W Magazine, in last month's issue, declares San Francisco to be the last bastion of High Society , by which it means only that the city has its share of over-priced events ostensibly in the name of charity, at which frozen-faced women make tedious small talk with closeted men carrying small dogs. Nothing to do with Silicon Valley? You'd be surprised which tech moguls accept their invitations. Here are the three names you need to know, and their Valley connections.
Trevor Traina is the rising star of San Francisco's elite social scene. Traina, stepson of novelist Danielle Steele, left for Seattle in the 1990s to seek tech fortune. After selling Compare.net, a comparison shopping engine, to Microsoft in 1999, he reverted to type. With San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, he's an investor in Matrix, the fancy nighclub. In the nightlife business, however, he's overshadowed by his brother, Todd, who is a partner of Ashton Kutcher and Wilmer Valderrama in various L.A. restaurants. Traina's big social score, last year, was a dinner for Diane von Furstenberg, the fashion designer married to gay internet mogul, Barry Diller. His old geek buddies are still waiting for their invitations.
Denise Hale's not nearly as rich as her competitors, but compensates by co-opting the new Valley money. According to W Magazine, Terry Semel of Yahoo was one of the guests at her dinner at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in October. And she is the hostess who introduced Larry Page and his girlfriend, Lucy Southworth, to San Francisco society. Larry Page won't make it, said one of his snobby dinner party companions.
Vanessa Getty married into San Francisco's leading old-money family and, until Trevor Traina came along, was the unrivalled queen of the charity circuit. The Gettys and the Trainas now trade snubs, according to W. In Vanessa Getty's camp? Melanie Ellison, the Oracle founders wife, is a close friend and sits on the board of San Francisco Bay Humane Friends. Which helps explain why Oracle would provide tech support for the animal charity's new pet adoption site.