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The Great Northern True Blood Pilgrimage 2013 – Part 1 of 3

Below is PART 1 of the adventures Jennifer and her two friends Suzanne and Katy had when they came here from the United Kingdom specifically to attend Comic Con, see True Blood locations, and generally have a good time.

The following are the tales of our epic adventures to see all things True Blood and Stephen Moyer!

How did we meet? The three of us met at Bitten, the first Unofficial True Blood convention in the UK in 2010. We hit it off immediately through our shared love of the show (and our wicked sense of humour) and have attended the convention together for the last 3 years. The final convention was in 2012 and we wanted to continue experiencing as much of the show as possible. We decided there and then we wanted to go to see the True Blood panel at San Diego Comic Con. Hotels were reserved, flights were booked and after a very nerve-wracking queue for Katy in SDCCs “Epic online waiting room” (that’s actually what it’s called!) our badges for Comic Con were all reserved.

Suzanne, Katy and Jennifer

 

PART 1 – NEW ORLEANS AND LOS ANGELES

 

New Orleans

The first stop on our tour was New Orleans. This was even more appropriate after the shenanigans in True Blood Season 5 on Bourbon Street. Sadly no vampire piggybacks or karaoke I’m afraid. We tried the local cuisine (gator hash anyone?), hospitality (cocktails in the street is encouraged) and local tourist sites including a steamboat ride down the Mississippi river, a trip on a bayou with Captain Dave and a day trip to the Oak Alley Plantation where some scenes from the film, “Interview With A Vampire” were filmed.

Oak Alley Plantation, Louisiana (scenes filmed her from Interview with a Vampire were filmed here)

 

Los Angeles – Visiting True Blood Filming Locations

Our second stop was Los Angeles, California. We arrived early in to LAX airport and after picking up our car rental we headed straight out to some of the True Blood filming locations.

Big Patty’s Pie House

From the airport we went to Big Pattys Pie House from season one. It is actually a fully functioning diner called Chips located in Hawthorne.

Location used for Big Patty’s Pie House from Season 1

 

Bon Temps Police Station

We stopped for a quick photo op and then went to find the Bon Temps Police Station. This is also a working Police Station in Hawthorne but no one seemed to be home that day.  Exciting for us “Bon Temps” is still written on the entrance door.

Location used for Bon Temps Police station

 

Fangtasia Bar

Next on our travels was a trip to Long Beach to find the outside location for Fangtasia. Ironically the real name of the venue is Alex’s bar. We decided that perhaps not all the car park is genuine in the show as it is much smaller that it appears on the screen compared to what you see when Eric and Russell Edgington are baking in the sun in season three.

Outside the original location for the Fangtasia Bar

 

Fellowship of the Sun Church

From Long Beach we drove to Whittier to the Rose Hills Memorial Park. This is the church used in season two for the Fellowship of the Sun. It is set on a stunning hillside and the grounds are beautiful. The church is located at the top of the hill so we highly recommend driving as its quite a distance from the entrance.

location of “Fellowship of the Sun” church from Season 2

We then set out to Las Virgenes near Malibu for Sookies house. The building was custom built for the show and it is set on a private road. We wanted to see how close you could get but as it turned out you could only see the rooftop from a distance. It was good enough for us though.

If you are interested in visiting the same locations the addresses are below.

  1. Big Patty’s Pie House, Chips Restaurant, 11908 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne, CA
  2. Bon Temps police station, Hawthorne Jail, 4440 W 126th St, Hawthorne, CA
  3. Fangtasia, Alex’s Bar, 2913 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA
  4. FOTS Church, Sky Rose Chapel, Rose Hills Memorial Park, 3888 Workman Mill Road, Whittier, CA
  5. Sookies House, TV set, 1199 Las Virgenes Road, Agoura Hills/Malibu, CA

Check out the other parts of our adventure:

Go to Part 2: Comic Con

Go to Part 3: Meeting Stephen Moyer

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AllStephenMoyer EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: Stephen Moyer in ‘The Barrens’

 

Last night I went to see Stephen Moyer star in “The Barrens” at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA. It was the film’s first day of it’s week long engagement at this theater right on Hollywood Boulevard. Me and my fellow Billsbabe, Filmchick truly demonstrated how dedicated we are to Stephen’s work by attending this particular night. For those of you who don’t know it, there is a major freeway closing going on this weekend, here in LA and we had to cross over it to get to Hollywood. As a result, we almost didn’t get to the theater in time, but luckily we managed to get into our seats just as the film was about to begin. Also in the audience was the director Darren Lynn Bousman who was sitting with several people who must be involved in the making of the film.

Darren took this photo and tweeted it from his Twitter account after the movie last night. It was taken right outside the front of the theater. The photo shows the poster from the film as it is displayed on the front of the theater located right on Hollywood Boulevard. It was great to see Stephen’s photo on display in such a prominent location for the world to see.

photo credit Darren Lynn Bousman

 

As the movie began, when Stephen’s name came onto on the screen, Filmchick and me both clapped as did many of the audience did for him and for others. The audience seemed to be made up of mostly Darren Lynn Bousman fans, but we were content to fulfill the Stephen fan contingent. Filmchick took the following photo of the poster displayed outside the screening and added her ticket admission stub.

photo credit Filmchick

The film lasted for about 1.5 hours and it kept my attention the whole time, and not just because Stephen was in almost every scene.

I fully admit that I’m not normally a big fan of horror films. While there are exceptions for such films as Carrie, Psycho, etc., generally, just like Stephen has told his fans, I too, never see them. And, although Bousman is known for his horror films, such as the SAW series, this film really wasn’t what I would consider as a true horror film. There were some quite graphic scenes in it, but you never saw the murders taking place or were shown the violence. Instead you saw the aftermath, and I kind of liked that. I much prefer suspense, a la Hitchcock and this filled that bill for me.

The story is about a typical family who go to the Pine Barrens in New Jersey for a vacation. The father (played by Stephen) went there as a boy with his father and he wants to recreate the magic he felt when a child. It’s obvious right away that Stephen’s character, Richard Vineyard is anxious for the family to get away together to have some quality time and bond. We learn throughout the film though that there are other reasons for the trip, but I won’t mention them here because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone. Quite quickly things start to happen, which scares Richard and soon after, the rest of the family. Even so, Richard is convinced that the family should go deeper into the forest to get away from all the other campers. So, just like most horror films, that’s what they do. This seemed a bit irrational to me, but when you learn what is going on with Richard, you can almost find it understandable.

The rest of the drama revolves around Richard being convinced that he has seen the creature known as the Jersey Devil. We published an article earlier this year by one of our guest writers that explains all about that myth. To learn more about it go to her article: Secrets of the Barrens and the New Jersey Devil.

The drama mostly revolved around the monster, the Jersey Devil and Richard’s perceptions. For me, the ending was very satisfying and the best one. There is an alternate ending shown on the DVD, but I agree this one worked much better. But, for me, the best thing about this film was Stephen’s performance. The range of emotions that he was required to portray in the film is incredible and he did an exceptional job of evolving into madness. I felt for him throughout the whole film and can understand why his family didn’t, making the film fulfill it’s premise. So, after seeing this and last year’s “The Double,” I am longing for more from Stephen because I know he has the ability to do truly profound work.

Below are a few screen-caps from the advanced copy of the DVD that we received from Anchor Bay, no copyright infringement intended:

I strongly suggest that you see this film if you can in theaters. However, due to its limited release, I know that may not be possible, so why not get the DVD or Blu-Ray. You can purchase them by clicking on the image below:

The Barrens is now showing simultanously in Los Angeles and Orlando, FL. The film is being shown in both cities with a full theatrical schedule of several viewings a day from September 28 – October 4 at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles and the Cobb Theater in Orlando, FL. Check your local newspaper or boxoffice for times.

The rest of the American fans who would like to see The Barrens on the big screen in their hometown will have to request a screening on TUGG.com.

Reserve your tickets HERE ON TUGG.

And don’t forget to LIKE The Barrens Facebook page.

In collaboration with Anchor Bay we are GIVING AWAY 10 DVDs OF THE BARRENS.
This giveaway is for USA and Canada residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Filmchick for the photo and for braving the 405 closure with me.

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AllStephenMoyer.com Exclusive: True Blood Comic Con Panel Photos

We have just uploaded over almost 200 photos taken by AllStephenMoyer staff during the True Blood Comic Con Panel which took place last Saturday, July 14, 2012 in San Diego, CA.

We were permitted to go up front and real close to Stephen in order to take these photos during the event. Below are just a few samples of the photos.

There are many more photos featuring Stephen in every one, at the link below.

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Original programme and reviews of Stephen Moyer as Romeo in 1994 Shakespearean Production

At the age of 24 Stephen Moyer played the role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet with the Oxford Stage Company directed by John Retallack. Tara Woodward played Juliet and other cast members included Sam Bond, Helen Cotterill, Walter Hall, Leader Hawkins, Richard Henry, John Higgins, Michael Higgs, Carol Redford and Tony Tarrats.

The production ran from July 28, 1994 to December 3, 1995 in various British theatres and included a Japanese tour to Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo from 7 – 26 November.

Stephen Moyer and Tara Woodward in a promo photo
Stephen Moyer and Tara Woodward in a promo photo

 

The Shakespeare Survey Vol. 49 mentioned that it’s “a fast-moving production, reduced to two hours’ playing time, which developed the theme of lack of communication between youth and age.”

According to the Herald Scotland Retallack’s Romeo and Juliet was “very attractive and sexy”.

In a York newspaper clipping from 30 September, 1994 Stephen Moyer says about Romeo and Juliet:

“The Capulet and Montegue feud means you can play it black and white, set it in Bosnia or Northern Ireland, or have Catholics versus Protestants, because there is that resonance in the hatred between two families. But the other aspect you notice is that it’s so ridiculous that adults still still won’t listen to their kids. There’s a simple message in this play, and that’s the need for communication. That message hasn’t changed over the centuries.”

Stephen Moyer

 

 

Another review comes from the Independent and can still be found online here, you can also read the complete article in the below document.

Stephen Moyer’s Romeo is quick to disdain the weakness of love. Enraged at his own folly in trying to make Tybalt and Mercutio see sweet reason, he tears out the most heartfelt line of the evening: ‘O sweet Juliet, / Thy beauty hath made me effeminate, / And in my temper softened valour’s steel]’ That type of manhood, however, is not one this tremulous Romeo can long sustain. After the murder of Tybalt, he blubbers desperately at the Friar, clutching his sleeve and hiding his face in it. As Juliet, Tara Woodward is a bit self- regarding in the love scenes, but gains power as doom closes in.

The Independent

http://www.allstephenmoyer.com/pdf/independent.pdf

Click on the white arrow top right to view the review of The Independent in a new window.
AllStephenMoyer has obtained an original theatre programme of Stephen’s Romeo and Juliet, which contains information about the show and several photos of the main actors.

These are the photos in the programme featuring Stephen Moyer.

 

Romeo and Juliet Programme cover
Romeo and Juliet Programme cover

 

Rehearsal photo. Can you pick out Stephen?
Rehearsal photo. Can you pick out Stephen?

 

 

 

Leader Hawkins and Stephen Moyer
Leader Hawkins and Stephen Moyer

 

 

See the complete Romeo and Juliet programme.

 

http://www.allstephenmoyer.com/pdf/romeoandjuliet.pdf

Click on the white arrow top right to view the programme in a new window.
This file might take a little while to load.

 

The production included a Japanese tour to Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo from 7 – 26 November.

Takayuki Ando, Professor of Chukyo University, wrote the following about one of the performances in the land of the rising sun.

Oxford Stage Company Performance in Japan

“Romeo and Juliet”

produced by John Retallack

In the autumn of 1994 the AAC mini theatre was filled with the enthusiasm of young people!

The Aichi Arts Center is not only an opera house. Do you know the first authentic experimental theatre in Aichi? The Oxford Stage Company, which is a popular stage company in England, Attracted a full house for days, and the masterpiece “Romeo and Juliet” strongly captured the hearts of young people.

Opening in dim light. A large lace drape is drawn quietly. The expression of the nobility, lined against the background of a long wall, is dark. The chorus composed by Karl James begins. The pathetic structure is mindful of the 19th century artwork of the Romantics.

This completely captured the eye and the mind of the audience. Faultless juxtaposition, powerful sword fights, natural conversation and above all, a beautiful scene structure. Fifteen scenes are created by combining one lace drape and 12 wood panels. The producer Retallack said Shakespeare wrote his works on the assumption of a travelling performance. This is the answer for the mysterious “two hours” in the prologue, and my own reason for the simple stage devices. Retallack has returned to the original beginnings of Elizabethanperformances and is truly a producer that England can be proud of.

 

An image of the original Japanese play bill was conserved online.

 

For more information about Stephen Moyer On Stage visit: http://www.allstephenmoyer.com/stage/

Sources:
aac.pref.aichi.jp 1 & 2
Herald Scotland
The Shakespeare Survey Vol. 49

Twelve Angry Men programme and photo of Stephen Moyer as Tom Sawyer courtesy of the Emery family.

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Exclusive: Stephen Moyer and Alexander Skarsgård on True Blood Season 5 Set

Last night, two friends and I drove to the set of the night’s shooting of True Blood and we were lucky enough to see our favorite vampires, Alexander Skarsgård (Eric Northman) and Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton).  Both men were so wonderfully nice to us and we are very grateful for the attention. Read our story below.

It was a cold and dark night and we had no idea who might be at the set, but we decided to go because, since it was a night shoot, we thought it might include our favorite vampires, Alexander Skarsgård and Stephen Moyer.  For most of the night we were cold and sad because it was an extremely closed set and we feared we wouldn’t get a chance to even know if they were there or, if they were there, whether we would even get an opportunity to see them or not.

We arrived to find an extremely industrial, unfriendly site at about 6pm. We drove around looking for sightings of our vampires or to see what might be happening. We knew early on that we probably wouldn’t see any filming because the security was too tight. We spoke to a guard and were permitted to see part of the shooting, but only from far away. I won’t give away any spoilers here guys, because we really didn’t go there to get any secrets, but I can tell you what we saw included a big “Kaboom“.  After that, at about 10:30 or so,  we walked back to our car trying to decide what else to do since we weren’t permitted to get close enough to see any of the filming properly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was late now, after 11pm and we had been sitting in our car for a while, which was parked by the stars trailers trying to decide what to do next. We sat debating whether to leave or stay and just then, Christy spotted Alexander Skarsgård coming out of his trailer. OMG, we all ran out of her car and went up to the fence calling to him. He immediately saw us and came right over. Christy had a poster from Straw Dogs that she wanted Alex to sign and he was more than willing to do so. However, there was about a 15 foot high fence between them. She asked him if he wouldn’t mind walking down to the catering trailer where she knew there was a gate where she could slide the poster through. We ran down there and met Alex. Christy slid her poster in the slit between the gate and the fence, but luck would have it, the gate was unlocked so we opened it and we therefore were able to talk to him and get photos. Alex was so nice and happily signed the poster in Swedish writing, Kram Christy! (Hugs Christy!). Then, they asked if he would pose for a photo and he gladly did.

We all noticed that Alex, our vampire Sheriff, had a beard.  We all thought that was rather strange because we all know that vampires can’t “grow hair”, or can they?  Are we to see a bearded Eric in Season 5?

I managed to film most of this, see photos and my video below.

Then, Alex left to get his dinner and go back to his trailer.  We walked back to the car with Christy and M’Lou very jubilant that they had seen Alex, gotten autographs and photos.

One vampire down, but still one to go.  If Alex was on set, Stephen must also be there. I decided that drastic measures were necessary as it was now getting pretty late. I decided to break my rule and took a chance and texted Stephen saying that we were on the set and had just seen Alex. I asked if he was on the set, too and, if so, I’d love to say “hi”.  If not, we wouldn’t stay.  He immediately wrote back and in no time we were back at the gate seeing Stephen Moyer live in a Henley, no less.

Stephen chatted with us, posed for photos and signed a True Blood script for Christy. He and I spoke about Bertie and James who are the two men of Facing the Atlantic, one of our charities. Stephen’s best friend, Bertie Portal and his friend, James Cash took off earlier this week for their two man row across the Atlantic Ocean, but after two days out they had to be towed back to the island to repair their boat’s broken power supply.  We discussed that they were back in La Gomera, but that they were hopeful that once the boat was repaired to set off again soon. This morning, we learned from them that indeed they will start again tomorrow morning. Read more about it here. By this time, the makeup people were calling Stephen so he had to leave, or I think he might have stayed and chatted even longer.

Below are photos of Christy and M’lou with Steve.

I joke all the time about not being able to take a good photo and so after Christy realised that my eyes were closed in the first photo she took of me with Steve, we posed for a second one. This time both she and M’Lou were shouting to me, “keep your eyes open” and I sure did. So, now I have one photo with Stephen where my eyes are closed and one where I look all “bug eyed.” However, I like the photos and we all had a good laugh about it.

So, as he left, we floated (and I mean floated) back to our car. By then, it was very late and we decided it was time to go. We were all so excited and thrilled by our adventure and went out to eat a well deserved meal before heading home late in the night.

My only regret is that I didn’t get a photo with Alex, but I know I will sometime!

A huge thank you to Alex and Steve for being so gracious and kind by spending time with us. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the True Blood people are simply awesome and I can’t wait for Season 5!

 

Thanks to Christy and M’Lou for sharing their photos and allowing me to include them in my story.

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