Tag Archives: conventions

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.


Trading in My Shelter for Danger

This past week, Rhonda posted here about a little anniversary.  This anniversary was the first day of Friends of Mine:  The Duran Duran Fan Convention in New Orleans ten years ago.  In her post, she talked about so many things that she remembered that weekend and why it was so fabulous.  One phrase in her post caught my attention.  She called it, “life changing.”  I didn’t laugh at her but nodded my head in agreement.  I, too, view it in the same way.  After that weekend, my life was never the same.  Let’s take a look back to see where I was then and where I’m at now.

In the fall of 2004, I was starting my seventh year of teaching.  I was finally starting to feel confident in my abilities as an educator.  At the time, I was teaching special education students at a nearby middle school.   I had recently got my Masters and was ready for some downtime.  While I had friends, both close by and far away, I wouldn’t say that I had many close friendships at the time.  Up until this point of my adulthood, I didn’t have much time.  Teaching was consuming about 50-60 hours per week then I had graduate class work to do, on top of that.  Yet, as soon as classes were done, I was ready to focus on my social life, which is where fandom comes in.  I had some friends from another fandom and figured Duran fandom would be the same.  I was also wanting an adventure and to challenge myself by doing a little of traveling.  Thus, the convention was the perfect place for me to go!

Did I make friends during that convention?!  Absolutely.  Obviously.  Did I make some kick ass memories then?!  For sure!  Without a doubt.  Did it lead me to attend more Duran events and go to more shows?  No question.  It definitely changed my fandom life.  I now had friends within the community as well as a best friend that I didn’t have before.  I now had people to go to shows with and people to “chat” with online.  I embraced those activities of touring and being online, fully and completely.  I went to the shows I could and saved money in between shows, in order to do more.  I spent a ton of time online.  All of that would be enough to be called life-changing, I suppose.  Yet…this one action on my part did more than that for me.  Much more.

Now, because of that convention and the experiences and friendships that followed, my day ALWAYS surrounds fandom.  Every day, for example, I take the time to set up and post the question of the day.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Unlike the post office, I don’t rest on Sunday or major holidays.  Even when I’m on vacation, I have to figure out something to get it done.  The question of the day is just one little aspect of what Rhonda and I have created for ourselves.  We worry about the day in history, other posts, guest posts, polls, the website itself, our social media accounts and more.  That’s JUST with the blog!!  We also committed ourselves to researching and writing a book on the subject of fandom as well as planning events and even a convention.  There is always something else that we are working on that we don’t talk about.  Now, my day consists of some blog work before my paying job, working at work for about 9-11 hours on any given day and coming home to work on either more work for teaching or more work for this.  I don’t have a lot of evenings or weekends to relax.  I made a commitment and follow through on them.

For me, the convention started a ball rolling that I now can’t stop.  I decided to take my fandom to another level.  While so many refer to this as a “hobby” or what I do in my spare time, I don’t view it that way.  I look at it as a job.  It takes that much time and that much personal commitment for me, for us.  It means that I don’t have down time or the time to watch a lot of TV or go to a lot of movies.  I willingly accept all of that.  I am often exhausted and find myself wishing for more time, but I still would choose this.  I almost can’t help it, at this point.  I can’t imagine not paying attention to Duranland.  What would it be like if I didn’t offer my thoughts about what Duran is or is not doing?   I put myself out there everyday in the fan community.  We put ourselves out there every day.

I am no longer satisfied with my whole life surrounding just teaching.  All of this as well as my experience campaigning taught me that I can be more than just a teacher.  (Yet, I believe that this has made me a better teacher, too!)  I could do something different with my life, with my career, if I so choose.  I have many skills beyond developing relationships with kids and family or developing or differentiating curriculum. Beyond job skills, this experience also taught me a lot about fandom.  I have had the opportunity to be both within the fandom and an observer of fandom at the same time.  What I have experienced in the last ten years is unique, for sure.  That said, I am and will forever be grateful that I chose to attend that convention and to “trade my shelter for danger.”


Conventions and Swag!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m struggling to get through this week. It’s been a busy one here, and given that my children are due to start school again in just a couple of weeks (they got out the last week in June), I don’t think a reprieve is on it’s way.

Today, I am seeking some opinions, and also sharing some news. Recently, Amanda and I were approached about possibly doing another convention in the spring. By “Spring” I mean either March or April – we have a couple of different weekends in mind, avoiding Easter. We have no details pegged at this point, but I can announce with certainty that the convention would be in the Los Angeles, California area – this is definite.

Amanda and I know there are many of you out there who loved Durandemonium and have been waiting for us to announce another.  It didn’t matter that the band wasn’t present or that we were way in between albums. Those who came to the event wanted to be there, to meet new people, form new friendships and have a great time. Judging purely from the people I see keeping in touch with one another on Facebook and Twitter, we think those goals were not only met, but surpassed, and we couldn’t be prouder.

I’ve mentioned many times here on the blog that in 2004, there was another Duran fan convention in New Orleans. This was a pretty magical time because not only were people looking to meet other fans, form new friendships and have a kick-ass time in New Orleans, but there was a new album coming out. The convention was at the end of September and Astronaut hit shelves a few weeks later in October. The band was out and about doing promo, and I could feel the energy reverberating through the fans for the entire weekend. It added something incredibly special and electric to the weekend, that is for sure.

This convention would be similar, assuming of course that the band stays the course and gets the album out in Spring of next year.  That same electricity would be in abundance, and I can’t really think of better ways to energize a fan community than having a fan convention just before the release of an album. Granted, we also recognize that most people are on a budget. Decisions have to be made with finances in mind, and perhaps people might feel that it’s just too close to call – assuming that the band would tour immediately following the album release. My guess (and it IS just a guess) is that even if the band released an album in the spring, and even if they started to tour during the summer – they might not come to the US first. Perhaps they’d get to us in the fall, which seems to be a pretty typical pattern for them. Ultimately though, we want to hear from you. Let us know what you think of another convention or fan weekend during the Spring (March or April) of 2015.  Would you attend? Why or why not?

In that same vein, we have been brainstorming ways to do some initial fundraising so that we can secure convention space.  As you may have guessed, when we booked the previous convention, the money used for deposits came directly out of our pockets (specifically Amanda’s!). Then we had to rush to sell tickets, many months in advance, in order to pay her back. While it wasn’t a horrible system, it led to many, MANY, sleepless nights on both of our parts, not to mention asking all of you to buy tickets some nine months before the actual event. Not a perfect system by any means. So before agreeing to do another, we had to brainstorm of ways to help pay for the conventions and planning. One of the things we decided to do was create a Daily Duranie Swag Shop using Cafepress! If you take a look up in the menu bar – you’ll see “Daily Duranie Swag Shop” up there. Click on it and it will take you directly to our shop on Cafepress. We’ve got everything from T-shirts to bags and shot glasses. Keep in mind that when you purchase, you’re helping us make Daily Duranie better, and putting on the next convention, and we really appreciate your help! Besides, who doesn’t want a Daily Duranie flask?!? We will be continuing to add to our merch and designs over the coming months, so check it out!  (One small caveat: we are still tinkering with the site, and one of the things I’m working on is the search functionality – right now nothing will come up if you search for particular items, but everything we have is on that front page so you shouldn’t miss anything!)

We would love feedback regarding a convention in the spring, and if you find yourself as an owner of some Daily Duranie Swag – take a photo and send it to us!  I’ll put it up on the site!