Liz Smith: The Ladies Who Lunch at Michael’s

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And more from our Gossip Girl: The fabulous Lena Horne auction … plus, what makes Hillary happy? (Hint: Think pink!)

“AS A teenager I watched my parents’ careers just kind of nose-dive. So I always knew that it’s not permanent, and that there’s a heartbreaking component to it. So, who would want that? … thinking that if they get enough attention, they’ll be healed.”

This is Carrie Fisher observing her mother Debbie Reynolds and her father Eddie Fisher – and ultimately, herself.

Too bad today’s fame wannabes don’t look into this philosophy of understanding. Debbie and Carrie were together this week on Oprah and the daughter looked like the mother and vice versa. But both of them are holding up. (And still getting attention!)

* * *

TODAY at Michael’s lunch-attracting café, there were the 1990 Oscar-winner Whoopi Goldberg, the hot author Marlo Thomas, the darling of “Nightline” Cynthia McFadden, and the one and only Divine Miss M, Bette Midler – all at one table, heads together.

When these stars are asked what they were planning, why they all together, what charity they are promoting? They laugh. “We just like each other. We like to be together for no reason!

* * *

Just one night at Sette Mezzo on Lexington Avenue at 70th Street. The regulars, who all pay cash, as there are no credit cards, came trooping through the doors. Almost every table seemed to have a person with a cane, on crutches or on a walker.

One and all, when asked the reason for their infirmity, said: “Skiing accident!” Nobody, but nobody pled old age.

* * *

LAST NIGHT the Apollo Theater up in Harlem was besieged as the NAACP National Board, members, friends and just plain show biz fans stopped by to celebrate the Doyle New York auction of the artifacts and memorabilia of the late Lena Horne.

The Lady herself would have been proud. Lena always got a tiny gleam in her eye when talking money. The public can get a look at the goodies in Lena’s estate starting today, displayed at 175 East 87th Street. The auction itself happens February 23rd at 2 P.M. This sale offers costumes, jewelry, accessories, gowns, decorations, silver, furniture, books and fine art owned by none other than Lena herself.

I was very flattered to have been asked to write the accompanying Lena tribute to her greatness.

* * *

THE BBC, once a bastion of decency and high mindedness in English broadcasting, is kicking itself in the rear these days. BBC execs were offered the opportunity to fund a low-budget historical drama and they passed on it. The drama became “The King’s Speech.” So it is important, we see, to know when to say yes.

* * *

People are talking about the Secretary of State who has, with all the international furor of her job, still managed to give an interview and photo to Harper’s Bazaar, complete with fashion comment.

Hillary Clinton appears in what has been described as “a mannish trouser suit in the State Department’s Benjamin Franklin Room.”

Here are a few things she said: “This is a non-political job. I’m not in the fray the way that I was, and that gives you a certain sort of safe haven, even though much of what I do is by nature difficult and in some quarters controversial.”

The accompanying piece says the Secretary is “as much of a den mother as a diplomat.” She took her team to a local bar following the shocking death of their cohort Richard Holbrooke.

The Secretary, who was once a First Lady, got down to brass tacks on fashion: “I do love a good handbag. I think accessories could be either a great divider or uniter. I’m on the uniter side. I think no one should make fun of anyone else’s handbag choices. I have this Ferragamo hot-pink bag that I adore. My view was that I would carry it around only in spring. But it makes me so happy, I’m even now lugging it around … I mean, how can you be unhappy if you pick up a big pink bag?”

This sort of thing make Hillary Clinton very popular in fashion-mad New York City where everyone knows, or should know, that fashion is the second biggest money industry in NYC.

* * *

I just read a year 2000 edition of Us magazine with Barbra Streisand on the cover. (I was collecting my promotion stuff to send to the Harry Ransom Center of the University of Texas in Austin.)

Funny thing about magazines eleven years ago. This one boasted on the cover a Farewell Interview “The Personal Reasons Why Barbra Has Quit Performing Forever.”

Hmmm, let’s see. Wasn’t that Barbra in the year 2006 doing a concert tour and in 2009 she did a one-night-only at the Village Vanguard. Plus, just the other night, wasn’t that Barbra on the Grammy Awards? Yes, it was.

5 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I personally believe our “first families” should retire to an island in the Caribbean and never be seen or heard from ever again apart from their “revisionist” autobiographies which would at least give us the option of “shelving” them which most of us would like to do.

    Hillary Clinton gave an address on Tuesday at George Washington University and spoke of the fundamental right of people to protest and protest freely.  While someone in the audience silently protested by standing up and turning his back to her only to be knocked down and dragged out of the auditorium and then beaten by campus police.  His only comment was as he was being dragged out of the auditorium was  “This is America?”  Good question. 

    I think we should all be allowed to “chip in” by adding a dollar to our taxes each year to pay for the island .  We can call it the Presidential Exile Fund. 

  2. avatar Maggie W says:

    In re Hillary’s speech….protestor Ray McGovern has put his back to the speaker before in the Catholic church numerous times but without incident. He just stands there. Apparently Ray has political and religious issues , and this is his symbolic way of making them known. There is no indication he was beaten, but he was indeed dragged out and handcuffed which caused bleeding. This rough housing smacks of something that would occur at a Tea Party gathering. Since McGovern has the right to protest and he wasn’t making a scene, it seems he could have been ignored.
    I agree 100% with Hillary about the handbag. If a woman is happy carrying a potato sack and it meets her needs, why should anyone care? I don’t have a hot pink bag. Sounds like fun. Maybe I should look into that.

    • avatar Baby Snooks says:

      There is no indication he was beaten, but he was indeed dragged out and handcuffed which caused bleeding.


      And why was he dragged out and handcuffed? For protesting while Hillary spoke of his fundamental right to do so.  That speaks for itself. And speaks for Hillary Clinton.   And does not speak well of Hillary Clinton. Or of America.
      I am not interested in her fashion sense. I am interested in the hornet’s nest her State Department admittedly is stirring in the Arab world which may result in ruling families being replaced by ruling mullahs which will ensure that women in the Arab world will return to the Dark Ages of Islam. Particularly in Saudi Arabia.  That of course may be related to the announcement not long ago that once the current reserves that are being tapped for export are depleted, which may be depleted sooner than anyone cares to think about, the remainining reserves will not be tapped for export to ensure a supply of oil for the Saudi people for at least a century.

      Sounds like the “millions of lives for billions of barrels” policy is still the policy of our government.

      These are bad times getting worse. As those who have been to the grocery store in the past week already know.  Harper’s Bazaar might have focused on the average American woman who can’t afford a Ferragamo purse and who have little for groceries in the purse they once could afford.  Mindlessness has its place. It has no place in these times on the part of any goverment official. Particularly one who lost touch with the reality of the American people along with her husband quite a few milions of dollars ago. 

      I was polite about Liz’s previous column about the “power lunch” and said nothing but I will point out that what has really stirred up the hornet’s nest everywhere is this disparity in our society. The had-mores now have even more. The had-nothings now have even less. 

      And we have a president who promised hope and change who now has proposed cutting  $2.5 billion in utility assistance which helps our elderly as well as our poor keep their homes, the ones who still have one, heated in winter. While preserving tax cuts for the wealthy who know that in fact it “trickles up” rather than “trickles down.”  I can only imagine what Congress will actually cut off.  Probably $5 billion.  And sending the bill for it all as always, even with the cuts which pale in comparison to the military budget for the continued occupation of two countries we had and have no place occupying to begin with which is not being cut, to the middle-class. Believing the middle-class can continue to pay for the rich as well as the poor. The problem is Congress doesn’t realize that the middle-class is becoming part of the poor in this country.  What has “trickled down” that past 30 years is not economic stability for the middle-class. Just an ongoing dissolution of the middle-class.  Which can no longer pay for itself. Let alone the rich or the poor. 

      I can’t wait for next winter. No doubt our National Guard will be gunning down our elderly in the streets when they start rioting.  I suppose to the olligarchs, whom one has “power lunches” with, that at least will take care of part of the problem of funding Social Security. Just cut off their heat and then shoot them in the streets when they start rioting.

      Mindless fun is fun. We all need it. Hillary Clinton is mindless. But not fun. Neither are the oligarchs one has “power lunches” with.  Some of whom really belong in prison along with Bernie Madoff. Who apparently was a convenient scapegoat as well as the worst of the lot on Wall Street.

  3. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I meant to say that Bernie Madoff apparently was just the worst of the lot. I suspect quite a few are wishing the judge had ordered that his tongue be cut out.  Fortunately we don’t allow hat in this country. But if he continues to give interviews, well, you never know. 

  4. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I sure can kill a room as they say.  I often find people staring at me, or glaring at me to be more exact, at weddings when the minister says “speak now or forever hold your peace.”

    I’m always poilte at the wedding.  And sometimes during the divorce even though I could say “I told you so.”  I say “I told you so” a lot about politicians.  Particularly about the Clintons.  And about George W Bush.  Daddy Bush and Mamma Bush, well, pulled a fast one on me as they say. The Obamas almost did. I started questioning the “hopey, changey” thingy when he appoinated Rahmbo to run it all. He seems to have run it all into the ground as they say.

    As for what is unraveling in the Arab world, as opposed to unfolding, Farah Pahlavi made a comment about how we needed to be careful we didn’t allow history to repeat itself.  The group that was banned after it assassinated Anwar Sadat is now a recognized political party in Egypt. And most likely will take power in the elections.  And so it appears we are allowing history to repeat itself.  And possibly not just in Egypt.  Hisitory will prove us to have been wrong in not standing behind the Shah. And not standing behind Mubarak. 

    And that is not good for any of us. Particularly women.  Plunging countries into the Dark Ages of Islam in the name of democracy somehow just doesn’t cut it with Baby Snooks.
    And while I’m killing the room I’ve never really understood “celebrity auctions” or why anyone would want “_________’s” whatever.  I have one friend who wears another friend’s ring. Not to be catty but my one friend would never have given it to my other friend. And probably wasn’t too pleased with her buying it!.  Which may explain why she bought it.