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Night 3: Let's All Do the Hop

By Michael Gowan

Wednesday night saw a plethora of industry parties, a veritable cornucopia of revelry and libations. I managed to make it to three on my way to oblivion.

Before I get into the details, let's sit and chat about why these parties are held--what they're really about. There's this thing known as networking, and it has nothing to do with hubs, routers or autonegotiating RJ-45 jacks. We all deal with each other on a daily basis, trying to get the information we need, trying not to give the information everyone really wants. We communicate mostly by phone, but even that level of contact often ends up as voice mails and e-mails. The industry party is a chance to place a voice with a face and try to build some kind of more personal relationship.

Or so they say. Seriously, when an eight-piece swing band plays in a tiny club, conversations are relegated to single sentence shouts in which you only hear every third word. It can be fun trying to put meaning to the words you hear: when a question like "I really like the new G3s. Do you?" sounds like "I! ... like! ... you!", the options for incorrect actions are infinite. In the end, networking is an excuse for free food and booze.

Off to the parties then. First stop: the MetaCreation's Kai soiree for KPT 5 and PhotoSoap 2.0. Held at SFMOMA, San Francisco's modern art museum, this high falutin' affair actually was a networker's dream. A couple of hundred industry insiders and a lot of press mingled while holding a glass of wine and munching on puffy hors d'ouvres. Kai Krause himself presided over the event, with news cameras rolling throughout. I felt so "in."

After a brief sojourn for dinner, I made my way into the SOMA district for GoLive's farewell bash. The company, recently purchased by Adobe, decided on a different approach for their venue: a city loft. To spice up the evening, several drag queens walked the floor, and a sushi chef fed the masses. By the time I arrived, the party had pretty much deteriorated into chaos. The wait for a drink was long enough to make me actually think twice about whether I really wanted one. It was amusing to see a few people from Iowa standing next to a queen in an evening gown.

Another hop on San Francisco's public transit system landed me in the Mission District at SGI's Make Out Room party. While an interesting name for a bar, it's a bit of a misnomer. Sure, bras hang from the antlers on the wall, but so does a bear skin. The swing band and full open bar made this my favorite for the evening. The most enthralling thing at the party, besides a wager to see if I could tell the difference between a Ketel One and tonic and a Stoli and tonic, was SGI's new 1,600 by 1,024 flat panels. I guess these parties aren't just about getting liquored up. They're about getting liquored up and searing high-res images of frost-covered berries into my brain.

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