Strega Nona Entertaining: Conjuring Creative Fun

From recipes to rituals, I will kindly divine the perfect celebration for you!

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It's a Cosmic Thing: The Summer Solstice

I arrived a little late to the party—the party of the B-52's summer classic, "Cosmic Thing." In June of 1990, I had just graduated Madison Area Technical college with a commercial art degree. I was saving up dough to head out West and explore my possibilities in California. In the backroom of the small custom frame shop while measuring and precision-cutting mounting board, I rifled through the store owner's CD stash to inspire me while I worked. The bright, inviting colors of "Cosmic Thing" immediately caught my eye, and I already knew I dug the B-52's. From then on, I was hooked. It is the quintessential hot season record, where every single song on the album is a must-listen to.

My partner and I recently acquired a mint condition vinyl of it, and I have to say, these songs stand the test of time. From the title track encouraging you to "shake your honey buns," to the zen utopian ballad of "Topaz," you do indeed feel compelled to shake it and sing along. The dystopian panic of, "Channel Z," still feels incredibly pertinent today, compellingly shouted/sung by frontman Fred Schneider. The harmonies of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson have never sounded more lovely, and drummer Keith Strickland really stepped up to help write most of this amazing tuneage.

The rest of the songs that make up the compilation all deserve a nod. "Dry County," perfectly captures those humid, lazy days of summer. "Deadbeat Club," makes one yearn for the carefree days of youth, and "Love Shack" has become the anthem for every wedding reception in the U.S. "June Bug" creates a funky yen to jump in a fresh, local pool of water, "Roam" gets you planning your next trip out of here, and "Bushfire" has such strong visual imagery, you can in fact, see it "on the horizon." The mellow instrumental, "Follow Your Bliss," rounds things out very nicely after this rollicking trip with the band.

"Topaz," in particular, makes me yearn for what seems like such a simpler and more innocent time now (who would have thought we could ever wax nostalgic about the 90s that way). The age of Aquarius is mentioned in the B-52s',"Song For a Future Generation," (off of their previous "Whammy!" recording), and that is where we find ourselves moving to now. Perhaps that is why this all resonates so. If you are interested in this cyclical reference and hearing more about cosmic and metaphysical matters, please give a listen to our latest "Women Who Howl at the Moon," podcast with guest Reiki Master, Colleen Rose. Enjoy this Summer Solstice and worship some of that sun today. I highly recommend playing some B-52s while you do.

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Colleen DuVall has written articles, plays, short films, and a novel. Most recently, her work has been featured in her new blog, Off The Beaten Path for the Shepherd Express online (, and the Wisconsin Life radio show for WPR. She recently adopted a little grey and white cat named Tessa, after beloved 22-year-old Bootise passed on.


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