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Posts Tagged ‘Jacqui Lividini’

Lunch: ‘Bag Lady’ & Madoff Victim Alexandra Penney: ‘Writing Well is the Best Revenge!’

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Things must be looking up in the journalism biz, because Michael’s dining room was jam packed with media folks of every stripe. While CEOs and spinmeisters held court from their usual perches, writers and editors were shoehorned in all over the place. I was glad I got there early because I bumped into former Self editor-in-chief Alexandra Penney, who I had not talked to since she authored the much buzzed about book, How to Make Love to a Man. “That was another life ago,” said Alexandra. I’ll say. Last fall, I was riveted by her posts on The Daily Beast where she chronicled the emotional and financial devastation that almost consumed her when she lost everything thanks to Bernie Madoff‘s ponzi scheme.

Alexandra bravely wrote about her experiences for Tina Brown‘s site under posts dubbed ‘The Bag Lady Papers,” because, she says simply, “I needed money.” When agent Ed Victor read her deeply personal revelations he told her, “I think you might have a book here.” And indeed she did. The Bag Lady Papers is due out February 16 from Hyperion’s Voice imprint. “When something like this happens, it either galvanizes you or devastates you. I chose to be galvanized because I had to. It’s amazing what you can do when you really need to.”

I was joined today by another enterprising woman, my good friend Dr. Robi Ludwig. In addition to her thriving private practice as a psychotherapist, Robi is a frequent contributor to the Today show where she weighs in on modern relationships and the celebrity crack-up of the moment. She’s logged plenty of airtime trying to get inside Tiger Woods‘ marital meltdown, and she and Redbook‘s editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison dished with Al Roker just yesterday on what couples are fighting about most these days (If you guessed money, you’re right). When Robi is not seeing patients or lending her expert opinion on matters of the heart, she keeps busy with her “inspirational” jewelry line for QVC, Dr. Robi. After her first book, Till Death Do Us Part: Inside the Mind of A Killer Spouse (Atria), kept her busy on the talk show circuit, she is now hard at work on her second which will offer tips on how to have a happier marriage during these stressful times. Earlier this month, she also signed on as a contributor to care.com, an online community and comprehensive source for people searching for caregivers of all kinds from babysitters to eldercare workers. “I’ve always loved the idea of not pigeonholing myself,” says Robi. “There’s no reason to do just one thing if you’re passionate about a lot different things.” Obviously.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The “Imber Gang”: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer.

2. A casually clad Paul Wilmot (loved the sweater!) and Omnicom’s CEO Tom Harrison

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Norris Mailer

4. Former William Morris chairman Jim Wiatt and Quadrangle Group’s Josh Steiner

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Lunch at Michael’s: ‘We’re Off To Prison’

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgFor the boldface names and media mavens who flock to 55th & Fifth on a regular basis, the dining room is like a high school cafeteria without the adolescent angst. The richest and coolest kids in the class spend lots of time table hopping and there’s plenty of gossip on the menu. Today we got a heaping helping. Thanks to Mayor Joe Armstrong, we made the acquaintance of Worth magazine founder W. Randall Jones, who told lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane and her pal, Hallmark’s corporate communications VP Jennifer Geisser, that he and Bob Friedman were enjoying today’s meal because “we’re off to prison on Friday.”

Randy, who is credited with turning Esquire around in the 80s (no wonder he was the best dressed man in the room), then explained he and Bob weren’t pulling a Martha. They’re headed for the boonies of Pennsylvania at week’s end to visit an unnamed pal “who got a little creative with accounting and a little something about corporate jets” and wound up in the slammer. A timely and cautionary tax season tale for all of you moguls out there …

Here’s a rundown on the rest of the ‘in’ crowd:

1. Hallmark Channel honcho Henry Schleiff (Happy Birthday!)and Kerry Kennedy.

2. Peter Brown.

3. Joe Armstrong and W. Randall Jones.

4. Quest’s Chris Meigher with Dominick Dunne who told us he’s headed out to Los Angeles to cover the Phil Spector trial for Vanity Fair. We’ve missed his reporting of late and eagerly await his dispatches from the left coast …

5. CBS’ Gil Schwartz with his agent Kris Dahl. The master spinmeister tells us his new book Crazy Bosses (Harper Collins) is due out May 8. One Hundred Bullshit Jobs, his last effort, is soon to be released on paperback. Next time you’re looking for material on these subjects, Gil, be sure to give us a call.

6. Paul Wilmot, Time Inc.’s Kate Betts and a few unidentified fashionistas.

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Lunch at Michael’s: Gay Talese, John Huey and The Guys

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgThe scene at 55th and Fifth resembled something of a men’s club today where the power suits — and ties — ruled. Media machers including Time Inc.’s editor-in-chief John Huey, ad man Jerry Della Femina and the sartorially splendid Gay Talese (who got our attention when he removed his coat and fedora to reveal an eye-catching rust velvet blazer, coordinating vest and yellow tie) broke bread with their equally powerful pals in a dining room. It should be noted, though, that Mr. Huey evened things out a bit by lunching with power gals Martha Nelson of The People Group and “People’s” style director Susan Kaufman. Hope to see more of our favorite gals (Barbara and Diane, where are you?) next week.

We’re were thrilled by how chatty the crowd was today. We made the acquaintance of tech scribe Tucker Hall, who was seated a few stools down from us at the bar, when we overheard him telling a pal that “There’s some blog on mediabistro that writes about the lunch crowd.” His lunch date, Harper Collins editor Peter Hubbard, made our day when he told us that “Lunch” is a must-read around the office. Thanks guys!!

Here’s who we spotted today:

1. Super spin meister Stu Zakim and a host of media movers and shakers who must have had a lot to talk about between bites of their burgers and fries including Business Week‘s Jon Fine (who happens to be the husband of our founder and CEO Laurel Touby), Radarmagazine.com’s Jeff Bercovici, ABC’s Jeffrey Schneider and Patrick Reilly of SIRIUS.

2. Mr. Huey with Ms. Nelson and Ms. Kaufman, who said she was dazzled by divorcee’s Reese Witherspoon‘s (she’s recently spilt from hubby Ryan Phillippe) startlingly young, hip appearance on the red carpet at the Golden Globes. We agree!

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong — fresh off jury duty — with publishing legend Gay Talese and Newsweek‘s new number two man, Dan Klaidman. The newly minted managing editor comes from the magazine’s Washington, D.C. bureau.

4. Peter Brown & guest.

5. Designer Arnold Scassi, Parker Ladd and an unidentified friend.

6. Debbie Fine and Estee Lauder’s vice president of global communications, Sally Susman.

7. Ed Adler.

8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Alice Mason.

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