Category Archives: Unstaged at The Mayan

On the Cinema Wall

Figures.  I had a blog post all written for today when, of course, Duran had to announce something.  Losers.  Just kidding.  I will just have to post that entry later on in the weekend.  So, what did Duran announce?  Apparently, Unstaged, the film directed by David Lynch, from the band’s 2011 show at the Mayan Theater in LA, will be screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on Monday, November 4th at 7:30.  Tickets are available for both the screening and for a cocktail reception starting on Monday, October 28th.  The tickets to the screening are $12 for adults.  The cocktail reception requires a VIP purchase by people who are American Express credit card holders.  This reception will be at a nearby restaurant and the band will be there.  Likewise, the band will be at the screeening and will participate in a question and answer session afterwards.  All details can be found on the band’s official website here.

This is obviously exciting and very cool news even for those like me who aren’t big fans of the film!  I knew that Unstaged had been shown at other film festivals, but the Museum of Modern Art?!  How cool!  I love that the event is open to the public, even if I could not afford to travel right now!  Of course, I bet that the tickets are limited, which, of course, would make one very stressful little presale for those trying to get tickets on Monday.  I also wonder if there are ticket limits, especially with those cheap prices.  As for the VIP tickets, I did notice that there were no prices listed and I can only imagine them to be “out of my price range”.  LOL.  Yet, again, how cool for people who can afford it to attend a cocktail reception with the band.  While I bet that they will be busy talking to those they need to talk to, it would be cool to see them enjoying this moment.  As we know, art and art museums are a big deal to Duran Duran.  Of course, this isn’t a normal concert performance, but still.  Their music influenced David Lynch to create the visuals that he did.  Now, while I will admit that it wasn’t really my thing, I would still be super excited to see it on the big screen.  As the attendees at Durandemonium learned last week, there is nothing better than Duran on the big screen.  Of course, for this film, I might be screaming to see more Duran as opposed to screaming for the DoJo like I did during A Diamond in the Mind!  I, for one, though, would love to have a guest blog from someone who is able to attend.

Speaking of attending, I did quickly glance at the comments to this piece of news.  Most people who commented either mentioned how cool they thought it was or stated that they planned to attend since they were in the area.  I admit that I’m a little surprised that I didn’t hear some complaining by others.  What sort of complaining was I expecting?  Simple.  I thought people might be expressing some frustration by the short notice.  Maybe, some people thought that they could have traveled if they only had more time to schedule their lives, buy plane tickets, get hotel rooms, etc.  Yet, I haven’t seen comments like this.  This could either be because I missed those comments, which is very possible, or people wouldn’t want to go out of their way to travel for this.  I guess it is also possible that people just understand how it is likely that DDHQ had little to say about when the announcement would come out and when the ticket sales would start.  Perhaps, people just aren’t that interested because they didn’t like Unstaged or because it appears that the Q&A session will be streamed live on the museum’s site.  It is hard to say.  It is also possible that people are just not thinking much about Duran right now and weren’t paying attention since they knew that the band was in the studio.  Maybe, some are still recovering from Durandemonium!  All speculation on my part.

I, for one, am thankful that the question and answer session will be streamed live, assuming that I am reading the press release correctly.  I know that Rhonda and I plan on watching it “together”.  While we might not be able to be there in person, we could at least get a sense of it this way.  Besides, we figured that it might make for a fun blog on the following day.  So, what about the rest of you?  Going to NYC?  Watching online?  Ignoring it all?


Let It Shine–2011 Highlights

Last Sunday, I talked about the documentary featured on Duran’s latest DVD release, A Diamond in the Mind.  I questioned why it wasn’t talked about more and then I introduced the main topics of the documentary.  Before I dive into the first of those big topics, I want to explain what I learned after last Sunday’s blog.  The reason that many people aren’t talking about this documentary is because they don’t have it.  Apparently, the iTunes version, for example, did not include extras.  Thus, the only people who have access to it are people who bought actual copies (DVD or Blu-ray).  There was also some confusion between this and the commentary.  Let me do my best to clarify.  The commentary is not included on the actual copy of ADITM.  The commentary was played on the day that ADITM premiered through the Qello application on facebook.  Later, it was made available to download on Eagle Rock.  This was/is the only means I know of obtaining it.  The commentary is much like a movie commentary in which voices talk about the show over the original visuals.  The documentary, on the other hand, is available only on actual copies and features interviews with the band as well as other footage, including behind the scenes shots. 

The first main topic of the documentary is the 2011 highlights, according to the band.  Nick introduced this topic by talking about how the year was so exciting and renewed their music and live show.  Simon then listed many of their highlights, including the release of All You Need Is Now and their participation in some American festivals like South by Southwest and Coachella.  Nick and John later discuss the Unstaged show with David Lynch.  After watching, I wondered if I agreed with their assessments and what my own highlights were.  Let’s take each of those 3 highlights, one at a time. 

The first highlight that the band mentions is the release of All You Need is Now.  I would think that anytime the band releases an album that must be THE highlight of that year since they haven’t released that many albums.  It isn’t like they release an album a year or more than one album a year.  Writing, recording, mixing, and putting out an album must be an incredible amount of work.  I really can’t wrap my head around how much work it must be.  I know how hard it is to write a book.  Maybe I could compare book writing to album making.  Like recording an album, you can’t just sit down and publish a book.  You have to take time to outline the book/chapter, then you have to write it which often takes a great deal of time as serious revisions can happen.  You start thinking the chapter might be one way only to have it go in a completely different direction.  I am sure the same thing happens to songs.  Then, you still have to edit, perfect, add, change, fix everything that is written.  Even after that, there are more details to add.  In our case, for example, we add quotes to separate sections of a chapter.  Perhaps, this is like all of those little sounds, pieces that get added to Duran songs.  Once all of that is done, there is still all the packaging that needs to be figured and what is going to be included, etc.  My point is simple.  Releasing an album is a ton of work and a super big deal.  Of course, the other important detail to this highlight is that the album is FABULOUS.  Frankly, this album should always be a Duran highlight and not just for 2011.  It is a career highlight, in my opinion.  It is filled with quality music that feels like essential Duran.  If anything, I was surprised that they didn’t talk more about the album on this.  Although, maybe they felt like they shouldn’t because the iTunes version was available at the end of 2010. 

The next highlight was American festivals.  They mentioned South by Southwest briefly before spending more time talking about Coachella and the scene there with the sunset that really created a special moment for the band.  I wasn’t surprised that they talked about this one as I know John talks about it in his book.  (Hope that wasn’t too spoilerish!)  I also know that it was a huge crowd and that this festival is a big deal in comparison to many other ones.  It was one of those shows that aired online at the same time they played so that the rest of us, who weren’t there and wouldn’t step foot on a festival’s grounds even if paid, could watch it.  I enjoyed the show.  I did and I thought that the band sounded really tight that night.  Thus, I completely understand why it was a highlight for the band BUT I don’t know that it was a highlight for a lot of us, fans.  Obviously, fans, like me, would have a different set of criteria.  Festivals aren’t for fans.  Yes, some fans attended, including some friends of ours, but they typically don’t get to play a full set and include ONLY greatest hits and a few new ones.  Yes, I realize that appearances in festivals could broaden the fanbase.  I get all that.  Yet, when I think highlights, I think it has to either be something that had a HUGE impact on a large number of fans or majority of fans or really do or say something about the band’s success.  This event didn’t do it.  Frankly, they should have mentioned those rehearsal shows in the UK in the late summer of 2011 in which Simon practiced his voice for the first time since he had vocal problems and in which the band played lots of obscure songs in small venues filled with all fans.  I wasn’t there at any of those shows but I do know that they meant everything to all of us.  It was proof that Simon was going to be okay and that the band would continue.  That meant everything. 

The last big highlight that was mentioned was the Unstaged performance/production with David Lynch.  For this, the band played a live show in Los Angeles while the David Lynch production was streamed online with numerous effects and images shown on top of shots of the band performing.  Again, I wasn’t surprised that the band mentioned this one.  After all, many (most?  all?) of them are fans of David Lynch’s.  It also got a lot of attention.  I think there is something to be said for doing something different or showing something different.  I applaud it for that.  Yet, I know that when I watched it, I found myself either wondering what the heck was now on the screen or why I couldn’t just see the band perform.  In my opinion, it was too much style and not enough substance.  All of those images almost took away from the quality of the band’s performance.  As a Duranie, I don’t mind some additions to a live performance but this felt like it wasn’t a live performance and I was sad by that.  My full review of this could be read here.  As I said there, it was cool, to some extent, but I missed just seeing the band.

If I had to say what the band’s highlights of 2011 were, I think I would have to say the album’s release, the return of Simon with those rehearsal gigs and the UK tour at the end of the year.  I’m not surprised that my highlights for the band didn’t match theirs.  After all, we have different priorities.  My highlights have to impact a lot of us or all of us.  For them, they thought about their personal highlights or thought about those big events that are easy to pick out.  I get that.  I can understand that.  My highlight choices are personal, too.  Did those events I mentioned help the band’s career, though, at the same time?  I actually think they do.  It is a big deal to release an album and an album with super quality.  It is huge to be able to perform again after the fear we all had that Simon would never be able to sing again.  It is so cool to be able to play shows like they played in the UK at the end of the year.  It was the proof that they really are back and are 100%! 

What about the rest of you?  Do you agree with their highlights?  What are your highlights for 2011?


Duran Duran Unstaged – The Daily Duranie (By Internet) Review!

I was not the lucky half of the Daily Duranie for Duran Duran Unstaged as I could not attend the show in person.  (During normal tour season, I would have considered it but must be at work to go to the UK later!)  Despite not attending in person, I was excited for the show!  I knew that this was going to be a unique one in that I would be able to see the concert as it took place and experience some extra visual effects courtesy of David Lynch.  On top of that, Rhonda kept in touch throughout the day and I was able to watch with a local Duranie friend.  It was all good in my world!

As 9pm, my time, rolled around, I was glad that I had turned the computer on when I did as I had to install some new flash update or something.  After I did that, I was able to sit back and wait for my friend as strange Duran interviews played on the screen.  These interviews were not typical ones as they answered questions that aren’t usually asked.  For example, each band member was asked what moment in their lives they would like to go back to in order to experience it again.  Simon said something about the night they wrote their first song together (Sound of Thunder).  Roger discussed how he wanted to experience the first time he heard Planet Earth on the radio.  John’s comments were about the first time the band landed in the States.  I can’t remember what Nick said because it was strange!  (Anyone remember???)  These interviews increased my excitement, especially since I thought they all looked so fabulous!

Once the show started, my friend, Deb, and I were both a little shocked by what we were seeing on the screen.  We kept switching cameras in order to find the camera that would show the clearest coverage of the band.  (I should note that there were 3 camera choices.  One was the Lynch version.  Another was a fishbowl camera of the crowd and the third was a fun cam, which also seemed to be mostly crowd.)  After switching a number of times, we ultimately landed back on the Lynch camera.  Then, we had to sit back and wait to get used to the visuals.  To be fair, I don’t think I really understood how the visuals were going to work.  I assumed that we would be able to see the band clearly and in color.  I thought there might be interesting backgrounds, which is a common experience at Duran shows.  I also thought there might be some flashes of different images but this was almost like there were layers of screens, figuratively.  The first screen showed the band.  Then, the second, turned the color image to black and white.  The last layer had some other images or images on top.  In some ways, it reminded me of the screens the band used during Dirty Great Monster for their Red Carpet Massacre Broadway run in 2007 where there were layers of screens lowered in front of the band in order to superimpose color patterns and to hide the band some.  I thought that was absolutely wonderful so I had hopes that I would think the same thing here. 

I didn’t.  While I did get used to the visuals and seeing little of the band and what I did was in black and white, it still didn’t feel right to me.  Yes, it was cool.  Yes, many of the images were well thought and fabulous, but it wasn’t what I expect from a Duran show. The Broadway thing worked for me because it was fitting for the song AND because it was only for one song.  In general, when I am at or watching a Duran show, I want to see them perform.  I want to see the interactions between the band members.  I want the little looks from Nick and John in the silent way they seem to assess the show.  I missed any of the musical battles with John and Dom.  A show doesn’t feel like a show unless I can see Simon’s silly dance moves.  Yes, when I’m at a show, I like the backgrounds they have, but only when they enhance their performance.  If they were to overpower their performance, then they no longer serve their purpose, in my opinion.  At some point I realized that I was no longer watching a Duran show but something different.  I began to think of it more as an opportunity to listen to a show live while watching what could have been videos.  Then, I was able to relax more and take in both the music and the visuals.

From my perspective, musically, they were on!  I believe this to be true because I felt like singing along and I had a bit of the post show “high” that I normally do after a good show.  (For the record here, like Rhonda, I have and will criticize the band if they do not perform well.)  The setlist was pretty solid with only a few exceptions.  I was not wild about the part of the set that went from Hungry to Safe to Leave a Light On to Ordinary World.  I can also openly admit that I’m sick of HLTW and OW and I wasn’t really looking forward to Safe.  Despite this part of the set, I was impressed that they played a number of new tracks and felt that the end was awesome, except for Come Undone (another song I’m sick of).  Speaking of impressed, there were a number of songs where I felt that they really hit a home run.  The first song that really got me excited was Friends of Mine.  I have only seen that song performed once and would love, love, love that one to be a given on this tour.  I feel the same about Careless Memories.  As far as the new songs go, I was completely impressed with Leave a Light On.  It isn’t my favorite on the album but it sounded beautiful.  I loved hearing Leopard.  I’m not sure that I would say that Leopard was solid, though.  It seemed to me that it took a little while for Simon to be comfortable with it, which I hope gets better because it is my favorite part of the song.  I felt the same about Blame the Machines.  He just didn’t seem sure of himself.  I also think that Anna struggled with the new material.  I wasn’t sure what to make of the spoken word part of BTM or the female part of Safe.  That said, I hope to hear all of these new tracks in person myself.  It will be interesting to see which tracks they continue to play live and which ones they don’t.  They could always bring out other news ones, too, like Before the Rain and Too Bad You’re So Beautiful (hint, hint!).

Some of the new songs also suffered from the worst of the visuals, in my opinion.  Leopard started out with this cool, dark fog moving across Simon and Kelis’s faces.  That made sense to me and could have even begun to enhance the music.  Then, out of nowhere, there were these heads.  They appeared to be Mayan like heads that moved up and down.  Huh?  I don’t understand and they definitely distracted me (and made me laugh!).  Of course, the Mayan like heads weren’t the only weird images.  Can someone please explain the Barbies with red thongs and eight balls on their breasts that had Ds instead of number 8 on them?  What about the hot dogs and mice during Come Undone?  Those images did nothing but make me laugh and they complete took my focus away from the music, which is exactly what they should not have done, in my opinion.  Other images just seemed obvious and silly like the Earth during Planet Earth or the sun during Sunrise.  Now, I did think that some of the images were cool.  I liked seeing the close ups of both the bass and guitar in the beginning of Being Followed.  It reminded of the song, Careless Memories, during the 1984 concert production As the Lights Go Down.  (Maybe I was expecting something more like that??)  Some other pieces made me think.  I didn’t understand the use of the fork, for example, during Friends of Mine, but I appreciate that it made me think.

Perhaps, I was supposed to be thinking throughout the show and was just trying to enjoy it.  Maybe that is what I was doing wrong.  Nonetheless, I was still disappointed by not being able to really see the band.  I could have been okay with the visuals if they enhanced the mood of the song but too many of them seemed random and silly.  I’m sure that there are many fans out there that absolutely loved what they saw.  I get that.  I think that for me, when it comes to Duran, I want more pure music out of their live performances.  Thus, my expectations were for something completely different than what I got.  Now, that I know this, maybe I could watch it again and see it in a totally different light…


Unstaged with David Lynch

I am completely aware that Daily Duranie doesn’t do “The News” in quite the way that other blogs cover DD news.  We tend to be more “touchy feely”….in a very good way, and we also try very hard to cover things from the fan perspective.  Now, whether or not it’s the perspective that all or the majority of our readers have I cannot say, it’s up to the reader to decide for his or her self.

In the case of the upcoming show at The Mayan in Los Angeles, however – I feel as though we’ve got to report and comment!  I recently found a PR blurb on newswire that I’d like to share.  I don’t have the original link to the article, but I’m copying/pasting the article in full here for your reading pleasure:

From The PRNewswire:….-117932264.html

First Installment of Unstaged 2011 Features Duran Duran Performance Coinciding with the Release of the Band’s 13th Studio Album and their First Official Tour Since 2008

March 23rd Live-Stream Performance Will Be Available as a Live VEVO event on YouTube
NEW YORK, March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Grammy® award-winning rock icons Duran Duran will kick-off the second year of “Unstaged: An Original Series from American Express” on March 23rd at the Mayan Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif. The event (featuring all four original members: Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Roger Taylor) comes one day after their critically acclaimed 13th studio album, entitled ALL YOU NEED IS NOW (S-Curve Records), hits stores. Duran Duran’s performance will mark the first time an artist within the “Unstaged” music series plays from Los Angeles. Upon release, tickets for Duran Duran’s performance at the Mayan Theatre sold out in under five minutes.

The 2011 “Unstaged” kick-off performance will be live-streamed at 10:00PM ET / 7:00PM PT American Express, in partnership with VEVO, the leading online premium music video and entertainment service, and YouTube will provide Duran Duran fans worldwide with access to their “Unstaged” performance, which coincides with the start of the band’s first official tour since 2008. Award-winning filmmaker David Lynch (The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive), known for his unique cinematic style that masterfully blends imagery and sound design, has been enlisted to capture the performance, providing fans with a visually stunning home viewing experience.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to experiment with the band, Duran Duran, at the Mayan Theater on March 23rd,” said filmmaker David Lynch. “The idea is to try and create on the fly, layers of images permeating Duran Duran on the stage. A world of experimentation and hopefully some happy accidents.”

Speaking from a rehearsal studio in London where they are preparing for the ‘Unstaged’ show, lead singer Simon Le Bon said: “We are all beyond delighted that David Lynch has agreed to direct this show for us. It’s a dream come true quite frankly. We are all such fans of his work and think he has a creative vision like no other. In talking to him about what he is planning, we all believe this live-streamed performance is going to look nothing like anyone has ever seen before. We can’t wait.”

Duran Duran’s “Unstaged” performance represents the fourth installment within American Express’ innovative music platform “Unstaged,” which launched in the summer of last year and has featured music sensations Arcade Fire, John Legend & The Roots, and Sugarland. Collectively, these artists from the 2010 “Unstaged” music series recently combined for eight Grammy® nominations and four Grammy® wins at this year’s 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. Additionally, two of the three artists’ albums debuted at #1 on the Billboard albums chart following their “Unstaged” performances. American Express, in conjunction with VEVO and YouTube, tracked more than 30 million total streams for all three artists’ performances combined.

“There is no doubt that our ‘Unstaged’ platform is quickly emerging as one of the music industry’s most innovative distribution and marketing models for musicians to share their music with their fans around the world,” said Jessica Igoe, vice president global sponsorship marketing, American Express. “We are thrilled to welcome Duran Duran to the Unstaged family and look forward to David’s artistic vision in bringing their iconic sound to their fans in an entirely new way.”

Bringing the in-concert and at-home viewing experiences to entirely new heights, “Unstaged: An Original Series from American Express” showcases some of the music industry’s most breakthrough artists playing at landmark venues across the country, while tapping some of today’s most influential filmmakers to direct the live-streams and using digital and social media to connect the online audience to the live shows in unexpected ways. Additional artists are set to be unveiled in the coming months.

“YouTube is honored to host this iconic event,” said Ali Rivera, Music Partnerships at YouTube. “The classic British band, Duran Duran, captured on camera by Academy Award® winning director, David Lynch, and shared with viewers worldwide; fans are in for a real treat.”

“We’re thrilled to elevate the American Express ‘Unstaged’ program to an even higher level in 2011… pushing the boundaries by creating innovative and personal concert experiences on multiple ‘stages,'” said David Kohl, EVP, Sales and Customer Operations, VEVO. “VEVO’s primary focus is to offer fans even more live events and interactive viewing experiences for American Express.”

American Express® Cardmembers and music enthusiasts can digitally connect to these live music experiences in ways that further blur the line between an at-home and in-concert experience:

Choose Your Cam: The audience can control their viewing experience throughout the show by switching between the director’s main stream and alternate “Lynchian” artistic lenses on the night.
“The Now Pulse” Crowd Visualizer: Further uniting the audiences at the show and at home, this new interactive project will create a real-time visualization of crowd excitement based on social chatter online. When the social buzz reaches a climax, a special Duran Duran memento will be unlocked for fans everywhere.
“All Of Us Now” Photo Project: Audiences worldwide will collaborate with David Lynch in an on-stage and online art installation, by submitting photos. In true Lynch style, the photos will be showcased on surreal displays throughout the night. Visit to find out more and submit videos.
On-line Pre Show: Building anticipation of the night, viewers who tune in early to the live-stream will catch an exclusive segment directed by David Lynch.
Tweet The Band: Fans can Tweet questions to #amexduranduran for a chance to have them answered by the band in a series of Pre-Show vignettes.

Leading up to the March 23rd performance, fans will be able to receive insider updates by connecting with American Express or Fans can visit YouTube for a special “Unstaged” trailer video, including highlights from previous performances. Additionally, a special screening party will be held in New York City, featuring the Duran Duran live-stream performance, including industry insiders, select media and fan club members.

Produced by Mark Ronson, ALL YOU NEED IS NOW is a return-to-roots homage to their most celebrated musical panache, and features guest vocals from longtime collaborator Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters and R&B/neo-soul superstar Kelis. Owen Pallett of Arcade Fire contributes the album’s string arrangements.

For more information about American Express and music, please visit

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us, and

About VEVO

VEVO is the web’s leading online premium music video and entertainment service with over two billion worldwide streams and nearly 60 million unique visitors in the U.S. and Canada each month. VEVO’s programming is made available across the VEVO platform, which includes (the service’s marquee destination site), VEVO Mobile (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android), VEVO connected devices (Google TV, Boxee) and a VEVO-branded embedded player. The service also serves as a syndication platform for additional internet destination sites, including AOL, BET, CBS Interactive Music Group (including Last.FM), Univision and, through a special partnership, YouTube, expanding the reach of the VEVO platform across the worldwide web. VEVO was created in partnership by Universal Music Group (UMG), Sony Music Entertainment (SME) and the Abu Dhabi Media Company. It is operated independently by a dedicated management team with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco. Explore VEVO at Journalists/Bloggers can stay updated on VEVO news at

About YouTube

YouTube is the world’s most popular online video community allowing millions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. Our mission is for YOU to discover and shape the world through video. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small. YouTube, LLC is based in San Bruno, CA and is a subsidiary of Google Inc.

SOURCE American Express

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The show sounds like its going to be fantastic!  This is obviously a huge opportunity for the band, both in that they are going to be working with David Lynch and that the show is getting quite a bit of press and buzz – along with being shown on youtube for an entire month!  Outstanding!  

I will be at this show, and I’m very excited to see the band again as well.  I think that the experience at home might even better than at the show, but we will see.  It’s certainly going to be a very interactive experience for fans that night – and it’s the type of groundbreaking experience that I think Duran Duran is known for.  Once again I must acknowledge that my luck is rarely this good – and I’m really looking forward to going to the show.  It’s been a very long wait in between Duran Duran shows, and I am still having trouble believing that I’m actually going to be seeing them again just next week!  (yes, it’s the fangirl in me – I try to keep her caged, but sometimes, she does escape.)  

If you’ve read the article carefully, you’ll see that there is even to be a special screening party in New York City for the show that night.  I haven’t read or heard anything about this within the community as of yet – but I’m hopeful that fans will have the chance to attend.  I know that if I weren’t going to the show myself, I think it would be a lot of fun to be at a screening party somewhere in the country.  What’s better than seeing Duran Duran?  Seeing Duran Duran with a bunch of friends!  The only thing I can think of that would make the experience better would be to do some sort of an interactive show of this scale on the big screen at movie theaters across the country.  So rather than having one screening party, doing many across the country as was done for Live from London, yet it would be live, and interactive.  

I think the fans have a good year ahead with many surprises – looking forward to seeing how it turns out!