Tag Archives: meet-ups

It’s the learning of this journey: Fan Events

Hi everybody!!

I’m writing to you this morning from a lovely hotel room in Kalamazoo Michigan. We stopped here last night on our way to Detroit for the show tonight.  Leaving Chicago was kind of sad—it is one of my favorite cities, and it is also where my sister lives. I took one last parting photo as we inched our way by on the highway, thinking about how long it might be until I can return.

I needed my sister this week, probably more than she realized.  We hung out, talked a lot, and she gave me some much-needed advice that I plan to follow on more than one topic.  Amanda and I had agreed to leave and drive last night rather than wait until this morning because I didn’t want to feel rushed getting to the show. That didn’t make it any easier to say goodbye and get on the road and I found myself a little emotional as I hugged my sister knowing she wouldn’t be going back to California with me at the end of the week.

Our meet-up turn out isn’t always huge. Some can be, but many of them have been less than 20 of us, gathered together. We make due with limited resources, and are thankful for each and every person who decides to join us. I also think it takes a certain amount of nerve to take a deep breath, walk up and say hi to people you’ve only chatted with online. Take it from me, I know that sense of anxiousness well. Walking up to a group of people and introducing myself is one of my least favorite activities, right up there with taking tests of any kind and say, having cavities filled.  It isn’t any easier for me to host these fan events, either. It takes putting myself out there, being “on” even if I’m tired or not feeling well, and being more extroverted, which certainly is not my style.  I just want to say thank you to everyone who comes to hang out with us!

At our last pre-show party, several friends we made at the Durandemonium convention in Chicago attended. What strikes me about these women is that before the convention, most of them didn’t know one another. Since that fateful weekend, however, I’ve seen news of their gatherings and travels. It is nice knowing that they bonded at an event Amanda and I organized.  One of this group had volunteered to help on the committee even though she’d never gone to an event like that before. Shy and not very confident, she was eager to help. Since then, she’s gotten married and really has started her own life. She seems far more self-assured now, although I know she’d probably argue with me—but I have watched her blossom and I silently encourage her to keep going.

Towards the end of the party, we took a picture together and she spoke with Amanda and I. She told us how thankful she was for these fan events and the things we do. She mentioned how we brought these people into her life, and how that made her feel. We have had people send us notes thanking us before, but never something like that. Raw from emotions that I have been keeping just under the surface, I found myself with a large lump in my throat, choking back tears.

Life has been rough lately. I haven’t even given myself time to grieve my family’s loss. Touring is probably the last thing I should be doing right now, but here I am. I knew I wanted to see my sister, Amanda and my friend Heather. I knew the band would be great. I just have all of these feelings bottled up that I don’t know what to do with. Listening to this wonderful Duranie tell me that I made a difference in her life and brought her friendships and things blew me away. I think I’ve been on the verge of tears ever since. Here I am, struggling, and she gave me such a gift that night. She’ll really never know, and these words don’t do it justice. I needed to hear what she said that night. It reminded me that fandom isn’t about how many shows you’ve attended or how many times you’ve met the band.

If anyone wants to know why I do these fan events (or any of it really), they can talk to Kim. She is the reason. It’s not because I make money. (uh, no)  It isn’t because I thought I would get closer to the band. (Never met most of them beyond a quick hello at a signing) It definitely isn’t because I want to be a big name in the fan community. I do all of this stuff because it is a way for me to give back. I found Amanda through being a fan. I want other people to have that same chance. It’s that simple. The band happens to provide the soundtrack for all of that.

-R

 

It’s Beginning…

…to look a lot like Christmas.  No, wait.  That isn’t right.  It isn’t December.  There is not snow on the ground or a definite chill in the air.  No, in fact, it is hot and sunny.  The days are long.  I’m not even getting up early in the morning so if it isn’t the Christmas season…what is it?  I think it is TOURING season!!  Yes!

Now, that I’m not glued to my computer chair writing or my desk chair grading, I can move on to bigger and better things…or at least more fun things!  The tour binder is OUT!  I am starting to print off all important documents like flight itineraries, hotel confirmations, and tickets before lovingly placing them in the proper locations in the binder.  The agenda has been started, waiting for little details to be filled in.  The trips to my mailbox are more fun as I wait for VIP packages and the last of the Chicago tickets to arrive.

Of course, while the tour binder is coming together, the rest of my to do list grows.  I have to figure out clothes (and probably shop.  EEK!).  I definitely need to get an oil change and the car washed.  I have to get the cat prepared for a rather lengthy visit to the grandparents’ house.  My hair appointment has been set as other appointments I squeeze in during the summer months.  I suspect that I’ll be far busier than I originally thought during this end of June.

We also need to figure out details for any/all meet-ups we plan on hosting.  Right now, we still plan on doing ones for Chicago with the idea being to just meet up for the show at the Ravinia grounds.  We have pondered doing a couple other ones, too, and now is the time to really decide where and get those details set up.

While there is always a part of me that enjoys planning and organizing trip details (what does that say about me?!?), I am also looking forward to our touring traditions.  I look forward to getting little sleep because we are having so much fun out and about that we don’t want the night to end.  I want to keep track of ridiculous quotes on some take out menu that we find.  I’m sure that there will be plenty of pictures taken and that much of the time will be filled with laughter.  I look forward to seeing friends whom I haven’t seen in a long time and meeting new ones.  While I love the city I live in, I’m looking forward to being in different places for awhile.  Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the whole thing!

What about the rest of you?  What are you looking forward to when it comes to these North American shows coming up (even if you aren’t going to any of them)?  If you are going to shows, which one(s)?  Do you have any touring traditions?  What makes going to a Duran show special for you, besides the obvious?

Now, maybe, I should start a countdown somewhere on my list…

-A

The Future Is Still Tomorrow

The future is, indeed, still tomorrow.  Yet, that doesn’t stop me and my partner-in-crime from thinking about the future and to dream big.  After all, dreams are free or so we have heard.  😉  Yesterday, I encouraged every Duran fan out there to embrace the current status of Duran Duran, musically, and activity wise.  This present album cycle is far from done.  In fact, just this past week, Simon discussed Duran Duran’s return to the US in the summer for more tour dates as part of the latest Katy Kafe (highlights discussed here).  This prompted Rhonda and I to think about one significant aspect of touring for us and that is the meet up!  If you have been reading for awhile, you know that we often like to set up meet ups before shows we attend when we can.  We like bringing fans together to meet, mingle, laugh, squee and share in the excitement.  Fandom is all about friendships and this is where friendships can truly begin.  Plus, the increase in excitement is sent back to the band during the show, often creating a better show for all!  It is a win-win.

As much as we have loved the meet ups in the past, we think we can improve upon them, make them better, make them for fun.  So, if dreams are free, then here is our dream, our vision of what the meet ups could be like!  In some cases, we have been able to do some of these things for one or two meet ups or for the convention, but not for all.  That’s what we want.

Pre-show Meet Up Features

Some of the elements we would love to be able to provide at every single meet up we plan, include:

  • Music and/or Videos of Duran Duran.  Of course, right?  That is a given.  The venue we host at must be willing and/or able to play/show Duran stuff.
  • Duran themed drink specials!  We were able to do some drink specials at the meet up in Durham in 2012.  Some of which people are still asking about.  Anyone remember the specific ingredients for the Stolen Leopard drink?  We were also able to do it for the convention.  While Rhonda and I love our vodka tonics, we are good with trying new drinks, especially if Duran inspired!
  • Icebreakers of some sort.  I hate the word “icebreaker” but we want to make sure that people are able to get to meet each other and get to know each other in a fun, low stress sort of way.  I, generally, hate these kinds of things so if I would think it is fun, maybe, you all will, too!
  • Photos!  We want to encourage lots and lots of photo taking!  People should be excited to meet each other and many might want photos to look back on after the facts.  Group pictures are a must!  Rhonda and I generally suck at the selfie but we have got  to work on this, especially for those group shots
  • For the Hollywood Bowl show, we planned the meet up for before the VIP reception.  We would definitely still do that so that everyone could attend.  Of course, if someone wanted us just do the VIP party at our meet up location or vice versa, I’m sure we could find a way!  We are creative!
  • Another fun idea we had is for raffles at the meet ups.  Wouldn’t it be cool to win some cool Duran merchandise or to win some Duran related experience of some sort, for example?  It would also be good to get a little gift for attending, too, right?  Now, if Rhonda and I would just figure out a way to buy these items…maybe we need to start playing the lottery?!

Surrounding Activities

Of course, in an ideal world and that is what I’m talking about here, there would be other activities that we would be able to coordinate for more than just one or two shows per tour.  What are some of those other activities?

  • Hotel Room Blocks!  Whenever I have stayed at a hotel with a lot of other Duranies, it is super fun!  It is easy to meet up with people and the partying can go on until the early morning hours in someone’s room.  Plus, with enough people, perhaps, group rates could apply!
  • Party Buses!  We have reserved some party buses in Atlanta in 2012 and for the convention in 2013.  In both cases, they were super fun and made getting to and from a venue so much easier!  Besides, who doesn’t like being in a large vehicle with someone driving YOU and others like you?!  The party then travels with you!!
  • Now, I know that some out there have mentioned renting a big RV to travel in between shows in (Yes, Heather–I’m looking at YOU!).  Rhonda and I are not opposed to that in our ideal meet up scenario.  Those, unlike dreams, aren’t free. Likewise, drivers aren’t either!  Back to the lottery winnings…While we wait for the big lottery win, we will suggest that road trips between shows definitely require a caravan.  A caravan of Duranies.  Of course, we should warn the various cities and highways that we would all be using at the same time!  It wouldn’t be because we would block traffic.  Oh no, it would be because loud music and *squeeing* will be heard!  I can see and hear the warning now, “*Alert!  Duranies are coming!!*”

Dreams vs. Reality

If we were to continue in our ideal vision for meet ups, I might mention our desire for seats on the Duran Duran plane or being sponsored by a favorite brand of vodka.  I might also suggest getting some advanced notice so that Rhonda and I could start organizing.  Heck, we would even take a rough outline like having the months and cities in order to have starting points!!  If the band is thinking about 2016, I might point out that the best times for us would be either March 19th to March 28th or between June 11th  and August 21st.  In all seriousness, we would love to do a lot/most/all of this for our fan community.  We want to get people excited to meet each other and get excited for the show!  We figure the better the experiences we all have, the more likely it is that we will do more shows, right?  I know that it is the case for me!  More fun equals more shows.  It is a simple equation!

-A

The Things We Do To Be Together

I have been thinking a lot about creation lately.  No, I’m not talking about creation vs. evolution but about how people go about creating something.  Obviously, I have thought about the band creating the album or my mom creating a new fiber art piece.  I have even been thinking about how Rhonda and I created this…whatever…you want to call it.  (Blog seems too simple, doesn’t it?!)  In the midst of my thinking, I discovered that sometimes, most of the times, the artist doesn’t really know what is going to be created before it has been worked on for quite some time.  I admit that I feel that way about this…company, partnership, blog, whatever.  When we started, our focus was simply to help us write our book on fandom.  It was an attempt to not only observe fandom in action but to also write about it, to put ideas/reactions/thoughts into words in an informal setting.  Initially, that seemed like a good goal.  Very quickly, though, we realized that we were doing a lot more than observing and reacting.  We were taking part, creating action.

What action were we creating or focusing upon?  I didn’t know for a long time.  Both Rhonda and myself could see that there were problems or areas of our fandom that could be improved.  We felt very strongly that we weren’t going to just complain but to offer solutions.  One area that we thought could use some improvement was the lack of community feeling–many fans were completely isolated.  Others had just a friend or two or, maybe, a small group.  Yet, there wasn’t enough intermingling.  There wasn’t a strong community spirit.  At times, a Duranie community feeling would pop up, but not enough to be sustained.  Why does that matter?  Simple.  The more community feeling, the better the experiences for fans.  Fans are far happier when they are hanging with other fans.  This translates to staying in the fandom longer and even bringing in new people.  Therefore, Rhonda and I brainstormed and continue to brainstorm means of creating greater community feeling.  We have attempted to reach this in a variety of ways, including blog posts, through social media and through in person activities.  In addition to planning and holding a fan convention, we also have held numerous meet ups, mostly around tours!

Our planned meet ups have happened in a lot of different places from London, England, to Hollywood, California, and everywhere in between, including Chicago, Durham, Atlanta and more.  We have found that at each and every meet up, the fans who show up have a great time meeting other fans or seeing other fans whom they haven’t seen in a long time.  Usually, lots of stories are shared as well as conversation, such as what songs people hope that the band plays at the show.  There is almost always discussion about where people are sitting in the hopes of sitting near new friends and connections!  In almost every case I can think of, these meet ups do more than just facilitate new connections and friendships but they get people super excited for the show, which translates to more energy at the show, which the band can feed off of.  It is a win-win!

Over these last 5 years, we have begun to notice a bit of a pattern.  We have had more and more requests for meet ups.  What do I mean by that?  I’ll explain with a few examples.  For this last tour, people contacted us and asked if we were having meet ups in _________________ (insert various city here).  Even after this mini-tour, we have been asked questions like, “When Duran tours in ________________ (insert another city) in 2016, will you be holding a meet up then?  I really want to go to one of your meet ups!”  Obviously, we are flattered by these requests.  More importantly, to us, though, is the confirmation that people actually enjoy and look forward to them!  When we probe these requests further, people always tell us that they really want to meet other Duranies.  This tells us that community matters.  It matters to Duranies and it is something that we all want.  We are happy if our meet ups give this to other fans.  We certainly have benefitted ourselves by meeting LOTS of great fans this way!

What does this mean for the future?  Simple.  It means that we will do as many meet ups as we can.  Obviously, they take time and effort to set up, to let people know, etc., but we definitely see that people enjoy them and that they get something from attending.  Once we know tour dates (assuming that there will be more), we will try to get meet ups scheduled for the show(s) we are able to do.  So, watch this space!

-A

 

Today in Duran History – Power Station in Philadelphia and Girl Panic in Durham

On today’s date in 1985, Power Station played at Spectrum in Philadelphia. 

Also on this date, but in the year 2012, Duran Duran played at the Durham Performing Arts Center in none other than Durham, North Carolina!  This, my friends…was a great show, and the night began with a fantastic meet up at the West End Wine Bar just a couple of blocks away from DPAC in Durham.  Approximately 100 Duran fans came to the meet-up before the show and began the party with Stolen Leopards (a Duran-inspired drink created for that evening by the bar), mingling, and even a little Duran in the background and on TV screens over the bar as an appetizer for what was to come later.  It was a great time, and we continue to thank Karen Booth and Kim Buchanan for helping us organize and plan such a great meet-up.  Let’s do it again!!!  -R

Pre-show meet-up Durham NC
Pre-show meet-up Durham NC
Pre-show meet-up Durham NC
Pre-show meet-up Durham NC
Pre-show meet-up Durham NC
Pre-show meet-up Durham NC
Pre-show meet-up Durham NC
Pre-show meet-up Durham NC
Pre-show meet-up Durham NC
Pre-show meet-up Durham NC