Tim and Lady Ronin Costa
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and welcome.
It is well known, we believe, that there are many and varied real living Vampire groups outside of our own national borders, indeed, many members of groups within our own countries are from different countries but what is very often not seen is what actually goes on in these international arenas.
In beginning this new series we at RVL are hoping to broaden the horizons of our readership and give all of our readers an insight as to how other real living vampires live, interact, are regarded and conduct business in their countries. We hope that this, in itself, promote a greater interchange of discussion and sharing of information between international groups in this global Vampire village.
Our first interview, which we are very honoured to present, is with President Davide Santandrea of the Lega Italiana Real Vampires in Italy.
RVL: Good evening Davide Santandrea, president of LIRV. It is a great honour and a pleasure, to welcome you to RVL.
DS: Greeting to all, the pleasure is the same. It’s a pleasure for me to know a new community of Real vampires in the world.
RVL: …and, as Leader in the modern Vampire culture, would you mind sharing a little of your personal history with us?
DS: I’m not really fond to talk about my past, but I understand that is needed to share our own stories and put ourselves in the game if you want to begin a relationship of trust and brotherhood with someone that doesn’t know you. So let’s start talking a little about me. Let’s see where to start. I find myself to be doubly “different”, underlining tho that for me diversity has a great cultural value and not like many fear… I said doubly because I’m both a real vampire and an out of the closet homosexual, meaning with no problems of being open about being both.
As a person I’ve always been engaged in civil rights, first for the homosexuals: I was one of the founders of the association ARCI-GAY in 1985 together with many dear gay friends now all engaged in Italian politics like the politics Niko Vendola and Franco Grillini. After many years of militia in Arci-Gay as national advisor, I founded in 1998 the national association NEWGAYLESBIAN, in which I’m still the president. Both engaged in civil rights for homosexuals, like for gay marriage and more, and the fight and prevention against AIDS. In Cesena, my hometown, in 1999 I was between the founders of the first local group for real vampires called “la tana del darkl”, principally formed by my dearest friend RV Samael called by all “DARKL”, disappeared in 2011 by the cause of a very terrible car accident. We dedicated our first local group in his name in which I’m still part of. After his death I have been elected president of the group and not this group is part of the subgroups of real vampires affiliated with LIRV. Taking many experiences from my previous work with the homosexual communities, I understood that even for real vampires if they wanted a minimum of civil rights too and being recognised by for what they really are (not as monsters or crazies but simply as different people) I would have to have going down that same road taken with the LGBT community. Meaning exposing myself fight in first person for those rights, build an Italian community for real vampires. And so I did. I used “visibility” as a vampire and an homosexual as my battle horse for the civil rights because I’m of the idea that only exposing ourselves, declaring ourselves for what we are, showing people that even the being quiet and insusceptible neighbor could be homosexual or a real vampire, without by all means being connected to being evil, but being a good person. So after declaring myself as gay in past I did the same coming out public as being a real life vampire going in TV unsettling the whole country. And in this moment a big part of the Italian RV community considered me crazy, saying that I would have ended up badly and so on. I completely well understand the positions against me at the time, the same that the homosexuals had when the first association ARCI-GAY was founded. and that I lived on my own skin. I don’t give them any fault because I know that that reaction was based on a fact of fear and of the reaction from the people that it would have aroused… fear that was fully motivated. But something had to be done to change the situation in Italy and bring it to a new opening not only towards RV but towards every type of cultural diversity, race, sexuality, etc…
Those for whose I fight is not for civil rights for RV, it’s topic way bigger, that involves all the possible diversities. So even being conscious that half Italian Real Vampires had it we me for my decision to come out in the open and make visible the existence of Real Vampires even in Italy I went straight forward in my way. I founded my first association HLVI( human living vampires Italian) that tho lasted only three months of life: I found myself dealing with very fighty people and it was impossible to realize something concrete, so I took act of my failure and after three months I disbanded the group. But I had planted the seed. And in fact from the ashes of the first association, in 2011, a Facebook group was born and in 2012 this group officially became the LIRV Real Vampires Italian League, the only legal association and national existent in Italy. This my underlining of only legal association existing is not a way to give against the other Italian RV communities, but only to underlining what the Italian laws says about associations. To create a legal association legal and recognized you have to follow certain procedures given by the Italian state that are different from other countries in the world.
First of all a legal association has to have a council e give every member cards and it is imposed by the Italian law and have a list of all that have subscribed. I can understand that in other countries it could be different but we have to follow the Italian laws to not have legal problems of every genre. Obviously it’s not the Lirv card that makes a person a real vampire or give to a person the license to be a vampire, but is a legal norm of the Italian state: the card only tells that you have subscribed to a certain association and in case of a legal check form the competent Italian authorities, the first thing that they check is if all the people that meet is a certain association or private circle have the card that recognize them as partners. And they ask everyone to show the card.
The real vampire Italian league or simply called LIRV was constituted officially as an association in 2013 depositing the national status to the Italian “IRS” (*Translators note: I think is something similar to IRS, it’s like a police control on finance and having the card, protects you and the club or association from legal problems in case of a check from that agency) that is commonly called “Italian guard of finances”, this is required by the Italian state. Our status it’s visible and can be checked by everyone. For this we are not a cult or a secret group, we are thanks to this an association legally formed and recognized by our state. Once that the vampire community, not only in LIRV, but even out of it, saw that nothing changed, if not for the better, towards Real Vampires, they understood that I was right and that visibility in Italy for real vampires is something indispensable if you want to obtain that in Italy even real vampires can be recognized just as much as the homosexual. Those that at the time considered me crazy, ended too in newspapers or online to talk about real vampirism following my example that as first I had launched. And this now is history. Let’s say that I have been a little bit the opener of the road for the Italian vampires: they just needed someone that would put his face to see in Italy the reaction of the common people towards the declaration that real vampires existed even in Italy and not only in the states. I haven’t been lapidated or persecuted from nobody, they didn’t burn me on the stake like a witch, on the contrary I had a big reply, the one of having a sit on the table for civil rights of the Italian government as representative of the rights of homosexuals, transgenders and many others… going more personally, I come from a family where my parents are real vampires like me. Not only that, but even my son Cristian, the only son that I have, had with a dearest lesbian friend of mine, we both wanted children, I discovered him at 14 years old drinking from a friend, and it was totally normal. While for me in the past, in my youth, I had so many moral problems about it. I clarify, to avoid misunderstandings, that Cristian never knew that I too was a real vampire before I found him feeding. It’s for this reason that being a real vampire is a natural fact like being homosexual, it’s an orientation, a part of human nature that sometimes stays hidden and sometimes goes out in the open by itself. I grew up always aware of what I was. I have to say that I did not have a happy childhood, cause as a real vampire, growing up I had no role models to discuss with other of my kin, only my parents that forced me in a life segregated in my own house, and wrongly I believed to be the only one, that my family was the only one, with what at the time I considered being an “illness”.
Then with the coming of the internet I had the chance to relate to other real vampires in Italy and around the world and there I understood with happiness that I wasn’t the only one, that I wasn’t a monster and therefore I should begin a path of acceptance for what I am: a gay real vampire. I owe most of this to my real life vampires that I met during a period while I was working in the states that helped me to put in front of me (even roughly) the reality of what I am. Thanks to those that I find like a family, for the relationship of brotherhood that I have with them, I am the person that I am today, a person that has fully accepted himself for what he is, with all the diversities that distinguish me, my good and bad sides. Because like anybody I’m perfectly conscious that I’m not infallible and I recognize therefore my mistakes.
In the end, to end my story, (I have been even more lengthy, I know it’s one of my vices) under a working side, where I’m very known in Italy, I dedicate myself to two activities: I am a cameraman of a study of a news channel of a regional tv and in second I dedicate my time to build animatronics subjects for entertainment parks and religious subjects: I worked for Gardaland, eurodisney, and mirabilandia. In 1984, at 17 years old, I had the honour to meet the famous teacher of special effects in scy-fy movies, CARLO RAMBALDI that before going definitively to live in the states, had his technic workshop in Ferrara Italy. Thanks to him I learned to build animatronics characters of which today I’m the continuer. I saw the birth of E.T the extraterrestrial in his workshop and many other characters of the scy-fy cinema. Thanks to him I have been introduced even in the world of the cinema meeting in person really important artists like Stephen Spielberg, Dario Argento and Franco Zeffirelli. With Zeffirelli there’s also a big friendship that lasts by now over 20 years. My experience in the genre of animatronics and special effect takes me today to enter personally in a cinematographic set, becoming the author of the first series about Real Life Vampires, not about legendary and mythological vampires, but on what we really are, simply different people, that are not monsters or evil like in the major tv series, but people that fight against actual real social problems. The tv series that is actually in production is called “il diario della bestia” meaning “the diary of the beast” and will be transmitted on a few Italian channels and maybe, I hope, even outside of it. At last, dulcis in fundu, I dedicate myself on researches on esoterism, occultism, paranormal and religions of the world.
RVL: In your own mind, what is a real modern vampire? And, what attributes do you see in modern vampirism?
DS: The real life vampire for me it’s a person that is human, living, and diverse from many others for different factors. Nothing like in the movies that has always depicted the vampire like an undead and now it’s enough! Stop with the fantasy, I believe it’s time to talk about of reality. For me the real vampire it’s a person with the necessity to recharge with vital energy (prana) through the common and known methods or ways of extraction, for his own necessity biologic/physical, said in poor words, to stay in health. They are empathic, some have ESP capacities, others have the human senses more developed and some medical situations like photosensibility to the sun of their eyes and skin, a lower temperature than normal, more strength, an inverted circadian circle and other factors common and well known to the real vampire’s communities.
RVL: …and may we ask, do you identify as a modern real vampire? And. If so, how would you define your vampirism?
DS: Yes certainly I identify as a real life vampire. Talking about me in particular I’m a real life vampire that knows how to feed of prana energy through the drinking of blood and from other methods, I’m extremely photosensible, my temperature is around 35 Italian degrees (Ed. Note – Italy employs the metric system, 35 degrees = 95 degree Fahrenheit) I’m very empathic, psychometric, my senses such as smell and hearing are more developed. Generally I drink a shot of blood every 3-4 days, if I’m really in need I drink around two shots. In case of necessity when I can’t find donors, I also tried pig’s blood, even tho they only gave me a placebo effect, meaning I did not feel the same wellness and energetically recharged that human blood gives me. I find my vampirism a different way but natural of being a human being.
RVL: Turning now to your local area, if we may, what involvement does your House or Organisation have with local communities and with the modern Vampire culture there?
DS: In Italy we have two specific communities: the one that is recognized as legal and structured like an association, LIRV, and the community of the various Facebook groups that tho don’t have a legal association structure. All that it is structured in Italy like circles, clubs, legally structured are part of LIRV. LIRV in itself has private circles (*translator note: a sort of Houses under LIRV) in Rome, Turin, Naples, Milan, Varese and Cesena-Meldola that is the national site of LIRV. We are the biggest national organization both for number of subscribers (so part of the association that have their own card like requested by the Italian state) and both subscribers in its group of dialogue and discussion. Our collaboration and dialogue it’s towards first of all to the relations between circles and clubs LIRV, in the creation of a uniform web of Italian information and it engages peacefully with Clan Resurrectus Italy guided by the Elder Maria Angela Amico, she is also Vice-president of LIRV, then with House of the Griffin, A house under Clan Phoenix Resurrectus, guided by our dearest friend Sarah Hansrote. (Lady Ronin Costa)
Then we have a peaceful relationship with the Facebook group RV Italiani guided by their leader Conner Kent that he also is part of LIRV. As instrument of information between all these realities existent in Italy, we have created the magazine called INSIDE REAL VAMPIRES where, other than LIRV personnel, there can be found articles of great interest written also by leaders of groups that are not LIRV, like Sarah Hansrote in representation of her Clan/House. This magazine has the objective to make information circulate even outside of Facebook. And also from the next edition there will be the surprise to being realized both in Italian and in English to give the chance to be distributed to the world and make the voice of the Italian Real Vampires be heard.
RVL: Without wishing to play Devil’s Advocate here, you will undoubtedly be aware that there are critics of you and your work, how would you respond to that?
DS: In the Italian RV community, who was critic at me, especially about the visibility topic, in the end did put themselves on the same line as LIRV letting people interview them on online websites and newspapers. When they saw that myself, doing the opener of roads did not get lapidated or burned, then even those that were fearful of the coming out and to get interviewed, they took strength and done it too. Those who thought I was an exalted or at the research of notoriety in tv or on newspapers (connected also at the fear of the coming out) are now going through my same steps of coming out getting interviewed in website and newspapers. In the end the majority of Italian vampires said LIRV was right, that visibility was a necessary step to change the situation in Italy. Tho I know that we do have some enemies, and my first enemy is G.R.I.S of the Italian Catholic church and there’s no day that they don’t point their fingers against the real vampire community but not only on that. It’s really to bust the myth of what GRIS says that the Italian vampires have to get out in the open showing that we are not depraved monsters like the Catholic Church paints us.
RVL: What led you to the decision to establish your house, or organisation and when did this come about?
DS: LIRV was born in 2012 from a Facebook group that was created in 20111 and officialises itself legally in 2013 from the necessity to have a HOME for all the Italian vampire community, the name “league” in itself makes understand something united, a structure able to give a voice to different realities. In LIRV there are different opinions and voices that are not forced to be equal to my thoughts. Not by force because I founded LIRV and I’m currently the national president of it then people have to think just like me! In LIRV there’s a plurality of voices and differences that are the real richness of this association. Even those that before were contrary to this and tried to be an obstacle the birth of the association, understood this thing and they too entered to be part of this association, manifesting freely their thoughts. LIRV before all is a democratic structure of ideas, thoughts, initiatives and project. It’s directed by a national council formed by several council members with ideas and thoughts different than mines.
We sit around a table, we confront each other peacefully and together we reason on the best steps to make for LIRV. Very often the initiatives promoted by other minds different from mine, and not my own, are the ones being approved and actualized in LIRV. In general, and the LIRV council members are my testimonies, I tend to leave to others the decisions on what to do, putting myself aside to not impose myself. As I said we are a democratic structure and the decisions we take are the ones the majority in the council chooses, through a democratic vote. LIRV is founded on the absolute respect between all its participants. Everyone has a right to speak, of opinion and to manifest their thoughts even against me if they want, that obviously I’m not perfect and I can make mistakes too. But this doesn’t have to surpass the border of respect that will then hurt the relationship of brotherhood that unites us all in LIRV.
RVL: …and in the long term, what are your ultimate goals for your house/organisation?
DS: first thing to say immediately is the TV series about Real vampires that is in production right now in Italy as being me the author of it, the the wonderfull film director Max ferro, Antonio Casanovo as producer and the BLUE SCREEN FILM at the production where Lirv is the principal cooperator partner. In the series other than the protagonists actors (that are 120 and that will be approved at the casting in Turin from the 20th to the 30th of May 2017, chosen by a casting which 300 actors partecipated) there will also be some of our council LIRV that will appear in the series, to make see how this series is connected to the reality of the real life vampire. I don’t joke around when I say that all italy is talking about it, both for the thematics presented that will be discussed (discrimination against RV, violence on minorws, civil rights, gay marriage, experiments on genetic mutation on human dna, microchip on people, the fight against bullies in the young generation…), both because the church would like to block the production because of it’s positive message that we want to give to the real life vampires. Obviously the chatolic church can’t stop anything and we keep going on our way.
Next project is the next exit of our magazine INSIDE REAL VAMPIRES at the end of may where we will tell, through articles, many things and also the last national congress of Lirv that confirmed me again as their president.
Then we will start again with our events and club nights of the LONG BLACK VEIL VAMPIRE BALL ITALY, wherever it can be done all over Italy, thanks to the change that happened in the last congress of Lirv, they are now followed and promoted by the awesome real life vampire Matteo Tome that has in mind a ton of new surprises for our crowd.
We grow also with the openings of new circles in Venice and Catania.
Not less important are our meetings like the one we will have in june called VAMPIRE PRIDE that every year we organize in Cesena, promoted by the clan “LA TANA DEL DARLK” in occasion of the holiday of san John, holiday where in Cesena, it still, happens again after centuries, in a folklore level and tradition, the hunt of vampires out of the city. It’s not casuality that for “spite” that LIRV was born here in Cesena, to make everyone see that nobody really hunted us out of the town. This manifestation for us has also a highly symbolic value.
At last but not least, the initiatives of meeting and seminaries about real vampires are beginning, as meaning the encounters realized to confront each other and surpass some problematics that we can encounter in the relationships and common people or vampires and donors, or even between vampires themselves.
RVL: Does your House/Organisation have an online website and, if so, where can our readers find it?
DS: to say the truth we have more than one website and a Facebook page. Every circle/club has their own page and Facebook group like a common local community. We are also in Twitter and Google+, you just need to digit Legal Italian Real Vampire.
We have a page of the national association on Facebook that is this one https://www.facebook.com/comunitalegaitalianarealvampires/ and the official website it’s here http://legaitalianarv.wixsite.com/lega-real-vampires and our welcoming group that it’s this one on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/legaitalianarealvampires/ with over 3000 subscribers but we also have a secret group with 11 thousands subscribers and another secret group reserved only exclusively to real life vampires with 120 subscribers ( those that we are certain of that are for real vampires, met in person and which whom we have a relationship of trust,)
RVL: In the “About” statements at many Vampire homepage sites it is commonly written, “Discussion and debate are absolutely welcome. Resorting, however, to blatant racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, or any other means of tapping into major structures of oppression to attack, demean, or even “joke” won’t be tolerated in this group.”
Do you feel this something that can be entirely avoided in the modern Vampire culture, either offline or online?
DS: I’m a great defender of diversity and civil rights, so homophobia, transphobia, racism, discrimination against every kind of diversity I’m of the opinion that should be banned everywhere even in the vampire communities. It would be illogic for us real life vampires ask to be accepted and respected if we are not able to respect whom is different from us
RVL: If you had one piece of advice to offer newcomers to the culture, what would it be?
DS: Never be afraid to be yourselves. Real life vampires, gay, people of colour, of different races, of different religions or different cults, we are all different for an infinity of factors. I do not accept those ones that would like to amalgamate all under the word “normal” that has a meaning that doesn’t exist. Diversity is richness, culture, expression, tradition and love. A community that accept the different from itself as a cultural richness it’s a community that has understood the real sense and meaning of life. The unicity of the human being, being different between one and another it’s what that makes us humans, in its singularity, a special being. The same thing regards also real vampires, never be afraid or doubt on being yourselves. Be unique and be proud and fierce of your diversity whatever that is.
RVL: Do you have any other comments or observations that you would like to share at this time?
DS: Yes, I invite the communities of real vampires outside of Italy to be united and a big family like we are inside LIRV.
RVL: We would like to thank you deeply for granting us this interview, we are very appreciative of your time and we would be honoured to keep in touch with you regarding the ongoing growth and development of your House, or Organisation.
DS: And me too, in the name of all LIRV I thank you with all my hearth, with friendship and brotherhood for the space and attention that you wished to give us and to having given us the chance to be known and make known our common thought and way to operate.
We, at RVL, are deeply appreciative of the International culture of the real Vampire, it is now, and always has been a culture steeped in history and with a rich depth of purpose and heritage that belies the often derogatory images that modern living Vampires are labelled with. It makes us all realise, we think, that we are part of something much bigger than is dreamed of in our personal philosophies.
Copyright RVL and Lega Italiana Real Vampires (LIRV) 2017.
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