Sweet Home Chicago

Written, edited and Presented by

Tim

Good evening,
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.

Lady Kimberly
Assistant Director GCVC

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.

https://www.facebook.com/GreaterChicagolandVampireCoalition/?ref=bookmarks

https://www.facebook.com/groups/253495805195734/?ref=bookmarks

We also have our Chicago Vampire Meet Up page https://www.meetup.com/vampires-21/. You can email us directly at GCVC.Chicago@gmail.com.

Derek Lestat –
Director GCVC

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.


RVL: Is the GCVC planning a group set-up specifically for ‘Greater Chicago Area’ vamps to join or is the focus going to be on getting Chicagoland followers to the live Meet-Ups a preference?

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: What she said.

RVL: …again, without ‘spilling the beans’, what other little projects do the GCVC have in the offing?

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.

Copyright GCVC 2018

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.

Copyright Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition & RVL (unless otherwise noted) 2018

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL International, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL International and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL International Website Disclaimer

 

A Meeting of Minds

http://www.decoratum.com/

Researched, Written and Presented by

Lady M.

Foreword

Over the years, decades even, in the Modern Living Vampire Culture there have been endless debates, definitions, arguments and discourses on what makes an “Elder” and Elder, and what makes a leader a leader in the culture. The very definitions that have been applied appear, at the best of times, to be fluid and open to interpretation. So, out of that, how do you convene an Elder and Leadership Conference in the modern culture? What ‘yardstick’ is used to determine what’s to be discussed and defined, what measure is applied to determine whether a person is, or is not, qualified to be an “Elder” or “Leader”?

One of the best and most concise definitions of an Elder, in our opinion, comes from “Dictionary of Sanguinese” by Sanguinarius   “A prominent member of the vampiric community who is honored and respected for his or her experience, knowledge, willingness to help others, accomplishments and devotion. Elders are often those individuals who have helped establish a community, organize groups, or help network the community.”

Ref: http://www.sanguinarius.org/terminology.shtml

One event that aims to examine, discuss and, perhaps, even redefine these things is the “Elder and Leadership Conference 2019 that is being co-hosted by Clan Resurrectus and the Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition.

We were recently given the opportunity to speak with the three leaders who have come together to make this event happen. It gives us great pleasure to welcome back to RVL Lord Stefan Resurrectus, Patriarch of Clan Resurrectus, Georgia, Derek Lestat, CEO of the Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition and, for the first time, a warm welcome to Magistra Xia of Ordo Omnia.

Artwork by: Lady Alyson Ford

RVL: Good evening gentlemen and Magistra Xia, welcome and thanks for sparing a little of your time to discuss this cultural initiative.

SR:  Absolutely.  Always a pleasure to be here, thank you for having me.

DL: Thank you, it’s good to be back here.

RVL: The first question, which I would imagine would be on most people’s lips is, why? Why an Elder and Leadership conference?

SR:  It seems to me that my memory does not include an actual sit-down in person face-to-face meeting of the minds amongst the leadership.  Don’t get me wrong, there are several courts such as the Court of Lazarus that brings the leaders of their area together on a fairly regular basis in order to discuss matters, by and large the Leaders and Elders of the Community do not speak much outside of Facebook or emails.  Too much can be misinterpreted or misunderstood in the written word.  In person, there is a much better interpretation of ideals.

DL: Myself, I would first counter with asking “Why not?” Let’s scale it down some, make it more  personally relatable. Pretty much everyone who interacts online has made friends and acquaintances who live some distance away. And some of us a fortunate enough to arrange to meet in person.  Now let’s scale it back up again, with that thought in mind. Within the Vamp Community, there is no shortage of leaders of many groups. We meet online, we become acquainted and sometimes even friends. Some of us live relatively close, some are metaphorical worlds away. We thrive on sharing ideas and experiences, comparing notes, etc. And with so many of us reaching for the same or similar goals, it all only stands to reason that we should at some point convene in person. There is so much more to be gained from physical personal interaction than merely words typed on a screen, or a Skype session.

Derek Lestat C.E.O. of The Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition

 

RVL: …and what is the ultimate goal, or goals, of the conference?

SR:  The ultimate goal, at least my goal, is to bring us together in order to get on the same page.  With the growth of the community over the past few decades, I feel it’s time for those that in a position of leadership to speak and discuss our responsibilities to this community.  There was a time that our numbers were much fewer, and the Courts were able to delineate responsibility and stay on top of issues that came up.  With the influx of “leaders” and new organizations in the past 5 years alone have convoluted the question of what a leader or Elder is and what is their responsibility, not only to their respective organizations but to the community of a whole.

DL: For me, I see the goal as being a “meeting of the minds”, as it were. We as leaders and Elders have many different experiences, viewpoints, ways of going about things, dealing with people both in the positive and the negative. This is a great opportunity to pool our knowledge, to learn about ourselves and each other, and to take away new knowledge and experience, and to bring that back to our respective groups.

MX:  A huge objective of the conference is education. A lot of misconceptions can occur when there is a lack of communication and constructive debate, handwork and initiative for betterment of the overall whole.

RVL: As far as attendance is concerned, are there any restrictions on who can attend?

MX:  Restrictions on who can attend would be those who are known in the community as Sin Nomine. This essentially means that they have committed a crime within the community and have hurt others so therefore they are turned away from activity within the community. This is for the protection of all especially new ones coming in who are looking to seek direction or advice from other advocates.

SR:  There are no restrictions per se; if you want to get to know these people we talk to every day online this is a good event for you.  Let’s face it, we go to events and pay $100 plus dollars for a few hours in a very loud and eclectic surrounding versus less than $100 for 2.5 days with food and lodging included with entertainment and really be able to connect with others.  The only restriction is the Summit itself will be explicitly for the leaders to meet and talk.  Everything else is open to all.

RVL: …and for those unable to attend will there be transcripts of lectures, presentations and discussions made available after the event?

SR:  We have discussed that, and it’s my hope to have the Seminars and other events videoed and make them available either on FB or YouTube with links on FB.  The Summit itself will probably be closed files open only to leadership with transcripts.

MX:  Yes there will be audio available for those who cannot attend and of course web based videos as well

 

RVL: It’s already been hinted that there will be a 2020 conference, will this “Conference” become an annual event and will the location remain the same each year?

SR: *laughs* We are actually looking at a 2020 conference and summit.  We will probably really get on that once everything is scheduled out for 2019.  We have been offered a location in Virginia for 2020 by the Vampire Court of Richmond through King William Azrael and I intend to look into that once 2019 is up and running.  I think it would be interesting to have the conference in different cities, but for the moment we’re going to concentrate on what we have now and the location for 2020.

DL: I would love if this were an annual event for everyone. Unfortunately, not everyone can always attend, due to personal, monetary, or logistical concerns.  If it can become an annual event, that would be great. It would be even greater to rotate the venue around the map, not only for a change of scenery but also so people who can’t attend due to distance can get a better shake at it another year.

MX:  Yes it would be nice to see this event become an annual endeavour for the community so long as the true heart of the event can be cherished and kept. The idea of this being a platform for education and openness.

Magistra Xia of Ordo Omnia

 

RVL: What are some of the activities that will be included in the conference and who will be “key speakers” and/or guests of honour” if any?

MX:  Some of the activities will include lectures by elders of different houses , selling of wares and goods and great social time between those who don´t ordinarily get to interact with each other. Being able to have intimate conversations on deep topics face to face is very integral to our kind and for learning and development of new vampiric technology.

SR:  I am pleased to announce several: first off, we have Baron Misuraca as our Special Musical guest, along with seminars by Magistra Xia and Magister Alad or Ordo Omnia, King William Azrael and Lady Luna of the Vampire Court of Richmond, Reaper Wolf from Ordo Phoenix, HPS Lady Danaan Starseed and many others, not to mention vendors from fangsmiths to crystals to creative works for sale.

 

RVL:  Let me throw a curve ball at you folks, how do you, personally, define “elder” and “leader” within the framework of the modern living Vampire culture and what would you say to people who might disagree with your definition or analysis?

DL:  In most usage, the word “elder” itself implies longevity, that one has been around for some time, seen a lot, done a lot, experienced and lived through a lot. That context is fitting within the Community, I feel, as an Elder has “Been There, Done That”, someone with the wisdom of experience to share.
As for what it means to be a leader, let me quote management expert Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005), who said “Rank does not confer privilege or power. It imposes responsibility”. And as both leaders and Elders in the Community, we are tasked with responsibility, not only for those in our respective Clans and Houses etc, but also for the Community as a whole. We have the experience, the wisdom, in most cases That Certain Something, it is our responsibility and our duty to impart that to the next generation, much as a good parent would to their own eager children.

SR:  Ah, good one.  I always enjoy this particular subject because there are so many opinions on this particular subject.  Let me say that by definition, and Elder is someone who has survived all to be an Elder.  However, the title of Elder is supposed to be one of respect; and Elder is one who takes their responsibility seriously not just to those of their House but to all; an Elder will take on the responsibility of teaching others all that they have learned with the understanding that they will not be around forever.  A leader is a person who has the vision to lead and takes on the responsibility of leadership; that all are equal from the fledgling to the Elder; a leader takes on the burden of politics and the well-being of those that are in their charge.  Not all leaders are seasoned to the point of Elder, but in time will.  Not all leaders are Elders; not all Elders are leaders.

MX:  of course there will be those that disagree and have different definitions of what an elder or leader could be that is part of the mystique of the vampire . A predator does not follow others but instead meets with other predators and offers respect and at times friendship. We all are on our own path but to begin to define these terms is what i would like to discuss . Vampiric technology is always developing . An elder is simply one who has dedicated their life to Vampyrism, runs a house , educates , works with others and continues to better the community . In essence if you are an elder you have a job outside your dayside. A leader is a Vampyre with experience who is directing a project or has recently been given a task in a House . They take on the role of inspiring others and assist an Elder to lessen the weight of the job or task at hand . This is Order of Omnia´s definition of those two roles. So can an elder be a leader ? yes. Can a leader be an elder ? not always. Of course I am only speaking for Order of Omnia to share perspective . I do not speak for any other Vampyres.

RVL: There will be those, as I’m sure you are aware, who will decry the validity of the event and will claim it to be a ploy to establish some sort of “control” system in place… this is, after all, the “VC”, what would your response be to that kind of criticism?

SR: Sigh.  Such is always the case.  I will state again what I’ve stated on several occasions; there will never be an absolute control over the VC by any one person or organization, especially without the vote of the vox populi.  However, a body of moderation is not out of the question.  That is not what this is about.  This is about us all working together. I’ve stood for Unity for 30 years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it has to start at the top.  If the leaders and elders can’t get along and work together, what hope do we have for the rest of the community.

DL: This is not some sort of diabolical cabal, gathering in shadows to deliberately screw over everyone we don’t like. We are not some sort of an Illuminati, and Lex Luthor was not invited.
If you are so full of your own self that you can’t see this meeting of the minds for what it is, then that’s probably the reason you weren’t invited to begin with.
Let me toss out another quote: “Haters gonna hate”.

MX:  My response to that criticism is that we are only here as a platform to encourage education and the sharing of ideas. Think of this like a salon noir where philosophers would gather and express and challenge perspectives. This event has absolutely nothing to do with the human concept of power but the evolved idea of evolution and betterment.

RVL: As to the location, the venue, why the choice of a South Carolina parkland venue?

MX:  Stefan has chosen the location for the group and having a relaxed atmosphere is extremely important for learning. The woods and nature holds a very important role in aiding one to tune in and shut down daily troubles or work anxieties. This allows us to let the mind focus in areas that are less used such as in meditation. So I support the location as it is a great springboard for people to relax and learn.

SR:  I attended the Beltane Brouhaha there this year and found it charming, definitely rooted in nature and rather isolated.  The cabins, while rustic, were wonderful and the camaraderie was unparalleled.  I saw this as a perfect grass-roots location to begin all this.  It’s absolutely beautiful and quiet…at least when the celebrations weren’t on. *laughs*

RVL: …and where can the folks who are planning to attend find out all information they are going to need about the venue?

MX:  Information can all be discovered via the Facebook website.

SR:  https://www.facebook.com/events/661077417596031/?active_tab=about

 

Photo: CC Smith

 

RVL: Have you any anticipation, or expectation, as to the number of attendees? What would you say to those who may be on the fence about coming along?

SR:  Space is limited as far as cabins themselves.  If you’re looking for a private cabin, best to sign up and register quickly.  There are 59 cabins available, each able to handle 4 people comfortably.  We are anticipating between 60-100 people for this first one; there are areas for those that wish to pitch a tent, not a whole lot of RV room.

DL: If you’re on the fence about it, ask yourself how cool it would be to say “Yeah, I was there”. Consider the bragging rights you could bank.

MX:  I think it is great to go in with no expectation at all. Whatever will be is going to be but either way every year the alchemy of the collective will change due to the people who choose to participate. This is a great avenue for differences to be explored and good face to face conversation to happen.

RVL: What sort of event security will be in place for the duration?

SR:  The event will have security; there are several individuals with security experience who will be monitoring the event 24/7.

MX:  As far as security is concerned we will have gatekeepers who will act as guardians for the event .

Red Shouldered Hawks – Kings Mountain State Park

RVL: This is probably going to turn out to be the largest gathering of recognised Elders and Leaders since the COVICA Council was convened in 2000, is it an aim of the conference to unilaterally re-establish some sort of guiding body for the modern culture?

SR:  That type of decision would have to be made by a popular vote of all the leaders, not just those that will be in attendance; the community is far too big now for any one group coming through and establishing any type of regulatory body.  I would think that if one particular area wanted that, it could be established, but again that’s not what this is about.  Opening lines of communication and agreeing to work towards a better community is the first step in any process that might be imagined at this time.

DL: Baby steps.

RVL: Where do you think leadership in the modern culture falls short these days?

SR:  A fair question, and it depends on where you look.  We have leaders that deal mostly in entertainment, we have some that just wandered into the scene and think they should be respected as scions, we have some that are apparently mentally and emotionally disturbed and surprisingly they have followers.  I think that is one of the areas; a true leader develops other leaders and not followers; followers are inevitable, but developing good leaders is rare.  Lack of communication is another; when there is no communication and bad communication is where issues arise.  There are some who sit up in their ivory towers and ignore the works of others and some that cloister themselves and care little about what’s happening in the world around them.  I don’t think there’s any one answer, there’s a variety of things that cause the problem.  Hence, the need to meet.

Lord Stefan Resurrectus, Patriarch of Clan Resurrectus

MX:  Of course we are looking to redefine and give new meaning to ideals of the past. If the vampire and the ideology of the predator does not advance we are no holding true to the values of evolution. I think again every organisation could have a different answer as to where leadership falls short. From the Order of Omnia perspective our foundations are rooted in education and advanced ritual format. We fall short as a community when individuals who claim to be something they aren’t hurt others through sexual abuse, mental abuse or criminal activity. As every culture and community has these feats so do we. That is why education, structure and getting more information out there is so important. So individuals know where to go to be lead safely and securely.

DL: In many cases, I see too much personal ego and even narcissism being bandied about. That is not what good and effective leadership is about.

RVL: …and the solution?

SR:  Meet, greet and speak.  Working together is the only way to repair the problems in our community.

DL: First thing an aspiring good leader should be aware of is: it is NOT about YOU. Not everything begins and ends with you, your opinions, your likes and dislikes. You are the voice for your people. Your own bullshit takes a backseat. Be amicable. If you go around offending other people, or worse, other leaders, simply because your view on something is not theirs, you end up pissing people off, possibly even the wrong people, and that will only continue the divisiveness within the Community. Get off the high horse, and stop patting your own back long enough to shake hands with your peers.

 

RVL: Is there anything else you would like to pass on to our readers at this time about the conference or in general?

DL: Even if you cannot attend in person, please lend your support of the event and its goals. Even just a simple comment on Facebook saying “Hey, good idea, I support this” would be wonderful.

SR:  Come and break bread with us.  Let’s talk, laugh and learn together, eat good food and be entertained.  Let’s grow closer together in the true spirit of unity.

 

RVL: Magistra Xia, Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time today. RVL is very happy to be a sponsor of the conference and we will be watching, with great interest, to see the results… we wish you the very best of luck with the event.

DL: Thank you very much!

 

______________________________________________________________________

A bold move? A grand gesture? An important initiative? Will the benefits be widespread or not?

As this particular conference development is still in it’s infancy, relatively speaking, and there are many more months of work to do before it comes to fruition, there is still ample chance for more and more people to become involved. It is our hope that this will happen, that people from across the culture will recognise the importance of this event.

There can be no doubt that the culture, the community, whatever you wish to call it, has long been crying out for some measure of consistent and common sense direction from its recognised leaders – this event represents a unique opportunity for just that.

It’s not an event for a “portion” of the community, not an event for an elite cadre, it is an event for the whole culture regardless of where you may be, or stand, in relation to that culture. A chance to forge something strong and above all durable that will provide a hitherto unseen level of cooperation and communication.

Will the REAL leaders and Elders please stand up…

 

Copyright RVL, Elder and Leadership Conference 2019, Clan Resurrectus, the Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition and Ordo Omnia 2018

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

…in old Chicago town

Photo of Chicago at night (2012) by velgos.com

Written and presented by

Tim

Many of you who follow RVL will be well aware of the problems that the Vampire, Therian and Otherkin communities in and around Chicago have been dealing with most recently, problems that were highlighted in our reports “A flamin’ good flipper & A new dance in Chicago” and the subsequent VVC issued Global Community Warning which ultimately led to the issuing of a declaration of persona non grata .

In the wake of those developments a new initiative was born in the windy city, an organisation that aims to bring a hitherto unseen, and unrealised, joint communities effort to ensure that Chicago is a haven for nightkind from all paths.

The Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition is aimed at drawing together the independents, houses and groups that have long existed in the area but have, historically, eschewed formal organisation.

As a committed supporter of the initiative we thought we would get the lowdown on the new body which held its first, official, meeting on the evening of April 29th.

It gives us the greatest pleasure to welcome to RVL this evening GCVC Co-founder and CEO Derek Lestat

img. courtesy of: the Greater Chicagoland Vampire Coalition

——————————————————————————————————————–

RVL: Good evening and thank you very much for joining us today.

DL: Thank you for this opportunity.

RVL: The first question, I guess, would have to be why? Why after so many years of small, secluded, underground groups and meetups, was it see as necessary to bring everyone together under the Coalition?

DL: Because small and secluded little groups appear to be going nowhere fast; it’s stagnation. Think of this from the point of view of someone Newly Awakened. You’re going to look for something or someone where you can learn more about yourself, find others like yourself. Sure, there may be something “out there”, but it’s so far underground that you can’t find it, if it’s even there at all. Or it could be not what you’re looking for at all, maybe even something potentially dangerous.
We are coming together as a resource for those Newly Awakeneds who can’t find what they’re searching for. We’re here for the Elders, the so-called Ronin Vampires. We’re here to unite Chicago’s Vampire Community, and to place Chicago where we belong on the map right alongside New Orleans, Houston, Georgia, and all of the rest.

RVL: …and how long have you, personally, been a part of the modern Vampire culture?

DL: About two decades, Awakened. Prior to that, I couldn’t even say.

RVL: What’s the main aim of the Coalition at this point?

DL: Bringing together the Vampires of Chicago, the stragglers, the Newbies, the Meet-Up groups, the Ronin, anyone who has already worked at establishing something, they can all find unity with us.

We aim to unify Chicago, and to cast us in a positive public image.

We want to bring everyone together under one banner of legitimacy, to be a mentoring resource to those who need it; in unity there is strength.

RVL: …and how many groups or organisations, aside from us at RVL, are represented in the coalition at this time?

DL: Chicago is representing ourselves. We are autonomous. We are, however, affiliating with a significant number of the major Houses and Clans, such as those from Houston, Georgia, New Orleans, New Jersey, upstate New York, Alberta CA, with more coming. Right now we’re building our own base for the City and suburbs, and from there we aim to expand to include neighbouring states in the Midwest and around Lake Michigan area.

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RVL: Operationally, how will the coalition work? Will it be, for instance, somewhat along the model of the renowned Dark Nations or do you see a different operational method?

DL: We are currently still forming our structure. We have our core assembled, our Council of Five. As we grow, we’ll be delegating more positions within our group.

In-person Meet-Ups will play an important part. The act of simply getting together in person, meeting up and talking, getting to know one another, that will go a long way in growing this group into something substantial.

RVL: Would it be fair to say then, that each group, House or Order represented will have a say, or a “voting” right in the organisation?

DL: Of course. We’re not a medieval feudal system or political body. Everyone has opinions and points of view, and all are valid and should be voiced.

RVL: Traditionally the Vampire communities of Chicago have been reticent to come out, do you think that this coalition will change that?

DL: Realistically speaking, I think it will for some. Others, well, some will likely wish to remain shadowed by their own choice. The invitation is out there regardless.

Dan Aykroyd, Ray Charles and John Belushi in the 1980 Universal Pictures hit, “The Blues Brothers”

RVL: …and if we might go all “crystal ball” for a moment, what do you envision, down the road, for the Coalition as far as activities and community involvement might go?

DL: I’m envisioning quite a lot. If we go by the examples preceding us, we can have opportunities to give to the secular community. We can organize drives to feed and clothe the homeless. We can host events, including Halloween parties, fundraisers, perhaps even conventions and balls; there shouldn’t be any limits on what we can accomplish. Not to mention events already established within the City that we can participate in, make our presence known, and bolster our public image.
The possibilities are endless.

RVL: Was there an actual inspiration for the Coalition or is this something that you think there has been a need for here for a long time?

DL: There has long been a need for this. For decades, whatever “scene” there has been in Chicago has either been so far underground as to be virtually undetectable, or it’s been non-existent. This creates a vacuum. And as we all know, Nature abhors a vacuum.

As many are aware, someone else thought they could come in unwanted and dictate to us what’s what. Although mercifully short-lived, this so-called “court” was not organized, and apparently set up as an exercise in spite. This is not what Chicago and the Vampire Community needs. We aim to fill this vacuum, and prevent any such future occurrences.

There are also, of course, individuals and groups that represent themselves as “vampires”, and really have nothing to do with the Real Vampire Community. Sometimes this can present a danger to those seeking something different than what those groups/individuals are offering. This can be anything from simply being misleading to outright dangerous. Our aim to establish legitimacy for Chicago’s various vampire organizations should help to differentiate the honest-to-goodness real vampires and affiliates from those who could be potentially harmful, especially to the youth.

 

RVL: There has been a lot of growth around the concept of unity in the culture over the last couple of years, did this have any bearing on the developmental stages of the Coalition concept?

DL: Right now, our aim is to unify Chicago first, to take care of our own backyard, so to speak. After that then we can shift our focus to the greater Community. “Walk before you run”, so to speak.

RVL: …and of course, not too long ago we saw the arrival, suddenly, in Chicago of a Vampire court which is now defunct… what’s your feeling about the concept of unity in the modern culture?

DL: Myself, personally, I think total Unity for the VC is, of course, not a bad idea, but the logistics would be a nightmare. The main thing, I think, would be trying to work every diverse group under the same banner while maintaining their own individuality and belief systems; not every group in the VC holds to the same definitions or hierarchies, for example, or sometimes what even constitutes a “vampire”. And let’s not even touch on the easily-bruised egos within the Community. Plus, there will always be the “scoundrels” or the “trouble-makers” who pop up. That can cause division from within such a unified structure, as some will say to shun them, others will say they have no personal beef with them, while still others won’t give a damn either way.
Not that it isn’t a noble and worthwhile venture, but if it was so easily workable, would it not have been achieved by now?

RVL: …but are we going to see, in your opinion, a “court” or “king/queen” emerge from the coalition?

DL: In the GCVC, no. We’re not a Court, a Clan, a Coven, or a House. We’re not a monarchy, feudal or political system. We’re a gathering of like-minded individuals.
Yes, leadership is a necessity, but we’re not looking to be a “my way or the highway” organization. Everyone has a valid voice, opinion, and point of view, and all are of equal importance. Should something arise that’s in need of a decision or a vote, we’ve founded our Council of Five. This consists of an odd number so as to avoid any chance of a tie vote, and we’ve arrived at a count of five rather than three because five offers a greater range of viewpoints without being overwhelming.

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RVL: So, what would you like to say to any folks in Chicagoland that may be reading this and are keeping themselves out of the “run-of-the-mill” communities?

DL: Without trying to sound overly cliché: “Come out, come out, wherever you are”.
No, seriously, do come out. Make yourselves known to us. Introduce yourselves to us. We can’t really go stalking around the City and Suburbs carrying membership pamphlets, looking for you. If you’re able to pick up Chicago-based radio stations in your car, contact us. We have a Facebook page and a Facebook group , and email contact can be sent to gcvc.chicago@gmail.com. We plan to have more presence on social media as we go along. In fact, we are interested in others within the Chicago Communities who would wish to join us in filling various positions within the Coalition. The more we grow, the better we’ll be able to serve the Community.

RVL: Thank you very much, Derek, for the insight into this important move today, we are sure that it is both a much needed and very welcome infusion for Chicagoland Nightkind, and thank you for giving us a little of your time to introduce The Coalition.

DL: Thank you for this opportunity, and I hope as the GCVC grows, that this won’t be our last interview together.

 

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Chicago, indeed Illinois, it must be said, has never really been a renowned centre of modern Vampire activity or presence even though it is (as of 2017) the 3rd largest city by population in the United States [1] we may wonder why? We may have our own theories as to why but the fact is that now there is a hub, a growing hub, which has received a great response from across the board.

The focus of the Coalition is, naturally, to work within the greater Chicagoland area but in doing so, as our guest said, to forge links with bodies across the country. Naturally this will bring Chicago “online” in the modern real Vampire culture in a way that it has never been before. It’s a very exciting time in The Windy City and it’s only going to get better as the GCVC grows.

 

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