It’s a warm and quiet late afternoon on a Monday. This is the first time in recent history that I’ve had the time to sit, collect my thoughts, and put together a blog post that’s neither disjointed or frantic. I don’t know if it has to do with the moon, the stars, or Spring to Summer transitional malaise, but May has not been the best month. We’ve been so busy, trying to make it to every important event while maintaining level enough heads to carry on with work, school, and life itself. I honestly had no idea that this month is almost over. That’s a little bit frightening to someone who prides herself on her observational skills. Every vital member of our team has experienced some kind of psychological break this past month (nothing as severe as this, think more along the lines of crying in bathrooms, in alleys, having an overwhelming desire to pack a bag and become a desert hermit that lives off of cactus water and roasted lizard meat) and as a result we’re feeling tired and worn out.
Plus, we hit the six month anniversary of Haley’s death and it left us feeling confused about how we’re supposed to be progressing in terms of the grieving process. To those outside of Haley’s nuclear circle, six months seems like an adequate amount of time to grieve, heal, and move on, when the reality is we’re just starting to really notice her permanent absence. Knowing that we have to keep it together at all times emotionally and maintain company stability and growth has placed an enormous amount of pressure on a group of young things, barely old enough to get into their own events. We’re constantly struggling with trying to find a balance between professionalism and being human beings. This month we had no choice but to give into our human need to break down, cry about missing our best friend and sister, and hash it out at board meetings. Naturally, we’ve felt guilty about this, afraid that we’ve somehow compromised our integrity as a business, when the truth is, we shouldn’t feel guilty at all because this is an organization that was founded on raw emotion and continues to thrive on the human spirit. To suggest that being emotional somehow negates the effectiveness of a company that exists to lessen grief and suffering contradicts the very essence of our mission. And yet, we often forget that. So, we beat ourselves up when we have our moments of impenetrable sobbing in the presence of our coworkers. And why? Because we care so damn much about this organization and about each other that we would rather sacrifice the very thing that makes us human than risk the loss of The Haley Butcher Organization or the respect of each other.
When we were in the process of incorporating back in December, I read Kelly Cutrone’s If You Have To Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You. If you aren’t familiar with Kelly Cutrone, she’s a PR dynamo that owns People’s Revolution, one of the most powerful fashion PR firms out there. I figured I could use some pointers about effective leadership and how to run a production team. Plus, I took all the books I could find from Hannah’s house and it was the shortest one, so it was my first pick. I was completely engrossed with Kelly’s book, which is half memoir, half advice. She has no patience for laziness, people being unprofessional, or lacking in self-motivation. And of course, crying in the workplace. Since reading the book, I’ve been telling myself it isn’t okay to lose it during work hours. Save it for the drive home from yoga when the only people that will see me visibly upset are the unfortunate souls that happen to be sitting next to me at a stoplight. IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL THAT YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH SEXISM ON A DAILY BASIS WHILE PRETENDING IT DOESN’T EXIST AND STILL SOMEHOW FIGURING OUT A WAY TO CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO WHILE DEALING WITH THE DEATH OF YOUR BEST FRIEND AND MANAGING SEVERAL EVENTS AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH PROGRAMS AND APPLYING FOR TAX-EXEMPTION (an example of the self-flagellating I practice routinely). But you know what? Kelly’s advice was geared towards those that work in a semi-standard office environment where the core goal has nothing to do with anything emotionally charged. I’m not saying that fashion show production doesn’t involve some level of emotional investment, but it’s easy to turn off the water works when the biggest disaster you have to deal with is a missing batch of swag bags and not a reporter spelling your dead best friend’s name incorrectly.
We have no existing business model other than our own to mold this business after. Every lawyer we’ve talked to has met us with enthusiastic support, but pointed out what we already know. There is literally no one out there that does what we do and this presents a unique challenge: we don’t know what’s going to work until we actually do it. Case in point…last week we hosted a show at The Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa. The event took place on a weekday and it was 21+. We didn’t expect to hit capacity, but we also didn’t expect less than fifty people to show up. But upon reflection, it makes total sense that no one came. A weekday. In Costa Mesa. With an age limit. There were three strikes against us, but we didn’t even realize it until we had said goodbye to all the bands and loaded up in the car. We didn’t lose money and we gained exposure and connections. A bad night? Hardly. But as we bit into tear-soaked hamburgers at two in the morning you couldn’t have brain washed us into believing we had succeeded.
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because I promised I would. If you’re going to be donating your money to this organization, I want you to know exactly what’s going on and that goes way beyond budget figures. So, that’s where we’re at mentally.
Even though we’ve had countless stress migraines this month, that doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped planning or finding new bands. In fact, we’ve amped up all planning aspects and are proud to announce a few more sponsors that have been added to our show at The Verdi Club in San Francisco on June 22nd, featuring Grass Widow, Carletta Sue Kay, The Hindu Pirates, and Jon Barba. Amoeba Music, Burger Records, Wasteland, Ambiguous, and Vestal are all sponsoring the event. It’s going to sell out and it’s going to be crazy insane fun.
Now let’s do a time traveling Instagram recap of the past couple of weeks to give the already tired language centers of my brain a break. Follow us @haleybutcherorg if you aren’t already!
The raffle prizes we curated for the San Fran show (we were squealing when we took this picture):
We headed to the Insight store in Venice to pick up a couple of things for the raffle and we happened upon these beautiful collectible candles. Here’s a close up of one of them.
We also cruised over to the Burger Records store in Fullerton to pick out some vinyl, cassettes, and other goodies for the raffle. The Burger Guys are the best and they furnished us with this rad assortment of fun things.
Amidst all our normal work activities we also went on a promotional expedition all over LA. Here are some pictures documenting our adventures.
NOT SPONSORED BY PEPPERIDGE FARMS THESE THINGS ARE JUST DELICIOUS
Other things that happened:
We delivered the Vestal + Warpaint guitar to Alan Engle of Anaheim Hills. Here is Hannah in a Vestal fedora posing by an elevator.
Nurse Jennifer Baird was awarded with the DAISY award for outstanding service in nursing. She was one of Haley’s nurses when she was staying in the PICU at UCLA for her second and final time. Jenni was nominated by three members of the Butcher family for her dedication, compassion, and selflessness.
We went to a LEAF party at Revolutionary Minds (pictured left) and a HEALTH party at Pehrspace (pictured right).
The green room @ Detroit Bar, me balancing our check book @ Detroit Bar
The Lovely Bad Things had a fundraiser at their house to raise money for them to get to Primavera Sound. We love these guys so I highly encourage you to check out their donation page and give whatever you can.
Let’s finish up with a couple of photos from the other night at Detroit Bar taken by Drew A. Kelley for orangecounty.com
Oh! And I haven’t forgotten.
I hope you all have splendid, stress free weeks.