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Lunch: Bottoms Up!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

It’s not always the random movie star sighting or bold-face name at table one that captures the lion’s share of our attention at Michael’s during our weekly Wednesday visits. Sometimes it’s the sheer force of the buzz radiating from all those titans and moguls plotting their next big move that keeps us riveted. Just asking: When did people start doing some serious drinking at lunch again? “People are nervous,” says our spy. “So they’re ordering a lot more wine.” We’ll stick to Diet Coke, thank you — we wouldn’t want to be napping in our Nicoise for fear of missing some big scoop.

I certainly had to keep my wits about me today to keep up with the steady stream of folks who stopped by the bar to serve up some dish, say hello or offer a business card. Between bites and glad handing, I caught up with my pal Diane Dimond who joined me for lunch today having breakfasted at Table One this morning with her longtime agent Wayne Kaback and Joni Evans. Diane, who has worked for everyone on television including Court TV, Fox and MSNBC is now turning her efforts to writing. She’s just launched her own site www.dianedimond.net and told me she’s excited about the possibility of writing for wowowow.com — the terrific new Web site that’s got some serious estrogen-fueled energy behind it. It’s the brainchild of Liz Smith, Lesley Stahl, Joni and a whole host of power gals. You’re nobody these days unless you’re on the Web — but you knew that, didn’t you?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Howard Rubenstein and a squadron of power brokers.

2. Former New York City council president Andrew Stein with three gents we didn’t recognize…

3. “Mayor” Joe Armstrong and Men’s Health honcho Dave Zinczenko. As usual, a chat with these charming gents always yields some interesting tidbits. Dave shared the May issue of Men’s Health with me, which has an interesting study ranking the ‘Most Sexually Satisfied Cities.’ The ‘randiest’ locale: Indianapolis, Indiana — turns out those drivers in the Indianapolis 500 get plenty of folks motors running. The least sexually satisfied citizens: the denizens of Lexington, Kentucky. (Insert your own joke here). Just in case you movers and shakers were wondering, Gotham comes in at 71. Something to think about as your emailing your boss at midnight tonight…

4. Gerald Schoenfeld and his lovely wife Pat with powerhouse producer Jean Doumanian.


5. Money man Stan Shuman (who, we hear, handles Rupert’s investments…) Second shift: a late arriving Star Jones (sporting knee high patent leather boots), Denise Rich and Page Six‘s Paula Froelich. We can’t imagine what the girls were talking about, can you?

6. The Imber gang: Jeff Greenfield, Jerry Della Femina, Gerry Imber and the guys.

7. Peggy Siegal and a handsome young lad. I noticed Peggy was scribbling furiously during lunch about what, I wonder?

8. Patricia Duff and two pals.

9. Jerry Inzerillo.

10. Beverly Camheand Myrna Blyth. In light of Katie Couric‘s recent overhyped troubles in the media (you know who you are), I’m just wondering when Myrna will weigh in (or should I say pile on) having been such a vocal critic of the beleaguered CBS News anchor. A good friend of Couric’s told me the other day: “Let’s all take a breath, people.” Indeed.

12. Would love to have been a fly on the wall at this table: John Huey, Jim Kelly and Reed Business’ CEO Tad Smith.

14. Georgina Chapman (AKA Mrs. Harvey Weinstein) wearing the cutest (and shortest!) black and white floral dress from her own Marchesa collection, no doubt, and Town & Country editrix Pamela Fiori. We hear that Georgina, who made such a beautiful bride, has launched a small collection of wedding dresses. Just the thing for a T & C story, no? Or the cover of the magazine’s special Weddings issue … Now that Harvey is moving Project Runway from Bravo to Lifetime (unless that pesky lawsuit by NBC Universal prevents him from doing so), perhaps we’ll be seeing the Mrs. On Runway 2.0. If Nina Garcia or Michael Kors don’t re-sign (we hear both are still haggling over their contracts), at least one judges seat would be vacant. Just a thought…

15. Hallmark Channel honcho Henry Schleiff and, we’re told, attorney Michael Rudell.

16. Fabulous fashionista Jaqui Lividini, a vision in her white coat (“I’m breaking out the spring wardrobe!”) with Susan Davidson, CEO of CDS and Marc Beckman a partner at DMA.

17. Can you hear me now? Charlie Schuler and Peter Thonis, chief communications officer at Verizon.

18. Luke Korman.

19. Lucianne Goldberg (So glad to hear you’re a ‘Lunch’ fan!) with her director of media relations Bonnie J. Dudley. We forgot to ask her, but we’re pretty sure Lucianne will have plenty more to say about the upcoming Hillary-Obama face off. If you want to find out for yourself, check out Lucianne.com

20. Freddie Friedman.

21. Patrick Murphy and Lisa Linden CEO of Linden Alschuler & Kaplan Public Relations. When I stopped by their table to chat, Patrick told me his sister, former CBS News producer Mary Murphy, is hard at work on a fascinating new documentary which examines how Harper Lee‘s To Kill A Mockingbird changed their lives of its famous fans. Turns out Mary has visited the altar of media endorsement heaven and interviewed none other than Oprah for the project. Smart thinking!

22. IMG’s senior vice president of fashion (and one of the nicest ladies in the biz) Fern Mallis with, we’re told, Carlos La Madrid. I recently chatted with Fern, who presides over the Tents at Bryant Park during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, for an upcoming article in Variety, which examines the frenzy surrounding the upcoming Sex & The City: The Movie. Turns out anyone who is anyone in fashion has either provided ‘the girls’ with wardrobe for the eagerly anticipated film or has a cameo. Fern appears in the ’11 o’clock number’ (that’s Hollywood-speak for the big — pun intended — climax). “I hope I don’t wind up on the cutting room floor,” she told me. A little birdie tells me Fern made the final cut. Speaking of the ‘supporting cast’ — Fred Leighton, whose jewels play a prominent role in the pic (check out the April 23 issue of Daily Variety and you’ll get all the scoop from me, has been saved from the fire sale Merrill Lynch was planning that would have auctioned off $40 million in museum quality jewelery in order to satisfy loans they made in 2005-2006 to Ralph Esmerian to purchase the estate jewelry business. This is undoubtedly good news to Sarah Jessica Parker who is a huge fan of the house and to glamour gals from the Upper East Side to Beverly Hills. Just thought you’d like to know …

23. Ed Rollins (nice to meet you!) and Bob Bradley.

25. Michael Elliot.

26. Richard Rubenstein and Ed Hayes.

28. John Needham and Fortune‘s Patty Sellers

29. My pal Pamela Keogh and her dapper dad Peter (Happy Birthday!). Pamela’s new book, What Would Audrey Do? comes out tomorrow. It’s a wonderfully thoughtful, funny and insightful look into one of the true style icons of our time (Don’t you just hate the way every 20-year-old, 20-pound starlet has been unjustly bestowed with this moniker every time there’s a red carpet event?) Pamela packs in plenty of Audrey trivia with some pithy observations about how one could look to ‘AH’ — as she’s called in the book — for advice on how to handle everything from to tattoo or not (Please! Audrey didn’t even have pierced ears!) to how to get involved in world events — Join the Council on Foreign Relations. Angelina Jolie did and, says Pamela, AH would have, too!

Faces in the crowd: Alliance Bernstein’s Colleen Donohue and Stephanie Y. Giaramita, the firm’s Assistant Vice President Public Relations and Advocacy Programs. At separate tables: power publicist Leslie Sloane Zelnick (hiding out from the paparazzi in The Garden Room) and InStyle’s Honor Brodie with a gaggle of young social swans.

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

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