By Chaz Lipp

Kristin Bauer van Straten is best known as Pam Ravenscroft, co-owner of the vampire bar Fangtasia, on HBO’s True Blood. She’s also appeared on ABC’s Once Upon a Time as Maleficent and Jack’s mom on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Saturday, March 2, Van Straten was a featured guest for a panel at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle.

True Blood fans were out in force, including panel moderator Jodi Brothers (of 95.7 KJR FM in Seattle). Truth be told, Brothers kind of served as a model for how not to moderate one of these panels. She was overly chatty, apparently bent on making the hour a sort of “girl talk” dialogue rather than letting Van Straten have the spotlight. She also didn’t open up the floor for questions until almost 50 minutes in, leaving quite a few disappointed fans. More would’ve been able to ask a question had the Q&A begun sooner.

I’m not sure if this was mandated by Kristin Bauer van Straten herself, but quite a lot of time during the panel was focused specifically on her animal rights activism. I’m guessing that it was in her contract because Brothers kept saying “I know we’re supposed to be talking about animal rights” every time she asked a True Blood related question.

Regardless of whose decision it was, that’s not what people paid to hear. There was definitely a feeling of restlessness as Van Straten quite frankly got a little preachy. Ironically, she explained how resistant she was to even get involved in charities such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund, initially not wanting to be bothered about it. I think quite a few people in the audience could relate. I’m sure it’s a great cause, but a little of that sort of topic goes a long ways in these settings.

As Once Upon a Time fans, it was encouraging to hear Van Straten leave the door open for a possible return as Maleficent. Even though her character was seemingly disposed of fairly definitively at the end of season one, she pointed out that due to the fantasy/magic nature of the series anything is possible. Season six of True Blood will begin on HBO in June, 2013.

(Photos: Sherry Lipp)

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Chaz Lipp

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