Friday, November 28, 2008

The Vampire Lounge, Back in Business, Hopes Not to Suck

Man, Dallas is just swarming with vamps... :)

By Pete Freedman
The Observer Dallas, TX

Between this weekend's expected big opening for Twilight in movie theaters and the first-season finale of HBO's phenomenal True Blood set to take place on Sunday night, yeah, vampires are pretty hot right now.

So much so that, maybe, the Vampire Lounge, one of Dallas' newest live music venues, located on Harry Hines Boulevard, not too far from the intersection of Interstate 35E and LBJ Freeway, should be sucking the life force out of the vampire craze right about now—or, at the very least, that the venue would've had quite the crowd at its Halloween bash a couple weeks back.

Vampire Lounge Myspace

True Blood's Nelsan Ellis - Standing Out Amongst Vampires

By Tara Bennett

As the first season of HBO’s vampire drama True Blood heads towards its season finale on Sunday, November 23rd, there’s still a lot to resolve in the little Louisiana town of Bon Temps. Barmaid Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is in a dangerous race to uncover the identity of the local serial killer before she becomes the next victim. And when it comes to matters of the heart, she’s facing a choice between sexy Bill the vampire (Stephen Moyer) or her devoted boss Sam (Sam Trammell), a secret shape-shifter.

But that’s all par for the crazy course for Alan Ball’s True Blood which has been addictively over-the-top from day one. While it debuted to lackluster ratings of 1.44 million viewers in September, the series has since become a guilty pleasure water cooler show steadily gaining new eyes culminating in a series high 6.4 million viewers for its eleventh episode.

One of the shows breakout stars is actor Nelsan Ellis. His brazen, brash and sexy turn as Lafayette Reynolds, the openly gay fry-cook/construction worker/porn mogul/V-blood dealer, elicits equal part laughs and deep blushes from audiences. Lafayette’s trysts with everyone from local vampires to closeted State Senate candidates have placed him in the danger zone during the season finale, so Newsarama chatted with the actor about the success of the series and if Lafayette’s days are numbered.

Newsarama: Nelsan, your portrayal of Lafayette has been a highlight of the series, but was the role easily won?

Nelsan Ellis
: No, it was a challenge. I had four auditions. At the second audition, the casting director called my agent and said “Yeah, he didn’t do so good.” She thought I had brought in a caricature rather than a person. She said I came off trying to be something and it looked clownish. So then I basically tried to mesh Lafayette with who I am so it comes off natural. Lafayette is a part of me versus me trying to create another thing.

NRAMA: Did you have to dig deep to find that balance?

: Yeah. Of course I’m creating something inside myself to fill out Lafayette but in the moment, it doesn’t look like I’m doing something because I planned it. Rather because I’ve imbedded myself and my own personality with a few added quirks so it comes off the cuff.

NRAMA: That off the cuff quality of Lafayette is one of the most endearing qualities about the character. Do you ad-lib much?

: For the first six episodes, I helped the writers out in finding the voice. All of the characters are collaborations in terms of Alan’s ideas, my ideas and what each of the six writer’s ideas are. There was some ad-libbing because when you have six different writers and Alan, the actor is the one who has to give the specific voice of the person. I had to figure out the way he thinks and the way he talks. We all ad-libbed to build his personality.

NRAMA: Are you as open and flirty as Lafayette or has it been an exercise in extroversion to play him?

: It’s been a learning experience. I’m pretty shy and a lot of times introverted. The first day of shooting, Alan said, “’s a theater! Whenever the camera comes over there I want Lafayette to put on a play.” That part is Alan. His idea of who [Lafayette] is comes from Alan. [Charlaine Harris’s] books describe him in one sentence.

NRAMA: Speaking of the books, did you use “Dead Until Dark” as a character reference?

: There’s not much in the books. I did a lot of research in gay clubs. But the best stuff I got was from the Marquis de Sade, my mother and various other people from people in the gay clubs. (laughs)

NRAMA: Your mom? How so?

: My mother is growing up; she’s 50 and still is [growing up]. She is the black sheep of the family because my mother has always been such a sexual creature. She walks like it, she talks like it and looks like it. Early on Alan told me all the things that I needed to keep in mind like I would have a gay porn web site and I would be a prostitute so sex is a very important part of his life. And so that’s why I draw from my mother.

NRAMA: The vampire genre is big again. Does it have an appeal for you?

: Yes! At some point in my life, I wanted to be in a vampire movie. I am a vampire/werewolf and sci-fi fanatic. God is so good! I get to play in a series that has all that! We have witches and werewolves and shape-shifters.

NRAMA: What are some of your favorites in the genre?

: Interview with a Vampire is my all-time favorite. I also loved An American Werewolf in London.

NRAMA: You have a pretty talented ensemble cast to work against and luckily, Lafayette gets to interact with all of them. How’s the rapport on set?

: I tell you my favorite is Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse). We just have fun together. We play off each other well. I went to school with Rutina Wesley (Tara). We went to Julliard together so we were absolutely comfortable with each other. Because we were good friends made it even better. It’s never work with Rutina because we just do what we do. Anna Paquin is marvelous and she brings so much experience to the table. Often times we’re learning stuff from her, like camera tricks, stuff to keep us from doing ADR and dealing with the technical parts.

NRAMA: What’s your favorite episode?

: Well, Steven Root (Eddie) is my vampire lover. The man is extraordinary so we had a very weird, weird scene in episode six “Cold Ground.” It’s the strangest scene I’ve had to do and it’s certainly the strangest thing he’s ever had to do. The director said it was the strangest thing he had to do so we enjoyed how weird it was, but it was some work. It would be my favorite episode.

NRAMA: Lafayette is a charming guy, but he’s working some dangerous angles. Do you identify with him?

: I like who he is as a person. I don’t agree with how he goes about getting what he needs and wants. I think he is a nice dude. I think there have been some unfortunate incidents that happened in his childhood that put him in a place to be who he is. He was raised by a single parent and was probably the only person like himself in the whole town. He’s had to become shrewd and strong and dangerous. I think he’s a nice dude; at least I would like him to be a nice dude. (laughs)

NRAMA: Fans of the Harris books know that Lafayette doesn’t live past the first novel. Should audiences prepare for a possible bad turn for your character in the series finale?

: (Smiles) That is yet to be seen.

Listen to Stephen Moyers voice over samples

Book Eight moments with Bill and Sookie

Book Eight moments with Bill and Sookie

From his chair, Bill caught my eye and silently put his hand over his heart.
It was a romantic and totally unexpected gesture, and for a moment I softened toward him. I very nearly smiled, though Selah was right there by his side. Just in time, I reminded myself that Bill was a no-good rat bastard, and I swept on my painful way.

So did the sore spot in my heart labeled Bill Compton.

"You got you a girlfriend," I said. "You go on back to Selah." I looked down to make sure I'd gotten the little strap on the second sandal unlatched. I worked the shoe off. When I glanced back up, Bill's dark eyes were fixed on me.
"I would give anything to lie with you again," he said.
I froze, my hands in the act of rolling the thigh-high hose off my left leg.
Okay, that pretty much stunned me on several different levels. First, the biblical "lie with." Second, my astonishment that he considered me such a memorable bed partner.
Maybe he only remembered the virgins.

"Selah has moved to Little Rock," he said.
"How come?"
"She got a position with a large firm," he said. "It was what she told me she wanted. They specialize in vampire properties."
"She hooked on vamps?"
"I believe so. Not my doing."
"Weren't you her first?" Maybe I sounded a little bitter. He'd been my first, in every way.
"Don't," he said, and turned his face toward me. It was radiantly pale.
he said finally. "I was not her first. And I always knew it was the vampire in me that attracted her, not the person who was a vampire."
I understood what he was saying. When I'd learned he'd been ordered to ingratiate himself with me, I'd felt it was the telepath in me that had gotten his attention, not the woman who was the telepath.
"What goes around, comes around," I said.

"There is much you don't know about Sookie," Bill said. It was the first time he'd spoken since Madden had entered. "Know this: I will die for her. If you harm her, I'll kill you." Bill turned his dark eyes on Eric. "Can you say the same?"
Eric plainly wouldn't, which put him behind in the "Who Loves Sookie More?" stakes. At the moment, that wasn't so relevant. "You must also know this," Eric said to Victor. "Even more pertinently, if anything happens to her, forces you can't imagine will be set into motion."

As for me, I felt a little weak in the knees, and my thoughts were in such a tumult they could scarcely be called thoughts. Bill's arm went around me, and he lowered me to the chair Eric had vacated. I felt his cool lips brush my cheek. I would have to possess a heart of stone not to be affected by his little speech to Victor-I hadn't forgotten it, no matter how terrifying the night had been-and my heart is not made of stone.
Bill knelt by my feet, his white face turned up to me. "I hope someday you'll turn to me," he said. "I'll never force myself or my company on you." And he got up and walked outside to meet his new vampire kin.

Spend your Christmas with a Vampire...

Wolfsbane and Mistletoe , edited by Charlaine Harris Ace Hardcover 21008
*contains the Sookie Stackhouse short story "Gift wrap" ) New York Times bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Patricia Briggs, Keri Arthur, and Carrie Vaughn—along with eleven other masters of the genre—offer all-new stories on werewolves and the holidays, a fresh variation on the concept that worked so well with birthdays and vampires in Many Bloody Returns.

The holidays can bring out the beast in anyone. They are particularly hard for lycanthropes. Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner have harvested the scariest, funniest and saddest werewolf tales by an outstanding pack of authors, best read by the light of a full moon with a silver bullet close at hand.

Whether wolfing down a holiday feast (use your imagination) or craving some hair of the dog on New Year’s morning, the werewolves in these frighteningly original stories will surprise, delight, amuse, and scare the pants off readers who love a little wolfsbane with their mistletoe.


All I want for Christmas is a Vampire, by Kerrelyn Sparks. (Avon, $6.99.)

This Christmas isn't so merry for Toni. Her best friend's been locked up in a mental hospital ever since she told the police she was attacked by vampires, and the only way for Toni to get her out is to prove that bloodsuckers really do exist. So she's taken a job as a bodyguard for the Undead, but she gets more than she bargained for, especially when she meets Ian MacPhie, a Scottish rascal looking for Ms. Right.

Although Ian's nearly five centuries old, he looks and acts like a twenty-seven-year-old hunk.

How can a dead man be so damn sexy? Could Mr. Wrong be Mr. Right? One forbidden kiss could lead to an eternity of passion—and all it takes is one moment under the mistletoe . . .

We do also have True Blood characters as the jibjab dancing elves- click on > Christmas in the topics for the elves and gift ideas for your favorite fangophile !

Music from True Blood Episode 12 - You’ll Be The Death Of Me “

“Prelude a L'apres - Midi D'un Faun” by Claude Debussy

“Fantasy Pieces - Why?” by Robert Schumann

“Christine’s Tune (Devil in Disguise)” by The Flying Burrito Brothers

“Trouble” by Ray LaMontague

“You’ll Be The Death of Me” by Johnny Winter

“Cut & Run” by Madison Smartt Bell and Wyn Cooper
No download available

“Ain’t No Grave” by Crooked Still

Fangoria on satelite radio interview with Carrie Preston ( Arlene)

Fangoria on Sirius radio - Actress Carrie Preston stops by to give FANGO all the bloody details on her hit series, HBO's TRUE BLOOD.

**you have to have sirius radio to listen-sory !'s Top TV Moments

3. Best Big Reveal: We finally know who the True Blood killer is! Rene, the suspiciously accented Cajun charmer, seems to have had a beef with vampire sympathizers. But this week's episode also sets up Season 2 with the arrival of the mysterious Mary Ann — who vibrates?

Pop Wrap's Top 10 Stars of the Year

Alan Ball & "True Blood"
"True Blood" is hands down my favorite new series since "Lost" debuted in 2004 and Alan Ball is the main reason for that. As the creator and guiding hand he deftly ushers the show as it tackles topical issues - racism, sexism, homophobia, vampaphobia - in a totally un-preachy way.

Funny, dramatic, terrifying, sexy and thought-provoking, "True Blood" is exactly the kind of show cable was created for. It pushes boundaries and rewrites vampyric lore, posing a fascinating question: Does love truly know no race, creed, color or pulse?

True Blood: Alan Ball Interview TVGuide

Shopping and gift ideas for the True Blood fan in your life

Of course, on the Friday after Thanksgiving our thoughts turn to shopping and buying Christmas are some places you can buy True Blood gifts for True Blood fans in your life .

..or oh heck, buy something for yourself - you deserve it!

Posters ( 24x36 in )
20% off with free shipping for limited time **

Shirts, bags, clocks and more
Cafepress True Blood Shop

also at Zazzle

T-shirts, stemware ( note new beer mug!)
HBO True Blood Store

**Cyber Monday Sale on all True Blood Merchandise!
Get 15% off everything True Blood plus free shipping on all HBO apparel. Be sure to use coupon code DECAFF2008 during checkout to take advantage of these Cyber Monday savings. This coupon code is only valid from 12.1 through 12.31

Sam Trammel interviewed by Hollywood 411