Super Bowl. Super hype. Super hassle. Super profitable. Super fun.
The assessment of the Super Bowl experience in San Francisco and Santa Clara varies dramatically depending on who you are -- the exec whose corporation paid your way to the game, San Franciscans who endured the traffic snarls, the homeless displaced by the Market Street activities, the hotels and car services who tripled their rates for the week, or the people who swooped into Super Bowl City for free big name concerts (Alicia Keys!), spectacular fireworks and to breathe the aether of the NFL.
One group that fell firmly into the Super Fun category consisted of the 500 partiers that attended Big Game Big Give, a charity event held at Jillian Manus' private Atherton home the night before Peyton Manning likely threw his last pass as a Denver Bronco.
Although there was no shortage of glamorous, celebrity-peppered shindigs over the weekend, Big Game Big Give donated its proceeds -- more than $1 million -- to The Stanford Cancer Institute, The Four Rings Montana Family Foundation, The Giving Back Fund and Do It For The Love Foundation.
Amid the lavish California-themed rooms and grounds -- including two sea lions swimming in a temporary above ground pool in the front yard, the attendees rubbed shoulders with California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Jennifer Siebel Newsom and other marquee names -- Tommy Lee, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, baseball's Matt Williams and Jim Harbaugh, former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
Guests imbibed one-of-a-kind cocktails from the mixologists stars of Elixir and Comstock. They nibbled appetizers from some of the Bay Area's better restaurants, including La Folie, Acquerello, Slanted Door, SPQR and Hog Island Oyster Co. In between, they perused an extensive and impressive silent auction with rare and collectible wines, memorabilia, fashion and unique experiences.
Jay Leno kicked off the entertainment with clever jabs at the presidential political candidates. Joe Montana, looking fit and vibrant, took the stage and threw signed football passes over the crowd and into the hands of individuals who paid up to $50,000 to catch them -- or attempt to.
Michael Franti, world-renown musician, social activist and one of the Bay Area's heroes, amped up the positive energy in the room with a live performance that had the crowd literally jumping with excitement. When asked why he chose to participate in this event.
"There's lots of Superbowl parties by companies and brands but this one is specifically about giving back." He then smiled: "Also because the 49ers are not in the Super Bowl, and we've got to have a party, do something to get the depression off of us."