Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Alan Ball interview that didn't want you to see

Here's a little from a September interview with Alan Ball did with InsideSoCal

Q: Your previous work didn't have bad guys, per se, but morally ambiguous characters dwelling in dark areas. What's it like working with characters in "True Blood" who are just flat-out bad guys?

Ball: "Certainly, in the source material, they're bad. That's part of the joy of it. It takes place in such a fantastic world where vampires exist. I think it makes me less inclined to seek the humanity in every single character. In 'True Blood, it's pretty clear that these are bad people and you're not supposed to want to see them do well. There's enough moral ambiguity going on elsewhere."

Q: You've said you've never been a big fan of vampire tales, but there's a cult addicted to the genre. Why do you think there're so many huge fans?

Ball: "I only have my own half-baked theories. Vampires are certainly a huge sexual metaphor. At one point, Chris Albrecht, back when he was [running] HBO, asked me, 'What is this series about?' And I thought, 'I can't say, (in a dopey voice) "It's about a lot of vampires, 'cause I think they're real fun,"' so I said, 'It's about the terrors of intimacy.' (laughs)


"But the more I think about it, the more I think that's true. It's about how terrifying it is to really let your guard down and open your psyche up to another creature. And with vampires, you're not only opening yourself up emotionally, you're opening yourself up physically - you could die.

"We live in a world where emotion and the need to connect with something deeper and more profound has been distilled into these negative doctrines - 'Feel bad about yourself. You have to behave; you have to be controlled.' We live in a culture that wants people to be afraid and protect themselves from everybody else, which is the exact opposite of what the human soul wants.

"We all have that part of ourselves that needs abandon. We all have a need for transcendence, so maybe people turn to this fantastic fiction for that."

Q: "True Blood" pokes fun at the religious right's intolerance, and "Towelhead's" subject matter is certain to offend them. Are you prepared for their attacks?

Ball: "I don't really care what they think. There's already been some vicious, kneejerk reactions to it. You know what? Yeah, this stuff punches emotional buttons and some people are going to be able to see beyond that and some won't. And some people are just going to flat-out not like it. And that's OK; I don't need to be liked by everybody. I think there's an audience for both of these; that's the audience I write for and that's the audience I belong to. I'm not interested in people who are close-minded; I don't care what they think."

read all here :

True Blood Christmas Carols- Eric the Vampire

it's almost Christmas we have to get the last few in...

(sung to the tune of “Frosty the Snowman”)

Eric the vampire
Was a very scary guy
With his ice blue eyes and his big white fangs
And the fact that he could fly

Eric the vampire
Owned a Shreveport bar they say
He sat on a throne and it was well known
That he lay as dead all day.

There must have been some magic in that
Telepath they found
When Sookie solved Longshadow’s crime
Eric thought “She will be mine”.

Eric the vampire
Was determined as can be
He brought Bill to trial, with a wicked smile,
Brought back Jessica with glee

Thumpetty thump thump,
thumpety thump thump,
Look at Eric’s eyes.
Thumpetty thump thump,
thumpety thump thump,
Through the night sky he flies.

Eric the vampire
Wants a telepath we know
With Pam by his side Eric tried and tried
To get Bill to let her go

Sookie is frightened
Of the ancient Viking vamp
Can Bill keep her safe? Will his vampire waif
Drive Sook into Eric’s camp?

Thumpetty thump thump,
thumpety thump thump,
Look in Eric’s eyes.
Thumpetty thump thump,
thumpety thump thump,
Through the night sky he flies.

some of these xmas carols were sent to me and some came from the holiday thread at HBO forum thanks to everyone for sharing their creativity

May I have Mr. Bill Compton the vampire to go, please?

readingext on her blog wrote so eloquently about what so many are feeling about the show and characters ..

This has to be the very first time in my entire life that I actually decided to watch anything based on a book before reading the book. I have never read Charlaine Harris' New Orleans vampires series. I have no idea why not, considering I love anything vampire and black magic, and all the supernatural. Many times I have daydreamed how great it would be to be immortal, have great powers, have pretty much no enemies, all that jazz. Anyway, for some, just as inexplicable reason I decided to watch "True Blood" this past weekend instead of reading the books. And boy, oh boy am I glad.

First of all, is Bill Compton THE hottest vampire or what?! Really, can I order him to go, please?

Second of all, I could not believe that I was watching the little girl from "The Piano" playing Sookie. And I think she really does a great job. Sookie and Bill are such a cute couple, all things considered (you know, him a vampire and her with telepathic mind).

Some might call the show silly, but there is something to it. It pulled me in completely. I spent almost all night on Saturday just watching the first seven episodes. I never devote so much time to anything on TV. Reading a book? Yes, I have spent countless nights on that. But watching a TV series would be unthinkable to me just two days ago.

Oh, and did I mention that I really, really like Bill Compton?

Behind the scenes with True Blood: Amy & Jason's picnic

Episode 9 Jason and Amy behind Jason house havinga picnic. The top two here are still from the show, you can see the actors laying on the blanket left and the boat house closer behind them below.

Here are photos from the real house in Northern Louisiana and the boat house

"Baby, you can drive my car " (2)

Who drives this car ?

Anyone know model or year ?

Yes, this is Lafayette's little convertible Mercedes

Theorizing Race and Slavery in HBO's "True Blood"

by Mark Auslander

A good deal of the blogsphere’s discussion of the first season of HBO’s “True Blood” has swirled around the puzzling representations of race on the show. What are we to make of the rapid images of civil rights sit-ins and black church worship, intercut with shots of the Klan, in the dazzling opening montage? How are we to interpret the suggested analogy between the struggle for vampire equality and the civil rights and gay rights movements (the latter signaled in the opening sequence’s roadside sign, “God Hates Fangs”, only one letter removed from a homophobic slur)? What is the status of the various cross-racial and cross-species liaisons and romances in the show? Is the “blood” in the show’s title an alibi for American racism’s obsession with the supposed “truth” of blood and bloodlines?

Considerable discussion centers on the African-American characters played by the remarkable Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette) and Rutina Wesley (Tara): are they stereotypical sidekick characters rendered as secondary to the white protagonists or do they in fact dominate the dramatic crux of the show?

read on

True Blood Music Video of the Day

Cry Little Sister (Thou Shall Not Fall) by Gerard McMann

"Aint no grave, to hold my body down"

The Blogger Hime_um just loves everything about True Blood but especially the music - itunes has all the great show music ( but we do need a sound track CD - hint HBO!)

She writes ....

Today it will be centered around my love for music!

As I mentioned before, I am now hooked on True Blood, and not only for the vampires and sexy plotline, but I find the southern US to look so beautiful and the people seem so interesting. I love the accent, the people seem so carefree and funloving, and the music is wonderful. So of course, True Blood has an awesome soundtrack.

The season finale featured a song called "Aint No Grave" by a band names Crooked Still. The singer has the most beautiful, feminine voice I've ever heard, and mix that with the banjo and double bass....ahhhh, the album is gorgeous. So just for that reason, seeing as I am impatient and couldn't wait to see if I could find the cd in a store, (which was unlikely anyway), I made an iTunes account and got it off of there. The whole cd is great, and I've been itching to get home from work and give it another listen.

It may not seem like much, but music makes me happy quite often!

Ain't No Grave can be listened to and watched below , it's a video from a live performance. You can buy it from Amazon in CD or itunes for song/album download.

The music from all the True Blood episodes can be found here

Enter the 'Twilight' zone

I enjoyed the interviews with the local librarians very much ..."The most important thing to ( the HS principal) Bull is that young people are reading."

The same reporter from Abilene also wrote this excellent piece, visit the page and he's collected some great vamp images HERE

Every few years, like an ancient fiend resurrected by new blood, vampires return to popular culture.

The befanged bloodsuckers have long since held a significant place in the collective imagination. Vampire stories, of a sort, can be found all over the world, dating back thousands of years.

But the undead's pale features have, of late, become tinted with a rosier hue, even becoming teen heartthrobs -- especially to fans of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" novels and the popular film adaptation of the series' first book.

"The guy who plays Edward is single," confides 17-year-old Abilene High School student Amanda Fleming, referring to actor Robert Pattinson, who plays the primary vampire character in the book's film version. "All the girls are going nuts over that."

But teen boys are often just as taken by the series' action and suspense, something noted not just by local librarians, but also by outspoken male fans.

"It's just innovative," said Josh Lozano, 16, an Abilene High student who regularly attended midnight release parties for Meyer's novels as they hit book stores. "It's not your everyday blood and guts vampire story. It has a teen romance twist to it."

Over time, and throughout folklore, literature and film, vampires have transmogrified from hideous, shrouded ghouls freshly loosed from unhallowed graves to suave, sophisticated leading men and women -- the sort some would literally die to be.

"Every age embraces the vampire it needs," said Mikee Deloney, an Abilene Christian University English professor who will soon teach a five-week honors colloquium on vampires in film and literature at the school.

But the "Twilight" books are especially appealing to high school-age students, said Mary Margaret Smith, the librarian at Abilene High School, because despite the array of monsters on display, students think the characterization is true-to-life and relevant.

"Sometimes, young adult novels are written by adults who don't speak the same language that teens do right now," she said.

But author Stephenie Meyer, apparently, does, she said. Girls seem particularly fond of the romance angle of the novels and subsequent film, while boys seem more enamored of the bits of supernatural prowess and action displayed by some of the main characters.

So popular is the series that the Abilene Public Library often can't keep up with the demand, said Marie Noe, children's librarian with the APL.

"It combines some of the elements older teen girls and young adult girls in particular really like," she said, not just the vampire aspect of the story but the joy and (perhaps) peril of a mysterious boyfriend, the inner workings of cliques at school, and numerous other aspects.

Undying Devotion

Fans' devotion has turned into cold cash for those who sell the "Twilight" books.

"We're having a hard time keeping it on the shelves," said Bob Houy, store manager at Hastings Books Music & Video in Abilene, who said the popularity of the novels has exploded because of the movie version.

"Every store in town has been sold out," he said. "It's really reminiscent of the Harry Potter series. It's not just a certain age group that likes it."

"Twilight," the movie adaptation of the first book, grossed $35.7 million on its opening day and had, as of Friday, grossed more than $176 million worldwide, according to

Fleming, a staunch devotee of all of the series' novels, was a touch critical of the film version, but did enjoy it.

"It was good, but there were way too many parts missing," she said, though she praised many of the effects used to bring Meyer's vampires to life. "But then again, they also added a lot of good parts."

But Lozano enjoyed the film immensely, giving it easily "four or five stars," and saying the best part of the experience was "the anticipation of getting to see your favorite (sections) played out."

Cooper High School students Brittney Garcia, 19, and Laura McCoy, 17, are among those entranced by the novels, having read every single one.

The love story of the two main characters is among the biggest hooks for the pair, with the overarching tale of starcrossed lovers (with a werewolf as a possible romantic rival thrown in later) striking a tone akin to "Romeo and Juliet."

"No matter what happens, no matter what the opposition, they still love each other," McCoy said. "They're wonderfully in love."

But there's more a bit of real drama and (dare we say) bite to the series, Garcia said.

"There are some fighting scenes in there," she said. "There's some good action."

In fact, there's even a touch of comedy, McCoy said.

"There's something for everyone," she said.

McCoy and Garcia were both fans of the film, including the actor chosen to play Edward.

"I had my doubts at first, but I was really impressed," McCoy said.

"I can't wait for the next one," Garcia added. Production is planned for "New Moon," based on the second book in the series.

Escaping the Everyday

Laura McCoy's mother, Julie McCoy, 40, said that she planned to read the books based on the enthusiasm of her daughter, whose love for the series is a bit greater than usual, even for a child who loves to read.

She said that she wasn't worried about the more overt supernatural themes of the novel, and said that to her, the reason the series is so popular is its mixture of fantasy, mystery and romance.

Strangely, her daughter, who wants to become a missionary, isn't normally a fan of horror movies, she said.

"She loves World War II movies, but no horror films at all," she said. "She can handle things in print, but she'll generally stay away from horror movies."

But she said she thought the books were simply good escapism.

"I think anything that spreads the word and gets other kids reading is positive," she said.

Fantasy stories of any kind, as well as graphic novels, are immensely popular among young readers right now, said Smith.

But young readers are remarkably discerning, and know a good novel from bad, meaning any knockoffs have their work cut out for them.

"If it's not up to the same standards of writing, characterization and plot, then any copycats won't be popular," she said.

Librarians at Abilene's two high schools and the public library said they haven't received flak from parents about the books, which feature, among more typical teen drama, an usual teen love triangle between protagonist Isabella Swan, the vampiric Edward and Jacob Black, a teenage werewolf.

"The most I have had is a parent of a 12-year-old reading beyond her level," said Marie Noe, children's librarian at the Abilene Public Library. "She was concerned with everything her child was reading and we applaud her for that."

Noe said the library gave the parent reviews, opinions, and sent her away with the suggestion to read the titles herself first so there would be no surprises, something Noe said she suggests "quite often."

Cooper High School librarian Karan Duwe said the "Twilight" series checks much of the overt sexuality of many vampire stories.

"These appeal to the kids where they are," she said.

In a way, "Twilight" is actually a "fairly clean novel about abstinence," said ACU's Deloney, albeit one that features a creature seen as a "symbol for evil for thousands of years."

Part of the saga deals with Bella wanting to become a vampire and Edward refusing her, though he finds even the scent of her blood intoxicating.

The series' cross-age appeal, and the movies, should keep it popular for some time, Duwe said.

"I know several teachers who have read them all," she said.

Terry Bull, Abilene High School principal, called the novels, and the fandom they produce, "lighthearted reading" and said that his wife has read the books, calling them a "love story with an interesting twist."

Bull said that he hasn't seen hordes of vampire-wannabes roaming the hallways of his school, though he has seen plenty of copies of the "Twilight" series.

"Even though it deals with vampires, there's no one living that life," he said. "It's fiction."

The most important thing to Bull is that young people are reading.

"That's what I love," he said. "It's a great way for them to relax and learn."

More than a few good men in 'Kill'

positive review of Generation Kill series starring Alexander Skarsgard

Generation Kill is another mammoth, moving miniseries from HBO. The subject is the Iraq war, and the huge cast is overwhelming at the start. Yet the seven-part drama gains power from vivid storytelling, superb acting and a frank approach.

The story focuses on the Marines in five Humvees in the first 40 days of the 2003 invasion. The lead vehicle is most crucial to the story. Sgt. Brad Colbert (Alexander Skarsgard) is the quiet, forceful leader. Cpl. John Ray Person (James Ransone) is the talkative, sarcastic driver.

The script is based on Rolling Stone correspondent Evan Wright's book about being embedded with the First Reconnaissance Battalion as it moved from Kuwait to Baghdad. Lee Tergesen plays wide-eyed Wright. Rich in detail, Generation Kill is landmark television

The series came out on DVD last week order them here :

Hal Boedeker | Sentinel Television Critic

Evolution of the vampire image

By Brian Bethel (Contact) Saturday, December 20, 2008

Vampire books, films and television programs remain remarkably popular, but the old counts have become more and more courtly, even kind, as time has worn on.

The veiled Victorian eroticism of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," punctuated by the famous 1931 film version starring Béla Lugosi, helped fuel the popular image of the vampire as dark lover.

But it was Anne Rice's "Vampire Chronicles," the first book of which was published in 1979, that signaled what Abilene Christian University professor Mikee Deloney views as a "huge, sweeping" change in our depictions of vampires.

Rice, at the time lamenting a loss of faith, wanted to write stories about being lost, said Deloney said.

"Her vampires were beautiful and powerful, evil but attractive," she said.

But many of her characters were also tragic, even sensitive.

"Once she made the monster sympathetic, it was only a short to making them kind," Deloney said.

Enter the thoroughly modern vampire. Although many variations still rely on feral power and dark virility to make them appealing, a new class of "good" undead, or at least, those who long for goodness, has emerged.

And with them, an emphasis on often-doomed romances between the living and the dead.

From the tenuous balance of comedy and drama in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," in which the title character is eventually wooed by not just one but two of the formerly living (each with restored souls), to the thoughtful Edward of "Twilight," vampires have come a long way from the still purely evil, but seductive, "Dracula."

In recent years, vampires and other creatures of the night have featured prominently in adult-themed fare, such as innumerable urban fantasy/paranormal romance series in popular television programs such as "True Blood," a recent HBO series, also based on a series of books, in which vampirism stands in for issues of race, religion and gender.

But Stephenie Meyer's teen-centered "Twilight" series, and others, also appeal greatly to young adults and even parents.

"Twilight's" Edward, born in 1901 and still going strong in the series' first novel, published in 2005, is an excellent example of the sort of Byronic hero that vampires start turning into even as far back as the early 19th century, Deloney said.

Stuck in an in-between world balancing humanity and their own darker natures, vampires traditionally commit monstrous acts because of their inherent supernatural nature.

Later versions, though, find the blood-drinkers plaintively struggling against their fate and trying (in some cases) to become even noble.

Edward and his vampire "family" in the books abstain from feeding on humans. In the "True Blood" television series, vampire Bill Compton, played by Stephen Moyer, is a Southern gentleman of the oldest school, being turned into a vampire during the American Civil War.

Bill romances the unlikely named telepath Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and attempts to build bridges between vampire and human society in a world in which the undead have "come out" to society at large.

Vampires are a reflection of who we are at any given time, perhaps ironic given folklore's insistence that they cast no reflection, Deloney said.

"I don't know if they've run their course," she said, although a perhaps inevitable, cyclic glut of the market will send them back into the shadows -- for a time.

"It may be 50 years from now," she said before they come back fully again, although recent cycles suggest that the time in between feedings might be much shorter.

But as long as we struggle with the concepts of good and evil, and the darkness within ourselves, Deloney is certain there will be some life in the old blood yet.

From Abilene, Texas (right here in area 6)

Alan Ball Outake interview

( from september 2008) We had the rare opportunity to have a conversation with Oscar & Emmy Award Winner Alan Ball about our LGBT community in the media, his new HBO Series "True Blood" & his new movie "Towelhead." Alan Ball is an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, director, producer & occasional actor, who is best known for writing the screenplay for the Oscar winning film "American Beauty" & for creating the HBO original drama series "Six Feet Under." He is also openly gay & a strong voice for our LGBT community.

"True Blood" is a new TV series based on the "Southern Vampire Mysteries" books by Charlaine Harris & adapted for television by Alan. The series is produced by HBO in association with Ball's production company. The show details the fictional co-existence of vampires & humans in a small Louisiana town after Japanese-made synthetic blood "TruBlood" becomes available for purchase. Anna Paquin stars as Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic waitress @ a diner who falls in love with one of the vampires, Bill Compton played by Stephen Moyer. The show is on Sunday nights @ 9PM EST on HBO....

Listen here :