Short answer: AWESOME!
Shoutout: A big hello to everyone I met at the Bash 😀
Want more deets? Sit back and get comfy, because I have a lot to tell you.
* ~ The Background ~ *
For those of you who don’t know or forgot (and thought I was ignoring you–I wasn’t!), I was at GWNN Bash 2022, held in Austin, Texas July 22-24. I was a vendor, an outsider, and it was my first kink convention.
“But you’re from Michigan; how was Texas your first event?”
Multiperv is the one who got me there. He is one of the first people I “met” in smedia (my UNaffectionate term for social media); that being bdsmlr (NSFW link). In 2019, he invited me to the Bash but it was too soon for me to “come out.”
Thanks to COVID, the Bash was suspended in 2020 and 2021, making 2022 a record attendance year.
* ~ Multiperv and Austin ~ *
Thanks to Multiperv, I was able to focus on the event. He was a consummate host, tour guide and Multipurpose Guy Friday. In fact, the one time he didn’t have a requested tool, Mistress B, the vendor next door, offered to loan it! Take a look at her Boutique.
Every restaurant Multiperv took us to served incredible food. I don’t remember the names of them, but we had BBQ (brisket was outta this world), authentic Mexican, burgers with adult shakes, quick tacos, and evil hot dogs.
We went to Esther’s Follies, which was the surprise event. I don’t remember laughing so hard at a live show before–and yes, you were *supposed to* laugh 😀 It’s a fast-paced variety show focused on comedy, with singing, dancing, magic, and audience participation. Highly recommended!
We also saw Killer Queen (a tribute Queen band) at the Moody Theater, which was wonderful. It’s also the place where Austin City Limits is filmed live.
Multiperv has seen Queen live and said Killer Queen did an amazing performance, copying several idiosyncrasies the real band had when they performed.
While the concert wasn’t a comedy, I did find something hysterical… on our way out, there were two of Austin’s finest, leaning against a table swiping their phones. I grabbed a pic to show you. ***Purple circles added by yours truly***
My vanilla bestie, Claire, helped me immeasurably in the booth. I couldn’t have done it without her. After being around kinksters for a weekend, she thinks she’s graduated from “vanilla” to “Neopolitan”. *grin*
GWNN, or the Group With No Name, is one of the oldest kink groups in Austin. It is a gateway BDSM lifestyle group. While many specialized nichés have branched off, GWNN remains the central hub.
I’ll get into more history and facts in another blog post, because I’m itching to give you the overall picture. Then, I’ll go back and fill in more details.
Several concerns were raised before I went:
Concern 1 ~ It’s a heavily maledom event, and some had a fear that men would try to “flip” me.
Response: This was not a concern I shared. But here’s the better answer: GWNN members, including vendors, are family.
Even though the Bash was filled with kink, there were no labels in attendance; only people. That bears repeating. When you strip everything down, the core is people. Kinksters, for sure, with sexual appetites and fetishes, but people first.
The GWNN Bash is an environment of freedom and acceptance. Some keep their private and personal lives separate, and they’re grateful for the anonymity GWNN provides. This is a weekend where they can be “out” in their kinky glory.
Not only do they value acceptance but they extend it to all. As an outsider, I was welcomed and included. And I felt a part of the GWNN family immediately. Thank you to GWNN, my new adopted family in Texas!
Concern 2 ~ Austin’s weather will hit 100; you’ll be hot/businesses try to offset the heat by setting their thermostats to arctic, so bring a sweater.
Response: Aside from summing up the Bash as “awesome”, the next most-used adjective is “FUCKINHOT”! Before I left, I dismissed the concern, saying, “It may be hot outside, but I’ll be indoors, in air conditioning.”
HA! The conference center’s a/c worked only in choice places, and not at all in the vending room. I now understand why “melt” is a four-letter word.
Austin recently dealt with power failures/brownouts, so businesses never reached “arctic” temps. Our reprieve was a full-blast a/c attack in the hotel room and in Multiperv’s car… which left Multiperv shivering while chauffeuring. Sorry-not-sorry, Multiperv!
On the flipside, the GWNN staff couldn’t’ve worked harder to make things better. They rushed to bring fans and a/c units. No, it didn’t help with the sweltering but it wasn’t GWNN’s fault, either.
Plus, someone regularly wheeled a cart with drinks and snacks for the vendors. I’d like to tell you that most of the time it was Luna, but she claimed NOT to be helping… except Sunday. *grin* [inside joke is she’d walk by and say “I’m not helping!”]
* ~ The Booth ~ *
I received many compliments on the organization and marketing of my booth. But the thing that actually drew squeals were my quizzes. People love taking quizzes. Some did the quiz at the booth, got the recommendation for “Mistress Managed”, and said, “That’s the one I want!”
The frames (on either end of the table) contain business cards. On the front is a book cover, with a synopsis and QR code on the back.
I’ve been asked repeatedly whether sales were good. Before I answer, let me tell you that my focus for the event was getting a kink convention under the proverbial belt, getting my name out, learning something, and networking.
That said, I am ecstatic to report that I took two suitcases with me, and I returned with only one. [I threw away the one that had seen better days.] The sales and meeting new readers were bonuses to an amazing weekend.
As this post is getting long, I will leave you with this story…
The banner on the wall was supposed to be a standing, 6.5′ tall, retractable banner. However, first thing outta the gate, I wanted to impress Multiperv and Claire by setting it up. Not even half a second after it was hooked did it UNhook itself and *snap* back into its case.
The force of the retraction pulled the banner from the top bar, leaving the three non-mechanically-inclined to hope that another vendor would be able to assist in the morning.
Meet Christopher, owner of Vark & Co. He is a larger-than-life presence with an infectious smile and mischievous glint. I loved him immediately, and asked if he would be willing to help.
He called me “Darlin’” and followed me to the booth, where he attempted to reaffix the banner. But it was obvious the dysfunctional mechanism could not be repaired. I thanked him, and we moved to Plan B, which was removing the banner itself and hanging it.
However, we needed more umph to coax the push-pins into the wall, so I requested Christopher’s help again.
Christopher and Claire stood on chairs, and Christopher nailed in a pin. Then Claire asked if they should switch places on the chairs while holding the banner, hammer and pins. And Christopher asked, “What do you think I am, one of the Flying Meringues?”
But switch places he did, and my banner was displayed thanks to Christopher.
I was welcomed by the other vendors, and Christopher took time out of his booth preparation to help me. It demonstrates the sense of family and community that is the foundation of the kink community at GWNN.
* ~ Preview of Things to Come ~ *
Classes: I attended three ~ pain, whips, and CBT.
After-hours parties. Disclaimer: I did not participate, and anonymity and confidentiality will be honored. But I’m a writer; I can still provide some *hot* details!
People! I had the pleasure of interviewing several people. I can’t wait to introduce you to Christopher, Dr. Bob, Stef and Raechel, and Master Eric!
Collaboration was on hold for a bit. But we have drafted the first book, in what will be a novella series, and 25% of book two! For more information about the process, please see the previous blog post.
Also, I am working on a Christmas novel, where I poke fun at made-for-TV holiday movies and, of course, NOT fading to black before the good scenes.
Before I left for GWNN Bash, I arced the entire story, and outlined each chapter. AAANNNDDD I’ve got the first 10k words down. I LOVE this book… coming soon to a holiday near you.
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For other kinky advice, check my blog archives.