Sunday, August 24, 2008

Neat review of our Indy Fringe fest show

A nice show review here: Vermillion Lies at Indy Fringe

The show was a minor technical disaster as we completely overwhelmed the sound men with our strange instrumentation, but it was still fun. And the Indy Fringe fest wants us back - so we may play a short set today and we will be back next year for a full run in a theater!

Here's a nice photo of the crowd:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pole Dancing Hillbillies R Us!

Some days off:


In Fredericktown we ate at this restaurant where we fed 7 people lots of fried food for $27.

Here are some of the comments we got in Fredericktown (which reminded us of the tiny town in the film "To Wong Foo...:"

"Circus must be in town."

"You girls look like you just stepped off a stage."

And my personal favorite conversation:

"Are you all gypsies."


"That's good. I think gypsies are nice people. Gypsies and vikings are nice people."

"Vikings weren't very nice people."

"That's true, but I still think Gypsies are nice."

We played pool at the local bar - The Wagon Wheel, and went thrift store shopping with our awesome friend Julie.



After driving to St. Louis we went to the City Museum which is so hard to describe but basically is a steampunk/ Dr. Seuss interactive sculpture park that rambles inside and outside of an old bank. The sculpture is made of recycled materials and is made to climb on, in, under, over. There are random holes in walls that lead under the floor into tiny, cramped, dark spaces, and ladders made from exposed rebar that stretch four stories up into the sky. The place is filled with children and families and it is basically the best playground you could possibly image. And it is dangerous! Dakota was bleeding by the end and all of us had bruises and scratches. But it is so beautiful and mind blowing that we just had to keep exploring. The outside part is made of old cranes and fire trucks and planes and more all welded into impossible towers that stretch up and over and around. Exploring the space is exhilarating - we all described it as our favorite place ever.

Photos do not do it justice - just go. Go!

The City Museum

We exhausted ourselves thoroughly and then chatted up the staff about playing a concert at the museum. Then we met several of Nine Inch Nails tech and crew at the museum and invited them to dinner but were totally rejected (they don't know how cool we are.)

We went to the Pin Up Bowl to meet our gorgeous friend Mandy and bowled three games using the names: Noxema, Chi Chi, and Vida Boheme (characters in "To Wong Foo...")


Vida Boheme

Chi Chi

Then we went to Katrina's house (she's in Gravity Plays Favorites) where we learned some pole dancing tricks. Kim and Katie try out some of Gravity Plays Favorites moves. (VERY PAINFUL!)

Then we went out to several bars where people kept giving us Jagermesiter - since none of us drinks very often we got"silly." Luckily no hang overs the next day.

Bestest day ever.


We drove to Bean Blossom, Indiana and made hobo dinner in the woods with Reverend Peyton and Breezy.

Then we talked politics - The Reverend had a lot to say while Breezy provided some mouth trumpet patriotic background music. They are awesome people in an awesome band - Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band


Breezy made us pancakes and potatoes and then we went shooting guns. Real guns. We're not fans of guns. But we did go into the woods and turn into hillbillies for a few hours. And it was funny.

Zoe rocks the Elmer Fudd style

Dakota likes the .12 gauge

She screamed "I feel like I have a penis!"

Kim looks a little too convincing.

The Reverend laughs like the devil after he blows a watermelon to pieces.

Breezy puts a bead on a cantaloupe.

We are the Bean Blossom Belles - showing off our guns.

And just for fun:

And you should read Dakota's blog too because she has some great tour stories of her own - she is our tour manager and sometimes opens for us:

Dakota Belle Witt

Beef, Tizzle, Crash, Action (and Zing!)

After our whirlwind Amanda tour we are back to our own shows. Four shows in the state of Missouri - I guess they love us here.

On Tuesday August 12th we left New York City and drove and drove and drove. We arrived in Indianapolis at 3am and slept at Jayme Peyton's house. The next day we all had lunch with the Peyton's at Yat's. We love the Peyton's, and we love Yat's!

Then we drove and drove and drove some more.

And then.....


Thursday 14th Warrensburg

We played at a bar called the Bottomfeeder Bay. I didn't understand the name until Zoe explained,

"They're calling their patrons bottomfeeders."


When we pulled up to the venue a man built like a bull approached the van and asked if we needed help, "My name's Beef." He said, grinning, "This here is Tizzle." Tizzle wore a misfits tshirt torn and tattered and a baseball hat embroidered with his name. We also met their friends Crash and Action.

Good times and new friends.


Friday 15th

Kansas City is a neat little city. We shopped too much, but the thrift stores are great. I got leopard print pants and Zoe got a new leotard. All three of us spent too much money of fancy new lingerie (sorry no pictures.)

The show was great fun, Beef and Tizzle showed up from Warrensburg. And we met a girl named Katelyn played "Take off your Shirt" on our accordion after the show - she plays it way better than we do.


Saturday 16th

Pops Blue Moon Festival in St. Louis. A sound catastrophe! The sound man decided to go take a nap during our set leaving behind a few techs who had no idea what to do, plus we played next to a freeway.

We are not an outdoor band, sadly. If you have the choice between seeing us in two venues - see us indoors!!!, the show will be eighty million times better.

The audience was wonderful though. My favorite moment was when I dedicated "No Good" to the state of Wyoming and someone yelled, "Taxidermy Penguin!" It made me feel famous because an obscure blog reference was being made. Amazing!

We stayed with Katie of Gravity Plays Favorites and though we wanted to learn how to poledance we were all too tired.


Sunday 17th

Tim and Carrie from Unique Ink are fantastic folks, they made us many presents including bags with the band name and a logo and stickers and t-shirts and more.

The show was outside (you may have heard we are not a great outdoors band, our fault) but it was still a fun show with a good turnout of all kinds of folks - there were 90 year old grandmothers and young hipsters and tiny children and hicks and goth girls and everything in between.

We played with Curtis Eller who is one of our very favorite performers, he yodels and plays banjo and does crazy high kicks while he plays - so fun!!

And we met a man named "Zing!"


Monday 18th

A day off finally. Pie and coffee for breakfast. I could sleep all day; Zoe and Dakota actually are.

What shall we do with our day off in Fredericktown?

More soon. Love now.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dear Amanda

Dear Amanda,

We're just writing to let you know that we had a really nice time with you the other week. When you first asked us out we thought we were dreaming, but then we actually went out with you and it was better than we could have imagined. We know you're seeing lots of bands right now, but we hope our time together was as special to you as it was to us.

We love your voice, and your songs, and the way you play piano, and the way you grope Kim while telling a story, and how you eat salad.

You're in Europe now, having a good time with Psycho and the other people who make up your wonderful crew. We'll be mildly stalking you online (blog reading and such) and missing you (but not in a creepy or codependent way.)

We'd love to have another date sometime and we sure you hope meant it when you said we should do it again soon.

Love (from the deepest darkest reaches of the Vermillion soul,)

Zoe and Kim Vermillion


Monday August 4th

Up at 6am to the Salt Lake City Airport to fly to LA for our first Amanda Palmer show at the Troubador. Dakota (having been upgraded from merch girl to tour manager) drives across Wyoming by herself, stopping at "Little America" for gas and soft serve ice cream - also to look at the stuffed Emperor Penguin (stuffed as in taxidermy - which reminds me that our new band name is "Taxidermy Penguin.")

At 11am we arrive in LA and find ourselves stranded at the airport because we forgot to arrange a ride and we don't have enough money for a cab. We finally take a shuttle to Julian's house and eat for the first time that day (so hungry, so grumpy.) Tristan comes to pick us up on his birthday and drives us to the Troubador where we get ready for the show.

Amanda makes us nervous and giggly. We like her stockings.

The show is amazing! And we sell a lot of CDs and make new friends and Kim has dinner with the prettiest girl in LA.

We'll be back in LA in November (no venue yet.)


Tuesday August 5th

Ringmaster Roger takes us to breakfast at "Urth" and then the airport (he's basically the sweetest thing in the universe.) Julian is a wonderful host and friend as always.

3pm we arrive in Oakland for a day off (minus the flying.) Kim has dinner with Carla and Matthias (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) and Meredith Yayanos (amazing person) and Kate Rannells (art superstar and bestest friend) and Myles "Supper Genius" Boisen.

Salvador (the cat) decides to throw Kim's old phone off the balcony because he's mad that she keeps leaving. The phone breaks in two, but it's ok because Kim has just gotten her new iPhone.

The new band name is "Napalm Marshmallow."


Wednesday August 6th

Running errands, shopping for groceries, rehearsing for the show.

5pm we arrive at the Great American Music Hall where fans are already waiting outside. We take a couple pictures with them and then set up. The staff of the Great American are all lovely people who are excited to have us back. What a fantastic venue!

7pm rehearsing with Amanda in the dressing room. We sang Creep with her at the end of the night. Epic-ness.

Our fans have made costumes and have choreographed dance moves for "Organ Donor's March." We love them. Love them!!!

Such a wonderful evening of love and music and fun.

The Great American wants us back! We've wanted to play there for so long and now we've played twice in one year and they want us back again!

We're calling the band "Goo Biscuit."

We're playing in Monterey on Sept. 4th and Santa Cruz on Sept. 6th (that's the closest we'll be to SF for a while longer.)

Each of these lovely folks had made a custom t-shirt for their favorite song: Circus Apocalypse, The Astronomer, Shark Serenade, Organ Donor's March, Global Warming


Thursday August 7th

Up at 6am to take BART to the airport. We fly to Chicago and get picked up by Dakota and Robert (secret mayor of New Orleans.) Dakota has driven across three states by herself. Robert has joined us to help drive. We meet our hostess Robyn, who is beautiful and gracious.

New band name - "Narcisister and the Me Me Mes"


Friday August 8th - 08/08/08

The luckiest day of all. Chicago proved a wonderful host city for Amanda and her Vermillions. We play at The Lakeshore theater to an enthusiastic crowd. Our set was very short (20 minutes) because the show got such a late start, but we make up in quality what we miss in quantity. We have many fond memories of Chicago now and we'll be back as soon as we can.

We sing "Creep" with Amanda again. Kim trips on her skirt again.

After the show we pack up our clothes and start driving to Toronto. It takes 14 hours.

Totally changing the band name to "Really Really Tired of Driving."

We're playing Madison, WI on August 23rd.


Saturday August 9th

5pm we arrive in Toronto tired and and hungry. A yummy Indian food dinner and a run through the rain. Our mother and little sister come to the venue and sit with us while we set up. Amanda has also had a long day of travel.

The show is strange and good. We are all tired and the venue is very small, but our fellow Canadians are a great little group and we all have a grand time.

We sing "Creep" again. Kim trips again.

We also exchange phone numbers with Amanda who says she wants to hang out with us. We tell her we will now call her 50 times a day. (No, we don't actually call her 50 times a day.)

The band name is "Drunk Canadians"

We play Toronto again on September 18th - Rivoli.


Sunday August 10th

Up at 8am to drive to Montreal for a family reunion. So good! There will be pictures soon. People ask us all the time if we are really sisters. Yes, for real. We have the same mother and father and brother and sisters. Also aunts, uncles, cousins, and tour manager.

By the way: Dakota Belle Witt is a fantastic tour manager. Also a great poet.

We put on a little concert in the park. And then we all do handstands and balancing.

At night we go out to the local bar with our brother and sister. We get "Poutine" at a Jewish Deli at 1 in the morning. We love Montreal!

New name - "Honorary Beard"


Monday August 11th

Up at 6am, fresh pastries and cheeses for the road, we drive to NYC. We saw a seahorse in the clouds. Skyhorse?

3pm we arrive at the Spiegeltent which is an amazing venue. This is the second Spiegeltent we've played in. If you have a chance to see a show there you definitely should. We got to watch the circus show that was on before ours and getting to see the acrobats up close was truly mind blowing and wonderful.

Everyone at the Spiegeltent is gracious and kind and professional. The program director takes great care of us. Amanda has to leave to do interviews as soon as we arrive but she sends us a text message inviting us to go out for a drink after the show. We respond "Yes! Let's drink. Also we're thinking of changing our band name to "Fagpile." What do you think?"

Amanda is not so sure about the name "Fagpile," but Beth loves it. Beth is Amanda's personal assistant and another fantastic individual. We are in awe of Amanda's ability to surround herself with such talented and lovely people (of course we like to think we do a good job of that as well.)

The show was fancy though the late start meant a very short set again. And we got to see Paco!

Reggie Watts opened the show and played the part of MC. We fell in love with Reggie who is a great performer and very open and fun human being. See him when you can.

After the show we went carousing with Amanda and her crew, we all ate salad together (and I mean really TOGETHER) and cuddled and laughed and shared stories and met new friends and kissed and talked and loved every minute.

Went to sleep at 5am.

We play NYC on October 16th - The Zipper Factory


The moral of the story is:

Amanda Palmer is great. Really really really great. Her songs and playing and her voice are all fantastic. Because of her recent vocal surgery and her full on singing style her voice tires easily but she really does have a very beautiful singing voice. We fell more in love with her every night, her energy and fearlessness are inspiring and breathtaking.

We saw her five times in one week and each was amazing.

On Tuesday August 12th Amanda sent us one last text message before leaving for Europe:

"You guys are amazing!"

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Feeling like a superhero in the "sleepy" Pacific Northwest

In Seattle we played two shows, both were fun for different reasons. We liked the DIY space of the bicycle shop, and of course The Can Can was great because we were playing with members of Circus Contraption (love!)

On Monday morning I went to a coffee shop and ended up chatting with the girl who worked there who had had her purse stolen that morning by a customer. Later that day we heard about the local philly cheese steak sandwich shop which had just closed down because someone had walked in with a gun and blown the owners away - driving by we saw the bullet holes. We heard gun shots in the neighborhood and were told of a 58 year old man who'd been murdered just last week. And then...

We were just a block from our home at 2:30 in the morning after our Monday night show when I spotted something bad happening on the sidewalk. I stopped the van and backed up to where I had seen a man hovering over a cowering figure. I couldn't see much because of our tinted windows. Dakota and Zoe were wondering why I stopped.

"Something is going on there." I said. And then Zoe screamed,

"Go! Go! Go!" With visions of gun toting maniacs in my head I hit the gas until Zoe screamed, "Stop!"

The van bounced to a halt and a terrified woman with wide eyes flung herself onto the van, she lifted her body and clung to the side view mirror and screamed, "Drive!"

I hit the gas. We careened down bumpy neighborhood streets, Dakota and Zoe afraid the woman was going to fall screamed for me to stop, but the woman was urging me to drive on and since she was the only one who really knew what we were running from I decided to listen to her.

"She's got a good grip," I said, "She'll be ok."

After we made it to a major street and it was clear the man was no longer chasing us we stopped to open the side door and take on our new passenger. The woman collapsed onto Zoe's lap and started to cry so hard she couldn't breathe. Zoe soothed her and told her she was ok and we were taking her far from that place.

I drove us to the police station.

We got a little bit of a fractured story about an ex boyfriend who just got out of jail and forced her into his car, beating her (and more) and taking her phone and her wallet. The talk was intense, emotional, she cried and shook. We sat with her until she was composed enough to make a phone call with Zoe's phone. I glanced into the rear view mirror and caught a glimpse of my stage makeup still on my face - moustache and all.

While the woman stood outside smoking and talking on the phone a car pulled up with two men who tried to pick her up. She explained to them (unnecessarily, I thought) what was going on. "I don't care," one said, "You're just hot." They looked back at the van where we watched in horror and fascination. One man pointed to us and said, "Who are those motherfuckers?"

I turned to Dakota and asked, "Are we motherfuckers?"

Dakota nodded seriously and replied softly in a maternal tone, "Yes, I think we're motherfuckers."

Keep in mind we were parked right in front of the police station.

Our story with our passenger ends there. She declined our help and didn't want us to go into the station with her. We gave her our phone numbers in case she needed us as witnesses and told her to call us to tell us how everything had turned out, but we never heard.

When I tell people I want to move to New Orleans they always ask about the crime rate. I live in Oakland - ranked fourth in the most dangerous US cities to live in. I've been mugged at gunpoint outside my house, my sister had a gun pulled on her just recently. But from now on when people cite the crime rate in New Orleans I'll have to say,

"I can handle it, I've been to Seattle."

This is what a super hero looks like (when that super hero is me.)