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Joan Collins, Dennis Basso And The Media Mob

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The biblical rain didn’t keep the crowds away from Michael’s today. The media mavens were networking at warp speed (Bonnie Fuller, we mean you) while the social swans and style set enjoyed their usual air-kissed filled leisurely lunches.

Oh, to have a rich husband (or good divorce attorney) and deep-pocketed clients. We can dream, can’t we?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Fidelis Global’s Gerry Byrne and Hollywoodlife.com‘s Bonnie Fuller jointly hosting what Gerry tells me is the first of a series’ of  lunches with “influencers.” The tastemakers at the table today were HL’s CRO Alyson Racer, Showtime’s main man Matt BlankCosmopolitan’s Donna Lagani, Caroline Hirsch, MediaLink’s Wenda Millard and Marie Claire’s fashion director, Nina Garcia.

2. Alexis Carrington lives! Joan Collins, sporting an ensemble that would have passed muster at the royal wedding, with husband Percy Gibson, producer Terry Allen Kramer and Joyce Rubin.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Men’s Health head honcho David Zinczenko. This was Joe’s second lunch at Michael’s this week. On Monday, he came by with his sister Marilyn Spence and her husband Don who were  in visiting from Plano, Texas. The trio, I’m told, had a grand old time.

4.  Peter Brown and Liz Smith, looking none the worse for wear from a recent hip injury. The indomitable Liz, who got plenty of hugs from her pals in the dining room,  dished with fellow Texan Joe Armstrong until Peter arrived.


5.  The always distinguished Stan Shuman and another well-dressed gent

6.  Comedy writer Marc Sedaka who just penned What He Can Expect When She’s Not Expecting, with his wife Samantha Sedaka and his dad who just happens to be the legendary crooner Neil Sedaka.  The couple are making the talk show rounds for Marc’s book which chronicles the emotional journey they endured through 10 rounds of IVF. “When we were going through it, I discovered there was nothing out there for men,” Marc told me. “With this issue there is a kind of ‘invisible man’ syndrome, but it affects both people in the relationship. We know a lot of couples whose marriages broke up as a result of infertility.”

Luckily, Marc and Samantha’s story has a happy ending. They are now parents of twin girls born via gestational surrogate, and shortly afterwards Samantha gave birth to their son.  This morning, Marc chatted with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford on Today about what not to say to a woman trying to get pregnant (Here’s a hint: Never tell a woman taking hormones to relax. Mentioning an old girlfriend is expecting isn’t the best idea, either). You can catch them tomorrow on Good Morning America.

7. W’s PR maven Courtney Dolan

8. Discovery Communications’ president and GM  Henry Schleiff and Thirdage.com‘s Myrna Blyth. Fun fact: these two longtime pals both grew up in the ‘five towns’ area of Long Island. When I stopped by to say hello, we got into a lively discussion about death of Osama Bin Laden and extraordinary efforts of the Navy Seals that killed him.  Timing is everything and Henry’s is, as usual, impeccable. The Military Channel (which is part of Discovery Communications) is airing three one-hour specials this Sunday examining and celebrating the work of the elite unit. “By the end of May,” Henry tells me, Discovery will be airing an in-depth special, produced in cooperation with the Pentagon, about the behind the scenes inner workings of the historic raid in Pakistan.

On Friday, Henry is heading to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston to host an event sponsored by Investigation Discovery and The  Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps that will examine juvenile crime. Kerry Kennedy will be there along with attorney general Eric Holder, who Henry expects may have to field more than a few questions about the ramifications of the military operation that brought down America’s most wanted criminal.

9. Attorney Richard Bressler

11. Lottie Oakley

12.  Most of  the ‘Imber Gang:’ Dr. Gerald Imber, Jeff Greenfield and Jerry Della Femina

14. Alice Mayhew and author Doris Kearns Goodwin

15. Furrier to the fabulous, Dennis Basso

16. Producer Joan Gelman with Cynthia Kayan and Judy Twersky

17. New York Post‘s media guru Keith Kelly and James Heidenry

18. Random House’s EVP Jon Meacham and Time Inc.’s John Huey

20. Estee Lauder’s Alexandra Trower with The Wall Street Journal’s Katherine Rosman. When I stopped by the table to say hello, we had a good chat about the royal wedding. The unanimous verdict: it was fabulous and the new Duchess of Cambridge is a stunner!

21.  Jack Rogers’ designer Steven Stolman and Jack Bochonok

22. Producer Paul Blake

24. Attorney Michael Kassan

25. Ashton Kendrick of Perella Weinberg

26. G7 Group’s Jane Hartley

27. Joel Peresman, CEO of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

29. Sunny Brownstein, a socialite from Denver, so we’re told.

Faces in the crowd: Architect and antique dealer David Biscaye of Biscaye Freres fresh off his trip to Rome where he tells me he found plenty of gorgeous things to ship home. (Thank God for FedEx!) If you want to get a look at David’s fabulous eye for design, check out the latest issue of New York magazine where his Upper East Side apartment is showcased in the Spring 2011 Home Design issue.

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

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