Ad-agency types might be arrogant predators of the consumer psyche, but they're also witty, well coiffed and undeniably sexy. Needless to say, our self-esteem took a beating last Friday evening at The Show, an annual ad industry party and chance for Twin Cities agencies to bestow themselves with honors.

With more than 70 awards up for grabs, First Avenue's VIP lounge was papered with hundreds of nominated ads -- sleek ones for Prairie Organic Vodka, scrappy ones for Erbert & Gerbert's. By 6:45, the nightclub downstairs was packed with kudos anticipators. We tried elbowing past the studded handbags and creative facial hair and smacked against Roberto Lastra, a devastatingly hip, flirtatious copywriter for the legendary Minneapolis agency Fallon. His wing men, Han Lin and Eric Sorensen, also work in the agency's creative department.

How cool are the Fallon folks? So cool that the last time they stooped to enter this local competition was in 1998. But the agency's return to The Show this year was a good thing. Thanks, Fallon, for providing the eye candy -- and we don't mean your Best in Show ad for Travelers Insurance.

About logistics: Attendees knew right away whether their work was nominated in a category, but they had to stick around to find out if the prize was bronze, silver or gold.

But the screwy award proceedings proved hard to follow A loop of winning ads was layered on top of a screening of "The Wizard of Oz," which was being synched with Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." Talk about media saturation!

At a bar upstairs, we met friendly Julie Cook, a senior account exec at Olson who was at least paying attention. She really got excited as her ad took a gold.

"OMIGOD, this is the spot I worked on," she squealed. We looked up to see Dorothy skipping the Yellow Brick Road as a commercial for Hoover vacuum cleaners silently rolled in the screen's lower-right corner.

Her co-worker, Sarah Tukua, waved for the bartender, pointed to Cook and barked: "She needs a drink!"

Christy DeSmith is a Minneapolis writer.