans for the long holiday weekend. He told me he’s heading to a family home in the Hamptons — with no shortage of A-list invites, I’m guessing.

11. Jerry Inzerillo.

12. Peggy Siegal — who was spotted handing out invites to her weekly Sunday night screenings in the Hamptons.

14. Randy Jones and Sandy Mendelsohn.

15. New York‘s Larry Burstein.

17. Lisa Linden and Alan Cohen celebrating the temporary contract that has just this minute been reached between Broadway and Actors Equity. The show will go on!

18. Legendary lensman Harry Benson and Joe Dieacetis.

19. We would have liked to have been a fly on the wall for this one: The New York Times managing editor Jill Abramson and scribe Lloyd Grove.

20. Freddie Friedman.

21. Richard Rubenstein and we’re told, an architect of some import…

22. Marilyn Unger.

23. Variety’s Tad Smith.

24. Time Warner’s Peter Wolff with MOMA’s Michael Margitich.

25. Aaron Sigmond.

26. My good pal and neighbor Cablevision’s Barry Frey (See you in Scarsdale!) with “Emmy-winning media consultant” Russ Kagan.

27. Joe Versace, Betsy Perry and a pal.

28. Viacom’s Joan Nicolais.

29. Sherry Westin.

For those of you who can’t get enough of Michael’s take note — they’ll be closed until next week for the holiday. Hope your Fourth is full of fireworks. See you next week!

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.

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