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An Authentic Roman DJ

By RD Heldenfels Published: July 16, 2005

Tonight HBO had a party that embodied decadence.

I don't usually attend the evening parties unless there's a work opportunity involved, but I couldn't pass on this one.

The theme was ancient Rome, tied to an upcoming series HBO is airing called -- no surprise here -- ''Rome.''

The network shipped costumes and parts of the show's sets from Italy, where the program was made, to California, just to make the party more impressive to the reporters attending.

It was, in fact, more impressive than what I've seen of the series, which consists of slow stretches interrupted by violence and nudity. (As sexy as ABC tried to be in ''Empire,'' its ancient-Rome series, ''Rome'' takes full advantage of HBO license and beats it by a mile.)

There were tents and buildings, a stage, a bocce court and an archery range. Psychics and fortune tellers plied their trades. Uniformed Roman soldiers stood watch. A white horse was led around. Togas were available for the reporters who wanted to wear them. A woman invited people to have their pictures taken with ''lovely Roman girls.'' (I passed.) Even the food was themed. (I did eat.)

Made me wonder what's the Latin version of ''It's Not TV, It's HBO.''

Of course, it was all just meant to be a time for fun. HBO had already had a press conference earlier in the day, sent out episodes of ''Rome'' some time ago and screened a couple of episodes on Thursday night. Exotic cheeses and pillow-covered lounge chairs would not improve anyone's opinion. Nor was anyone going to take points away from '"Rome'' because the party had a DJ.

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