The alpha and the omega of the Swell set’s holiday hootenanny typically kicks-off in early December at the shindig hosted by dynamo Dede Wilsey and concludes with the birthday blowout of philanthropist-composer Gordon Getty.
But drat! It was felt that Gordo’s 75th celebration on Treasure Island might be too, too much in this new, NEW economy. So the Gettys sent guests a tasteful note that read, After deep consideration and in deference to the national spirit of moderation, we have decided to cancel Gordon’s birthday celebration. Happy Holidays and Warmest Regards, Ann and Gordon Getty.
Dede still gamely delivered the goods, dishing up a memorable cocktail klatch: a swell-egant crush featuring the city’s finest and the most delish hors d’oeuvres around.
“I say it every year, but this is the best party of the year!” declared Bryan Hemming. “I wouldn't miss it for the world.”
In the same breath that guests bemoaned the loss of the Getty-a-go-go, they also praised Dede’s generosity for making this somewhat bleak season a bit brighter.
“Every year, Mom’s holiday party is about tradition -- from the guest list, the food and amazing decor,” said Dede’s son, Trevor Traina. “Now that Alexis and I have children, we realize how important this continuity of tradition is.”
Cool Yule: In the middle of these two parties is the annual (and beloved) swingin’ soiree hosted by Kay and Sandy Walker.
The Walker’s wonderfully eclectic guest list is peopled with artists, writers and good ol’ grandees, all rubbing shoulders whilst nibbling on MeMe Pederson’s nummy noshes.
Artist Tom McKinley delighted this crowd when he arrived with Ann Weber, both gleefully donned in gay apparel which made the duo look as if they had just left the stage of Beach Blanket Babylon’s holiday show.
“We really agonized over whether to have our party this year,” said Kay. “But it seemed everyone needed a bit of cheer.”
Or as Sandy, droll as a dry martini, so succinctly put it: “We may as well enjoy it now because it seems as if we’re all about to set sail on The Titanic!”
Seasonal Sightem: Our favorite this year? Multiple holiday appearances by CA Attorney General Jerry Brown and Mayor Gavin Newsom. Serious wonks, both, who typically eschew (or attend only oh-so-briefly) the crushing cocktail party circuit.
Yet this season -- the season before they both officially launch their (presumed) 2010 runs for Governor of California -- these two politicos shone as brightly as Christmas lights at key venues. Deftly moving amid flocks of fans in gracious circles around, and away from, each other.