Our cabby dodged two half-a-block-long limos and lurched to a stop against the curb. As we stepped into the crowd of partygoers, media cameras, and gawking wannabes mingling on the front steps of the Masonic Auditorium, things seemed to shift into surreal slow motion. It was Tiffany Shlain's fourth annual "anti-Oscars" Webby Awards, replete with sequined hats, ostrich feathers, Day-Glo satin, space suits, spikes, ties and tails.
Who among this motley mix actually snatched an award that night? Well, unless you've been camped out studying the mating rituals of Mongolian dromedaries, you've already heard who won what and which five word thank-yous were delivered by each - so I won't rehash.
Instead, here are a few observations you may or may not have heard about.
At curbside, Tiffany was just wrapping up an on-camera interview with Sandra Bernhard as three svelte performance artists appeared overhead and aero-ballet-ed their way down the face of the auditorium. We slipped past them and entered the lobby, stopping to pay homage at the Nominees' Alter where hopefuls could choose their own brand of magic, light a candle, roll the dice, toss a rune, or otherwise make offerings to the Web-award deities.
Moments later I felt a tug on my sleeve and turned to face a white helmeted woman wielding a tape measure. Having passed the "size-up," I was invited to thrust my head through an oval opening in the front of a white booth. Imagine poking your head into a large hollow egg dimly lit and lined with soft feathers. Interesting, but why? No one offered an explanation, but it became abundantly clear the second we entered the theater.
On stage was a 30 foot disk-shaped screen displaying the full-blown bewildered face of the person currently being invited to thrust their head into the hole! Our faces had played cameo roles in the pre-show entertainment right along with that woman's bare boob, which had apparently mistaken the evening for a coming-out party. The tone of the evening had been set!
We settled into our seats and opened the little tin Webby lunch boxes filled with surprises: a health bar, a Webby Award patch, a compass, a FlySwat watch, etc. Invitations and tickets had come weeks earlier in their own little tin boxes, my first indication that I was in for a first class creative event.
The awards were presented against a backdrop of well-crafted and flashy quick-cut images and sound, held together with references to the event's theme, "The Time Machine." Emcee and Cabaret Tony Award winner, Alan Cumming shared part of his award presentation role with Mahir the Turk of "I Kiss You!" fame, the San Francisco Twins, and others.
Everything else that happened on stage and off has already been well chronicled and if you have not already watched the Webcast, well, we'll just keep that our little secret and you can get yourself on over to www.webbyawards.com and catch up.
It was one of the quirkiest events I have ever attended, with as much color and glamour in the audience as there was on stage and it was an enjoyable quick guide to the hottest/coolest of the web. But some of my more sensual memories are from the post-bash -- with those little bite-sized rum-soaked ginger cakes and a big furry hug from the award-winning guy himself, Cocky Bastard!
Webby Awards 2000 has come and gone. And, Tiffany . . . You Rule!
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