Sean Harry’s Starfury events have been running for many years now and the third annual Vampire Ball was hosting True Blood’s regular guests Allan Hyde who plays Godric and Mariana Klaveno who plays Lorena. Mariana had cancelled two years previously and I was on honeymoon the previous year so was looking forward to meeting her for the first time as well as Allan who was very funny at the first Vampire Ball.
The venue this year was the Renaissance hotel next to Heathrow airport which makes it easier to get to for con goers outside of the UK. I arrived late evening on the Friday night and bought regular tickets on the door. After checking into my hotel room it was straight down for the opening ceremony in the main hall. Sean Harry opened the con and introduced the guests. His banter with the crowd was great and he joked about the lack of Twilight guests at his cons. Juliet Landau and James Masters were the big names to keep the legions of Buffy fans happy this year.
Mariana Klaveno was the first True Blood guest introduced and she joked that she had kicked Allan Hyde in his privates backstage. Allan came out minutes later doubled up pretending that actually happened. Allan was sporting a beard which I had not seen before so looked a bit older than the last time I had seen him. Mariana had her hair dyed blond.
After the opening ceremony there was a meet and greet for gold ticket holders that I would be missing out on this time. Following this there was a party themed on Sunningdale from Buffy. I went dressed in my Captain Hammer T-shirt with black gauntlets. I met up with Truebie friends I had made at previous cons and we sat at a table together. The party went on late into the night. There were a few people in Merlotte waitress costumes including a bloke in drag as Sookie which was hilarious.
After breakfast the next morning my first True Blood related activity was the photo shoot at midday with Allan and Mariana. I dressed in my Andy Bellefleur sherif costume for this and Allan and Mariana aprreciated the effort I had made with the costume. A little while later in the afternoon they gave the first of their two guest talks together. The talk started a little late as Allan is a big Chelsea fan and had been watching them beat Arsenal on the TV!
Allan and Mariana joked about Godric’s Obi-Wan style comeback as figure in shining white light. When asked what other True Blood character they would like to play, Allan said Lorena and Mariana said Lafayette. Their favourite True Blood episodes were Godric’s death scene and Lorena torturing Bill. Allan talked about how he played someone much older by studying videos of old people and doing less which made him look more wise. If they could appear in other shows, Allan said he would like to be in the Walking Dead and Marianna said she would like to be in Game of Thrones. Allan said he would like to be a chef if he wasn’t an actor. He recounted a funny story of making Bolognese sauce all day for a friend and his friends flatmate making one out of a jar that his flat mates thought was better! Mariana spoke about the infamous head twist scene when she was making love to Bill and how they had to take a dummy life cast of her torso. They would leave it on set naked and she asked them to cover it up so they put a bra on it!
The theme for the evening party was the Vampire Ball. But before that was the cosplay parade. Sean Harry started this half an hour later so that everyone could watch the season finale of Doctor Who which was nice of him. I entered dressed as sheriff Andy Bellefleur carrying remains of Talbot in a crystal jar that Russell Eddington carried around in several episodes of season 3. Couldn’t see any other cosplayers in True Blood outfits this year, but the costumes were great as always. I was first out to parade around the dance floor with the guests as a judging panel. I left them Talbot on the judging table so they could get a closer look. I didn’t win anything but had great fun taking part in the parade. The evening party went late on into the night again with everyone having a great time as always. Allan, Mariana and some of the other guests came down for the party for a bit and were dancing on the dance floor with all the con goers!
The last day featured another talk with Allan and Mariana. They would do some singing beatbox type rap wither whenever there wasn’t anyone asking a question which was quite entertaining. When asked what cross over show they would like to do, they said they would like to see their True Blood vampires on Twilight so they could kill everyone! If they could be a different True Blood character, Mariana said she would like to play Jason Stackhouse and Allan said a shape shifter so he could be a fly. Allan said he would like Godric to be a regular at Merlotte’s with his own plaque if his character was still alive. He also revealed a great party piece which was to play mouth trumpet which was hilarious!
I saw them both for the last time at the autograph session afterwards were I got them to sign my Andy Bellefleur arm cast. Allan has now signed it twice! All in all, the Vampire Ball is great weekend to meet fellow Vampire and True Blood fans and the only con on the UK circuit currently featuring cast from True Blood. Will be interesting to see if they break up the Allan and Mariana team or add to it for next year’s Vampire Ball!