Tortured Immortality
Anne Rice's most famous creation is a deity of the dawn of the 21st century. He is a god of paradox, beauty and death.

Tortured Immortality
Anne Rice's most famous creation is a deity of the dawn of the 21st century. He is a god of paradox, beauty and death.

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Christ the Lord:
Out of Egypt

Rice's novel departs from her usual gothic themese and explores the childhood of Jesus. The exhaustively researched novel is told from the point of view of the seven-year-old Jesus, and Rice does a fascinating job in balancing the voice of a child with one who is also the son of God. An original approach to Christ's story, and an interesting look into the lives of First-Century Jews.


Interview with the Vampire is Anne Rice's vest-known work, written in 1973 and published in 1976 by Alfred A. Knopf. The book centers on themes of immortality, loss, sexuality and power. It quickly became a cult success and has had a huge influence on present Goth culture. It was followed by several sequels, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles.

What set the novel apart from its predecessors of the vampire genre was its confessional tone; it was told from the point-of-view of the vampire himself and touching on existential despair and the sheer boredom of lifeless immortality.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interview_with_the_Vampire

Lestat was the seventh son of the marquis d'Auvergne and was born in Auvergne, France in a castle belonging to his ancestors. Despite his apparent highborn background he grew up in relative poverty: his ancestors squandered the family riches, and being the youngest in the family, he stood to inherit nothing.

Perhaps the most pivotal moment in his life was when he was nearly killed by a pack of wolves he was hunting in mountains surrounding Auvergne. He returned home a different person, determined to follow his own path.

After leaving his family, Lestat became an actor in Paris. During a performance, he attracted the attention of an ancient vampire named Magnus, who abducted and held him prisoner. Finding Lestat "a worthy heir," Magnus made him a vampire. However, Magnus, weary of life, committed suicide soon after by throwing himself on a huge bonfire, leaving Lestat to fend for himself without any kind of guidance. Lestat found himself heir to nearly inexhaustible wealth, and began an adventure that led him all around the world.

Throughout his long life, Lestat was plagued by common philosophical questions, such as "Are my actions good or bad? "Is there a God?", "Am I in His Plan?", "What happens after death?", "What makes a person happy?" He found himself more in love with humanity than ever before, even if his relationship with mankind was savage. He saw life as "the Savage Garden", filled with beauty and death.

Because of his boldness, Lestat's seniors referred to him affectionately as 'the Brat Prince', a title of which he was very fond. He was very vain and concerned with fashion, and would pause mid-narrative to remind the reader what he was wearing. Sexually ambiguous, he was attracted to whomever most interested him at the time, regardless of their sex. Most of his early experiences were with male companions. He himself explained this by saying the women in previous centuries simply weren't that interesting.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lestat_de_Lioncourt

Why do you think that your fans are so attracted to the concept of tormented immortality?"
-- Frank Joseph D. from California

Rice answered:
"Well, I think we all want to be immortal. We all want to be immortal, yet we're all relieved that there is the possibility of death...that suffering would not be eternal. We can conceive of the eternal, but we really don't have to put up with it, and it's an idea...an idea planted in our minds with consciousness, and we don't know what to make of it all. We don't know what to make of the fact that we can conceive of being immortal, and yet we're not immortal."



"Anne had always loved the idea of seeing her 'Vampire Chronicles' set in some sort of serious and seductive musical setting and for all of the parties involved this is the opportunity of a lifetime," said lyricist Bernie Taupin. "Elton and I have threatened for years to work together on something for Broadway but until now had never found anything that appealed to both of us collectively or suited my own personal writing style. We have unified these books into a linear storyline and our intention is to make a stylish, sexy, intelligent and richly hypnotic show that is stripped of gothic cliches and that shows the vampire dealing with his damnation on a more realistic and human level. Please let me make this clear this is not a rock opera."

"'Interview with the Vampire' is one of my favorite books and Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors. Lestat is the first stage musical that I've written with Bernie which makes it even more special for me." -- Composer Elton John


LESTAT, one of Anne Rice's most celebrated literary characters, is being brought to the stage by the illustrious team of Sir Elton John (music) and Bernie Taupin (lyrics) in their first-ever collaboration on a Broadway production. LESTAT is the lush and rich story of a man who escapes the tyranny of his oppressive family only to have his life taken from him. Thrust into the seductive and sensual world of an immortal vampire, Lestat tries to reconcile his innate sense of good with his primal need to exist. Based on characters and incidents from Ms. Rice's best-selling novels, "Interview with the Vampire" and "The Vampire Lestat," the musical’s book is by Linda Woolverton and Robert Jess Roth will direct.

Tickets for the Dec. 17-Jan. 29, 2006, San Francisco run go on sale 10 AM Oct. 30. The production at the Curran Theatre is presented as part of the 2005-2006 Best of Broadway season, under the direction of Carole Shorenstein Hays and Scott E. Nederlander.

Lestat will arrive on Broadway in spring 2006 at the Palace Theatre following the California engagement.

Tickets for Lestat in San Francisco range in price from $30-$90 and are available online at shnsf.com, through Ticketmaster by calling (415) 512-7770, at ticketmaster.com, at all Ticketmaster ticket centers and at the Curran Theatre box office (445 Geary, Monday-Friday Noon-6 PM). For groups of 20 or more, call (415) 551-2020.

Directed by Robert Jess Roth with musical staging by Matt West, Lestat stars Hugh Panaro in the title role, Jack Noseworthy as Armand, Jim Stanek as Louis, Roderick Hill as Nicolas, Michael Genet as Marius and Allison Fischer as Claudia. The cast of 16 also features Rachel Coloff, Nikki Renee Daniels, Joseph Dellger, Colleen Fitzpatrick, Megan Reinking, Drew Sarich, Will Swenson, Steve Wilson and Tommar Wilson. 

More about the cast:

Carolee Carmello

Jack Noseworthy

Steve Wilson

"Drink From Me And Live Forever"
The film version of Interview with the Vampire (1994) was directed by Neil Jordan, and starred Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst and Antonio Banderas. Though initially dismayed by the casting of Cruise as Lestat, Anne Rice (who also wrote the screenplay) ended up being very pleased with the performance.
Queen of the Damned (starring deceased pop singer Aaliyah and Stuart Townsend) was released with far less fanfare in 2002.
More at IMDB.com
Innovation Comics has released graphic novel versions of the Lestat story, in serialized and compilation form.


Servant of the Bones Diary
Anne returns to San Francisco, where she learned to be a real writer and a real pornographer.
Plus: Rice answers readers' questions. (10/21/96)


USNews.com: America's Best Colleges 2006: College Flashback: Anne Rice
This week, world-famous vampire fiction author Anne Rice tells us about her college years.
"At San Francisco State, my favorite hangout was the old student union ..."

Anne Rice was born and raised in New Orleans, and uses the city in many of her novels. She returned to New Orleans after living in Texas and San Francisco. Anne has a Master of Arts in creative writing from San Francisco State University. Interview with the Vampire was her first novel, published in 1976

Born Howard Allen O'Brien on October 4, 1941, the second daughter of an Irish Catholic family, she is an author of horror/fantasy stories, and often writes about vampires, mummies and witches. Her works have been a major influence on the Goth youth subculture, and she has published several works with sado-masochistic themes. She is currently working on a trilogy about the life of Jesus Christ. She is the mother of gay novelist Christopher Rice (born March 11, 1978 in Berkeley, California).

She was married to the late poet Stan Rice (November 7, 1942 - December 9, 2002). Her mother died when she was young, and her daughter, Michelle, was born September 21, 1966 and died of leukemia on August 5, 1972. Stan Rice was a Professor of English and Creative Writing at San Francisco State University and retired as Chairman of the Creative Writing Department in 1989. Stan Rice passed away from brain cancer in 2002. Some of his work can be found in Queen of the Damned.

On her college years at SF State:

What did you like most and least about your school?
I loved the vigor and seriousness of students at San Francisco State. They almost all had to work, or were older, and they cared passionately about their education, and what they did creatively and politically. What I hated most... that's hard to say. I had so many wonderful teachers -- Robin Gajdusek, Richard Wiseman, Mark Linenthal, Eduoro Roditi... I don't remember hating anything about it at all.

If applicable, any thoughts on why you were rejected by specific schools?
"I wasn't rejected by any school to which I applied. I worked my way through, starting at Texas Woman's University, and North Texas State University in Denton, Texas, then on to San Francisco. The biggest acceptance was when I got into the Graduate English program at U.C. Berkeley. I couldn't believe that I'd managed to get into that program. But I didn't stay very long. I wanted to be a writer, and the Ph.D. program would have demanded years of putting scholarship first, and writing second. I went back to San Francisco State. But I learned a lot at U.C. Berkeley."

On San Francisco: (from Servant of the Bones Diary)

"At night I stood in my window and looked out at the deep sloped streets and the hundreds of bay windows, remembering back 30 years to my arrival in this city ... a young democrat, a young idealist, a wannabe great person. And now I return to appear at City Arts and Lectures, and to visit one of my favorite bookstores in the country: the unique Dark Carnival in Berkeley

I try very hard to feel love for this city, but what I feel more than anything is gratitude. I feel gratitude for those 25 or 30 years during which I learned that political activism could mean something, that I could be a real writer and a real pornographer, and I could, like so many other people in California, redefine my life in terms of my highest values.

But it disturbs me, this strange lack of love for a place where so many good things happened. I know it is the Southerner in me that shivers at this chill wind off the Pacific. I know it is the Southerner in me that dreams of the oak trees of home in these barren hills. Nevertheless, San Francisco is unique—a generation of ideas, an academy of nonconformity—and the visit has brought many splendid moments. .......

Highlights of the San Francisco visit include being onstage at City Arts and Lectures with my beloved friend and colleague Mike Riley, and also seeing that nothing in this modern world—not computers, not vacuum cleaners, not the Internet, not changing social mores—can change the ambiance of Dark Carnival! Jack and Jay, the owners of the store, remain their incorruptible selves through thick and thin. The bookstore is a real place, an unforgettable place—a shelter on the road of life.

At City Arts and Lectures in San Francisco, surrounded by the venerable murals and chandeliers of the Herbst Theater, I declared frankly that I was proud to be a pornographer and the audience applauded. I am blessed to be both a religious writer and a social scandal."

Anne Rice is a member of New Orleans' Krewe of Orpheus, founded by singer Harry Connick Jr.

In 1997, she rode as the Literary Muse:

"I'm going to ride in Orpheus Monday night as the Literary Muse of Orpheus, an honor which I cherish. Sonny Borey, the Captain of Orpheus, invited me to be the Literary Muse, I think about three years ago. As you know, Harry Connick, Jr. started this crew and I'm very, very proud to be part of Orpheus and it will be a lot of fun to be in the parade. "
More at annerice.com

More on the Krewe of Orpheus on our Mardi Gras page.

The Sons & Daughters of Orpheus have paraded in San Francisco's Day of the Dead since 1990.
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