Sons of Anarchy: Rumble in Tujunga

Today's cuppa: chai spice black tea, Inukshuk blueberry icewine tea (brought down from Vancouver, Canada)

There was a 5.4 magnitude earthquake in Southern California yesterday, with the epicenter in Chino HillsSonsofanarchy_025 . All the local news channels talked about it. All the cable news channels talked about it. Newspapers wrote about it; bloggers blogged about it. I got frantic messages from friends back East asking about it and whether I was all right.

Never felt a thing. Nothing. At the time of the quake, I was in the company of an FX publicist, and we had just arrived on location at a high school in Tujunga, Calif. (which is, for the record, in the Crescenta Valley, not the San Fernando Valley) for the upcoming biker drama "Sons of Anarchy," which premieres Wed, Sept. 3 (syndicated feature story to follow)

Shortly after we reached the location in a parklike area near the auditorium and gym, everyone was ordered back down to the football field.Sonsofanarchy_006_3 At first, I thought it might be for a safety meeting about a special-effects explosion, but it was just a temporary evacuation because of the quake -- which everybody on the set seems to have felt except for us.

As a friend said later on the phone, "You have the sensibility of a rock."

(Click on images to see a larger version.)

Anyway, the scene being shot was at a fund-raising fair in the fictional town of Charming, a Northern California hamlet that is home to -- and entirely controlled by -- a motorcycle club called the Sons of Anarchy.

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There were several booths, including ones for a "Taste of Charming" and local law enforcement.
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There was also a silent auction, with various and sundry items for sale, including fancy dishes, firearms and dead birds of some sort.

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And, of course, there were motorcycles.

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As for "Sons of Anarchy" itself, I'll just say here that the other show that popped into my mind as I was watching the pilot was HBO's surfer drama "John From Cincinnati."

Of course, if you haven't seen "JFC" -- and that's the overwhelming majority of TV viewers -- that's not a meaningful comparison. But in brief, both are set in small California towns dominated by a subculture -- surfing in one, motorcycle riding in the other -- both feature longtime leaders of the subculture that are having a hard time dealing with younger rivals for their power and position, both feature young men coping with the challenges of fatherhood, and both feature strong matriarchs.

After saying this to the publicist, I turned and was amazed to see Dayton Callie, who played drug dealer Steady Freddie Lopez in "JFC." A few minutes later, I saw Brian Van Holt, who played troubled surfer Butchie Yost in "JFC." Both have roles in "Sons of Anarchy."

And, one of the stars of "SoA" is Katey Sagal (who's also the wife of the show's executive producer, former "The Shield" writer Kurt Sutter), who co-starred in "Married...With Children" with Ed O'Neill, who, you guessed it, played retired cop Bill Jacks in "JFC."

It's all just one big happy TV world.

Also had a great chat with Jay Karnes of "The Shield," who's doing a multiepisode guest arc on "SoA." No, he wasn't on "JFC," but he has fun stories to tell (more on that some other time).

But, since "SoA" will air on Wednesdays, and the final season of "The Shield" will air on Tuesdays, at some point, Karnes will be on the same network on two successive days playing different characters in two different shows.

That may be a first. If it isn't, I'm sure someone out there will let me know.

 

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