Ringing in the Holidays With Harold Ford Jr., Star Jones & Donny Deutsch

1003_mockup.gifThe holiday revelry was in high gear today at Michael’s. Those miracle workers at reception — the amazing Loreal Sherman and Joana Andrade were working overtime to keep the high maintenance crowd happy. (Trust me, doing the seating chart here is an art form!) A little lunch for 13 hosted by Michael McCarty’s wife Kim McCarty was keeping things hopping at table one while a heaping helping of talking heads (Harold Ford Jr., Star Jones, Donny Deutsch), socialites (Becca Thrash, Muffy Potter Aston) and media mavens (Cindi Leive) were toasting the season with plenty of wine and good cheer. Don’t you just love those one percenters?

Diane Clehane & Joan Gelman

I was lunching today with producer Joan Gelman who I met in this very dining room when I first began doing the column. Joan and I have had plenty of great conversations over the years about television (Joan’s amazing resume includes producing stints at CBS and ABC in news and as David Letterman’s producer who remains “a god” to her — “He’s so talented” ) and politics. These days Joan is busier than ever working on a television show she’s got in development in Canada. (The details are top secret at the moment) Shuttling back and forth between here and there is nothing new for her since she produced the hit Triple Sensation there a while back.  Joan is also a passionate Democrat who cares deeply about the issues consuming the country right now — especially the financial inequities that have ignited protests around the country. “We have to do more to even things out,” she told me. Just this morning Joan attended a gathering where U.S. Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren spoke. “She is such an amazing woman,” marvels Joan. “She’s smart, she cares and she wants to restore the spirit of the country.” Joan told me Ms. Warren’s message was a “positive” one and that she believes fervently in healing “the great divide” that has consumed the country and seeped into national politics. We both agreed that she’s facing a tough battle against incumbent Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown because female candidates are held to a different standard than their male counterparts. “She’s a brave woman.” Indeed.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Artist Kim McCarty presiding over her holiday lunch. Among those in attendance: fashion scribe Kate Betts, Vanity Fair contributing editor Amy Fine Collins, photographer Pamela Hansen, art dealer Pat Shea, producer Desiree Gruber and Janet Goldsmith. Cheers!

2. Page Six’s gossip maven Emily Smith and two well-heeled gents.

3. Producer Beverly Cahme, who was eager to introduce me to the co-directors of her latest venture, One Big Lie, the documentary which chronicles Bernie Madoff’s secretary Eleanor Squillari’s take on the downfall of the Ponzi schemer and the explosive aftermath. I was happy to meet Victor Kubicek and Derek Anderson, who just wrapped the film and have signed Cinetic’s John Schloss to rep it, to get their take on the publicity rehabilitation tour that Ruth Madoff and Andrew Madoff tried to mount with Laurie Sandell’s book, Truth and Consequences, and their appearance on 60 Minutes. “I don’t think they asked them any hardball questions,” said Victor.  “There was so much left unanswered.” Of Ruth’s strangely unemotional demeanor on the show Derek offered this: “I don’t think she did herself any favors. In fact, she may have done herself a disservice.” We’ll say this, neither mother nor son came off sympathetic. Eleanor, on the other hand, says Victor, has devoted much of her time since the scandal broke helping victims recover some of their losses working with Irving Picard and has a compelling story to tell. We can’t wait to see the film and will be looking for the invite to the screening early next year.