Four decades after she became a notorious Milwaukee name, Lawrencia “Laurie” Bembenek is having a moment.

Last fall, the Milwaukee Rep produced a rock musical called Run Bambi Run (with original songs from Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano) that detailed Bembenek’s wild story: being (wrongly?) convicted of shooting and killing her then-husband’s ex-wife in 1981; professing her innocence for years before escaping from prison in July 1990; becoming an on-the-lam folk hero (thus the whole “Run Bambi Run” thing); eventually being captured in October 1990. A stint at the Lake Geneva Playboy Club, endless drama with crooked Milwaukee cops, naked volleyball parties at Tracks, and an unfortunate experience with the Dr. Phil show also figure into the Bembenek saga. (Bembenek died in Portland in 2010, at the age of 52.)

Now comes “Bambi,” a new Bembenek song from tireless, talented, and tall Milwaukee troubadour Trapper Schoepp. The track was recorded at Johnny Cash’s historic “Cash Cabin” in Tennessee, during the same sessions for Schoepp’s impeccable 2023 record Siren Songs. Like much of Siren Songs, “Bambi” plays like a passed-down folktale—albeit with a true-crime twist. “Papers write she was a waitress at the Playboy Club,” Schoepp sings. “Now her husband’s ex-wife is in a bed of blood.” It’s a haunting (and fantastic) song:

Schoepp’s next Wisconsin show is January 19 at Sabbatical Brewing Co. in Manitowoc. Soon after that, he hits the road himself for a month-long European tour. Tour Trapper tour!

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Milwaukee Rep is doing a ‘Run Bambi Run’ musical with songs from Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.