Behind the mask

At the risk of making life sound far more exciting than it has been lately (helping my man recover from pneumonia involved a lot of letting him sleep while I tiptoed around the apartment), I went off to another screening last night. This one for "Mildred Pierce," which has been remade into a 5-part miniseries for HBO. It's gorgeous, but probably 3 parts would have done it.

It was a fairly glam evening; HBO knows how to wine and dine folks, and lots of people who've worked with them end up showing up and it's like connect the dots — oh, yeah! Jonathan Ames is here because of "Bored to Death!" Steve Buscemi is here because of "Boardwalk Empire!" Alas, no sign of Sean Bean — "Game of Thrones" hasn't started yet.

There are exchanges, of course: There's lots of celebrity spotting, but you also have to endure an endless introduction to the picture while everybody down to the gaffer gets a salute and thanks from the director (a nice guy, but brevity being the soul of wit and all ….). There's a nice spread of food afterward (including three (!) kinds of desserts and fruit), but at least in my case, you have to stand for an hour on the red carpet and think of not-too-ridiculous questions to ask.

On the other hand, you also get to see the actors quite up close — angles that the photos never achieve. So while doing your little silly interview you get to notice that one who has way too much makeup and false eyelashes and whose purple bra is peeping up from her low-cut dress. Or the one young lady who seems to have no pores at all on her face — absolute porcelain — but who also kept tweaking at her had-to-be-extensions. And then … there was the one actress who had a different hairy issue to contend with. I wish I could explain it — makeup people, got any thoughts? — she was … well, fuzzy. A fair amount of foundation, but both up close and from a foot or two away the fine hairs (and there were a lot of them) completely stood up on her face. Now, this is a beautiful woman. But last night, I had to wonder if she didn't have a touch of hypertrichosis.

That's what perfection is like when you get up close.