Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Todd Lowe in 'Day Drinkers' at the Odyssey Theater in LA

As featured on The Vault - TrueBlood-Online.com

Last Wednesday night (September 21, 2011), I went to see True Blood's Terry Bellefleur, Todd Lowe appear in the play "Day Drinkers" at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles. This is the world premiere of Justin Tanner's play, which is a lovelorn comedy about the perils of passion under the influence.

The play is scheduled to run until October 9, 2011, but Todd told me that it may be extended due to popular demand.

Todd plays the part of "Daniel" who, with his wife, Jenny owns the bar where the play takes place. The play is a real ensemble piece and all of the cast were wonderful including Cody Chappel, Melissa Denton, Tom Fitzpatrick, Maile Flanagan, Danielle Kennedy and Jonathan Palmer.

Play Synopsis:
Nine a.m. is happy hour in Justin Tanner’s new comedy, Day Drinkers. As the family of bleary-eyed regulars descend on their favorite dive bar and morning slouches into day, cocktail after cocktail is served, secrets are spilled and hearts are wounded… Love is in the air.

Cody Chappel, Chloe Taylor, Todd Lowe, Maile Flanagan and Melissa Denton

Daniel (Todd Lowe) and his wife Jenny (Chloe Taylor) are having trouble with their love life which is compounded by the fascination that Jenny has for Daniel's brother Caleb (Cody Chappel).  This is all surrounded by the lives of the other regulars Mick (Tom Fitzpatrick) and Val (Daniel Kennedy), an older couple who seem to be drinking themselves to oblivion and loving every minute of it and each other.  The other regulars are a lesbian couple Kate (Melissa Denton) and Sharon (Maile Flanagan)who are on their way to the in-laws, when Sharon announces she isn't going.  Then, Mick's son, Bradley (Jonathan Palmer) arrives ready to take away the family fortune from his father by proving that Kate doesn't love his dad.

Tom Fitzpatrick and Danielle Kennedy

Danielle Kennedy, Chloe Taylor and Jonathan Palmer

The playwright, Justin Tanner has been a Los Angeles playwright for 24 years. His cult hit Zombie Attack! ran from 1989 to 1999 at Hollywood's CAST Theatre. Other plays include Procreation, Voice Lessons, Space Therapy, Oklahomo!, Wife Swappers, Coyote Woman, Intervention, Heartbreak Help, Pot Mom, Bitter Women and Teen Girl. His TV credits include "Gilmore Girls" and "My So Called Life". He has written and directed 32 episodes of his lurid noir web series "Ave 43", currently available on YouTube.

The director, Bard deLorenzo is the artistic director of the Evidence Room Theater where he has directed or produced over 50 plays during the last 16 years. He is pleased to return to the Odyssey where he recently directed Margo Veil and The Receptionist (Evidence Room co-productions) as well as A Number. Recent directing includes: Legacy of Light and Around the World in 80 Days at the Cleveland Playhouse, King Lear with the Antaeus Company, the world premieres of Doctor Cerberus and Shipwrecked! An Entertainment at South Coast Rep, Bobrauschenbergamerica with TheSpyAnts, Voice Lessons at the Zephyr and Sacred Fools, The Projectionist at the Kirk Douglas, and Joan Rivers: A Work in Progress at the Geffen Playhouse. He has received five LA Weekly Awards, three Backstage Garlands, and the LA Drama Critics Circle Award.

I highly recommend this play to anyone who wants to have an enjoyable evening out and experience some good acting to boot!

The play was hilarious and the entire ensemble cast did a fabulous job. Danielle Kennedy was extremely funny but she was equally met by the rest of the cast.  Todd did a wonderful job playing the love starved husband/bar owner and we even got to hear him sing and play guitar during the play.

After the play was over, Todd spoke to me for the brief interview video interview below. In the video, he talks about how he got involved with Day Drinkers through the playwright, Justin Tanner, whom he met while he was working on the show, Gilmore Girls.  He also discusses how he enjoys being on stage getting immediate reaction the jokes and where his band will be playing next.

Todd's band, LA Hootenanny plays often at Villains Tavern in Los Angeles. The tavern is located on 1356 Palmetto Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013 - (213) 613-0766. I saw them play before and enjoyed it immensely; they have a lot of fun and get the audience really engaged. I recommend going to a performance.

You can read more about Todd's band on Facebook, by clicking on the image below.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sam Trammell at Surfrider Celebrity Session

As featured on The Vault - TrueBlood-Online.com

Lynnpd with Sam Trammell
Yesterday, Saturday, September 10, 2011, I went to the Surfrider Foundation's Sixth Annual Celebrity Expression Session where True Blood's Sam Trammell was one of the celebrity surfers, just like last year.  I also attended last year's event, which was held shortly after I had moved to California and I remember that it was the first time I had been in Malibu. At the time, I was just awestruck by the gorgeous landscape there and I still am.

About the Surfrider Foundation:

The event is held by the Surfrider Foundation to help raise awareness for the need to clean up our oceans. Sam is a member of the organization and told me that he is proud of his association with them. The Surfrider Foundation's  mission is "the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network."

You can think about it as three concepts.
  • "Protection and enjoyment", they don't want to put a velvet rope around a beach and tell people to keep off. They're surfers, beach goers, watermen... they enjoy the coasts. They're a user group.
  • "Oceans, waves and beaches." Think coastlines, they're engaged with environmental issues that affect our coastlines.
  • "Powerful activist network" speaks to how they go about this mission as a grassroots organization and are local in many coastal regions.
Their association includes moms, surfers, kids and teens... in other words, they're you. They're engaged to protect what we love; oceans, waves and beaches.

To donate to this worthy charity, go to: surfrider.org

About the event:

As a member of the press I was told to arrive at 9:30am to check in. Alexis who is the Communication Manager for the event, was just great and very helpful throughout the day.

As we waited for the celebrities to arrive, sadly it started raining and those with large and very expensive camera equipment began to worry, so the staff set up a new canopy just for us. Luckily the large drops were short lived so very soon the canopy became unnecessary.

The celebrities began to arrive. The participants for the day were:

Of course I was there primarily to see and speak to Sam. He was one of the last to arrive, and immediately posed for some photos for the photographers:
After his session with the photographers he began his round of interviews. I was second up, so he was still really fresh and ready to talk. See my interview with Sam below where he talks about the the charity to save the oceans, what it was like to "be Tommy", the season finale and what he "didn't" know about Season 5.


It was so awesome to spend time and talk with Sam. After the interview, I pretty much shadowed him the whole day.  I've also included a video of the event which is at the end of this article.

Sam seemed a little worried about the lack of waves and how calm the ocean was; which he said was just like last year. You could tell that the celebrity surfers were all seasoned professionals and it was a real shame that they didn't get to "hang ten" because of the calm surf. However, for me, being on that beach in Malibu, which is well known as one of the best spots to surf in the world, and where all the surfing craze really started, was very exciting. I expected Beach Boys music to start playing at any time.

The surfers posed for group shots and got ready to go out for their hour long surfing session. It was really funny because as you can see in the first image below, Sam was the only one "sans shirt".  They all started to tease him saying, because he was on True Blood, he of course was shirtless and was used to it.  Sam noticed, looked around and then said, "Hey, I'm no Joe Manganiello!" and promptly put his wet suit all the way on.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Exclusive Interview with True Blood's Chris Bauer

As featured on The Vault - TrueBlood-Online.com

Chris Bauer, who we all know as the V addicted, Acting Sheriff, Andy Bellefleur answered my all my many questions with wit and charm, but also with an honesty and humility that has endeared him to me in many ways.

Although I've always loved Andy Bellefleur, I will be watching him with new eyes now. Just to get you tempted to read the whole interview (which you will not regret), below are are few quotes that I think will make you want to read more:
  • On what else did you want to do in life?: I, like so many actors I know, had big dreams of being a marine biologist. I was obsessed with sharks as a kid. So that was my big plan. Then I took a real math class.....
  • On what he does in his free time: You may never know it from the portrait of Andy Bellefleur, but I’m a compulsive exerciser!
  • On Fame: I am close, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m a nobody who hasn't made it yet. On Acting: Whether it's live and in your face, or in front of a camera at 4 o'clock in the morning, it beats digging ditches.
  • On how True Blood has changed: In a nutshell, it’s bigger, stronger, and more powerful. It's the bionic man of TV shows.

Like many of his True Blood cast members, he is full of talent and knows his craft. I am so happy that he granted an interview. Thank you Chris! I can't wait to see what's next for Andy Bellefleur.  


Tell us something about yourself that you'd like the fans to know.
Many aspects of 'True Blood' have changed my life and I'd like the fans to know I hold them responsible for that! For everyone who watches, buys the DVD’s, creates these websites, writes letters, goes to events, Facebook's, etc., etc., etc. Thank You. I am grateful for you.

I have noticed that you travel to the east coast often, but you grew up in LA. Where do you call home now, and do you have a favorite?
At this point, if my wife, kids, and I are all under the same roof, then that's home. For the first two seasons of 'True Blood', I commuted between New York and Los Angeles. That sucked. It wears you out and you feel like you're always on the verge of reciting the American Airlines L.A. to New York schedule instead of your dialogue. So for the last two seasons, we've lived here [LA] while we're shooting, and gone back to New York for the summer and fall. It’s a little schizophrenic because you have to deal with two of everything; schools, homes, towns, etc. And obviously it's expensive. But I have no problem spending all my money if it means my family is together. I love New York, and I love Los Angeles. It’s my birthplace; my parents were born here as well. We’re old-school Angelinos, but instead of agonizing over a preference, I really just feel grateful that I get to spend so much time in two places that I love.

What was it like growing up in CA?
I love California. Growing up in LA, there was lots of beach time, lots of football in the street, lots of motto-cross, Van Halen, and skateboards. In junior high, my family moved to Northern California and you would've thought we went to the moon. It was so different and I was extremely alienated for the first couple years up there. It’s probably where I cultivated a deep dislike for the 'in-crowd' and why I take such refuge in playing misunderstood characters.

I know that Yale School of Drama has a fabulous reputation, but did you choose to go there because it was on the east coast or because of its reputation or both? Honestly, it chose me. I was a college dropout and although I knew I wanted to train as an actor, I never even considered Yale an option. First of all, thousands of people auditioned every year, 10 men and 6 women were admitted. Second of all, I’d never been east of Colorado and it was no man's land as far as I was concerned. A man named David Chambers saw me audition for a play in San Francisco and asked me if I’d considered training at a higher level. He was on the faculty at Yale and asked if I’d consider attending there. Punk’d didn't exist yet, but if it happened today I’d be convinced I was getting punk'd. Anyway, I got in. It was the beginning of a ton of benevolent intervention on my behalf by generous, caring people here and there and it is a universal favor I try to re-pay in every way I can.

Have you always been an actor or did you ever want to do something else?
I, like so many actors I know, had big dreams of being a marine biologist. I was obsessed with sharks as a kid. So that was my big plan. Then I took a real math class.....

You took the 'it gets better' pledge for the Trevor Project. Do you have personal experiences with bullying?
I think bullying is pathetic and it repulses me. Sure I was bullied. There were also occasions where I was less than vocal in protecting others who were being bullied. In my opinion, we have a simple duty: take care of one another. There was a boy in my high school who committed suicide one summer. It was devastating. His problems were numerous, but he was relentlessly teased. That was over 25 years ago and I’ve never forgotten him and I never will. My own son has dealt with being bullied and it enrages me. However, things like the Trevor Project focus that rage and have created a network of relief and consciousness that assure people they're not alone, and help empower kids to resist that group mentality that can lead to cruelty and violence. There are bullies everywhere and they're all driven by fear. I’m so grateful for the people who create things like the Trevor project, stomp out bullying, protect our kids, etc., they're champions.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
You may never know it from the portrait of Andy Bellefleur, but I’m a compulsive exerciser! That’s a daily thing. I surf. I spend a lot of time with my kids, doing what they want to do. I read. I think too much. Then I exercise again.  


You've done lots of TV and film; can you talk about your favorites?
"True Blood" has been an incredibly profound experience. It has involved a combination of intoxicating success and humility that comes from a once in a lifetime thing. I so enjoy who I work with and the character I play, and yet there are some enormous personal challenges that have forced me to grow. I’m grateful for that. "The Wire", also on HBO, was an incredible experience that I benefit from every day. I have been so fortunate to have been hired by the writers I have, particularly in TV. Having done two series' for John Wells, one for David Simon, and one for Alan Ball sort of removes my right to ask for more. But I’m greedy so I look forward to more relationships with authors of their caliber. 61* with Billy Crystal was so fun, 'The Notorious Bettie Page' playing Lily Taylor’s brother was amazing. In the movies, I've been able to work with Woody Allen, Robert Redford, Joel Schumacher, Taylor Hackford, John Woo, and Clint Eastwood. I did a crazy movie years ago that Steve Buscemi directed called "Animal Factory". I did 'Streetcar Named Desire' on Broadway with Natasha Richardson who was the greatest actress I've ever seen. I’ll treasure that time forever. I mean, this has all been an education. I am close, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m a nobody who hasn't made it yet. But the opportunities to absorb these folks' inspiration, aesthetic and work ethic have been wonderful. As I have said over and over, I’m a lucky actor. Below is a scene of Chris in "The Wire" and the trailer for his film "The Notorious Bettie Page."  

The Wire


The Notorious Bettie Page as Irving Klaw

Do you prefer TV over film work or do you prefer theater? I love answering this question and I’ll try to keep it simple. As soon as I've figured out how to do sublime, inspired, elegant, selfless, transcending work every time, then I’ll be arrogant enough to declare a preference. In the meantime, acting as an art, is far more difficult than it's thought to be, and any chance to do it, regardless of the medium, is a chance to get better. Whether it's live and in your face, or in front of a camera at 4 o'clock in the morning, it beats digging ditches.  

In Streetcar Named Desire with Natasha Richardson
What kind of actor are you? Do you think of yourself as a type or actor, for example, a method actor? How do you approach each part you play?
What a generous question this is because you risk serious boredom in hearing the answer! I can tell you this; I have studied just about every major trend in modern theater. Being a compulsive opportunist, I have borrowed bits and pieces from everyone and everything to assemble my own idiosyncratic technique. It primarily involves commitment, courage, preparation, imagination, and disregarding my mind. That’s how I’m best armed to bypass my ego. The last main ingredient is humility. I begin every job and every role with the firm resolution that I have no idea what I’m doing and I can't rely on past experience to provide the answers. Each situation is new, as is each character, and I have to patiently await the rules of each world to reveal themselves at their own rate. What does that mean? It means I’m never the guy who talks a lot in rehearsal because I have very little theoretical information to add. But I am the guy who will jump on his feet and into a scene before I know your name. It’s about action, not ideas. At this point, it's virtually all intuition; following another logic besides the one occurring in my mind.

Who do you look up to in the acting profession? Do you have any favorite actors?
Believe it or not I look up to....actors. Over the years, it's become obvious that the hallmarks of real actors are courage, sensitivity, generosity, subversiveness, humor, humanity, compassion. I am attracted to these and so many other traits that characterize actors. And in my opinion, I've just described maybe 15 % of all people who call themselves actors. Real actors put their asses on the line, are vulnerable and open, don't mind the ugly aspects of their humanness and are willing (however reluctantly) to be judged on the terms of a character. Everyone who works that way, are my favorites. Gena Rowlands, how 'bout that for a name?

Do you have any interests other than being an actor? For example, do you have any interest in doing work behind the camera?
I wish I could write; too much ADD. I love to direct and hope I can do it more. I (teach, eww) work with kids (anyone who is 44 or younger is a kid, as far as I’m concerned) from NYU on occasion when inspiration strikes.


What is the best part about working on True Blood? What first attracted you to the character of Andy that made you decide to audition for the part?
For me the best part of working on "True Blood" is the people I work with everyday. Without going into everyone, it's just the most delightful group. They are almost to a person, humble folks who give up a lot of glory for the sake of the show; funny, smart, talented. and I’m speaking of the whole; cast, crew, writers, etc. my initial interest in the show came from reading the pilot script and being a fan of Alan’s. His work to that point, in my opinion, was as insightful and courageous as anything I’d ever seen. We had a very nice cup of coffee in New York in the spring of 2007 at the end of which he told me he'd like me to be a part of the show. I can't tell you how rare it is for anyone to have the kind of confidence and vision to offer an actor that kind of opportunity right then and there. He had my loyalty instantly and I try to repay that confidence by delivering the most memorable and dynamic version of the role I can.

As a True Blood veteran, having been on it since season 1, how do you think Andy has developed and changed?
It is such a pleasure to have been on the show since the pilot and see how it's evolved, see so many great characters come and go, as well as the actors who play them. I still miss Bill Sanderson who I learned so much from, and Michelle Forbes is one of the most solid actresses I’ve worked with. I think Andy’s evolution has been appropriately slow considering the time line for 4 seasons of True Blood only covers a little over a year in the life of the characters. I think. That stuff is hard for me to keep track of. But I think very slowly, Andy has become more dimensional, and more complicated as a real person actually is. In the broadest way, he started as a functional "just the facts ma'am' type of character who is now, in my opinion, an essential part of the human fabric of Bon Temps. His sensibilities represent the time and place in which this story takes place, and his struggle to change and keep up with the times illustrate its context. I do not feel comfortable playing one-dimensional characters, and I've worked hard with the help of the writers to evolve Andy into the contradictory man he is.

How has the show changed in production, writing, etc. since the early days of season 1?
In a nutshell, it’s bigger, stronger, and more powerful. It's the bionic man of TV shows. I kid, but when you compare the quaintness and simplicity of season 1 to the scope and scale of seasons 3 and 4, it's obvious the show, like everything else in nature, has grown and evolved. That’s just what happens. The vision of True Blood is ample enough to support enormous storytelling and I admire the ambition of our writers. They have the talent and intelligence to finish almost every war they start. At the same time, I’m a sentimental guy and there was something nice about how simple season 1 was. The production aspect of True Blood is very aircraft-carrier like. There are several elaborate systems that have to be coordinated to work together and our producers and crew are super-human in their ability to pull off season after season. We are all cogs in a giant wheel; fine with me.

Do you think the success of True Blood will continue?
Yes, but I mean that very specifically: it's been my experience from the first episode that True Blood is the type of show that is fun to watch over and over. In that way, I’m confidant lots of folks will be watching this show for a long time. Whether it's an episode from an old DVD, or the season premiere of season 10, who knows, everything has a lifespan. I've always summed up the 'TB' experience like this: so far, so good.

What are the table reads like?
I would imagine each actor would answer this question differently. Me? They’re like a psychic side show. Lots of people crowded into a room, lots, lots of actors and lots of bodies. While nobody in authority is wielding power, the energy can feel like the Roman Coliseum. Maybe it's just because it's the only time during the season that everyone gets together and there's a 'first day of school' kind of excitement. I never liked the first day of school.

We hear that the schedule can be grueling. Can you talk about that?
The schedule is grueling primarily for the crew. They are the first to arrive, the last to leave. It’s almost inconceivable how hard they work. And here's where Alan deserves major credit as well, he oversees everything throughout which must be exhausting. On the other hand, the actors may do a few nights in a row, but rarely more than five. Obviously Anna, Steve, etc. work more than I do. I’ll just speak for myself. I have to remind myself that this is 'work'.

Almost everyone I've spoken to says that the cast of True Blood are close and it's like a family. Do you agree? Do you have an example?
Well.....this may be where I’m a crotchety veteran who rains on the parade. 'Family' is a big word to throw around in my book. My description would be this: everyone on True Blood gets along very well. We treat each other with respect, compassion and good humor, but a family? I have a family as does everyone else. I would say we treat our families like family, and our co-workers like friends. In other words, families have conflicts, highs and lows, levels of loyalty and love that are unique to themselves. In four seasons of True Blood, we've had very little conflict which is such an outstanding compliment to our entire team. Usually jobs like this are fraught with conflict, especially when a show is successful. We have maintained a pretty even keel, and it's my theory (just my own) that it's because we respect each other's boundaries, don't ask for more from one another than is naturally available, and relate primarily as valued teammates in a game we want to keep winning.
You seem to work closely with Ryan Kwanten, can you tell us a bit about working with him? Working with Ryan is one of the greatest aspects of True Blood for me. He’s mega-talented, tough as leather, spontaneous, generous, selfless, hilarious, and just as genuine a man as there is. Too bad he's so ugly. Seriously, he has the soul and talent of a character actor which is an enormous compliment. Doing scenes with him are the highlight of the show for me.


In what ways are you like Andy? In what ways are you unlike Andy?
Oh gosh, I don't know. As I've said before, I relate to Andy’s desire to be accepted and respected. I understand how frustrating it can be to be unable to manifest your potential. I've felt deep resentment and the emotional inertia of childhood trauma. I can be over-sensitive and lose touch with my effect on people. I would say those are all traits that characterize Andy Bellefleur. But I’m not crazy. I’m not so quick to anger. I dress better. I don't think I’ve got everything figured out. I don't growl when I talk. And I’m married to a gorgeous woman.

Andy seems to have a lot of internal struggle going on this year in addition to his addiction to V, how did you prepare for that and is it hard to express?
To be honest, our writers are so explicit in their intention that any good actor could play what they write and find themselves in the right place in terms of performance. But internal struggle just happens to be in my wheel house so it's a good match of circumstances for me. Themes like addiction and self destruction are great to play because they're so big. I am comfortable with both and have tried to honor the true nature of those themes by adhering to as realistic as possible portrayal of them to the point of obviously alienating the audience to some degree. To which I say: so be it. I know people are sometimes more comfortable when things stay on a superficial plane but that's not what I do. Addiction and self destruction have ugly consequences and that's my storyline this year. It’s not pretty.
Do you like Fresca? No. (Are you in shock at the brevity of my answer?)

Do you think Andy is a good acting sheriff? No. thank God for Jason. He’s keeping the town together.

We have all been wondering how Andy got addicted to V. What's your opinion on how he got on the stuff and why?
For all his devotion to his job, Andy’s distaste for all things vampire kept him from knowing the real properties of V. Before the raid on Hot Shot when he learned of the real power of vampire blood, I think a light went on for Andy. His broken arm was keeping him out of the action. I think he put two and two together and thought "if I take a bit of that stuff, maybe my arm will heal faster." thinking like a true addict: I’m not taking drugs to get high; they're medicine I need to heal. My guess is he was 2 minutes into his first dose before he was thinking about another hit. Regardless, the stuff makes him feel powerful, and his lack thereof was making him miserable; perfect storm.

What is the biggest challenge for you in playing Andy? Honestly, the most difficult thing for me in playing Andy is committing to and playing his real nature. I know how unpleasant he can be. I know how intolerant he can appear. Frankly, I know how plain he looks. If anyone thinks I’m not aware of how Andy is regarded in this sea of sexuality and beauty, they're wrong. We all know how people react to what we are doing. You hear things sometimes that are brutal and hard to take. Fine, we're all tough and well rewarded for what we do; it's part of the job. But when it comes down to it, I have to be very careful to stick to my guns and not allow cracks in this character that might make him more likeable than he's supposed to be. It’ll come. He’ll soften up. But not before life has humbled him, and taught him how to be soft. In the meantime, I have learned so much on an ego level playing this part and I’m grateful for the growth as a result.

If you could give Andy any advice, what would it be? I’d put a hand on his shoulder, and in a very Jason like way say," Let go bubba. Let go".
Even though he is addicted to V, Andy looks better in shape than ever. Did the part require you to work out or do you just want to look your best next to Ryan?
First of all....thank you. And second of all, yes, to both. Again one of the properties of V is a steroid like effect. Nobody said, 'Chris, get big', but to stay true to the story and add that layer of visual support to make it more real, I had to tighten up and get a little bigger. So I did. I still have a fucking double chin on camera. It is what it is.


Would you consider yourself a fan of the show?
Absolutely! In fact my primary relationship to the show is as an audience member, as weird as that may sound, think about it. I only see the scenes I shoot. I don't see episodes as a finished product until you do. And I love them. That’s when I get to see my friends kick so much ass with their talent, that's when I get to be surprised by a director, that's when I get to hear the words in their dramatic context. And I’m a fan of all of the above.

I remember the story about getting noticed that you told at the Paley Fest. Do you get recognized in public now? How does that feel?
I get recognized frequently and it feels fantastic because, for whatever reason, people are generally really kind and complimentary. I DO NOT have to deal with the 'will you bite me' type stuff and I would hate that. For the most part, people remark that they enjoy what I do. I always thank them and walk away thinking everyone should be so complimented for whatever it is they do. In fact I try to do that to keep the circle complete. By the way, did I mention you ask great questions?!?

Do you go to fan sites, read about yourself or go to message boards?
On occasion I have. But it's kind of like a bad neighborhood, I’m just better off not going alone. I've read some incredibly flattering things about me, and some nasty mean things about me. I’m a pretty tough guy, but you don't want to hear that people think you're fat, ugly and hate your character. Speaking for myself, it's only my ego disguised as curiosity that takes me to these places, and I deserve what I get. Once you get over the "hurty-poos" the real danger is that you adjust your character to appeal to more folks. That’s taboo as far as I’m concerned. In this day and age, the cyber-audience has more and more influence. The support can be enormous, but it's a slippery slope when the people creating the shows begin to allow the audience to affect their story telling. I’m sermonizing. Having been to some sites I would just quote lady sovereign and say ' if you love me than.....thank you! And if you hate me than......fuck you!" At the end of the day, when it all comes down to it, I am living a life beyond my wildest dreams. Because of what I do, that could not be without the support and passion of an audience. As I said in the beginning, I am grateful for all of it, good and bad. Wouldn't change a thing!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Q&A with Gary Calamar about Soundtrack V.3 of True Blood

We're all excited for the new CD of the True Blood Soundtrack Volume 3 to come out next Tuesday, September 6.  

I have the past two CD's from the show and just love the choices made by Gary Calamar, True Blood's Music Supervisor. I asked Gary if he would answer a few questions for us about Volume 3 and about the process of choosing the music for the show and he kindly agreed. 

Below is my Q&A with Gary:   

LYNNPD: Do you agree that there has been an evolution in the sound or style of music used on True Blood from season 1 to Season 4? If so, can you talk about it? 
GARY CALAMAR: I think the basic sound of the show has been consistent throughout the 4 seasons. The patrons of Merlottes and Fangtasia are still hearing True Blood's brand of bad ass country and goth, death metal. Of course as we run into different creatures and situations the music selections expand but it's all part of the Bon Temps music palette.   

LYNNPD: In the past, the soundtrack has represented songs mostly from one season. But the Volume 3 CD has only four songs are from Season 3 and the rest, excluding Bad Things, of course, are from Season 4. Why isn’t there a season Season 3 only soundtrack? What was part of the decision to make this change?
GARY CALAMAR: This season we decided to release the soundtrack to coincide with the season finale as opposed to volumes 1 and 2 which were released prior to the new season. As I was putting the track list together I wanted to pick the songs that represented the different styles and had strong impact in the show, as well as songs that I felt could work well together as an album. We've always titled the soundtracks by "volumes" as opposed to "seasons" so we wouldn't be tied down to a particular season for the song choices.     

LYNNPD: Thanks for choosing my favorite songs from Season 3 to be included in Volume 3, 9 Crimes and Paradise Circus. Were there songs from Season 3 that you would have liked to include and couldn't? If so, what are they? 
GARY CALAMAR: There were some hard decisions to be made when narrowing down songs for this soundtrack. There were many great songs from season 3 that were in the running. Songs by Wanda Jackson, Alejandro Escovedo, Those Darlins, Galactic, to name a few, were strong contenders but we've only got room for 14 songs. Hopefully some of these songs will appear on future volumes.    

LYNNPD:  Season 3 included some original songs, Bob Dylan’s “Everything is Broken” or remakes of older songs like Jace Everett’s and CC Adcock’s “Evil.” Then in Season 4, there are two more “And When I Die” and “She’s Not There?” This seems to have started a trend. Can we expect more to come for Season 5? Will there be more original versions of songs done? Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in the recording end of the new renditions done this year for “And When I Die” and “She’s Not There?” Did you get the artists together, or did they seek you out? 
GARY CALAMAR: Yes it does appear that there is a trend to cover some classic songs, but it is not something we had talked about. As you know all show titles are named after a song in the episode. "She's Not There" and "And When I Die" came from the writers Alex Woo and Raelle Tucker and I thought it would be a great idea to record new "true blood" versions of these songs for the show and the soundtrack. In both of these cases I had reached out to these artists, Neko Case, Nick Cave, The Heavy, because I thought they would be appropriate for these songs and the show. The original versions are great but it makes things more interesting and fun for me to create new versions. Hopefully the fans feel the same way. We also have a sneak preview into next season with a great new song written for us by Jakob Dylan and Gary Louris (from the Jayhawks). It's beautiful and one of my favorites on the album    

LYNNPD: Many have expressed interest for more songs from the episodes to be released on a True Blood CD. Is it possible that we might at some time get a double CD or a compilation of all or most of the songs? 
GARY CALAMAR: I would love to see more volumes of the soundtracks, double albums or even a box set some day. The record business is of course going through major changes these days so it doesn't always make business sense for a record company to do these releases but I would love to see it happen. Either way I'm sure there will be Volume 4 ready for next season.    

This soundtrack is available to be pre-ordered from the HBO Shop.