Thirsty for a Fresh Take on All Things True Blood?

WELCOME! Thirsty for a fresh take on all things True Blood? Pull up a virtual barstool at the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern where sisters Rachel and Rebecca are serving up juicy feminist analysis with a twist and opening a vein of thoughtful sociocultural dialogue on HBO's hit series.

Like the epic literary salons of eras past - theaters for conversation and debate which were, incidentally, started and run by women; where the spirited debate about the issues of the day ran as copiously as the actual spirits did - but updated for the digital age, the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern is a fun forum for exploring questions ripe for discourse about the human condition & today's most crucial social issues through the medium of True Blood.

Your salonnières are not peddling liquor per se, but they are offering up new and alternative ideas informed by such diverse influences as pop culture, art, music, cultural history, Goddess studies, transformative theory, literature and poetry, and archaeomythology, filtered through the sieve of their own lived experiences as feminist women of a particular age, background, and culture.

This is a space where you - patrons and passersby alike - can view and engage with these perspectives through the lens of True Blood and contribute your own thoughts. So, no matter if you're a Truebie or a more casual viewer of True Blood, or your drink of choice is a pomegranate martini - one of Rachel's favorite cocktails to drink and Rebecca's to mix - an herbal tea, a frothy double mocha latte, or a can of Fresca (wink, wink) you're invited to join the conversation on the show's complexities in a way that can spark transformation.

Hopefully you'll find something to sink your teeth...err...straw, into! PLEASE ENJOY RESPONSIBLY ;-)


The Pierced Pomegranate Tavern is dedicated to exploring social issues and more through the lens of True Blood. As such, you may encounter:

related to the often provocative and adult themes presented by the show

If you choose to enter and participate in this virtual salon, please be prepared to do so in a thoughtful, respectful, and mature fashion with the above in mind. Click here to check out our comment policy. Thanks!


No copyright infringement is intended, all rights to True Blood belong to HBO, credit is ascribed to sites where images appearing here were originally found.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Well, how do you know? Um, I read.

The title of this post comes from a memorable exchange between Jason Stackhouse (first part) and Tara Thornton (second part) during S1E4 "Escape From Dragon House". The scene went down in the walk-in refrigerator at Merlotte's and ended with Tara zinging Jason, "You're not the first vain-ass, body-conscious ex-jock to overdo the V and wind up with an acute case of priapism!". Next stop, hospital!

This bit of dialogue captures the subject matter of this post, no, no, not priapism; reading!

When we first met Tara in Season 1, her penchant for reading was evident. It was, in fact, a foundational aspect of her character development. The types of books she chose to read (i.e. Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine), the frequency with which we found her with her nose in a book, and her rationale for reading ("school is just for white people looking for other white people to read to 'em. I figured I save my money and read to myself") all gave us insight into the person of Tara Thornton. She was presented to us as a multifaceted character who is, amongst other things, an independent-spirited-and-minded, sociopolitically aware young woman who has been self-educated and empowered through books.

Oh, Season 1 Tara, where art thou?!? That's fodder for another post, perhaps...

In her last post, Rebecca mentioned that we've given ourselves some homework to bolster the discourse here at the PPT. Ever the eager students, we're both currently immersed in True Blood-related literature. One of the books I'm reading now - a collection of essays entitled, "True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things With You" - draws upon a quintessential Stackhouse quote to set up the "blend of smarts and sensuality" (2010, p. 1) that editors George A. Dunn & Rebecca Housel saw in TB and hoped to bring to the book: "Jesus Christ, I want to lick your mind!".

Jason's exclamation to then-girlfriend Amy Burley oddly mirrors publishing magnate Charles Scribner, Jr.'s (1921-1995) quote: "Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own".

When taken together, the Stackhouse-Scribner quotes form a sort of strange conglomerate; this idea of licking, blending, and melding with another's conjures a weird but potent image for what the act of reading can do to enrich one's life, doesn't it?

In the Introduction to "True Blood and Philosophy", editors Dunn & Housel discuss the ease with which TB brings "unabashed carnality" to the screen while "raising tough questions about the human condition". They write of TB in terms of "death and transgressive sexuality"; "overturning expectations and tempting us to think outside conventional boundaries"; "dark corners of the human mind"; "uncomfortable truths that others prefer to leave buried"; "a quest for the meaning of life that often seems quixotic"; and "the paths and impediments to erotic fulfillment" (pp. 1-4).

Forgive the pun, but I'm just starting to sink my fangs into these kinds of "mind-licking good" (p. 4) themes which run through many of the essays in both "True Blood and Philosophy" as well as the other book I'm reading, "A Taste of True Blood: The Fang-Banger's Guide" edited by Leah Wilson. Don't let the latter's title fool you (as I nearly did) - both books boast essays that seem quite relevant to the aims of the PPT, like: "'I Am Sookie, Hear Me Roar!': Sookie Stackhouse and Feminist Ambivalence" and "Sookie, Sigmund, and the Edible Complex"; "Working Class Heroes"; "Blue-Collar Bacchanalia"; and "True Stud".

American writer and social critic Edmund Wilson (1895-1972) once said, "No two people read the same book". While surely untrue in the literal sense, this quote is quite true in the sense that while many may read the same book, each reader derives her own unique, subjective experience from it.

I suspect that this will be the case with the books Rebecca and I will exchange once we're done reading them. I am looking forward to bringing our different takes on these True Blood titles into the PPT - and to you sidling up to the bar with your take on these books or other True Blood readings.

More to come, so stay tuned!

~ Rachel

P.S. I recently discovered the Journal of Dracula Studies; while it doesn't address True Blood per se, it does look at the the vampire in folklore, fiction, film, popular culture, and related topics. I've bookmarked some intriguing essays therein such as, "Vixens and Virgins in the Nineteenth-Century: Anglo-Irish Novel: Representations of the Feminine in Bram Stoker’s Dracula"; "In Search of the Lesbian Vampire: Barbara von Cilli, Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” and the Dragon Order"; and "The Post-feminist Vampire: Heroine for the Twenty-first Century". We'll see how they can be brought to bear upon our conversations here (or not).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Reading is Fundamental

"We read to know that we are not alone" - C.S. Lewis

     It has been far too long since I checked in here at The Tavern! I trust that you all enjoyed Rachel's amazing series of blogs on "Women in Solidarity"?  We have alot planned for you this year, fingers crossed we can work some magic to get it all done! As Rachel mentioned in an earlier post we have gone back to school so-to-speak, burying our noses in some True Blood related literature. With books like "A Taste for True Blood: The Fangbangers Guide" edited by Leah Wilson, "True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Thing Bad Thing with You (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)" edited by William Irving, George A. Dunn & Rebecca Housel and "Truly, Madly, Deadly: The unofficial True Blood Companion" by Becca Wilcott, we are sure to have our work cut out for us. We plan on each reading one book then switching until we have read them all!

     First up for me is the wonderful "Truly, Madly, Deadly: The Unofficial True Blood Companion" by Becca Wilcott. This book takes on the task of initiated the reader into all things Vampire, giving a brief yet thorough history of Vampire appeal, folklore and lifestyle (delving into the world of the "Real Vampire"). Cast bio's, exclusive interviews and an in-depth look at every episode in seasons 1&2 including extras or "night caps" as they are referred to keep the reader intrigued. While I can't fully review this book having not yet finished, I can say that I am thrilled to have picked up this book. I find myself reading along shaking my head in agreement at Ms. Wilcott's reflections on each episode. Finally some proof that Rachel and I aren't the only one's who pour over each episode, dissecting every word, every move, every song choice! At the beginning of the book Ms. Wilcott  made a call for feedback, a call that Rachel and I plan on heeding, so I better hurry up and finish my reading! Can't wait to hear about what Rachel is reading, and I urge you to pick up one or all of these books and join in on the discussion! ~ Rebecca

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Quickie!

Just enough time for another quickie...wink wink ;-)

The Pierced Pomegranate Tavern will be opening up shop for a limited time (kinda sorta) in San Antonio, Texas from April 20-23rd, 2011.

I'll be presenting an academic paper exploring issues of sexuality and representation through the lens of True Blood at the PCA/ACA & Southwest/Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Associations joint conference, in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Area: Special Area: True Blood track.

The paper's entitled, True Blood Reenacts the Goddess Persephone's Ordeal of Abduction and Rape...or Self-Directed Sexual Initiation? Opening a Vein on Woman-Centered Sexuality

Here's a summary:

HBO’s hit series True Blood is not only wildly entertaining; it is also a potent medium through which to explore the human condition and to critically engage the cultural currents and provocative sociopolitical issues of today. With the surging movement of contemporary women’s studies as its guiding framework, this visual talk revolves around two True Blood sexual story arcs—one centered on Tara Thornton; the other on Sookie Stackhouse—both of which culminate in scenes featuring a white nightgown reminiscent of a wedding dress. Although similarities exist between these narratives of carnal encounter, they differ markedly; each can be seen as paralleling one of two versions of the Demeter-Persephone myth—the first being the well-known version of Persephone’s abduction and rape and the second being the feminist imagining of the original pre-Olympian sacred story in which the Goddess enjoyed a free and joyous sexuality. Cycling between True Blood and the mythology it recapitulates, we will explore the charged concepts and themes of sex and sexuality they illuminate: virginity, sex-roles and stereotypes, pleasure, initiation, the erotic, violence, dominance and rape, attitudes toward sexually autonomous women, the sacred sexual, etc. Persephone’s mysteries confront us with the divide between Goddess and patriarchal consciousness. Drawing upon 30,000 years of art, myth, histories and poetry, we will contextualize modern notions about sex and gender revealed in True Blood within the shift from egalitarian to dominator societal structure, explore woman and sex-positive cultures, and identify new models for sexual and body sacrality – both female and male.

My main challenge will be fitting all my content into the 15 minutes presenters are allotted! Think I can do it? I'm not convinced!!!

Feel like joining us deep in the heart of Texas this spring? Here's a link to the conference website for more info:

Back later...

~ Rachel

Sometimes Quickies are Fun...

Here's a quickie post for ya...we're expecting some True Blood related reading material to arrive in the next few days - last week we ordered the following titles:
  • Truly, Madly, Deadly: The Unofficial True Blood Companion by Becca Wilcott (this is the book the moderator of the "True & A" - the Dragon * Con panel we attended and posed our questions to the cast at - quoted to open the session, "True Blood is the most progressively political and sexual show on TV"). Click here to read our post about that panel and see video of our questions being answered *Rebecca found a better, more complete video - most likely the one made by Dragon * Con - and will hopefully be posting it soon.  
  • A Taste of True Blood: The Fangbanger's Guide edited by Leah Wilson
  • True Blood and Philosophy: We Wanna Think Bad Things with You (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) edited by William Irwin, George A. Dunn &  Rebecca Housel
One of the ladies we met at the BlogHer Holiday Meet-Up said she had read Truly, Madly, Deadly, have you read any of these titles? Any opinions on whether or not they will be relevant to the discourse here? Inquiring minds want to know! Rebecca & I will be dividing up the there you have it, our True Blood reading list for the first few weeks of the New Year.

What are you reading? Check in and let us know!

~ Rachel

Happy New Year! Don't Forget to Watch the People's Choice Awards Tonight!

HAPPY NEW YEAR to patrons and passersby of the Pierced Pomegranate Tavern!

It's already the fifth day of 2011 - unbelievable! Time flies when you're having fun...and super busy. So, do you think we should be laying off the New Year's champagne by now? Nah...

Your salonnières have some great and exciting things in the works for the PPT for 2011. We'd like to take some direction from you too as to what you'd like to hear us talk about in terms of True Blood and social issues, and what types of discussions would appeal most to you in that regard - so please chime in!

I'll be checking back in later to put the Real Grrrl Power series to bed by summing up why female relationships matter...of course, that will be after viewing the People's Choice Awards for which True Blood is nominated. Don't forget to tune in (CBS 9PM EST) and like I always say, you still have time to have your voice heard, so vote early and vote often!

Back later...

~ Rachel