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16 articles I’m proud of writing this year

26 Dec

I hardly ever post in this blog anymore, mostly because I’m too busy writing actual articles for work. But in the interest of reflecting on 2015 — and being needlessly self-indulgent — I decided to share the work I’m most proud of this year. These are the stories I spent months reporting and writing. (Along with some I threw together over the course of one productive day.) In many ways they define my year, and while that might sound a little depressing — surely there’s more to life than work! — I have to remind myself that writing is my passion, and I only really write about things I truly love. It’s been a joy covering film, television, and theater: I get to celebrate the art and artists I admire, all while furthering my subversive queer feminist agenda. If I have one regret about the work I did this year, it’s that I didn’t do more of it (hello, poor time management skills). One of my major goals for 2016 is to be more on top of everything so I can produce more. And maybe, every once in a while, get a decent night’s sleep.

1. Eli Roth Thinks Women Will Love His Latest Movie. This year I went to Sundance for the first time, and it was an incredible experience. I saw a lot I loved — and plenty that I hated. Knock Knock fell into the latter category, so it was a pleasure talking to Eli Roth about what I considered a deeply misogynistic film. I was proud of myself for not letting my bias show, because I knew the key here was letting Roth speak for himself.
2. Jeremy Jordan Has Learned From The Mistakes Of Smash. At this point in the year, I had no idea I’d go on to co-create a Smash podcast. I only knew that I wasn’t done talking about my favorite misguided musical drama. With that in mind, I interviewed Jeremy Jordan about The Last Five Years (which I loved), and I got him to be remarkably candid about one of my least favorite TV characters ever.
3. Daniel Franzese Is Still Breaking New Ground 10 Years After Mean GirlsLooking is a series that I feel never got its due, which is why I wrote about it so often. One of my other major passions is writing about size discrimination and fatphobia in the gay male community. I fell in love with Daniel Franzese’s character Eddie, and it was a thrill chatting with Franzese about issues like body positivity and fat acceptance.
4. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame Musical Is Not Your Average Disney Production. This year I also expanded my theater coverage. The writing I do on theater never goes as viral as anything I write about film or television — and that’s OK. It remains one of my greatest joys. And as I toy with the idea of leaving Los Angeles for New York, I realize how important this work is to me.
5. The Definitive Ranking Of The Friday The 13th Movies. Another subject I can’t ever seem to write about enough? Horror. (Look for more in-depth pieces on the genre in the coming year.) I love revisiting films that often get overlooked — mediocre horror sequels, for example — and finding a new way to talk about them. And yes, that means I’ve watched a ton of shit, but dissecting garbage is one of the best things about my job.
6. Why Stephen Sondheim Is A Genius, According To The Broadway Stars Who Love Him. This was a project that required very little writing on my part, but it’s something I’m still immensely proud of. Reaching out to icons like Patti and Liza and Barbra, and getting gorgeous responses, was a great reminder to always make that effort, no matter how impossible it seems. And I received a lovely note from Sondheim, which I treasure.
7. What The Heidi Chronicles Gets Right About Feminism And Gay Men. Basically no one read this piece, which was a bummer, but hey, all the more reason to share it again. I was able to get more political than I usually can in my work by articulating it in terms of a play. I can’t be as public with my beliefs as I once was, but if I can remind gay men to be better feminist allies and write about theater, I’m satisfied.
8. Inside The Mind Behind The Most Disgusting Franchise Of All Time. Like Eli Roth, Tom Six is basically a troll. Again, I’m including this because I’m proud of how I’ve grown as an interviewer. When you’re talking to someone as performative as Six, you have to use a lot of restraint and ultimately let him reveal more than he intends to. Given how much I hated this movie, I was delighted by how good the piece came out.
9. Half Of the Team That Changed Horror Is Now Flying Solo. Leigh Whannell, on the other hand, is a horror filmmaker who actually has something to say. This was another one of those interviews that reminded me why I’m so passionate about the genre. I love the ability to analyze something so few people take seriously, and Whannell’s astute observations gave me a lot of hope for the future of horror.
10. The Definitive Ranking Of Walt Disney Animation Studios Films. This was a beast to get through, and I think that shows in the finished product. Rewatching every Disney animated film was a daunting task, to say the least, but what made it worthwhile was being able to engage critically with the films I grew up on. I never want to ruin anyone’s childhood, but I do want to encourage people to rethink their treasured classics.
11. How Catfish Helped Max Joseph Make His Major Film Debut. I wish more people had seen We Are Your Friends, which I liked so much more than I thought I would. I also wish more people that I interviewed were as insightful and honest as Max Joseph. This was me stepping outside of my comfort zone, which is so rewarding. I never thought I’d want to analyze “bro culture,” but here we are.
12. Olivia Wilde Is Taking On A More Active Role To Support Women In Film. You know who is fucking great? Olivia Wilde. This was another one of those interviews I did that made me feel excited about the direction film is headed. It was truly inspiring, and I was so honored to be able to pass Wilde’s message along. If I could just talk to brilliant women in film all the time, I would. It’s such a thrill.
13. The Movie That Taught A Generation Of Misfits To Let Their Freak Flags Fly. Like Drop Dead Gorgeous, another film I wrote an oral history of, Camp was pivotal to my development. This story took me months to get done, and toward the end I pretty much just wanted it to be over. But this is easily the story I’m proudest of writing this year. I wanted to capture a movie that changed my life, and I think I succeeded.
14. All 78 “Treehouse Of Horror” Segments Ranked From Worst To Best. OK, I’ll be honest: I’m mostly including this here because I’m proud of my time management skills on this one. I busted it out in a few days, because I decided I wanted to do it right before Halloween. Anyway, it was a blast and, once again, allowed me to revisit my childhood in a new way. Writing this much about The Simpsons falls under “dream job” territory.
15. How To Be A Broadway Diva, Or At Least How To Fake It. I love writing about people who just aren’t getting that much coverage otherwise. Lesli Margherita is a big name in theater, but not so much to those outside of the community. I was blown away by her humor and sincerity, and I relished the opportunity to share that with a wider audience. I’m going to continue working to force non-theater fans to give a shit.
16. The 18 Best Plays And Musicals Of 2015. And to that end, this is the first list BuzzFeed has done of the best theater of the year. It’s the culmination of my work to broaden our theater coverage, and while it’s still nowhere near my most widely read story this year, I think it’s a major step in the right direction. I can’t wait to return to New York so that I can continue to remind people that Broadway is more relevant than ever.

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38 random things you might not know about me, and probably didn’t need to

7 Jan
  1. My favorite film genre is horror. It wasn’t, until I took a summer course at Berkeley that changed everything for me.
  2. I was an extra in the drag horror comedy All About Evil. I have a close-up and everything.
  3. I’ve read more by Stephen King than by any other author.
  4. The movie that made me realize I was gay, at least to some extent, was The Object of My Affection.
  5. The first person I ever came out to was an older guy from my high school who started chatting with me on AOL and asking me increasingly personal questions about my sexual desires. He was a creep.
  6. The first NC-17 movie I saw in theaters was The Dreamers. I had it bad for Louis Garrel.
  7. I was mugged by five guys when I was 18. They punched me in the back of the head, but I don’t remember any pain.
  8. I’ve had two minor surgeries: wisdom teeth, obviously, and the extraction of a benign bone tumor in my big toe.
  9. I was adopted at birth.
  10. When I was in third grade, I appeared in my Jewish day school play A Symbol of Hanukkah. I really liked being onstage.
  11. In middle school, I went to theater camp, but not the prestigious kind you have to audition for. That’s probably why I got a couple solos. Humblebrag!
  12. I also did choir in eighth grade. And then I suddenly became terrified to perform again until my twenties.
  13. I love storytelling and I think I’m reasonably funny, but I’m afraid of trying stand-up comedy.
  14. I speak Italian, but I’m out of practice. I used to speak Hebrew and Spanish, but I’ve mostly forgotten both. I can still understand a lot of Spanish, because Los Angeles.
  15. I took Italian in college because French was full.
  16. I’ve always lived in California. I was born and raised in LA, went to college in Berkeley and stayed there for a few extra years, then moved back here.
  17. Outside of Los Angeles, the cities I’ve spent the most time in are Manhattan and La Jolla.
  18. My first boyfriend was named Mark. We dated for a few months when I was a freshman in college.
  19. My first kiss happened when I was a senior in high school. It was awkward, and my mom was home at the time.
  20. When I was a kid, I briefly played piano and guitar, both poorly.
  21. I was also forced into tennis, gymnastics, and t-ball. I excelled at none.
  22. I have a serious phobia of flying and take Xanax whenever I have to do it. I have recurring nightmares about getting on planes and forgetting my Xanax at home.
  23. I’m very insecure about my appearance, but I like my lips and my calves.
  24. At one point, I dyed my hair reddish-brown. At another point, I had blonde highlights.
  25. My Bar Mitzvah portion was Noah. I still feel an attachment to the story, if not to Judaism.
  26. My Bar Mitzvah party theme was television. All of the tables were different shows. My table was The Simpsons.
  27. When I was 15, I spilled chocolate milk all over a girl’s bag, and I still feel bad about this.
  28. When I was 17, I said that I didn’t think I was a feminist, and I still feel bad about this.
  29. All of my grandparents are dead.
  30. I can count the number of funerals I’ve been to on one hand. I’ve been to even fewer weddings.
  31. I’m allergic to cats and dogs, but I had a hypoallergenic dog named Lily. She was a Bichon Frisé, and I still miss her.
  32. Other pets I have had: a tortoise, a hamster, hermit crabs, a pair of rats.
  33. I once wrote Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic. It was not erotic.
  34. I have a scar on my left index finger from when I cut it while slicing bread on Ambien. I have told this story before, but it’s too good a useless fact about me to not share.
  35. I sucked my thumb until I was 10. I know.
  36. My nails are usually long because I hate the way that short nails feel. I get chills thinking about it.
  37. Sometimes I write because I don’t know what else to do with my time, and then I feel a little embarrassed about expecting anyone else to read it, but I’m publishing this post, anyway.
  38. I wrote a sex column in college. My mom loved it.

Assorted pop culture bitching (5/15/12)

15 May

When I first started this blog, I intended it to be a mix of pop culture musings and the occasional serious business post about feelings. Somehow it became much more of the latter, which is likely because I do enough pop culture writing for actual publications, and because I no longer have a LiveJournal and this is what it sounds like when doves cry.

In the spirit of the former, though, I’m going to try to make “assorted pop culture bitching” a semi-regular feature here. Keep in mind I sometimes go a month or two without blogging. If I manage to churn out one of these posts a year, that probably qualifies as semi-regular.

This particular set of complaints is horror-themed. Boo, etc.

The Paranormal Activity series
I just finished watching Paranormal Activity 3, which was — like the previous installments — annoyingly frightening. Not frightening in the sense that I’m going to have to sleep with the lights on tonight (I always fall asleep to The Golden Girls, anyway), but frightening in that I jumped several times.

“Annoyingly” because these are cheap scares, and they are the same in every Paranormal Activity movie. These films are not without merit: the first was the closest we’ve come to Blair Witch Project since, uh, Blair Witch Project. And there’s something particularly effective about scenes of mundanity (people sleeping, chattering on about bullshit) punctuated with loud bangs and creepy shit happening.

But “effective” doesn’t mean “good.” Once the novelty wears off, we’re left with reiterations of the same concept, and that pisses me off. There was more creativity in the Saw series, which — while often uniquely terrible — at least gave us different deaths each go-around. I keep watching Paranormal Activity movies because I half-expect them to try something new. Will I ever learn?

Probably not. Look, I don’t mind sitting through 90 minutes of people sleeping and occasionally being thrown into walls once a year, but if you want to actually impress me, find something new to do with the found-footage horror genre. At this point, we’re basically over it, because we get how it works. We’ll jump, and then we’ll shrug it off. There is unique work to be done with first-person perspective. It’s just not happening in this series.

Zombie apocalypse guides
Today I got a press release about a new zombie apocalypse guide. I’m not going to link to it, because I refuse to encourage this behavior. This was (or should have been) a single-use idea. Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide is brilliant, because it follows the form of actual survival guides and gives it a fun, supernatural twist.

Treating the horror world with sincerity was a somewhat novel concept at the time, and Brooks’ execution is perfect. It’s hilarious, because you’re reading a how-to guide on an impossible situation, but it’s also a little bit scary — some tiny part of you can’t help thinking, “Wait, but what if…?” Brooks’ novel World War Z works in a similar fashion. I highly recommend both.

But seriously, fuck the knock-offs. We can stop talking about how to survive the zombie apocalypse now. There will never be a zombie apocalypse. I am not sure of most things, but I’m willing to bet on that. If I’m wrong — well, if I’m wrong I’ll be torn apart by the undead, which is at least as bad as hearing you say, “I told you so.” It’s just such an absurd concept to keep milking, and nothing anyone does will stop feeling derivative.

I guess part of me is also annoyed by the way these persistent guides remove the mystery from the supernatural. It’s fun to do every once in a while: tell me how to stop a werewolf, or the best way to ward off vampires. But when you treat this as an actual genre with new, increasingly mechanical installments, you dilute supernatural fiction as a whole. Find a way to make zombies scary again, or move on to mummies.

Horror on television
I would love to see a good horror TV series, but I recognize that’s probably impossible. There are a lot of limitations to the form — on a practical level, a smaller screen size makes it tougher to scare your audience. Also, most shows won’t kill off major characters, so there’s not the same sense of foreboding. And violence, while not essential to all horror, is restricted on non-cable networks.

Still, TV horror could be better. I loved the sequence in the season finale of The Vampire Diaries in which Alaric stalked Rebekah (just smile and nod, non-fans), because it felt like I was watching a slasher movie. On a smaller scale, sure, but the set-up, cinematography, and direction all worked together to give the scene a horror movie feel. More of that, please.

The X-Files used to do it pretty well. But Supernatural is the closest thing we have to The X-Files now, and aside from the fact the current season is awful, it’s just not scary. The pilot was to some extent, so why doesn’t the show try for that anymore? American Horror Story attempted it, but mostly ended up being really gross. I will give the show props for (SPOILER ALERT) killing off essentially every character in the first season. The stakes were high, at least.

One of my silly dreams that I don’t often admit is the creation of a horror anthology series, like Tales From the Crypt. (I’ve seen some episodes of Masters of Horror. Meh.) Perhaps horror doesn’t work episodically: colossal disappointment The River was largely done in by unfortunate pacing and commercial breaks. Anyway, if someone wants to finance Peitzman Presents or whatever, I promise I’ll at least try to creep you out.

Cultural references for dummies

25 Sep

Sometimes I get lazy and tweet a reference to Game of Thrones. People love that shit. And I mean, it’s not always lazy—I often reference Game of Thrones because I love Game of Thrones, but the HBO series (and, to a lesser extent, the books it was adapted from) has become a shortcut to a knowing smile, an appreciative nod, or the kind of instant bonding that only occurs when you’ve both shed tears over Ned Stark. Sorry, spoilers.

I wish I could make a graph, because I’ve made some observations about reference humor on Twitter, and how the hell else am I supposed to express myself? This is why I should have paid attention in AP Stat. Anyway! More obscure references are hit-or-miss: they yield greater joy when people get them, but not everyone has seen Waiting for Guffman enough times to quote it from memory. (To those who haven’t, I just hate you, and I hate your ass-face.) Twitter is a fairly unique audience, though, in that these people tend to be more comedy-savvy—perhaps more pop culture-savvy in general. So you can reference that one scene in Valley of the Dolls, and someone will get it. Probably.

Making references is also a lot less of a gamble online. Worst case scenario, no one stars your tweet (or “likes” your Facebook status, or reblogs your Tumblr post), which, you know, traumatic, but still preferable to in-person blank stares. Reference humor obviously works better on the internet, both because of the audience and thanks to the magic of Google. Comedian Pete Holmes actually has a hilarious bit about how Google has destroyed the sense of mystery in our lives—and he’s totally right. But the act of discreetly Googling something in the privacy of our homes gives us the ability to confirm and thus fully appreciate references. Yes, the “flames on the side of my face” line is from Clue!

But back to Game of Thrones. (Finally, right?) At this point, it doesn’t really matter if you’ve watched it or read the books: talking about Game of Thrones is speaking a common geek language that most everyone on the internet can at least “get.” You might not know all the character names—even if you did watch the show—and you might still be uncertain how to pronounce “Cersei,” but you have some sense of what’s going on. You read a joke about direwolves or winter coming, and you say, “Ohh, Game of Thrones!” And then we all feel a little bit closer, maybe. I don’t know. I feel closer to you.

Maybe these “cultural references for dummies” are cheap, and we should be holding ourselves to a higher standard of reference humor. But I think there’s room for both. I like the idea that there are some things almost all of us grew up with: Star Wars, The Beatles, The Simpsons. (By “all of us,” I mean the people I interact with most on the internet. I bet there are some weirdos out there who only speak Monkees.) Perhaps it does create a false sense of companionship, but what’s the harm in bonding over cultural touchstones?

One interesting side effect, however, is that references reveal how not-unique we are. I guess I’m referring less to the Star Wars talk, because duh, it’s Star Wars. But the ones we thought only a few others would get—the Home Movies quotes we pull out at three in the morning. Obviously you make the reference in the hopes that someone can relate, but isn’t there also delight to be had from relishing in the obscurity? While it’s part that obnoxious hipster notion of being there first, I think there’s a less cynical interpretation—the idea that you are part of a secret club. It’s supposed to be our reward for staying in and watching Daria instead of having a social life.

But I don’t know. There’s also safety in numbers, and I take comfort in the easy references. I mean, thank God you’re not going to grab my arm and ask, “What the fuck are you talking about?” And I’m glad we traffic in both the obscure and the mainstream, because it allows reference humor to be a way of bonding rather than a source of alienation. There are the obvious ones we fall back on, and the ones that engage a more limited audience. It’s also the fact that so many of the mainstream references are to things we’re all really into, things we sincerely believe are great. It’s the anti-snark.

Speaking of, can we talk about Ryan Gosling’s scorpion jacket in Drive? I don’t know if you’ve heard, but that movie is sharper than Valyrian steel.

Inane bullshit

22 Aug

you seem like a good writer, why waste your time writing such inane bullshit?

This is maybe the best backhanded compliment I have ever received. It was a comment on my last post, my (apparently controversial) defense of Kim Kardashian. And while normally I’d let a bitchy remark like that slide, I’d actually like to answer the question. So, “Ben,” you’re in luck! Why do I “waste my time” writing about the Kardashians and vampires and other seemingly useless facets of pop culture?

I’ve encountered various versions of this question over the years. Sometimes it’s not a question so much as a suggestion that I might want to write about something that matters. It usually comes from people who “don’t even own a TV” and only see foreign films and keep the radio perma-tuned to NPR. There’s nothing wrong with choosing to live your life free from pop culture clutter, but just as that’s your prerogative, this is mine. The way some people feel about sports, the way others feel about history—that’s how I feel about mainstream entertainment.

It’s not that I don’t also have an appreciation for the highbrow. (Ask me about Faulkner!) It’s just that I understand the importance of pop culture in our society. I also think that almost anything, however silly or irrelevant you might find it, is worthy of analysis. The Kardashians, for example, strike you as frivolous. A fair assessment, to be sure, but they obviously have a huge effect on the media, television, and angry commenters all over the internet. Doesn’t that make you wonder why? We can probe and expose trends without validating them. We can put our own spin on “inane bullshit.”

Kim K. aside, though, there is plenty of pop culture that I legitimately care about. It’s not all ironic appreciation and musings on popularity. I sincerely care about Buffy comic books and A&E’s Hoarders and the Final Destination series. I don’t necessarily think they’re great, but I do consider them to be worthwhile diversions. To that end, I never worry about wasting my time by indulging in pleasures, guilty or otherwise. As a wise pop musician once said, “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad.”

But am I wasting my time writing about this stuff? Am I wasting your time by suggesting you read it? Of course not. (And if you do think it’s a waste of your time, by all means, don’t read it.) The way I see it, someone has to write seriously about pop culture. It can’t all be E! News briefs and gushy TV Guide reviews. (Which is not to say those outlets are useless either—they just serve a different purpose.) I’ll readily admit that much of my writing has been inspired by the great Chuck Klosterman, who has a broader depth of pop culture knowledge than I could ever hope to attain. I highly recommend you check out his work, even though it’s going to make my blogging look worse in comparison. See, I’m a giver.

Why police what other people are writing, anyway? “Inane bullshit” is a relative concept: one man’s trash is another man’s camp classic. When you tell people to only write about what’s important, you’re ignoring the fact that a writer’s relationship with his subject is likely different than yours. Nothing is inherently a throwaway topic, especially for those of us who relish the opportunity to dig deeper. And luckily for you, Ben, my decision to write about Kim Kardashian doesn’t take away from other writers’ decisions to cover Bachmann’s presidential aspirations or Libya. There’s plenty of room on the internet for all of us.

So, why do I waste my time writing such inane bullshit? Because I’m not wasting my time. Because it’s not inane bullshit to me. But mostly, because I can.

My vampire boyfriend

15 Aug

I hate Twilight for a lot of reasons—first and foremost that it teaches young girls to feel ashamed of their burgeoning sexuality. But Twilight also made vampires lame, and while that’s not as serious an offense, it’s not one I take lightly either. I’ve always loved vampires, even from an age when I couldn’t possibly appreciate the consequences of eternal life. I spent my high school years watching Buffy and Angel, and wondering why I never got to kiss anyone with fangs.

Now I feel ashamed of my vampiric urges. It’s not only Twilight‘s fault, but damned if it doesn’t feel that way. Tween vampire romance is hot right now, and that ruins things for the rest of us. Even more adult entertainment like True Blood has turned steamy vampire-on-human action into fluffy cuddleporn. (Yeah, there’s still fucking, but oh, God, the pillow talk.) But rather than accept defeat and give up my dreams of vampire romance, I’m going to reclaim the concept. When I say I want a vampire boyfriend, I don’t mean Edward Cullen or Stefan Salvatore or even Eric Northman. They suck. If that’s what vampires are like, I’ll stick to humans and maybe the occasional warlock.

But I’d like to believe the right vampire is out there, somewhere.

My vampire boyfriend will be a nice guy. He won’t drink human blood, ever, except possibly a little bit of mine, consensually. (I’m not 100 percent sure about this. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.) Part of the sexual appeal of vampires is that they’re dangerous, but I’d rather not be in any actual danger. And even if my vampire boyfriend is mildly threatening—not to me, but by virtue of the fact that he’s a vampire—I don’t want him to be a dick about it. Like, yeah, you’re a powerful bloodthirsty being: doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole. There’s nothing cute about bad manners. And to that end, if I do decide he can have some of my blood, he damn well better ask first.

My vampire boyfriend will respect me. He will not be a misogynist tool who thinks all women in the immediate vicinity need protecting, and he won’t look down on me because I’m a human. (A fragile, skittish human, to be precise.) He’s going to have to accept that while he has certain strengths mere mortals may be lacking, it’s obnoxious to lord those other over people. Plus, we all have different skill sets. Maybe he can tear off an enemy’s head with ease. No big—I know all the state capitals. (This isn’t true, but you get the idea.) Relationships are about balance: I want a boyfriend, not a bodyguard. Well, I want both. They just shouldn’t be one and the same.

My vampire boyfriend will know how to have a good time. None of that brooding shit. I am dating a vampire for the excitement, not because I need someone to out-mope me. (Seriously, though, don’t even try.) I have a pretty broad definition of fun, so going out to a movie is probably sufficient. But he has to sit through it without pouting—unless it’s about animals, in which case we’ll both cry. And if it’s a period piece, he’s not allowed to spend the rest of the night talking about how many historical details they got wrong. (My vampire is at least 300 years old. Crazy, right?) He’s going to laugh, often, especially at my dumb jokes. He’s going to be active on Twitter, where he will resist the temptation to overuse the #vampirepersonproblems hashtag.

My vampire boyfriend will not skulk around, ever. He won’t hide out in my room and watch me sleep, because I snore and I would really rather not subject his heightened vampire senses to that. Yeah, he’s going to have a different sleep schedule, but given that I keep pretty late hours, I’m confident we can make it work. And he’s going to have his own friends. Some of them will be vampires, but maybe he’ll hang out with a few werewolves, too. (So over that completely arbitrary rivalry.) We’ll never be bored waiting for one another to wake up, because we’ll have our own shit going on. Though, on that note, he’s not allowed to be grumpy when he wakes up at night.

My vampire boyfriend will love garlic or he will learn to love garlic. Anything else is a dealbreaker.

And that’s what I want in an undead life partner. Oh, relax, I’m not really deluded enough to believe in vampires or any other supernatural creatures, really. But just because I’m in my mid-twenties doesn’t mean I have to let go of all my youthful fantasies. Besides, I might one day meet a really pale musician, and a lot of the same criteria will apply.