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“Hanging with My Sisters”

Four female musicians over 40, all seasoned pros, give us no-frills performances and engaging true stories about their musical journeys. The video-on-demand film “Hanging with My Sisters” was filmed live and unscripted at North Hollywood’s eclectic Kulak’s Woodshed.

The film, drawn from two live shows and a story-telling session, introduces you to Susan SurfTone, Kristen Speller, Joanne Lazzaro and Kama Ruby, each coming from a different genre with individual experiences that unite them and help them navigate the tough terrain of the music business.

Born from an idea Susan shared with Kristen in summer of 2018 about putting together a live show at Kulak’s, “Hanging with My Sisters” has become a series of shows featuring women who’ve paid their dues and a VOD film featuring live performances from these shows and narrative from the four featured performers.

Susan SurfTone is a former FBI Special Agent working in counterintelligence turned retro rocker. Ever the Elvis fan Susan picked up a guitar in 1964 after seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. Developing her own brand of surf, rockabilly, 1960’s garage music and a little 1970’s punk she established herself internationally as a retro yet modern guitarist and vocalist. Her music brought her to Europe for several tours to support three European record deals. Two of her original songs were featured in The Real World, Season 20, Sydney. Nissan (Italy) and the NBA Portland Trailblazers have featured her music, Nissan in a promotional video and the Trailblazers at live half-time shows. “Hanging with My Sisters” marks Susan’s entry into acoustic guitar music with acoustic performances of her originals “Little Bit Lied To” and “Out Of My Dreams.”

Kristen Speller comes from a family steeped in music known internationally as Tavares. Raised in the rich, musical culture of Cape Verde, Kristen brings an edgy R&B approach to her experiences growing up in Taunton, MA and as a survivor of domestic violence. The daughter of guitarist Leo Perry, Kristen absorbed an affinity for music at an early age. With songs reflecting the stories of a true survivor Kristen makes her point with a forceful no-holds-barred R&B vocal style often accompanying herself on the dulcimer or with Susan on acoustic guitar. Internationally recognized Kristen is a Global Peace Song Award Winner. In the film Kristen performs her hard hitting song “Addiction” with Susan on guitar.

Joanne Lazzaro is an internationally acclaimed classically-trained flutist and a dare-devil whose stories of actual lava walking caught Susan’s attention. Joanne and Susan collaborated on a tune inspired by Joanne’s unusual hobby and resulting song, “Lava Walker” is featured in “Hanging with My Sisters”. From an early age Joanne dedicated herself to the flute and offers insight into the world of classical music while exploring more non-structured improvisational approaches with Native Flute. Joined by percussionist Charles Lowrey Joanne gives us a performance from the heart of a musician truly inspired by the instrument that chose her. Her original song “Emerald Forest” is also featured in the film.

Kama Ruby hails from Bakersfield, CA and will tell you all about it with her award winning song, “The Badlands of Bakersfield” bringing the polish of a serious pop and jazz performer to country music. Accompanied by producer and co-writer Jane Getz on piano and guitarist Bob Tucker Kama indeed makes the badlands of Bakersfield come alive in “Hanging with My Sisters.” It’s a song that will stay with you long after the film is over.

The four performers give insight into their individual careers with never-a dull-moment stories while also discussing their views on the collaborative nature of “Hanging with My Sisters.”

Susan, Kristen, Joanne and Kama will team up once again for a live, third “Hanging with My Sisters” show at Kulak’s Woodshed on Thursday, September 12, 2019 8:00 pm to 10:00pm, Kulak’s Woodshed, 5230 ½ Laurel Canyon, Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91607. Admission is free.

For information regarding the film “Hanging with My Sisters’ please visit acmebrothersrecords.com for the upcoming release date and availability. (Acme Brother Records Production, Runtime: 63 minutes)

Susan SurfTone

“I never thought I’d make a documentary feature film. I really enjoyed the process, especially editing. After decades of playing with a band it is challenging fun to arrange and perform acoustic versions of my songs. I love working with Kristen, Joanne and Kama in all aspects of the “Hanging with My Sisters” project. We’re having a really good time collaborating and are grateful people are enjoying it.”


“I’ve seen that there is a movement building, a complete sea change, in how the music business works. Coming late on the scene to the “indie recording artist” I’ve found I have more in common with others who are also experiencing this same paradigm shift, regardless of their musical style. The four of us are in different musical genres, but our determination, motivation and outlook on music are similar, and as a group we found ourselves thinking along similar lines. Kulak’s was our “idea incubator” where we could try out our new music and relate to a local audience, almost like it was a “living room concert”. The movie was our opportunity to take the concept to a wider audience, and it all came together because as a group, we were able to work together really well.”


“When Susan approached me about doing a live show, which turned into two shows respectively, I immediately said yes. The concept of having an all female lineup was important to me, as well as the opportunity to perform live to showcase all of our talents. I’m excited to be a part of “Hanging with My Sisters,” performing “Addiction” with Susan, sharing our music stories, on our unique journey, in our own way.”


“I love collaborating with different artists, so it was a no brainer to be involved in this project. Being in the company of smart, ambitious, and most importantly, supportive artists is the perfect place to be.”

Don’t miss them at Kulak’s Woodshed!

WHEN: Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 8-10Ppm
WHERE:  5230 ½ Laurel Canyon Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91607

Admission is free.


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Lisa Bianconi

Author: Lisa Bianconi

Editor of www.nohoartsdistrict.com

Lisa Bianconi
Editor of www.nohoartsdistrict.com