Allee Willis’ Kitsch O ‘ The Day – Road Trips, Kitties, The Batmobile and M&M Rice Crispies

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Last weekend, me and Snappy P, a.k.a. Prudence Fenton, jumped into the mustache van and headed up north on a cat reconisance mission after AWMOK‘s own (human) windupkitty sent an email blast from Palo Alto about a very special (feline) kitty in need of adoption. Normally I try not to read these things as I already have a fairly dysfunctional fur family running around Willis Wonderland, but this time, also-AWMOK’s own Snappy P in Los Angeles had been looking for a very special cat who embodied the spirit of her recently departed tripod puss, Harpo, and windupkitty’s description that the kitty in need of a home had an extra wide head, gigundo paws and a few other physical and mental quirks put him squarely in Harpo territory. So off we rolled up the 5 in search of the perfect cat.

Any of you who have ever driven the 5 know that once you’re past Magic Mountain you might as well be tooling through middle America. Other than the too-steep-for-me Grapevine, it’s flat as a pancake most of the way, cows and sheep the only signs of life lest for copycat franchise food and fuel stops completely devoid of the vintage truck stops you wish were still there if you have a bone of taste in your body. For someone who’s thrilled to be in a car because of the potential to spot thrilling kitsch, the 5 is punishment. The good news is that to get to Palo Alto you have to cut over Highway 152 to connect to the ubiquitous 101. And 152 is a fabulous highway, my favorite in California, just long enough to not get antsy and filled with fantastic vistas like this:

You don’t even mind when the road narrows down to a single lane because that’s when cherry stands start to pop up out of the ground like dandelions after a torrential summer rain:

The Bing wasn’t open so we hit one of the other ten or so “pit stops” within a few miles.  I hope this one is pronounced Mamie’s and not Mammy’s:

I really wanted to stop at this place for ice cream, especially if the person making it is the same person who made the sign and decided not to finish off the “L” so it looks like gariic ice cream is for sale.

Once we hit the 101 it was smooth sailing despite a disappointing lack of kitsch.  However, the snacks awaiting us when we arrived at windupkitty’s in Palo Alto more than made up for it.

Rice Krispie Treats are infinitely better if laced with M&Ms. And a car ride is also enhanced if it occurs in the Batmobile, parked outside our hotel when we had (a non-Rice Krispie Treat) breakfast the next morning.

I’m happy to report that the reason for our trip, the cat relocation program, was indeed successful. Here’s a photo of me, Snappy P, windupkitty and the as yet still unnamed new member of the Fenton family right before we piled back into our (non-Batmobile) mustached van and headed back along the flat 5.

 

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Categories: Animals, Film, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Transportation, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Poodle Compact

In the spirit of poodles this week, I may as well throw in this fantastically 50′s mother of pearl, sparkle bumped, handpainted poodle compact. I’ve never had powder packed in it but I tote around a variety of small items in the mirror lined case.

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Categories: Accessories, Animals, Health & Beauty, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Handpainted Poodle Kleenex Holder

As I said yesterday, I’m not one to randomly collect poodles just because they’re an endearing and iconic symbol of the first totally modern decade to which I am ever beholden, the 1950′s. But it dawned on me as I adopted Fifi the wastebasket that she was a perfect mate for this Kleenex holder that’s been riding around in the back seat of my car forever, always there in my time of nasal need for at least the last decade.

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Categories: Accessories, Animals, Bathroom, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Handpainted Poodle Wastebasket

This past weekend LA was in bloom with garage sales. I’ve tried resisting these for years, especially since opening The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com, as not only do I have the thousands of items in my own kitsch collection to store but these days I’m the happy recipient of at least a few boxes a month that arrive stashed full of other peoples’ kitsch. But I was tooling down Fountain Ave. and there she was staring at me, the classic bathroom or teenagers room accessory icon of the 1950s, lovely Fifi.

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Categories: Accessories, Animals, Bathroom, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Allee Willis Marches on Detroit! Part 13, Burk’s Igloo & Lafayette Coney Dogs

Burk’s Igloo in Hamtramck, the once Polish center of Detroit, not only has KILLER ice cream but is famous now for being in the opening titles of HBO’s Hung.

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Categories: Animals, Architecture, Art, Detroit, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, People, Place, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – USA! Patriotic Kitsch

Rarely do I celebrate someone getting their head blow on off but the jubilant mood around the world heralding the demise of the long skinny one with the poisonous manners is begging to be celebrated with the best patriotic crafts that kitsch has to offer. Here’s a small sampling of what’s available for sale as we speak on places like Ebay and Etsy. In most cases I’ve used the exact names the artists have given their work.

The Liberty Bell:

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Categories: Animals, Art, Crafts, Fashion, Hats, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Political, Toy

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – The Worst Easter Chicks Ever

These are without question the mangiest chicks ever, that is if these feathery creatures are, in fact, “chicks”. Hard to tell in this little display diorama, whose elegant mirrored-inside swoop made the original owner kitschingly ecstatic when they bought this, most likely in the 1970′s or 80′s. Except people who buy things like this have no idea that something is so tragically off. They view it, instead, as a thing of beauty. The “chicks’” owner probably didn’t even wait for Easter to display them but, rather, kept them out all year, they were THAT beautiful to them.

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Categories: Accessories, Animals, Art, Holidays, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Allee Willis Marches on Detroit! Part 1, The Exhaustion

We – Mark Blackwell, my ready steady videographer and “Allee Marches On Detroit!” planning partner – landed back in LA at 1 AM Sunday night after taking two planes from Detroit, the second of which was over an hour late getting out of Chicago. My body feels like it’s broken into 12,000 pieces – at least it’s down by a thousand from yesterday – because of the pace we raced at over the prior 168 hours of giving speeches, conducting marching bands and Broadway musicals, visiting family, school friends and meeting a whole load of soulful folks on the street who take great pride in the city they live in. But it’s one of those great broken feelings where you know you had a once-in-a-lifetime experience and are so grateful for fate tossing that your way, no matter how much you feel like a convoy of Mack trucks have run over you, every single ounce of oomph exerted is worth the present inertia. I feel like I have to stew in a hot bath for a week and then be pickled in a jar of lavender oil for a couple of days to feel like everything in my body is glued back together again. But the Dee-troit spirit running through me is so high I could walk on air without legs. Which is good given that my knees performed way beyond the call of duty given their relatively recent medical fate.

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Categories: Animals, Architecture, Art, Detroit, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Huge Vintage Mosaic Poodle

I have quite a collection of large framed vintage mosaic pieces and this massive 19″ x 33″ poodle is unquestionably one of the best in breed. First of all, with all of his gaps and glue blobs he’s obviously someone’s crafts project:

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Celebrate Presidents Day with a Kennedy Creamer

At that point in history, the 1960s, no more swag had ever been created for an American Presidency than for the first couple of Camelot, John and Jackie Kennedy. I have much of it, including busts, porcelain plates, copper plates, ashtrays, keychains and the like. But most of that is buried away and I’m too lazy to dig it out on a holiday. Here’s one that’s handy of a porcelain plate using the exact same image as on the creamer but for a new chair:

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Categories: Animals, Drink, Furniture and Housewares, Hair, Political

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