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San Francisco Chronicle
Tuesday, August 25, 1998 - The Gate


'Geekapalooza' Gets Female Take On Techie Labels

By TOM ABATE

Web-apalooza: There's been a whole lot of socializing in the Web community of late.

Last Thursday evening, for instance, the inaugural meeting of San Francisco Women on the Web (http://www.sfwow.org) drew a crowd of several dozen to the Macromedia Building in San Francisco. Organizers Valerie Hoecke, of the San Francisco Web design firm Fire Engine Red, and Cyd Harrell, of Charles Schwab & Co., said some 300 women have already joined SFWow's mailing list, which targets women whose jobs revolve around the Web.

And both (or should we say all genders) are invited to the Transmission Theatre in San Francisco tomorrow night for the Geekapalooza, a party put on by the Bay Area chapters of the Association of Internet Professionals.

You still may be able to get $7 advance tickets, but if you're too late, what the heck: Dye your hair purple and spend $10 to get a ticket at the door.

The 'Palooza will air an eight-minute trailer of "GirlGeeks?," a documentary-in-the-making that its producers - Kristine Hanna and Peter Crosby of Sausalito - hope to get on the air next April in conjunction with "Take our Daughters to Work Day."

Thus far, "GirlGeeks?" has focused on better-known women like industry analyst Esther Dyson, Marimba chief executive Kim Polese, network industry executive Judy Estrin (now of Cisco) and Katrina (tres decolletage) Garnett of CrossWorlds.

But the producers plan to set up a camera at the 'Palooza to ask women in the tech field their feelings about working in a male-dominated arena.

"The whole purpose of the documentary is to find out how women view this (geek) label," Hanna said.

Among the women already filmed, the attitudes range from Polese's pride in wearing the label, to Estrin's comment that after being named "geek of the week" in a Silicon Valley publication, her mother sent her a dictionary entry that identified a geek as "a carnival performer who rips the heads off chickens."

 

©1998 San Francisco Chronicle

 

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