Last night, I attended the premiere of the radio recording at the LA Theater Works of the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, “A Raisin In The Sun“. The play was written by Lorraine Hansberry and, in this production, has a great cast including True Blood’s Rutina Wesley.
Rutina plays the role of Beneatha Younger, the daughter of the family matriarch, who dreams of being a doctor and is frustrated by the family’s economic conditions.
Others in this stellar cast include:
JudyAnn Elder – Lena Younger
James Gleason – Karl Lindner
Noah Gray-Cabey – Travis Younger
Corey Hawkins – Walter Lee Younger
Deidrie Henry – Ruth Younger
Terrell Tilford – George Murchison
Mirron Willis – Joseph Asagai/Bobo
The first run of the play opened on Broadway on March 11, 1959 and ran for nearly two years before the stage version was transferred to film with the same cast starring Sidney Portier in 1961.
A Raisin in the Sun portrays a few weeks in the life of the Youngers, an African-American family living in the South Side of Chicago in the setting of sometime between WWII and the 1950s. The matriarch of the family, Mama, wants to buy a new house to fulfill a dream she shared with her husband. Mama’s son, Walter Lee, would rather use the money to invest in a liquor store with his friends. He believes that the investment will solve the family’s financial problems forever. Walter’s wife, Ruth, agrees with Mama, however, and hopes that she and Walter can provide more space and opportunity for their son, Travis. Finally, Beneatha, Walter’s sister and Mama’s daughter, wants to use the money for her medical school tuition. She also wishes that her family members were not so interested in joining the white world. Beneatha instead tries to find her identity by looking back to the past and to Africa. source: Wikipedia.
It was fascinating to see a play performed specifically for radio. These types of performances are recorded without sets or costumes, and therefore rely on the actors to amplify their performances through their voices. The play was about two hours long and did include sound effects that also aided in creating the illusion for the listener. The cast sat in chairs at the back of the stage and each rose and slowly moved to one of the microphones when it was their turn to speak their character’s lines. They all did a superb job in portraying this family’s very moving story. Each actor not only read the character’s lines, but also provided their own animated style giving added life to the production.
While watching the actors perform, and with the addition of the external sound effects, you could see in your mind’s eye the family’s small apartment and almost smell the breakfast cooking. The sound effects, which added much to help build the illusion of the setting, were done by Rachel Yamshon and Kevin Pong who were also on the stage in full few of the audience (see photo below). The recording engineer and editor was Mark Holden.
Although no photos were permitted during the performance, Rutina looked lovely in black leggings, a light blue top and red flats. The photos below, taken during the intermission, show the stage area with microphones and chairs where the actors sat. The sound effects area that was located to the right of the stage.
stage including sound effects area
Rachel Yamshon and Kevin Pong
Having seen the film version of the play, I knew I would enjoy watching it again; however I was just blown away by the acting of this exemplary cast. Rutina and all of the cast performed their parts to perfection and I strongly encourage anyone to see this production while you can.
The play will be performed five times, November 17-21, at the Skirball Cultural Center. And, if you don’t get a chance to attend one of the remaining performances, the L.A. Theatre Works’ nationally syndicated radio theater series airs locally in Southern California on KPCC 89.3 every Saturday from 10 pm – midnight. The audio show also airs on many other radio stations throughout the country and can be streamed on demand at www.latw.org.
Saturday night in West Hollywood, the surf was up!
I attended a charity gala event for Project Save our Surf, called “Actors for Oceans” at the Falcon Restaurant on Sunset Boulevard. The event’s purpose was to raise awareness and gather contributions toward keeping our oceans clean and to support the organization .
Project Save our Surf, founded three years ago by Tanna Frederick and surf legends Shaun Tomson and PT Townend, is a 501c3 non-profit organization which raises money toward cleaning up our oceans, helping Surfrider, Heal the Bay, Inside the Outdoors, Oceana, and many more ocean orientated organizations.
In addition to Sam Trammell, there were many celebrities attending the event including True Blood’s Michelle Forbes, Natasha Alam and Michael McMillian. Also attending were actresses, Tanna Frederick (the founder of the S.O.S.) and Tia Carrere.
Scheduled to perform their musical talents was actress, Tia Carrere and True Blood’s Sam Trammell.
I arrived early and saw those who walked the red carpet (which was just outside the restaurant), including Sam:
above are Tanna Frederick, Tia Carrere, Michelle Forbes, Natasha Alam and Sam Trammell
After a short stint on the red carpet, Sam walked to the restaurant. Before he entered, I met him and asked him if he would agree to a short video interview with me. As Sam is always extremely gracious, he said, “Sure”.
Once inside we spoke for a few minutes as he posed for photographs with lots of attendees. Originally, he wanted to do the interview right away, but after a few minutes inside, we both realized that it was just too noisy and crazy then, so we decided to wait until after he performed.
Before Sam performed he mingled with the crowd and again was extremely friendly and gracious.
Sam and Tia Carrere were scheduled to perform and Tia was first on the program. she sang two songs for the Mauli Ola Foundation. She was accompanied by Daniel Ho on guitar.
Tia Carrere and Daniel Ho
The Mauli Ola Foundation and their program, “Surf Experience Days”, pairs professional surf instructors and novice surf students who have Cystic Fibrosis to introduce them to the healing properties of exercise, ocean air, achievement, and fun in a supportive environment. Hypertonic saline (which is prevalent in the ocean air just above the water’s surface) has been shown to be a natural treatment for people with Cystic Fibrosis.
Then, after a brief five minute break, it was Sam’s turn to perform.
I thought he did really well even with the poor sound quality which was not the best. There was no stage and lots of things going while he was playing, including the silent auction. As you will hear in the video interview below, Sam told me that he couldn’t hear what he was playing, so he had no idea how it sounded. He was quite good and I think he has musical talent and would have excelled if he had pursued it as a profession. It was very brave of him to play for us and I applaud his effort.
After Sam’s performance, Tanna Frederick gave Sam an award and told the crowd that Sam had agreed to be on the Board of S.O.S. They both discussed the repeat of the successful 24 hour surfing event which is in the planning to be held again next year. Then, everyone mingled while Sam and the event organizers posed for several photos.
Sam with Tanna Frederick and a representative from Sovereign Earth
Sam bid on an item in the silent auction and won. It was a fabulous surfing photo that he shows off in our video interview below.
Once Sam was free, he and I went out to the now abandoned red carpet area which had plenty of light and was not as noisy as inside the restaurant (although still pretty loud) to do the interview. In addition to discussing the photo, during the interview, Sam talks about attending Eyecon 2010 last week and meeting several Billsbabes there including our very own Michael, aka, SterlingSilverCharm. He also discusses True Blood, how he got involved in the S.O.S., and how he hasn’t played guitar since he was a kid.
Interview with Sam
Once again, I continue to be amazed by the congeniality of all of the True Blood cast I have met and Sam is way up there in my esteem for his sincere generosity and friendliness. Nothing seems to phase him when it comes to his fans, he is accepting of them all with not a critical word to anyone.
Last night, I went with my friend, Pinky to the Australian’s in Film, LA Premiere to see the screening of Patrick Hughe’s Red Hill starring True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten at the Harmony Gold Theater on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA.
I had called earlier in the week to request tickets and was lucky enough to get them even though the event was already filled to capacity.
We arrived early because we wanted to be sure to get good seats and to hopefully meet Ryan when he arrived. We did just that. As he arrived, there was a group of autograph seekers awaiting him and he was immediately surrounded by them. Pinky was able to get a photo autographed by him and Ryan was kind enough to pose with us for photos.
Fans crowd around Ryan for autographs
There I am talking to Ryan as he generously signs autographs for his fans.
Ryan then was whisked to the carpet to do the requisite interviews and then, Rutina Wesley arrived and was kind enough to also pose for a picture. She also had her picture taken on the red carpet with Ryan.
Ryan on the Red Carpet.
Photo of Pinky with Rutina Wesley while she was waiting to go on the Red Carpet.
The Red Carpet photos of Ryan with Patrick Hughes and Clare Van Der Boom and one of Rutina:
There were other True Blood stars who attended the event last night in addition to Ryan and Rutina. Both Jim Parrack and Lindsay Pulsipher were there and on the Red Carpet.
Jim Parrack and Lynnpd
Jim is a friend whom I have met several times before. I recently saw his play Terra Haute and it was good to say hello again.
Seeing the film.
We then went into the theater to view the film. I had heard really good things about Red Hill after reading many of the reviews and therefore, I expected it to be good, but I had no idea how good.
What did I think of the film?
Patrick Hughes, who wrote, directed, produced and finally edited the film, did a phenomenal job on almost no money and Ryan’s performance as Shane Cooper is astounding. In fact, the whole cast was excellent. The cinematography was unbelievable and the landscapes in that part of Australia are quite striking. It’s hard to believe that they shot this film in just four weeks. This is truly a testament to excellent planning and a stellar cast and crew.
The story revolves around Shane Cooper, played by Ryan Kwanten, who has moved to this small town because his wife is pregnant and needs peace and quiet. Well, Shane couldn’t have picked a worse time to arrive in town because a man has just escaped from the local prison and is on his way back to get revenge on the police force of Red Hill who have put him in jail.
While Red Hill may be somewhat predictable at times, there is enough surprise to satisfy the most critical viewer. And, the writing, directing, cinematography and acting are so good that you don’t mind and are happy to go along for the ride.
Patrick Hughes, Clare Van Der Boom and Ryan Kwanten on stage for the Q&A
After the screening of the film, Patrick Hughes, Ryan Kwanten, and Clare Van Der Boom came up on stage and were asked questions by Sarah Coker. Patrick Hughes talked about the making of the film and how difficult it was to do because they had so little money. He was in the process of raising funding right when the economy went sour and even had to take out a mortgage on his home. I don’t know if this is why the film is so good, but the economic constraints seem to have required them to be thrifty in word and image resulting in a beautifully designed, well acted, well paced and just plain good story. It’s a western that would stand up with any of the great westerns like that of “Shane” for it’s beautiful landscapes and it’s ability to tell the story with only the essentials and “The Unforgiven” for continuing the theme of “revenge”.
Below is an audio from the discussion. In the audio, Patrick Hughes discusses the economy of shooting that was necessary because of their limited budget, how the panther scene was shot and why he prefers to shoot on film instead of going digital. The part about the panther is particularly hilarious.
I liked the addition of the panther to the story. It was interesting to hear from Patrick Hughes that they filmed a panther in LA in front of a green screen and had to mix the footage of the panther with Ryan in the barn. And, Hughes posed as the panther for Ryan while the scene was shot. Ryan said he had to keep from breaking out in laughter while trying to imagine Hughes as the panther.
Below is a short video clip of the Q&A.
In my opinion, both Patrick Hughes and Ryan Kwanten are people to watch; both are going to be big. Hughes is an excellent director and deserves whatever he gets and Ryan, well you know we all love Ryan and his acting abilities just keep getting better and better. I’d like to say thank you to both of them for being so generous and kind (Ryan, in particular, since he was nice enough to take two photos with me since the first one didn’t turn out). I can’t say enough about how nice both men were and appreciative of the fans. It was a wonderful night that I enjoyed immensely.
Lots more photos from this event can be seen in the Photo Gallery.
Special thanks to Pinky for helping me get all this great information and especially for holding the camera.
Saturday night, October 16, 2010, I had the wonderful experience of attending the 2010 Scream Awards.
The Vault was given two Press Passes that included the Red Carpet for me to attend as Co-Admin and a fellow Billsbabe BittenByBill (BBB) to share the experience with me. BBB had been to the event last year, so she was a great help in explaining the ins and outs of the event to me.
It was a chilly and drizzly evening when I got to The Greek Theater in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA. BBB had already arrived and when we met up it was great to finally meet each other. We both have been Billsbabes since 2008 and have corresponded but never met, so it was a real treat to do so.
Let me start off by saying how much we appreciated the opportunity to have a pass and be part of the Press at the event. Thank you to the Scream Awards for including us! However, our position was not the best and didn’t allow us much media coverage, so while it was appreciated, it also was somewhat disappointing. Of course, we were mostly interested in True Blood, and were hoping at least that some of the cast members who knew we would be there would find us and stop by.
We knew that many of the cast were expected to attend including, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Rutina Wesley, Sam Trammell, Kristin Bauer, Alexander Skarsgård and Alan Ball. Unfortunately, most of them either didn’t even walk the carpet or just stayed in the front area where the main stream press was. We were stationed outside that area and stood behind gates with very little front end space as shown below. We had no covering and very poor lighting, so we just made do with what we were given, still hoping for some attention from the True Blood cast.
The Red Carpet area for the main press and our assigned area
Throughout most of the carpet period, we saw some stars that included, Mickey Rourke, Marilyn Manson, Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, actors from the TV show Lost and many more, that I’m afraid most of us didn’t know. I expected, at least, that Sam Trammell would come to us because his publicist had stopped by earlier to find us and said he would stop by.
I had recently attended a charity event that was important to Stephen Moyer for the fund to help the Darnell Family and we had discussed the Scream awards at that event, so I was hopeful he and Anna would attend. When it got close to 7pm, we were all starting to get pretty concerned thinking that many wouldn’t even bother to come to us. Just then, as I looked up, I saw Stephen Moyer.
After taking some photos in the press area, he had come to our area and sought me out, saying: I’m here to see “Lynn from the Vault” and then said to all around me, “It’s the only one I”m doing.” I had told him I would be on the red carpet, but never expected him to “single me out” in such a way. The very brief and extremely amateur video below represents the moment he arrived to see me on the red carpet Thanks Steve, you are the best.
You can imagine how excited I was to be singled out in such a way. The next video below represents only part of the about 5 minute interview that Stephen gave to me, although there were many around me catching it and they also started asking him questions.
While I wished we could have asked all the questions that the fans posted here on the site, sorry, but there just wasn’t time and for most, no opportunity. We got Stephen to answer three questions in the video below:
What would you wear if you were going to dress up for the Scream Awards?
What are you doing during the hiatus of True Blood?
What is your favorite horror film?
When we discussed what he’s doing right now he indicated that he will be hopefully starting The Big Valley on October 25 and he talked about True Blood not starting now until November 30. They had originally thought they would film two episodes before the new year, but now only one is scheduled.
Also, I brought him a gift. While at the Darnell fundraiser, he told me that he and Anna hadn’t even seen Anna’s brother, Andrew Paquin’s film, “Open House”. I just happened to have an extra Blu-ray lying around and I brought it and gave it to him. He was very appreciative. I hope they enjoy it, I did.
Below are some photos of Stephen:
Sam also stopped by. He spoke to us all and I told him that I plan to attend his event this coming Saturday, “Actors for Oceans”. He replied that he was very nervous because he was scheduled to play an acoustic guitar and he admitted that he needed to do a lot of practicing. The cause is a good one and I like that he cares about the oceans of the world enough to get his guitar out and let us hear him. I can’t wait.
Below are some photos of Sam:
After all the stars left the carpet, our job as reporters was done and it was now time for us to party! There was a special “lounge” for the Press where you could get something to drink and eat, watch the show on closed circuit TV and hook up your laptop. BBB and I opted to experience the show by sitting with the audience. Wow, was it fun! It is unlike any other award show you have ever seen.
The audience is all dressed in Gothic horror outfits, sort of a 2010 version of Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Greek theater is an open air theater, so the drizzle continued to shower down on us during the event, but no one seemed to care. Drinks were being served to the audience during the event (specifically Fangbangers made with True Blood drink). With each commercial break, handlers moved people to different seats as seat fillers for the stars when they went on stage to present. True Blood won big on this night and BBB and I were just thrilled and screaming our lungs out. When the show won Best TV Show, I was up in the front screaming and waving my arms. We had a blast! While it was wonderful to see the show in person, it is something I can’t wait to see also on TV. It’s a fabulous time that you all should watch this Tuesday, October 19 on Spike TV.
True Blood Convention 2010, Sydney by Cassie Sturzaker
This was the first True Blood Convention that I have ever been to; in fact, it was the first TB convention ever held in Australia! Even though it was small, it sure lived up to my expectations with the guest stars and the whole TB experience. I must say, I did have a good time, even though our Australian True Blood convention in Sydney wasn’t as big as ComicCon. It sure packed a punch! It was a one-day event held at the University of NSW in a small auditorium. Not many people dressed up as their favourite characters, but I was able to get a couple of pics with fans who did dress up, and I thought this was fabulous!
Cassie with her 2 favorite men
The 4 guest stars were Sam Trammel, Kristin Bauer, John Billingsley and Todd Lowe. When I first got there, there were many fans ready to go. First, we all went into a small auditorium. While waiting for the first guest to arrive, we were given the opportunity to get photos with the guests , so I took a photo with Sam Trammel. He was so nice! I got to say “Hi!” and hug him as we got the photo taken. My partner also joined in on the photo experience. There were also opportunities to get autographs from the guests, but I was unable to participate in this.
After the photos, John Billingsley (Mike Spencer) came by to mingle with the fans. He was incredibly funny; one of the fans had given him some tim-tams (a chocolate double-layered biscuit that’s so delicious) and some candy, which he was going around handing out to people and warming the fans up. John’s Q& A was incredibly witty and insightful; everyone laughed. John had been to Australia many times previously, so he wasn’t a rookie at conventions, and was not shy at all. One of the questions that was asked of him was which scene in True Blood did he have fun with/enjoy? He answered “The orgy scene in Season 2.” He said he had no problems getting naked and had fun doing that scene.
After John’s Q & A, we broke for lunch, and then it was time for Todd Lowe (Terry Bellefleur). He was a little shy and this was his first trip to Australia. In his Q & A, Todd was funny and spoke of his love of his music; he explained that he is not only an actor, but he has a band as well. Terry was also asked by a fan, which was his favourite scene from True Blood? He answered “The orgy scene in Season 2.” I am beginning to think this scene was a lot of fun to do, and I would loved to have been there while the scene was filmed! I enjoyed Todd’s Q & A, and it was so lovely to hear to his stories; I think the other fans loved it as well.
There was an auction selling some memorabilia after Todd’s Q & A, and the proceeds went to charity. Surprisingly, the fans did get involved, and this went on for about 20 minutes. Then, it was time for Kristin Bauer‘s (Pam) Q & A. This was also Kristin’s first time to Australia, and she had been in Sydney for the week to sight-see, and to enjoy some time with her husband Abri (I saw Abri on the side-lines, and also outside taking a small break). Kristin was very witty; she is incredibly passionate about animals and her acting. She shared with us that she enjoys art and is selling her artwork, which is on her website: http://www.kristinbauer.com. A fan had asked her to recite a line from True Blood , so she recited a line from the scene with Lafayette and Pam in the freezer of Merlotte’s, which the fans seem to enjoy!
Sam Trammell came out straight after Kristin’s Q & A. In person, he is a lot smaller than he is on tv. He gave the other guests a run for their money by entertaining the fans with many funny stories and experiences. Sam has also a background in music, and shared his passion for it. The entire time Sam was on stage, all the fans lapped up his stories and experiences, and wanted more!
Each Q & A lasted for about an hour a piece. I found all 4 guests to be funny, insightful and full of stories and experiences. I even took my partner along, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t get to meet the other guests as it was a busy day for them and the fans at the convention, but I was lucky enough to sit in the front row. I was less the 2 metres away from the guests and it was great to be so close to them. They were all so very funny; John should be a stand up comedian!
It was an entire day’s experience and it certainly was worth it; I can’t wait for next year!!
Last night I was happy to be Jim Parrack’s guest at his new play, Terra Haute. Jim is co-starring in this two man play with Mike Farrell of “Mash” fame.
I arrived at the prescribed time to pick up my tickets at The Blank Theater in Los Angeles and was happy to notice that also attending this performance was the lovely Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica). I had met Deborah before when I attended her boyfriend EJ’s Improv event at the iOWest in June. That was also where I met Jim Parrack for the first time.
When I noticed Deborah I went up to her and reminded her of our last meeting. She immediately remembered me and asked if I was sitting with anyone. Since we were both alone, she asked if I would mind if she sat with me. Would I mind? It was a thrill for me. Deborah is a lovely and charming woman who is fun to be with.
We entered the tiny theater and sat very close to the stage. While waiting for the play to begin we chatted about True Blood, what she’s been doing since the show’s hiatus and that she is looking forward to the vacation she will be taking with EJ very soon. However, before she can start her vacation she will see EJ run the Chicago marathon blindfolded. Imagine that!
When we entered the theater, I immediately noticed the very stark set. It represented a visitor’s area in a prison and was designed by Matt Turner. The costume design is by Bethany Jane Bohatila, the lighting design is by Cameron Zetty, and sound design is by Warren Davis. The production stage manager is Christopher Harrison, and the producers are Noah Wyle, Daniel Henning, and Stacy Reed Payton.
Then, the play began. Mike Farrell in the writer’s role was first on stage. After a brief monolog from Farrell, Jim walked out. He plays the Timothy McVeigh role and was dressed in an orange prison jump suit.
The play revolves around the possible meeting of Timothy McVeigh and Gore Vidal. The two men corresponded in real life and the famed fiction writer Edmund White, who wrote the play, imagines what their conversations would have been like if they had ever met in person. The play consists of four prison house conversations between the nation’s deadliest domestic terrorist and one of the world’s most famous and opinionated gadflies. And, while the names have been changed, the ideas have not.
The two actors played well against and with each other and kept me fascinated until the end. It seems to me that being in a two person play is a very demanding part; staying in character all that time. I said to Deborah when it was over, “how did Jim learn all those lines?” She said, that learning the script is the easy part; it’s getting your “soul” into it that’s hard. Well, in my opinion both actors did that well.
While I’ve seen lots of live theater in the past, it is a rare experience for me now a days which made this even more of a treat. And, in this intimate theater, the audience has the ability to see every nuance of the actor’s performance, and I can only imagine what performing in front of a live audience must bring to the actor’s experience. The only other example I have of Jim Parrack’s acting has been his role playing True Blood’s Hoyt Fortenberry. Thinking about Jim now playing a deadly terrorist seemed to me that it would be difficult for him, but I was wrong, he did it well. I was riveted by his performance and late in the play, when his character becomes angry at his co-star, I was genuinely startled; Jim really seemed to have become the man he was portraying.
After the play, Jim talked about acting with Mike Farrell and said that he was learning a lot from him. It is apparent that he is impressed by not only Mike’s acting abilities, but with him as a man. I was impressed with both actors and glad to see Jim getting this great part and being able to work with such an experienced actor.
I enjoyed the end, when the two attempted to touch through the clear plastic barrier and showed a true and emotional bond with each other; a mutual respect, as it were as they said goodbye for the last time.
When the play ended, Deborah and I waited outside for Jim to come out. When he did, he came up and hugged us both. It was really sweet. We both praised him for his performance and started discussing the play. Immediately a young man came up to Jim saying, “I know you, you’re from that show…” and Jim responded, comically, “Vampire Diaries?” And the young man replied, “Yes!” We laughed. Jim introduced Deborah and me to him and the young man immediately recognized Deborah, but he looked confused by me. I revealed to him that he didn’t have to worry, I wasn’t on the show. That was cute and when he walked away, I said to Deborah and Jim, “Gee, it’s so much fun to hang out with True Blood stars”.
It was a wonderful experience and evening. I am so glad to be able to have seen the play and to get to know both of these two lovely people better. As I said before, I think Jim was great in his part and I wish him the best of luck with his acting career.
On a Saturday, what a better way to spend the day than to watch the ocean waves carry many celebrities on their surfboards. Yesterday, September 11, I drove to Malibu up the Pacific Coast Highway to just north of the Malibu Pier. It wasn’t easy, or cheap, but I found a place to park my car very near the day’s event. I was there for the Surfrider Foundation Celebrity Expression Session. One of the celebrities attending was True Blood’s Sam Trammell and, of course, that was the main reason I went.
To see lots more photos of this event and of Sam Trammell, visit the photo gallery.
When I walked onto the beach it was still a bit cloudy, but very shortly the sun came out as I approached the tent where all the celebrity surfers seemed to be. I immediately came up to a low fence and there was Sam Trammell having his picture taken with a fellow True Blood fan, who’s name was Pinky. As he started to walk away, after they had gotten the photo, I called out to Sam and he came back over. I introduced myself saying I was also a representative of The Vault. He immediately knew what site I meant since he has met representatives from our site at both Eyecon in Florida last fall and at Bitten in August, in the UK. He said how grateful he was for how much support we give to the show and asked if I’d like a photo with him. Of course I did.
I’ve met many of the True Blood cast, but this would be my first time meeting Sam up close and I can tell you it was a great experience. Like the others I’ve met he was personable, kind and generous with his time. A truly nice guy.
Sam and me
Pinky with Eric Balfour and Me and Sam in the background.
Here’s a little bit of information about the event and about the Surfrider Foundation:
Martyn Lenoble and Christina Applegate hosted the Surfrider Foundation’s fifth annual Celebrity Expression Session at First Point, Surfrider Beach in Malibu. The 45-minute free surf gave celebrity surfers from music, film and television the opportunity to have some fun demonstrating their skills on Malibu’s famous point, while also raising money and awareness for the Surfrider Foundation.
2010 Celebrity participants were:
Martyn Lenoble (Host, Pornos For Pyros)
Anthony Kiedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Sam Trammell (True Blood)
Eric Balfour (Haven)
Austin Nichols (One Tree Hill)
Eric Avery (Jane’s Addiction)
Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker)
In addition to simply showcasing their surfing abilities, the celebrity contestants helped to raise money for the Surfrider Foundation. For every wave caught and ridden, event sponsors Cali Bamboo and Barefoot Wine donated $100 per wave back to the Foundation.
While the celebrities readied themselves to surf during high tide, which was expected precisely at noon, being front row center was great since I got to take lots of photos of Sam while he got into his wet suit and readied his surfboard.
Sam preparing his surfboard.
Putting on his wet suit
Ready to go.
Then, the surfers filed out to the surf to wait for the sign that it was time to enter the water. The waves kept coming in closer and closer and for those of us wearing shoes (I’m still too east coast) we had to jump back each time the surf came in to keep from getting soaked. There were photographers from the press and lots of people on the beach, but it was a very casual group and quite respectful of the celebrities.
Finally the call came telling them to go out and start surfing. Sam paddled out with the rest. He had to go out pretty far to catch a wave, but catch one he did. We got to see his surfing skills and he did a fine job.
Once the 45 minutes was up, the participants all came out and marched back to the tents. What a better way to raise money than to do something you love, and they all seemed to have a great time. I have to admit that it was a lot of fun for me too and I would have enjoyed watching all the surfers, even if Sam wasn’t there, but I’m glad he was.
Here’s a professional video made about the event:
You can help to save the ocean too, in several ways:
The True Blood Season 3 Finale episode airs on September 12. I’m having trouble believing that Season 3 is almost over because it seems like yesterday when we were all waiting patiently for the season to start.
While a finale episode is always bitter sweet, I think this finale might be a bit sweeter than usual, because it includes as its title song, a collaboration of two great True Blood musicians.
Also, as a special treat, the Vault is running a contest where you can win a True Blood Season 2 soundtrack CD. See the contest rules below.
Inspired to remake a classic blues tune, True Blood’s music supervisor, Gary Calamar and CC Adcock came up with the idea to remake, for the finale’s title song, “Evil“.
Jace Everett, the writer and performer of the show’s title theme song, Bad Things, was asked to join in and work with CC to create a new version of the classic blues song by Willie Dixon, which was recorded and made famous by the great blues artist, Howlin’ Wolf. CC Adcock, the musician who wrote Bleed 2 Feed, which is on True Blood’s Season 1 soundtrack, and who has appeared with his band playing at Arlene and Rene’s wedding in Season 1, got together with Jace and fellow producer, Mike Napolitano to record this great new version.
C.C. Adcock and Gary Calamar
Listen to the song – Evil (Is Going On)
Below is the mini-documentary about this collaboration recording, presented by HBO, showing how the recording came to be.
Since the resulting recording of “Evil” by CC and Jace is the title song of Season 3′s finale episode, it seemed appropriate to find out more about it. Recently, I had a chance to speak to Jace Everett about the making of the song and that interview is below with a bit also thrown in by Gary Calamar.
Can you tell me how the song and the collaboration with CC Adcock came to be?
Gary Calamar (music supervisor) and CC Adcock were bouncing some ideas for a “classic”song to use this season for trailers. Much as they used Dylan’s song “Beyond Here Lies Nothing” for last season. Howlin’ Wolf was one of the blues greats they had in mind.
How did you and CC get together on it?
CC and Gary thought it would be cool to get me involved. They called me up and CC and I spent a couple of weeks bouncing ideas back and forth. The whole production style, while certainly a collaborative effort, was really the brain-child of CC and Mike Napolitano. Mike engineered the track and had some great ideas to augment where CC and I envisioned it heading.
Tell the fans a bit about the origin of the song?
This is a classic blues written by Willie Dixon. Willie wrote so many songs that are now considered standards. Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter and others all recorded his tunes. To say nothing of the fact that white boys like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and countless others have been aping Willie’s tunes ever since. Now I guess CC and I are getting in on the action!
Can you tell me about the experience of making the recording? When was it recorded and where?
I flew down to New Orleans and spent a couple of days with CC bouncing from studio to studio. The track is a really good mixture of raw and loose musicianship and some cool loops and sound design. I really like the mixture of technology and raw humanity we captured.
I understand that a mini-documentary is being aired along with the season finale. What was the filming of that like? When did you do it?
CC had the good sense to get a camera crew there for the weekend! We just documented the event. It’s all shot on location in New Orleans.
Tell me what you think of the song Evil and does it fit in any of those made up music categories?
It’s an amazing song. The Howlin’ Wolf version is simply untouchable. It can’t be improved. Hopefully, we showed our respect and merely put a 21st century spin on it.
It’s, as a song, as pure a Blues number as you can get. I think where we took it is maybe a little “post-modern”, if you will.
What do you think of when you hear the word “Evil”?
Besides Dick Cheney? I don’t know. There’s the cartoon version of evil; pitch forks, horns and the like. Then there’s the real-life evil; the crap we humans do to one another through selfishness, laziness, greed, and religious fervor.
I guess I prefer the pitchfork! Far more manageable! LOL!
What do you think of True Blood’s big success?
Well, having spent a little time with the creators, cast, and behind the scenes folks of the show, I couldn’t be happier for them. They are a good group of people. I think it’s a real hoot of a show. Funny, sexy, scary, addictive. Obviously, it’s been good for me, too. Here’s hoping for another 10 seasons and the 3D Imax movie in 2014!!
Do you and CC have any plans for future recordings together?
Nothing concrete at present, but it would certainly be something I’d like to do. We have a lot of similar taste in music, but still approach things a little differently. It’s a nice mix that I hope we’ll explore in the future.
Gary Calamar has already told me that his eight year old daughter, Zoe and two friends did backups for the song and it is their voices at the end saying “Evil”. He said that CC sent him a demo and that Zoe and her two friends recorded their part in LA and it was sent back to be added to the song. Is this the way it went? Do you have anything to add?
Yea, my bit was done by then, but I think that’s how it went down. you know, with modern technology, it’s truly astounding what can be done in the recording world. Napolitano deserves big kudos for wrangling it all together.
What do you think differentiates this version of the song from the original?
Well, it’s louder! CC had the conceit to make a record that a young hip-hop fan could dig. You know the blues of the ’50′s and ’60′s was, at the time, “race music”. It could be argued that hip-hop started that way. Now, of course, hip-hop is ubiquitous. From jazz, blues, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and now hip-hop, black Americans have really invented the bulk of popular music. Then us crackers water it down a bit and make it safe! CC and I love the classic blues music. However, a lot of young black kids aren’t even aware of it. It became gentrified and adopted by white boys. I think CC wanted to bring the two worlds together. A lot of my friends in the hip-hop world are big fans of the show [True Blood] and I’ve gotten some really good feedback on the track from that angle.
Gary also mentioned that the acoustic recording of Bad Things would be available on Itunes, is this true? Or will it be elsewhere too, other than your acoustic album, Old New Borrowed Blues?
Yes, the acoustic version of “Bad Things” is also on the Season 2 soundtrack available at ITunes.
THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED
WIN A SEASON TWO SOUNDTRACK CD!
In honor of this collaboration, two True Blood fans will be chosen to win a CD of the Season 2 soundtrack. See contest rules below:
How to enter to win a Season 2 True Blood Soundtrack CD:
leave a comment to this post by answer one of these two questions: Describe how important the music is for you in True Blood? – OR – Do you have a favorite song from the show and why?
leave a valid email address, the 2 winners will be contacted by email.
the 2 winners will receive an email to which he/she has to reply within 72 hours of the sending date. If you do not reply within that time frame you lose your right to the prize and the prize will be given to another random winner.
the contest is open to fans all over the world, not just in the US
comments must be posted by 11:59 pm PST on Friday, September 17, 2010 to be eligible
the 2 winners will be drawn randomly from the eligible entries
Earlier this week I spoke with Mariana Klaveno over the phone about True Blood and Lorena. Unfortunately there was a little delay in the connection and she heard a big echo, so I had to talk slowly and clearly for her to understand me well.
You can listen to the recording of the interview.
Kudos to Mariana Klaveno portrayal of Lorena, Bill’s maker. I loved to hate her and couldn’t wait for her to get staked, but at the same time I will miss her and I hope she will be back in flashbacks in future episodes. She was a complete psycho, but as a Billsbabe I can most certainly understand her obsession with Bill.
We had great fun watching you, Mariana.
Mariana: Thank you. You know what? She was loyal; she was always loyal and never wavered on her love of Bill.
Is a role on a show like True Blood every actor’s dream?
Mariana: Yes, it really is. Because you don’t get to play parts like that normally in television, you don’t get to do storylines of the same scope in television. It is really a dream come true. When the scripts of season 2 were coming in I was literally pinching myself because I thought there is no way that this can be real; I get to do a 1920’s and a 1930’s flashback and the character arch that I got to go on alone was just incredible as an actor.
You had some of the most amazing scenes. Bill’s turning, the bloody bed scene, the twisted sex, the torture, the staking…. Which of these scenes are you most proud of?
Mariana: That’s a good question. I think actually the first of the torture scenes when Lorena opens up Bill’s chest and he talks to her about her human life. I think that when I watch it, and it’s still difficult for me to watch myself and I still cringe and think “I should have done this or that.” I love that scene because there are so many different changes, subtle changes, in Lorena and it was really fun and challenging to go from sad to scary to distraught to angry; it went all over the place in a very quick succession, it was not a very long scene. It was a beautifully written scene, I really loved it and Stephen [Moyer] was an amazing scene partner that day, he is always an amazing scene partner. I loved shooting it and looking back on it for the most part I am happy with how it turned out.
The staking of Lorena was a very impressive dying scene with all the blood coming out of your mouth. How do you top that?
Mariana: [laughs] Luckily the blood coming out of my mouth was all computer generated I didn’t have to spit out a fountain of blood, thankfully. But it looks great, it’s pretty cool.
Who suffered more in the torture scene… Bill or Lorena?
Mariana: I think Lorena did, but Stephen may disagree [laughs]. I think for sure she did. As long as she was alive and well she always had something to sort of to live for, in the vampire sense of living. There was always that hope that someday they would be together again and this was the end of the road, she no longer has that option and you see how much it pains her to know that all this came to an end and she has no choice. Yes, I think it was more painful for her.
How did you prepare for the role of Lorena, how did you become her?
Mariana: I did a bit of research into the general world history to get where she’s been and what she experienced. I also did some vampire research; I read the original Bram Stoker “Dracula” for the history and better understanding of the mythology of vampires. Honestly, when it came down to shooting I had the feeling I knew whom this girl was and once I had gone through hair and make-up that honestly did a lot of the work for me. If I would come in in jeans, a t-shirt and sneakers, no make-up and a ponytail: as myself. And then transform into a super glamorous woman with elaborate hair and make-up, with 6-inch stiletto heels and gorgeous gowns. Once you have all that going on it already does a lot of the work for you. Lorena had some gorgeous outfits and once you’re in those clothes I never had to worry about how does she walk or how does she hold herself: it just was, she came alive in that sense.
Did you bring any experiences from your own life into the character?
Mariana: No, I have never been that crazy ex-girlfriend, I don’t relate to Lorena in that way [laughs]. To me she is a very tragic character and she was in so much pain. When it came down to it, everybody has pain in their lives so if you can identify with that in some way then you can go from there, but I don’t have a lot of parallels in the back story between myself and Lorena. I don’t stalk any ex-boyfriends.
Lorena picked Bill because he was an honorable man, but she corrupted him and destroyed the values that she loved about him in the first place. As an actress how do you work with this contradiction in your character?
Mariana: That’s a really good question and I don’t know I can really articulate that. It’s one of those things that magically happens when you are an actor, the same reason why we can pretend that we’re someone we are not or to pretend that we are in a place we are not. People are very complex and it’s not always black and white: they want something, they get it and they feel good about it. I think people are a lot of times very complex and they don’t realize what they want, they think they know what they want, but that is not actually what they want. I think that Lorena is in the same way. She obviously was drawn to Bill for all the right reasons, but didn’t know how else to interact with what she saw as the companion and her soul mate. She didn’t know what else to do aside from turning him into someone horrible and evil and doing all these unspeakable things; to her that is how you live as lovers who are vampires. That is how I justified those contradictions; she doesn’t really realize that those were evil things. To her this is what we do, this is fun and entertaining, I want to be with you always and do everything with you; this is how we go through the world and obviously Bill has always struggled with his vampire existence, it really didn’t fit well with him.
I think one of Lorena’s biggest flaws was that she was incapable of change; she was rigid.
Mariana: She was. She is definitely a broken character, she is cracked and she could never really see the errors in her ways and how to fix them; she was incapable of that and because she was so broken as an individual and emotionally hurt and I think that also came from her human life. I think she lead a very tragic human life and that also informed how she lived her vampire life.
Kissing with fangs is risky business, how did that go with you and Stephen in the bloody bed scene in season 2?
Mariana: It is tricky especially when both of you are wearing fangs. I believe we were wearing our hard fangs. We each have two sets of fangs, soft fangs and hard fangs. Soft fangs for the scenes where we really bite into somebody, but the hard fangs look better on camera and Stephen always prefers to wear the hard fangs. I remember that I was so nervous for that scene, I hadn’t been wearing the fangs very long and this was our first love scene and I was just nervous and feeling awkward anyway and I was so terrified that I would literally bite into his lip. Somehow we managed to do it, we very carefully did it and I remember praying that it would come out ok. And I think it did, I don’t think anybody hurt anybody. But it’s a difficult thing; love scenes are weird anyway but adding those components makes it even more strange.
What was it like to work with such an experienced actor as Stephen Moyer?
Mariana: Oh my gosh, he is incredible. Not only is he a wonderful guy and a wonderful scene partner he is so generous and he is always making sure that you are being taken care of, whether it was me or whether it was an actor or actress that had just come on for the day with one or two lines. He is very conscientious of others and making sure their experience on the show is as good as it could be and that is the way a leader should be and I really admired him for that. I would literally sit back and watch and just try to learn as much as I can from him. He is the most technically skilled actor that I have ever worked with. He understands camera angles and lighting and all of the details better than anyone I have ever experienced. Most actors are like me and don’t even think about that stuff. I come from theatre so my first instinct is all about character and the acting of it, I don’t think through a camera lens. He does. He read the scene and thinks of it through the camera lens and how it would look the best. He would block all of our scenes, which I loved, [laughs] I wouldn’t have to worry about anything. I would literally look at him and say: “How are we going to do this?” And he would say: “I think it’s best if we start in a 2 shot, you move over here and I go over here.” He just would conduct the scenes a lot of the time, I don’t mean to say that he directed them, we have amazing directors that work on the show, but it was really impressive and astounding and I tried to learn as much as I could from him.
If you could write a flashback scene for Lorena what would that scene be about, which part of her would you like to show to the audience?
Mariana: I doubt that this will ever make it into the show since it wouldn’t involve Bill, but I would love to have a scene of Lorena’s human life, even if it was tiny and brief. I think that would be really interesting, obviously I would think it would be interesting [laughs]. Alan [Ball] planted a little seed in the torture scene about my maker, he barely mentioned it, but it was so fascinating that it made me want to see more and … who knows maybe he will, maybe he won’t. But I think it would be really interesting to see what she was like in her human life and get a glimpse of that.
I thought it was very interesting that Lorena’s maker Istvan was mentioned, that certainly opened the door for Lorena’s return in flashbacks further. The Truebies are already speculating who could play Istvan.
Mariana: Oh really? I hadn’t even thought about it. Because Lorena had her swan song, I did not let myself daydream too much. But that is truly interesting. What names have come up?
We are hoping for a certain actor, who is also interested in a part on True Blood: Michael Emerson.
Mariana: Oooooh that would be interesting! Then, he and Carrie [Preston] can both be on the show, that would be fun.
Carrie was on LOST of course, she played his mother and gave birth to him. We would like to bring Michael Emerson to True Blood.
Mariana: That would be fantastic because he is such an amazing actor, that would be fun.
In season 3 in the flashback with Caroline we see a different side of Lorena when she teaches Bill that he has to stay away from the humans he loves. Do you believe that a union between a vampire and a human could actually work?
Mariana: I don’t really know. It seems that it could last for a time, but inevitably it would come to an end. But all things do, also in a normal human couple somebody is going to die before someone else. That reality exist for everyone, but immortality I don’t know if you could actually get around that 30 or 40 years in. But I am a romantic at heart so I’ll say I’ll hold out hope that maybe it could.
How would you react if vampires really existed and came out of the coffin?
Mariana: I would hope that they liked my performance so that they wouldn’t take any revenge, that’s what I would hope [laughs] and I would try to make friends with the oldest, meanest one around so I would get protection Kind of like it is in prison.
Are you working on anything at the moment? Are there other projects in the near future?
Mariana: I’ve been looking at a lot of scripts and auditioning. I’ll tell you one thing, it’s really hard coming from such an amazing character and show and group of people. It’s been hard to pick up scripts that come close to it. I also want to do something very different, as an actor I always like to challenge myself and put myself in situations where I don’t feel comfortable, I would like to so something very anti Lorena, anti sexy vampire to keep myself fresh. So I am looking and hopefully the right thing will come along soon because I am eager to get back to work, but I want it to be the right project.
Part of being an actor is auditioning and rejection. How do you deal with rejection?
Mariana: I usually go drink a bunch of wine afterwards [laughs]. Sometimes it’s not that difficult to deal with and sometimes it is. I think it depends on if you really wanted to do the project because if you don’t really care about it the rejection doesn’t really hurt, but if it’s something that you read and really had a connection to and you could really see yourself doing it and you really gotten excited as an actor and as an artist, those are the ones that are hard to take when the door slams in your face. It is part of the life of an actor, for better and for worse; you just pick yourself up and get back out there again. Some days it’s easier then others. It never hurts to pick up the phone and talk to another actor and share horror stories, that always makes you feel better and a nice glass of red wine at the end of the day always saves the day.
Are you on Twitter or do you have a Facebook page?
Mariana: I am not on Twitter yet, people have been asking. Maybe I should, but I am so terrible with computers and technology. I do have an official Facebook fan page, so people can find me there. I’ve had some impostors too, I don’t have a personal page, I just have a fan page. In the past there have been people pretending to be me, which is very odd.
Do you visit the fan sites? Do you read about yourself?
Mariana: I don’t. Which is a shame in one sense because I don’t mean to ignore the fans in any way. Early on there was such a negative reaction to my character, understandably, but it was hard because people were attacking me personally. I think it can be poisonous to read all of the blogs and see all the comments, so I kind of stay away and let my friends guide me into the right things. If there is something really great, people will say that I should look because someone wrote a great article or said something really nice about you. I had to stop reading the blogs because there is a lot of negativity coming my way.
Not only your way, there are people who say bad things about everybody.
Mariana: Exactly they say it about everybody. I get it, it’s the world that we live in, but we have fragile egos. You can only read so many times how ugly people think you are.
Then let me close by saying that what I read on my websites is all very positive about you; we love to hate you and we think that you were amazing as Lorena…
Mariana: Oh thank you so much. I appreciate you saying that, I will go on your website now and connect with the fans.
You tortured our poor Bill, but we loved you for it.
Mariana: I did. But in her defense I think she took quite the beating this season before she tortured. Bill wasn’t innocent, he lit me on fire; he broke my neck; he punched me in the face… I think he deserved a little torture [laughs].