Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Night of True Blood Music Benefitting Amanda Foundation

As originally seen on The Vault

A True Blood Hug from Tara and Kristin
On Thursday, November 15, 2012, I attended the Amanda Foundation benefit "Night of True Blood Music." Hosting the event this year was True Blood's Pam, Kristin Bauer Van Straten and Ginger, Tara Pierce (Buck). The event featured the music of Kristin's husband, Abri Van Straten and Tara's husband, Chris Pierce.

Teri and Tracy of the Amanda Foundation were there and also provided a silent auction with many True Blood items. The Vault donated original autographed items that included an SFX Magazine, photo of Kristin Bauer and Alexander Skarsgård and an illustration of Deborah Ann Woll in an outfit from Season 5. I'm happy to say that the items were sold to benefit the dogs and cats at the no kill shelter.

While there, out in front of Molly Malones, where the event took place, I interviewed Tara and Kristin together. We discussed The Amanda Foundation, Kristin's new documentary, "Out For Africa," their latest acting projects and, of course a tiny bit about True Blood.

Watch it below.

Here are some photos of Teri and Kristin when they visited the farm where they saw the elephants and rhinos as Kristin mentioned in the video.

Read more about Tara's new film, The Pact here and Kristin's new pilot for Cinnamon Girl, here.

And, at this link there are a few photos. 

Please consider making a direct donation to The Amanda Foundation by clicking on the button below:

Thanks to Shadaliza for editing the video.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kristin Bauer Attends Doggie Bow Wow for Amanda Foundation

First posted on - The Vault -

The Amanda Foundation is one of the Vault's charities this year and we have been happy to raise funds that help the cats and dogs at their shelter.

Teri Austin with Kristin Bauer
Teri Austin, President of the Amanda Foundation invited me and a guest to attend the Amanda Foundation Doggie Bow Wow in Beverly Hills Event which took place last Thursday, October 25, 2012. The event is an annual occasion held around Halloween where supporters of the Foundation parade their dogs in Halloween costumes and all for charity.

Congrats go to to Teri, who was honored by Los Angeles Magazine this month as 1 of 50 influential women making a difference in L.A. Teri was included for her huge progress towards saving cats and dogs in L.A., especially through the AF Spaymobile program. Check out pg 164 of this month's issue! You can also see our article about the Amanda Foundation and what wonderful work she and her assistant Tracy are doing for the dogs and cats of Los Angeles.

Tracy who works with
Teri at Amanda
The Bow Wow Wow event took place on the famous "Rodeo Drive" in Beverly Hills, a place where I had never been before, but had always longed to see. As Teri's VIP guests, my friend and I had champagne at the opening reception in the Tiffany's store with the owners and their dogs. Then, we registered and watched the "red carpet" which was actually green grass for the doggies, as they were the stars at the event. During that time True Blood's Kristin Bauer van Straten and Abri van Straten arrived and after a few hellos, Kristin quickly went onto the green carpet to take photos with the dogs in costume.

As many of you know, Kristin is a big supporter of Amanda and is a close friend of Teri. Even though she is very busy with her own animal rights activities and is currently making her very first documentary, "Out For Africa," about the poaching of Elephants and Rhinos for their tusks, she took the time to continue her support of the local dogs and cats in the area by coming out in support.

Once the carpet photos were taken, the party began. Filing through 2 Rodeo Drive, the guests were treated to hors d'oeuvres and drinks while checking out all the items in the silent auction. Then, the main event of the evening took place, the costume contest. Teri announced each of the doggies in Halloween costumes as they were paraded on the stage to show off their wonderful outfits and to be considered for best in the bow wow show. There was an angel, a witch, dogs that were pink and green, and even a dog dressed as a hot dog, just to name a few.  By far though, the best costume of the event was the doggie dressed as "poison ivy." It was the most creative costume there and won with a huge amount of applause.

Poison Ivy - the best costume

Kristin holding little doggie angel with me

Thanks to Teri and Tracy for the invitation. I truly enjoyed myself and am always glad to see the lovely Kristin Bauer who is probably one of the kindest people I know.

Please consider supporting The Amanda Foundation by donating to save the life of a god or cat.

You can make a direct donation to The Amanda Foundation here :

Follow this link to see more photos that I took during the event.
Doggie Bow Wow in Beverly Hill Photo Gallery

Thanks to Shadaliza for editing the video.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

REVIEW: Stephen Moyer in 'The Barrens'

First published on

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

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.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Exclusive Interview: Audrey Fisher - True Blood's Exceptional Costume Designer

First publlished on The Vault -

I had been to see a panel on Friday at Comic Con titled Designing for the Undead which consisted of costume designers guild members Chrisi Karvonides (costume designer, American Horror Story, Carnivale), Audrey Fisher (costume designer, True Blood), and Alexander Welker (costume designer, Grimm) and costume illustrator Imogene Chayes (True Blood, American Horror Story) who talked about creating all those costumes for the great paranormal television characters we know and love.

At the Comic-Con Media, Culture and Design Panel- Friday, July 13, 2012.

Watch the video I took while attending the panel at Comic Con.

I had already contacted Audrey Fisher about doing an interview and after the panel, I went up to her to set a time to talk together. I met with her at her hotel on Sunday, July 15 in the morning and it was a delightful interview. I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but I found her to be, just like everyone else on True Blood, extremely giving and kind. I enjoyed our talk together and was very flattered that she asked me to her room where I could meet her friends and where she could give me some photos to use for The Vault's charity efforts.

Below is my interview with the lovely Audrey Fisher.

How did you get into the business?
I was just sitting and talking with someone on Friday, at the signing before our panel and I realized that I have been doing this for 20 years. I designed my first show in NY in 1992.

Audrey with some of her True Blood designs on display.

Did you go to school for this or was it something you just fell into?
I went to theater school and that’s why I was in New York. I went to NYU, Tisch in the department of performance studies which is this very esoteric major that sort of mixes sociology, theology, and performance, theater studies and everything all mixed together. It’s a very brainy program and a lot of theory and not a lot of theater making. So what happened is that I thought I wanted to be a dramaturge, a German term, or the Germans developed it. It’s sort of like the person in a theater production is kind of like the editor; that’s what I thought I wanted to be.

A dramaturge or dramaturg is a professional position within a theatre or opera company that deals mainly with research and development of plays or operas. Its modern-day function was originated by the innovations of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, an 18th-century German playwright, philosopher, and theorist about theatre.

Obviously it’s an even more specialized field and really, theater in America is very different from theater in Germany. So, I was going to this very erudite program but while I was there, I started needing to do things with my hands and I’ve always done costumes on the side. One of my colleagues was a German woman, and a director, and she did a production of Medea and she saw these crazy hats I was making in an art class and she asked me to do the costumes. It totally made sense because my mom and I used to make things in the garage and I was always sewing and making stuff for my dolls and we were always putting on little shows, so there was this tradition in my family of making things and making costumes, so it felt completely natural and I started doing it then and fell for it, hard.

How did you get the job on True Blood?
That was the most amazing situation. I had been working by then for over a dozen years in the industry, doing costuming. I started in New York in ‘92 and I did a bunch of small theater pieces there and then I went to Europe and did a couple of operas and some theater. Then, I came back to New York and did some bigger productions there and then I moved back to LA and became a resident design assistant at the Taper.  I started doing various jobs there where I met Merlina Root, she was doing a show at the Taper. She is the designer of “That 70’s Show” and "Twenty Good Years" and "3rd Rock from the Sun." So I assisted her in theater and she said what are you doing in theater, you should come and work in TV, and I said OK and I hadn’t even thought of it. She hired me on "That 80’s Show," and I assistant designed with her.  Then, she hired me onto “That 70’s Show” and during that show when we were wrapping, Danny Glicker came and wanted to buy the stock for the movie, "We Are Marshall." He and I totally hit it off and he hired me to be his assistant designer on that movie, "We Are Marshall."  At that time, Danny’s career was taking off and Alan Ball asked him to do "Towelhead" and then asked him to do True Blood. So Danny was the first designer for True Blood,’ he designed the first two episodes. Then, we had the writer’s strike and Danny suggested I take over because he was going to go on to do the movie, "Milk" and no one knew what was going to happen.  So, he basically said to Alan and the Producers, "Audrey loves the show, knows the show, I trust her implicitly, she’s great, so what if she took over." I never thought of it, it’s like a dream when an assistant sort of gets kicked upstairs like that. Now, it’s my baby. The minute I got it I thought, Oh My God, this is my big moment.

Different Sookie Looks
What’s fun about your job?
Everything is fun about it. I am kind of hyper and love everything we have to handle every day. I love the multi-tasking, and I love the pace. Sometimes when I wake up and I’m really tired, and I say to myself, I just can’t, then I remember what I have to do today. Hmmm, I have a fitting with Alexander Skarsgård, I have to outfit a bunch of faeries and then, I have to deal with this huge blood rig and then, I have to see Anna for a fitting, so I say, OK, I’m getting up now. So, even on my worst day, I remember this incredible thing that I get to do and I get paid for it.

Suzuki Ingerslev, True Blood's set designer, told me that she doesn’t have the incredible pace that you have to deal with; is this true?
It makes sense when you look at the amount of bodies and details on the bodies vs. the production design. They have a set and all the beautiful details, but they have one set and it’s a numbers game. I have to deal with physical people; underwear and socks, and rings, and earrings.  And then there are ear allergies and wool allergies and, "I don’t like this neckline" and "I look terrible in this color" and "I like this brand of underwear." There are just so many details and with production design it doesn’t have that element, so that just adds a lot of time to my docket. 

I liked when you said Kristin was your Barbie Doll.
She is. She is physically a dream in terms of putting clothes on her body. That’s pretty extraordinary with the cast; they’re all so extraordinary, they are amazing.

Kristin Bauer van Straten as Audrey's Barbie Doll

How much advance notice do you have to find items, like finding the Wal-Mart outfit and the onesies for Jason, etc?
The jammies were a total build; we made those from scratch since they just don’t exist.

And they were a huge hit.
Yes, and Angela Robinson wrote that, she wrote “he man onesie” and I was like OK, because I can’t like just call the "He man onesie store" and order it in a man size, we just made it up. Those are challenges that the writers sort of toss up that I’m happy to be able to satisfy.

It just depends, what I try to do is sort of hoard items and if I’m out shopping and I see things I like, I just buy it, I buy six of it.  Then, I have it ready to go and a lot of times, that works out. Because I’m always thinking about the color palettes and the silhouettes and scanning out in the world. Even now,when I’m out in the world it’s so hard for me to shut off the shopping because I’m think, "oh, that will be great for this and that would be great for that," so, I’m constantly thinking that way.

In the beginning of the season it’s best because we get like two scripts and then we get a bunch of synopsis so we try to front load and we see stuff that’s coming up and we can prep for it.

Kristin Bauer van Straten in Wal-Mart Sweatsuit

Ryan Kwanten in HeMan Onesie

Do you get synopsis for the whole season?
No, usually we get 2 - 3 scripts and a couple of synopsis at a time. However, you can’t work too far ahead on a synopsis because things change, so you don’t put too much effort into it. But that’s when my relationship with the writer’s room comes in handy because I can say, “Is this going to stay?”

Have you had that happen where something has been changed radically at the last minute?
I can’t think of something where it’s been that radical, but things have fallen away that we’ve started to prep for, but we’ve sort of hit a balance now where we don’t ever go too far ahead because we don’t want to waste money and time; we don’t have it to waste, so we try to keep it tight.

What costumes in season 5 required the most from you?
Oh, the Faery Club because we had to dress all of them. The same thing with 1905, the whore house, but the faery club took a long time for us to get to the articulation of the design.

By the time we got it we only had two weeks to manufacture all the costumes before it was on camera, so it was really high pressure and went into overdrive. We hired a whole second team of seamstresses, assistant designers, shoppers. PA’s and costumers, so we had a whole secondary costume shop working. We had to fit a 100 people and we had to get two changes on most of them because we knew we wouldn’t have those resources again. We knew we needed to bang it out so we’d be ready for future scenes that we didn’t know about. We wanted to make sure that each faery had a closet that we could rely on so we would know for example, she has another bra, she has another crown, she already has another selection of jewelry so that for the next time around we could pull out something and wouldn’t be stuck.

The Faery Club

It’s amazing too because that scene wasn’t really that long even though a very important scenes.
I think for every department it’s a heartbreak when we don’t have the camera lovingly dwell on each thing, but of course there’s so much packed into each episode, they have to edit so tightly so, those long lingering shots, the wide shots, often end up on the cutting room floor because they have to get to the action. And, people want to see the actors close up and their reactions. I actually was very satisfied with how much we saw the faeries this season.

And Hadley looks so cute in that scene with the little crown on her head.
She’s so adorable and cute.

Hadley - Lindsey Haun

How’s the budget? Do you have to work with little or do you think you have enough to do what you need to do?
That’s one thing about having started from the beginning you can look back. I recently was sorting through some files and found my season 1 files and noticed that the budget has doubled. I was laughing. My first episode that I designed of Season 1, episode 3, the cast list wasn't long and the budget is half of what it is now. I took it into my supervisor, who is sort of like the project manager, and we laughed so hard because now the cast list is like 20 principles and 20 day players, so we laughed about that.

I’m not interested in wasting money or spending a lot for doing something I could do for less. It’s always a balance between time and money; that’s it. It’s just a continuum. I simply can’t afford very expensive designs, for example, I can’t shop at Saks Fifth Avenue all the time. I can do so occasionally though, if I find something on sale for say, Pam.

But, also it is Bon Temps?
I do have that interesting split and I think that the reason I could be on budget is because half the people's [costumes], I can get out of Good Will, out of Kohl’s or JC Penney’s which we have done over the years, but then, where I spend the money is on Chris Meloni and Anna. This season, Anna had to have a lot of different options as her pregnancy advanced. As she got bigger, there was a lot of work we had to do to make sure she was comfortable, a lot of different sizes of everything, a lot of different choices. I had to reserve my main funds for the top ten [cast members] and of course, the vampires. Especially this season  their clothes were very high end so I had to make sure I had the money for that.

But, still I do a lot of tricks. A lot of the dresses that I find are knock offs of designer stuff, like the purple dress that Salome just wore. That beautiful curvy dress, that’s a knock off of a very expensive designer actually, Roland Mouret and then, Black Halo knocked him off and then, French Connection knocked Black Halo off. So, it looks like a very expensive designer dress, but it’s actually French Connection, which I think was maybe under $200. That’s how I can do it because things are knocked off so quickly now, allowing me to give the impression of a very luxurious costume when in fact it’s affordable for the budget.

We kind of thought that True Blood would go on for another year. I personally would like it to go on forever, but yesterday, at the True Blood Panel, Alan said that it could go on for many years, so I presume you’ll be there until the end. What would you like to do when it does end?
I’m just starting to think about it and the future. Obviously season 6 is happening and I’m there, but for me the key is the interesting and amazing scripts. I’d love to travel, go on location, and do a film. The thing I think would be hard for me would be to do something that is really bare bones because that requires so much work on the designers part, it’s like sweat equity. I think that would be hard to do because I’m used to a really logical and efficient way of working. Therefore, I would have to find something that was logical and efficient because I don’t think I could go back to stuff that’s so poorly funded that you’re not really spending the money you really need to make it look right. And that doesn't have to be a lot, but I feel like I want to work on productions that are smart, savvy and then have an incredible script.

Do you have any aspirations to go back to the stage?
You know the thing about the stage is that I haven’t been able to afford to go back because, at least the productions I used to do, the pay is really low.

Well, that's fine because we like you in TV and, HBO specifically. It seems they are very supportive, is that true?
Yes, it’s an incredible company, especially when I’m here (Comic con), and I see the way that they support me as a designer representing the show vs. colleagues from other shows. For example, they produced this incredible handout with a sketch of Jessica. I hired a sketch artist, my sketch artist Imogene, and they tiled together some stills and it’s this beautiful 8-1/2 x 11" and it has True Blood on it and I signed it and Deborah Ann also signed it.

Below is the photo Audrey talks about above. She gave me a small pile from her inventory for use in our fundraising. I so enjoyed talking with her and learning more about the costume designer's job and the process.  I have the utmost respect for the designers and those who work on this show making it even a better experience.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Interview: Suzuki Ingerslev Set Designer Extraordinaire

As originally published on The Vault -

Two weeks ago, at Comic Con, I met with True Blood's incredible set designer, Suzuki Ingerslev and Art Director, Cat Smith, who was with Suzuki, to discuss some of the sets on True Blood.  

I first met Suzuki and Cat at their colleague Audrey Fisher's Costume Design Panel on Friday night at Comic Con. I went up to her in the audience before the panel began and we agreed to meet that night for an interview in her hotel room. I found both ladies incredibly interesting and just like all the other True Blood people, extremely generous and friendly.

Below is my interview:

What do you think of Comic Con?  Have you ever been here before?
Suzuki: Actually, this is my second time here; we came when True Blood wasn't even out yet. We knew there was going to be a panel, so Cat (Catharine Smith) dragged me down saying “It’s going to be amazing.”

Were you working on True Blood then?
Suzuki: We were, but nobody had seen it yet, it hadn't aired. We thought, let’s go to the panel, but when we got there the line was around the ballroom and we thought, there’s no way we are going to get into this panel and so Cat panicked and went to the security and said, this is the production designer of the show, you have to let her in. And, with that, they let us in.

It was an interesting experience and we loved seeing all the costumes. And like today, when we stood in line for the Costume Designer’s panel (colleague Audrey Fisher was in it) and there was a woman wearing a Sookie Stackhouse outfit.

But you have tickets for tomorrow’s True Blood Panel, right?
Cat: No.  Suzuki does, but not me.  I’ll try to get in. [Update: I saw Cat on Sunday morning and she did get into the panel. So for those of you who had trouble getting into panels, know that it's no easier for members of the crew].

The Authority headquarters - what kind of instructions did you get to make that set?
Suzuki: Over the summer, I heard that we were building vampire headquarters. At the time, I was told that we would be building something with ancient walls and it was supposed to have a big conference room and jails and there was also to be some sort of a shrine to Lilith. Alan Ball was on vacation at that time, so Greg Feinberg and I were trying to muddle through it and figure out what to do. Eight years ago, I was in Turkey and Istanbul and there was a cistern across from Haggai Sophia that I thought was amazing. There’s this underground space that is all water and columns and I thought I’d really like to film something like this, that would be really cool.

Authority Headquarters

Salome's bedroom

Do you have a thing with water in your designs because I remember at Queen Sophie Anne’s house in Season 2 when Bill walked across that walkway with water under it; a similar use?
Suzuki: That was already at that house and was just a fluke, so that was nothing I designed.

Bridge to Sophie Anne's home in Season 2

However in the last episode we see Salome walk across the same sort of walkway?
Suzuki: It’s a nice tie in for sure. What I know is that the water table is really high in Louisiana and New Orleans, so I thought, why not have water in the set, because there really would be a natural run-off somewhere. So, in order to shoot it that way, I had to to get permission from the producers to let me have water on the stage, which I thought was never going to fly, but when Greg saw it he got really excited and said, that’s really cool. And then, we pitched it to Alan and Alan was on board to make this sort of “homage” to vampires. I felt like the scale of the structure had to be huge because you wanted them to feel powerful, but at the same time I wanted to give Alan his ancient walls.

Bridge to enter Authority Rooms in Season 5

It’s underground, too, right?
Suzuki: Yes, that’s what it’s supposed to be like, cavernous, underground, the cells and the jails are all underground. And, you get the reflective qualities of it [the water effect]. And the furniture, I felt needed to be very powerful and modern and it broke it up so it didn't feel like a period piece or a dungeon. So by adding the modern furniture and the pops of color I feel it just sort of warmed it up and actually gave them some kind of sophistication.

What difficulties did you encounter?
Suzuki: The water was the hardest part, we really had to figure that out. I wanted the lighting to be spectacular so we worked with the lighting department closely and built in a lot of our own lighting by just finding certain kinds of lights that looked good and would up-light the columns that we could afford to build and buy so many of them and the same with the water elements. Our lighting department designed a certain light that actually goes into that water that can be taken in and out but looks built in. Money is an issue on the show still, even with a big set like that.

Has the budget gotten higher as the years have gone by?
Suzuki: This past season they gave us a decent amount of money for sure, but i dont’ think it’s based on whether the shows a hit, I think it’s based on what we’re building. I think they believed in those two spaces, the faery club and also the vampire headquarters, so that was why we were given the money, they really liked the designs.

Speaking of the Faery Club, what was your inspiration and what were you told to do with that?
Suzuki: That was a more complicated set because lots of people had various different opinions on what it would look like. We had to come to an opinion on, first of all, what the faeries were doing in there, so we worked with Alan with that. Originally, we went with a more modern direction for sort of like a restaurant feel and then we heard it was going to be more like a cabaret show and so we did some research on several cabaret shows in town like "Cirque de Freak," and "Cirque to Berserk." So, I thought it would be kind of fun to create an atmosphere that is like a circus and also Moroccan as opposed to one or the other. And, the big faces you see on the set are supposed to be the faeries when they turn ugly. So, you have these beautiful faeries dancing on stage and then, in the background are those faces of what they can turn into, which we saw in the fourth season.

Faery Club in Season 5
photo source:

Today in the Costume panel, the illustrator talked about how they had a hard time coming up with the costumes for the faeries?
Suzuki:.They had a tough time with that. They were trying to decide what they looked like and there were so many that it’s expensive so they were trying to figure out how to do the faery club and what they were wearing, more like lingerie vs. no lingerie.

Were you involved with the location from last year for the flashback scene to London 1980’s with Bill Compton and Nan Flanagan?
Suzuki: Yes. On the outside of the club we did a little bit, but not much, but on the inside of the club, we pretty much gutted what was there and brought in sort of an 80’s sensibility with some punk rock stuff. It had those great walls and everything to begin with including that great bar. We put up wallpaper and the mirrors to hide things to make it kind of dated. Our painter, that I’ve worked with for years, he has a band, and they were actually performing in the background and he wrote a song that is playing during the scene.

The one when Bill walks into the bar?
Suzuki: Yes, that’s him on the stage there and he wrote the song. But it is hard efinitely, finding historic things, like the Viking house when we did that, we had to build that because there’s not going to be a big Viking house here in California.

Exterior of 1980's London pub in Season 4

I know that the exterior of the Compton house is a house in Louisiana, right?
Suzuki: Yes, but the interior has nothing to do with the exterior and the exterior facade is now built in Malibu. [They no longer use the house in Louisiana].

Compton house exterior in Malibu

Interior Compton  House Fireplace Season 1 and after renovation Season 4

Interior Compton  House Foyer Season 1 and after renovation Season 4

This year you had San Francisco sets to do with Pam. I imagine that historic sets are more difficult to do, is that true?
Suzuki: They are tough, there’s not many areas that look like old San Francisco here in LA, so we were lucky to find an historic district near Alvera Street by Union Station. The exterior is always harder than the interior. The interior was filmed at Castle Green in Pasadena. You can always find rooms that feel dated, or you can make them feel dated, but finding an entire street that could pass as San Francisco is hard. For the exterior scenes we had to make due here in LA by putting dirt down to cover a lot of the concrete and asphalt, hide signs, and emergency escape signals.

Was it difficult to find the right places and ambiance for the brothel scenes in Season 5?
Suzuki: No, that one wasn't, the interior wasn't so bad. Castle Green was a great choice because it’s one of these structures where they haven’t modernized it, so you don’t have the recessed lights and we just had to cover a couple of smoke detectors, etc. The wallpaper was already there, the colors and then, our decorator brought in some furniture.

Interior used for brothel scenes at Castle Green

Audrey Fisher said today that she uses a lot of black, and doesn't use red on the humans because she uses so much red on other things, and also there's the blood. Do you have the same kind of restrictions?
Suzuki: No, I don’t, but I try to mix up the colors and make it interesting because it is easy to fall to using red in this kind of a show. 

Well, some of the sets are just so amazing with the attention to detail, like in Lafayette’s House, and Jason’s house, etc. I loved the touch of seeing one TV on top of another, for example. Do you enjoy these sets, too?
Suzuki: Yes, those are fun, I like those character driven sets. The vampire authority is a great set but you look at Gran’s house and all the details that we put into that; it makes it somebody’s home and it shows you who that character is.

Lafayette's mantle in Season 4

Sookie's House Foyer in Season 1

True Blood is finished filming for the year and yet there is another season to come. Are you working on anything else now?
Suzuki: I think i’m going to try to take some time off; I've been busy the last two years and haven’t had a vacation.

Do you have the 80 hours work weeks that the costume designers have?
Suzuki: No, they have it tougher than we do. We come in early in the morning, but we leave around 6 or 7pm. 

Russell Edgington’s house was in Mississippi, but did you build the interiors on set?
Suzuki: Yes. We couldn't believe that we got to shoot in Mississippi. Cat and I found that on a little boondoggle that we went on. We like going and visiting the places. We couldn’t believe that we were able to film in Mississippi because it was never slated, but that building was so gorgeous that when we showed it to the producers and we said this is where the King has to live and it’s never been shown on another television or feature. It was the first time Longwood was ever on anything.

Longwood in Natchez, MS

Special reporter for The Vault Lisafemmeacadienne drove up to Natchez, MS to the Longwood House and did a full report on the set location in Mississippi.  To read her story about Longwood, click here