“Patrick, can we take a picture?” said a voice in the crowd encircling Patrick McMullan as he autographed copies of his new book, KISS KISS, a pictorial history of the glitterati locking lips.
“Yes. I can dish it out, but I can take it,” Mr. McMullan said, looping an arm around the admiring guest. “A lot of photographers, they can’t take it, but I can.”
Last week’s party was at the transgenderly named new bar-restaurant PRE:POST. Its owner, Carlo Seneca, laid out his vision. “We want a high-end clientele. We want to be open ’til like 8 in the morning, serving food. Whoever it is picks up a score by 4 a.m., come back here, start drinking, score again.”
Well, score! Art dealer Michel Witmer sat with John Paulus, who last month claimed in the press that he had very adult encounter with American Idol funboy Clay Aiken in a Quality Inn. Mr. Paulus was, for once, tight-lipped. “Journalism is a nasty business,” said the charming Mr. Witmer. His family has owned The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other papers for “150 years,” he said. “There are lawsuits all the time.”
Pairs and pairs! Along a spine of cozy couples-only booths sat diet guru Nikki Haskell with the artist LeRoy Neiman. “I’m in the book with LeRoy,” Ms. Haskell said. “There’s a picture of us, taken in 1995 at Tattoo–we’re just friends.”
Mona Wyatt said she loved the book, particularly since she’s not in it. “No evidence,” she smiled. “I’m a big fan of no evidence. I am an international woman of mystery. I say that jokingly. My cell phone number ends in 001.” Mr. McMullan pulled her into a cluster of guests for another round of flashes.
Jay McInerney toured through. Tina Louise–Ginger from Gilligan’s Island–thrilled. Inna de Silva, that comely Cossack renegade, pulled The Transom down, practically onto her lap, to discuss bipartisan politics. “I’m a right-winger,” she said. “Being that, it may be …. ” What?
Tall, dark and apparently single no more, Alex Michel, the original Bachelor, sat beside his date for the evening, flipping through pages and looking smitten. “They met this weekend at a jazz club,” said a guest who had been seated across from the reality TV vet and mate. “She didn’t know who he was.” But who does?
Nightclubbing darling Zelda Kaplan, whose 90th birthday party this June will be hosted by the indefatigable Mr. McMullan, arrived surrounded by handsome young men. She was working a sartorial jungle love theme. “You know what I’m wearing?” she said. “It’s hand-loomed tribal cloth.” Her red-and-black dress had a big hat to match, which Ms. Kaplan wore with her staple owl-rimmed glasses. “Do you know what this is?” She showed her ring, a splendid matte gold butterfly. “The fertility symbol of the Bobo tribe in Burkina Faso, West Africa,” she said.
On a lavishly appointed banquet table, a semi-nude pair of models, the woman bare-chested, played Adam and Eve. Mr. Neiman seemed unfazed. “It’s not a criticism,” he said. “I’m just saying, I still like a little comfort–I don’t like that kind of comfort over there.”