Breathing Easy…

I’m racing down the final twists and turns of the highway known as Allee’s Throwing A Party and have hit the inevitable pothole of I’ve Got It Together/ I’m Totally UnPrepared. One of the reoccurring bumps in the road has been the design that accompanies this particular project/ party and whether I’ve gone too far or not far enough – a creative problem an artist with any depth must learn to handle gracefully without the aid of too many outside stimulants.

This Thursday night, 2/5, is the launch of “Hey Jerrie”, my new music video featuring me and spectacular 91 year old female drummer on an oxygen tank, Jerrie Thill.  As I am wont to do for my parties I’m sitting here hand-making hundreds of souvenirs including fans of my and Jerrie’s heads:

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Also making backscratchers (age makes sweet spots hard to reach), CDs, DVDs and prints of graphics celebrating the ongoing and persistent Ms. Thill. 

When we met a few months ago Jerrie was visibly upset about her new appendage, a portable oxygen tank. My way in life is to deal with circumstances in the most spectacular way possible. The bottom is as much an opportunity for change and empowerment as the top. Which means that if you can’t breathe without the tank, make that tank work FOR you and not drag you down like the annoying and potentially humiliating chunk of steel and gas that it is. 

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I tell Jerrie to think of the tank as a fashion accessory – jewel the carrying case so it looks like a shoulder bag or build a cart with fins and chrome and roll it around like a doll in a kiddie car. I also tell her that she’s got the ultimate hook in this Age Of YouTube. How many people making contemporary music videos have tubes jutting into their nose? As if being 91 years old and still beating the skins in time isn’t enough!  This POV has had a positive effect on Jerrie whose spring has now returned to her step.

I always design graphics to accompany anything I’m working on. But drawing ones that honor my sense of kitsch and rather loud design and still be respectful of Jerrie’s age and situation – i.e. the tank. – is more challenging than I imagine. After weeks I finally came up with these:

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At first I thought you can’t have any fun with things like lungs and tubes. But having fun is what’s kept Jerrie alive. It’s what keeps me ticking like a teen, working through a plethora of careers wondering what I’ll be when I grow up. You have to find something fun or interesting about the life you live or you’re just miserable and bored and want to curl up in a hole and die. As long as you have a conscious breath in your body life is too precious to give up that easily. So here’s to lungs and tubes and anything else that’s a part of you.

“Hey Jerrie” goes up on YouTube at 6 pm this Thurs. Set your clocks now please!


Categories: Art, Creative process, Health & Beauty, Hey Jerrie, Jerrie Thill, Kitsch, Music, Party, Self expression, Technology, video

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6 Comments

  • Alison Archambault says:

    Hey Allee:
    Met you a million or so years ago via my “little” brther Neville. He turned me on to your page – good work!!
    I love Jerrie – so glad you put her out here on your page & in Life.
    Have you seen Neville lately? He is Megaman, he is the bionic kid, he has defied death – he is the best brother. I’m glad you guys found each other again. Maybe see you again? Enjoy your party.

    Ally, the weird veterinarian

  • ah, thank you so much for digging deep. i now Jerrie slightly through Carol Chaiken, have seen her play and hung out a bit. she’s pretty fantastic, dry, funny, with a sparkle too. now, about you… you are so very inspiring, i hope you realize how much you touch people, here’s to you kid! you have done so with me! i am smiling now.

    ciao, and all the best to you!

    p.s. birdie sent this to me, she’s so good like that, sharing her friends and inspirations. because of birdie i actually have met you, i did some singing at the Dusty Chart Party a while ago. at the time i was hoping you would sit in, but you never did. ho, humm, so i’ve been enjoying through the tubes, wires, wifi and screens…

  • [...] Miller, encouraged her to embrace her gas (that may be my new mantra) and bling out the tank or haul it around in a kiddie car. My way in life is to deal with circumstances in the most spectacular way possible. The bottom is as [...]

  • Brian DeShazor says:

    Hi Allee,
    Had a blast at the launch party. Jerrie and I fell in love with each other while taking hits at the oxygen bar together. My “Allee” and “Jerrie” face masks were ruined in the rain.I HAVE to buy new ones. That was quite a downpour.
    Congratulations!
    YEAH Jerrie and Allee
    Love, Brian

  • Pamela Saunders says:

    Great party last night. Jerrie rocked! So do you. I can’t get the music from the video out of my head. Love that beat.

    Thanks for inspiring me to be more creative and caring at the same time.

    xos Pam

  • Jeanne says:

    Ailee, I love it! You have truly captured the essence and personality of Jerrie whom I have known since the ’50s and I love her dearly….

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