The Cascadia RadFaes group on Facebook was discussing how to get a weekly Radical Faerie Coffee going in a smaller city, when there isn’t a real strong Fae community present. In Bellingham, Washington, USA, (pop 80K) there have been regular Satyrday Radical Faerie coffee going for over 5 years. Here’s some things they learned:
- The most important thing is commitment from a core group of Faeries, usually about 2-3 is needed. These Faes need to commit to holding open the circle at a particular time and location. Commit to be there EVERY week, even if you’re the only one who shows up. Don’t get discouraged if it’s not well-attended, especially at first. A RadFae coffee is kind of like a bird feeder: You have to give your brother-sisters a place to land, that they can count on the group always being there when they decide to flit in for a visit and nourishment. But don’t expect everyone to be there every time.
- Once the core nucleus is in place and meeting every week, you’re ready to recruit and advertise. Make sure you’re listed in the local or regional gay press, on http://radfae.org/ , etc. A facebook group or Yahoo group or similar for your coffee might make sense. And when it comes to recruiting, be sure to reach out to those men who are Faeries, but don’t know it yet. Visitors who have a positive experience are likely to come back, and some will even expand the core circle. Send out a weekly reminder of the coffee via email (Yahoo groups does this for you automatically).
- Location matters. For smaller metro areas without gay neighbourhoods, consider a coffee shop in the downtown core, central to everyone and on bus lines. For us, we wanted a place that was not a corporate chain, but instead an independent locally-owned place with a comfortable atmosphere, where 5-10 Faes can hang out comfortably. Couches are great! And make sure it’s quiet enough to have conversations. We were fortunate for our first 4 years to have the Three Trees, a non-profit Christian community coffeehouse, who welcomed us with open arms and never proselytized. When they closed down last year, we moved to the Trapeze Coffee Shop in the Public Market, which is a fund-raising operation for the Bellingham Circus Guild. We fit right in!
- Get your ego out of the way! A Faerie coffee is like a magical bubble that you blow, and then you step back and let it go. It needs to evolve organically, as a group, not just one person’s vision. Don’t be cliquish, and make everyone feel welcome. Remember SUBJECT-SUBJECT consciousness!