Say that five times fast, I dare ya!
Shibaricon was every bit as wonderful as I expected. I met up with old friends, made new friends, and met up with new old friends from online that I’d never seen before. Many people commented that they enjoyed the Ropecast, others that they’d liked Nawashi, even a few were fans of Jujun (whose final chapter comes next week).
But the most comments I got were on a particular shirt I wore. A shirt that said, on the front, You have been eaten by a GRUE. And on the back, Next time, bring more rope.
What the heck was that about? people asked. Some laughed at the front, thinking it was a reference to Zork, but then saw the back and scratched their heads, puzzled. And there were a few – more than a few, actually, who smiled with a knowing, remembering smile.
One of these was the person who gave me the shirt in the first place, Sascha. She has been to a GRUE before, in Toronto. Another was Phaedra, the middle-eastern dancing ropeslut, who was instrumental in getting the Madison GRUE together last year. Nawa G and Ms. J gave beaming, big smiles when they saw it, remembering the unforgettable play party at their house while it stormed outside and he….well, let’s not talk about that. Suffice to say it was memorable.
And best of all were my friends A’ja and Lily the Rope Ho, who smiled not only the smile of memory but also the smile of anticipation…because they know the next GRUE is going to be eating people right in their home town of St. Louis, June 26-28th. That’s how the GRUE works, you see – it’s a home-grown effort, by a couple of people who say “We want to have some ropetastic fun! We want to do it in a different way than those big fancy cons! We want an Unconference!”
Now maybe they want high intellectual and political conversations and presentations at their Unconference, like the two Sex 2.0 conferences. Maybe they want only talking, no demos, and packing in lots and lots of material by making sure nothing lasts longer than 20 minutes, like the KinkForAll conference in NYC.
But Lily & A’ja decided to bring the GRUE back to St. Louis, with room for both intellectual and political discussions on gender, queer issues, poly…and also hard-core demos like needle play, suspension, flogging, fisting…you name it.
I mean that. You name it. You come to the GRUE and are shown a blank wall, and told: “This is our agenda.” Then I step in, work some magic*, and 30 minutes later the wall is covered with topics you and the others present have decided to talk/present on. You wonder how you’re going to have enough time to cover them all. And then I explain how: you’re simply going to take the time. There are no arbitrary time limits at a GRUE – if it takes 15 minutes to show how to tie up testicles, you take 15 minutes. If it takes 3 hours to learn Arisue Go’s suspension technique, you take the 3 hours. And if at any time during that 15 minutes to 3 hours you don’t like what you’re doing, you’re encouraged – hell, you’re required – to go off and do something you are invested in.
This is why GRUE’s need aftercare, in the form of Graydancer’s World-Famous Cheap-Ass Pancakes at brunch the next day. Like the other unconferences, it’s more than just the organizers of the event that are working on making things happen. It’s your event, it’s your subject, and we’ve found (sometimes the hard way) that when you get that involved, then ending it is hard. That’s why there are still friends who have met at GRUE’s who, years later, are still closer than ever. That’s why people come to more than one, and will travel to be there. Hell, I know of one couple who met for the first time at the very first GRUE, and last I checked were not only still together but were – well, that would be telling, but let’s just say things are going well.
You’ve got a little less than a month to register, and if there’s a little voice inside your head saying “But how can I come to an event where I don’t know who’s presenting?” I would suggest you look at the people listed above. Then add to that list people like Cherries Jubalie, Leon von Monkeyfetish, Lqqkout, DeviantTouch and Jinx, Sir Dart, the Control Enthusiast, Andrea Zanin, Sar, Nullmoniker, Feral Minette, Sheryn B…the list goes on. All have presented at past GRUEs, and they are only the ones you’ve heard of. Some of them gave their first presentation in the friendly, no-pressure environment of the GRUE. Others have tried out new classes and classes that regular ‘cons won’t ask for, just for the chance to explore new topics in new ways.
Literally hundreds of people have taken the chance that a group of concerned kinksters can come together and benefit from addressing issues and exploring topics together. So far, not one of them has come to me and said “Damn, what a waste of time, wish I hadn’t come.”
No, usually it’s more “So…when’s the next GRUE?”
It’s in St. Louis, my friends, June 26-28th. Come and get eaten by a GRUE.
And bring lots of rope.
For more information on the GRUE, I recommend reading
or joining the GRUEp on FetLife
* It’s not really magic. Just some stuff I learned via wikipedia. But it works.