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Dancing With the Stars 

Wednesday, Jan 31 2007
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Are members of San Francisco society famous for the balances in their checking accounts (do millionaires even use personal checks?) or for their Mother Teresa-ish philanthropy and gown-wearing abilities? A little bit of both, apparently. In a tasty article called "Pacific Heights" for the January 2007 issue of W Magazine, Los Angeles-based writer Kevin West enters this "provincial" world of societal standings — which is to say, who's, like, so totally popular and pretty — and survives. West hits up the Traina brothers, Ann Getty, and Mayor Gavin Newsom, yet he doesn't uncover what society followers really want to know: Who's on the down-low, who doesn't do her own design work, and who flies high on blow while flying high on the Getty's jet (nicknamed the "Jetty" — fun!). But seeing as how this is W and West isn't Perez Hilton, "Pacific Heights" does an admirable job of letting us in on a few things while remaining satin napkin-refined.

For example, West tells us that Vanessa Getty might sort of, kind of not get along well with her mother-in-law, Ann, because Ann wanted to host some party for her but was refused, or some ridiculous shit like that. Another is that writer Robert Mailer Anderson is now a part of S.F. society — who knew? So does that mean if he, say, bounces a rent check from spending his money on absinthe and taxi dancers in fits of writerly bohemia, he can ask the flock for a loan? Because I would. Monthly.

Another shocker is the notion that Trevor Traina — in addition to resisting the urge to gouge out Vanessa Getty's eyes, arranging seating charts for Diane von Furstenberg dinner parties, and harboring a love of long and luscious drapery — might be a Republican. Stunning, because I thought most of them were.

Meanwhile, Danielle Steel, the Bechtels, and the Schwabs have more or less removed themselves from society's constantly shifting strata of popularity and Gettyness — something I didn't know was possible.

About their sovereignty, the members of this crowd seem to be in a Vicodin haze. Many of their anonymous friends and "society observers" drop delusional tidbits like "Trevor and Alexis are going to rule this city" and "[Sloan Barnett] could be the next first lady of San Francisco." Such statements would make anyone outside this small, familylike enclave scratch his head. We suspect that even those on the inside were forced to reach for their jewel-encrusted puke buckets.

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Brock Keeling

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