Category Archives: DJ gigs

Roger Taylor: DJ Set

So, we are a little late with this blog.  We have been moving a bit slow today.  Can’t imagine why…I was only up for 25 hours and reached up for the sunrise after dancing, consuming just a bit of Grey Goose vodka, and going out for dinner and breakfast with a great group of people.  I’m sure you all want to know how last night was.  Of course, some of you might have been paying attention to our Twitter feed last night.  If so, you might have some pics of some drummer/DJ guy and a few pics of the authors of this blog.  I’m sure you all have enough information with just those tweets, right?  So, moving on…what else is new in Duranland?  Wait.  What?  You want more details than that?  Really?  Hmm…

The evening started out on a positive note as a group of us met up at Hop Haus for a little pre-DJ gig meetup.  The food was decent and the drinks were good.  Before too long, though, we were ready to head to Spy Bar, which truly was right around the corner.  Perfect.  Spy Bar is a typical club in that it is dark, long with the bar on the side highlighted by some neon lights here and there.  The club isn’t very big and the DJ booth was at one end, up high to look over the crowd.  The dance floor had a decent amount of space.  At the height of the night, it was crowded but not overly so.  In fact, I would guess that it didn’t sell out.  The DJ booth was roped off and security guards controlled who went in and out of that area along with the side entrance, which is where Roger came and went from.  The security guards weren’t super friendly and stopped a number of fans who definitely inched their way to the front to get a good view of Roger when he arrived and/or to take the perfect picture when he went by.

By the time we arrived, there was a small crowd and the music was pumping.  Of course, Roger didn’t come on until like 12:30 or so and mixed the tunes until about 3:30.  The DJs before him did a good job, we thought, and got the crowd moving.  They definitely paid attention to the crowd and would try to get people involved.  Yet, by midnight, people were definitely anxious for Roger to appear!  When he finally did show up, he only stood briefly on the side before venturing up to the booth.  It was clear that there were some people he knew in the crowd but didn’t say much to them, either.

Roger’s DJ set was very different than when Rhonda and I saw him DJ in Atlantic City in 2008.  In 2008, he played a lot of mash-ups by combining two or more songs recognizable songs.  There was very little of that this time.  Instead, there were more straight up remixes or just house/club music.  He did mix in more Duran than he did last time.  In 2008, we heard Notorious mixed with Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back.  This time, we heard remixes of All You Need Is Now, Girls on Film, Hungry like the Wolf and Wild Boys.  For the record, Rhonda’s reaction to HLTW was as expected.  I’m not going to lie.  I heard some swearing, some “colorful” gestures thrown towards that DJ booth.  My reaction was so predictable, which was to laugh my head off at my partner-in-crime.  It is so easy to get her goat this way!!    Out of the Duran stuff, I definitely enjoyed Wild Boys the most and it was just like it is during their shows–at the end.  I’m sure it is to leave people wanting more and all that.  During Roger’s set, we danced and moved around some.  It seemed like other people did the same. I won’t lie in saying that I, generally, like his set better in 2008.  I am not a huge fan of some of those house/club songs he was spinning.  I also didn’t really like how the booth was SO inaccessible to the crowd.  I get that the DJ booth should be in a location to see the crowd but this one was so removed with both the height and the security presence.  I thought the security was a little over-the-top, in fact.  No one could get anywhere near Roger, but, maybe that is how Roger wanted it?

Roger definitely didn’t do a lot of interacting, in any way, shape or form.  He didn’t look out into the crowd much and seemed to have the set pretty well nailed down before he arrived.  Thus, I don’t know if he would have/did change what he was playing depending on how the crowd reacted and there were clear times when the crowd was more enthusiastic than others.  I was also a little surprised by the lack of birthday anything.  At one point, a cake shaped in high heels arrived with sparklers.  It was brought up to the booth.  Roger saw it and then it was removed.  Perhaps, it was going to be enjoyed afterwards.  Yet, there was no singing of Happy Birthday.  Later, confetti fell to the floor.  Again, there was no connection to the birthday celebration.  Heck, no one said anything, not even Roger.  If I had just shown up to Spy Bar that night, I wouldn’t have even known that anything special was going on.  I was a little disappointed that the crowd didn’t, couldn’t wish Roger a happy birthday.

Speaking of disappointment, at the end of the night, with much encouragement from my friends, I approached a big, tall security guard and asked him if he wouldn’t mind handing Roger a Daily Duranie wristband.  The security guard passed it on to the other DJ who then handed it to Roger.  He, in turn, glanced at it and put it to the side.  Did he pick it up later?  We don’t know.  What we do know is that John Taylor, when he was presented with a wristband, looked at and, in fact, put it on.  Now, we are well aware that it might not have been the best setting.  We are also aware that he might have reacted differently if he knew that it came from a fan.  Nonetheless, it is disappointing.

So, all in all, despite whatever minor disappointments we had, it was a fun night!  We danced and laughed a LOT.  It was great to see friends and enjoy a good time together!  Of course, our weekend has just begun with more clubbing tonight and a Duranie get together tomorrow night!

-A

We’re gonna Do It In Heels! (Wait…I just meant dancing! It IS dancing we’re talking about, right?!?)

So I’m in Chicago, awaiting the arrival of the midwest half of Daily Duranie later this evening. Luckily for me, I was able to turn this trip into a visit to see my younger sister as well. She lives in the Uptown area of Chicago, and from her apartment I can see both Wrigley Field as well as Lake Michigan.  It’s so different from where I live in Southern California – for one thing, no matter what time of day (or night), there is one heck of a lot of noise going on outside.(last night I woke up to wind howling – a storm blew in overnight I guess.) In my town, people start to complain if the trash trucks start working before 7am. And, if you live in my neighborhood, you’d better not have loud music on after 10pm because my neighbors truly will call the police on you. Not quite the case here in vibrant Chicago…and I love it.

Tonight, it’s all about Roger Taylor. I love that because it’s not something I can say very often!  Even when he’s playing with Duran Duran, it’s not as though we go to the shows and say “It’s all about you, Roger!” (Although once upon a time…I might have at least thought it!)  On this date though (Actually midnight tonight), Roger will take to the DJ Booth at Chicago’s SpyBar for his special “Do It In Heels” set. To make the party even more special – Roger’s birthday is April 26th, and so when he begins his set – it’s actually going to be his birthday.  It’s not that often that Duranies have the chance to celebrate a band member’s birthday in the presence of the actual band member, and so those of us in attendance will have to make sure the man has a good party on his special day!

I have only seen Roger DJ one other time, and it was in Atlantic City at the House of Blues Foundation Room several years back. I really had no expectations for what he’d play, and Roger didn’t disappoint – he played music I never really thought I’d ever be dancing to – and yet there I was, dancing to even Justin Timberlake and his buddy Timbaland I am sure. I expect to do the same or at least similar tonight, and I will love every minute of it. (How is that for a pep talk to myself?!?) Truthfully, I would never expect him to start spinning Duran Duran tunes (although I hear he might sometimes use a good remix) anyway, so I’m ready for just about anything.  I think.

What I *am* really ready for though, is to have a great night with some fellow Duranies.  We’re going to start out the evening at Hop Haus, which is on the same street as SpyBar, and then we’ll head over to the club for dancing, drinks, debauchery, and a little Durandemonium. (Note to readers: I’m going to start using that word everywhere…convention or not!)

If you haven’t heard, we’re also doing a little promotion in honor of Roger Taylor’s birthday.  Beginning tonight at midnight (actually 4/26), for 4 days only – we are rolling back convention tickets to early registration prices. You won’t get the extra goodies that came along with early registration tickets, but you’ll save a little money – and don’t we all like that? For more information you can go to the Durandemonium website at http://durandemonium2013.webs.com or buy tickets at Eventbrite (The birthday promo won’t show up until around midnight tonight!) at http://durandemonium2013.eventbrite.com.

Lastly, I just want to say another thank you to everyone for your encouraging comments and messages of support this past week. In moments of self-doubt, they were very helpful, motivating, and just what I needed. Thank you.

-R

Prelude to a Party!

At this point next week, I fully expect that I’ll be extremely tired and in a pretty dang good mood.  More importantly than that, I’ll be beyond antsy for the convention weekend, which is now a little less than 6 months away!  My patience will be shot and I’ll want to talk about the convention all the time.  People will want to shut me up, that’s for sure!  Why will next weekend make me think about the convention?  Simple.  It will be a weekend that contains some of the same elements and ingredients of the convention.  It will be like having a little appetizer, to wet my appetite for the big meal!!!

What are the elements of the convention that will also be present next week?  Some of them are obvious, including Chicago, Duranies, late nights, and clubbing.  Chicago is the place to be both next weekend and for the convention.  I might be a bit biased about Chicago but, to me, it is truly one of the best cities.  What do I like about it?  Separating my connection to the city, I’ll start by saying that there is plenty to do there.  The city has a ton of great museums, including two of my favorites in the Art Institute and Contemporary Art Museum.  Of course, there are science museums, history museums and every other that can be imagined.  Shopping is great there with the famous Michigan Avenue.  There are sporting events and architectural tours to enjoy.  Beyond that and, perhaps more importantly, is that Chicago has a lot of nightlife from clubs of all sorts to restaurants to comedy clubs to plays and more.  Even better, many of the clubs are open late, 4-5 am.  I love that.  I hate going someplace and finding out that the clubs are only open to 2 or midnight.  Unacceptable.  Chicago isn’t like that.  I know that I have spent many nights out until the clubs close followed up by going out to eat at some 24 hour diner.  This, of course, is exactly what both weekends will feature.  This upcoming one will be spent at Spy Bar, dancing to whatever Roger is spinning these days.  Of course, he won’t be playing 80s and I won’t be expecting a lot, or any, Duran.  That isn’t necessarily his focus.  During the weekend of convention, we will be clubbing both Friday and Saturday night.  I’m really looking forward to Saturday night, at Late Bar, as 80s night will be the focus.  They have promised to make it special for us as well.  Could that mean that a lot of Duran will be played?  I sure hope so!!!

Now, of course, Duranies will be at both this week’s DJ Set and at the convention!  I’m assuming that there will be a ton of crossover as I assume that most Duranies coming this week are nearby Duranies.  Obviously, Rhonda is the exception but it also happens that my birthday is at the same time and that she has family in the area.  Anyway, I get people wanting to go to Roger’s DJ Set.  After all, it isn’t everyday that one gets to see one of the band members in person.  That said, it isn’t everyday that one gets to spend an entire weekend with Duranies from around the world, celebrating fandom, either.  In fact, I would argue that in many ways the convention is better.  I know.  Shocking!  Yet, I truly believe that.  For one thing, it is three days long versus a few hours.  Second, you really have a chance to get to know other Duranies at the convention due to time and due to the varied activities.  The connections formed will last beyond the convention, too, which will really help the next tour be even more fun!!  It was in my experience!  Now, of course, another thing both weekends have in common is the clubbing and the late nights!

Roger’s DJ Set is taking place at Spy Bar, which is open until 4 am.  Will I expect that most people will be there until then?  Sure do.  Then, I know that my group of friends are talking about going out for breakfast.  It will be a long night.  The same will be true for the convention as Late Bar is open until 5.  I know that I plan on reaching up for the sunrise that night for sure!!!  I also expect that I might find myself on dance floors during the night, too.  After all, good music and good company, along with a drink or two, allows me to let my hair down, so to speak, and have a good time!  Before I forget, if you are going to Roger’s DJ Set and want to join us beforehand, there is a thread about the meetup on the official facebook event page, which can be found here.  Basically, we will be getting some food and drinks at a nearby restaurant at 8:30.  Please, let us know as I will be setting up a reservation on Monday.  Hope to see you there!

While on the topic of Mr. Roger Taylor, I’m sure that everyone is aware that his DJ Set is being advertised as his birthday bash!  After all, he was born on April 26th.  The convention committee thought that we should figure out a way to celebrate his birth as well!  We decided the best way to do that would be to offer a special birthday promo price!!!  This price is the cost of early registration!!  It won’t include the extra goodies that those who bought a ticket to the convention during actual early registration will get but it will save you some cash!  The promo starts on April 26th and will run until the end of the day on April 30th, central time.  Thus, if you were planning on buying a ticket to the convention, those 4 days would be a great time to do it!!!  Again, the website for the convention is:  Durandemonium2013.  To buy tickets, go to:  http://durandemonium2013.eventbrite.com/#.

I’m so looking forward to this upcoming weekend!  It was be great practice for the convention in October!!!  Hope to see you all there!

-A

Like a Birthday or a Pretty View

I had accepted the fact that I wouldn’t see Rhonda until the convention.  I did.  We had been trying to work out something, some way, some time to get together.  The last time we had been together was during the summer tour in August.  Since Rhonda and I met at the convention in 2004, we have been getting together, usually, about 2 or 3 times per year.  This year, we tried to do something during my spring break with no luck.  Then, we tried to get something together to go see Depeche Mode without success.  After multiple attempts, we stopped trying to figure something out.  We didn’t like it but what could we do.  Earlier this week, though, I got one of those emails.  You all might be familiar with those emails.  These emails usually have subject lines all in caps.  It may make a reference to a certain band we all know.  There may be an exclamation point or ten.  The inside of the email might involve some swearing and name calling, again in reference to that band or members of that band.  The word plotting might be featured a time or two.  This particular email involved a certain drummer doing a DJ set in a city near me.

By now, I’m sure that most of you have heard/read that Roger Taylor is coming to Chicago to do a DJ Set for his birthday at the Spy Bar.  For more information, you can go to the event page that Duran set up on their facebook here.  This was just the push that Rhonda and I needed to ensure that we see each other more than once during 2013.  It didn’t hurt that my birthday is the following Monday.  Even more cool is that I have a Duranie get together/party planned for that Saturday.  I didn’t necessarily mean for it to be near my birthday but that is when local or nearby Duranies were available.  It worked out well that way, I think!  Nonetheless, as soon as I received this email from Rhonda, the plotting began.  Could she get a ticket?  Do we need tickets to the event?  Where would she fly into and out of?  How long could she be gone?  What did I need to change in my schedule?  The verdict of the story is that we figured it out quickly so that we could go to Roger’s DJ set and so Rhonda could come back to my place for my Duranie party!  This will be the warm-up to the convention in October!!!

What amuses me the most is how good at this we have gotten.  There were no complaints about short notice.  We didn’t need a lot of time to figure out all of the details.  The plotting didn’t take long and wasn’t painful.  After all, we have learned the steps to this sort of thing well.  In fact, we have joked that our next book should be about what we have learned since getting involved in the Duran Duran fandom.  We might have quite a bit to say, actually!!  Anyway, to say that I’m excited about this upcoming weekend is an understatement!  I love having something to look forward to and this weekend won’t disappoint!  Of course, I’m looking forward to dancing to Roger’s DJ Set but I have to admit that I’m looking forward more to seeing my Duranie friends both at the Spy Bar and at my party.  For me, fandom really is about getting together with friends!

Now, of course, as you all know Rhonda and I love to bring fans together when we can.  To that end, we have found a place called Hop Haus at 646 N. Franklin to meet up before Roger’s set at 8:30.  If you are interested in attending, just comment here, tweet us, send us a message on facebook or send us an email so we know how many people to expect.  We would love to have you come!  Then, of course, we can repeat this fun in October with the convention!  While this weekend will be great with two Duran related events, the convention will be better since it is an ENTIRE weekend of being with Duranies and focusing on the music we enjoy so much by attending that screening of A Diamond of the Mind, by playing Duran related games, by partying at the dinner/dance and more!  I can’t wait and now because I have this birthday weekend to look forward to as well, I might just survive until then!!

-A

Get Angry at the Weekend and Go Back to School

Tuesday evening, I went to a meeting to discuss possible political work with the people who were my campaign volunteers.  I looked forward to the meeting as I miss many of the people now that it isn’t campaign season.  Yet, instead of enjoying myself, I found myself increasingly frustrated.  Why?  Well, our discussion included the results in the last election, which included results on three seats for our local school district’s board.  Now, as you all know, I’m a teacher and many of my team are current or former teachers as well.  (That probably says something about Wisconsin teachers!)  Anyway, the discussion moved away from the results to discussion on the new superintendent of the district.  During this never-ending discussion, everyone kept asking me what I thought about the new person, what her plans are, what she has done as far as outreach was concerned, etc.  Eventually, the discussion became just about education, in general, and different mandates within my district.  After an hour, I wanted to beat my head against the wall.  Do I have some opinions about the state of my district?  Of course.  Do I have thoughts about the school board results?  Sure.  Do I have a few ideas on the new superintendent?  Maybe.  Yet, we weren’t there to discuss all that.  We weren’t.  We were there to discuss possible upcoming political actions.  We weren’t there to debate actions on education, either.  What irritates me is that a number of these people ALWAYS ask me about teaching and the state of education and only about that!  I understand why they do.  They know that I’m a teacher.  It seems logical to them.  For me, though, I don’t have those meetings to talk about WORK.  I am there to talk about other things.  I talk about work plenty when I am at work.  I want a break from work.  Is that too much to ask for?

After the meeting, I arrived home to check on the online world, including facebook.  That night, like I frequently see, someone had posted an article by a teacher who talked about why he would not encourage anyone to go into teaching.  That didn’t surprise me.  Yet, I made the mistake of looking at the comments that followed.  A number of comments were offering support to teachers and how hard our job must be.  Unfortunately, a number of them were usual anti-teaching rants about how little we work since we only work until 3 and how we get so many days off and summers, etc.  Yeah…that isn’t the first time I have read/heard things like that.  It won’t be the last.  My only response to those comments is that I would gladly allow them to take over my job for a full calendar year so they can see how wrong that comment is.  As I tried to sleep that night, I pondered about how both the meeting and the comments were expressing the same thing.  They want me to be a teacher at all times and do nothing but think, breathe and talk teaching and education.  I shouldn’t want to talk about anything.  I shouldn’t want to have other thoughts or interests.  I shouldn’t want to take a break from it ever.  Teaching should be my only identity.  I shouldn’t be an organizer/campaigner/activist.  I shouldn’t be a fan/writer/blogger.  I am not sure where my friends and family should fit in.  Maybe they shouldn’t be that important either.  Nope, it should be all teaching, all the time.

Clearly, I don’t think it is fair of people at my meeting or the random people posting comments to think that I should only talk about teaching.  I think we would all agree that people aren’t just their jobs.  People should be allowed to have other interests, no matter what your job is or how important it is.  I shouldn’t have to just think about teaching.  I should be allowed to have a life outside of work.  I bet everyone reading this would agree with this.  Yet, I wonder if we really think this for the members of Duran.  Do they have a right to think about something outside of their JOB?  Can they think or talk about something other than Duran or something else connected to Duran?  Do we as fans let them?    I wonder if we do.  This week, for example, Simon showed up on Twitter.  The first tweet I noticed was about Margaret Thatcher’s passing.  Soon after that, my timeline was filled with tweets to Simon.  Were they tweets about her death?  Were they tweets reacting to what Simon said?  From what I saw, they weren’t, for the most part.  Many of the tweets were about the band and the work in the studio.  Is this just like the people at my meeting who seemed to think I would want to talk about work when I’m not at work?  While I understand how we all want to know what is going on in the studio and how the album is going, should Simon and the others only get to talk about work?  After all, Duran is just their job.  Yes, it is a big part of their lives but it isn’t their whole lives.  They have ideas outside of the band.  They have other interests.  I know what some of you are saying…but they are celebrities.  Their job is different than yours and mine.  True.  They are.  Yes, their job is different than mine.  What part of being a celebrity means that they can or should only think about work?  Maybe, I’m missing something but I think they should be allowed to think and talk about other things.

Then, of course, I have also seen some criticism around Duran’s time in the studio.  Where/when did this criticism come from?  I saw some of it as soon as John’s book talk in Copenhagen was announced for April 17th.  Then, when Roger’s DJ Set in Chicago was announced for April 25th, the criticism increased.  “Shouldn’t they be in the studio?  Shouldn’t they be working more?  Why are they taking breaks?  This album will never get done.  Why isn’t the album their priority?”  I could keep going but those are some of the things I have been hearing.  Isn’t this like those people who criticize teachers like me for getting a break?  Some people are allowed breaks but others aren’t?  Is this fair?  I get it.  People want the album to be done as quickly as possible.  We all want the album today or, at the very latest, next week.  We love Duran music and we would love to hear new music from them.  That said, they aren’t machines.  They are people who do create and perform music for their careers.  I believe, though, that they, like everyone else, need breaks.  Breaks help people be productive.  Also, they are involved in the creative arts.  I don’t believe that people can just be creative every single day to the same level as the same as the day before and the same level as  the day after.  People can’t control creativity like this.  I know that my mom, who is an artist, can’t.  She has times when nothing hits her.  She may try to work on something and nothing shows well.  Then, at other times, she can’t stop her creativity.  On those days, I think my dad has to make her step away from her work just to eat.  I know that I feel this way with writing.  Some days, I don’t feel like I can even write a sentence and if I do, none of them make sense.  Other days, I wish that I could just write the whole day and all of it sounds fabulous.

I think my point here is that I’m not just my profession and should be allowed to have breaks and other interests.  Likewise, John, Simon, Dom, Roger and Nick are in a band for their careers.  They, too, should be allowed to have other interests and be allowed to have breaks.  Maybe, I’m crazy but I don’t think their fame took away this element of their humanity.

-A

A Personal Appeal

Today I spent the better part of my day (thus far anyway) filling out registration forms and cleaning.  You see, my oldest started high school today, and my middle one registers for junior high tomorrow.  Then he goes and gets braces in the afternoon.  As I wrote check after check (registration is getting expensive nowadays!), bracing (ha – a pun!) for tomorrows payment to the Orthodontist, I found myself daydreaming about Italy and a certain DJ who apparently moonlights as a drummer for Duran Duran.  (My attempt at humor.  Don’t say I’m not entertaining!)  I know that it’s tough to believe I’d spend time actually daydreaming about Roger Taylor…but when you’re filling out form after form of names and emergency phone numbers, then signing checks, well…what can you do?

I hate to say it, but I’m jealous.  Make no mistake, I’d definitely be willing to do the hard time and take the place of anyone who was able to make it to Roger’s gig in Sicily a week or so ago, and then again to the gig in Italy a few days ago.  In return, that person could be “treated” to a day or several in the life of the suburban American Mom.  (that sounds like the name of a  TV show that will never happen…)  Never mind his Second Life gigs…I’d get stuck behind a couch, and not even with anyone interesting – I’d be alone, trying to learn how to walk or something.  Blah.  It wasn’t enough knowing that Roger was in a beautiful Mediterranean climate, he had to even send pictures.  Not that I minded – it actually helped in my moment of weakness this morning!

My question is – when is he coming to the US to DJ, and more appropriately in my case – when is he going to come to So CA?!?   I really don’t know how Roger himself feels about California (LA to be specific), but I do know that Nick isn’t in love with the place, and I’m pretty sure Simon’s feelings are fairly similar.  I just know that Roger has never made it here to DJ as of yet, and to the best of my knowledge – he hasn’t even done a party after a show here.  (again, sadness prevails.  *sigh*)  All of that in mind, if I’m going to be completely honest here, I suppose I understand the reasons.  First of all, I really don’t think our club scene is all that fabulous.  For live music, Sunset is the place to be, but I don’t think our clubs are as consistent as say, New York City, South Beach…or just about anywhere else.  I don’t know why.  (that’s not true.  I do know.  Our musical taste here in So CA is HORRID.  That’s why…but comparatively speaking I’m a crotchety old lady compared to a twenty-something.  It’s the cross I bear. *sigh*)  Our clubs are also very far apart – we don’t have places here where several clubs are all on one street or area.  That’s the curse and the beauty of the LA area.  It’s huge and you have to have a car to get around.

My shameless appeal follows:

The bottom line here, and I know I don’t speak alone – is that we want Roger.  Please.  No, we might not be young; and no, we probably won’t ever learn not to request Duran Duran; but we can dance (I didn’t say well…), and we do know how to have a good time.  Some of us even know how to behave!

We’ve got a few good months left on MY coast before cold weather sets in (although by English standards, it’ll still be warm here in December!!!), and if you time it right, you could take another picture of your favorite view in California….laying by yet another pool tanning away!  

-R