Thorns on the Viner

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • March 15, 2005

by Karen Feld


D.C.’s bad boy Michael Viner, who left his hometown for Beverly Hills, Calif., many years ago, was back in town Friday evening for close buddy Larry King’s annual Cardiac Foundation dinner at the Ritz Carlton. The Buzz has learned that D.C. was just a quick stop for Viner – who’s in the midst of divorce proceedings and custody battle with his wife and ex-business partner, actress Deborah Raffin – before heading to The London Book Fair.


There, the former New Millennium publisher had a chance, but silent, encounter with mystery publisher Otto Penzler, who won a $2.8 million breach-of-contract suit from Viner two years ago, but still hasn’t collected. Viner has had his share of financial ups and downs – he may be best known for launching Dove Books-on-tape.

Spotted at posh hotels and restaurants on two continents, Viner is hardly acting like he’s filed for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy (and that’s before any proposed change in the law).In addition to Penzler, his pages of creditors include: Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water; Kinko’s; Airborne Express; UPS; Lexis-Nexis; The City of Beverly Hills; The City of Los Angeles; the IRS; as well as a host of lawyers; Warren Cowan Public Relations; writer Amy Tan; and book publishers, including Ballantine and The New York Times.


Gotta turn those red states blue

President Bush

Nothing was off-limits, from the chorus dressed as pilgrims singing “I’m Proud To Be An American” from Karl Rove’s secret lab in the basement of the White House to a skit lampooning Al Gonzales and Condi Rice’s luck to be in the Right place at the Right time at the Right hand of the Right guy.

And that Right guy, The President, had the last word when he lampooned the Democratic presidential campaign director. Talking about North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, “We convince him to hold a presidential election,” said President Bush, “and then send Bob Shrum over to help him.”


Style, not substance

It’s rare that anyone in Washington throws a party without a raison d’etre. But on occasion there seems to be a disconnect between the party and the reason for it. That was the case twice Thursday evening. Following the opening of Edward Albee’s “The Goat” at Arena Stage, theater-goers munching at the reception found what appeared to be goat cheese along with the pasta on the buffet table. This was served immediately after the bloody scene in which the distraught wife drags onstage the object of her husband’s love – Sylvia, the goat she murdered. Yum.

True style, although the underlying theme, was hard to find at the pre-launch party at Oya for DC Style, a new glossy creation of Philadelphian Dana Spain-Smith scheduled for May publication. Dana is the founder of Philadelphia Style magazine. DC Style wannabes waited outside behind ropes before crowding in to drink champagne splits and rum shots – but scarcely an outstanding, or even passable, hors d’oeuvre, and enough loud rock music to insure that revelers could look but not communicate. Stylish coats – furs and all – were heaped on the floor in a back room. It was fortunate that the Washington “A” list didn’t show for this one.

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