Last night, the country's media-tech-social scene collided in something called The Webutante Ball. Instead of forging an alternate universe in a Big Bang-esque explosion, it thankfully existed for one evening atop the Empire Hotel. We braved it for you.
Held on a rainy Friday under an enclosed rooftop a stone's throw from Lincoln Center, The Webutante Ball was the sordid brainchild of URLesque blogger Jessica Amason and Gawker Media video maven Richard Blakeley, the two of whom are the co-authors of forthcoming blog-to-book-deal staple This Is Why You're Fat and an egregiously, irritatingly cute capitalist couple. It was, for all intents and purposes, a prom for internet, tech, and media dorks. There was a ballot, and there were nominees. There were winners! And there was a rope, with a line.
I braved the entire thing with my hot date/cover fire, Gawker Party Crash photog Mo Pitz, who was incidentally - and, at least to her, incredulously - a balloted nominee. "I have absolutely no idea how I ended up on that ballot. I'm decidedly not internet-famous." Oh, honey. You are now. Also on the ballot, former Gawker Mascot Andrew Krucoff, who declined to show for the festivities: "I'm celebrating shabbat," Krucoff noted. "Also, fuck that noise," he added. Onward: to the gallery we go!
Former and still-sometimes HuffPo writer, Dan Abrams Kool-Aid Drinker, and author of her upcoming and hotly anticipated book-deal book Jew-ish, Rachel Sklar, gets "man"-handled by her date, the VP of some telecommunicating tech thing called LifeLinks, Ash Kalb. This was staged.
Former Flavorpill editor and Double-X contributor, Anna Balkrishna with New York Post writer Justin Rocket Silverman. I asked Rocket - yes, Rocket - about his recent story for the Post in which he covered the meditative art of fingerbanging. Silverman instructed Balkrishna and I on proper performance, which is apparently akin to the "REDRUM" finger painting from The Shining.
Webutante Ball co-founder Jessica Amason is the "Yearbook Girl" of this entire enterprise. "Also, make sure you don't credit me as 'Blakeley's girlfriend,' goddamnit." She then grabbed me and hung me over the roof of the Empire in a Suge-Knight esque manner to ensure I understood what she was saying. Point taken.
Roger Wu, the founder and president of Klickable.TV, gives us his best entrepreneurial smile. He just gave a bunch of Vimeo kids a curbside beating and left them for dead on the third floor of the Empire.
Nerve and ASSME writer Drew Grant conspires with Yalie and Dan Abrams henchman (yes, that is what a Dan Abrams henchman looks like) Andrew Cedotal to feed me information regarding the sexual workings of fired media elites, which they will then use for profit when taken to corporations who could give a shit about the bold line between journalism, market research, and publicity. They are the future.
Julia Allison showed up in an Escalade, wearing a crown, and walked around the party as such. I have nothing to add here. She didn't win anything, luckily, and went home the same person she arrived as. Also, she came with an unnamed foot solider.
Regular Party Crash contributor Melissa Gira Grant, with former Valleywag editor, the dangerously ginger Nick Douglas. "I'm off the fucking job, get away," Gira delicately noted. Douglas smiled politely and retreated to his iPhone where he used his Pot 'O Gold app to make sure nobody had taken his treasure in the last two minutes.
Guess what party these people aren't with. No, really, guess.
On the left, Former Gawker Intern Mary Pilon, with Web Personae and Webutante nominee Anthony DeRosa on the right. Mary went from being a Gawker Intern to working for the Wall Street Journal! Anthony does something with tech something or other and blogs about the Mets. Neither would take a picture without me in it, so I happily obliged. Suckers.
Jake Hurwitz of College Humor, kissing sweet nothings into the face of College Humor's Ben Joseph. They take a bunch of these kisses and make laughs out of them! Whee! Barry Diller actually encourages this kind of thing.
The winner! College Humor's Amir Blumenfeld is the King of the Webutante Ball, because he fixed the vote! As if having his own MTV show and web series weren't enough, he and the College Humor people had to come and win this shit, too. His queen, ridiculous Jewess Cutie and fellow College Humor startlet, Sarah Schneider, poses with him here. Barry Diller doesn't just encourage, but mandates this kind of thing. Well done, kids. Pictured with him here: an unnamed friend.
Richard Blakeley takes Boyfriend Duty incredibly seriously.
MediaBistro reporter Hunter Walker tries to scoop something out of Random Night Out photographer Nick McGlynn. McGlynn's doing some startup with socialite creature thing Adrien Field, and Hunter, intrepid reporter that he is, probably wanted to know what planet Field is from.
They don't care about the Young Folks; they're here to sap them of their youth and enter one of their heads through a portal, like the end of Being John Malkovich, except the low-rent version.
Brah! My thoughts exactly.
Cnet reporter Caroline McCarthy is shocked - shocked! - that there are people here taking pictures. This is also the face she makes before she turns into Golum, takes the camera and my notes, leaps off the roof and into her batmobile, where she goes home and tirelessly reports the comings and goings of the rest of these people for a living. Princeton grad. Princeton. Grad.
Foursquare Mayor of Kensington, Brooklyn, New York Press and ASSME writer Matt "Slim Thug" Harvey is being properly identified in this picture.
Gawker Media business something-or-other Scott Kidder wants to know what's in his teeth, and if you could get it out, please, so he could then latch his fangs on to you and suck your will to invoice him for services rendered out through your neck. This is why Denton pays him the big bucks, insert Bloodcopy joke here.
Blogger and Media Maven Brian Van wants to know why everyone wants his picture. It's because he's the one guy wearing sunglasses inside. That being said, this was probably the place to do it, as it was maybe the least egregious display of jocular self-seriousness in the house.
Esquire's matrimonial expert Matt Shepatin was just given some BHG. It's like GHB, but instead of knocking you the fuck out, it makes you all too aware of your surroundings, which can leads to blackouts and unconscious episodes that eventually render you both useless and clinging to the floor of a J-Train, talking to a cat-strewn BagLady about the future of digital media.
Richard Blakeley's Delta Force of terrifying interns. They sit around all day and pick out video clips like monkeys pick coffee beans from trees in far away countries, and then bring them back down to Blakeley. Some coffee-picking monkeys eat the beans and then shit them out for their coffee-harvesting masters; luckily, Blakeley doesn't ask them to do that for him. Yet.
The Founding Couple of The Webutante Ball, together. I asked them, in all seriousness, why they were doing this. Blakeley kept his mouth shut, while Jessica kinda explained. Was it for money, to generate book sales buzz? "Eh, kinda." Why, then? "These people probably didn't go to prom, or never had a chance at being elected king or queen. Now they do. Also, this scene's more or less exactly like high school, no matter what level you're on. It makes perfect sense." But WHY? "Because we're sick of the same parties. We wanted to make people dress up for a change. We needed to class it up." Despite her attempts, these people - myself included - are all circlejerky, pompous, and declasse. But they got drunk on a rooftop bar uptown, which was actually a nice change from Tom and Jerry's. Sigh. All's fair in love and social media.
Party Crash photog and Webutante nominee Mo Pitz is drinking away the sorrow of losing. Ha! Just kidding! She's drinking away the sorrow of being my date.