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  • Writer's pictureKaden Sinclair

Xanadu Update

Most dialogue occurs on the Xanadu FB group page. Yes, I know many people dislike using FB, but for groups it's helpful. Our FB page is Xanadu @ 5015 Bond

An update to the future of Xanadu:

First, thank you to the community stepping up into roles to lead various efforts. This space is unique in that it is run by people willing to lead, not an exclusive group. That's you. Hannah Wynner (Banana Pants) recently pulled the community together to talk. I stayed away, because I'm not helping anything if I'm constantly in the mix and you guys don't understand you are leaders where you choose to lead. I'm NOT the boss or leader here. I'm the guy responsible for protecting you and the space, empowering you to make it work. Not the guy who should solve or fix everything, because I'll fall over dead in a ditch from the stress.

We have various large efforts underway. Grants group has been talking on Discord to get the grant checklist and various needs put together Aly Louise Tim Burr and Michael Hyatt are among that group (speak up if I missed active people)! They should be providing an update soon. Most notable is that we have signed a contract with Premio Services, a granting organization that is highly successful. We dug into the coffers to pay for this engagement, but it should yield additional possibilities down the road. As with this and ANY effort, you are always welcome to join and help. A little or a lot. Every effort adds to the whole.

Second is the fundraising group. Camrynn Brooks, Dowona Uhlry, Austin Lindstrom, are working on options there. We are applying for a gaming license on top of things to put together raffle and gaming efforts as permitted by law and within the rules of the gaming license. Our lawyers are drafting some guidelines to ensure we do things correctly and properly.

Third is that myself and Randy, to start, are putting together a salary donation to hire Vicki Stevens to help the boards and myself as I struggle with the the enormous random details. We hope to expand paying people as we find funding.

Fourth is that I'm still working to fund things as much as is reasonable while we shift toward self-sufficiency. That's asking a lot, but it buys us time. I'll deal with the stress, since your help is moving us toward grants and fundraising.

Fifth is that we hope to find ways to monetize some of our space. That's an ongoing discussion and one idea that I like is a farmers market. Possibly weekly throughout the summer. This is outside and it might bring in more coffee sales to help Morgan keep the coffee trailer going, but it also might allow us to sell fundraiser items. Plants are among that (those sales are paying for expanding the plant side of things, which is becoming increasingly popular. That's technically Gardens of Xanadu, but the offset of funds allows me to contribute more. If things go well, GoX can directly donate, adding more funding. This farmers market may allow the community to also sell their wares, attracting more people, which may buy more of what Xanadu has to offer. Just one thought among a long list.

I believe standard meetings to chat and update should probably be set up and that's something I'll work with Vicki on doing.

The shop will need to evolve. Justinian, Patrick Morrison, Michael Yates, Greg Harley, and Ross Butler will likely be working out how that should be done. Some ideas there are to turn it into a partly monetized space for people to rent or do projects, with supervision. I'll let them speak to that.

As always, I'm trying my hardest to ensure we follow whatever path is best. Connie, Randy, and I have been moving some gears forward. Bruiser continues to pour countless hours and time into keeping things going and she's doing more than 4 people, so finding a way to help her is also part of the plan. The biggest one is to support her amazing new company Dream Team Variety as they undergo growth, including trying to maintain space for them to rehearse and create.

That's where we are. Patrick Morrison previously posted that we are looking at $9k a month. It threw a lot of people into confusion about the bills and such. That's to include a FTE to run the space, which we need. We must hire. Volunteering is all well and good, until it burns people out. Many people come in like it's a standard business. Expecting everything to work, to be clean, to be available and set up. Well... no. This is like sharing a home. You have to keep it that way or it falls apart. Frankly, you don't pay enough in membership to pay for a butler and some fancy naughty maids prancing around keeping it all spiffy. You want that, donate a bunch to hire someone. I mean, the naughty maids part you probably could go see at the variety shows at the VAC, which we urge, but that's not helping this situation.

Many of you clean, organize, and try to take care of things. That gets lost when we post about the garbage overflowing, the bathrooms messy, and other such things. Thank you. I DO notice and you don't get a lot of cheering for doing so much. Buffie Main and her team consistently take super good care of things and endure cranky crotchy face Kaden sometimes. But it does get done. Overlooking your efforts happens a lot, so it's tough on those people that come in to clean and keep things nice and then they see that we focus on the negative. We will, however, sometimes post bitchy posts when something is broken or someone poops in the shower (yes, that happened). And yeah, sometimes people go on rants that we have to tame. The point is maintaining a free and open space to dialogue, fight, throw out love and hugs, and generally act as a type of family.

With that, I will say that Xanadu has been teetering close to needing to simply shut the doors and turn the space into something making money so we HAVE money to keep the space. That cannot continue, since uncertainty only adds to the stress everyone feels. Right now, we are looking at how to keep the space going, make it self sufficient, close down abuses (people getting a membership for one month, throwing a party, then ditching), and how to turn it back into a place that people love. We have to try something different. It may seem overwhelming, but honestly, it's a lot of little pieces, working together. All manageable if we have people taking each little piece.

Like Banana pants did recently, we need periodic public/community meetings so people have a chance to ask questions, be heard, step in, step out, hand things over to someone else, or make their ideas come alive. Online is NOT a good space for working together all the time. It allows for too much unilateral dialogue, misunderstanding, and lack of accountability. It works for stuff like me posting a novel here, but not for healthy ongoing relationships with each other.

I'd ask that this group consider setting up those ongoing meetings. Maybe someone rotates through the town crier, being the person to call a meeting to chat. Some of those might simply be friendly hangout updates. Some might have serious topics. Post an agenda, respect time, and adhere to the point of the meeting. If choose to linger after, great. But if you choose to call one, post exactly the topics and keep those brief with follow up times if they need.

Hope all of this helps.

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