We had the good fortune of connecting with Danielle Kowal and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Danielle, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“If there’s no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters – then all that matters is what we do… All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because, I don’t think people should suffer as they do. Because, if there’s no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.”

You can imagine the looks I get when I mention I’m the Director of the only Vampire Court that’s a 501c3 nonprofit, and that we’ve donated just under $27K in cash and items in our almost seven years as a micro-charity. Sure, we host events like our toy drive as well as an annual ball, but we also look to be a radically-inclusive refuge for those who don’t fit in and want a social network. Where we can be as gothic or introverted as we want; we are here to put ego aside and to do great things together.

One such project we have is the Semi-Fang Project; our take on the semicolon project to help others continue their story while spreading a message of hope as well as anti-suicide resources so that nobody feels alone. That’s the type of kindness I believe that everyone can relate to and agree with; and isn’t that the greatest thing in the world?

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I was someone who had been part of, then walked away from, the vampire subculture/community back in the 2000’s due to amount of infighting, ego, and drama that I saw. It was by a complete fluke that I would show up for the very first Bleeding Hearts Ball at The Church, confused and awed by seeing raffle tickets sold by a friend of mine who did indeed let me know that the organization was not only a legitimate charity, but a registered non-profit. All of the members, officers, and leadership were voted in and the monthly meetings were open to the public. There was a written method of oversight, and the guiding principles were to serve and empower the community, through charity events and leaving ego at the door.

Then I saw Mike, who was excited, nervous, and getting called in at least four different directions as the VCD Rose was projected on the back wall of the main dance floor. We barely had time to meet but nodded and gave a genuine “I’ll see you later” that turned out to be prophetic as I showed up to a regular meeting a few months later and he grinned as he said “Knew you’d come back.” I wasn’t even certain I would be there, but there I was.

Fast forward to 2020, and when COVID-19 had us doing meetings virtually via an online videoconference app. Mike and Rayne decided to step down and pass the baton forward to the next leaders, entrusting us as a membership to nominate and vote on the new leaders. This was frightening as it was nearly unheard of before in our community, but the VCD was known to do things differently so… why not this?

Having to recover from nearly two years of minimal events has been challenging; but through member retention, finding new venues, and collaborating with fellow nonprofits, we’ve weathered the storms and are getting back up to continue our mission to serve and empower our community with a return to our Bleeding Hearts Ball this year, The Changeling Masque, benefiting the Children’s Advocacy Center of North Texas.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Sunday night; we have to hit up Alexandre’s before heading to The Church (now at It’ll Do), because there’s something to be said for prohibition era drinks being made from scratch just off the ‘gayborhood’ before going to dance it out to ‘This Corrosion’ by the Sisters of Mercy.

Weeknights are easy; whenever there’s Karaoke or Pub trivia at The Londoner in Addison, Tuesdays are Alamo Drafthouse nights in Richardson, and there’s no wrong way to view Dallas from the observation deck at Reunion Tower.

Thursdays are great at the Perot Museum, and Fridays are reserved for Panoptikon, now at Sons of Hermann Hall.

The Dallas Arboretum is good for a Saturday afternoon, followed by Spiral Diner or Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse (depending on diet).

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The Vampire Court of Dallas®/VC Dallas Charities™ (VCD) begun in 2015 as Mike and Rayne sought to build a city-wide organization with community and charity in mind, which lead to the first meeting at The Wild Detectives in Bishop Arts. By September of 2016, the first charter was ratified along with the first presiding officers and we did our first major charity event, Nightmare before Christmas, with The Church that following December.

Were it not for Don Nedler, Courtney Crave, and Courtney Collyge with The Lizard Lounge/The Church, we wouldn’t have our now lodestar event, the Bleeding Hearts Ball. I’d be remiss if I do not also mention Lord Byron, Evil M, and Katelin Manley with Panoptikon for their support as we expanded into having pre-parties and turning our toy drive a whole weekend event. We’ve had members and various leaders of other Vampire Courts come from around the world to see how we run things differently and have passed the test of time as we’ve had peaceful transfers of leadership and survived the shutdowns of COVID-19 as well as the loss of The Lizard Lounge.

Lastly, I cannot understate my appreciation for my Vice-Director Bri, officers such as Peach, Kryn, Jon, Flora, and trusting me to bring in an official Board of Directors (we call them the ‘Stake Holders’) for oversight as well as all of our members, volunteers, and supporters. We couldn’t have made it this far without any of you.

Website: VCDallasCharities.org

Instagram: vampirecourtdfw

Twitter: vc_dfw

Facebook: facebook.com/VampireCourtDallas/

Other: guidestar.org/profile/35-2580276

Image Credits
Photo by Will Gwin (seen on photo)

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