Flashback Friday: Durandemonium 2013

Every summer I come up with some organizational task. In previous summers, I have cleaned out my closets, organized jewelry and more. This past summer I decided to clean through my phone. I started out getting rid of notes that I took years ago for some purpose or another but no longer need. Then, I got rid of old apps and organized those that remained. Finally, I decided to go through photos. After all, at this point, I am not usually taking photos with my old fashioned camera much, unless there is a special occasion or trip. My phone holds the majority of photos I have taken or saved in the last few years. Are there ones that I can delete? Can I put them into albums so that I can find photos quickly? This turned out to be a bigger job than I imagined. I started most recently and have moved backwards, going one month at a time. At this point, I’m at October of 2013. That month had a lot of photos for one very good reason! That is when Durandemonium happened!

If you were not around then, Durandemonium was a weekend long convention that Rhonda and I organized along with some good friends. It took place in Chicago. Looking back at the photos, I am amazed at everything that we managed to shove into one weekend. On the first night, we had a meet and greet of sorts with some silly Duran games. Looking back, I cannot decide which one was my favorite game. One that I liked is when each person had an index card with something Duran related written on it. It might be a song, album, band member, side project, etc. You could not look at your card but had to ask questions of others to figure out what it was. Another game featured pictures of the band. Each person had to grab one that hit them for whatever reason. Then, we took turns sharing why we chose the one we did. It was cool just to see the full spectrum of Duranieness.

Saturday was the big day. The afternoon saw a variety of activities, including more Duran games, including the made up Duran Taboo and Duran Trivia. There were prizes! I think my favorite part of the afternoon, though, took place in a movie theater. We held an author’s panel as we had a number of writers in attendance. After that, we got to see a screening of A Diamond in the Mind on the big screen! While we couldn’t get a concert, we got the next best thing! I didn’t feel silly for dancing in front of my seat or singing right along, either. It was great!

The evening started with a banquet with dinner and drinks before we opened up a dance floor. We added some additional features, including a costume contest of sorts with people having to dress like a song of their choosing. It was fun to see what songs were picked and just the amazingly clever costumes that people came up with! During the dinner, we also held a raffle for various Duran merchandise that we had or was donated to us. As someone who loves to give gifts solely to see the excitement on people’s faces, I loved each and every item we raffled off. We did not quit after the dinner and the dance. Nope. That is not our style. Instead, we rented a party bus to take us to an 80s club in Chicago called Late Bar. There, the bar celebrated our convention with lots of Duran and a drink special.

All in all, it was a very fun weekend and one that Rhonda and I should view as a major success. I cannot say that it was easy to plan for a lot of different reasons or that it was stress free. (It definitely wasn’t that. I remember some pretty scary moments when it looked like I might be going into debt for about $20,000 in trying to pay for hotel rooms, food and rental space, etc.) That being said, I know that a number of friendships began that weekend or got stronger as a result. That’s huge! That is literally we did decided to jump in and do something so crazy. There is nothing better than fans meeting and becoming friends! On a personal note, it taught me something about myself, too. It was nice to know that I could be an organizer of sorts somewhere else besides a classroom. I let myself take a risk (both financially but also personally) to try and achieve something. It may not seem like a big deal to many but it was and is to me, even to this day. I need that reminder that sometimes risks equal rewards. (In this case, I’m not talking about financially. No, we did not make any money. We were lucky that we paid the bills!)

Will there ever be another convention? We have talked about it, periodically. It would definitely require being in the right headspace in the right time. For now, we can look back and enjoy the memories and the success.

-A

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