Here's a little secret about entertainment reporting: When you read those little blurbs containing a quick celebrity quote, most likely those were obtained at some sort of premiere or charity function that said celebrity is appearing. Then, some stooge just like me will approach them and attempt to get a good enough quote to be included in the next day's copy. Now, this approach is a 50/50 proposition. Sometimes said celebrity will be gracious -- knowing that you're just trying to do your job -- other times they're, well, annoyed. And really... who can blame them? It probably goes without saying that I despise this form of interview and rarely do it. I prefer to go through the proper channels before I'm eventually rejected -- it adds a bit of formality to it. At least I can pretend
it wasn't personal; an in-person rejection... it's hard to convince myself it's not
personal. That's not to say there's no perks to these events: Hey! Open bar!
I was recently invited to attend the VIP night of an event called "Design on a Dime" here in New York City. It's organized by the non-profit Housing Works
-- which provides housing for people that are HIV positive or living with AIDS -- an organization I once interned for in their communications department. There was a certain pride returning as media -- though my dreams of the event being a miserable failure without me were, sadly, dissolved quickly -- but, I had difficult task ahead of me. You must realize that if you're reading this, this website doesn't often report on their writers getting drunk at celebrity galas, so that
angle wasn't really going to work. I needed a celebrity interview to be able to cover this charity event. Without one, I've got nothing (except, well, the open bar and a hangover).
The good news: Parker Posey
was in attendance. So were The Real Housewives of New York City
and Jaclyn Smith
. I know absolutely nothing about The Real Housewives of New York City
other than they are, apparently, housewives, and they live in New York City (Me too!). Parker Posey, though, is one of my absolute favorites who's starring in an upcoming film with Demi Moore
, Happy Tears
. Though, the bad news: Parker Posey rarely does interviews. Shit.
Across the room I see her. Parker Posey. Absolutely beautiful, but not in a 'she looks twenty years younger than she is is supposed to look' way. Screw it, all in: I decide this is the best strategy. I walk straight toward her. But with every step I start losing my confidence as quickly as a house would lose shingles during a hurricane. She was right in front of me and I ... walk right past her. I can't do it. I return to the open bar, frightened, and down a McSorley Ale. Damn it, man. Get yourself together; you're a professional.
I return to the scene of the most recent failure in my life to try again. Parker is sitting on a couch posing for pictures with Jaclyn Smith. After finishing she receives the glad hand from those in attendance; she is gracious in response to their compliments. Now, she's right in front of me. I introduce myself ... for a split second she could not have been a nicer human being. That was, until she found out I was in the media.
When I asked about her new film, she recoiled, "Look, I'm just here for Housing Works. I really love them and I want it to just be about them. I don't do interviews." My heart broke.
I acknowledged, "I love them, too. In fact I once did an internship for Housing Works."
Not expecting that response, Parker Posey gave me a look that can only be defined as, 'You better not be f*cking with me.' I immediately name dropped at least five people that I know in the hierarchy of the non-profit. The shield she had raised was now gone, sort of. "Do you know why I don't like doing press? I have trouble condensing things, I'd rather have a conversation. These loud places... I find superficial."
"But," she continued on the subject of Happy Tears
, "it was amazing working with [Demi Moore]. She's just an amazing woman. She's a super woman! She's incredible. She's so strong and intelligent; her and Ashton
[Kutcher] are just meant for each other. It's very interesting to be around that."
I continued, "From what I've seen of it, this role looks like something she can really sink her teeth into. It looks like a great story."
"Yeah, yeah," Parker responded, "It was very natural playing her sister; we play sisters in the movie. It worked, it was really fun. Ellen Barkin
, too, is incredible."
The last thing I said, more of a compliment than a question, "As a native Missourian, your accent in Waiting for Guffman
[set in the fictional Blaine, MO]; you nailed it."
"Oh, yes, yes! Awww, that's great. Thank you." Which was followed by one last piece of advice, "Now ... have fun!."
Thanks to you, madame, for the rest of the evening ... I did.
Housing Works provides housing for people that are HIV positive ot living with AIDS. All proceeds from Design on a Dime go to Housing Works, the nation’s largest grassroots AIDS service organization.
"Mike's Pulse" is a column written by transplanted Midwesterner and current New Yorker Mike Ryan. For any compliments or complaints -- preferably the former -- you may contact Mike directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
or submit reader questions for celebrites to Mike on Twitter