Review #1: Tales of a Sexy Vampire
This review was posted to alt.transgendered by Anima whom I became pen-pals with soon afterwards. As a result of her exemplary writing skills, I invited her to pen a portion of the second edition of Tales of a Sexy Vampire. Please read the review and decide for yourself whether or not you feel my book will be of value to you.
Thu Jan 26 20:35:54 EST 1995
Pause, fix yourself a drink, and settle down comfortably. Here's a book review.
Isato, Kalina; Tales of A Sexy Vampire; Transvamp Publications Ltd.; 1994. Foreword, contents, text 67pp., 36-photo scrapbook 6pp; spiral-bound. Priced at 25 dollars; dollar cheques, or overseas bank drafts drawn in dollars on a US bank. Available direct from the publisher as follows: c/o Clare Din, P.O. Box 34206, Philadelphia, PA 19101, USA.
Just before Christmas, Kalina the Sexy Vampire announced a compilation of her previous postings to the al.tg newsgroup, in the form of a soft-cover book for which she proposed to charge a fee. This message led to a mini-flame-war begun by t* people who felt that the newsgroup should not be used for commercial advertising purposes, which prompted me to investigate what all the fuss was about. The best way of doing so was to buy the offending book and read it. How wrong the objectors were!
The first thing the reader notices is that the book is much more than a recycling of old material. Certainly, the Adventures are there, in 28 pages which will entertain some people, provide a role-model for others, and supply detailed accounts of the entertainment and clubby scene in Philadelphia and New York which, I would imagine, are particularly valuable for t* people who would like to sample the night-life in those towns. I live in the UK and, at first glance, have no immediate use for this information; on the other hand, when I put myself in her place and read between the lines, I found that there are plenty of hints about getting into places, relating to other clubbers both t* and straight, and planning a night, which apply whatever one's geographical location. (Want to know how to gracefully turn down a man with whom you've been dancing? Enquire within on page 33!) Some of the incidents are funny, some are just fun, and the whole of this section provides a living case study of what it's like to be young, beautiful, and transvestite.
And beautiful she is, as the well-produced and printed photo scrapbook reveals. That's mainly due to sheer looks, partly due to well-chosen makeup, and a lot to do with the style of presentation and dress she chooses to set off a petite and gamine figure. It's a fairly uniform style (single shades of unpatterned tops, trousers, blouses and skirts), and one wonders if a more pretty, flowered and "girlie" self-presentation would work as well; but she's chosen the look (what she calls the "guido" style) very successfully to make the most of her appearance and build.
And therein, for me, is where the main value of the whole book lies. The first 34 pages comprise a manual of self-presentation crammed full of information about what it is, how it is, and why it is to be a sexy vampire. "Vampire"? Well, she defines "vampire" as "the embodiment of 'sexy'... a positive image for myself" in the Introduction, and for anyone like me, not particularly pretty and certainly lacking the advantage of her youthfulness, that might appear irrelevant. Taking it that way is to miss the point, however; shortly after, she reveals personal goals towards which anyone among us, of any age, can surely aspire.
Note this down carefully, girls, and be guided by it:
"I hope I will inspire many of you to be the sexiest vampire you can be. More importantly, I hope you will provide your female side with some of the best things your male side has to offer. My book can help you to become a sexy vampire physically, but it takes a good heart to be beautiful inside as well as out..."
The best way to give you an idea of the scope of this part of the book is to list the contents and subheadings. Sorry if this makes her material sound dry; it's far from it; but there are simply too many goodies mentioned and interesting issues raised for me to do them justice in the space I've got at my disposal. So, make a note the factual details, (and note also the effort implied if you're to look and present at your best!)
1. The obligations of being a sexy vampire: 2 pages (including "who shall know your secret?")
2. How to look like a sexy vampire: 23 pages (including exercise; hiding excess baggage & the Big Bulge; taming facial hair; what are your colours; using makeup; artificial nails; clothes; wigs; perfume; jewelry; the best places to shop for clothes, wigs, shoes, pantyhose, lingerie, perfume; breast forms; bras and cleavage; financing the deal)
3. Developing the image of a sexy vampire: 8 pages (including being cute; realistic; creating and developing your own image and persona; walking; talking; how to be read; why crossdress; dancing with men and how to handle them; how old can a sexy vampire be) - The answer to that one is much more than: "as old as you feel". It's also about exercise, fitness, and goddamit I say to myself, being good to your body!
4. Other resources and cool things to do: 5 pages (including magazines, books, Philadelphia, and weekend excursions).
I suppose there are other books and magazines which cover similar ground. More detailed books on appearance and makeup like JoAnn Roberts' "Art and Illusion", resource guides like Vicky Lee and Caroline Eggerton's "The Transvestite Guide" published from London, or beautiful literary biographies like Jan Morris' "Conundrum" being probably the best; but none has this book's personal style.
Perhaps the only people who won't be interested in what it has to offer might be the very experienced transvestites, and the older transsexuals for whom life, the grim force of the sex-change imperative, and the careful financial planning towards SRS are a bit of a struggle; but even they deserve an occasional holiday away from the serious side, and I've yet to come across any account which is better at conveying the sheer fun of being a woman, nor the sheer zest for life which leads to, but also is engendered by, the style which Kalina describes.
Style is ultimately what it's all about. Check it out; and measure it against yourself.
Bye for now!
Review #2: Tales of a Sexy Vampire
This review was published in the June 1995 issue of Cross-Talk magazine, a publication of Kymberleigh Richards.
Denizens of the Internet who hang out in alt.transgendered,
soc.support.transgendered, and TRANSGEN sooner or later run across
the escapades of "Kalina, the Sexy Vampire" as she
explores the nightlife of Philadelphia and New York City en femme.
Kalina has both expanded on her outings and compiled everything
she's learned about crossdressing (and transgenderism in general)
in a self-published book entitled, appropriately enough, Tales
of a Sexy Vampire. Kalina describes herself as a "first-class
babe and-a-half' (and the photos of her that adorn
The first third of this 70+ page book is full of Kalina's philosophies of life, which are very upbeat and positive, and include some basics on exercise, foundation garments, facial hair, and the like. She then moves on to makeup, nails, clothes, wigs, and breast forms. (Reading it, I feel like I took a crash course in Modeling 101.) This part of the book concludes with a paragraph entitled "Yikes! I Need Money For All of This!" No kidding.
This is followed by several pages which, continuing my analogy, would be considered the graduate course in modeling. Kalina feels that femininity and sexiness can be learned. The next several pages include various magazines and books that Kalina recommends (yes, she includes Cross-Talk, LadyLike, Dragazine, and Tapestry, among others) followed by short overviews of nightclubs and drag contests in Philadelphia.
Kalina doesn't talk about the club scene in New York City in this section, I suspect, because of the ever-changing nature of the Big Apple's nightlife and also because she wanted to leave room for the next 29 pages which consist of numerous journal entries of Kalina's experiences as a "sexy vampire", starting with her "birth" on September 19, 1992 and continuing through her trip last September to a S&M bar/club in Philly. (I think my favorite story is her July 16, 1994 trip to New York City, which I remember reading on the Net.) I will warn you to avoid everything after page 67 if you get jealous easily. Kalina has a very slender body, is Chinese, and has a variety of looks ranging from innocently cute to sexily dangerous. (Of course, most of you will now skip straight to the back when you get it...)
Ah, yes. The "getting it". The book is a bargain
at $25 postage paid in the U.S. and $29 elsewhere; I'm sure Kalina's
not doing this for a profit, because there can't be much with
this many pages and spiral binding. (I know such things.) However,
it's so packed full of useful stuff and fun that I'm sure the
lack of profit is offset from the fun she had putting it together.
Tales of a Sexy Vampire celebrated its twelfth anniversary in December 2006.