Party Punctures Pataki’s Appendix

From left: Susan Lehman, Ed Hayes, Susan Hayes, Henry Schleiff

Gov. George Pataki may have ditched Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday, but he did summon the energy to attend a book party for power lawyer Ed Hayes last night, author of Mouthpiece: A life In — and Sometimes Just Outside — the Law. The event may have been too much for the guv – he had an emergency appendectomy early this morning.

Hayes is most famous for being the basis of the “strutting trial attorney” character in Tom Wolfe‘s Bonfire of the Vanities, but we find Susan Lehman to be quite interesting in her own right. After all, how did she deal with the force of Hayes’ personality all those long months of drawing out his stories (and editing them down!)? More on that later.

The party was packed into the McManus Midtown Democratic Association on West 44th Street. We arrived at 7 sharp (an hour into it) and people were stampeding the coat check, both leaving and entering. We made our way about three feet into the room to find Lehman huddling with her old pal Times‘ columnist Randy Cohen. Given the venue, the last person we expected to be pushing through that crowd was Governor Pataki. But there he was, right to our left. Cohen took it upon himself to appeal to Pataki on a burning issue: “I’m a Times writer, but I never get the chance to speak to you in person like this. So, I have to ask. Please, Governor, where’s New York City’s school aid program? You’ve got to fund that!” He was silently seconded by Lehman and others present. Pataki merely muttered something like “yes, the Times would complain about school funding,” and how he didn’t come here to be attacked again by the press and he quickly moved on through the crowd. Perhaps that’s when his appendix exploded, or maybe it’s because he blew off Bloomberg. Who knows?

At around 7:15 pm, Court TV’s ceo Henry Schleiff addressed the crowd. He was in fine form, speaking like a proud father at a bris: “The book is even being reviewed in the Times Book section this weekend. Not the cover, but a full page at least!” he exclaimed, holding up the advance-copy evidence. He then ad-libbed about his good friend Ed, Ed’s wife, Susan Lehman and other topics which we can’t recall. He was very funny, especially when he mispronounced Anna Wintour‘s name “Winitour” (she blurbed the book). He acted as if he had never seen the word before.

Then, Tom Wolfe took the stage and he was funny, too, but not quite as funny as Schleiff had been (sorry, Tom). Then, pictures were taken, interviews were given, books were signed and Ed did his best to strut through the wall-to-wall bodies shaking hands.

Also present, in order of sighting:
author Jesse Kornbluth
author Thomas Kelly
Harper Collins Editor David Hirshey
Harper Collins ceo Jane Friedman
The Daily News’ Lloyd Grove
writer and beauty Judith Newman
Sylvie (oh, i forgot your last name!) from ABC News’ Law and Justice Unit
Audrey H. Baker, who works for ABC’s 20/20
hot-shot attorney Mickey Sherman
The Nation’s Eric Alterman
The Contortions’ James Chance

More pictures after the jump:

Here are some of the pictures:

Left to right: PR woman who’s name we cannot remember, Tom Wolfe, Lehman in foreground.

Wolfe, giving it his all.

Ed Hayes being interviewed by some very provocative TV woman.

Eric Alterman looking scruffy but adorable, as always.

Musician James Chance.