Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lunch at Michaels

(image via fishbowlNY's Lunch at Michaels)

I just got back from lunch at Michaels with our favorite social chronicler David Patrick Columbia. We schedule these things every so often and have been doing them over the years and it is always fascinating to listen to him. His table -- #8 -- is strategically located to catch a good view of the media luminaries that come in and exit. Many high-powered people stop by to pay their respects, which speaks to the prominence that Columbia has attained. David is highly keyed in to the goings on of the monied classes -- Upper East Side, Hamptons, Palm Beach set -- and literally owns that beat with his excellent daily reporting about what goes on after hours, who raised what for what philanthropy, and, of late, the effects of the financial crisis on the lives of the monied. This particular moment in history makes that beat hugely interesting and, as a result, David has been doing a fair amount of television commentary.

Lunch at Michaels on Wednesday is always an adventure. For some reason that day, in the middle of the week, has become a sort of pageant for the players in Manhattan media. Mediabistro's FishbowlNY -- which this blogger used to edit -- has also upped the game, covering the guest list every Wed/Thurs (read it Here for the exact names and table placement of Manhattan Media Power). Among the crowd today: Peggy Siegal, who stopped by the table to chat, Dolly Parton (we resisted the powerful urge to sing "Jolene"), Mediabistro's Diane Clehane, Michelle Patterson, wife of NY's Governor, Meredith Brokaw, Toni Goodale, and, among others Michaels owner Mike McCarty.

Parton was in NYC hammering out details for her new Broadway musical based on 9 to 5. Siegal, something of a PR legend, spoke of Valentino -- a film she is promoting -- and the Tribeca Film Festival, which opens tonight. Siegal is quite good at her job, mingling the names of her projects, creating a sparkly buzz, interespersed with cocktail chatter. It was kind of awkward, to be frank, as we have written rough stuff about Siegal (such is the nature of blogging in the NY fishbowl). In person, though, she seemed perfectly charming. Her gaze, we cannot fail to note, was acute (Certainly hope she doesn't read The Corsair).

The lunch was good. As someone who is more geared towards the liberal artsy, it is refreshing to speak to David about the economy. He knows quite a bit about the finance (and politics, and culture ..). Both of us were relieved at the election of President Obama; we agreed his election is a watershed moment equivalent to Kennedy's election, taking the Catholic issue off the table (and breaking the unspoken-of ceiling on African-American accomplishment). David's background, and his present proximity to the powerful, allow him fascinating insights into the nature of Power and Money.

And the asparagus soup was excellent.

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