Gordon Getty Gives Up the Gauche

Bay Area socialites downsizing big bashes

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010  |  Updated 11:35 AM PDT
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Gordon Getty Gives Up the Gauche

Mike Iacuessa

The San Francisco Symphony can't catch a break, with the opening galas subdued and fewer rich people throwing parties lavish enough to hire them out for performances.

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If you want to flaunt your wealth with champagne and caviar, you might want to do it a little more privately these days.

After a decade which saw dotcom-boom blowouts and Google flying San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's guests to a wedding in Montana, the luxury event set is now dining in.

Not because they're no longer rich, mind you, but because it would look bad.

Gordon Getty, of the gushing-oil-profits Gettys, canceled his 75th birthday bash last year amidst the global economic downturn.

When money as new as his sees events with a full orchestra and fireworks displays as gauche, you know things are bad.

Of course, that didn't stop Google executive Marissa Mayer, better known for her bank account than her taste, from throwing a similarly lavish bash in the same location, Treasure Island, just this month.

At least someone has the gumption to wave their wealth in our food stamp-collecting faces!

Those aspiring to high society who actually believe the myth of American social mobility might whine about curtailing excess as a sop to the sentiment of the proles. Don't worry -- just like those cackling with glee at the thought of caviar trays overturned by rampaging hordes of the hungry unemployed, none of us were actually invited to any of these parties, regardless.

Nature may prove the best tool of class warfare. The poors-foiling moat known as the San Francisco Bay, which makes Treasure Island the preferred party spot for the likes of Getty and Mayer, will soon submerge the island, leaving the rich only their pitifully small mega-yachts on which to share the spoils of their wealth.

Weep for them.

Photo by Mike Iacuessa.

Jackson West wants to know if anyone has some discarded furniture for an Ocean Beach bonfire on New Year's Eve -- BYOB, natch.

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