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I’m going to kick off the new month with something that’s close to our hearts over here…
Back in July this year we had the privilege of being able to spend a little time with one of the founders of the Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition, Derek Lestat.
Since then the GCVC has been organising itself, and establishing itself, as an important facet of the modern Vampire culture in Chicago. Accumulating a respectable following both on-line and at its live Meet-Up events that are being held, on a regular basis, in the windy city.
We decided to catch up with the GCVC again and see what has transpired since we last highlighted this important, hometown, initiative, accordingly, it gives us great pleasure to welcome back to RVL GCVC Director Derek Lestat and to welcome, for the first time, GCVC Assistant Director Lady Kimberly.
RVL: Good evening Derek, welcome back and a warm welcome to you Lady Kimberly, it’s great to be able to catch up with The GCVC again… too long between drinks eh?
K: It’s always too long between drinks, right? Really, it is great to chat with you and get out what we have been up to.
D: Especially too long between if Tim’s buying…
RVL: *laughs* In speaking with Derek, back in July, confidence was high for the new Chicago based GCVC. Can you tell our readers a little about what’s been happening – internally – with the GCVC since then?
D: Quite a lot, actually, a lot more than meets the eye or that we’re letting on about. We’ve been spending the past few months just laying the groundwork for a number of big projects that, for the moment, we’re keeping close to the vest.
RVL: …and we’ve been seeing some encouraging growth in the live Meet-Up side of the venture… how has that been shaping up?
D: It’s been shaping up quite well, actually. Thus far every Meet-Up not only brings us new faces each month, but also many returning faces.
K: I definitely have to say this is this is one of my favorite parts about being with the GCVC: getting to know everyone who comes out, whether it’s a newly awakened Vampire or someone who has been in the community for a while now. We also have our fair share of Therian and otherkin brothers and sisters who like to join us from time to time. Everyone has a great time sharing their experiences and getting to know one and other.
RVL: Apart from the live, regular, local Meet-up events what plans are afoot, without revealing any “State Secrets” of course, for future events?
D: Without revealing any secrets, eh? Well… For one, we’re looking to amp up the Meet-Ups in a few ways. One is to continue rotating the venues across the expanse of the Chicagoland area, to cover a wider area. Let’s say you’re up on the North Side, and can’t make a Meet-Up on the South Side or the Western Burbs. Don’t worry, we’ll be rotating around to you, too. And we’re always open to more suggestions for future venues.
Also, we’re looking to swap out a few of the “regular” Meet-Ups for some “upgraded” events. Like what? Well there are so many options for a city the size of Chicago. We can visit any of the cultural institutions, take tours or day-trips. One “secret” I’ll let out of the proverbial bag for you is: we’re looking to an unprecedented GCVC Meet-Up this summer at the Bristol Renaissance Fair, where we’ll plan on hooking up with and meeting our Wisconsin brethren. We’ll be announcing the details of that this coming summer.
K: On top of everything we have going on here at home there are those of us who like to mix it up a bit. We enjoy getting out there and attending some of the events put on by other members in the VC all over the country. A few of us will be heading out in February to visit some of the amazing events out west. I think seeing how different areas operate is very beneficial. We are always looking for ways to connect with people in the community.
RVL: As far as the online contact and interaction for followers what resources are available for people to be able to keep up with the GCVC?
K: Of course, there is our Facebook page and group, both Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition.
D: We’re looking into other social media options, as well. If you’re fortunate enough to have friended us on Facebook, you can always message us either via the page, group, or individually.
RVL: …and are there any planned developments in this area? New website perhaps? A blog edition?
K: We are currently in the process of developing a website. So be on the lookout for that.
RVL: Anything big planned for the Yule season or is it better a case of steady as she goes and look ahead to spring 2019?
D: Aside from our Meet-Up in early December, we’re taking a little time for ourselves and everyone else to just enjoy the holidays. Everyone will have their get-togethers and obligations, and in addition to that our Council will have a big and busy 2019 to prepare for.
D: First things first. With what we have in mind, we’re not taking things too fast. First, we want to get our name out there, get people (vampires, therians, Otherkin, any “Night-kind”, even Mundanes; we’re not about excluding) together, start making new friendships. We want to show everyone what we have to offer, give them a taste of what’s to come, and work on growing from there.
K: I agree with Derek. I think we have a pretty good idea of what we want to be. However, as we grow there is always a possibility that things may shift to fit the needs of whoever comes our way. I think our number one goal is to make sure that everyone who reaches out gets what they need out of their time with us (within reason). There are many possibilities that fall in line with that kind of thinking. Any organization that wants to succeed needs to be flexible. It needs to be able to configure itself to fit the needs of those they are serving to move forward. It’s a big undertaking in a big city but we are willing to take a shot at it.
D: It’s probably safest to say that we’re looking to turn up our volume in 2019, start making some more noticeable noise. We aim to start going beyond only Meet-Ups.
RVL: …maybe a national invitational event in the not too distant future?
D: Well, there is the big Elders Summit and Leadership Conference coming up next spring. It’s open to anyone, well, except for the part that’s for VC Elders and Leaders only. This is bound to be an historic gathering in the VC, and the GCVC is honoured to be one of the first groups to be included and sponsoring the event.
K: I am really looking forward to the conference. I always welcome an opportunity to learn. It sounds like there are going to be some really great things happening there.
RVL: Sounds like the GCVC has carved out a solid little place for itself in the Windy City, we would think this bodes well for the future of Chicago nightkind yes?
D: I think it bodes quite well for the Nightkind of our beloved City. For far, far too long, there has really been no representative presence, nothing and no one for the Newly Awakened to find, nobody to help them understand what they’re going through, that they’re not alone or freaks.
In all honesty, at every Meet-Up to-date, there is always somebody who tells me they’re glad they’ve found us, that they’re happy we’re here for them, that we are operating the way we are. I’m always happy to hear feedback like that, y’know? It tells me we’re doing something right.
K: Absolutely, its amazing how fast people are finding us and just how excited they are to be around others like themselves. Bonds are being forged and people are really wanting to come and see what Chicago has to offer.
RVL: Thank you for your time today, and for the update on the GCVC, we’ll keep in touch and let’s look for bigger and better things heading into 2019, yes?
D: It’s always a pleasure. And thanks to RVL for giving us this opportunity to let the Community know more about the GCVC.
K: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. We are excited to let you know where things go in the future.
Pretty much everyone active in the modern culture in this country will be aware that, historically, Chicago has been rather “quiet” when it comes to an active enclave of modern living Vampires… not anymore.
This dynamic duo, full of energy, enthusiasm and ideas are drawing Chicagoland’s Nightkind together in an unprecedented way, they’ve started small, at grass roots, at “street” level if you will and it’s coming together. Interest has been high in this venture and now, with the live meet ups happening on a regular basis the nights, in Chicagoland, are seeing the ripples and shimmers in the darkness and shadows.
Chicagoland should be proud of these two pioneers, and Chicago Nightkind should get behind their new champions.
It’s going to be very exciting watching this initiative grow.
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