Hillary's Book Party | Mariah and Derek | Vandross and Lennox | Dan Rather's PR Gal
Senator Hillary Clinton got the rock-star treatment last night at the swanky Four Seasons restaurant. Simon & Schuster, her publisher, took the place over to celebrate the monumental success of her $8 million memoir, Living History. It was without a doubt the hottest ticket in town.
And no, Martha Stewart, though invited, did not show up. The most interesting guest: former Clinton press secretary-turned-ABC commentator George Stephanopolous. He came with his wife, Alexandra Wentworth , but stayed away, it seemed, from the Clintons.
Several people remarked how strange it was that he turned up, since Stephanopolous has not only been highly critical of the Clintons, but is also thought to have betrayed their trust in his own, earlier book.
The well-heeled, the high-heeled, and even some hoi polloi smushed their way into the famous Pool Room (there's a large, glistening square pool at its center) to meet Clinton and her husband Bill (he used to be President).
Everyone was offered the chance before the proceedings began to buy a copy of Living History outside the restaurant, in the Seagram's building lobby, for 30 smackeroos, no discounts, cash only please.
Inside, the great and gorgeous gossipeuse Liz Smith held court in a corner with ABC's Cynthia McFadden, Barbara Walters, and former Texas governor Ann Richards.
Elsewhere in the crowd were some easily recognizable faces like singer Judy Collins, actress Marlo Thomas, Chicago producer Marty Richards, and rap impresario Russell Simmons.
Famed New York restaurateur Drew Nieporent — who was third on line to get books signed — was overheard complaining to New York magazine editor Caroline Miller that the magazine's listing section doesn't recognize his beloved neighborhood, Tribeca.
"We had those two big towers down there," he said, "and you still don't have a listing for our restaurants. It's all called Below 14th St." Miller squinted at him and promised unconvincingly to ask someone about it.
There were a lot of media cognoscenti too: Harry Evans and Tina Brown, New York Daily News editor Ed Kosner, former NBC correspondent Richard Valeriani with his PR guru wife Kathie Berlin , and so forth.
Former New York City mayoral candidate Mark Green stood in line to get a book signed for his daughter. People who you thought wouldn't care about a signed book by anyone, let alone Hillary Clinton, strained for a moment in her vicinity.
And then: the Clintons. And I do mean both of them. Bill, looking tanned, rested, and fit in a stunning dark suit, happily signed copies of Living History that were offered to him.
He signed not on the blank white page in the front, but right on the title page, at the bottom, under where his wife would ultimately sign the same copies. The former president made some introductory remarks before the Senator took the podium.
He called Living History — which details to some extent trouble in his marriage — "an accurate, true account" and "a good story well told."
Then Bill stood off to the side, on the steps leading up to the podium, and seemed to glow with pride while Hillary spoke. She thanked three people — him, her mother, and Chelsea (whose absence was explained by her mom — she's taking exams at Oxford).
Hillary said after signing books all day, all week and all night: "My hand feels like it's going to fall off." She told the crowd she hoped they'd read the book "and get past the index."
I asked Mrs. Senator Clinton, who greeted me and everyone in the room warmly with a pretty impressive recall of names, if this was not a vindication of her.
Simon & Schuster announced at the party that their print run is up to 1.6 million, with 600,000 copies sold already. She was signing books in the center of a semi-frightening crowd, standing, with little security or order to the madness.
"I think so," Mrs. Clinton replied. Was she enjoying her newfound status as rock star? "Rock star, I don't know," she said, but her poker face was replaced by a huge smile. "I am enjoying it," she said with a huge goofy smile and went right on signing books.
It was a busy night for Mariah Carey, too. On the eve of leaving for South Korea and the beginning of her world tour, Carey had a reunion last night with an old beau: New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter.
The occasion was a benefit for Jeter's charity, the Turn 2 Foundation, at the Regent Ballroom. Jeter invited a bunch of his Yankee mates, including manager Joe Torre , to be part of the festivities.
Mariah, stunningly draped in a revealing vintage Halston gown and sporting a few real baubles of her own (diamonds from Harry Winston), came at the request of Derek's sister, with whom she is still friendly.
What happened when the two former lovers met?
"Derek announced all the celebs in the audience," says my source, "running down the list matter of factly. He called out Mariah's name just like that, Mariah Carey, as if nothing had gone on between them. But you could feel the buzz. It was like Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio meeting up again."
Joe Torre apparently got caught rolling his eyes when Mariah's name was called. The reason: when she and Jeter dated, the player had a bad season.
"Since Derek just broke up with Jordana Brewster, Joe doesn't want a repeat of that," said my source.
But it's not possible anyway: Carey leaves Wednesday night for her world tour, which lands in the U.S. on July 26 and then goes on for two months.
She spent her last night of freedom at Mr. Chow's last night in Manhattan after the Jeter reunion, dining with Roc-a-fella Records head Damon Dash, plus assorted friends and her nephew Sean, a Harvard law grad who just started work at the very prestigious firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
Atlantic Records chairman Ahmet Ertegun gave the laudatory introductory speech the other night for Clive Davis' induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Davis accepted his award, but unlike most 70-year-olds, this Lifetime Achievement Award is not the end. Hardly.
On the new Nielsen/SoundScan album chart, Davis will have two new albums in the top 5 — by Luther Vandross and Annie Lennox . Vandross may have sold something like 350,00 albums last week — three times what his last album sold in its first week.
Anyone else would have retired with his millions by now. But no, while Davis was being applauded in the Marriott Marquis ballroom for his 30 years as a hit-maker, he was taking over the charts again!
Vandross and Lennox are just the beginning. Next week, the beautiful and talented R&B singer Monica will release her new album also on Davis's J Records. It looks like a hit.
Then, in August, Alicia Keys — the first J star — will put out her sophomore release. Again, expect a huge hit.
Some time in September, J Records will then issue the debut album by American Idol star Ruben Studdard. Until then, J and RCA — which are both under Davis's domain — will have to live on Studdard and Clay Aiken's debut singles. They are set to be Nos. 1 and 2 on the singles sales chart this coming week, breaking, if you will, records.
At the Songwriters Dinner, Davis was surrounded by his adoring gang of stars — including Rod Stewart (whose Great American Songbook album was Davis's last big hit), Monica, Lennox, Barry Manilow, Keys, and up and comer Gavin DeGraw (whose debut album will launch big in August).
I told you yesterday that Davis told Studdard, "Welcome to the family." This is what he meant.
The New York Post's Page Six is a little cheeky today, reporting on Kim Akhtar's dance show last week. Is she a CBS employee as they suggest?
In fact, Kim has been Dan Rather's loyal personal publicist for years and years. That would be the reason so many top brass turned out to see her do her thing flamenco dancing at Taperia Madrid the other night.
Page Six does identify Kim as owning a boutique business in Soho called Garde Robe, which organizes closets. This might explain why, last April in New York magazine's Best of New York issue, Dan Rather chose Garde Robe as the "Best Secret Service."
"This service does a cyber-inventory of my wardrobe — they photograph, catalogue, and store everything I don't wear every day," he said. "With a simple click of a button, they'll deliver what I want when I need it. It just makes my life easier."
No, he didn't mention that his publicist owned the company. Maybe he wanted to stay "in the closet" on that one.