Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest-Blogger Janice Eidus on 5 Vampire Links to Sink Your Teeth Into

Creeeepy coincidences!! I just posted my "Haunted Historical Fiction" podcast, and, aside from plowing down the ever-rising Himalaya of e-mail, I have on my schedule for this week "start translating vampire story" (more about that anon). Then, in comes this week's guest-blog post on ... vampires?! Well, it's by my amiga, the crackerjack New York-and-San Miguel de Allende novelist Janice Eidus, author of the sublime The War of the Rosens, whose new -- yes--- vampire novel, The Last Jewish Virgin, is getting rave reviews. National Public Radio's Marion Winik calls it "Twilight... with a sense of humor, a brain, and a feminist subtext." Over to you, Janice!

Five Vampire Links To Sink Your Teeth Into

With my new novel, The Last Jewish Virgin (which I call my Feminist Fashionista Jewish Vampire Novel), I tried to reimagine and reinvent the vampire myth for contemporary times. The main character is Lilith Zeremba, a young woman living in New York City. Proud of her rationality and secular beliefs, Lilith is determined to remain a virgin until she reaches her goal of becoming a mega-successful fashion designer. Despite herself, she finds her soulmate -- her bashert, as it’s called in Yiddish -- in a completely unexpected, untraditional way -- replete with vampires, as well as feminism, real estate, fashion, and a seriously funny look at contemporary urban Jewish life.

While writing The Last Jewish Virgin, I immersed myself in all things vampires, along the way discovering and rediscovering novels, short stories, poems, critical works, films, plays, TV shows, and websites. Now it’s my pleasure to share five delicious vampire sites with you:

#1. New York Times’ critic Jason Zinoman’s series for Slate Magazine on Alan Ball’s HBO show, True Blood.
(Below are links to a few of his columns; you can easily find others). His writing is accessible, witty, and original. While dissecting True Blood, he simultaneously explores the historical, literary, and metaphorical roots of the vampire myth as well as its contemporary incarnations. If you’re drawn to things vampiric (even if you’ve never watched True Blood), you’ll be intrigued. Don’t miss his take on the “vampire-vs.-werewolf” debate (he comes out strongly on the side of True Blood’s vampires), as well as his analysis of how the show’s creators shock and disturb viewers with the increasingly “fluid sexuality” of their characters.

This is Your Brain on Blood;
True Blood Reinvents Vampire Sex;
Style, Soap, Sex – and Splat!

#2. Fresh Fiction
Fresh Buzz generously reprints NPR columnist and vampire aficionado Margot Adler’s “Vampire Book List” in its entirety. Adler’s list is extraordinarily extensive and never elitist. She’s fascinated by the ethical and moral dilemma vampires face because of the tremendous power they wield over mortals. (Among my own favorite vampire books are: Bram Stoker’s Dracula -- like a vampire, it never grows old for me; Fledgling, in which the late African-American writer, Octavia E. Butler, blends the vampire myth with science fiction in order to explore race and prejudice in a fresh way; Anne Rice’s romantic and cinematic Interview With The Vampire; The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas, about a lonely, intellectual vampire obsessed with understanding who he is and how he came to be.)

#3. The Coolest Vampire Art Gallery
Quirky and cultish, this online art gallery straddles the line between serious and kitschy. If you happen to “love the sight of female vampires in art,” and yearn to see portraits of such vampire vixens as “Macabre Mistress” and “Midnight Temptress,” this is the site for you. (You also can vote here on such pressing issues as whether Brad Pitt or Keifer Sutherland is the hotter vampire.)

#4. Only Good Movies: Vampires
A comprehensive list of “best” vampire movies culled from all over the internet, with well-deserved special attention devoted to the Swedish film Let The Right One In (recently remade in English), an exquisite horror/romance based on the novel of the same name. It’s the story of an emotionally fragile, bullied twelve-year-old boy who develops a friendship with a female vampire child who ultimately rescues him from the bullies. (Among my favorite films are Near Dark, the best -- perhaps the only! -- vampire/Western/horror film ever made; The Vampire Lovers, based on Sheridan Le Fanu’s bold lesbian vampire tale, Carmilla; John Badham’s incredibly sensual Dracula; The Lost Boys, the teen/comedy horror film that speaks as much to adults as teens; Andy Warhol’s Dracula, in which Udo Kier’s languid Dracula is wasting away due to the world’s scarcity of virgin blood; The Hunger, surely inspired by Le Fanu’s Carmilla, starring two of our most beautiful contemporary actresses, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon; and, Vampire’s Kiss, about a deranged vampire/literary agent played by Nicolas Cage -- in other words, one vampire that’s difficult for at least one writer I know to resist.)

#5. Monstrous Vampires
In an entertaining and vivid fashion, this website presents an encyclopedic wealth of information and visuals about all things vampire, from classic literature to real life blood fetishes, from the mythic to the concrete. Read here to learn about “Minor Historical Vampires,” including Vlad the Impaler and Erzsebeth Bathory, as well as “Psychic Vampires” and “Psychotic Vampires.” Along the way, learn a thing or two about “Animal Vampires,” “The Vampire As A Scapegoat,” “Human Living Vampires,” “Famous Vampire Hunters,” and “The Blood Fetish Vampire.” This website may be the Ur-website of all vampire websites.

--- Janice Eidus

---> For the archive of Madam Mayo guest-blog posts, click here.

P.S. Read Janice Eidus's previous guest-blog post for Madam Mayo, apropos of her splendid novel,
The War of the Rosens: "Five (mas o menos) directly or very indirectly Mexico-related Websites"