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Posts Tagged ‘Jaqui Lividini’

Lunch: Politics As Usual

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Timing is everything. Just ask Hillary Clinton. If we’d come a day earlier we would have dined with Karl Rove. (Well, okay, we’d have been in the same room.) Our spy says the sight of ‘Bush’s brain’-turned-Fox commentator at table five had the joint buzzing (or was it hissing?). In any event, politics were still very much front and center today. My pal producer Beverly Camhe introduced me to Patricia Duff who had just yesterday hosted a lunch at the Friar’s Club with Paul Begala for her political think tank, The Common Good. According to Beverly, who says joining Patricia’s group has been “life-changing,” Paul told the crowd that he’s all but certain Barack Obama will win the Democratic nomination. Since Paul is a Hillary supporter his prediction carries some heft. Patricia, who has also hosted Henry Kissinger and economic advisor Robert Hormats, is sure to have more heavy hitters hold forth on all things presidential in the coming months. Check it out yourself. After all, you can’t spend all your free time watching Gossip Girl no matter what New York says

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Eduardo Verastegui, Sean Wolfington and his lovely wife Ana, Kathie Lee’s right-hand gal Christine Gardiner and my new pal Today show producer Brian Balthazar. Seems those new BFFs Kathie Lee and Hoda have a regular Wednesday date to take in a matinee and then talk about it on Today the next morning. Today the girls were off to see Crybaby. Tune in tomorrow to catch their review.

2. Nick Simunek

3. Ron Delsener and John Eastman

4. Stan Shuman with a fellow we didn’t recognize …

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Lunch: The British Are Coming — Tomorrow!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

We’re still exhausted from hob nobbing with last week’s overflow of A-listers, so we were almost glad things were a bit more subdued at 55th & Fifth today. It gave us a chance to catch up and chat with some our favorite regulars. Imagine my chagrin when I stopped by Matt Blank‘s table and Showtime’s CEO told me had I switched my weekly reservation to tomorrow, I’d be chatting with some of the biggest stars of his network. On Thursday, Matt and entertainment president Bob Greenblatt are hosting their own “British invasion” at table one when the entire glorious cast of The Tudors — the dreamy Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Peter O’Toole and Natalie Dormer will be breaking bread with the network’s other stars — including Tracy Ullman, whose show State of the Union, will premiere March 30, the same night as the new season of The Tudors. Thank God, something to watch! (I’ve been completely depressed over the fast approaching season finale of HBO’s In Treatment…) Also in attendance, says Matt, will be Billie Piper, who stars in — and we’re not kidding — the upcoming Secret Diaries of a Call Girl, which will premiere in June. Talk about timely. Perhaps the newly unemployed Eliot Spitzer can make a cameo appearance.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina and the gang with Fox News’ Monica Crowley.

2. Showtime’s chairman and CEO Matt Blank with über producer Michael Davies.

3. “Mayor” Joe Armstrong and Glamoureditrix Cindi Leive (Glad you hear you’re a loyal “Lunch” reader!). The Mayor was celebrating with his friend Cindi over a glass of red wine — and a few asparagus spears — about her big news. Minutes before lunch, Cindi found out Glamour is a finalist for the fourth year in a row for the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. No woman’s magazine has ever been so honored! The worthy competitors: Time, People, National Geographic and Martha Stewart Living. Congrats! Before Cindi and Joe tucked into their lunch, we unanimously decided New York‘s Spitzer cover this week is one for the ages. Brilliant!

4. Norman Pearlstine and a young gent no one seemed to know …

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Lunch At Michael’s: Lance Armstrong — For Governor?

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Remember a few weeks back when I promised Lunch readers a full report on the off chance we had our own encounter Lance Armstrong at 55th & Fifth? Well, here’s your early holiday treat. The Tour de France winner-turned-man about town was holding court at Table One today so I couldn’t resist chatting up the surprisingly shy guy. When I first spotted Lance in the power spot I was struck by how dashing (and slim) he looked in his power suit (accessorized, of course, with his own LiveStrong bracelet). All you gossipmongers out there will probably be disappointed to learn he wasn’t dining with his ex-Tory Burch or his one time canoodling partner Ashley Olsen. When I introduced myself to Lance as he got up to leave, he looked a bit nervous when he spotted me surreptitiously (or so I thought) taking notes. “What are you writing?” he asked nervously. That’s when I knew it wasn’t exactly the right time to ask about Tory or Ashley, so I told him I write this little column about who lunches at Michael’s on Wednesdays and asked him if he could tell me who he was with today. After giving the question a bit more time than one would think it warranted, he warmed up and answered. Turns out my new pal was dining with the head of his foundation, Doug Ulman and Kathy Giusti, founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. “She does an incredible job raising money for the prevention of that cancer,” he said. When asked why he chose to come to Michael’s (it’s his second visit in so many months), he said with a big smile, “Whenever I ask people where they want to have lunch they say, ‘Let’s go to Michael’s!” He told me he had another date planned but since he seemed a bit skittish about generating any press I promised him I’d keep mum on the specifics. In the meantime, ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong says fellow Texans are so impressed by Lance’s heroic fundraising efforts that there’s a movement afoot to draft him into running for governor of the Longhorn state. If Arnold can do it, why not?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Lance Armstrong, Doug Ulman and Kathy Giusti.

2. Peter Brown.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Dorothy Kalins enjoying a long awaited “reunion lunch.” These good pals go way back to the days when Joe was founding publisher of Saveur and Dorothy was editor …

4. Would love loved to have been a fly on the wall for this one: Jim Dolan and Viacom’s Philippe Dauman.

5. Herb Siegal — congrats on your engagement! Ain’t love grand …

6. A group of gents we didn’t recognize …

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Lunch At Michael’s: The Dog Days Are Here!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The morning monsoon that shut down the city for several hours kept all but the true diehards away today at 55th & Fifth. Even general manager Steve Millington was kept from his post due to a weather-related nanny nightmare (we can relate). Others, like our pal Jaqui Lividini, arrived breathless due to today’s stifling heat and annoying lack of cabs. The fashion maven recovered her cool before being joined by Teen Vogue‘s Amy Astley, a newly minted member of the International Best Dressed List. (Check out the full list of fab fashionistas — including Posh & Becks and the always dreamy George Clooney in Vanity Fair‘s gigantic September issue). Memo to Mike Bloomberg: Why don’t you stop waging your will-he-or-won’t he run for president, declare August a citywide holiday and put us all out of our misery?’

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Four suits — one, we’re told was a Fox News bigwig (obviously someone else was charged with bailing out the drenched mothership) — tucking into cobb salads.

2. The soul of Manolo Blahnik, George Malkemus — looking dapper in a blue blazer — dining with two guests.

3. Jack Myers and two jacketed gents.

4. Portfolio’s David Carey

5. Bill Siegal(Herb’s son).

6. Allen & Co.’s John Josephson with a table full of young turks and one mystery gal.

7. The man himself, Michael McCarty, dishing with John Hilton. We’re assuming he’s part of that Hilton clan. I wanted to ask how Paris was doing since being sprung from the slammer but I just couldn’t bring myself to utter her name in public …

8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Rita Jamais, the former owner of La Caravelle.

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Lunch at Michael’s: Ken Sunshine: Lindsay’s Woes Are ‘Beyond PR Issues’

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— DIANE CLEHANE

We’ve truly hit the dog days of summer when there isn’t one Fiji water sipping-celeb in sight come high noon at 55th & Fifth. Luckily, that didn’t mean there was a shortage of Tinseltown talk in the dining room. The topic du jour — what else? — Lindsay Lohan’s latest arrest on suspicion of DUI. (For those two people who’ve been on the moon, it’s the starlet’s second bust in three months and comes on the heels of her recent 45-day stay at Promises and her big show of wearing an ankle bracelet that was supposedly programmed to detect any alcohol in her system). “If I were her publicist,” sighed one media maven, “I’d have my head in the oven.” Uber publicist Ken Sunshine, who represents one-time rehabber Ben Affleck, told me he’d received “tons of calls” from outlets near and far to weigh in on Lohan’s dire straits and said, “Her problems are beyond PR issues.” The Today Show‘s Marc Victor says Lohan’s relapse is sure to focus attention on the country club-like atmosphere of facilities that cater to coddled celebs: “That’s certainly something that will be looked at now.” The general consensus among today’s crowd is that this story has gone from tabloid train wreck to a truly tragic tale. “She needs compassion,” said Lisa Sharkey, Harper Collins’ senior vice president and director of creative development who, together with the house’s executive editor, Maureen O’Brien, was lunching with Sunshine. No doubt that’s exactly what the editors of Us Weekly, In Touch and TMZ.com are thinking …

Here’s the rundown on the rest of the crowd:

1. Jeff Greenfield, Jerry Della Femina, Gerald Imber and another gentleman we didn’t recognize.

2. Peter Brown

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, Today‘s Marc Victor and Men’s Health editor Dave Zinczenko. Our pal Dave was overheard thanking Esquire‘s David Granger for putting a call into none other than George Clooney inviting him to speak at the upcoming American Magazine Conference about his work in Darfur. (Politicians are so last year!) To entice the Oscar winner, seems plans are in the works to see if there’s a way to “incentive-ize” publishers into offering ad space to help promote Clooney’s off-screen endeavor.

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Lunch at Michael’s: Tina Brown’s Bathroom Promise

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We were expecting a celeb sighting or two since it’s Upfront time — the week the networks trot out their overpaid and underfed stars to shill for their supper — but alas, there were no signs of McDreamy or Matthew Fox anywhere. (Thankfully, we didn’t see any cavemen either.) Disappointed, we settled in at our regular perch at the bar to survey the suits and check out the regulars when our pal publicity maven Leslie Stevens appeared on the scene. A scheduling snafu left Leslie solo, so she gamely pulled up a stool and chatted up lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane. The tireless pitchwoman told us she only had time for a quick bite because she was en route to D.C. to attend the launch party of the Onion Express, a joint venture between “America’s Finest News Source” — The Onion — and The Washington Post. Tonight’s soiree is expected to draw the likes of Christopher Hitchens (just don’t get him started talking about religion) and Christopher Buckley as well as “a bunch of politicos.” See, there really is life outside of New York.

Here’s a rundown on the rest:

Table 1. Glamour‘s Cindi Leive, Allure‘s Linda Wells, Playboy‘s Chris Napolitano and a few folks we didn’t recognize having their monthly “editor’s lunch.”

2. Ben Silverman and guests. The ubiquitous Ms. Stevens is throwing a party for the reality show guru (The Biggest Loser, The Restaurant) at the new karaoke joint Spotlight Live (we hear J.Lo has been by) on Thursday night for the crowd in town for the Upfronts. Sorry, by invite only …

3. Terry Allen Kramer and a table full of guests. (We’re told Mayor Joe Armstrong is not MIA, but simply enjoying a trip across the pond to London. Hurry back!)

4. Norman Pearlstine, sporting a military-looking buzz cut, with two equally close-cropped young gents.

5. Arnold Scassi and Parker Ladd. After witnessing Mr. Ladd take a call at the bar we’re amused to report he might be the only adult male in New York City that doesn’t own a cell phone.

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Lunch at Michael’s: Ralph Lauren Is Into Leather

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgFashion designers are a strange bunch. These arbiters of style often appear in some head-scratching ensembles that, if they were mere mortals, would land them squarely in “What were they thinking?” territory. We’re always on the lookout for the sartorially splendid during our weekly visits to 55th & Fifth, so we were really excited to hear Ralph Lauren was coming today. Imagine our surprise when the man who perfected WASP and western chic moseyed on into the dining room sporting what for all the world looked like leather-fringed chaps. A new fashion statement from his upcoming collection? We surely hope not.

We were even more intrigued when a little birdie told lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane it was likely the first time fashion’s $10 billion man was in the same room with biographer extraordinaire Michael Gross, who penned the deliciously dishy tome Genuine Authentic: The Real Life of Ralph Lauren. New York Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn praised the book in her review, saying it “hacks through the hype and half-truths” of Lauren’s far flung lifestyle empire. We’re pleased to report the two gentlemen remained on opposite ends of the room, keeping things oh so civilized.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

Table 1. Ralph Lauren and a table full of business types.

2. Peter Brown.

3. Attention parrot heads: An almost unrecognizable Jimmy Buffett — in a blue blazer and dress shirt! — with two guests. (Mr. Mayor, were art thou?)

4. Jeffrey Katzenberg. The DreamWorks CEO was sporting his signature California casual look (v-neck and T-shirt). He passed the time waiting (?!) for his guest by sipping iced tea and reclining back in his chair elbows akimbo. When a blonde gal in a black power suit finally arrived to join him, we recognized the face, but no one seemed to know her name …

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Lunch at Michael’s: Post-Hasselhoff, All Business

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We’re guessing many of our favorite media celebrity regulars have headed south with their families for spring break or to rev up from the endless winter doldrums that have left us feeling a bit grumpy. Today, the tables were packed with a cross section of Prada and Gucci suits, and the mood was definitely all business. Luckily, we got our boldface name fix Tuesday when lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane broke bread with fashion maven Jaqui Lividini and the bustling dining room brimming with the usually eclectic mix of celebs. We spotted Marlo Thomas, Danny DeVito, Ron Perelman and Tommy Mottola in the mix. Some of the staffers were still buzzing about last week’s visit from David Hasselhoff, who most recently headlined a Las Vegas production of The Producers. Seems “The Hoff” made quite an impression. Says one fan of the tireless showman: “He looks great! If he’s had surgery you can’t tell — and believe me I’ve seen some scary ones in here. The guy is amazing!”

Here’s a rundown of today’s menu:

1. “Men Who Lunch”: BusinessWeek‘s Jon Fine (husband to our own mediabistro.com founder and CEO Laurel Touby), Radar editor Maer Roshan ABC News communications VP Jeff Schneider, Peter Himler, Arnold Huberman, Sirius Satellite Radio pr czar Patrick Reilly, Radar‘s Jeff Bercovici and Magazine Publishers of America’s Howard Polskin.

2. Casual chic: a tweedy Luke Janklow. The uber-agent was lunching with an unidentified jeans-clad beauty.

3. Univision’s Maryann Bannikarim and three guests.

4. Producer Jonathan Hart (Chicago) and four well-dressed gents.

5. Michael Fuchs and a bespectacled fellow who passed the time waiting for him by reading Variety.

6. Glamour editrix Cindi Leive and guests.

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Lunch at Michael’s: Is Dave Zinczenko Ready For Prime Time?

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Magazine moguls kept things interesting today at 55th and Fifth. Without the usual intriguing mix of celebrities (who were, undoubtedly still recovering from Oscar overload) to observe, we spent the afternoon wondering what the editors and behind-the-scenes execs were plotting over their cobb salads. Our good friend, Men’s Health honcho Dave Zinczenko, told lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane that he’s “close” to inking a television deal with Al Roker‘s production company. The program would be a showcase for the burgeoning Men’s Health brand and might even feature the always camera-ready Dave who has been refining his telegenic talents on Today‘s couch for some time now.

Here’s the rundown on the rest of the crowd who dined & dished:

1. Nightline’s Cynthia McFadden, Ruth Friendly and an unidentified gentleman. We caught Cynthia’s broadcast the other night where she reported on the on-going Anna Nicole Smith saga. Kudos for striking just the right tone of dispassionate distaste while filling us in (we want to, but we can’t look away) on the latest details of this train wreck that won’t go away.

2. Michael Lewittes and an unidentified blonde gal.

3. Wayne Tabach.

4. Today’s Al Roker and Jim Bell.

5. Gerry Byrne and guest.

6. Liz Finkel, with we hear, her fiancé. Congrats!

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