What You Need to Feed a GRUE

October 12, 2009

The question I am most asked about the GRUE goes something like this: “When will you do a GRUE in [insert their city here]?”

And the answer is always the same: Whenever you decide to have one.

The thing is, I don’t plan GRUE’s. I facilitate them. I help you get things rolling, and then I come out and make sure they run smoothly, and because I’ve done it a time or nine before, it does. But if you want a GRUE in your town, you have to make it happen – the only GRUE I ever said “Hey, let’s do one here!” is my own town of Madison, WI, home of the 1st and the 6th GRUEs.

But here’s what you need to figure out, if you want to hold a GRUE, in terms of space and logistics. This will eventually become a FAQ as more and more GRUE’s come about. But these are the basics:

You need spaces for the following:  

1) social meet & greet – usually a place similar to wherever a local “munch” is held, though having it at a private home also works IF it’s big enough for everyone to show up. this is NOT a play party, or a formal anything – it’s just getting to know each other.

2) Main GRUE space for Saturday Day: the ideal space has one large “group” area big enough to fit everyone, and several smaller “breakout” areas for smaller sessions. We’ve had GRUE‘s in dance studios (worked really well), yoga studios (worked ok, a little noisy) houses (worked fairly well, though with large groups it’s hard to find one room) a bar (worked REALLY well, with multiple levels and rooms), and the VA hall that you were at. For grues, usually you want a couple of frames or other equipment available, but people will make do with what is there.

The space also has to have food allowed – one of the important ideas is that people don’t get to leave for lunch, it is brought in and made available. The SL GRUE was one of the best examples of this; Madison also did a good job.

It should also be open to all adults – that means 18 and up. It is my very strong belief that if you can vote, die for your country, or be tried and convicted under the full extent of the law, you should be able to talk and learn about kinky sex, too. 

3) Play Party Space The space may or may not be the same site as the GRUE; it’s whatever works for a party that the local group would normally have.

4) Pancake Brunch Site: This is usually a private home, and that seems to work best – in Toronto we tried going out for brunch and it did not work well, but in Madison and St. Louis we had it in houses and it worked well. Generally not everyone who came to the GRUE can make the brunch, but those that do just hang out and eat pancakes.  This adds the cost of instant pancake mix and a buttload of syrup to the GRUE

What do you get out of this?

This is my baby, and it’s designed to pay for itself right out of the box. I suggest that a payment option such as Alertpay or EventBrite be set up so that people can register early – especially since many venues will not allow you to pay at the door (there are exceptions – this is where locals need to check). I urge organizers to try and keep the cost of entry just enough to cover the expenses including the cost of my transportation and lodging. This keeps the admission low (we’ve never had it over $50, and Madison last year was $10).
Sometimes there is extra $$ anyway, as things get bigger, and more people show up. The monies are usually donated to causes such as NCSF, some given to me as an honorarium, and there is a new GRUEvy Award that will be given for the first time at the Conn GRUE (kind of like a Nobel Prize for Kinkiness). All of this is AFTER expenses for all the GRUE crew are covered, of course.

What do you need in terms of accommodations and travel?

As noted above: a room with a bed, access to a shower, and food. I’m not high-maintenance; I’ve enjoyed staying with local members who have room in their homes, but a hotel would work. I prefer flying out of Madison, but I have been known to take the train, the bus, or drive if the situation requires.

How can we draw people from across the country to our GRUE?

I’m a little confused by this question – the GRUEs are designed to be local events, and so I’m really the only one definitely coming from out of town. Not that you might not draw people (as the St. Louis one drew people from San Diego, the Toronto one from New York, the Conn GRUE from Seattle and Canada) but it should be billed and advertised locally – in fact, you can target a FetLife ad that is only for your area kinksters. I’ll even help you design it.

How big is the GRUE?

I don’t know how big a crowd you’ll draw – that’s a factor of the community you have. In Madison, we found a space, calculated how many would fit in it comfortably, figured out how much we’d need to cover feeding that many, renting the space, and my travel and then divided by that number to get the registration fee. We filled up 60 registrants easily, with a waiting list. At the CONN GRUE, over 100 people committed to going via Fetlife, with another 60 or so as maybes. The Unconference scales well; just make sure the event space has enough room!

More questions? Email Graydancer, and I’ll do my best to answer!

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