Thursday, January 27, 2005

Lunch with David Patrick Columbia

The Corsair teases DPC of NYSocialDiary out of fondness, David really is the best at what he does, which is, essentially capturing New York WASPs, those virtually extinct knickerbockers, and the ancillary rara avis --like Edith Wharton did before him in her amber prose -- and sometimes Palm Beach -- in their power in repose. Dancing. Drinking. Flirting.

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Who is going to what party? Whose fortunes have turned against them? Will he wind up marrying above his station and redeem the family name? Will she manage to make an honest gentleman out of the paragon of confirmed bachelors? Was the charity event/ fundraiser successful? Which boldfacers are "on the rise"? Which Great house is "in decline"? My, he looks chipper for a man about to do hard time for money laundering -- the sort of swell talk you'd expect from Pagan Gods in the last empire on the planet.

But the pictures -- the pictures always -- like faded oil paintings (Elgar's Symphony Number 3 would be appropriate here), or trompe l'oeil still lifes of turn-of-the-century financiers, or perhaps their frail but determined wives carrying orchids, appear vaguely melancholy ("and this too shall pass away") but they capture New York power in fascinating and unsuspecting moments; power in the flush of a new love; the trophy wife's illicit flirtation behind the back of the cuckolded investment banker; power in full-on seduction mode; power on the make. All that swishy stuff.

No one on the web comes close to capturing the after hours social rituals of New York power quite like DPC's NYSocialDiary. All the studied bows and curtsies that power does to power does to money is captured by David, the insider, our ambassador into the cultural anthropology of that shrinking world. So we didn't know what to expect when David Patrick Columbia invited us to lunch Michael's on Monday. Do they actually have Andalusian peasant baby blood on the menu? (Kiiding!) Can we really have the braised Rumanian baby with some Gruyere cheese? (joke!)

But it was fantastic. David Patrick Columbia is one of the coolest cat's around. Smooth and real, Leo to my Gemini. He is an honest man despite the considerable seductions of his vocation. His gossip -- about Hillary, about Bill, about Cokie, about ... well, let's not get into it ... if you've seen their names in boldface, in NY, in DC, David has a keen anecdote to offer that will change the way you see things. Suffice it to say, David Patrick Columbia has a tremendous amount of the gossip of power at the ready. And a fucking grade A wit. And a wise piece of advice or two for the young media type.

Dominick Dunne -- on his way to LA to cover "the Spector trial and the Awards" -- stopped by our table and DPC introduced me, as he did also with Jesse Kornbluh of Beliefnet, and the various other media power figures who passed by his regular table, my mind was buzzing, my neck was straining to see who was power lunching with whom. The Corsair had a wonderful lunch with a truly decent man who lucked into one of the best jobs ever and treats it all with healthy irony. Cheers, DPC; you're one of the good guys.


Theresa Z said...

Right on Ron! What did you have for lunch? lol ;)

Ron said...

(Sotto Voce) Psst ... The braised Brazillian peasant boy with a Gruyere cheese ... but don't tell anyone.


its me said...

Ron! First the reading, then lunch with DPC? I do love NYSD..... xoxo Case

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The dude is completely just, and there is no suspicion.