WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE THE HUNGER
Given the long, torrid history of lesbian vampires, I wasn’t surprised that HBO’s new vampire series True Blood might include some girl-on-girl action. And lo and behold, this week HBO officially announced that "all the vampire characters in the series are actually pansexual." Uh, pansexual? I sure hope that doesn’t mean "anything except lesbian."
Set in Louisiana, True Blood takes place in a time just after vampires have "come out of the closet" and are now advocating for the passage of a Vampire Rights Bill. In the opening credits, a church’s sign declares "God Hates Fangs." Amid all this, small-town waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) falls for a seductive vampire who has been around since before the Civil War. Shortly after their first meeting, Sookie rescues him, catapulting her into an intense relationship with the dead.
The series is executive produced by openly gay Alan Ball, who gave us a nuanced relationship between two gay men as well as a lesbian story line for teen Claire on Six Feet Under. During a conference call with LGBT press this week, Ball did confirm, "Yes, there will be lesbian characters on True Blood." Woohoo! But he also admitted he doesn’t know much about the way lesbians have been portrayed on TV.
AfterEllen.com contributor LeeAnn Kriegh attended the press conference and asked the important questions for us.
AfterEllen.com: A little earlier you mentioned the progression that you’ve seen in portrayals of gay males on television, and I wonder if you see a similar or in fact some other progression … in the portrayal of lesbians on television.
Alan Ball: I have to preface my answer by saying I really don’t watch that much television. I have like three shows that I watch religiously, and then I don’t really watch much of anything else, just because I don’t have time. So I may not be the person who can really chart the evolution of lesbian characters on television.
I do know that I recently saw the French movie Tell No One, and there were a couple lesbian characters in that, and I really loved the way that was handled. It wasn’t about the fact that they were lesbians. It was just that the sister of one of the main characters was a lesbian, and he was actually really good friends with her lover. Seems like he was actually closer to the lover than he was to the sister, and that I really appreciated.
I’m certainly aware of The L Word. I haven’t watched it, so I’m not really sure I can answer that question in a way that’s educated.
HBO told us that the lesbianish vampire who shows up later in the series is named Pam, played by Kristin Bauer, who seems to have a thing for Sookie. Here’s what Ball said about her: "There is a vampiress who works [at the vampire bar Fangtasia in Shreveport] who definitely exudes a certain lesbian energy in a really kind of entertaining and seductive way. Pam is a woman who was made vampire in Victorian England, and she dresses all goth when she’s at work, but when she’s not at work she basically wears Chanel."
Kristen Bauer (right) with actor Liz Vassey at the
world premiere of The Ring in 2002
I’ve seen the first two episodes of True Blood, and to be honest, I loved them. They were just the right amount of creepy twistedness-meets-naiveté in the form of Anna Paquin’s character, who oozes an innocent sensuality that I’m sure would be tempting to vampires, pansexual or not. But given the show’s heavy-handedness with its gay metaphors and lush, over-the-top sexuality, I’m also guessing that any lesbian vampires are going to be walking the fine line between predatory and seductive.
Can Alan Ball overcome his lack of knowledge and deliver a sexy lesbian vampire who overcomes decades (if not centuries) of stereotypes? You be the judge. True Blood premieres Sept. 7 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
SO LONG, FAREWELL …
After five years of interviews with lesbian and bisexual models, actors, reality stars, rock stars and authors; 26 video blogs;
endless processing critical analysis about gender, reality television and killer lesbians in space; and even a few fluffy pieces about lesbian fashion and butches (hot!), it’s time for me to say auf Wiedersehen and pack my knives pencils and go.
Today marks my last day as managing editor of AfterEllen.com, and I have to say, my life would not be the same without this site. I will certainly miss working with the wonderful staffers here, starting with Sarah Warn, who convinced me to write about gay stuff in the first place. It’s also been a joy to work with Karman Kregloe, Trish Bendix, scribegrrrl, and all the numerous freelance writers who have been so kind to me when faced with my edits.
Last but not least, thanks to all of you who have read my work over the years. I’ve genuinely appreciated your time, your comments and your emails. I’ll still be writing my column, Notes & Queeries, every month for AfterEllen.com, and you can always visit me at my website if you’re interested in how things are coming along with my novel(s). Keep in touch!
— by Malinda Lo
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Presidential candidate Barack Obama mentioned gays and lesbians in his speech last night accepting the Democratic nomination for president of the United States of America.
Billie Jean King talks about her new book Pressure is a Privilege.
On her MySpace blog this week, Lindsay Lohan expressed her frustration at her father’s recent public statements claiming that Samantha Ronson is "using" her and driving her back to drinking (Ronson also blogged about it).
Monday is a national holiday here in the U.S., so we’re only going to be publishing a few blog posts on Monday, and a spooky/campy new episode of Ghostella. Enjoy the weekend, and we’ll be back on Tuesday with lots more lesbian-ish content!
That’s it for this week! Got the inside scoop on a hot new lesbian/bi actor/musician/TV show/film? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check back next Friday for another edition of Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever.