Tag Archives: television

Fangirls Fall Guide to 2016: Television Edition

(Cross posted at Imaginary Men.Net)

In Amy H. Johnson’s honest, funny and inspiring debut memoir “The Fangirl Files: True Tales and Tips from the Fandom Frontlines,” she embraces fangirling, not just a hobby, but as a way of life.  Whether it’s a favorite band, a beloved book series, an admired actor, or an adored television show, fangirling is a way we define ourselves.  We fangirl both to stand out from a crowd, and to connect with an entire world of people who share similar interests, in ways we never dreamed possible even a decade ago.  Through Fangirling, Amy, like many of us, found solace and comfort, excitement and adventure, independence and self-reliance and a loving extended network of like-minded, who can turn to, not just to discuss the latest Killers album, but to share in all the ups and downs life has to offer.

IG fangirlfiles.comThroughout “The Fangirl Files” Amy details her life from childhood, through adolescence into adulthood, using the various fandoms with which she associated as milestones along her thrilling journey. And this, of course, may lead you to wonder, what is Amy fangirling about now, in the Fall of 2016?

With the help of her fellow Fangirl friend (Me, Julie, naturally), Amy will share with us the things that get her all excited and fangirly right now.

I’ll play as well, because, why not? I’m a Fangirl too, after all.

Coming up we’ll discuss a few of our favorite things in 2016 from a wide variety of pop culture topics including television, movies, music, apps, podcasts, columns, and books. And you can weigh in on whether you agree with us, think we are totally nuts, or have your own recommendations. Because that’s what true fangirling is about, after all . . . . sharing our passion, expanding our horizons, and bonding over the things we all love. Also, let’s be honest, it’s about the cute boys . . . because who doesn’t love those?

Amy’s TV Picks

What I’m watching:

I have been binging on season four of The Americans. Perhaps “binging” isn’t the right word as sometimes an episode is so stressful it takes me days before I feel emotionally ready to watch the next one! I often wonder why this show has never had the same sort of pop culture fixation as other “prestige dramas” like Mad Men or Breaking Bad. It is also filled with conflicted anti-heroes and heroines and is intense, brilliant, suspenseful, heartbreaking and superbly acted (if you ever thought, “Awww, Felicity Porter is so adorable!” Keri Russell will kick the living sh*t out of your memory of her previous incarnation). Plot lines are artfully woven through multiple seasons so things that happened two seasons ago come back to haunt the characters. Under the layers of spy intrigue and danger is the story of a family trying to stay together through the mundane tasks of every day life, and the high stakes secret world of espionage. And it always bears repeating, “POOR MARTHA!” Watch it: Amazon, iTunes.

theamericans

What I can’t wait to watch:

I’m excited about season three of The Affair. This one is another under-the-radar show that critics and awarding bodies like but is also not part of the “Peak TV” conversation. I think that may be because it can contain some soap opera-y elements although I don’t think that detracts at all from the performances or really deep emotional places it goes to. It is another doozy of a show in terms of stressing me out but this one also makes me cry a lot because at the heart of it is the understanding that relationships­—with spouses, lovers, friends, parents, even enemies—are complex and often overwhelming. The first season featured the POV of the two characters having the affair Alison and Noah. Season two added the views of the spouses they cheated on, Cole and Helen. As we follow the frequently conflicting interpretations of what happened in each relationship, there’s also a central mystery unfolding known as, “Who Killed Scotty Lockhart.” Let me tell you, last season’s finale was a true Gasp-Out-Loud-What-Just-Happened-Holy-Sh*t! Kind of TV moment that made me miss a time when everyone watched TV shows at the same time so we could discuss them right afterwards. Of course the entire reason I even began watching this show was because of my Ultimate TV Boyfriend Joshua Jackson (Pacey 4eva!) who even got his own chapter in my book The Fangirl Files! Watch it: Showtime, November 20th.

If you’d rather laugh:

Try Billy on the Street (Hulu), Parks and Recreation (Hulu, Netflix) or my latest binge, Very British Problems (Netflix).

Julie’s TV Picks

Stranger Things (Netflix)

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Admittedly, I was a bit late to the party on this one, if only because I thought it would be too scary for my wimpy, fraidy cat, ass. (Also because I’d heard the ending involved a full-sized slug coming out of somebody’s mouth, which pretty much describes every nightmare I’ve had from the age of six until forever.) If you’re an eighties kid, you’ll love the overload of nostalgia you will inevitably feel for a simpler time, when “fun” for kids involved just riding bikes around town or playing an intense round of Dungeons and Dragons, two activities that involve NO TECHNOLOGY AT ALL. Not to mention the fact that the film is jammed packed with pop culture references from the time: movies (E.T., It, Nightmare on Elm Street), music (Hazy Shade of Winter, Waiting for a Girl Like You); even school supplies (Teen Heroine Nancy owned and promptly displayed her very own Trapper Keeper during the series).

Even those who don’t exactly remember the eighties will still find plenty to love in this super fun series that is filled with action adventure, mystery, humor, horror, plucky characters you will root for, and cheesy special effects that will make you giggle. But most of all, I think Stranger Things is about the enduring nature of childhood friendship. Because when you are eleven years old your best friends are your whole wide world. It’s a feeling you never quite get back, after you inevitably grow into the self-absorption of your teenage years . . . Watch it: Now on Netflix

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The Night Of (HBO)

Based on the British series Criminal Justice, this HBO crime procedural / mystery follows Naz, a well-behaved, dutiful Pakistani college student, who gets invited to a party, meets a hot girl, has the best sex of his life, and then proceeds to have the WORST SIX MONTHS EVER! Though its Naz’s plight and the mystery of Who Killed Andrea, that will draw you into the series, you’ll stay for the harrowing portrait of our criminal justice system, and the pressure it puts on everyone from beat cops, to detectives, to district attorneys to judges to arrive at a conviction for violent crimes, even if it means ignoring exculpatory evidence, not to mention the picture it paints of our prison system. The Rikers Island of The Night Of makes the Litchfield of Orange is the New Black look like a trip to the mall.

night-of

Also there’s a really cute cat in the series. And I’m just a sucker for really cute cats… Watch it: HBO On Demand

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This is Us (NBC)

this-is-us

A husband whose wife is about to give birth to triplets; a Hollywood heartthrob experiencing malaise over the trajectory of his career; an overweight woman struggling to take back control over her life in a society that often obsesses over appearances; a successful businessman who has just reconnected with the biological dad who abandoned him at a fire station 36 years earlier. These are four very different people, with vastly different stories; people who seem to have nothing in common with one another but the date of birth that they share . . . OR DO THEY?

From the first moment of the pilot, this series instantly had me hooked with its cast of likeable, not to mention super attractive characters, their relatable stories, and the unexpected twists the writers seem to enjoy slipping into the end of every episode. And touching . . . man is this show touching. Bring your hankies folks, because if you are in the right mood when you are watching this, you will be happy crying all over the damn place! Watch it: Tuesday nights on NBC.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Movies!

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Filed under Fall Fangirl Guide 2016, television, Uncategorized

When Boob Tube Meets Silver Screen – 5 films that could probably “cut it” on the small screen

This past Friday, IGN Entertainment released THIS trailer, to promote an upcoming television series, based on the popular, and EXTREMELY profitable, Harry Potter book and film franchise . . .

Of course, if you recall, this past Friday was also April Fools’ Day.  And the above – trailer for the new FX series, The Aurors, set to premiere this summer, ended up being a FAKE (not to mention a Big Fat F-YOU to Wizard Lovers, EVERYWHERE)!

And yet, you have to admit, if a series like this actually DID air on FX, there’s a good chance it would be fairly successful.  After all, The Aurors, has all the ingredients for a television ratings darling, including:

(1) an allegiance to the Harry Potter brand, and the massive geek-chic cult following that comes along with it;

“When I wave my magic wand, millions of dollars in advertising revenue will appear, right before your VERY EYES!”

(2) a savvy nod to the world’s current obsession with All Things Supernatural;

(3) action adventure; and

Might I suggest some prune juice, Harry.  I hear it helps with your . . . condition.

(4) that Crime Procedural Mumbo Jumbo, which tends to bore the STUFFING out of me, but seems to be genuinely popular among most of the American viewing public (as evidenced by the success of the 85,000 versions of Law and Order and CSI currently clogging our television sets).

Don’t shoot!  I swear, I didn’t mean it!

This got me to thinking about other popular films that have the potential to make the transition from the Big Screen to Your Screen.   And so, without further adieu, here are my top five picks (in no particular order) for movies I’d like to see take that oh-so-dangerous small-screen leap  .  . .

1) Inception

I don’t think I’ve ever had as many in-depth, and complicated, conversations about a film, as I have had about this psychological action thriller.  The idea of being able to enter people’s dreams, and by doing so, altering their perception of reality, is just so inherently intriguing and ripe for discussion.  And for a television show revolving around a crack team of insanely attractive and ridiculously well-dressed, “dream engineers” — hired to basically control people’s minds from the inside-out — the possibilities are literally endless.  

Episodes can revolve around a different “dream hijacking” each week, or can slowly unravel an extensive “dream heist” throughout the course of the season.  Of course, at the show’s core would be the brilliant, but deeply troubled, Dream Makers, each of whom has their own extensive backstory, as well as specific, but complicated, rationalizations for choosing this, admittedly morally ambiguous, career path.

Speaking of morally ambiguous career paths . . .

2) The Town

Back in September, I fell in love with a film about a small town called Charlestown, Massachusetts, where children were raised to be bank robbers, con artists, and criminals, with the same intensity and efficiency that other towns invest in growing bankers, doctors, and lawyers.  Everybody loves a “brooding bad boy with a good heart” (especially when he takes his shirt off often).  And The Town had a whole cast of both Brooding Bad Boys and Hard-Nosed, but still hot, Cops to love.  Most notably, it had THIS GUY . . .

Oh, yeah!  That’s Ben Affleck!  And, upon seeing this picture, I totally took back, all those jokes I made about that awful Gigli movie.  Because THIS guy could ABSOLUTELY kick my ass!  Let’s find  a “kinder, gentler” picture.   Shall we?

That’s better!

And THIS guy . . .

A television series based on The Town would boast an extremely unique location, the likes of which has never before been depicted on television.  It would also undoubtedly feature a cast of scorching hot twenty and early-thirty somethings, each with their own idiosyncrasies, family dramas, romantic subplots etc.  And of course, the crime capers depicted in each episode would put the ones in those Ocean’s Eleven movies to SHAME!

Speaking of Ocean’s Eleven (and one of it’s stars, i.e. Matt Damon) . . .

3) The Adjustment Bureau

Ever wonder if the Universe has a specific plan in store for you?  The Adjustment Bureau was a romantic drama / action flick that dealt with the question of “fate” and “circumstance” in a way that  absolutely caters to the self-absorbed and egocentric world in which we live. 

Yes, Joe and Jane Average Citizen, SOMEONE “up there” has BIG PLANS for YOU . .  . and for your life.  In fact, you can find those plans in a BOOK, filled with multi-colored SQUIGGLY LINES that resemble those mazes they put on the back of Happy Meals at McDonalds.  (Those of you who saw the movie, know what I mean by this . . .)

Not only that, the world is crawling with Cute Men in Funny Little Hats who’s LIFE’S MISSION is to make sure that YOU reach your destiny . . .

And there’s a good chance that one of those “Cute Men in Funny Little Hats” probably looks a lot like Roger Sterling from Mad Men.

Because all of us like to believe we were put on this earth for a “reason,” and because we all find the idea of Cute Men in Funny Little Hats chasing us around the City all day, monitoring our every move, oddly appealing (or mildly creepy, whichever you prefer), a television series revolving around the titular Adjustment Bureau would likely be a fun-filled hour of escapist fantasy for the masses.

  Like the Inception series suggested above, The Adjustment Bureau series would work well as either a serial drama, in which a different “guest star’s” fate was adjusted each week, or a long-running storyline, in which the future of a particularly Important Person (like the politician Matt Damon played in the film) is systematically modified in every episode to achieve a specific goal. 

High concept mind benders, philosophical discussions, and crime capers aren’t your thing?  Fear not!  I have two more prospective television series ideas that might be more to your liking . . .

4) Adventureland

This past summer, I rented this fun coming-of-adulthood “period piece” (The film took place in 1987.)  about a recent-college grad, (played by The Social Network’s Jesse Eisenberg) who, without any immediate prospects for his future, was forced to take a summer job at a small-town amusement park.  Working the “ring toss” with Jesse, was none other than Twilight’s Kristen Stewart (playing a character who kind of, but not exactly, resembled Bella Swan), and 2010’s Sexiest Man Alive, himself, Ryan Reynolds . . .

Yes, I DO find every excuse to put pictures of hot, half-naked men in my blog.  Thank you for noticing!

In addition to having an all-star cast of up-and-coming actors, intriguing characters, and some stellar script writing to its credit, Adventureland boasted a refreshingly fun sense of time and place. 

As an 80’s baby, who spent most of the decade clad in Care Bears underwear, I’ve always been a bit jealous of those folks who actually got to experience this admittedly awesome decade as teenagers, and early 20-somethings.  From the killer music, to the amazing made-for-teen movies (John Hughes anyone?), to the care free days spent making out and getting high behind the Tilt-a-Whirl at your local theme park, the 80’s just seems like it was a great time to “come of age.”

An Adventureland television series would allow us to do just that!  Along with its “youngish” (and indubitably attractive), cast of characters, viewers could “travel back in time” each week, and experience the slings and arrows of early adulthood, all while enjoying a kickass soundtrack, drinking some cheap beer, and riding that old broken down Ferris Wheel for the 25,000th time . . .

5) Scream

At first blush, this one might seem like an odd choice for a television series.  After all, half of the fun of watching horror movies, like Scream, is seeing the characters get killed off, one-by-one, in increasingly gruesome (not to mention, patently ridiculous) ways, while trying to figure out who the killer is, right?  So, how does that translate to an entire season of small screen viewing, you ask?   And I say, how does it NOT?

“Do you like SCARY movies television shows?”

Think about it.  What is the BIGGEST, MOST SHOCKING, thing that can ever happen to your favorite television drama?  The one thing that’s CERTAIN to get ratings buzz for your favorite program, and ensure that EVERYBODY will be talking about what they saw the next day . . .  Of course, I’m referring to the DEATH OF A MAIN CHARACTER.  On most shows, this Major Television Viewing Event only happens about once or twice every season (typically, around sweeps week). 

But imagine the fun and excitement of MAIN CHARACTER DEATHS (along with “fun” Celebrity Guest Star Cameo Deaths”) occurring EVERY SINGLE WEEK!  Nobody is safe!  Everyone is a suspect!  And everyone is at risk! 

The “killer’s identity” would presumably be revealed in the Season Finale.   Or, perhaps, the mystery could be carried over into subsequent seasons, with new cast members regularly replacing the “old dead” onces.  Sure, it’s a gimic!  But look how long they’ve taken to reveal that darn MOTHER on How I Met Your Mother? 

OK . . . just keep smiling and pretend you actually know who “The Mother” is . . .

 If they can do it, so can WE!

So, there you have it folks, five sure-fire television success stories, based on five popular films.  So, which movies would YOU most like to see transition to the small screen?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under movies, Television Show Ideas

The Cold Can Be VERY HOT! – Cozy up with 7 Heart-warming Wintery TV Moments

What is it about those cold wintery months that puts all of us in the mood for romance? 

Well . . . most of us, anyway!

Are we simply looking for a warm body to hold close, when the temperature drops to the single digits? 

Do we just not want to be alone for the holidays? 

Perhaps, the desire to couple in winter is innate and primal, something akin to hibernation or mating rituals. 

Or, maybe there’s something more to it than that . . .

In light of the fact that I am VERY COLD RIGHT NOW . . .  and, also in light of the fact, that there is currently TWO FEET OF SNOW outside my window, I thought it might be nice to write a post based on the “softer” (and sexier) side of wintery weather . . .

So, get into something “more comfortable” . . .

 . . . and grab those warm winter blankets . . .

Because we are about to get started . . .

Winter Helps us to Remember the Good Times . . .

For most of us, most of the year is a blur.  We rush around, day-in-and-day-out, maneuvering through work, or school, and our mundane daily tasks.  We rarely have the time to stop and take a breath, or think about the things and people that really matter to us. 

But around winter time, things slow down.  Suddenly, we have all this spare time to think about ourselves and others.  We have time to make major decisions about what we want out of life.  We have time to . . . FINALLY GET LAID!

In this first clip from Dawson’s Creek, it takes a wintery class ski trip and a conveniently “hidden” wallet condom, to help Joey realize that Pacey’s “TOTALLY-Puts-Every-Boy-On-The-Planet-To-Shame” Boyfriending Skills are MORE than worth the cost of her much-coveted V-card!

Winter Forces Us to Remember the Bad Times . . .

While for many, winter is time of comfort and joy, for others, it’s a time for sadness and severe depression.  Because all that time spent alone thinking, can be MIGHTY LONELY.  It can also dredge up some painful memories.  But just when you feel like all hope is lost, that’s when you come to realize that you aren’t so alone after all.  Because the thing you thought you were missing, might just have been by your side all along . . .

In this second clip, from Gossip Girl, Serena’s snowstorm car crash, dredges up some painful memories for Chuck Bass, regarding his father’s untimely death . . .

Winter Makes Things That Would Normally Be Really Annoying, Seem “Festive and Poignant”

You wouldn’t know it from this extremely sappy post, but I’m actually a rather jaded person, when it comes to love and romance.  Things that make most women go, “Awwwww” tend to make me roll my eyes, and throw up in my mouth a little bit.  And yet, this time of year that all changes. 

For a few months, I’m all about those cheesy ABC Family Christmas Specials, mistletoe, heart-shaped boxes, sappy love songs . . . and watching When Harry Met Sally when it airs on TBS for the 85,000th friggin time.

“I’ll have what she’s having.”

I suspect I am not alone in this. 

By way of example, I give you yet another clip from Gossip Girl — this one from a couple that usually makes me a little nauseous.  And yet, whenever I watch this winter-themed scene of them in action, I can’t help but soften toward the pair a bit, if only for a few moments.  Of course, I’m talking about Dan and Serena, and the latter’s “very special” Christmas gift to the former, during the holiday episode of the show’s first season.  (And no, I’m not talking about Serena’s body, as that is a gift that’s been given on the show MANY, MANY, MANY times over, to many people!)

Serena is kind of  like Santa.  She visits ALL THE LITTLE BOYS, during the holidays.  (And she’s very TIRED!)

Winter Gives You an Excuse to Make Out with People You’ve Secretly Always Wanted to Make Out With, But Haven’t Yet Had the Guts to Do So . . .

Blame it on the mistletoe!  Blame it on too much champagne!  Blame it on wanting to make that other guy (or girl) jealous!  Blame it on a joke . . . or dare!  Tell him (or her) it was just a “friendly holiday” kiss! 

The winter months are jam-packed with parties . . . and, perhaps more importantly, BOOZE.  This means they are also jam-packed with solid excuses to lay a wet one on the person you’ve been ogling in silence for all those months.  The good news, is that, for a limited time only, you can do so, without fear of suffering embarrassment or rejection.  And, hey, if the person you’re smooching doesn’t respond in kind, you can always tell him that Santa made you do it!  Because NO ONE messes with SANTA on Christmas!

In this next clip from Bones, Temperance Brennan uses the OLDEST holiday trick in the book — strategically-placed mistletoe — to engage in a rousing round of tonsil hockey, with her sexy as hell co-worker, Seeley Booth.  You GO GIRL!

Winter is a Time for Bold Romantic Gestures . . .

Helpful tools like mistletoe, a bottle of champagne, or a “spin the bottle,” are fine for those simple sneak-attack kisses.  But when you REALLY want to start something special with the object of your desires, it’s best to go au natural.  Now, is not the time to be tentative. 

Be BOLD!  Be ROMANTIC!  After all, you’ve got the cold winter weather, and the holidays on your side.  And there’s no better aphrodisiac on the planet than those two things, as far as I’m concerned . . .

In this Season 1 clip from Grey’s Anatomy, Alex lays a most awesome Ambush Kiss on Izzie, just when she has completely written him off as a romantic partner, following a VERY LOUSY first date the two recently shared.

Winter is The Time to Tell that Special Someone How You Feel About Them

This one is kind of self-explanatory.  And if I give you any more intel, I’ll likely ruin the impact of the next clip, if I haven’t done so already.  Suffice it to say, this one features Rory and Jess from The Gilmore Girls . . .

But When You Think About It, Winter is Really Just a State of Mind . . .

Now, where I come from, I get more winter cold than I could POSSIBLY EVER WANT!  But that might not be the case for you.  Perhaps, you live in a tropical climate, where it’s NEVER cold, and NEVER snows.  (Just so you know, I HATE YOU . . . Just kidding 🙂 . . . But not really.) 

Well, just because you don’t have excuse to wear big puffy jackets, or drink hot cocoa by the gallon, or cuddle up under down comforters, doesn’t mean you can’t make the romantic spirit of winter work for YOU too!  With just a little improvisation on your part, you can be feeling the Sexy Winter Fever, in no time! 

Just ask Seth Cohen from The O.C.  He lives in Orange County, California. where it NEVER SNOWS!  And yet, season after season, Seth made the winter months special with his trademark Christmukkah cheer, and a seemingly endless supply of ugly Christmas Sweaters (most of which, he probably sweat through, within minutes of putting them on.  Because, let’s face it, it gets pretty friggin hot on the West Coast!) . . .

In this clip, Seth and his perky girlfriend Summer embody the Romantic Spirit of Winter, by simply putting on those hideous brown caps my mother lovingly refers to as “Schmucks with Earflaps.”

So, there you have it.  Seven doses of wintery TV romance from one Freezing Blogger.  Now it’s your turn.  What’s YOUR favorite Hot Winter TV Moment? 

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Television Super Couples, Winter TV Moments

So You Wanna Be a Vampire? Read this before making your “life-changing” decision.

 

As a recapper of television shows involving vampires, and a voracious reader of “vampire literature,” people often write to me requesting information on how one should go about turning into a vampire.  I always welcome these questions.  After all, the decision to make the “human-to-vampire transition” is not one that should be taken lightly.  And I’ve seen far too many friends jump into this life choice, without having been truly informed as to all of its attendant consequences.

It’s like my Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandmother Vampire Sara once said: “Life is short, but immortality is forever.”

Don’t believe Vampire Sara? Just ask THIS GUY . . . He’s ANCIENT!

Since, regretably, I do not have the time to answer ALL of your questions (I am only human, after all), I’ve decided to devise this list of Frequently Asked Questions on the topic of vampirism.  Hopefully this list will serve to shed some light on this increasingly prevalent issue.

1) How do I go about becoming a vampire?

There are some shows schools of thought that would have you believe that in order to become a vampire, all you have to do is be bitten by one.

Still other movies like The Lost Boys schools of thought would suggest that you can become a vampire, merely by drinking a few sips of another vampire’s blood.

Well GEEZ!  If THAT was the case, EVERYBODY would do it, now wouldn’t they?   Unfortunately, making the transition is not so easy.  For starters, in most cases, it involves you DYING!

NOT FUN!

So, how do you die?  Well in most cases, a hot vampire can kill you, by draining all of the human blood from your body.

If you are lucky, he will break your neck first, so you won’t actually feel any pain when he does it.  And if you’re REALLY lucky, he’ll let you dance with him, half-naked, first . . .

The next step involves YOU drinking vampire blood.  This part can be tricky.  Especially, if you are already dead, and therefore, not  thirsty.  So, I say, drink lots of vampire blood NOW, while you are alive.  This way, by the time you want to turn, it won’t be an issue anymore.

Not sure where to get vampire blood?  Call me . . . I have some L.A. connections . . .

But don’t wait too long . . . because I have a feeling my “connection” is going to “dry up” real soon.

For those of you with cash to burn, rumor has it that, somewhere in a remote village in Alaska, there is a medical clinic that can perform the procedure in three days.  So you can become immortal, and be back at work in NO TIME!  The procedure is performed by a well-renown plastic surgeon  . . .

. . . and a highly experienced anesthesiologist . . .

All it takes is a simple lethal injection, and a quick-as-a-wink blood transfusion.  The best part?   NO unnecessary bodily decay or unsightly death scars!   In fact, many local celebrities have already been spotted frequenting the clinic  . . .

Feel free to contact the Alaska Division of Tourism for more information on this exciting opportunity.

2) All the vampires I know are young and/or hot.  I’m old as dirt and ugly as sin.  Can I still be a vampire?

First of all, sir.  I am SURE you are NOT nearly as old or ugly as you say you are. (pauses to look at the picture included as e-mail attachment – gags reflexively)

Hmmmmm . . . OK . . . well . . . Surely, there are SOME vampires that are neither young nor hot.  Let me think about this for a moment . . .

Nope.  You are right.  Unfortunately, there just doesn’t seem to be a real market out there for old ugly bloodsuckers.   Sorry about that.  Thanks for playing.  Better luck next life time . . .

3) What about that whole “can’t go out in the sunlight” thing?  I’m kind of a morning person.  So, I’m not sure I could handle that.

I can see how the whole “sunlight allergy” and “dead until dark” thing, could put a real crimp in your social and professional life.  Fortunately, today’s vampires have found many ways around this pesky inconvenience.  For example, you could, wear ugly sun-repellant jewelry like those boys in The Vampire Diaries . . .

. . . or pour glitter all over your naked body, like a drag queen at a gay nightclub  . . .

And if THAT doesn’t work, just suck it up and hang out with other vampires, who keep your same hours . . .

After you’ve become a super cool vampire, you aren’t going to want to associate with us lame ass humans, anyway.

4) I’m a pretty peaceful person.  I just don’t know if it’s in me to kill other people for their blood.  How would I survive?

Wait . . . you mean to tell me that you DON’T lick and bite people for fun?  Clearly, you are missing out.

You see, nowadays, most vampires don’t need to kill to survive.  There are lots of other options available to you.  For example, you can take a little nip of your lover during foreplay.  Very sexy!

You can also “borrow” blood from blood banks, like that dude from Moonlight . . .

. . . Or drink that synthetic stuff that looks like beer, but tastes like orange soda . . .

And, FINALLY, if you HATE little defenseless animals, and have no heart, you can go out into the woods and drink from Bambi’s mother . . .

Personally, I think this is the WORST / most immoral of ALL the above options.  However, folks in the literary world seem to equate Deer-Sucking with sainthood.  So far be it for me to judge, right?

5) Will I have any special powers when I’m a vampire?

You mean, ASIDE from being IMMORTAL, HOT and TOTALLY AWESOME?  . . .  Plenty.  As a vampire, you will have super-human strength and speed.

You will also f*ck like a rockstar . . .

Some say that you can even fly.  But, as far as I’m concerned, the coolest vampire skill of all that you will obtain is your ability to control people’s minds.

Aside from being hot, young, and Olympic-caliber f&ckers, THIS is probably the main reason why vampires ALWAYS get their mate.  Call it compulsion; call it “glamour;” call it “persuasion.”  Whatever you call it, it always works the same way.  Stare at your target with your beautiful eyes.  She falls into a deep trance.  You tell her exactly what you want her to do.  She does it.  Now, how awesome is THAT?

6) Do I REALLY need to be invited in EVERY time I want to enter a new human’s home?

The fact that you are even asking this question tells me that you are a completely rude turd, with no manners whatsoever .  . . no offense.  YES, you have to be invited in!  But the better question is, why is that a problem for you?  Is it your “thing” to just randomly go barging into people’s houses uninvited?  Talk about a BAD house guest.

Fish and YOU smell after three days . . .

Coincidentally, if you REALLY want to get into someone’s house, and the person isn’t inviting you in, just COMPEL him or her to WANT to invite you inside.  Problem solved.

7) I’ve been a vampire for many, MANY years now. All my friends are dead.  I’m bored.  What do I do now?

Ugh!  Type O, AGAIN?  I just drank that on Tuesday!

Simple.  Off yourself.  There are plenty of easy ways to do it.  For starters, you can, go on vacation someplace tropical . . .

Take a long walk into a short stake . . .

 . . . lose your head . . .

(I made this picture small, because it creeped me out too much, when it was larger.)

 . . . or just hang out with Buffy . . .

You’ll be chilling in Heaven in NO TIME!  Well . . . maybe not Heaven . . .

8 ) Any parting advice before I make “the change?”

Yes . . . invest in some good dental insurance.  You are going to have some f*&ked up teeth, for sure!

Well, that’s all I’ve got, folks.  See you on the “Other Side.”

 [What is Life Sucks Death Bites?]  [What is The Exquisite Corpse?] [ Who is Bellamy Jordan?]

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Filed under Buffy the Vampire Slayer, FAQs, The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Twilight Book Series, Vampires

At First Bite: An Excerpt from Hollywood Warlock – A Novel by Julie Kushner

Chapter 1

At First Bite

The mood on the set of At First Bite, the much anticipated prequel to the critically acclaimed The Vampire Chronicles, was undoubtedly one of anticipation.  After all, filming was to start in just a few short minutes on what cast and crew knew would be a surefire blockbuster.  Heck, with the world economy in the crapper, and people’s lives going down the toilet right along with it, who wasn’t in need of a little supernatural escapist fantasy?  And what better way to escape than into the arms of a dangerous undead blood sucker?  The marketing department often joked that the tagline for the film should be “Recessions Bite, and So Does He.”

            Frenetic energy reverberated around the set, as everyone prepared for the film’s pivotal first scene, in which Vampire Lestrange encounters the naïve yet strong-willed heroine, Rebecca.  The prop department was busy strategically splattering “blood” (an odorous mixture of tomato paste, chocolate syrup, and lord knows what else) on the walls and floor, while white lab-coat wearing makeup specialists fussed over a highly realistic dismembered plastic corpse.  As a cumulative result of these activities, the sound stage bore greater resemblance to an Emergency Room surgery gone horribly awry than the filming locale for a high-budget action/horror flick set during the Victorian era. 

The rendezvous between the film’s two leads was to occur just moments after Lestrange, unbeknownst to Rebecca, had turned her sister Mary into a vampire.  The only problem was that film’s star, Justin Warlock, was still in his trailer, and no one seemed capable or willing to get him onto the set.

            “He’s doing what?  You’re kidding right?  Oh, I don’t get paid enough for this shit.”

            Kate McElwain paced back and forth in front of the craft services cart, barely able to contain her rage, as her agent tried in vain to prevent her from bodily removing her costar from his trailer.  Given her mood, he quickly decided honesty of the non-sugar coated variety would be the best approach.

            “Sweetie, you know Justin Warlock has always had a reputation for being a bit . . . How do I say it kindly?  Promiscuous.  But the boy brings box office, so we just have to bite our tongues.”

            “You bite your tongue.  I’m going to bite his balls off with those fake vampire fangs!” 

            Although touted by Entertainment Weekly as one of the “Top Ten New Faces to Watch in Hollywood This Year,” Kate McElwain, at 22, was already somewhat of an industry veteran.  Daughter of long-time soap opera starlet, Marlene McElwain, Kate practically grew up on film and television sets.  In fact, her career began when she was just eight months old, and was chosen, along with another baby who looked remarkably similar to her, to play the newborn daughter of her mother’s character on Days of Our Lives.

            As Kate got older, she had little trouble landing modeling gigs and commercials, due to her uncanny resemblance to her mother.  “It’s almost as if we created a time machine, went back about 25 years, retrieved Marlene from the past and brought her back here to repeat her career,” Marlene’s manager proclaimed about Kate.  With her petite frame, strawberry blond hair, pouty pink lips, and deep piercing blue eyes, Kate was the picture of naivety and innocence. 

As such, even though Kate was hardly a teenager, she was often cast to play “damsel in distress” types much younger than herself.  In fact, her role in At First Bite was no different.  Given Kate’s penchant for innocent roles, those who met her in her personal life were often surprised and amused to learn that she had the mouth of a truck driver and a temper to match.

“I mean, seriously, we haven’t even started filming yet, and already he’s missing call times because he’s diddling extras in his trailer?” Kate griped.  “Why doesn’t anyone just go get him, for Christ sake?”

“From what I’ve heard, no one interrupts Justin Warlock while he is ‘otherwise engaged,” the agent replied coyly.

Kate had never actually met Justin in person; although, she’d be lying if she said she wasn’t familiar with his career and reputation.  First discovered by his agent at a shopping mall at the age of 16, 25-year old Justin Warlock made a career out of playing the leading man in romantic comedies and Nicholas Sparks-esque dramas.  In addition to being a consistent fixture on People Magazine’s Sexiest Male List, Warlock was also a notorious playboy.  In fact, since starring in his first feature film at 18-years old, Justin has been romantically linked with every single one of his costars.  However, none of these romantic relationships had been rumored to last long after the movie premiere.

“Screw that!” Kate exclaimed, “Justin Warlock’s no supernatural being.  He’s just a dick who can’t keep it in his pants long enough to get to work on time.  I don’t see what everyone’s so fucking afraid of!”  And with that, she stalked off, leaving her agent to shake his head at his client’s tempestuousness.

Typically, by the time filming commenced, lead actors had already met one another at least a half a dozen times to conduct script read-throughs and navigate press junkets.  However, At First Bite’s Director expressly prohibited his on-screen duo from meeting prior to filming the first scene.  Rather, he desired their initial reactions to one another to be “fresh and unfettered.”  According to the Director, an actor’s and actress’s meeting on the first day of filming should be like a virgin bride’s first encounter with her husband on her wedding night, charged with anxiety and anticipation.  Kate thought that idea was a bunch of crap.  She was no virgin, and she was quite certain Justin wasn’t one either.  But far be it for her to mess with the Director’s “vision.”

Right now, vision or no vision, Kate was ready to have a little chat with El Director about her MIA costar.  When Kate approached “the man in charge,” he was hard at work on the Friday edition of the New York Times Crossword puzzle.  His tongue cradled his upper lip in concentration, as he struggled over one of the tougher clues.  The 40ish gentleman, whose salt and pepper hair, olive complexion and finely muscled physique gave him a George Clooney-type appeal, did not seem at all perturbed that his film was not running on schedule.  In fact, he seemed the picture of relaxation.

“Umm . . . Leo?”

The Director looked up from his puzzle and offered Kate a winning smile.  “Miss McElwain.  You look troubled.  Please, have a seat,” he said, patting a chair next to his own.  “How can I ease your spirits?”

Kate sat gingerly in the chair next to her Director.  Although it was going to take all of the inner strength she could muster, the young actress desperately wanted to appear diplomatic, knowing it was far too early in the game to piss off her boss by appearing too pushy.

“Well,” she started, “I am very eager to begin shooting our first scene.”

The Director laughed, a hearty Santa Claus “Ho, Ho, Ho,” which seemed incongruous with his lean-muscled frame.  “Ahhh, me too, me too,” chortled the Director, “It’s high time we popped that cherry.”

Ughh, more creepy virgin bride references.  Please, just kill me now.  Kate thought, but forced herself to remain courteous.  “Right . . . so the thing is, I was kind of wondering if you knew whether our ‘star’ would be making an appearance on set any time soon?”

“You think I should go get him, right?”  The Director responded, looking at Kate slyly.  “Yeah, I guess I should get him,” he rose from his seat and offered Kate his hand to help her out of the chair, “Come with me?”

Kate had no desire to go anywhere near that trailer, but again she recognized she had to be polite.  “Sure,” she said and followed the Director toward the trailers.  At least something was finally getting done. 

As they approached Justin’s trailer, Kate and the Director could hear the distinct sounds of sex coming from inside the doorway.  Kate was disgusted, but the Director simply appeared amused.  He glanced back at Kate.  “On second thought, why don’t you wait outside,” he said, before quickly climbing the steps and rapping on the door.  There was a brief pause, a few nervous shrieks and a hustle of activity, before the door opened a crack and the Director escaped inside, abruptly shutting the door behind him.

Kate was seething, as she waited outside the trailer alone, her foot tapping incessantly up and down, her arms wrapped tightly across her chest.  After a few moments, the door to the trailer opened.  Four women, all rather cheap-looking in Kate’s estimation, climbed out into the daylight, in various states of undress, each with the same lovesick grins on their faces, and dopey looks in their eyes.  If Kate hadn’t been too nervous about shooting to eat breakfast that morning, she probably would have puked right then and there.

Then the Director re-emerged, but this time with the man of the hour himself, Justin Warlock.  The two seemed to be having an uproariously good time, just yucking it up, which only served to make Kate madder.  Simultaneously, they both noticed her glaring at them and, like insolent school boys, guiltily wiped the shit-eating grins from their mugs.  “I’ll meet you both back on set,” called the Director.  He winked at Kate before briskly walking away, leaving the pair all by themselves.  So much for the “wedding night.”

Justin Warlock approached Kate, not with the confident swagger of a guy who just got laid by four women, but rather with the childlike exuberance of an eight-year old chasing after an ice cream truck.  With his tussled sun-kissed sandy brown hair, uncommonly long eyelashes, and obnoxiously adorable nose, the actor appeared to be nothing like the nymphomaniacal Adonis Kate had read about in the tabloids.  And yet, to the actress’s deep discomfort, Justin’s youthful pretty- boy body definitively smelled of sex.  Annoyed, Kate stared at the floor, desperately trying to avoid her costar’s good mood, which was being broadcast like radio waves from his dimpled smile and impossibly straight Crest advertisement white teeth.

“Wow . . . Kate McElwain!  I’ve been dying to meet you, since, like, forever,” announced Justin in the slightly-raspy voice Kate had heard so many times in movies.  He bowed slightly and held his hand out for Kate to shake.  Kate stared at the abhorrent hand as if it was infested with the intermingled juices of cheaply-perfumed floosies (which it probably was), and took a step back.  She would not be won over so easily.

The ingénue looked up at her nemesis, hands clenched, ready for battle.  Her vitriolic words spilled out of her like bullets shot from a tommy gun.  “OK.  Let’s get something straight, right off the bat.  I get that you’re Mister Sexiest Man Alive, and that you have scripts being thrown at you every day from here to Scandinavia, but some of us actually need this job.  So, in the future, if you need to get your cock sucked by one of the members of your bimbo harem, I’d really appreciate it if you did it on your own time.”

Wow, it felt really good to get that off her chest.  Kate took a deep breath.  Then, she looked up at Justin to gauge his reaction to her outburst.  For a moment, he didn’t appear to react at all.  Then, shock registered on his face.  Clearly, he had never been spoken to like that by anyone before, particularly not a woman.  Kate even worried for a second or two that he might hit her.  Instead, he did something even more unexpected.

Gently, Justin clasped Kate’s hand, looking deep into her blue eyes with his rounded blinking emerald green ones, which seemed as though they should belong to a boy much younger than the actor himself.  “Kate, you are absolutely 100% right . . . about everything.  What I did was completely selfish, unreasonably inconsiderate, and just plain stupid.  You deserve better, and I promise to be better from now on.  I am really . . . truly sorry.”

Unprepared for this type of response, Kate was utterly at a loss for words, and could do nothing but stare back into Justin’s eyes.  Even as Justin delivered his “heartfelt” apology, Kate knew that she was being played.  This guy was totally bullshitting her.  He didn’t mean a word of it.  And yet, while her mind was saying “Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit,” on autopilot, her body was responding in another way entirely. 

The warmth from Justin’s hand sent tingles up her spine and throughout her body.  Immediately, her mouth became dry and her knees nearly buckled.  Try as she might, she could not pull herself away from Justin’s entrancing stare and her eyes watered at the unblinking effort.  Suddenly, she had this intense impulse to rip off his shirt and run her hands over his muscled abdominals.  She imagined herself kissing his thin lips as he nibbled on her neck. 

Kate longed to touch the firm bulge in Justin’s designer khakis.  Just moments ago, she hated this man, who seemed to stand in the way of her career and was against everything she stood for.  Now, she couldn’t bear to let go of his hand, which, to her embarrassment, she was gripping tightly with her recently manicured nails.

            And yet, as excited as she was by these feelings, they also frightened her to her very core.  After all, Kate wasn’t the type of girl to go gaga over a man as seemingly shallow as Justin Warlock.  In fact, Kate wasn’t the type of girl to go gaga over any man at all.  You see, Kate McElwain was a lesbian.

_______________________________________________________________

Thirsty for more?  Click this link to find out how you can purchase your own copy of Hollywood Warlock. 

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/hollywood-warlock/6227611?showPreview

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