Monday, August 2, 2010


Burning Water Review will consist of my own personal reviews of Art, Film, Music, and Books that I have found interesting, moving, powerful, and inspirational. At times I will write about work that is current and at others I will tunnel back to work that had an effect on me in the past.  Since my last name is Trueblood, I thought it would be appropriate that the opening post would be about the HBO series TRUEBLOOD. 

I live in New York and work in digital imaging and teach Photoshop. I also produce my own photo based art and write as well. I have two websites. One is of my personal photography and the other is of my photo retouching work that I do to make a living. There are links to them in the upper right corner of the blog.

I also make extra money working as a New York City cab driver.  Passengers have always asked me about my name and its origin. Once I picked up a woman who told me about Earlham College, a Quaker school in Richmond, Indiana. There is a building there called the Trueblood Fieldhouse. Later, while travelling, I passed through Richmond and took a look. With further research, I found it was named after D. Elton Trueblood who was an author and theologian and was the founder of the Earlham School of Religion. My father met him once and had one of his books. In the first chapter he told of how the first Truebloods in America came in the late 1600s. They were Quakers leaving England for religious freedom and settled in what is now North Carolina. Later in the mid 1700s they moved to Indiana. My grandfather was born in Sullivan, Indiana and there are many Truebloods living in Indiana and Iowa. Once I picked up a man and a little girl from Indianapolis and the little girl said there was a boy in her class with my exact name.

Recently, I picked up a young man in my cab who asked if Trueblood was my real name. I told him it was and we talked about the show. He called up a friend on his cell phone and told her - I'm in a cab and my driver's name is Trueblood, isn't that awesome! I took a picture of his license with my cell phone camera.

I have to admit it was fun to see my name on walls and billboards all over New York under the image of bloody lips. The title of the show refers to Tru Blood, the synthetic blood developed by a Japanese company that keeps the vampires living without having to kill humans. This has allowed them to come out of the coffin. Of course some still do kill humans because there is nothing like the real thing. At times it is dark, moody, and stylized, but it is actually a combination of Southern Gothic with a lot of strange Surrealism. William Faulkner meets Dukes of Hazzard meets David Lynch. Besides vampires, it includes characters with psychic powers, drug addicts, rednecks, religious fanatics, people of different races and sexual orientation, all mixed together with trashy American culture and a touch of voodoo. It is hilarious at times, disturbing at others. It has a good helping of sex and violence. TRUEBLOOD is over the top and takes it for granted that supernatural characters exist. The central character Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) has the power to read minds. Now, in its third season other creatures have come out including shapeshifters, maenads, and werewolves. All are vying for power and control. TRUEBLOOD is a critique of how a certain segment of our culture is in fear of anyone who is different from themselves. 

Each episode opens with a prologue that cuts to an amazing title sequence put to the song "Bad Things" by Jace Everett. It reminds me of short experimental films made in 8mm before the advent of video. it consists of Stan Brakhage-like editing - quick cuts, jump cuts, still shots, slow motion, time-lapse, with grainy film stocks and a jittery, rough on the edges feel. The imagery is a montage of swamps, gothic houses, alligators, gospel choirs, cops beating demonstrators, bars, sex, snakes, rednecks, bloody mouths, road kill, praying, stripping, maggots, smoke inhaled into lips, and a baptism. The title sequence to TRUEBLOOD, created by Digital Kitchen, is a mini masterpiece in itself.

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