Category Archives: Durandemonium 2013

A Storm is Rolling Closer (Yeah, I botched up the lyrics to Before the Rain for this one. And??)

A storm is brewing. I can feel it outside. Either that, or it’s just the Chicago air.

After a year of planning, it really feels wonderful to read so many posts from people who are traveling to Chicago. I smile with each new posting.

It is hard for me to believe we’ve been planning this convention for a year now, and it’s even harder to believe that as of tonight – I’ll be in a hotel room putting together packets and hopefully having a great time with friends. While yes, this is “work”, it is also time to have fun.

I’ve written about my own convention experience so many times, but the one thing I remember most is feeling accepted. I was part of a larger whole. A group. That was such a nice feeling. I remember the feeling of almost relief when I met everyone – open arms, happy to just be accepted. Excitement for spending time with people who love the same band, know the same sorts of stories, hope for many of the same things. Many times when we go to concerts or gigs, or we show up at events where the band is likely to be, the “air” is so different.  I can feel the eyes staring at me, sizing me up, wondering where I fit in the Duranie “totem pole”. (Let me make this easy: I am at the bottom. Inconspicuous but a pillar of support. Happy to support the rest of you!) Conventions are different. Not one of us is any more or less than the other. Sure, stories are shared, tales of pure Durandemonium are told, but rather than listening with jealous ears, as often occurs after a show when the select, precious few triumphantly announce their luck at having seen the band at a bar or a hotel – this time there are excited eyes, bouncing with excitement as they flit over the scene.

This is the experience that I have worked for over a year to try and create. This is the heart and soul of the vision I had in my head, even during the moments when I didn’t think this event had a chance of actually coming through to fruition. I just want other fans to have the opportunity to make the same sort of lifelong friends and have the same freeing experience from that social hierarchy I see take place at shows. There doesn’t need to be any of that here. We don’t need to compete for the attention of four (five, because in my head there are five) band members…because none of them are here. This weekend my friends, is simply about US and what has brought us together.

In several hours, we will see if our blood, sweat and yes – tears really create the atmosphere we envision. Yes, this past year has been difficult. I’ve questioned my heart, my head, my mental health for even starting this crazy idea, and even my love for this band many, many times than I care to mention here.  I just kept thinking, and continue to think, that the more we bring people together, the more enjoyable this whole experience has the potential to become.  My goal wasn’t to become infamous in the Duran world as a result of this convention, it is just to create a vehicle to bring people together.  The band does a great job of that when they tour, and this is merely an offshoot, a little something extra.

Am I nervous?  A little. I’ve never done anything like this before, so there’s always a little bit of nerves going on under the surface. I’m mostly excited today though. This is going to be a great weekend for a little Durandemonium in Chicago.

-R

Odds and Ends

This is gonna be a catch up blog…and it’s written the night before publishing, which almost never happens…but in this case it is because I won’t have time for blogging in the morning.  Tomorrow is a travel day for this California girl!

As I was packing for the convention, I realized that I was forgetting all sorts of fun little things – like my small but mighty collection of Duran Duran pins!  I have them pinned onto a denim jacket I own, and so that was quickly put in the “to pack” pile.  I’ll probably wear it on Saturday during the day…or Friday night… who knows, I just know I’m taking the jacket. I also own a very precious (to me) Dom Brown guitar pick that I have on a chain, and I decided I’m going to bring that.  This is the ONE time that I can wear any and all of my Duran items and be seen as part of the crowd rather than a throwback to 1985 (well, I can still be seen as a throwback, but I’ll be in fantastic company), so I’m bringing it all.  I encourage you to do the same, and we can admire one another’s great attire and accessories!

Not sure if any of you saw the ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.  I realize that for many, this is a sore subject because Duran Duran has yet to be recognized (and in truth I doubt that they will ever be on that ballot…) – but it’s still worthy of noting. Here’s the list:

  • Nirvana
  • Hall and Oates
  • Linda Ronstadt
  • Yes
  • The Replacements
  • Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Chic
  • Deep Purple
  • Peter Gabriel
  • LL Cool J
  • N.W.A
  • Link Wray
  • the Meters
  • Cat Stevens
  • The Zombies
Approximately 5 to 7 on this list will be inducted…and interestingly enough, fans can vote for their favorite.  However, and this is a big however – any and all fan ballots collectively count as a SINGLE vote.  So for however thousands or millions of us vote – the fine people “in charge” of the hall believe our vote is only worth a single vote to the 500-600 other votes they receive from “industry people”. To be blunt, they can shove it. 
While there are certainly some acts on that list that I feel deserve the mention, there are a few that I really, really question.  I suspect industry politics has far more to do with getting on that list than ones career…but I check it every year out of sheer curiosity.  I can’t help it.  What do you think?
I know this is a short blog, but I have a mountain of packing and laundry…so I must bid you good night and farewell.  My next blog will be from Chicago!
-R

We are forever all we understand

So the next several days are going to be busy, but also very fun. I’m excited to be headed back to Chicago – a city that has really become a second home for me. I’m looking forward to spending time in the city, talking in person with people whom have become my normal “cast of characters” on Twitter throughout the day, and feeling the Duranie energy come alive again. For me, this past year has been so quiet on that front, and I know I’m not alone when I say that I’ve really missed seeing the band, going to shows and even seeing long distance friends. While the band won’t be present at the convention, there is something about bringing Duranies together in a room – we create our own energy, and I really hope to glean a little bit to take home!

It isn’t quite time for reflection just yet, but I’ve learned so much from planning…I thought I would share just a few thoughts.

First, the practical things:

  • It really does take a lot of time to plan an event like this. Amanda and I started working on this event, just by talking about our vision, back in late November last year.  I won’t know if all of our ideas worked until Sunday, but I will say that the basic framework for what we had in mind still stands…and I’ll also say that we’ve said that we’d change some things for future conventions!
  • I have learned more computer software programs in this past year than I think I have learned in the ten years prior combined. I’ve designed web pages, learned Pixelmator, designed and printed a booklet (which is a LOT tougher than it sounds), created a slideshow using a combination of a few different pieces of software (Final Cut Pro, iMovie and iDVD)…just to name a few.  
  • I’ve become much more adept at reading contracts and understanding the fine print. I know how to book group or convention space at hotels, and I am MUCH better at being able to forecast things such as attendance!  I have a much better understanding of what makes a hotel/restaurant unreasonable to work with, as well as what makes for a great convention space. 
  • By the end of the weekend I’m going to be brilliant at hooking up audio/visual equipment, or else we will be sitting and twiddling our thumbs at the banquet…so this had better go well.  
And then there are the “not so practical, but still worthy” things:
  • Having a committee to help can work, but only if people are willing to take ownership and commit.  Funny how the word “commit” makes up the word committee. Not everyone is able to give the same sort of time and commitment, and this isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s a matter of expectations, and that is something that needs to be well-communicated up front by all parties. 
  • Support doesn’t necessarily mean being right beside you, physically, every step of the way. When we first started planning the convention and it became clear that some of my oldest friends in this community weren’t going to be coming – I did take it personally. I very much wanted and needed their support, and none of them seemed to bother. That hurt me, and I won’t lie about that. I have no doubt that they made the decisions they did based on whatever was going on in their own lives at the time, but it still stung. I couldn’t decide if it was that they didn’t want to support me or if it was that they didn’t want to bother for the band. For a while, I very much felt alone on a limb, but there have been times since that I have needed to ask for help or lean on several of them, and they’ve been there when I needed. Not everyone can be exactly where you need them, but they are still with you in spirit. 
  • Your real friends, even those that you don’t necessarily realize, will come through for you every single time. There have been times, recently actually, where both Amanda and I have been a near panic. (Who am I kidding? We were in a complete panic.)  That happens when there are thousands of dollars…your own dollars, actually, on the line.  One night in particular, those friends, people who aren’t even on the committee and really shouldn’t have to worry about what is going on behind the scenes here, stepped forward to comfort and remind both Amanda and I that we are not alone. I am completely indebted to them, and if nothing else good comes from this whole weekend – it is that I learned exactly who my friends are. I love all of you.
  • You can love a band with all of your heart and soul, but when it comes down to planning a convention, very little of that feeling comes into play. Whether or not that actually helps or hurts your fandom depends upon the person. In my case, I have to say I think it’s hurt how I felt about the band this past year. It’s not that I feel wronged by the band, that’s not it at all – it’s that something like this creates a lot of stress even in the best of situations, after all, a lot of this planning comes down to dollars and cents and becomes pure business. During those times of stress, *I* forgot that this was supposed to be fun. There are a lot of reasons why it might not have been so fun for me, and those are things that if we decide to do this again, we’ll look at and probably change, but my point is that I’m really looking forward to having FUN!  
  • A convention can be planned down to the last note of music that will be played, and yet the one variable that cannot be controlled is people. The entire way through this process, we really had no idea what to expect. It hasn’t always gone as we had hoped or thought, but somehow now – as I sit here contemplating on what suitcase to bring or how I’m going to dress up on Saturday night (no, I still don’t have my costume completely set), I think I have peace with how it will turn out. I really do believe everyone is going to have a great time, and that despite some really tough things we’ve  experienced this past year, the weekend will be a success.  
All of that said, if I dare mention ideas for a convention next year while I’m at Durandemonium for the weekend, someone should buy me a drink and tell me to stop thinking!  
-R

Countdown to Durandemonium!

This is it!!  I’m down to the final two days before I pack up and get myself to Chicago.  I’m arriving a day ahead of the rest of the committee so that I can see my sister for a day before we turn crank the party up to ’10’ for the weekend!

We sent out an email to the attendees last night that contained plenty of useful last minute information for the convention. We know that there are some who never check their email.  I don’t understand that because it’s how I survive…. in any case, in the interest of trying to reach everyone we can before I leave, I am going to paste most of the information contained in the email here. The contact information (meaning our cell phone numbers) for Amanda and I can be received by sending us an email or finding us on FB or Twitter and asking for it via DM.

-R

Registration:
*Registration is from 5 pm to 7 pm on Friday, October 18th in the Capri Room of the Amalfi Hotel. If you are registered for the convention, yes – you should definitely be there!! There will be a sign in the lobby directing you to the right floor and right room. 

*During registration, hotel guests will have a chance to enjoy the manager’s reception with appetizers and drinks, and everyone will be able to participate in some fun Duran related games! This is also a great opportunity to mingle with other guests and get to know other fans, and make plans for the evening ahead. 

*If you cannot make this time and you know that now, please, let us know so that we can make arrangements for you to receive your materials. These include your movie ticket to get into the screening of A Diamond in the Mind, your t-shirt (if you ordered one), a program with the full schedule and a few other goodies.  

Clothing Suggestions:
*Friday–We are suggesting that everyone wear a t-shirt from a recent Duran tour!

*Saturday during the day–We are going retro on this day with a t-shirt from the past!

*Saturday night for the banquet–Wear something that relates to the music like a song, album, lyrics, etc.  Be creative!!!

*Sunday–If you ordered a convention t-shirt, wear it with pride!  It will look great for the group picture!

Games:
*We will have some Duran related games available to play after the screening on Saturday.  Most of them are group games so get your teams ready now!  There will be prizes for the winners, too!

Banquet Information:
*Be prepared to eat, drink and dance with your fellow Duranies!  The dinner includes a buffet of Italian Favorites and an ice cream station!  Alcoholic drinks are available at a cash bar, as are soft drinks.

*The banquet will not only feature a slideshow of the friendships in our fan community, music and your favorite Duran videos, but will also have a contest and many raffles!  Many of you will receive raffle tickets inside your registration packets, if you registered during early registration. Please bring those raffle tickets with you to the banquet.  Raffle tickets will also be available for purchase at the banquet!  We have some great items available, including some rare items and signed items!  Likewise, if you haven’t already ordered a DVD of the convention weekend, that can be done at the banquet as well.  All convention related sales at the banquet are cash only.   

Late Bar Bus:
*If you have reserved a spot on the Late Bar bus to take us to and from Late Bar, the bus will be leaving at 11 pm.  

*Please stop by the tables at the banquet to get a stamp, showing that you paid. 

*The bus will make trips back to the hotel on the hour, if people want to leave before the final trip, which is at 3:30.  Thus, it will make trips back to the hotel at midnight, 1 AM, 2 AM, 3 AM and the last trip at 3:30 AM.  If you reserved your spot, you must be on the bus at one of those times or find your own way back.  

*There are a few spots on the Late Bar bus, if you are interested in reserving your spot.  
It is $30 and you could reserve your spot by sending the money to our paypal account at durandemonium2013@gmail.com.  

Late Bar:
*They are excited to host us for the after party!  They have come up with a Duran related drink that sounds fabulous!  

*The club does not have a cover but the drinks are CASH ONLY – remember to bring some with you!!! .  

*At Late Bar, we will be doing final raffles for anything left, too!!!

Early and/or Late Attendees:
*If you are arriving in Chicago on Thursday and/or are staying until Sunday night, please, let us know.  The committee is hoping to finish our work on Thursday in order to go out and, on Sunday, we have definite plans to get dinner and go out.  If you are around and want to join us, let us know!  

Once again – for our cell numbers, which you should definitely have if you are coming to the convention, please contact us by email or on FB or Twitter and we will supply that to you. 

We are so looking forward to the convention and celebrating The Music Between Us!!!  

Amanda & Rhonda

Something Alien Happenin’

It is amazing to me what difference a day makes!  While I still have a bunch of stuff to do for the convention, I no longer am as worried about everything that I was yesterday.  Now, I’m filled with adrenaline and excitement.  Perhaps, what helped was a ridiculous long conference call with my partner-in-crime, Rhonda, last night to iron out the details of every single aspect of the convention.  Maybe, it was the fact that I got almost 10 1/2 hours of sleeps.  In all likelihood, this shows that my emotions will be all over the place for the next week or so.  Yeah, that’s right…next week.  In fact, at this time, next week, the convention attendees will be at a movie theater to watch A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen!  With all of this convention talk in mind, we have a couple of announcements to make.  One announcement is for convention attendees and the other is for those wishing that they could attend the convention!

For Convention Attendees:
We hope that all of you will be checking your email in the next few days.  We are putting together an email with everything you need to know before arriving in the wonderful city of Chicago on Friday (or earlier!).  This will include information regarding registration, dress code, raffles, Late Bar, and more.  It will also contain ways for you to get in touch with Rhonda and me, if you need to.

For Everyone else:
We have a very special announcement to make!

Convention Giveway for one free ticket to Durandemonium!!!*

Here are the details:

Who:  This giveaway is for anyone interested and ABLE to attend Durandemonium, the Duran Duran Fan Convention in Chicago on the weekend of October 18-20.  Perhaps, you wanted to attend but couldn’t afford the ticket.  Maybe, you couldn’t afford both the ticket and the hotel.  Maybe, you wanted to go and realized that you could go after the ticket sales ended.  Then this is the giveaway for you!

What:  This giveaway is for one ticket to the convention ($175 value), which begins on Friday, October 18th at 5 pm to Sunday, October 20th at noon.  Our friend, Kitty, who hoped to attend the convention is no longer able to go.  Instead of selling it to someone, she is donating it so some other fan who wanted to go but doesn’t have a ticket.  We thank her and are in awe of her generosity.  This ticket only covers entrance to the convention, including the Friday night games, Saturday’s author’s panel, screening of A Diamond in the Mind, banquet at Harry Carey’s and clubbing at Late Bar.  It does not cover hotel costs and transportation is not provided.

How to enter the giveaway:  There is a post on Durandemonium’s Facebook Page, which you can find here.  Go to the post and enter your name.  We only ask that you put your name if you are interested and ABLE to attend.  By posting your name, you are committed to being able to actually attend.

When:  The giveaway runs from today until Tuesday when the winner will be announced.

To sweeten the deal some…we offer the additional perks if you are the winner and you ALSO reserve a room at the Amalfi Hotel under the Durandemonium group rate.

–5 free raffle tickets ($5 value)

–Free DVD of the convention weekend ($15 value)

–Free spot on the bus which will take attendees to and from Late Bar ($30 value)

Good luck to everyone and we look forward to seeing you next weekend!!!

-A

*We are not giveaway/contest experts.  We are certain that we probably left out a detail or two here.  We reserve the right to edit, if and when necessary.

Lost Hearts and Words That Are Spoken to the Wind

Rhonda’s blog plus some real life issues have got me thinking about life and, specifically, my life as a fan, a Duran Duran fan.  When I look, really look, at my Duran Duran fandom, it astounds me.  It really does.  It has been quite a journey, one that I wouldn’t have written for myself.  There have been many highs and many lows and lots of crazy experiences along the way.  This journey, this trip, has been on my mind a lot and I wonder where the journey will take me from here.  This blog is about looking back some and making a prediction about where it could be going from here.  I say “could” because nothing is set until it actually happens.

When I look at my life as a Duranie, I definitely separate it into my fandom as a kid and my fandom as an adult.  While I was a huge Duranie back in 1984, 1985, 1986, etc., my fandom was much like anyone else’s.  It seems to me that my story, my life as a Duranie in the 1980s could be anyone’s.  We all had a similar experience.  The story usually goes like this:  We saw and/or heard the band on the radio or MTV.  We loved what we saw/heard.  Soon, we bought everything they came out with and tried to find out as much as we could from teen magazines, from watching MTV and sharing with our fellow kid fans.  Favorites were chosen and many bedroom walls were covered.  While fantasies flourished, there was no real thought about how possible it would be to actually meet one or more band members.  The fantasy was carefree and harmless as was the poster collecting or squeeing at the TV.  The relationship between band and fan was very clear.  They were the untouchable, larger-than-life stars and we were the adoring fans from afar.  The other fans we knew were the ones who went to school with us.  Fandom was simple then.  Does this sound like your story?

Then, the reunion happened.  Like many fans, I dived back in and realized that my fandom had changed because I was now an adult.  My expectations grew.  I knew now that I could go to concerts nearby and even ones far away.  My limits were no longer parents or my school schedule.  Now, it was about work and about money.  My money.  Thus, I did what a lot of people did.  I went to as many shows as I could and slowly started expanding my travels, when and where I could.  Yet, in the beginning, in 2004, in 2005, in 2006…up until 2009, the fandom while different than my youth still seemed relatively carefree and fun.  We still squeed over pictures and still tried to find out as much as we could about the band.  Despite these similarities, I knew, we all knew, that fandom as an adult was different.  The band no longer seemed as untouchable as I saw more and more fans getting pictures, getting meet and greets, figuring out which hotels to stay at, etc.  The carefree nature started slowly backsliding as who you know seemed more important than having fun, whether or not you could get close in some way to one or more band member was more important than the latest album.  I accepted it all.  I accepted the imperfections.  I accepted the game playing and the changed relationship with the band.  I liked some of these changes a lot but I didn’t like all of it but I took the good with the bad.

2009 saw a significant shift in my fandom story.  Rhonda and I stopped joking about writing a book by starting one.  We started to really eat, sleep and breathe fandom.  We found ourselves looking at our fan community with a different lens than that fun, carefree lens that we once did.  In many ways, we couldn’t help this.  It is who we are.  We are thinkers.  Analyzers.  Social Scientists.  It was bound to happen.  A big part of me wanted to write the book so that others would understand, that they would understand what fun being a fan is!  They would get it!  We expanded our thinking and our written voices in 2010 by starting this blog.  Who knew what it would become when we started it?!  It has become so much more than a few paragraphs about being a Duranie on a daily basis.  It has become a method to organize and articulate one’s thinking.  It has become a personal diary of sorts.  It has captured Duran history and our personal histories.  It has been a sounding board for so many.  When I stop to think about it, I’m in awe over it.  Yet, it has also become a responsibility.  It requires time and dedication, often, truly on a daily basis.  Even when Rhonda is blogging, I post the “today in Duran history” and the question of the day.  I also might be thinking about upcoming blogs to cover busy times in my life.  While I’m still shocked that anyone would read this, apparently, some do and I do stop and think about the reactions of those readers before I write something, especially after receiving some truly insulting and demeaning comments over the years.  It is definitely not a carefree act.  This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy writing, thinking or discussing.  I do, but with the good comes the bad.  That is to be expected, right?

Yet, despite this new responsibility, 2011 saw us travel to the UK twice to see the band play in their home country.  In many ways, it was the best tour ever and I am so glad that we went.  Now, though, I wonder if that is maybe where it should have ended.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m glad for the shows I went to in 2012 but I felt another shift had taken place.  Rhonda and I stepped up our game to organize as many meetups as we could.  We wanted all fans to be able to meet up and to connect with one another.  Plus, we wanted to meet people and we did!  A lot of them are absolutely fabulous people and I am so glad to call these people my friends now.  Again, though, we now had places to call, follow up with, be at, etc.  It was an additional piece of responsibility.  The carefree nature didn’t return.  I continued to see some of those negatives that appeared by 2006 and had even more responsibility.  Yet, I still believed in fandom.  Still a Duranie, right?  I needed something to really remind me of the fun that fandom, our fandom can have.  The convention was the next logical step.  After all, I truly do look back to the 2004 convention with such fondness.  It felt so carefree to me (I wasn’t working it!).  I wanted to experience something like that again and I wanted others to as well.  I thought the convention might be like a full circle sort of thing.

We are, officially, one week away from the convention.  As I sit here, fretting about getting everything done at the convention and being able to pay our bills, I don’t feel very carefree.  Fun isn’t a word in my current vocabulary.  Not at all.  In fact, I feel the exact opposite.  I don’t write that to make anyone feel sorry for me or to convince me that it will be fine.  I write that to explain where I am right now in my journey, my fandom journey.  When I say right now, I mean right now.  Tomorrow might be different.  I do realize how much I have learned and how many people I have gotten to know.   I know that there are a lot of you who will say that I’m focusing on the “responsibility” piece too much and I probably am but when I take something on, I really take it on.  I guess I realize that I miss how it used to be and think that I can’t go back, no matter how much I might want to.  Where will I be after the convention?  How will I feel then?  There is no way to really know.  Maybe, it will renew my spirit.  Maybe it will be another shift in my fandom journey.  Maybe, it will mark an intense way to mark the end of this crazy journey.   Time will tell.

-A

Don’t you frown, everything will be in time for this evening…

Coming into the home stretch here for Durandemonium 2013! I can’t even believe that a week from now, I’ll already be in the city and blogging from Chicago!

It has been a long road, and I speak for both Amanda and I when I say that we’ve learned quite a bit while on this journey. I am especially looking forward to seeing the end result of our planning. There are many things I didn’t count on along the way that, should we ever lose our minds and plan another, I’ll know to expect. The first expectation being that this kind of an event takes many more hours of planning than anyone would ever care to know. It is no wonder that we haven’t had these sorts of events on an annual basis, because the planning is truly a full-time job for much of the year. It’s also a financial risk, because you never know how well the event will sell, and reservations for convention space, whether a restaurant, a ballroom, conference rooms or other group venues, must be paid for up front – and in order to secure that space, you have to reserve months and months ahead of time, so you are literally putting down your own money as a deposit. In hindsight, I would have done this differently, maybe by having contests ahead of time, doing some sort of a kickstarter thing…I’m really not sure, but if we would have had seed money to start from, we would not have needed to start ticket sales so early.

Recently on one of the many Duran groups online, someone mentioned that they thought it would cool if Daily Duranie gave away a free ticket to the convention as a type of contest. I am sure that this person had the best of intentions, and even offered to help “chip in”, which was also very kind. What I’d like to address is the misconception that Amanda and I as Daily Duranie are walking away making money on this whole thing. Let me be perfectly clear:  I WISH. Not only are we not making a single cent, we priced this event so close to our cost that as of today, we are not entirely positive that we won’t be in debt after it is over. We don’t think we will be, and we’ve played it very conservatively so that we shouldn’t, but it is incredibly close. Our intention wasn’t to make money – it was to have a big party for fellow fans, but I do wish we’d have enough to help pay for people that would like to come but cannot. Wouldn’t we all?

So many have said to us that they wish they could come, but that it is just too expensive.  Fair enough. I agree, the convention tickets are not cheap. They never really are, and I wish we could have made ours cheaper. Comic-Con for instance (a MUCH larger convention than any Duran event will likely be!) charges $60.00 a person just to get in the door. That pays for almost nothing to the convention goer. They get their ticket and the right to walk around the convention halls. If they want autographs or things of that nature, those are priced in terms of the celebrity you’d like to have sign something and that cost ranges quite a bit. There is no food involved with that. No special party, no banquet…definitely no music, or anything even remotely close.  Convention space of any kind is very expensive, feeding people is even worse as far as cost.  Our convention, while not cheap, could have easily been far more expensive…stretching into the $200-300 range. We felt that pricing this at the same level (even cheaper) than the convention in New Orleans in 2004 was the best we could do without forgoing the quality of the event.

There are people coming from a variety of places for this little shindig – we have a DD fan coming all the way from the UK, as well as a couple of people from Canada.  We think that is fabulous, and we’re honored to host people who were willing to part with their hard earned dollars in order to join us. Traveling is not cheap, and as someone who is flying from Southern California can attest – it does make it difficult! Conversely, nearly every single day someone tells Amanda and myself that we really should plan a convention in ____________
next time so that those people can come. I agree. We should plan conventions everywhere so that they are convenient for everyone to come. That’s why I have started saying that if you’re someone who feels that a city near you should host the next convention – you should plan one. It doesn’t have to be called Durandemonium, it should be named whatever you would like to call it. Don’t wait for someone else to grab the reigns and go – get on the horse and steer it yourself. This isn’t rocket-science, and if someone wants to have a convention or even a group get-together, it can be done as long as they’re willing to put in the work. Of course, that is key, isn’t it? It’s far easier to tell someone else to plan one and just show up, but in that case one really can’t complain about where they’re located. Convention planning does take a lot of time, which is why there is simply no way for Amanda and I to plan conventions or even meetups in every single US city (not even getting into a worldwide discussion here…). As I mentioned before, we did this not to make money, not to make a career out of it, but simply to get fans together. Anyone and everyone can (and should!) do the same if they are so inclined.

I guess my point is that we did our best to plan a convention that would work for a wide variety of people. It is not perfect, and in no way did we ever expect otherwise. There is simply no way to cater to everyone. I would encourage anyone who feels that they could have done a better job to step up and try it – I’d be thrilled to attend a convention without actually having planned it for a change, and there’s absolutely no question in my mind or ego on my heart when I say that I hope someone DOES try their own hand at conventions. I’m happy to share what we’ve learned and support the efforts of others.

Until next week –

-R

Got to make it to the party, socialise, break the ice

Anxiety is beginning to set in. This always seems to happen when I’m about to travel, and I’m going to assume that I’m not alone in that, but somehow, that thought doesn’t really help right now. My nerves are on edge, and it’s not just because I’m leaving my home and family for six days, that is for sure.

As a general rule, I am not a large event planner. I think that I’ve helped plan three events in my entire life that have been a bit larger than a small gathering – and those things are my wedding, the first convention I attended in 2004, and Durandemonium…which is coming up in just 11 days.

In the case of my wedding, I remember having a big binder, filled with the details. (That’s right Amanda, I had a binder.) I don’t remember being particularly worried about anything besides the budget. My mom and dad weren’t in a position to help with finances at all, and my salary at the time was a joke – so while I think we had about 120 people in attendance, our wedding wasn’t huge, but it was still everything I wanted it to be. I didn’t have a wedding consultant or anything, I just did it all myself – everything from choosing the colors (peach and emerald green. Wow. I had “some amazing taste” back in 1995.) to picking out the invitations, flowers and cake. I enjoyed planning my wedding, and wasn’t at all stressed about the little things that could go wrong – which wasn’t like me at the time, typically I was a ball of worries and nerves –  but in this case I just knew it would turn out fine in the end, and it did.

The convention in 2004 was a little stressful at times, mainly because I took my role in the event seriously, and spent every second of my time at the convention in the hotel working with no break. It is my opinion that no one should do that – because quite frankly, we are ALL paying to be there (yes, even Amanda and I paid for our own convention registration), and we all deserve to have a good time. Balance is important, for everyone. It was frustrating to see several people on our committee spend their time at the bars on Bourbon Street while a few of us stayed behind working – but I think that’s a fairly common problem on any committee. Even so, I was not “in charge”, I was merely one of many on a committee. We might have all worked towards the common cause, but I didn’t shoulder the financial burden of it being a success in the same way the main organizer did and I’m certain that she spent very little time actually enjoying herself at the convention and far more time worrying over every single thing that could go wrong. It is no surprise to me that after that event, I saw or heard very little of her again. Planning these sorts of things tends to do that to people.

For this convention, I do feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Yes, we have a great committee helping us, and we’ve appreciated their backup. Even so, I realize that the success of the event will be equated with my name, or Amanda’s name, for some time to come. We’ve tried to plan a weekend that will be fun for everyone, and in doing that – we just planned things that WE would want to attend. As the time grows closer, and I finished packing up four heavy boxes of all sorts of goodies to send to Amanda ahead of time – I have a much better vision of how things will go. I want to assure everyone: it is not going to be perfect. It IS going to be a great party, though – so come prepared to leave real life behind for a few days. I also am beginning to have dreams about all sorts of crazy things going wrong along the way.

Just last night I dreamt that a taxi came to my house to deliver my husband’s suitcases (no idea where my husband was, since it was just his suitcases that showed up, and this seemed normal to me). The taxi driver didn’t speak English very well, and I couldn’t understand what he was trying to tell me – in fact he was telling me that he was there to take me to the airport, but I didn’t figure that out until later when I went back inside. I took my husband’s luggage in the house, and looked at my plane ticket, realizing that I needed to leave for the airport right then in order to make the flight with a little time to spare. I hadn’t even begun to pack, so I threw clothes into my suitcase (I couldn’t find any of my vintage Duran-shirts, oddly enough) and left. What’s bizarre about that is I put my youngest to bed, and told her that “someone would be home to take care of her soon.” That would never happen in real life – I won’t even go to the mailbox without taking her with me if she’s the only one here at home. I got to the airport with moments to spare, and as I settled in for my flight, I realized I’d forgotten all of my makeup and toiletries, all of the things I needed to bring with me…everything save for a few pairs of jeans and a couple shirts. I woke myself up at that point, and it was comforting to know I was still in my own room, in my own bed, a week and a few days away from leaving.

This convention is for everyone, and that includes the convention committee along with Amanda and I. We’ve planned this event as fans, not as professional event planners – and the events are designed to be just as fun for the convention organizers as they will be for everyone else. Yes, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do the planning – but we are no more or less of fans these days than anyone. I know Amanda speaks of the work and responsibility involved for us, and it is true – we shouldered that burden when we agreed to start this project – but I still intend to have a good time. If I am not laughing and enjoying myself along with everyone else in attendance, then I will know we haven’t done our job. For the amount of time we have spent planning – the event should run smoothly once we are there. I know better than to expect absolute perfection, every event I’ve planned has had it’s wrinkles. (One entire layer of my wedding cake was completely inedible – it tasted terrible!  The hotel at our last convention had hot water issues, as in parts of the hotel had none, and those of us decorating the room for the banquet had no time to go and change because we had forgotten to leave time in our schedule for that), but those things were mostly forgiven. Things happen, and we can either laugh it off and keep it as one of those funny memories, or we can react in such a way that tends to ruin it for everyone else. I suspect we’ll be laughing, and I hope that those of you in attendance will be doing the same.

-R

Not-So-Secret Oktober

This is the last weekend in September.  In many ways, this month went by quickly (too quickly, in some ways, and not quick enough, in others).  October is literally around the corner.  This means that Durandemonium is coming up quickly!!!!  While my to-do doesn’t seem to be shrinking at all, I thought it might be good to update and remind all the attendees on some of the big things they should be aware of or of things that might have been forgotten since we introduced the convention way back in February and March!  By the way, even if you aren’t going to the convention, we will be seeking ideas, feedback, etc., in case we are ever crazy enough to do something like this again!

1.  Convention registration is from 5 to 7 pm at the Hotel Amalfi on Friday, October 18.  
Not only will attendees get their packets, but registration will feature games and is on the same floor as the manager’s reception with appetizers and an open bar for those staying at the hotel.  Still think that is a sweet deal!  If you are attending the convention and won’t be there then, please let us know so that we can make arrangements for you!  Remember to wear your most recent Duran tour t-shirt that day!

2.  Saturday during the day will be busy!
First, we will travel from the hotel to the Showplace Icon Theater to see A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen!  I don’t know about anyone else but I’m completely looking forward to this!  Rhonda’s blog yesterday captured the feeling that a lot of us have.  We miss Duran Live and while this won’t be the same, it is definitely the next best thing!  After that, there will be opportunities for Duran games either back at the hotel or around the city, depending on what you prefer!  The winner of these games will receive prizes, too!  If you are staying at the hotel, don’t forget the manager’s reception again before the banquet to get the party started!  During the day, go ahead and wear that retro Duran t-shirt.  I know that I’ll be busting out my Wedding Album shirt!

3.  The banquet is taking place across the street from the hotel at Harry Carey’s restaurant beginning at 7 pm!
The theme of this convention is the music between us.  In order to fit that theme, we are asking every attendee to wear something to represent the music.  This can be done by dressing like a song title or capturing a lyric in some way.  I can’t wait to see the creativity here and to see what Duran songs are represented and how!  Of course, on top of having this dress theme, the banquet will feature a fabulous meal.  In fact, we have been in discussion with the restaurant about the menu, including dessert!  The music during dinner has been determined and the slideshow highlighting the friendships made between fans is ready to be seen!  We are super excited about the fun decorations the room will have and the various raffles and door prizes to be distributed!  After dinner, while digesting your food and enjoying more drinks, there will be dancing to really kick the party up a notch!  After all, we are here to celebrate our Duran fandom!!!

4.  The Party Bus!!
After the banquet, there is much partying to be done!  Duran Duran is the band designed to make us party, after all, right?  Therefore, we are all set to descend on Late Bar, a club on their New Wave night called Planet Earth!  The club is super excited to host us and they are all set to celebrate Duran with some “blocks” of Duran music and other special touches, including Duran related drinks and some decorations!  The club has no cover but the bar is cash only.  The only down side is that the club isn’t super close to the hotel/restaurant area of Chicago.  Yet, never fear, the convention committee has a solution!  We reserved a party bus that could transport attendees to and from the hotel/restaurant and club.  The best part?  The bus would be able to take multiple trips so that everyone could head back to the hotel whenever they are ready and no worries about getting a taxi, which we know can be tough to find in this particular area!  Plus, what could be more fun than traveling with a large group of Duranies!?!  Truly, Chicago should be afraid!!!  If you are attending the convention and are interested in reserving your seat on the bus, please, get in contact with us for details about how to do that!  Monday is the deadline!

5.  Reaching up for the sunrise!
While I’m sure that many of us will be tired, in a good way, on Sunday morning, we will get back together again at the hotel.  For sure, group pictures will be taken!!!  I remember the group picture taking at the convention in 2004 as many, many, many cameras were lined up to be used!  I can’t wait to see that picture, especially with so many of us wearing the convention t-shirt!!!

When I read over what we have planned, as one of the organizers, I worry about every little detail, but, as an attendee, I can’t wait!  Just recently, there has been a flurry of discussions and activity on Twitter discussing various parts of the convention from what people will be wearing to the banquet to who is going on the party bus to people’s travel plans!  After thinking about this last summer, we really are just a few weeks away from experiencing a truly fun weekend!  I, for one, can’t wait to see all the friends I haven’t seen in a long time and all of the people I will soon meet!!!  Let the countdown begin!!!

-A

I sense the rhythm humming in a frenzy

Sorry to interrupt the ramblings of JoSi fantasies out there… or for the really twisted amongst you, the RhoAm.  (Listen, I don’t make UP the fantasies to which our readers admit, and if you find yourself confused, go ahead and check out the JoSi blog from over the long weekend)…but I’m here to talk Durandemonium. The convention.

We’re only 45 days away from taking over the city of Chicago (or at least the Amalfi Hotel).  If that gets your blood flowing, then you should imagine how Amanda, myself and the rest of the convention committee feel. We’re in a near panic!  We are working to plan decorations for the Saturday night party, finishing plans for some really great raffle and door prize items…and I’m working on a program of events that will be lovingly placed in each registrants packet for the weekend. We’ve got laminates coming…because we’re all VIP’s in this fan community, darn it…the slideshow is finished…Amanda is working steadily on the FanBook that everyone will be receiving (and by the way, if you’re attending the convention and have NOT gotten that fan book information completed – step on it!  Amanda needs it all done ASAP so that she can  get everything finished.  We’re getting t-shirts printed, talking banquet menu and even drink menu for our own afterparty at the Late Bar, not to mention working with Late Bar on getting transportation to the bar and back from the club.  If that weren’t enough, we’re still ironing out details for the author panel (because Duranies are smart people and we’re going to flex a teensy bit of that brain muscle on Saturday morning when we get together for a little chat about being a fan). It’s busy, it’s nerve-wracking because we want everyone to have a great time, and we do it because we’re insane.  Well, it’s because we love being fans, too…but make no mistake, Amanda and I realize just how crazy we were to ever say that we should do this!

Over the weekend, Amanda and I put the finishing touches (well, it was mostly Amanda but I was right there on the phone giving my never-ending opinion and words of support.  I was!) on the music playlist that will be heard during dinner. Sure, we could have left it to chance and hoped our DJ would know what to do…but we also thought it might be a great time to expose. To educate.  Enhance ones musical diet, even.  What am I talking about?  For nearly two years now, Amanda has attempted to start the day by asking a simple this or that question of Duranies.  If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you are probably used to seeing the question of the day, and maybe you even take the 30 seconds to participate.  Many, many times the question has been regarding songs, groups, etc that not many of our Duranie buddies has heard of…and yet they might be side projects, solo projects or one-offs that the band has been involved in over the years, but due to circumstance, interest or otherwise, we’ve had people say “I don’t know that one.”  So we agreed that this playlist would give everyone a good taste of what’s out there.  Now, I’m not going to give away the playlist here, although we’re going to go ahead and print the order of the playlist in the program in case someone hears something they like and wants to go get it off of iTunes.  We’re trying to cover everything from The Devils to Neurotic Outsiders to Blue to Brown, and all of it will provide just the right ambience for the fantastic evening ahead.

So with those to-do lists in my head and a day of getting back into homeschooling ahead…I’m off.  45 days, people.  The time will go quickly, and maybe before we get there – we’ll be lucky enough to get a teensy snippet of what the band has been working on to whet our appetites.

Or not.  Which is perfectly fine as well. One thing I’ve learned about Duranies – under the right conditions we can create our own energy, just like a wildfire creates it’s own weather. I think the convention is going to be just that kind of weekend experience.  The band can thank us later….with another great album and a fantastic tour.   We’ll be ready.

-R