Cheers from the Banshees

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Stage: Venice, Italy Feburary 2014

Bandmates:  Amber Wierenga, Kelly Talbot (honorary Banshee) and 2 husbands.

Wardrobe: I was dressed warm except I did not bring warm enough shoes.  The city sits on the sea, there is no earth to insulate the ground and when your feet are cold…everything is cold.

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The way the locals handle the chilly walkways is by wearing fur.  Well, I left my fur at Beyonce’s house (she just hasn’t returned it yet) so, in hopes of cheap wool or fur we stopped in a few thrift shops but nothing is cheap on this island.

Nothing is cheap in Vencie except for ONE thing.  Prosecco…which is stored in casks, and served into whatever you bring in, like your water bottle.  It cost 1.5 euro for a bottle of water in Venice, and it cost 1 euro to fill up that water bottle with prosecco.  My grandma always said “nothing warms the toes, like day drinking.”  I don’t know if she used those exact words, but the sentiment was always there.   We filled up our bottles and my feet did warm up as we strolled around the streets of Venice drunk on architecture, and tiny bubbles.

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This weekend, I hope you run into a happy surprise with one of your girlfriends.  When you raise your glass, I hope you can hear, “Cheers” from the Banshees.

Courtney’s Mix Tape

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The Banshees love to travel, but we all have different styles of going about it.  When I go someplace new, I like to make a playlist for bus rides, or runs that coincides with my travel destination.  I stock up on movies and books that have the place I’m visiting as the setting, and I coordinate my costumes, eh hem, my ensembles accordingly.

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When Courtney told me she was going on holiday in Cambodia, I got all giddy and she looked at me strange.   When she told me she was going to continue traveling and spend one night in Bangkok, I clapped my hands at the thought of the luck of her vacation soundtrack, again she looked at me with her naive eyes (and ears) and said “what?”.  “Ah Cupcake”,  I said,  “you,  your country bumpkin and hip hop playlists need a music lesson.  Don’t worry, I’m gonna make you a mix tape”.

Drum roll please.

Sheena Is A Punk Rocker   by The Ramones

Pump It Up  by Elvis Costello and The Attractions

London Calling by The Clash

Holiday In Cambodia  by The Dead Kennedys

Bloodstains  by Agent Orange

Institutionalized  by Sucidial Tendencies

Kiss Off  by Violent Femmes

This Charming Man  by The Smiths

In Between Days  by The Cure

Here Comes Your Man  by Pixies

Head On  by The Jesus and Mary Chain

Waiting Room  by Fugazi

Lust for Life  by Iggy Pop

Turning Japanese  by The Vapors

Punk Rock Girl  by The Dead Milkmen

My Own Country  by Pennywise

Mirror in the Bathroom  by The English Beat

One Night in Bangkok by Murry Head

China Girl by David Bowie

Hong Kong Garden by Siouxsie and the Banshees

Oi to the World  by No Doubt

And Court, don’t even think about coming home without that kitty.

 

 

 

Warm and Fuzzy Factory

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Remember sitting around with your girlfriends making friendship bracelets and key chains and macaroni necklaces when you were a kid? That’s kinda how our Pom Pom Workshop felt like, well except with whisky sours and R-rated jokes.

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Pom Poms are not the most sophisicated decoration in the world, but there is something joyful about the simplicity of a puff of yarn.  Not only a fun alternative to x-mas tree decoration, but by the end of the day we tied up hair accessories and corsages.  Balking from the word “work” in “workshop” we named this our Warm and Fuzzy Factory, and honestly that is how the day turned out.  I know how lucky we are to have 73 degree weather in December.  Fresh air and rad chicks combined with yummy snacks, booze, and yarn? Yes Please!

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Please admire this spread by Van, styled by Chari, and try not to beat yourself up to much about not being there.  Not pictured, whisky sours, adult eggnog, and champs.   Hee hee.

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It’s not rocket science, but a really fun easy way to change up your decor for the holidays.  A couple of disks, some yarn, a small pair of scissors and a bottomless whisky sour is all it takes for you to be the envy of all of your friends…or the leader of your own pom pom party, wink wink.

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This holiday season there is so much to be thankful for, I am most grateful for the ladies in my life, from my Grandmas to my nieces it should go without saying, my heart swells for my little Band of Banshees.

Board Meeting Banshee Style

This is Chari’s farm in Temecula.  3 of us Banshees grew up on farms around the world, and as soon as we had time to get away for the night we hightailed it out of the OC for a night of plotting and scheming…..and a little drinkin’.  Nothing kicks you out of the city gear faster than scratching the chinny chin chin of a billygoat, listening to the grumbles of the pigs, and watching the turkey puff up and strut his stuff.

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My 2nd favorite sound at the farm is when someone says, “let’s take a ride in the buggy”.  Just like when I was a kid, we jump in the buggy and go exploring.  Amber B, with camera in tow, Chari toting a hatchet and me, holding the beers.  (which is a lot more work than it sounds, we are off roading after all).  We drove around the property, location scouting, picking up fresh desert sage along the way. Planning out the next year of farm fun.  “This would be the perfect place for X, and then down there is the perfect place for Y and then up there….that’s where we will do Z.”

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For Chari and her man Craig, the farm is currently being groomed to be a wedding venue. For the Banshees, we have different plans for this 20 acre pistachio farm.  Stay tuned for Whisky and Wine pairings under the stars,  Howl at the Moon camp outs, Honky Tonks, and the best damn homage to Anthony Bourdain this side of the Mississippi.

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The real planning happens around the fire, after the dishes have been put away.  With a glass of whisky or wine, we stand around taking turns stoking the fire and playing off of each others ideas, usually my ideas entail more work for Craig, but he is confident in his abilities and the outcome will be fantastic.  Amber B and her camera get distracted by the starlight and she wanders around with the farm pup at her heels. As the moon started to set, our bellies were full and the bottles were empty, we stumbled into bed and dream of fancy parties and barnyard bashes.

 

Opening Night

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Photo by Edward Colver

“Do it or don’t. It’s amazing how many things in life are that easy”
-Henry Rollins

For years, I have been saying “I should do…”, “I wish I could do…”, My friends have been supportive, “You should do”, “You totally could do…”. I have been admiring other people doing, wondering if I could ever muster up the courage to just do it for myself. I can talk myself out of just about anything, and that isn’t something to brag about. But this year I have found a new strength through a group of incredibly talented girls. In less than a month I had 3 “Do It” conversations with 3 totally different girlfriends. Somewhere between a pink sunset and the sound of baby goats on Chari’s farm , bottomless lemon drop martinis in Palm Springs with Van, and a grueling workout with Courtney, I came to the conclusion that WE could do.

Allow me to introduce you to my band. There is me and Amber B, Chari, Courtney, Kelly, Kristine and Van. We are a rag tag group of hard working Orange County girls with backpacks of talent. If you want to be styled, shot, taught, entertained, fed or wed you probably should subscribe to this blog.

The photo for this post is one of my favorite photos by punk rock photographer Edward Colver. This photo is of a young Henry Rollins flying into the crowd at his very first Black Flag show in an Orange County club called the Cuckoos Nest. It seems apropos for today. This website is live. This band is on stage. This is my song. I’m leaping into the crowd and I hope there are a few people out there reading this, wanting this, who will catch me before I hit the floor. And hopefully you aren’t the kid not looking up, because I’m wearing my steel toes today.

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