Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Cher Perfume and Burlesque, A Very Bland Thanksgiving Turkey!

Unfortunately, my bottle of Cher perfume, given to me as a birthday present one year by Elvira, is long empty. Just like Burlesque, the film that opened this week that Cher and her once great face that no longer moves stars in. But in the case of Burlesque, I wasn’t expecting emptiness so much as a big fat Thanksgiving turkey gloriously stuffed with kitsch. I’d been whetting my lips for a year and a half since the insanely done-to-death-27,000-times-over storyline was revealed to me when I, along with God knows how many other songwriters, was asked to submit a song for the film. My co-writer dropped the ball and never handed in any of the three we did  - I’ve yet to even hear a mix…..Earth to Steve…..but often when my songs haven’t made it into a film it saved me from being stuffed into too many cinematic turkeys. Unless, of course, you count Howard The Duck, which I co-wrote five songs for with Thomas Dolby. But that was just about writing with Dolby and George Clinton as, despite being excited about being in a George Lucas produced film, I knew it was headed for the turkey farm my first time on the set when Howard, a little person stuffed into a costume that looked like a pillowcase with feathers glued on, ran in.

I was so excited to see Burlesque that I even organized the first public outing of my film club, L’Chien Du Cinema, The Dog Cinema, to leave my living room and see a film at an actual theater for the first time since 1983 when we were lucky enough to have two turkeys in the same season, Pia Zadora’s monumental Lonely Lady and Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone’s immortal Rhinestone.

But, alas, Burlesque isn’t so much a turkey as one big, long, never-ending lump of white, packaged mashed potatoes. No gravy, no cranberry sauce, not even any turkey; just constant servings of the same bad blue lighting on Cher, the one forlorn look from Christina Aguilera, the same numbing beat of predictable songs and we’ve-seen-it-before-Pussycat-Dolls-with-a-hit-of-Flashdance choreography, a story as predictable as jelly slopped on top of peanut butter, and all of it hitting with such regularity that your eyeballs go numb. An endless, bombastic pile of nothing. At least my empty bottle of Cher perfume has enough in it you can still smell some brilliance of what once was.

Which is a shame as all the bad film faithfuls that came to see it with me had high hopes Burlesque would be a contemporary classic of Showgirls proportion. I even got out the old the ol’ doggie bags and filled them with gold sprayed Milk-Bones, as the tradition of L’Chien is for everyone to throw down their bones and rate the films, a 5-boner being the biggest dog and a 1-boner not even worth the price of the ticket.

Here I am walking in with RuPaul:

And here I am at dinner after the film with more of the party faithfuls where we discussed and rated the noisy pile of mush we’d just seen. (Clockwise: Christian Capobianco, Craig Fisse, Michael Patrick KingGail ZappaDiva ZappaLaLa Sloatman, Bob Garrett, Charles PhoenixmePrudence Fenton and Pat Loud, the matriarch of the first reality show family ever.)

It was a sad night for Burlesque as far as our boner ratings went:

Out of a possible 55 bones from the eleven of us, Burlesque only got 9 and 1/32nd. It would have been 9 and 1/64th but a 32nd was the smallest bit of Milk-Bone any of us could break off.

Back to my Cher perfume, the silver paint on the cap has curdled away:

I guess that’s what Cher thought was happening to her face when she started shooting it full of whatever she shoots it full of to be left with a face that’s as immobile as a rock. It may look pretty but the only real emotion you could detect from her in Burlesque is when her eyes teared up. Twice. But I don’t want to be mean to Cher. I love Cher. It’s just that you can’t feel anything from something human that doesn’t move. And when you throw that into a movie that’s all surface/no heart or soul and shakes at the exact same frequency for two hours straight it makes you want to check your cell phone or do whatever else you can do trapped in your seat until the slop ends. My friend Diva always brings her knitting with her in case of just that.  Here’s how much she got done during Burlesque:

Even this bottle of Cher perfume has a little actual something in it:

It may all be stuck in the spritzer thing but at least it’s there and you can still smell it. I was hoping Burlesque reeked with kitsch classicism, bursting with so much flavor of self-importance that I’d never be able to get the stench out of my nose. Instead it was nothing, just a big plastic inflatable turkey:

Big budget movies offend me to begin with. And one that throws so much in your face and you don’t even feel the splat really bums me out. What a nothing experience. And, by the way, how do you put Cher and Christina Aquilera in a movie together and not have a duet?! What a waste of Cher.

But I’m not here to give a movie review. I’m just here to show you a bottle of perfume.

Now the only question is what do I do with all the Milk-Bones?

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Categories: Awards, bad art, Celebrity, Consumer Alert!, Film, Health & Beauty, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Politics and the National Rooster Crowing Contest Trophy

When it comes to an award for crowing the loudest, that should go to politicians. If I get enraged by the money that movie stars make imagine how insane I go seeing the money that’s dumped into political ads on TV that tell us almost nothing about the actual goals of who made them. I don’t want to hear anyone crowing when they throw hundreds of millions of dollars away on campaigns. Do some real good and give that money to saving school systems or cities from going bankrupt. Neither Meg Whitman or Carly Fiorina, the loudest crowers of all in the election yesterday, deserve any prize, which is exactly what they got for dumping all that cash down the drain. I don’t like to hear the other politicians crowing either, and I really don’t want to see any ads about ballot measures which, despite their cheesy production value, cost a fortune to shoot and are never clear about what the measure is really about.

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Categories: Animals, Awards, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Toy

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Judging CANstruction

I’ve always been intrigued with label design, especially when appearing on cans, as the designer has to take the roundness into consideration as well as the inescapable fact that only a portion of the design is going to be seen at any one time. But then imagine having to stack the cans so they become something else. The label still needs to retain its power but must also give power to whatever structure you’re using it to make. This weekend I had the honor of judging and announcing the winners at the Los Angeles Canstruction awards, a design contest that takes place in over 100 cities where designers compete using canned food as the building blocks to make a variety of giant objects.  After the contest, all of the food is donated to local food banks, so the quality of the meal provided in each structure is a very important criteria in judging its worth.

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Categories: Architecture, Art, Awards, Creative process, Food, Forgot to Categorize, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ the Day – Miniature 1970′s Wooden Bowling Pin

bowling-pin-mini_5294Anyone who knows me knows I love bowling.  It’s not the sport itself but, rather, the accessories that go along with it that make my heart sing.  I have no idea what this little mini pin was made for – I’m guessing a standalone trophy – but I found two of them and wish I had more.  I used the first one as the end of a banister going up my stairs:

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1950′s Academy Award Screen Stars Stamp Album

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This is an amazing movie find, especially for a stamp collecting movie nut (which I’m not but I can appreciate the passion).  Sixty pages of  blank squares, each ascribed with the name of a 1920′s – 50′s star, from Academy Award winners to TV stars, “The Young Set”, International stars, World-Famous Women, Animal stars, Shootin’ stars (Western), Symphony stars, Singing stars, Comedians  and every other category that Hollywood could possibly subdivide itself into.

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Categories: Awards, Celebrity, Crafts, Dance, Film, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1976 Do-It-Yourself Oscar

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This is a product worthy of an Oscar for Best Kitsch, a fake wood cardboard stand-up “plaque” that looks suspiciously like the piece of  cardboard that comes with any cheap picture frame, stapled on, staples askew, emblazoned with a cheap gold embossed sticker with three imprints, none of which have anything to do with the Academy Awards other than a trophy atopped with a nude female athlete that kinda sorta is in that Oscar trophy pose.

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Categories: Awards, bad art, Celebrity, Forgot to Categorize, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Toy

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Allee Willis’ Soul O’ The Day – I Love You, Color Purple People… final cast photo

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Last night was the closing of The First National Tour of my musical, The Color Purple.  I had never written a musical before, hardly ever went to see them.  I’m an all-the-way Pop Culture gal and for me this was a medium from ancient times with way too histrionic sounding songs and singers frozen in time.  I was the least likely person in the world to write a musical but write one I did, with Brenda Russell, Stephen Bray and Marsha Norman. We were nominated for 11 Tony’s.  How we even won one, the brilliant LaChanze for Best Actress, was a miracle in the climate on Broadway. (Don’t get me started on that one…). Beyond being eternally proud of the work, especially the uplifting and joyous effect it had on audiences night after night, the most stunning part of the journey was the family of friends I made through the Broadway run and the ensuing national tour.  Right from the beginning when we started writing Purple in 2001 I always heard that  there’s constant bickering among everyone but we were all really friends.  And I mean everyone, from Alice Walker, the Pulitzer prize winning author of the novel, down through us authors, the cast, director, producers, hair, makeup, wigs, production managers, everyone.  I was always being told by other friends who had written for Broadway that by the end no one would ever talk to each other and that so many writers of so many shows, because the experience takes years and is so intense, never end up  speaking unless they write another show and then it’s just about work. Our case always was and remains different. This is a family that will be together forever, bound by an experience where the piece itself was bigger than any one part. Everyone felt chosen and blessed to be a part of The Color Purple. Fantasia WAS Celie.  Watching that journey of her finding herself through this character was a joy and a privilege. Every cast member, starting with the staggering Felicia P. Fields, Tony nominated for Sofia and the first actor we ever cast in 2003, was not only a triple threat – brilliant singers, actors AND dancers, a rare enough find in one person let alone an entire cast – they were a gift for any artist to have interpret their work.

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Categories: Afro, Art, Awards, Book, Celebrity, Creative process, Creativity, empowerment, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Self expression, Songwriting, The Color Purple

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THE COLOR PURPLE coming back to LA. Feb. 10-28

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Fantasia as Celie. Fantastic cast, many from the original Broadway production. Five years of my life into the making of this baby. I’m very proud of it. If you’re in LA come to the Pantages.

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Categories: Afro, Art, Awards, Book, Celebrity, Civil Rights, Creativity, Dance, empowerment, Hats, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Los Angeles, LPs, Music, Nature, Self expression, Songwriting

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch and “What Is Kitsch?” YouTube Film Festival coming today!

 

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Categories: Architecture, Art, Awards, bad art, Cheesy LPs, Creativity, Gadgets, Games, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Party, Technology

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Head Nut Desk Accessory

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These kind of joke desk accessories, along with their companion sculptures of young kissing boys and girls, wide eyed pups and inspirational sayings such as ‘Do It’ carved into rubber like Stonehenge, were all the rage in the late 1960′s. One of the biggest manufacturers of them was “Paula”. One of the rarest Paula’s was this “Head Nut”. This one is dated 1968 and stamped W79. It’s sat on my desk and reminded me of my status for at least 20 years. I’ve always liked that the only color is the little red tongue, the rest of the beige motif reminding me how drained I feel when I overwork – a situation that’s now gone on for months – and how much I’m looking forward to the weekend when I don’t have to be the “Head Nut”.

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Categories: Accessories, Awards, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Products

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