Thursday, April 26, 2001

The WONderful world of Webby

It used to come but just once a year. However, 2001 is the year in which Webby afficionadoes, amoureux and advocates can celebrate the Webby experience at least three times: Thursday, April 26th, at the Emporio Armani store in New York City; Thursday, May 3rd, at the Armani store in San Francisco; and the full-fledged delightful event itself on Wednesday, July 18th.

Walking into the Emporio, it's not easy to contain a sense of excitement. And when you're greeted by a row of models in Armani finery, atop five platforms, the cool factor in the air is thick.

On the 5th and 6th floors, more blue lighting, blue votives and Webby Awards iconography lit the areas, creating a cool, calming effect. I was greeted by a tray of blue-colored, martini-like drinks and the stunning International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS) Director Maya Draisin (in a gorgeous pink ensemble, with long, flowing, curly locks) and IADAS Creative Director and Founder of the Webby Awards Tiffany Shlain (in a hip black Outfit, with long blond locks put up in artful pigtails). And just a bit further into the area was a strong sampling of the who's who of the SF scene - and a bit of the NY scene too. Arriving at about the same time was American Museum of the Moving Image Curator of Digital Media Carl Goodman and his wife attorney Jennifer Weiner. They were happy to report that their lovely daughter, Olivia, is the nicest New Yorker around! i-traffic Account Director Michael Domican and EON Company Marketing VP Melissa Grossman were enjoying some champagne. NYNMA's Director of Educational Programs Ellen Auwarter, ravishing in her red suit, stopped for a picture with Maya, Tiffany, Saturn Network's Samantha Saturn and NYNMA Consultant Steve Eisnenberg.

I popped downstairs to check out the floor where the DJ was stationed along with another bar and a large white room lined with hip, white-leather ottomans. While sampling some tasty, sugar-coated nuts and sipping champagne, I chatted with IADAS Academy Coordinator David-Michel Davies, who was as tall and dashing as ever in his Slate blue-grey suit and charming accent! Rachel Lehman-Haupt (a media type) in a slinky maroon cocktail dress was flanked by Business Week's Spencer Ante in a nice taupe suit jacket and StarMedia's Erin McCarthy, who wore a class black cocktail dress. ChickClick's Jennifer Eno, in a wildly bright pink, zebra-like dress, came over to give them a hug and to say "hello."

Back upstairs, the crowd kept flowing in like bees to honey and many were taking advantage of the fine spring night air to step out on the patio. Surrounded by blue-glass torcheres, sipping blue cocktails in torchere-like Glasses, and nibbling on a vegetable samosas or a fried plantain chips the size of a whole plantain, more uber trendies caught up with old friends and made new ones. F*cked Company BMOC Philip Kaplan was a shining star under the Manhattan stars in his gleaming-white, three-piece Versace suit. I chatted with him, Jennifer Romolini (formerly of and The Post's Joseph Gallivan for a bit before turning my attentions back inside and catching Mark Stahlman and Debbie Newman enjoying the evening's festivities. Jordan Shlain (brother of Tiffany) was also sporting a fine, cream-colored suit and keeping himself as busy as the ever-appropos host chatting with guests. president and CEO Emily Hofstetter was looking divine in a fur-like wrap. Seth Price introduced me to Jack Welde; GoCard President Alan Wolan introduced me to PointStaff Founder and CFO Leonard Linsker, and The Sabatier Group's Michael Covitt introduced me to MAK Communications LLC's Mal Kahn. Digerati Ed Bennett arrived and told us about his upcoming album, as well as other musical ventures. Stay tuned for more info on this new must-have CD!

Vivid Studios Co-founder and Author ("Experience Design 1") Nathan Shedroff and I spoke at length about the sociology of the Internet industry and culture, and the similarities and differences between the SF and NY scenes. His book is out now, and if you have even an inkling of interest in design and today's new aesthetic, you should check it out. The unofficial after-party was in his W Hotel suite (1015), rumored to be complete with a Jacuzzi and live mariachi band! Off in the corner F*cked Company's Philip and's Rufus Griscom were ceremoniously "married" after crushing glass underfoot. Just when things were heating up, more amazing antics arrived in the devilish Alan Cumming, last year's emcee for the award show. Joined by his "handler" Carmine Lucariello, they did the kiss-kiss with Tiffany while I chatted with "Mr. Tiffany"-the extremely talented and successful artist Ken Goldberg.

More blue drinks and lovely plantains kept guests buzzing as the excitement of the night carried on - of course, the real excitement was the announcements of the nominees for the actual awards. They can all be viewed online.