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
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
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.
Big Patty’s Pie House, Chips Restaurant, 11908 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne, CA
Bon Temps police station, Hawthorne Jail, 4440 W 126th St, Hawthorne, CA
Fangtasia, Alex’s Bar, 2913 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA
FOTS Church, Sky Rose Chapel, Rose Hills Memorial Park, 3888 Workman Mill Road, Whittier, CA
Sookies House, TV set, 1199 Las Virgenes Road, Agoura Hills/Malibu, CA
Did you know that the Stephen Moyer fans have a Forum all their own where we all talk at length about our favorite True blood star?
We’d love to have you sign up, join the fun and experience our wonderful community of “Billsbabes.” It’s a very welcoming environment where you can be free to express your fascination with the best looking vampire out there.
The forum is ripe with lots of talent and tons of images of Stephen. Many of our members write fan fiction and also do fan art, too. Come on over and join up by clicking on this link: http://www.allstephenmoyer.com/forum
The forum banners are updated every month or so, and they are “ALL STEVE with a little bite of BILL.” Below are some samples:
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Alan Ball and Anna Paquin did the audio commentary for episode 3 of the True Blood season 4 DVD.
While watching the scene of the fangbanger waiter hitting on Bill in the restaurant Alan asks Anna how often she has to deal with women and/or men hitting on her husband.
Anna: “You know, women quite a lot… men quite a lot. You know… I find it rather amusing. I particularly enjoy watching people trying to pretend that they want to talk to me too.”
“Can I get a picture with you guys?”
“You want me to take it?”
“Oh would you mind?”
“Ok babe, smile pretty.”
Alan: “But you were the original Billsbabe.”
Anna: “I did, I’m the OG.”
I had no idea what OG means but I was enlightened on our message board. OG stands for Original gangster and according the Urban Dictionary that is someone who has been around for some time [and has put in a large amount of work e.g. Killing enemy gang members. Therefore he is considered a more respected/ higher class member in the gang.] We’ll ignore the last part of the description.
Anna has the very first Billsbabes t-shirt that we ever had printed, which she received from us as a gift. Billsbabe and other merchandise is sold in our Zazzle shop in support of Stephen Moyer’s charitable causes. Visit the shop here.
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Saying that Stephen Moyer can be found in the woods north of Toronto is like saying he can be found in a yellow cab in New York City, a sidewalk café in Paris or on a double-decker bus in London. Really?
From the moment it was announced that Stephen was going to be in Toronto to shoot the feature film, “The Barrens,” the pressure was on. Since this is my hometown, I was told, OMG! You have to find him!
Ok, but Toronto is a BIG city and we don’t want to talk about how many clumps of trees surround it. Also, celebrity stalking is just not what I do – or least that’s what I thought. I needed a wingman at least. So I asked who was up to helping me in the search for Stephen. Two brave souls stepped forward, Karen from the suburbs of Toronto and Typeoneg from Michigan. Excellent. We decided we would have a Billsbabe gathering the week of October 17 and set out a plan to find the beloved alter ego of Vampire Bill.
Meanwhile, the global community of Billsbabes rallied. Tweets were posted, locations where cited. It was Krissyma in Germany who broke the news that they were filming in Rockwood, Ontario, about an hour from Toronto. Shadaliza was asking why we couldn’t just go out there and scout it out. Be damned the job and the family, we needed to get to Rockwood!
So, after the second week of filming, Karen and I took up the charge, left work early and found the set. We entered a forest being misted with fog. “Come on through, it’s only movie stuff”, we were told. (After later investigation, we learned that the direction was coming from the Director of the film, Darren Lynn Bousman.) We were allowed to stay and watch the filming provided we took no photographs. Awesome! With our hearts in our throats, we scanned the set for Steve. He was nowhere to be found. I finally asked the script consultant if he was on set. No, he had left work early for the long weekend just as we had done. Major disappointment number one. You may have read about this one already on AllStephenMoyer.com.
Our next hope was to wait for Typeoneg to cross the border and bring us some luck. We agreed that we would spend Tuesday evening together scouring the downtown neighborhood where Steve was regularly spotted. Then on Wednesday we would head back to Rockwood. But once Typeoneg arrived, we were too excited to wait and the weather forecast for Wednesday was dreadful. (We could write a whole chapter about how horrible the weather has been on this production and how the sun shone brightly only when Stephen had left town, but I regress).
Karen and I arrange to take the afternoon off work on Tuesday to lunch with Typeoneg and put our plan into action. We decided that since it’s not raining, we should go to Rockwood. Ahhh, but Lynnpd had posted a tweet from one of the co-stars that said they have changed location and will be in the haunted forest. There we go with the trees again. Where the heck could that be?
As part of my own sleuthing, I had found a production roster for The Barrens that listed the production company name, address and telephone number. Hummm. Telephone number. I worked up the courage to call. A gruff voice answered the phone, “Production.” I said, “Hey, are you guys still shooting in Rockwood today?” He says, “No, we’ve wrapped in Rockwood and we’re in location X”. Jackpot! We are golden. We jump in the car and headed up the highway to a large conservation area north of the city, where, of course, there are a lot of trees.
The excitement was palatable in the car. Adding to it was the encouraging words being sent our way from Billsbabes the world over.
We reached our destination and found the tell-tale orange pylons that mark filming locations. There were a couple of different set areas marked set 1, set 2. Where to go? There seems to be more action in set 2, so the three of us strike out with backpacks, cameras, and stuff for Steve to autograph. After about a ten minute walk, we are deep in the woods. Then we hear voices and spot an old dude. Schneider is a craggy character with a braided grey beard. He is directing traffic, camera equipment, etc. We say hello and ask straight away if Stephen is on the set. “Who’s asking?” he says. “We’re just fans and want to say, “Hello.” We don’t want to be in the way or cause any fuss, we’d just like to say hi to Stephen.” He is clearly not happy. He mutters into his microphone that he has “a situation”. Really? After being told that there was no way, no how to go any further down the path, Schneider suggests we find Danielle (whose name was actually Diane). She is the person in charge of the talent. Go back to Base Camp and ask for Danielle. That we did.
Danielle aka Diane is a friendly young twenty-something who clearly doesn’t know what to make of the three mature women looking for Stephen Moyer. She warns that the production companies don’t take kindly to fans interfering with the cast, but says she’ll leave us be. She also shares the fact that they are only doing day scenes and will wrap with the sunset. That means we only need to sit and wait for the sun to go down and we can greet Steve when he returns to his trailer. We go and sit in the car and mind our own business – which includes updating Billsbabes on the board. Diane then brings along Christy who is the Assistant to the Director. She is a bubbly young woman who is also an actress. We take her picture because we know she’ll be famous someday. She says she’ll tell Steve that we’re here. Then, we sit in the car and wait some more.
Along comes Keith. He approaches the car and I open the door. He hands me his business card and explains that as the production company that has rented the park, the space is no longer public and they must guarantee the cast the security of knowing that they will not be accosted by fans when they return to their trailer. Keith delivers the news as sweetly as possible. He says we have to get off the property, but tells us that all the cars will be leaving through a specific gate that leads to the highway and if we want to try and catch Steve’s attention offsite, that’s the place to be. He ended with what sounded like a sincere, “I’m sorry ladies.”
Off to the gate we go. It’s starting to get dark. We park the car parallel with the gate so we can see cars approach and get a view of who is inside. Our American Babe decides we need to write a sign in order to get Steve’s attention. She finds a piece of cardboard that’s not large, but it will do. After much deliberation, we decide a simply message is best. She grabs the sharpie and writes “Steve”. Typeoneg then proceeds to exit the car and sit atop the gate to the park holding her Steve sign and lighting it with a flashlight.
Many cars and trucks go by and we got a mixture of amused smiles and stares – plus a glare from Schneider. A particularly friendly fellow stopped to see what we were doing and assured us that Stephen is a really nice guy and he will stop if he can see your sign clearly. He says Steve should be along in about 15 minutes. In the meantime we learned that Shadaliza had sent an email to Stephen telling him that we were out there waiting for him. The excitement mounts.
A lady in a car goes by slowly, smiles and taps on her horn. Many more cars and trucks go by including a white van that we can’t see into. After another hour and a half the traffic out of the park dwindles and then stops completely. That sinking feeling hits and we have to admit that we’ve missed him again; another mission failure. We are sad and hungry and we have to pee really badly.
The car is decidedly quieter on the way home. We have some discussion of what could have been or what we should have done differently and who might have ratted us out. (Definitely someone under 30!) Then the car starts to vibrate and we hear a disturbing thudding sound. Oh my word, it can’t be. We have a flat tire. We are on a busy highway and pull to the shoulder. The car is brand new and came with roadside assistance. We call. The tow truck people call us back. It will be forty minutes for the truck to arrive. Yeah, let’s sit in the car and wait some more!
We finally get the tire changed. We go to a restaurant for much needed dinner and drinks. We decide that our hunt is over. We can’t take the disappointment any more. The only way we’d ever do anything is if we got an email from Stephen saying he’d meet us somewhere. Yeah, like that’s going to happen.
I get home. Tell the hubby about the flat tire. Confess that I’ve been stalking Stephen Moyer all day and check back on the board. What do I find but the note from Lynn saying that Steve feels horrible about missing us and wants to meet us at the gate to the park when he arrives for work in the morning.
Just goes to prove that it’s who you know, not what you know.
The next morning we drive up without incident. The rain has held off. We get to the gate. We wait for a brief time. A van pulls up and who is peaking out the window but Stephen Moyer himself.
He climbs out of the vehicle announcing, “Hi, I’m Steve”; a master of the obvious. He hugged each one of us. Yes, ladies, he HUGGED each one of us! Yes, Parise, he smells good.
He apologizes for missing us the day before. He knew about the troubles we’d encountered. “Heard you had a puncture”, he says. Yep, the flat tire. He said they were very close to finishing the film. Today they were doing press; we’d seen the Global/E.T. Canada van drive by a few minutes before Steve showed up.
He is the most gracious and warm and huggable and delicious man we’ve ever stalked. Oops, did we say that out loud? He missed us at Rockwood and we forgive him because he spent the weekend in London with his son, Billy.
We tried to fulfill all of our fellow Billbabes requests – including smelling the man – and had Steve says hello to you all in the video below. We made sure he knew that all of you around the world were with us during our stakeout, our ups and downs, and in spirit, during the meeting itself. He still is amazed by our global community of Billsbabes and is especially grateful for the financial support we have given his dear mate Bertie and James.
Thank you to all who supported us with words of encouragement, crossing all body parts, and sending positive vibes our way in our darkest hours – and it was literally pitch black. But from our darkest hours came the new dawn and a wonderful visit with the man himself.
We love you all – and Steve does, too.
In the video below, which were taken on an Iphone, hence the orientation, Stephen gives a special “thank you and Hello” to all the Billsbabes. He also shares that he’s a bit worried about his mate, Bertie.
In the next video, we continue the visit with Stephen Moyer where he signs art work by Anima Eterna (which was auctioned off for Billsbabes Day) and hears how all over the world his fans were following this adventure. After signing, he comments how young he looks in the portrait.
It’s hard to believe that its been a week since we all attended the PaleyFest 2011 True Blood panel at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills, CA. I can remember thinking before the event that the day would just never come and now it’s hard to believe that the whirlwind weekend was already a week ago.
We’ve been reading all the stories and watching all the multitude of videos that have been posted during the week and we’re already pretty “Paleyed out”, but not me. I will remember the weekend fondly because I got to meet online friends I hadn’t met before and rekindle friendships with those I knew. Oh, I also got a pretty special hug.
Ten of the fans from the AllStephenMoyer Forum came to California last week and we spent the weekend essentially together. They came from all over the country just to go to Paley. We represented, eight states, California, Washington, Nebraska, New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan and even Toronto, Canada. There is no end to the Stephen Moyer fandom, and we certainly showed it.
Most of our group arrived late Thursday night. They spent the day on Friday going to LA sites that included a favorite Alexander Skarsgård haunt, the now famous restaurant in LA, “Jones On Third.”
All of us got together on Friday night for dinner at the hip and trendy restaurant in Venice, CA called James Beach. It’s right across the street from the Canal Club where the Darnell Fundraiser was held and it was a “hoppin’” place Friday night, I can tell you. Gym and I had Cosmo’s and Kell and Lou were drinking some crazy drinks that I don’t even know what they were. Kell kept saying that she was “buzzed” and so was I. We had a blast as the photos below indicate.
We also celebrated the upcoming birthdays of two from our group, Kell and Tutu. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TUTU AND KELL!!!
We ended our evening after dinner (which was almost 11pm) because we all wanted to get a good night’s rest in order to be at the Saban Theater early on Saturday to stand in line. We parted ways until Saturday at about 10am.
The day of Paley, that we all had been waiting for FINALLY, arrived!
One of the girls, Lou, was staying with me and, after some early morning shenanigans of me locking us out of my apartment, we got to the theater a bit later then we wanted to, at about 11am. We all had tickets, but they were only for a particular section in the theater. Therefore, we knew that if we got into the theater first, we would be able to get the best seats in the section, so being at the front of the line was essential. However, even though Lou and I were late, all was well because we found several of the girls already in the line and we added ourselves to the queue. Then, several more of our group showed up and we all had primo spots. We essentially stayed in line until 6pm when the doors to theater were scheduled to open.
During our day of being of waiting, we also met many other True Blood fans. While most of us are Stephen Moyer fans, some of us were also sympathetic to The Viking and we even met many Eric fans in line and it was great.
The Line didn’t become very long until about 4pm. Then, it got really, really long. I walked down it with my friend Melodie and we actually got to interview a couple fans for the Vault. You can see my “official” report here that includes a video of those interviews. I didn’t see too many costumed folks this year, (I attended the PaleyFest 2009 and I remember seeing several Sookies in line at that time) and therefore, I’d have to say that standing in the line wasn’t as crazed as it was in 2009.
Shortly before the doors of the theater opened, we also all got interviewed by FEARNET.COM as a group. I can’t wait to see the hilarity from that video. They asked us all to scream and jump up and down, which we did. Oh no, this video should be embarrassing.
Finally, at about 6pm we were let into the theater. Unfortunately, our group had to split up because some of us had seats in the orchestra “front” and some in the orchestra “rear”. I sat with five of our group in the orchestra front section in the row 3. We all watched the show and panel that included all sixteen of the cast members. That stage was really crowded, but it was an awesome evening.
Gymvamp, Tutu, Kell and Dina
After the panel ended, there was the “storming of the stage”. Oh My God, what a crush it was. Every single fan ran to the stage, as is Paley tradition, to get a photo or an autograph. Since I’ve been lucky to meet most of the cast already, my role here was to help as many of our group to get an autograph and/or pic if possible. We pushed forward as much as we could hoping to get to, of course Stephen Moyer. See my story about the “The Naughty Billsbabe Bite Me Bill Thong“.
Once those at the stage got their autographs and photos, the next, and almost impossible task, was to get out of there. It turns out it was “easier said than done”. For at least 20 minutes (but it seemed longer) we were crushed in the middle between the stage and the seats. Some of us were about to faint, and one of us got a forced “lap dance” with someone in front of them. Finally, we all just decided to jump over several rows to get out. Once out with our lives, we decided to head outside to the corner where we knew the limos would be sitting waiting for the cast members.
Lucky for us, Stephen and Anna, as well as Marshall Allman and Kristin Bauer, came out after the event to sign autographs. Below are some photos of some of us getting photos and autographs in a much more congenial environment than we were able to get a the “stage crush”.
Lou and Filmchick3 with Stephen
Tutu with Stephen and Kell and Dina with Kristin
Me talking to Steve
Anna and Stephen stayed signing autographs and posing for photos for almost 20 minutes, and then left, but before they did, I got another hug from Stephen. YEA!. Unfortunately, we never got to see Marshall Allman, but did see Kristin Bauer who came out to meet the fans later and some got photos with her. I was especially happy that Lou got not only a photo with Steve, but several autographs, since she went home empty handed when went to Comic Con last summer.
It was a great night, we were all exhausted, but it was so worth every single minute, even the crush part.
There are lots more photos in the Photo Gallery, and some are shown below:
Thanks to all who donated information for this post, including ThelLou for putting up with me over the weekend, and her photos. Thanks to Skarsgardfans.com for their images and to all the Billsbabes who donated photos, especially Filmchick3, Gymvamp and Sue. If I neglected to mention you, it wasn’t intentional, so please email me and I’ll be sure to add you as a contributor.
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