So...the first Blue Threads event, subtitled "The Seventh Circle" ran a week ago.
I've typically been one to dissect failures, so I hope that no one will think I'm being unreasonable if I say it was a spectacular success. It is, simply, rare to walk away from an event and after having fairly close personal contact, not be aware of any paying customers who left unhappy.
Obviously there were a lot of lessons to be learned. The event was "rough" on the "Third season of 1936: Horror" level of rough. It's a new genre, and there is a lot we didn't know. We also got crushed for time due to exigencies of City of Glass, the final regular season Threads event of 2009.
We learned a lot about differences in pacing, and production for an all-adult genre. There are a *lot* of kinks (no pun intended) to iron out next time.
Speaking of that, in the end the game skewed very heavily toward kink. I'd seen it as both an opportunity for already kink-friendly roleplayers to experiment with acting out, and a chance for those who were curious to crossover. The few curious folks who came out seemed to have a resoundingly good time, but in the end the skew was strongly enough towards Kink that most of the scenes were biased that way. Ultimately in the Threads style, scenes are written to support the people who sign up. This isn't to say all the material was hard-core...most was softcore or simply "PG." But better than 90% of the attendees had some scene or kink background.
The player base was amazingly mature, respectful and advanced. I just can't say that too strongly. I can't imagine a better group of players to run for.
So, with that brief report filed, I wanted to quote my Foreword from the Program Book, as I thought it was of interest:
We want to welcome each of you to a new adventure. We hope you'll enjoy this weekend and approach it with a smile and a sense of excitement.
At the turn of the Century I was excited to work with a group of Writers to bring the 1936: Horror Roleplay event into creation. In doing so, we took tenyears of experience in producing single-shot theatrical style Roleplay events, and combined them with a "rough but ready" tradition of Roleplay events which ran bi-monthly or more often. Looking back those turn of the century events seem primitive and rustic. Light on plot and long on waiting around.
I have always felt that one of the purposes of Roleplay was to allow adults to fully explore their drives and fantasies, and that doing so has the potential to make us healthier more complete people.
Sex has driven art since the shaping of the Venus of Willendorf, and all art can plausibly be viewed as an exploration of human expressions of the sexual urge and its extensions, including aggression
Blue threads has, as much by the interests of its varied authors as my intention, taken a heavy turn towards sexuality and its exploration through what is commonly called “kink.” This has led a few to suggest that it is “inappropriate” or at least in some way a lesser or lower form of art than Roleplay which more appropriately focuses on fighting imaginary monsters.
Toward the end of the 19th Century, and during the dawning years of the 20th, Sigmund Freud and other Psychologists taught us a fundamental truth that artists long suspected. Sexual Drive, as instinct energy projected from the unconscious part of our psyche drives much of our behavior. Moreover the conflicts of this drive is the source of nearly all internal conflict, as our need to conform to society and control the sexual drive lead to tension and disturbances within the individual, promoting the conscious mind...the ego...to dissipate the psychic energy of these unmet and unconscious needs into other forms.
To me, Blue Threads represents both the next step in Roleplay Arts and a stunning achievement, though I am fully aware of being no more than an innovator...I did not invent adult roleplay. But here, for the first time, we are beginning to explore the central mystery of the human drive. Not its outlets...violence, gamesmanship...but the actual core drive from which all others emanate.
We are breaking new ground in the boundaries of roleplay here and...not unexpectedly...it's going to be a little primitive to start out with. But I hope you'll join with me in seeing this as the first hesistant...possibly slightly ungainly...step down a path which will lead to the development of a potential for the exploration of our fantasies which goes beyond any yet offered by Roleplay or kink alone, merging the intent of roleplay with the liberating factors of kinky play.
- James Gordon Olmstead-Dean
Washington D.C. Jan 2010