Category Archives: Durandemonium 2013

Another Durandemonium?

I’m really not on Facebook very much anymore.  Yes, I go over there for Daily Duranie purposes or if someone tags me in a photo or post, but I don’t go there to scroll through people’s posts very often.  In my busy schedule, something had to go and that seems to be one that is cut a lot.  Part of the reason it is cut more than other things is because I just don’t see as many interesting posts as I used to.  One aspect of Facebook that I do enjoy is the “See Your Memories” part.  I often go to look at mine.  I am reminded of what was on my mind when or what I was doing a year ago or three.  This weekend, a photo popped up.

Durandemonium 13 materials

What the heck is all of this, you might be wondering?!  This was the back of my parents’ van on this weekend two years ago.  The van and its contents were headed to Chicago for Durandemonium, the Duran Duran fans convention we organized.  Inside those boxes were banquet decorations, Duran games, merchandise for raffles and much, much more.  In seeing this picture, I shared it to my timeline as it brought a smile to my face.  What made me smile even more was all of the comments people posted in response, many of whom were convention attendees!  It certainly made me think about planning the convention, the convention itself and the after effects of this convention.

Planning the convention was not as easy as I had assumed before I began the process.  I knew that there would be a lot of details to arrange and take care of but I didn’t realize just how many.  Then, there were the financial responsibilities of it as all of the businesses we worked with needed deposits and needed someone to charge for the costs.  That fell to me and, at times, it seemed that I had put far too much risk on my own finances.  Thankfully, it all worked out but still added quite a bit of stress in my life.  Of course, beyond all of that, there were constant requests about when, where, how to have the convention.  The truth we knew going in and got reinforced was that we can’t and couldn’t please everyone.  Many people wanted a different weekend or a different location or different activities or a different cost.  It was hard making those decisions, knowing that we weren’t going to make all people happy.

Once the event started, though, all of those worries wiped away.  I had too much to do and was living in the moment so I couldn’t worry about criticisms.  I wouldn’t worry.  That weekend moved by so quickly.  It felt to me that we went from one activity to the next with very little down time.  (I wonder if attendees had that same feeling?).  Some activities, of course, stick out WAY more than others.  I admit that I loved running the “get to know you Duran games” during registration, but I really LOVED seeing A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen at a local movie theater.  That Saturday night was a ton of fun with the banquet and after banquet party at Late Bar, a local 80s club in Chicago.  Here are some pictures of that weekend:

Playing games - not so quiet any longer!
Playing games – not so quiet any longer!
As you can see, we didn't sit!
As you can see, we didn’t sit!

At Late Bar!

1. Group
The group on the last morning.

Looking at these pictures and the video brings back a lot of good memories.  You know what makes me smile even more?  Seeing people who attended the convention now be friends!  After all, that really is the point.  Yes, of course, conventions celebrate the common interest (Duran Duran, in our case) but through that process, connections and friendships begin!  I know I made friends that weekend.  Lifelong friends.

Now, two years later, I really am beginning to believe that I’m ready to do this again!  I learned a lot that weekend.  While I truly believe that weekend was a massive success on many levels, I also think we could make it better as long as we have people interested in attending and people interested in helping.  After all, the reasons to have conventions still exist as all still love Duran Duran and need/want connections with others who understand us on a fundamental level.

-A

I Shed My Skin

 

DDMonium_Group
NEW “old” friends

 

By PamG

It’s been a year since Durandemonium. Obviously Rhonda & Amanda have shared their journeys and feelings about it with us, and I wanted to share what that weekend meant to me as one of the attendees. As they have have both said, their primary goal was to bring people together. And boy they sure did.

I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know if I wanted to go. I had only been to three Duran shows, and they were all just within the two prior years. My primary fandom had been in the early 1980s as a young teenager, but my fandom had reignited with the All You Need Is Now album. From what I read on this website and social media, so many other people had been to a lot of shows, through different albums and tours. How could I fit in? I was afraid that I’d be the freshman at Duranie High School and all the senior Duranies wouldn’t talk to me. Would everyone else be like those truly diehard fans I’d seen in “Something You Should Know?”

Fortunately I had some encouragement from two friends. My first connection was Lori. We had chatted online through the DDM forums and met up at the ill-fated Atlantic City show in August 2012. Yes, that pun was intended because the show was cancelled just before showtime because of Nick’s illness. Even though she’s West Coast and I’m East Coast, we’ve remained friends since that night (sound familiar R & A??). A few months later she told me she was on the convention planning committee, so I felt relieved that at least I’d know someone else there. If I decided to go, that is.

What sealed the deal for me was my friend Stephanie. We’ve been friends for a few years now, but we didn’t know we shared the Duran fandom until after we were already friends for a while. Until then I didn’t have anyone whom I could talk Duran stuff with, at least not in the present tense. Of course I had friends who liked them back in the ‘80s too, but when I mentioned Duran’s great new album, they either rolled their eyes or redirected the conversation back to our poster-boy crushes. Stephanie and I were curious about the convention, and we both read Daily Duranie pretty regularly. After some deliberation and clearing some vacation time, we finally made the commitment to go.

After a little pre-gaming at a nearby bar that afternoon, we arrived at registration. I guess I hadn’t pre-gamed enough because I was still nervous about meeting these people we’d committed to spending the weekend with. But in retrospect, this convention’s reception was like most others I’ve been to: some people walk in the door with someone they already know, some people squeal with delight when they see someone for the first time in years, and others simply take a seat and quietly begin to get comfortable with the people around them. Some of the games felt a little awkward at first, but after a while I relaxed because we were all in it together and that felt pretty awesome. I could finally let my Duran-freak flag fly. It was fun to find out how far people had traveled to be there. And I felt relieved to know that I wasn’t the only one who had seen fewer than 5 shows. They still let me hang out with them!

Next up Stephanie and I decided to meet up with bunch of others at Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar. I’m still torn as to what the best part was: either the gang getting up on stage to sing along to Rio and HLTW, or the double-D ink stamp we received at the door! I actually have a double-D tattoo on my wrist, so getting the stamp at the door blew my mind. I tried to explain to the stamp-giver how cool it was that he was stamping a “DD” on my wrist and I already had a “DD” on my wrist! He didn’t get it.

Pams tattoo and stamp
How did the stamp guy not see how cool this is?

 

I really enjoyed Saturday morning’s author panel with Rhonda, Amanda,  Elisa Lorello, and Karen Booth. Seeing four women who had combined writing with their passions for the band, the music, and the fandom was truly inspiring to me. I thought combining your job with something that you love was something only a few people in the world are able to do, but now I know that it is possible. Thank you all for sharing those insights and experiences with me.

My highlight of the weekend was definitely the private viewing of A Diamond In The Mind. To the convention committee and everyone else who was involved in presenting that: I can’t thank you enough. I’d never been to a private screening of anything before, so that was pretty cool. But watching the live concert film on the big screen was like being at a show again: we danced and sang along and had a ball! I think the only thing that could have possibly been better would have been a private concert by the band. That’s how awesome the experience was for me. In hindsight, this experience was probably the moment when I knew that I belonged. Knowing that everyone in that audience is there for the same reason I was, and had the same excitement that I did was affirming. I didn’t feel weird, or immature, or like someone who was stuck in the past. I felt like I had found my people.

The rest of the evening confirmed those feelings. At the banquet people dressed up in a variety of ways to represent their favorite song. I generally don’t enjoy wearing costumes or dressing for themes, but I put on my leopard blouse and went with it. By this point in the weekend I shouldn’t have been surprised that another person (or three) had the same idea as me. I was among a like-minded group of friends. Later I boarded the party bus bound for la-la-la Late Bar. The folks there gave us such a warm welcome and even had a specialty Sing Blue Silver cocktail ready for us! I’m not sure if the bar always plays new wave music on Saturdays but I loved it. They had their blocks of Duran videos and music ready for us, and showed us much love while we were there. Like any offbeat club, there were some offbeat characters there too. I can only surmise that they were part of the local Chicago culture and I’ll leave it at that. (Those who were there know what I am talking about.) In all I think it was a fun way to top off the night.

Sunday morning arrived and I was surprised that I was sad to say goodbye to new friends. The weekend had gone by too fast. I’m happy to say that I’m still in contact with several friends I met that weekend (thank you Facebook) and can’t wait to do it again! If anyone else feels that way, I recommend you lend your support by visiting the Cafe Press store. (This message was not approved by the Daily Duranie campaign; it is truly from my heart!)

Before Durandemonium, I was still a bit shy about my fandom for the band. When people asked why I was going to Chicago for the weekend, I avoided the truth and simply said I was going to catch up with some old friends. Turns out that was exactly what happened, only I hadn’t met those old friends yet.

 

 

PamG

PamG has been a Duranie since the early days of MTV. In addition to all-things Duran, she also enjoys music documentaries, pop culture trivia, and live concerts of any kind. Her Duran dream would be to journey across the pond and see the band play throughout Europe. After waiting over 25 years to see Duran Duran live, she saw her first show in 2011 and it changed her life.

 

 

 

Today in Duran History – Durandemonium

One year ago on this date, Durandemonium began in Chicago as Duranies converged onto the the city to enjoy a weekend filled with Duran related activities, including clubbing at the city’s Late Bar, an author’s panel, Duran games, a banquet, and a Diamond in the Mind on the big screen.  As I’m sure you know, this convention was organized by the authors of this blog and some of our good friends.  This convention took months to prepare, plan, organize and it was worth every minute as the convention was a success for both organizers and attendees alike.  Due to the convention, the Duran love was rekindled, strengthened and fortified by the attendees.  Likewise, friendships developed and strengthened during the weekend.  Truly, our big goals for the convention were met.  I love seeing attendees continue to be in touch with each other even now and make plans to get together for both Duran and non-Duran events.  Their fandom is that much stronger and much more likely to be long-lasting from attending a fan convention.  On top of that, many have developed what could be lifelong friendships.

If you are anything like me, you might want to take a moment or two to relive the weekend.  I suggest you take the time to read the blog posts below:

Something to Remember

Day 2 Report

Day 1 Report

The next question, I’m sure, is will there be another Durandemonium?  If so, when?  This is a question that Rhonda and I have talked about more than any other question.  The simple answer is that, yes, we hope that there are more conventions in our future.  Yet, we have struggled to get the next one off the ground.  One big factor is the fundraising one.  Conventions are not cheap.  In the case of Durandemonium, our costs included the banquet, the hotel, the movie screening, etc.  I put up a lot of money (we are talking thousands of dollars) and hoped that we would get enough attendees to cover the costs, which is pretty scary for someone who just has a teacher salary.  Thus, we encourage anyone who wants to support upcoming conventions to take a look around at our Cafe Press store.  While you would be helping us and future convention attendees out, you also can get some cool things!

On that note, I think I will take some time to look through my pictures and remember how truly fun the weekend was.

-A

Gettin’ Busy

I have been on Spring Break this week.  I had been looking forward to this break for what felt like absolute forever.  There were no days off since January and the winter was beyond brutal with frequent snow and cold beyond belief.  To say that I was going a little crazy was an understatement!  If all that wasn’t enough, real life added some extra worries.  The break was supposed to be the medicine to cure my ills or, at least, make me feel better.  I suppose that is what happened to some extent, but it is flying by and my to-do list has barely been touched.  In fact, it has probably grown.  Now, I’m looking for motivation to get started.  I need to get started.  I want to get started.  It seemed to me that this little blog might be a good way to do it.  Putting my list in writing and writing that is public would do two things.  First, it makes them more serious, more needing of a commitment.  Second, I’m hoping that others might push me along when needed!  🙂

Of course, all of that said, you probably won’t want to read about my desire to get my car washed or my need to finish the laundry.  Thus, I’ll keep the list here focused on Daily Duranie related work.  Besides, I figured that a few of you might be interested in an update about our projects!!

1.  Convention 2014–

If anyone was following our individual twitter accounts last night, you might have seen a little discussion about how we are planning for Durandemonium 2014.  We gave a couple of hints about when and where we are hoping to hold it.  I admit that we are in the very early stages in the planning process, which means, of course, that what we hope for in terms of when and where might not work out.  It also means that I have got to get going in contacting venues.  Once I do, that the ball will really be rolling.  For those of you who attended last year, we are definitely planning to keep some elements of that convention, but adding a few others and deleting or changing some aspects that didn’t work out as well as we had hoped.

2.  Our Book–

A lot of people ask us about the status of our book.  Our standard answer is that we are still working.  We are.  That is not a lie.  Book proposals are lengthy as are perfecting citations and bibliographies.  This is where producing a non-fiction work is quite a task.  I have been going back and double checking and verifying each and every quote, source, etc.  Now, beyond that, I’ll also admit that the book gets pushed to the side more often than it should due to real life duties like family obligations and work.  It also gets pushed aside with the blog and the conventions.  The reason is simple.  No deadline for the book.  Nonetheless, we have talked and have a plan! We are hoping to get together this summer to work on nothing else.  The blog will still be done but will be done in advance, which means that there will probably be lots of Duran news during that time frame.  The band will have a sense that it is safe to release information without our loud mouths offering our constant opinions!!!

3.  Blog Related Projects–

We have many coming up.  First, we have a couple of interviews in the works.  We are excited by these and hope that you will be, too.  Second, I will continue on the series of most popular tours.  Please watch this space for polls about your participation!  Lastly, I’m getting ready to do another giant poll like what was done about people’s Top 25 Duran Duran songs.  I really enjoyed finding out what songs people loved, compiling the list and analyzing it.  Again, watch this space.  If that wasn’t enough, we have more to do with the book, Mad World, and a review of the new gold package for Duran Duran Music.

After looking at this complete list of things to do with just this aspect of my life, it is no wonder that I feel the need to get motivated and to get things done!  Wish me (and Rhonda) productivity!

-A

I Made My Way Back Home

It has been a long week and it seems to me that any week after a Duran weekend is.  I continue to feel just utterly exhausted.  I can’t get enough sleep, it seems.  I’m not sure why it feels worse than every other tour but it does.  Yes, I suppose that part of it is the stress before hand as well as weeks of sleep depravation.  Still, it is bad.  Despite all of that, I’m still reeling a bit from the weekend.  As I’m sure that many of you know, if you have been reading this blog, I have been struggling with my fandom.  I blamed it on many things–my annoyance at my job that has been seeping into everything and anything, the lack of events, the level of responsibility that Rhonda and I took on with this blog, meetups and the conventions.  I was also sick of the subtle game playing and the not-so-subtle attacks from others in the fan community.  I really debated about leaving.  I did.  I will be honest.  As I drove to Chicago, on the way to the convention, I found myself in tears as Union of the Snake played.  It did feel like I might break, that my fandom might break.  This is more complicated than it seems on the surface as part of me really wants to do more and has been pushing Rhonda to accept that challenge.  How is that possible that I wanted to do more but leave at the same time?

Simple.  I felt like we weren’t getting anywhere, that we were spinning our wheels.  Fandom works when people create solid connections and friendships.  I believed that nine years ago and I still believe it just as strongly today.  Yet, I began to wonder if those friendships could combat the negative aspects of being a fan.  Can we fight the stereotypes, especially when it is clear to me that we can’t even really discuss those stereotypes in our own community without people freaking out?  Can we fight the game playing and the constant battle for better position in the unclear, unwritten social status ladder that exists in our fan community?  Our blogs and discussions didn’t seem to help combat these negative aspects.  Our meetups didn’t either.  Then, I also began to wonder if I was strong enough to take the constant insults hurling our way, whether those insults were comments on the blog or negative, dismissive statements behind our backs or whatever.  While I still believe that fandom can be great, I wondered if I/we should stop focusing so much on Duranland.  I was having a hard time seeing any of the positives in our little fan community.  I had one other idea, one other way to try to bring out just the positive aspects that I still hope we try (and I think we will–eventually!).  Yet, part of me wanted to remove myself from Duranland, to admit defeat of sorts.  I would keep my toes in the water, so to speak, but nothing more.  It would be safer, less emotional, less brutal.

Then, this past weekend happened.  I saw people begin to connect with each other.  I saw friendships forming and other friendships growing.  In some cases, these new friendships were from people who had never known or known of each other.  In other cases, they were people who had communicated before but only online.  For those growing friendships, the people involved might have met each other once or twice before.  Perhaps, they had met at a show or some other gathering.  Now, they all have shared experiences, shared good times as well as that instant connection that comes from meeting someone with the same interests, the same passion.  Days later, I see these people connecting more on facebook and twitter.  A new facebook group has been started to keep us all in touch with each other.  To say that I’m thrilled in an understatement.  Goodness, even I, have felt this.  My friendship with Rhonda remains as strong, if not, stronger than ever.  I have gotten to know some friends better and reconnected with others.  I have met others who I am excited to get to know more.  When I think of Duranland, I want to think about all of this.  Friendships.  Fun.  Connections.  Good times.  Will there be another convention after this?  As Rhonda stated, we started something here.  How could we walk away?  How could I walk away?  Would you all let me?

I arrived home, loaded the many boxes of convention materials that I still have and looked around.  I really looked around.  I looked at my home.  I looked at my friendships and my online connections.  How would I really be able to walk away?  It has taken me a long time to create this world for myself and I would be silly to walk away now.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that things are different than they were.  They definitely are.  My fandom isn’t the same that it was back in 2005 or even 2009.  I’m different and that is okay.  I can still have fun and I can still do things like write this blog or plan conventions.  I can be a fandom organizer and a fan.  I can and will.  Do I look at the band in the same way?  No, I don’t, but that is okay, too.  I will carve out times that I can just fangirl out when it comes to the band and I will maintain time for this and planning other events.  At times, those will be separate and, at times, they will be combined, like they were this weekend.  Truly, it is all a win for me.

Speaking of wins, I also am more certain than ever that Rhonda and I need to keep going and even do more.  Another thing this weekend proved (again) is that we work well together.  We blend our strengths and balance each other well.  We can and have accomplished a lot together.  More can and will be accomplished.  Clearly, our future is bright but busy.

-A  

Durandemonium 2013 Slideshow

Today’s blog is going to be super short because for me, it is a travel day. In a few hours I’m headed back to California, back to reality.  However, just because I wouldn’t want anyone to be bored in my absence…I went ahead and posted the slideshow I created for Durandemonium 2013.  It’s on YouTube, and is also linked here for your personal enjoyment…because for some reason I can’t get it to load here.

Durandemonium 2013 Slideshow

If you are trying to view this on anything but a computer, you’re liable to have trouble – it has to do with the syndication licensing, and there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about that, sorry!

I know that plenty of you will be looking and hoping for my commentary on the October edition of Katy Kafe with birthday boy Simon LeBon – and I promise I will work on that for tomorrow’s blog.  I just don’t have time to get it up for today since I’ll be on a plane back to Orange County very soon.  Tomorrow, I promise!

I’m glad to be headed home and getting back into a normal routine again, but I’m also a little anxious and nervous – there are changes that are about to be set in motion for me on a personal level.  I’m not really ready to discuss it all here just yet, but when I’m ready, I will.  I can only say that it’s been a long time in coming, and I think I’m finally ready to face what needs to be face for me to move forward.  Wish me luck.

-R

Something to remember in some far off time

What a whirlwind. It would seem that the events from this past weekend are still swirling around in my head, and I’m still trying to gather them together in a neat pile and start making sense of it all. I know Amanda tried to tie the ends in a bow yesterday as she blogged, but now it is my turn…

First of all, and probably most importantly, we made it. We now sit on the other side of the convention, and I have to say it is really nice to be looking back as opposed to still fretting about possible outcomes. I don’t think I had any idea just how incredibly apt the name “Durandemonium” really was until now. That word encapsulates the entire weekend very, very well.

Our attendees had a great time, I don’t believe there were any major issues, and overall I am pleased with how it all turned out. I’m also very happy to say that I learned an incredible amount, starting with just how much I underestimated myself prior to this weekend. Amanda and I have both said at various times this weekend that if someone would have told us nine years ago that we would start a blog, write a complete manuscript, travel to the UK twice, interview Dom Brown and a little tribute band from So Cal named Rio, organize meet-ups in various cities as well as several road trips around the US to see the band while they toured, I would have told them to stop smoking crack and get some help. Put the pipe down and take a step back. Not only did I not believe I was capable of such things, I didn’t think they were even possible. …And now we’re being asked when and where the next Durandemonium will happen.

As I told everyone on Friday and Saturday night, my whole vision for Durandemonium was purely to bring people together. I wanted to provide a vehicle for people to meet, to get to know one another, and hopefully to make friendships. There was a time when I was a pretty lonely Duranie, I went to shows with my husband, I didn’t know many people on the message boards (basically no one), and my experience as a fan was fairly one-dimensional. Going to my first convention in 2004 opened my eyes to what this could really be like, and let’s face it, meeting my best friend there was a pretty fantastic outcome. I was lucky. I wanted other people to have that same opportunity.  If you present for the author panel we did on Saturday, you also know that Amanda and I absolutely abhor the competitive nature that seems to happen with Duranies when the band is around, and if this does anything to help destroy that, then we’re on the right track. Five of them, thousands of us…I think the math explains it all right there. Sure, the competition is always going to be there in some form or another. I don’t think that Amanda or I have any grand illusions (or delusions) about that ever going away completely, but I will say this: if you’ve made good friends in a variety of places, the shows become less about how you are going to get close to the band so that you can have your own moment(s) with them and much more about how much fun you’re having with those friends. My own web of friends has grown pretty significantly since 2004, and while sure, I still squee over the band when I see them, I am one hell of a lot less willing to leave a friend out in the cold so that I can have my own millisecond in front of one of them, and I’m the type to take care of my own, so that means I’m much more likely to share what I know and facilitate however I can so that one of my friends gets their moment with one of them.

One of my friends left a little comment online for us over the weekend, saying that we can’t stay away from this life, it chose us. While I am resisting the urge to run into the streets announcing that yes, I am a chosen one (that’s a little Monday humor for you – and I have this vision of being dragged away by men in white coats as I am still yelling, “But I am the chosen one!!”….wow. Dramatic maybe??), I have thought about what she said. I really don’t know what brought me here or why. I just know that I like the scenery, and I really do get something out of the very little that I do to help brighten this journey. No, the band doesn’t really know, see or recognize our efforts…so it’s not like that is the payoff. I think that for me, the payoff really comes when I see people behaving the way I did in 2004. They are making friends, the kind that last well beyond the career(s) of this band. This next album and tour will hit, eventually, and there are going to be plenty of people seeking to hit the road, meet up with those new friends, and do shows together. I can stand back and say I did something, a tiny something, but something all the same, to make that happen. So, I’m glad this life chose me.

This was never about getting closer to the band. Are you kidding? None of them know I’m alive, and while there are some days when I admittedly wish they’d just notice for a fucking change, I am really good with the view from here. Sometimes there are real benefits to what seems like even the most blatant ignorance.

When is the next Durandemonium? Good question, and one we’ll eventually answer right here on this blog. After all, we started something this weekend, didn’t we?

-R

  

Durandemonium Day 2 Report: There WAS an All Night Party!

Yes, there was an all night party.  For some of us, that party lasted a little bit longer than for others.  Perhaps, this is why this blog is late and why the authors of this tiny blog page are moving a smidge slower than normal.  Okay, I won’t lie.  We are moving a little more than a smidge slower but we are alive and conscious.  I even called my parents to check in and the first question that popped out of my father’s mouth was, “Are you jail?”  I responded as you might guess, “Why would you think that??!?!” My dad explained that it was there wasn’t a blog post today.  Wow.  Even my dad is pressuring me on the blog post today.  While I was hoping to write a really articulate, special, insightful post, the truth is that I can’t do it.  I apologize right now.  Lack of sleep is a big reason to blame.  Not shocking, right?  We finally crashed at like 5:20 in the morning and had a little more than 2 hours of sleep.  We didn’t quite reach up for the sunrise, but…we came close.  While we considered writing then, we figured that we might be a bit more coherent now.  Ha!  Probably not so much, really.  The second reason that I’m not going to be able to dazzle anyone with my words is simply that I’m feeling a bit emotional, a bit raw.  I need time to process.  We need time to process.  So, instead of diving deep, I’ll give some highlights to the big day of Durandemonium and a few things to watch for in the future!

Highlights:

*Sharing the stage with fellow authors felt really good for the author’s panel.  We are truly lucky to have talent like Elisa Lorello and Karen Booth in our fan community.  Our moderator, Heather, was fabulous as well!  Nothing like sharing a stage with smart, articulate women to start your day.  It was also cool and a bit nerve-wracking to give a little preview of our book.  It was the first sharing, really, of any part of it.  I hope that it peaked some interest to those in the room.

*A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen was BEYOND AMAZING!!!  When the convention committee walked in and they showed us a preview, I literally got goose bumps!  GOOSE BUMPS!  I loved dancing and singing surrounded by friends!  It really was the next best thing outside of a concert! Plus, hearing the different *squees* at various shots made it so fun!  Plus, it made my desire for shows increase by like a million and I heard others say the same!

*People liked playing Duran related game!  I wonder if we shouldn’t try to market them!?!  Although, I did hear that trivia was pretty dang challenging and I was called “evil” as a result!  Sorry!!!

*We had some GOOD food at the banquet.  I’m still thinking about all of the yumminess.  It sounds like everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

*The fan slideshow was emotional for many of us despite struggling to fit it on the screen.  We are going to try to get it included in the convention DVD and will put it up on youtube for the rest of the Duran universe to see.  🙂

*Lots of people won some great Duran goodies and we appreciate each and every person/organization that donated items for our raffles.  We cannot thank you enough!

*I love party buses!  No worries about getting to and from a place.

*Late Bar was amazing!  They busted out many Duran video blocks for us and created the fabulous drink, Sing Blue Silver.  We danced and danced and danced.  We might have consumed a few adult beverages or two or more.  Do doubles count as one drink or two?!  I will definitely add this to my list of places to be in Chicago!

*It was nice to see so many people this morning, despite knowing that this was the end.  People seemed to enjoy themselves over the weekend and connections seemed to be made, which is really the whole point of this deal to begin with!  A by-product is that, for me, and others, there was a sense of renewal, a renewal of being a Duranie.  That makes a huge difference that goes way beyond this weekend.  The band can thank us later.

Key things to note:
*For convention attendees with pictures, Rhonda will send out information about our shutterfly account so that pictures can be shared.  I, for one, am SO thankful as I have like NO pictures from this weekend and desperately want some!

*Also, we would love to hear from people who went about what they thought.  What went well?  What didn’t?  Suggestions for next time, if we do another one, etc?  There is a survey in your program with questions.  Likewise, we would love to hear from others.  What would get you to go to a convention?  What would you look for, etc.?  Don’t be surprised if we come up with another survey for everyone to do!

I’m sure that I’m forgetting something and I’m sure that this won’t be the last post about Durandemonium 2013.  I will have more to say after some time and some SLEEP!  That said, we did it.  We really did it.  Durandemonium 2013–what a wild, fabulous weekend!

-A

The Music’s Between Us: Durandemonium 2013 Day 1

This blog is either being written really early or really late, depending on how you look at it.  It is currently 2:32 AM here in downtown Chicago.  Tomorrow is going to be super busy so I thought I would get a head start on the blog.  Besides, it is better to write when events are fresh in my mind!  Durandemonium 2013 has officially begun!!!!  I can’t believe that, even as I type those words!  How is that possible?!?  Don’t we still have months of planning to do?!  Don’t we have things that need to be finished?!  Nah.  We have been working for this for months.  Months.  Now is the time when our work pays off—in people having fun, in us having fun.  So, how did things go today?  What were the highlights?  Any lowlights?

I was really pleased with how well things went today.  I can say that, right?!  I helped plan it, after all.  Registration happened.  It did.  We were able to get in the room to set up early and the room worked out great!  We had tables to sit at and we were all able to be together as people checked in and got their materials.  At first, people sat at tables and talked quietly with the other members of their group or with the people who chose to sit with them.  Then, it was time to bust out the Duran related games.  Now, as a teacher, I know that sometimes things like this can be super cheesy.  Yet, if people thought that, they sure didn’t show it!  Soon enough, people were up, out of their seats and mingling with others.  I loved to see this!  After all, the music’s between us and it is the catalyst to bring us all together to meet, to get to know each other, to become friends.  Those connections are the reason we did this thing to begin with.  Some of the games included standard icebreakers like list your favorites and find others who share those favorites with you or line up by when you became a fan.  It is hard for me to pick a favorite game that we played as I honestly enjoyed them all!  I will be curious as to what the attendees liked the best/least.  Perhaps, my favorite was when everyone had to pick a picture and use that picture to describe their fandom in some way.  I learned so much about people and their stories as fans.  It was great to see so many people willing to be so open, so willing to share.  What a good time!!!!

After registration, the group split up as people went to go find food with the idea being that interested people would head to Howl at the Moon, which is a dueling piano bar, afterwards.  We ate at the restaurant inside the House of Blues, actually.  It wasn’t anything super fancy but good to be with each other and get some food.  From there, we ventured into Howl at the Moon, which in typical Friday fashion was packed.  Yet, somehow, it didn’t take us long to scope out a table and then two for our group.  One of the real highlights, though, was the stamp they used to indicate that people had paid.  What was the stamp of?  Two Ds.  I’m not even joking.  We didn’t plan that.  It was like the Duranie gods were smiling down at us!  How cool is that?!  Of course, being the Duranies that we are, we requested some Duran.  Any Duran.  All Duran.  We are Duranies and we do what must be done.  On our request forms, we did indicate that we were here for a Duran Duran convention.  Sure enough, before too long, they announced that a Duran Duran convention was in the house!  We all screamed like maniacs!  How could we not?!  The next thing I knew was that the performers were requesting our presence on stage.  Yes, ON THE STAGE.  We sang and danced like total goofs to Hungry Like the Wolf (Poor Rhonda!) and Rio.  We were ridiculous.  We were out of control.  We were having fun and we didn’t care what the heck we looked like up there.  We were celebrating our fandom, dang it.  That can’t be bad.  Is there video, you might ask?  I didn’t take any as I was one of the goofs on stage.  Did others?!?  Maybe…I think we should all hope that the video doesn’t see the light of day, though.  We are writers and not performers for a reason!!!  Of course, what makes this even funnier yet, for

Rhonda and myself, is that we got up on a Howl at the Moon in New Orleans to sing Rio at the 2004 convention.  Is this a tradition now?!?

Now, of course, I’m tired and have a very busy day tomorrow but it will be the best day ever.  We have the screening of A Diamond in the Mind, the author’s panel, games, the banquet and Late Bar.  It really will be an all night party.  5 hours of sleep should be plenty for all of that, right?  I hope so because that is all I’m going to get!  I’m ready for Durandemonium Day 2!!!

-A

Convention Prep Leads to Alcoholic Consumption

Well, at least, convention prep does that to us.  If you have been reading this blog, you probably knew that already.  We are fun, like that.  Yesterday was a pretty long day for me.  In fact, I was up for 23.5 hours before calling it a day.  It started out slightly strange with me finishing packing the last minute items and dropping my very spoiled feline off at his grandparents house (aka my parents who have a cat tree for him there and everything!).  Then, work lasted forever.  Just forever.  You all know what that feels like when you are just antsy and can’t wait to get out of somewhere.  Finally, I was on the road and arrived in the beautiful city of Chicago for a little Durandemonium at about 5:30.  After picking up a couple of people from California, including that partner-in-crime of mine, we headed to the hotel to unload a ton of boxes.  I looked like I was moving into the hotel or, to Chicago.  In all honesty, this van was packed the night before with some help from my parents.  I really needed my mom’s visual-spatial skills to figure out how everything was going to fit and, in such a way that I would still be able to see!  After all, I’m not used to driving their van or any van for that matter!  Anyway, once we arrived at downtown Chicago, the convention committee went to work.  We had to unload the boxes on to 3 luggage carts and haul them up to our floor.

From there,  we organized and re-organized, separating boxes into things that need to be completed and things that didn’t need to be completed as well as things for Friday and things for Saturday.  To say that this was a bit of a challenge in our hotel room with limited space is an understatement.  Then, we finished some tasks for games.  As our convention attendees know, there are games during registration and games on Saturday.  I, personally, can’t wait to play with my new Duranie friends!  We completed some tasks for registration and then we went to work in an assembly line fashion to put everyone’s registration materials together!  Of course, in true Daily Duranie fashion, we ordered some pizza and enjoyed some of the Amalfi Hotel’s famous cocktails!  When you work hard, you deserve some treats, right?  That’s what Rhonda and I figured!  Here we are with the first drink of the weekend and definitely not the last of the night!  I was impressed by how easily the convention committee worked and how quickly and easily we completed our tasks.  In fact, we were so good that we finished with time to go out!  Just like I had hoped!  After all, we are here to have fun, too!
     

We were ready to go out and have some fun by a little after 11.  Perfect.  A few of us from the convention committee along with some attendees headed over to NEO.  It is a little club in the back of an alleyway that I just adore.  It is tiny, dark and a relaxed atmosphere.  People are casual and friendly.  Everyone is welcome and feels comfortable.  Even better, Thursday night’s is their retro night!  How very fitting!  Within twenty minutes of us walking in there, guess who might have been played?!  Yeah, that’s right.  Duran Duran with my personal favorite, Planet Earth.  Do you think they sensed that we were there?!  From then on, I don’t think I left the dance floor more than twice!  I danced and danced and knew pretty much every single song that they played.  It was great!  The crowd was fun, too, with some more interesting characters and moments that don’t need to be remembered.  Rhonda and I talked to this one guy at the bar who asked how we all knew each other since we had many states represented and none of them were Illinois.  We tried to explain that we were all Duran fans and that we had met at previous conventions or at shows.  I don’t know that he ever really understood!  I had a ton of fun with my friends as we were all dancing and singing along.  At one point, I sort of took it all in and thought about that line that is often repeated in John’s book.  The music never sounded better.  I think I might utter that line a few more times over the weekend.

-A