Crowds They Gather

We have one week before we get to see Duran Duran live in concert at Ravinia in Chicago!!  In the middle of April and May, I didn’t know if I would make it to June, forget about July.  Here we are now.  Tour time is around the corner, approaching quickly!  Over the years, Rhonda and I have developed a number of touring traditions.  In the last five years or so, one of the biggest traditions is to organize meet-ups before shows.

In 2011, we held a party in London.  During the summer of 2012, we had meet-ups before each of the four shows we attended.  That was tough.  We felt like we were literally running from one place to another, from one event from another.  We were traveling daily to each destination and instead of being able to take our time, we couldn’t.  We had to be responsible.  Yes, we took the task on ourselves because we know how important meet-ups can be.  They are great for all of the fans in attendance who get to meet or see each other!  At each one I have hosted or attended, I witness the same things.  Fans share stories and pictures.  New pictures are taken.  Excitement increases.  This, of course, translates to more energy at the show, which has got to feed the band’s energy.  The example we always give is the Durham show in the summer of 2012.  Of all the shows we saw that summer, it was by far the best.  We can’t help but to think that the large turnout for the pre-show meet-up was part of the reason.

By the end of those summer shows, I was tired, though.  I truly do like and feel VERY comfortable organizing events (I’m a teacher, after all.  I organize lessons and classrooms everyday.  I’m also a political organizer, which means setting up and running campaign activities.  Organizing is in my blood.)  That said, these meet-ups are work.  Someone has to contact venues and communicate with them.  Someone has to put up the event pages on Facebook.  Someone has to answer questions from people attending.  Then, sometimes, there is more to it.  For example, this time around, we will need to create some sort of sign for the Chicago meet-ups.  We have raffles planned with Duran merch!!  There are details that need to be taken care of.  Plus, it means that we can’t get there whenever we want.  We have to arrive in time to set things up and we have to be “on” during the event.  My point is that during the summer of 2012, it was exhausting to always have to be responsible and working.  I didn’t have as much fun as I wanted.

This time, then, we decided to find a balance.  We only planned meet-ups in places that we won’t be traveling to on the day of the show.  Our travel will be more relaxing this way.  We won’t have to worry about arriving at some special time.  This means that half of our shows together will have meet-ups and half won’t.  Yes, we recognize that meet-ups are great fun and enhance the show.  We also appreciate the need for fans to meet each other to develop and reinforce community spirit.  We want to honor that.  Yet, we also owe it to ourselves to be able to relax some and just have fun.

So, what does all of this mean?  It means that we will be working as event coordinators or whatever you want to call us to ensure that the meet-ups in Chicago (both nights), Toronto and Vegas will be great for all those attending.  When we are not working, we will be fans just the rest of you.

One aspect of these meet-ups that we are particularly excited about is our brand new wristbands!  We will have a few of the old ones (the ones that John and Dom have!!) for sale as well as metallic silver and glow-in-the-dark purple ones!  The proceeds to these sales will be to go to the convention we are planning in Chicago for the weekend of August 11th (around Duran Duran Appreciation Day) in 2017.

There is still time for you to RSVP for these events!  Here are our event pages with all of the details:

Friday Night Ravinia Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Saturday Night Ravinia Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Toronto Pre-Show Party  (Facebook)

Vegas Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Hope to see you all on the road soon!

-A

It’s Beautiful, The Dying Sun

Hi everyone. I’m sorry I missed blogging yesterday.  My family said a difficult goodbye to my mom’s partner yesterday.  The process reopened wounds that had hardly closed for my entire family.  On the same token, seeing the love that my mom has for her friend was beautiful. It reminded me to take stock of what is really important.  Lyrics from “The Universe Alone” kept springing to mind throughout the day. They still do.

It seems like it was only a short time ago that I found myself thinking “Day One (without my Dad)”, as I pressed the buttons on our house phone to call my mom.  I needed to hear her voice in order to know she was OK.  Today I hesitated to make that call.  I know she’s fine, and I realize she really needs a little privacy to just be.  It wasn’t long before I saw an unsolicited email from her, confirming that yes – she’s fine, and she’s handling the loose ends (of which there are plenty).  This is simply a new beginning. None of us were eager to begin this new start, but somehow we’ve found ourselves doing just that.

That seems to be an ongoing theme for me lately. Finishing our book brought me to some sort of weird crossroad.  It’s going to take me some time to figure it all out.  At the very least, I’m coming to terms with the idea that it’s OK to start anew.  Writing my story closed the door on my past chapters of fandom, and I’m ready to see what is next. It’s probably not going to be the same as it once was, and that’s OK.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing friends I don’t have the opportunity to see often.  For me, THAT is what gives the trip it’s energy. Seeing Duran Duran is a bonus, but the friendships fuel me, and right now —I need all the love and energy I can get.  And, let’s face it, once I’m in front of Simon, John, Roger, Nick and of course…Dom, I think I’m going to be OK.  🙂  I need my favorite people and my favorite music for a little while. The timing couldn’t really be any better for a new beginning.

-R

 

Question of the Day: Thursday, June 30, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Still Breathing

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  Box Full O’Honey or Tempted?

Question of the Day: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Point of No Return

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  Still Breathing or Virus?

Summer Reading: Young Teacher

Even though I finished writing a couple of weeks ago, I am still trying to catch up. I’m incredibly behind in a few areas (cleaning being one of them).  Amanda and I try to support our fellow Duranies in their creative endeavors. Lately though, we’ve slacked off. Big time.

It’s summer, and if you haven’t given yourself permission to sit outside and do some reading, you really should, and I have just the novella to start. Fellow Duranie Bobbi Ruggiero just had her novella, Young Teacher published as a stand-alone! Originally included in the box set 80s Mix Tape, this is Bobbi’s very first published work.  Congratulations!!

Just long enough to be a juicy read without committing to a third-degree sunburn in order to finish it, Young Teacher is a about a successful, high-strung career woman named Julia Powers who is given guitar lessons as a birthday gift.  Little does she realize that her teacher is none other than Matthew Gordon, her weekday sandwich-maker that she has been drooling over for months.  Sandwich-maker by day, guitarist for the band Joyride by night, Matthew is just as intrigued by Julia.  The age difference is the last thing he notices when she walks into his apartment for her first lesson!

Young Teacher is light, fun and obviously a romance—which I personally welcome after months of academic-heavy research and reading.  There’s just enough tension to make the plot interesting without feeling like the story ends too abruptly.  Another interesting twist is that while the plot is set in the 1980s, it isn’t cliché, which I appreciate.

We are very proud of fellow fans who use the band as a source of inspiration for their creative talents.  We want to champion those efforts.  I’m looking into creating some sort of showcase here on the website.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, check out Young Teacher on Amazon!  (click on image)

Young Teacher Book

-R

Question of the Day: Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Taste the Summer

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  One of Those Days or Point of No Return?

As If We Have the Chance To Live It All Again

This is one of those days where I have nothing to say. So I’m going to ramble, and hopefully I’ll find something here in the impending mess to print.

A little about me at the moment: I am about eight days away from embarking on my “tour.” For the longest time, I saw the trip as a reward for writing 6-8 hours each day.  Amanda and I told ourselves for months that we were working really hard and planning to party in July. Then something happened at the beginning of June that made me rethink going altogether. The details don’t matter,  but it’s been a downward spiral since—and precious little has to do with the band itself.  I really didn’t even want to think about going. I didn’t want to be excited, I just wanted to get through it, which yeah – is WEIRD, even for me.

Even so, I’m looking forward to seeing my sister, friends and a favorite person or two. Those thoughts kept me going.  And then last week I started feeling better about the trip as a whole. There’s a lot going on here at home but I kept trying to remind myself that I have FUN when I am with my friends. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget to look at the forest when you’re stumbling through the trees.

I leave next Tuesday to spend a few days with my sister, then I’ll see Duran Duran in Chicago, Detroit and Toronto.  Oddly, I have had an uneasy feeling about this trip since the beginning of June.  Then this weekend happened.

On Saturday morning I got a text from my mom. She’s at the hospital with her partner/friend/boyfriend/etc (is it obvious that I’m confused about their relationship??).  Turns out, he has been suffering with “heart burn” for two weeks, except it wasn’t heart burn. It was symptoms of a heart attack. A widow maker heart attack, no less.

The details aren’t great. He was very lucky that my mom brought him to the hospital when he did, but he waited far, far too long. He’s on a ventilator with more tubes going in and out of him than I’ve ever seen. His heart, liver and kidneys took a big hit. They’re doing everything they can for him and giving him every opportunity to improve…whatever that means.  I keep telling myself that every hour makes a difference, and things can change and improve quickly.  I am writing this before I go to the hospital today, and they tried some things over night that could make a difference. I didn’t hear from my mom during the night, so that has to be a good thing, right?

This is not my mom’s first rodeo. We lost my dad just over eight years ago. We’ve been very thankful that this man has been there for my mom, and now we are trying to be there for him, but the situation is sticky.  He and my mom aren’t married, but he has designated her to make decisions while he is unable to do so himself.  In other words, it’s a nightmare scenario in a multitude of ways. I worry for her because none of us were ready to go through this type of grief again, particularly her.

On one hand, I want to run far and fast and get the heck out of here. Fight or flight?  I’m ready to fly, thanks. I just don’t feel like I have the fight in me right now. On the other hand, my urge to stay and control are strong. (Yes, I am a control freak. This is why I don’t usually get along with other control freaks, I guess.) The next few days are going to be stressful. While I’d really love to be getting excited by this trip, my mind is elsewhere, sick with worry for my mom.

I don’t really know what all of this means, and there’s no real “Duranie” moral to the story here, although I will say a few things in general:

  1. Pay attention to your body and get check-ups.  Burying your head in the sand does nothing. Heart burn that comes up out of nowhere isn’t a good thing – better to go and find out that it’s really heart burn than ignore it. For every second someone experiences the symptoms of a heart attack, a cell is dying. My mom’s partner went two weeks before getting help. Not good.
  2. Have the guts to write-up your Will (and/or trust…or even your final wishes). Your loved ones will appreciate it in the end. Trust me.  The very last thing anyone wants to do while they are grieving is try to figure out what your wishes might have been, or what legal rights they have to make those decisions, if any.
  3. Live your life to the fullest. Life is not forever. Watching my mom  my mom go through this type of horror twice has taught me well. You get one chance: take it. Make sure you tell the people you love how you really feel and mean it.

I’m off to meet my mom at the hospital.  Please feel free to think positive thoughts and send good juju my way.  My family could certainly use it about now, particularly my mom.

-R

 

 

Question of the Day: Monday, June 27, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Want You More

Which song would you rather have added to the setlist:  Taste the Summer or Finest Hour?

Top 10 Reasons For Tour Excitement Part 1!

I’m a little over ten days away from leaving for the first part of my summer tour!  I have a list of touring things to do like getting the oil changed in the car and getting my hair cut.  I’m starting to think about what clothes and other items to bring.  My dreams are even starting to reflect the upcoming tour.  (Last night, I dreamt that a bunch of Duranies I know decided to go Trick or Treating the night before a show, which means I thought the tour was happening around Halloween??  Weird…)  All in all, I started to think about what I’m really looking forward to with touring.  Here are the Top 10 things I can’t wait for!

10.  Our meet ups:

This summer, we have four meet ups planned in Chicago (both nights), Toronto and Las Vegas.  Who doesn’t love seeing Duranies meeting each other or seeing each other after a few months or a few years?  Stories get shared.  Pictures get taken.  Everyone gets more and more excited for the show.  If you are going to these shows, we would love to have you join us!  Links to the details and the place to RSVP:

Friday Night Ravinia Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Saturday Night Ravinia Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

Toronto Pre-Show Party  (Facebook)

Vegas Pre-Show Party (Facebook)

9.  Meeting new people:

Each show and meet up brings the opportunity to meet new people.  In many cases, we get to meet people we have talked to online, putting faces to names.  Other times, we meet people who have been reading this little blog for years who come and introduce themselves.  Of course, we meet people waiting in line or sitting in our seats.  I still love that moment when you are talking with someone and you realize that this person loves the band like you do.

8.  Seeing old friends:

Of course, each show brings the chance to see people you haven’t seen in a long time.  For this tour, for example, I know that I’ll see people whom I haven’t seen since 2006 or 2009.  Yet, I’ll also see friends who I haven’t seen since the fall shows.  I can’t wait to see everyone!!

7.  Late nights at clubs and bars:

For Rhonda and myself, touring means that we will be spending quite a bit of time in clubs and bars, talking, laughing, drinking, dancing, etc.  The extroverted part of me really loves going out like this and I certainly don’t get much time to do that at home.  You know what else is really fun?  Blogs written late at night after we have consumed an adult beverage or two are usually a pretty fun read.  I’m thinking of blogs like “WHAT DO I DO, AMANDA…I CAN’T GET AN INTERNET CONNECTION!!”  or “ALL I NEED IS VODKA….”  If you all are really lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it), you might get a couple of those this summer!

6.  Following touring traditions:

Over the years, Rhonda and I have developed quite a few traditions while on tour.  Some of these you might be familiar with like drinking vodka tonics or creating set lists that we share on social media.  (Fair warning, Duran Duran, this tradition will live on this summer and I’m sure we have plenty of suggestions for you!)  Others are simply behind-the-scenes, so to speak.  For example, we try to find a takeout menu in which we record funny quotes, moments, etc.  It is a silly way for us to document the tour.

5.  Getting out of town:

I don’t know about any of you but I like to get out of town, sometimes.  While I enjoy where I live, I also like a break from the usual household chores, making dinner, etc.  When I get out of town, I come back fresh and appreciative.  I haven’t really been out of town much during this year at all.  I have been too busy with work and book writing.  Thus, a change of scenery will be really appreciated.

4.  Seeing new places:

One of the biggest reasons I enjoy touring is that I get to see places I haven’t seen before.  The shows give me an excuse to travel to new places.  In fact, this fandom has forced me to travel about 1000 times more than I did before.  While flying still isn’t my thing, I have learned to tolerate it.  Other than that, I have found that I enjoy traveling.  This time around, I will get to see Toronto for the first time.  I have wanted to visit this city for a number of years and now will get to!  Better than that, I’ll see it with my good friends, Rhonda and Heather!

3.  Being in places I haven’t been to in a long time:

Of course, touring also means going to places I have been to before and have good memories of.  This year, we will spend a lot of time in Chicago, which always makes my heart happy since I grew up around the city.  Then, we will travel through Michigan, which also brings back good memories of my grandparents who lived there when I was a kid and going to college in Kalamazoo at Kalamazoo College.  Likewise, on the second part, we will spend a couple of days in Vegas, which definitely brings up some crazy Duran-related memories.

2.  Laughing with Rhonda:

As you all know, Rhonda and I live pretty dang far away from each other so tours bring us an opportunity to actually be in the same city at the same time.  No matter which tour we look back on, there is one certainty on tour.  We will laugh.  We will laugh a LOT.  Sometimes, we laugh at absolutely nothing as we sit in a restaurant booth at 4 in the morning.  Other times, we laugh we drive or run through major downpours.  We can even laugh when Rhonda busts her head open on a soap dish or when I fall flat on my face on the streets of New Orleans.  Thus, I’m sure that there will be plenty of laughter coming up for us this summer!

1.  Seeing shows:

Last but certainly not least, tours mean seeing shows.  The reasons that shows are awesome are too numerous to mention in a short little paragraph.  Thus, I’ll cover all of those details in part 2, which I will write next weekend!

No matter what, there is still nothing that gets me more excited than touring.  It isn’t just about the shows, but about everything that I mentioned here and more.  When I’m on my deathbed (hopefully a long time from now), I’ll look back to touring fondly knowing it was the most fun I ever had.  So, what about the rest of you?  Why are you looking forward to going on tour or seeing a show(s)?

-A

 

Question of the Day: Sunday, June 26, 2016

Yesterday’s winner:  Lady Xanax

Which song would you rather have ADDED to the setlist:  Last Day on Earth or Want You More?

An outspoken examination and celebration of fandom!