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Attack of the 50-foot drag queen

There's no Christmas like a Silicon Valley Christmas, especially for those of us in the press. In addition to PR baskets piled high with edible graft that land on our desks with a Santa-sized thump, there is the mad string of parties and receptions, which enable the well-coordinated journalist to go for as many as three weeks without cracking a TV dinner. No, reader, I cannot be bought. But I can be fed.

WebEx spokesmodel
RuPaul and VP of Marketing David Thompson There's no Christmas like a Silicon Valley Christmas, especially for those of us in the press. In addition to PR baskets piled high with edible graft that land on our desks with a Santa-sized thump, there is the mad string of parties and receptions, which enable the well-coordinated journalist to go for as many as three weeks without cracking a TV dinner. No, reader, I cannot be bought. But I can be fed.

Highlights from the seasonal soirée circuit must include the WebEx party at San Francisco's ultrahot Foreign Cinema. WebEx had on hand its new ambassador--self-described "Supermodel of the World" RuPaul, who was introduced by the company as "WebEx's own towering glamazon."

RuPaul's mission? To let the world know that before WebEx and its videoconferencing Web app, "meetings used to be a drag." This mission will entail, among other things, the leggy spokesmodel appearing in a 50-foot ad that will tower above Times Square.

"There's a new queen in Silicon Valley!" declared the glamazon to the assembled guests, reminding us to leave the "e" off of Silicon.

I had brought along my 12-year-old son Vermel and his precocious gay classmate Jai Pegue, who had regaled us on the ride over with memorized monologues from RuPaul's autobiography. At our interview with the skyscraping supermodel, little Jai Pegue did all of the talking.

CNET News.com: What's your vision for the Web?
RuPaul: It's about people hooking up and communicating with each other! That's what the next century is all about!

What's your favorite Web site?
It used to be RuPaul.net, but now it's WebEx.com!

Are you planning a RuPaul IPO?
A lady never discusses business at parties!

You once said that life was a banquet and most drag queens were stuffing their faces. What are most Web sites doing?
They're supplying the stuffing!

What's the dirtiest thing you've ever done online?
Even when CB radios came out I was always very shy about that sort of thing.

You once said never to let anyone see you eat. Should you let anyone see you Web surf?
I have let someone watch me surf.

Who was that?
The guy who taught me how to do it.

When was that?
About six months ago.

Well, experience isn't everything. But it hasn't hurt Po Bronson, whose chronicles of Silicon Valley avarice and ambition have earned him the attention of Digital Coast (stop that snickering!) television producers. The rumor circulating at the Round Zero fete at Mason's in San Francisco Wednesday night was that ABC is extremely interested in a Valley-based TV series about 20- and 30-something entrepreneurs launching killer Web sites and becoming overnight millionaires. Just the sort of people who get invited to Round Zero events, it turns out--but Round Zero and Epinions.com founder Nirav Tolia is said to be refusing a screen-test.

Backflip threw a respectably hip shindig at the Velvet Lounge in North Beach last week to celebrate its launch, but the only thing people were flipping out about was the VA Linux IPO, which earlier in the day bestowed independent wealth on a number of the guests. Bracing dose of mental health from one of these nouveau riches: "People are coming up to me and saying, 'God, this is so great, how do you feel,' and I'm like, 'I just met a really great guy last week, and that's so much more important than all of this.'" Money can buy me drinks, and VA Linux shares can buy me hors d'oeuvres, but nothing can buy me your rumors.