It's becoming a holiday tradition: Google announces a holiday party for Silicon Valley reporters at its Mountain View headquarters, and Valleywag's invite gets mysteriously lost in Gmail's ever-canny spam filters. The invitation for the December 8 event, held again at the Googleplex's Cafe Slice, is nontransferable, so we can't accept any pass-along invites, alas.But here's a clever idea: The RSVP form allows you to suggest a colleague in your place. It would be a pity if jealous colleagues at, say, the New York Times filled out the form for John Markoff and suggested they attend in his place. I just declined on behalf of AllThingsD's Kara Swisher — though she could always crash as the guest of her wife, Google executive Megan Smith. Here's the full invite:
We don't know if our tipster was drunk or if the event got relocated after we wrote about it, but Lead21's election-night viewing party, which we had heard was due to be held at the house of Facebook board member Peter Thiel, is now taking place at Jones, a sports bar and steakhouse in San Francisco near Thiel's Marina-district mansion. (The rationale for the locale: Jones has more televisions for watching the results.) Thiel is a major player in Lead21, and has hosted previous election-night parties for San Francisco's Republican minority, we're told, but he may skip this one because of his travel plans. Still, if you want to get a gander of guests of honor Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina, the tech CEOs turned McCain advisors, show up at Jones starting at 5 p.m. The bar remains open to the public during the event, so you're not technically crashing. (Photo by AP/Dharapak)
Bebo founders Michael and Xochi Birch cashed out in the nine figures with the social network's $850 million purchase by AOL. According to the invite for their farewell party, they'll be retiring to a humble, quiet cabin (which, in the Bay Area housing market, should set them back a million or two). What they aren't spending their windfall on?
At this very moment, a guest tells me, Google executive Marissa Mayer is throwing a "Blahnikfest" to celebrate her birthday and the premiere of Sex and the CIty. She's rented out a theater at San Francisco's downtown Century multiplex for her friends. Is Mayer our Carrie Bradshaw? Quite possibly, though Mayer's Four Seasons penthouse is more fabulous than the Sex and the City scribe. Like the heroine, she's found love in the hunky form of Zachary Bogue — her Mr. Big, though Mayer's the one with the far more impressive resume. She turns 33 today, as we've noted, and while she normally skips birthday parties during odd years — a "quirk," she says — Bogue was out of town today. The party features cakes the exact size and shape of Bradshaw's preferred shoes, made by Shinmin Li, the owner of the Mayer-backed I Dream of Cake bakery, as well as cupcakes flown in from New York's Magnolia Bakery. The invite:
CARLSBAD, CA — I wasn't just eighty-sixed, folks. No, I was eight-D6'd. There I was, charming my way through the crowd at the Wall Street Journal's D6 conference — why hello, Sir Howard Stringer of Sony! Oh, was that Steve Case? — when a woman announced herself as "in-house security" and informed me that "the client" had asked that I be shown the door. "The client" being Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, the conference organizers, and "the door" actually just the way to the hotel bar, where I'm having a lovely fruity beverage. And Swisher and Mossberg were too late with the bum rush. I'd already been working my camera for hours. While Bill Gates bores attendees with a preview of Windows Seven, Microsoft's latest attempt to annoy the majority of computer users, you can enjoy the snapshots I took. Among the nerdspotting: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Max Levchin of Slide.
It's true: Facebook held a prom for its employees in San Francisco last night at the Metreon. The shopping mall-cineplex's fourth floor was tastefully decorated with white flowers, and the gathered Facebookers were dressed up — and so youthful, you might think it was an actual prom, save for the booze being poured at the open bars. (Ubiquitous photographee Julia Allison, who was invited, did not attend, staying in New York for a book party instead.) Why throw a prom? Facebook is going all-out for prom season this year, with a tie-in to Sony's Prom Night and a prom-dress partnership with Sears. Why not reward employees working on prom marketing campaigns with a throwback prom of their own?
Google has asked San Francisco for permission to host a "picnic-style dinner" for 1,400 sales employees on June 11. What's really pathetic: Google wants its salespeople to boogie down after hours to the sounds of U2 and Journey. Not the actual U2 and Journey, mind you, but cover bands. Neighbors aren't charmed, and not just by having their backyards used at the set for lightly inebriated lip dubs of "Don't Stop Believing." But the people who bring in Google's billions should ask why, if Larry Page is such pals with Bono, he wasn't able to deliver the real thing for their park-wide party.
Engage, the latest hookup site to spin itself as a social experience, doesn't want bisexual people. New users are prompted to decide if they want to be shown the profiles of eligible men, or women, only. Bisexuality may have gone out of style in the '70s, but what if you're just slutty? Even Facebook allows for wanting boys and girls at the same time. Maybe someone can offer the Engage crew a demo at their Love 2.0 pickup party tonight.
After the line to get into PureVolume Ranch hit capacity around 2 a.m., the RVIP Lounge played host to a raucously geeky afterparty. As we idled outside the Hilton, this fellow from Pay Per Post, a company even Arrington thinks is evil, tried — and failed — to board. Party maestro Jonathan Grubb denied him. The grounds? Part of the fun of owning an RV is that you can decide who not to share it with. The dude's response, after pouting that he "wasn't interested in [Grubb's] RV anyway"? Slinking out of his Pay Per Post t-shirt and attempt to sneak in later. I snapped this photo of him hovering in the doorway, mid-fail, for your pleasure.
We don't consider MySpace's new widget specs a platform. And we don't think the people who hack together interactive MySpace page decorations qualify as developers. But we agree on this much: MySpace knows how to throw a party. The MySpace Developer Platform launch is at 625 2nd Street, at 6:30 p.m. Other sites are giving away exclusive invites, but we're just issuing a license to crash. Tell them Valleywag sent you, and give Tom our love.
Herb Caen's typewriter is gone from Moose's, but the recently remodeled North Beach hangout still hosts the beloved columnist's spirit, I'm convinced. So I picked the spot for drinks in honor of Megan "Leggy" McCarthy, our party correspondent who's headed to some print rag in SoMa. (In Soviet Russia, Wired gets you!) Drinking starts at 4 p.m. Drunk blogging starts at 4:15 p.m. RSVP on Facebook, or just show up with a juicy piece of gossip dripping from your lips.
Here's an invite that certainly wasn't shared with me on Facebook: The social network is having its holiday party tomorrow evening at Bay Meadows. Bay Meadows? The San Mateo venue strikes me as about as far as you can get from the hot startup's still edgy self-image, defined by the commissioned graffiti on its walls. A racetrack clubhouse is where it's spending some of the $300 million it just raised from Microsoft and Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing. Perhaps Facebook's employees are aging even faster than we thought.
Barry Diller likes to talk up how New Yorky his Manhattan-headquartered IAC is, but in fact, his most important online businesses are based in California, like Ask.com. San Francisco-area IAC workers are having their holiday party tonight at the Independent, 628 Divisadero St. "Bonus points to anyone who videos themselves gaining entry as Vimeo staff wearing their best American Apparel hoodie and art-skool glasses," says a Grinch of a tipster.
Your plans tonight: Talk money, social graphs, or Belgian beers. Or, crash a press-only bash at the Googleplex. All in tonight's Valleywag Calendar.
Social network Bebo, which, like Hillary Clinton is more popular in the U.K. than at home, is hosting a breakfast Wednesday morning at the Metreon's second-floor Action Theater for an event at which they promise to announce "news that will impact the developer community and Bebo's 40 million users worldwide." That smells like a platform announcement to me! But, wait, isn't Bebo part of Google's OpenSocial consortium? Coffee, croissants, and controversy. Eminently worth an 8 a.m. wakeup call.