Editing Is Cool (Then why is this blog so long?)

OK. I reallllly should be writing a detailed blog about the party I threw last Thurs. night here at Willis Wonderland to launch the new Bubbles & Cheesecake video, “Editing Is Cool”, and to debut my first official painting collaboration with Bubbles the artist, the Print Painting series, featuring canvas prints of five of Bubbles’ most popular images that I hand embellished with paint and vintage found objects. That sounds pretty ho hum, a party to promote something, but anyone who knows me knows I’m a hostess with mucho mostess and stiff is at the north pole of oppositeness of what went on here.

In order to do this party justice I need to go through 14 hours of video footage and this is not a job to do when you’ve slept for 21 hours total the previous week and your brain mass is still dripping through a strainer trying to get back to any semblance of normal. So I’m slogging through all of it as fast as I can but know if I drive myself nuts to finish in the timely fashion bloggers are wont to do I won’t enjoy any of it. So please know that the merriment of the “Launching Allee” party is forthcoming – you can look at a few photos from it in the meantime – and instead this blog is about how I took my own advise as offered in my brand new shiny video, “Editing Is Cool”, and got through the party without killing someone.

An example of “Editing Is Cool” philosophy at work: It’s 102+° in LA all day/all night last Thursday. You know you’re a sweating and potentially smelly party hostess and that all your guests are equally uncomfortable other than when they hug you and you accidentally spill your drink on them which coincidentally cools them off. Your choice of psychological mental states is either I’m a sweaty, smelly, sloppy party hostess or the funky jungle is alive with wild sweaty natives and I’m the effervescent jungle captain. I EDITED out pathetic choice #1 and opted for #2.

For months now my server has been going nuts. Files get corrupted and disappear, the network is so constipated it crawls like a turtle with corns. All in the midst of me getting ready for this party – finishing the video, redesigning my website, making speed movies of the 23 hours of video I took documenting every second of creating the 45 paintings in the Print Paintings series, designing and printing signs, order forms, name tags, artist’s statements, bios, size charts of all the paintings, cards to hand out and that’s not even a quarter of the list. I’m working off of eleven different external drives as the ones on the server choke. I’m overwriting files faster than I can create them I’m so confused trying to keep track of where everything is. My internet access is fluttering on and off and the backup DLS goes down.

And through it all I’m still trying to figure out how to conceptually tie together everything I’m presenting at the party so the theme is cohesive – 45 new paintings, the first ever I’ve done by printing the image on canvas and embellishing on top of that as well as the first time Bubbles and I have openly collaborated on paintings. Plus a new video that happens to not only be my most ambitious work but one that more than anything I’ve ever created embodies my personal philosophy on Life. I cannot say I remained cool throughout the neverending cascade of technical disabilities but I didn’t lose it like I would have in the old days. I EDITED out that part of my personality that is exceedingly skilled at maintaining misery so that at least a few moments of peace pop through.

Which is good because the night before the party a bridge breaks in my mouth and I can’t open it without feeling like razors are dragging across my gums. So less than seven hours before 300 people knock at my door I have oral surgery. The anesthesia from which leaves me hallucinating all day as I work outside in the blasting, scorching sun with 25+ people in various degrees of non-readyness tweaking everything I turn on, hang up or create on the spot.

Then at 2 pm. the impossible happens. Someone forgets to shut the water off and the pool overflows and FLOODS the backyard. And then the pump breaks. And then the back-up pump breaks. So mere hours before show time one crew is filling up buckets while others stomp on every clean towel I have trying to soak up the water that’s saturated the grass as mud wrestling is not on the party agenda. It takes every ounce of mental strength to not go completely psychotic as all my red button panic issues have been fully engaged – medical emergencies, technical failures, flooding. But I remember that EDITING IS COOL so I take a deep breath and decide to move on to something easy like hanging paintings.

3 pm. One side of the yard is finally in shade so we bring half of the paintings out and start to hang them on palm trees all over the yard. But it is SO hot that all the objects I’ve glued on to them start sliding off. So we climb back up the palms, take them down and store them back inside. Which then makes it impossible to clean any of the rooms they’re stacked up in. I re-glue everything and keep repeating the mantra, “EDITING IS COOL”.

The heat continues to pound even as the sun goes down so we wait until the last possible minute to re-hang all 45 paintings. Less than half are up before the first guests arrive. This kind of stuff makes me CRAZY. I’m an efficiency freak and have been planning this schedule for months. How could this be happening?! But I know my options are complete hysteria = horrible party hostess or just hang on for dear life, plug whatever holes in the dyke you can and keep smiling. I EDIT out option #1.

But that’s when the real challenge begins. Starting four days before the party the air conditioning in the submarine where the servers are shuts off every 20 minutes turning the room into an instant inferno. Every millifiber of information re my life and career is on those servers. Fire is no good. Only two years old, this piece of shit Soleus unit was installed by a company that knew it was “overly sensitive” and constantly shut off but never told me or offered to do anything about it other than try and sell me a new unit when I finally confronted them. Oh, wait…. Bubbles is insisting I tell you that if Nicholas Aire Systems of Santa Clarita, CA. knocks don’t answer the door.

So the ac is going down every 20 minutes. That means 48 times a day multiplied by four days so please picture this process 192 times as you continue to read and remember to multiply that exponentially for how many times since then it’s happened until today when a new unit was finally installed by a new company for half the price. And don’t forget to factor in that I haven’t gotten more than 15 minutes of sequential sleep for 11 days now as I have to reset the Soleus shit box to keep it going for another 20. One hour before the party I call Nicholas of Nicholas Aire and say to him, “You know what’s involved in turning this unit back on and know I have to do it every 20 minutes and you’re telling me this is what I have to do while the I’m hosting a party that’s introducing some of the most important work I’ve ever done in my career?!” He says, “yes”.

So here’s the drill: First I have to pull out two racks of equipment that each weigh over 1000 lbs. in order to get a clear shot at the sensor button on the Soleus with the remote. After five or or six body bending tries – the room is only four feet wide – the hot air spitting unit shuts off. Then I have to carry a 25 foot ladder to the front of the house, CLIMB UP ON THE ROOF, pull this scary looking electrical thing out of this scary looking black box, hang out on the roof in the blasting sun or dewy moon for 5 minutes before thrusting it back in, climb back down (more scary than going up), return the 25 foot ladder to the backyard so as not to provide incentive for anyone wishing to break into the house, race back inside and down the stairs, body bend again to turn the unit back on and wait in the inferno for 5 minutes to see if cold air actually kicks in. Then I have 15 minutes until it all begins again.

It’s ten minutes until the party starts. This Nicholas guy has made me miserable for months, ever since I found out he knew he installed a unit that wasn’t fit for the job it was supposed to do. When “the best he can do” is send someone out in the morning and I’m stuck hiring a party guest to sit at the side of my house and race up on the roof every 20 minutes I tell him where to stick it and feel completely liberated. Now I’m in a great mood because I’ve EDITED the Nicholas out of my life!

Jerks must be EDITED from your life. Calamity must be EDITED from your life. It gets easier every time you make a cut. Exercise your power and EDIT your life. Because EDITING IS COOL.

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Categories: Art, Bubbles the artist, Consumer Alert!, Creative process, Interactivity, Music, Party, Self expression, Technology, video

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Hot Buttered Isaac

I loved Issac Hayes. Who didn’t I guess? He was totally innovative, his own man, one of the most classic soul songwriters in history and a MASSIVE influence on me. “Soul Man”, “Hold On, I’m Comin’”, “B-A-B-Y” not to mention ‘Shaft” and “Bumpy’s Lament”! First Black composer to ever win an Academy Award, busting it open for Black composers for all eternity. How much better does it get?

Those chains and wild pantsuits, a soul fashion icon of the highest proportion. A total individual following his own path. This photo of him holding the Bubbles’ ceramic he owned, Mr. Issac Hayes #7, is about my favorite photo of my work ever taken. I loved how he autographed it ‘To “Allee”‘, as if I was the one who wasn’t real and Bubbles was who really mattered.

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Categories: Afro, Art, Bubbles the artist, Music, Self expression

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“Editing Is Cool”

Here’s why I have been so blog poor over the last few months, my little 9 month labor of love, my life philosophy rolled into one bouncing bundle of sound, sight and spirit:

Allee Willis Presents Bubbles & Cheesecake “Editing Is Cool”

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Categories: Art, Bubbles the artist, Creative process, Creativity, Kitsch, Lyrics, Music, Self expression, Songwriting, video

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