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LIZ SMITH: Here's to The Luminaries Who Lunch ...

Here's to The Luminaries Who Lunch for Mike Nichols!
by Liz Smith
Wednesday, April 25, 2012


“THE BOMB!” 

Remember the Bomb?  No, not the bomb we are afraid the Iranians are making or the ones the North Koreans already have. No, that’s too scary.

I’m talking about “the bomb” they are always referring to in New York – the one that if they dropped it, would wipe out the theater, society, Wall Street VIPs, television, film, symphonies, ballet, art, literature, fashion and any of the other august groups so that we’d never see their like, again.
Well, I have used this expression so many times in writing a column for 40 odd years that I am reluctant to use it again.  And I must admit, that particular bomb has never dropped yet. There are always the special souls — the invited and the crème de la crème and all of its curdles. (You can’t just have the cream. You have to include a few curdles or there’s no audience. There are no chiefs without the Indians. Or Native Americans if you insist. Being from Texas, I still miss the good old Indians. There’d be no western epics without them.)

So I don’t want to drop “the bomb” idiom again but it is difficult to describe a big wonderful get-together lunch, where almost everybody is somebody, without it.

I give up. I’ll use it again. I mean what if “the bomb” dropped and wiped out  Barry Diller, Mike Nichols, Diane Sawyer, Anna Wintour, or the  distinguished cast of the current cultural historical Broadway hit Death of a Salesman.
What if we lost in one fell swoop the late playwright Arthur Miller’s relatives – Rebecca Miller and Joan Copeland, as well as Nora Ephron, Robert Benton, Jules Pfeiffer, Cynthia McFadden, Kurt Anderson, Scott Rudin, Arlene and Alan Alda, John Guare, Pete Peterson, Lynn and Bob Balaban, Michael Schulman who writes Talk of The Town for The New Yorker, and the genius playwright of our day and age – Tony Kushner. (My god, I love Tony Kushner almost more than anybody I know! And his movie about Abraham Lincoln via Stephen Spielberg is coming.)

Let’s add Gail Collins of the Times whose book As Texas Goes… comes out in June, plus Whoopi Goldberg, John Turturro, Cynthia Nixon, Dame Judi Dench, Robin Roberts, Lara Spencer, Tina Brown, Marlo Thomas, Bob Carnavale, Nancy Coyne who creates and runs Broadway’s fantastic advertising, Annie Roth, Frances McDormand and Bill Hader of Saturday Night Live who plays Charlie Rose on TV, and what about losing Charlie himself? (He was there too.)

And “the bomb” would take the super gifted  talented Philip Seymour Hoffman who is the star of Death of a Salesman and what would I do without him?  I was the first person ever to interview him when he was unknown and how come nobody ever mentions in his repertoire, the early film he did  playing with Robert de Niro? Phillip was a drag queen who taught a stroke-affected cop how to sing in the little movie Flawless. But never mind!

Philip was there although he should have been at home resting for his arduous stint every night.

I just know I forgot a lot of famous someones. Well, if the bomb dropped it wouldn’t be good for acting, playwriting, television, journalism, the Internet, TV talk shows, or anything else. As for fashion, Anna Wintour would be gone with only Diane von Furstenberg surviving. (Diane, one of the hosts of this fabulous lunch was away traveling. But she sent a loving letter.) 

And I’d be gone too. But in such great company!

(Oh, you may wonder what this lunch was for? I think it was just a love gesture for Death of a Salesman, which is most likely up in all the Tony categories, and it was to celebrate Mike Nichols achievement in bringing it back.)

So, I am glad that for once I eschewed eating a hot dog on the street for the fabulous, perfect lunch the Four Seasons on East 52nd Street laid on. It was just great.

Still, if “the bomb” had dropped it wouldn’t be a total loss because Diane von Furstenberg would be able to assemble a new “if the bomb dropped” crowd.
Do you remember Zach Wahls? His video testimony before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee about how he grew up with two mothers became YouTube’s most watched political video of 2011. (It received over 16,000,000 viewers.)

He will be in town tomorrow, April 26, at 7 p.m., along with his moms, who are Terry Wahls and Jackie Reger, at Barnes & Noble’s 2289 Broadway.  This promises to be an unusual seminar, moderated by co-author Bruce Littlefield. It kicks off the book My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family.

Contact Liz Smith here.

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