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Lunch: Michael Douglas Turns Heads; Rudy & Judy Giuliani Go Low Profile

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— DIANE CLEHANE

I got an early Christmas present at Michael’s today when I got the chance to chat with one of my favorite actors, Michael Douglas, who has been something of a regular in the dining room this fall since coming back to town to film Wall Street 2. When the Oscar winner arrived and strode purposefully to his table, every head in the place turned. Unlike plenty of A-listers who can barely conceal their impatience for having to deal with mere mortals, he couldn’t have been more gracious when I went over to say hello.

A few years ago, we worked together on The Fashion Group International’s Night of Stars where he presented an award to designer Nino Cerruti His then-fiancee, now his wife, Catherine Zeta Jones, was also there to present to glamour guys Mark Badgley and James Mischka. When I told him the paps are still raking it in from the images taken then of the glam couple on the red carpet, he just laughed. “How is Nino?” he asked before I could ask him about his work on Wall Street 2. When the conversation finally turned to the highly anticipated sequel, I got the scoop on what we can expect from the story and his character, the Machiavellian money man Gordon Gekko. “It was very exciting and a lot of fun to be back. He’s been in prison so he’s a lot darker now, and he’s written a book about the financial world,” said Michael. “It’s set in 2007, so it’s about his predictions on what’s going to happen. It’s very interesting.” Is greed still good? We’re guessing not.

I’ve gotten to meet lots of interesting folks since I first began reporting on the scene at Michael’s three years ago and there’s none nicer than Ira Yoffe, who joined me for lunch today to talk about his exciting new venture. After spending 29 years with Parade — the last nine as vice president, creative director, and head of its in-house advertising agency — Ira is striking out on his own. He’s launching Yoffe Media Group in January because, he says, the time has never been better for entrepreneurial creative businesses. “Last fall, when budgets were being cut, money on creative was one of the first things to go. This is the time to re-invest in promoting your product.” Ira plans to run his “virtual agency” without costly overhead by putting together creative teams comprised of talented freelancers wherever they may be. On Friday, he’ll be inking a partnership deal with Rosica Strategic Public Relations. “There is no need for talent and creativity to be limited by location or the limits of outdated technology,” he told me. “Now, more than ever before, it’s possible for clients to benefit from work that is being produced by the best and the brightest in the world.” He expects that his agency-without-walls philosophy will result in “a better quality of work” and the ability to “pass the savings on to the client.” Sounds like a winning strategy to us.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Late arriving producer Joel Silver and a table full of holiday revelers including, we hear, his wife and son.

2. Peter Brown

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Don Welsh (Long time no see!)

4. The New York Observer’s resident newlywed Jared Kushner (Mazel tov!) and Steve Rubenstein


5. Michael Douglas and Jann Wenner

6. Producer Wendy Goldberg and pals

7. Ira Yoffe and yours truly

8. Actor Anthony Edwards, looking downright collegiate in a preppy tweed sport coat and crewneck sweater. Our other favorite ER alum was enjoying some chardonnay with two young ladies who arrived laden with holiday gifts. Cheers!

9. My pal Catherine Saxton (Ivanka Trump‘s faithful publicist, in case you didn’t know)

11. Bobby Friedman

12. Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia who, we’re told, moonlights as a jewelry designer. Even royals have to make a living, I guess.

14. Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew and David Moraniss

15. Allen & Company’s Steven D. Greenberg

16. Attorney Michael Kassan

81. Betsy Perry and Joe Versace

17. My good friend and the head of Estee Lauder’s communications team, Alexandra Trower and graphic designer Doug Chyai , the man responsible for the luxe look of the company’s annual report.

18. Politico Gordon Davis

19. Jamie Beard and Amanda Haynes-Dale

20. Diane Silberstein

21. Ralph Destino

22. Barbara Iselin

23. The early show: Chanel’s John Galantic. Second seating: Rudy Giuliani and Judith Nathan. The uncharacteristically low-key duo declined a table next to us in the front of the dining room, opting instead for something further back. We’re trying not to take it too personally. We couldn’t help but notice that Mrs. Giuliani looked a lot skinnier and more wide eyed since we last spotted her at Oscar de la Renta‘s fashion show in September. Oh, to be in love…

24. Nick E. Rubinstein

25. Mr and Mrs. David Pittinsky

26. Eric Gordon

27. Break Media’s Todd Joyce

29. Martin Grant

30. Estee Lauder’s Regine Descamps

Faces in the crowd: Beverly Camhe lunching at the bar and Dick Descherer presiding over a seasonal celebration for 15 in the Garden Room.

This is our last ‘Lunch’ of 2009. Happy holidays to all. See you next year!

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

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