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Renee Fleming, Harold Ford Jr & The Social Swells

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Michael’s was jammed packed this afternoon with plenty of suits, swells and the requisite random boldface names (Renee Fleming! Harold Ford Jr!). While the scene was light on expense account-fueled editors (who are, no doubt, still recovering from the fabulosity of Fashion Week), it looked as if there were plenty of deals being struck between bites. Could it be that those ‘experts’ who are trying to convince us that the recession is over are right? We’re taking a wait and see attitude on that one.

I was joined today by Dr. Phillip Romero who recently published two books, The Art Imperative: The Secret Power of Art and Phantom Stress: Brain Training to Master Relationship Stress. Talk about timely! Phil, who has been in private practice for over 25 years counseling individuals, families and couples on how to deal with stress, was the perfect person to weigh in on our collective cultural anxiety. “We are in unchartered territory,” he told me. “Never before has there been a bigger demand for human creativity as a means of adapting to change. Not since the Renaissance has there been a stronger need for a major reorganization of the species.”

But all is not lost. “We are living in an age of transformation,” says Phil who believes art will, as it has for centuries, play a pivotal role in the new emerging “global humanism” of the future. No less than Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson applauds Phil’s findings from The Art Imperative. In Phantom Stress, Phil writes about how we can tap into “the miraculous, resilient nature of our bodies” to reconnect to what matters most. His advice to everyone who is feeling unhinged by the uncertainty of ‘the new normal’: “Reflect and connect with your personal truth and adapt in a creative way.” So put down that pint of Haagen Dazs and write your memoirs!

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Terry Allen Kramer, Margo McNabb Nederlander and a table full of well-heeled gals.

2. Uber agent Esther Newberg

3. Discovery ID honcho Henry Schleiff

4. Peter Brown, Renee Fleming, sporting some Medusa-like tresses, and two mystery gents.


5. Hollywood heavyweight Freddie Gershon

6. Gerry Byrne (in jeans!)

7. Dr. Phillip Romero and yours truly

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia and Anthony Thompson

9. The Wall Street Journal‘s Katie Rosman

11. Accessories maven Mickey Ateyeh

12. Henry Shalom

14. Allen & Co.’s Stan Shuman

15. Public relations maven Lisa Linden with the president of The New York League of Conservation Voters, Marcia Burstyn

16. Peter Price

81. The always dapper Randy Jones

17. Christine Taylor, looking chic in black and white

18. Harold Ford Jr. with a serious looking fellow we didn’t recognize.

19. Richard Bressler

20. Hearst’s high priestess of public relations Deb Shriver and Michael Trese

21. CBS’ David Poltrack

22. Esquire‘s Stephen Jacoby

23. Nick E. Rubinstein — long time, no see!

24. Lou Margolis

25. Walter Sabo and Stephanie Gaines from CBS.

26. Goodale Associates’ CEO Toni Goodale

27. The incredibly tall Gordon Elliot (Didn’t you just love those Campbell soup commercials he did with those cute kids awhile back?) with a considerably shorter pal.

29. Glam Media’s Scott Schiller

Congrats to Michael’s GM Steve Millington on his new moonlighting gig. Steve, who has kept things running smoothly in the dining room for as long as I can remember, has been tapped by Jets’ owner Woody Johnson to make sure the celebs are well-fed and happy in the VIP room at the new Meadowlands Stadium on Sundays during the football season.

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

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