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Dolby Surrounds Geek Ball

Saturday night, Thomas Dolby headlined Palo Alto’s biannual Black and White Ball. This was my first time attending and it was a good event, held at the Lucie Stern theater & community center near downtown Palo Alto, funds going to support city arts programs.

I expected that with 1500 people in attendance, it would feel packed and parking would be a pain but it was easy and not so busy as I’d expected, with 3 different rooms of musical artists and food vendors throughout. Basically somebody walked down University Avenue and got every restaurant in town to come provide food, which was great, as some of them are really good. Straits Cafe and Zibbibo won the food awards of the night in my opinion.

The ball was a bit on the casual side, to be expected in the heart of Silicon Valley. Most people wore short dresses and probably the majority of men were in tuxes, but there were several other types of attire present as well. People weren’t stuffy though – everyone just had a good time – from Stanford EECS professors to Elvira. We bid and won a silent auction trip to Nice, France. Can’t beat shopping that goes to a good cause.

We did run into a surprising number of friends and acquaintances who I didn’t know would be attending. The Silicon Valley Moms were out – we couldn’t have planned to have more of us present (see Jill’s post) – as were some of my favorite Junior Leaguers.

Dolby himself was a bit of a surprise – it was more like Ray Cooper meets Trent Reznor. (He looks identical to the photo on the front of his web site.) The music was fun, and everybody seemed to be enjoying it. Definitely a good choice for the crowd. “She Blinded Me With Science” was actually not as fun as I though it would be, because it didn’t have any of the emotional emphasis that the video holds – probably since he’s sung it a zillion times. But all in all, it was a fun night.