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Lunch At Michael’s: We’ll Have The Usual … Crowd, That Is

One would think that on the Wednesday after Memorial Day, which marks beginning of the media industry’s annual slide into torpor for three months, that Michael’s would have been a lot more quiet than it was today. But they would, of course, be wrong. (Maybe there was something to David Patrick Columbia’s rant a few weeks back about everyone wanting to preen during our visits. Or maybe not.) In any case, today had neither the publishing-topheaviness of last week nor the all out circus of two weeks ago. If the word can ever be used to describe the Michael’s lunch crowd, today was … normal. Don’t believe us? Here’s the rundown:

Table 1: Renowned plastic surgeon (and author of “Absolute Beauty”) Gerald Imber dominated the bay window table, which was filled a lunchtime crew that’s been meeting for decades, including Jerry della Femina and Michael Kramer.

2: NBC News/CNBC honcho Jonathan Wald lunched with his attorney Michael Tanchum.

3. Glamour editrix Cindi Leive faced our direction, while the beautiful woman with her back to us turned out to be none other than Iman. (Our loss, obviously.)

4. Ron Perelman, once again in shirtsleeves, held down the corner table with a gentleman we couldn’t identify, but whom Henry Schleiff seems to know, based on their brief post-lunch chat.

5. Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun with Grace Hightower (i.e. Mrs. Robert DeNiro).

6. Henry Schleiff (who, as predicted, appears to have more time for lunch than ever now that he’s winding down his time at Court TV) was joined today by Patricia Duff. There was palpable tension between Duff and her second ex-husband — the once-again-single Perelman, who (the legend has it) kept his jet fueled and waiting for her on the tarmac of LAX when her first marriage to film producer Mike Medavoy was fizzling out in the early ’90s.


7. Jim Peterson — son of former commerce secretary Pete Peterson, brother of Newsweek’s Holly Peterson, and formerly of the Late Show with David Letterman — was here with Westwood One EVP Bob Meyers. Jim, what are you up to these days? It’s not fair to keep ID-ing you using parents and siblings.

8. Blogger and fellow Michael’s scholar Ron Mwangaguhunga sat patiently for a while waiting for Quest’s/New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia.

9. Forming one corner of today’s book publishing triangle of power (see Tables 14 and 18), Publishers Weekly Sara Nelson lunching with Stefan Friedman, a former colleague of hers at the New York Post who’s now a PR consultant with Knickerbocker.

11. Mediabistro’s own Laurel Touby, having lunch today with one of Michael’s regulars, Quill Book Awards chairman Gerry Byrne. (Is it fair to dub Laurel a regular herself yet? At least on Wednesdays, she’s entitled.)

12. Chrystia Freeland, the new U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times (her predecessor, Lionel Barber, was recalled to London to run the paper) was here, with a pair of women, one of which was looking very summery in a Pucci dress.

14. Simon & Schuster editorial director Alice Mayhew, who formed the second vortice of the publishing power triangle along with…

15. …HarperCollins editor David Hirshey, who was lunching with Steve Wasserman, a director of the literary agency Kneerim & Williams. Laurel dropped by for a chat and filed this report with us: “Wasserman was in a cream-colored suit (‘bought in Glendale’), with actual mini-compass cufflinks and a straw hat, looking all the dandy and former LA Times book review editor that he was. Asked why the outfit, he replied, jokingly: ‘sheer pretension.’ Reading list: Fubar and The Dead Beat. Amy Wilentz, in her upcoming book, calls Wasserman an ‘intellectual snob’ but I didn’t find him so.”

16. U.S. Radio Networks chief (and regular) Nick Verbitsky, with a pair of tablemates.

17. We heard this was Mark Rosen’s table, but Google is no help in a case like this. Was this the TV anchor? The relief pitcher? The artist? The law school professor? Help us out here.

18. Television producer Diane Sokolow, along with former Philadelphia 76ers president and fitness guru Pat Croce.

19. Sorry; when we’re not sitting here, this table sits squarely in our blind spot.

20. TV producer Joan Gelman with Lisa Drew, publisher of Lisa Drew Books. On her summer reading list: Howell Raines’ “The One That Got Away” and Helen Thomas’ “Watch Dogs of Democracy?”

21. Quest president Chris Meigher at his usual table.

22. Investment banker John Josephson and co., we believe.

24. Hearst Magazines International president George Green was here, holding down this corner of the room.

25. Peter Price, we’re told. It’s hard to see back here.

26. Bank of America spokeswoman Alexandra Trower.

27. Also in our blind spot today. Who was here? Let us know.

28. Ditto.

29. The Putlizer Prize-winning New York Daily News editor Jonathan Capeheart, David Meadvin, a new speechwriter for Senator Barbara Boxer.

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
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