Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Souvenir Of Detroit Shoe and My Love Letter To Detroit in Time Magazine

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When the post I wrote for Time Magazine‘s wonderful Detroit Blog was published yesterday, my love for Detroit escalated even higher than the sky-high affection I already had for the city I grew up in that still inspires just about every move I make. Despite whatever you might think of Detroit for anything you may have heard about it’s slow and agonizing demise over the years, it’s still the Soul capital as far as I’m concerned and a city that has the potential to lead us into the future this century as it did much of the last. As anyone who’s half evolved knows, when things fall apart it becomes a ripe breeding ground for rebirth in new and magnified ways.  The revolution is coming and it’s already arrived in Detroit. My love letter to my city is here.

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I’ve always collected kitsch souvenirs from Detroit. I have everything from custom painted Detroit bottles to can openers, pot holders, funeral fans, miniature cars, notebooks, pencils, rolling pins and more. But this little unassuming shoe has always been one of my favorites.

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As small as this souvenir high heel is, only 2 1/2 inches long, it’s as giant in stature to me as the old 25′ x 30′ x 20′ stove that sat out in front of The Michigan State Fairgrounds for years on Woodward Avenue. I used to drive by it every day and wonder if I would ever learn to cook. The answer remains no.

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And then there’s the giant tire that started life out as a ferris wheel at the ’64 New York Worlds Fair and was then moved to the side of I-94 where it still sits to this day. I’ve had better success with tires than with cooking though not as much as with shoes.
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Detroit is a city that many may have lost faith in, a shrinking blip on the map, no longer looming above the horizon of hope like a massive stove or tire. But the naysayers should remember that spirit and strength are qualities that lie inside and, when nurtured, can bloom in the most unexpected places and ways. All it takes is the brains and balls to stay the course, and the belief that change is the one constant in our life and that it can be steered like a big giant-finned Caddy to a better place if enough people just believe that can happen.  People from Detroit have always dreamed and given the world some amazing gifts – cars and Motown for starters.  So I have faith that whatever comes of the ashes of Detroit will be great. It may just look like baby steps now – afterall, the shoe is tiny – but get outta the way because wheels are turning and the footprints that will be left are BIG.

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Categories: Accessories, Detroit, Fashion, Place, Transportation, Travel, Travel souvenir

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Original Holiday Inn Ashtray

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When the first four Holiday Inns were built in 1953, this was the ashtray that was sitting in the rooms. Heavy glass with raised lettering and cigarette rests, the shape is perfect 1950′s, the font iconic. I don’t go out of my way to collect Holiday Inn artifacts, but through the years I’ve amassed cups, matches, ashtrays from all the decades, postcards, playing cards, ice tea spoons, room keys and more.  I even have this sign from a Holiday Inn somewhere in California. It’s rusty but you would be too if you baked outside for the last 60 years.

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Categories: Accessories, Furniture and Housewares, Place, Travel, Travel souvenir

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Chinese Take-out Food Purse

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As someone who loves leftovers, especially if they’re Chinese, and especially as someone who spells cooking ‘d-e-l-i-v-e-r-y’, how could I not be instantly attracted to this purse?! Though I can’t say that I haven’t actually used the real deal iconic food box as a purse before.  In my coming-up-as-a-songwriter days I resorted to using a cardboard one as a fashion accessory when my regular purse got too tattered and I really needed something with personality as a sub. There’s no question this plastic coated zippered version is more practical though. It’s always nice to pull out money that doesn’t smell like Moo Goo Gai Pan.

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Categories: Fashion, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – “Do It Now” Napkin Holder

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In a couple of hours I’m speaking on a panel called “In The Biz In LA – For artists who act, direct, produce, edit, write, or administrate” led by my pal Barbara Deutsch, who I’ve been friends with since we were both secretaries at Columbia and Epic Records in 1969. Here’s what I was told to prepare: “If you were to only give the audience 3 pieces of advice that you have learned personally for the industry or life, what would it be? Feel free to be profound or silly.” There are many big deal  tv and film directors and producers, casting directors, managers and agents on the panel. Everyone’s got big fat credits. When I’m on panels like this I find a lot of people giving very practical information.  Despite the fact that I too have those big fat credits much of my career has been on the outskirts of the entertainment behemoths, self funded to insure maximum creative freedom so I could do what was in my head, usually a combo of “profound and silly”, and not spit out works by committee and become a depressed albeit wealthy artist. I’ve always had a lust to combine “hi” and “lo” aspects of art within the same work and this doesn’t usually fly when creating by committee.

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Categories: Accessories, empowerment, Furniture and Housewares, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Self expression

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Tree Growing Out Of Traffic Cone and Palm Trimming Nightmares Abated

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Yesterday, all 31 palm trees that surround my house were trimmed. I’m used to this being a total nightmare. As much as I love my Palm trees, 29 of which are the babies of the original two planted when my house was built in 1937, trimming all of them at the same time has traditionally been hell – expensive, messy and dealing with a bunch of tree trimming shysters.  All of which makes me long for a simpler approach to fauna, perhaps this little miracle tree growing out of a seemingly dead tree trunk and the traffic cone set on top to protect it.  And trust me, it’s really growing. Right on Tujunga Ave. in Studio City. I even got out of my car and tried to pull it out. It’s real.

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Categories: Consumer Alert!, House, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Nature

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Luer Lard Box

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I’ve never actually chomped down on a hunk of Luer Pure Lard but it sure comes in a pretty box. Not only is the box coated with enough wax to make you feel like you’re actually picking up a fistful of lard but many important lard ladden foods are illustrated in glorious color on it.

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Categories: Food, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Vintage Plastic Peanut Purse

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For someone like me who likes to have the right purse for any possible theme this 13″ long plastic peanut seemed like it was perfect. Excellent as a summer BBQ fashion, it would also appear to be the perfect vessel to house the plethora of electronic gadgets I carry around with me which includes two cell phones, two digital recorders, two cameras and multiple batteries for all. I’m a firm believer in ‘two’ for any vital electronic gadget. Whether it’s dead batteries or service providers not working in certain areas, I learned long ago that dependence on a single electronic gadget is not the life for me. So I was elated to find a purse as cute as the peanut that could house all my paraphernalia and lined up in an orderly fashion no less. But a dead battery would have been a lot better than the dead phone, camera and recorder I experienced when I opened my peanut for the first time on a subway platform only to watch a train crush all three after they spilled out of easily the stupidest purse I ever carried. Though I suppose it was me who was really stupid. Anyone who wasn’t so carried away with the aesthetics would have realized that the way the two sides of the peanut were attached wasn’t really going to serve anyone well as a purse.

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Categories: Accessories, Fashion, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Museum O’ Kitsch – Felt Coaster Love Type

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It’s always a good sign of kitsch when right off the bat the packaging describes the product wrong.  On the top of the package it very clearly states that I will be getting one Felt Coaster Love Type. But a few inches lower it clearly says that I will be unwrapping two Felt CoasterS Love Type. Perhaps the designer of the label was too excited at the hearts leaping out of the coffee cup to go for accuracy in the product description.

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Categories: Accessories, Drink, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Romance

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Bowling Bag Coin Purse and Matching Bowling Everything

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Bowling is easily the sport that has rained down hardest on Pop Culture in terms of artifacts emulating its shape, spirit and efforts to capitalize on the good clean brand of social interaction the sport promotes. Though I go a little farther than the normal person in terms of their love of the sport. I should clarify that it’s not actually the sport itself I love so much as the accouterments associated with it. You name it and there’s some bowling derived interpretation of it. I have bowling can openers, decanters, tables, lamps, brushes, floors, shirts, shoes, dishes, cups, glasses, trophies and then some.  Sometimes I even turn the trophies into door handles.

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Categories: Accessories, Bar accessory, Forgot to Categorize, Furniture and Housewares, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – LUCKY Medical Van

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When it comes to naming your company I’m always fascinated when people come up with the most seemingly inappropriate names possible. I can think of a lot of things I’d be calling myself if I were being transported in this Medical Transportation vehicle but I doubt one of them would be “lucky”. This is the last place you would be if you were, in fact, “lucky”. Maybe the name has great psychological impact as the patient steps or is wheeled in through the doors. And I’m certainly not one to diminish the power of positive thinking. But I think I would want the driver or any personnel on board to be a little more connected to the reality of the medical situation.  “Lucky” enough to hitch a ride, yes!  “Lucky” to be in the van, no.

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Categories: Bad translations, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Medical, Transportation

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