Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – My Seriously Kitschy Birthday Gifts

I wasn’t going to do anything for my birthday this year. Too overworked and no extra coinage to throw around. But word leaked out and spread and all of a sudden these people, most of whom I’ve spent every birthday and momentous occasion with for umpteen years, showed up at my house:

Bottom row (L-R):  Diva Zappa, Lisa Loeb, me, Prudence Fenton and Michael Patrick King.
Middle row (L-R):  Jane Wagner, Lesley Ann Warren, Bob Garrett, Lily Tomlin, Pamela Des Barres, Karen Levitas, Gai Gherardi, Gail Zappa, Nancye Ferguson, Stan Zimmerman and Jim Burns. Top row (L-R): Ben Bove, RuPaul, Tom Trujillo, Roey Herschovitz, Jimmy Quill, Charles Phoenix, Sonny Ruscha Bjornson, Mark Blackwell and Jack Nesbit.

Though all of my friends may not practice kitsch like the religion I do, their lives and occupations are consumed with pop culture and they all bring unique individual style and vision to everything they do. None of us are color-in-the-lines people. Which means that when it comes to birthday presents, it’s fantasyland overload as their sensibilities collide with mine in harmonious gift wrapped chaos! For example, here I am with perennially great gift givers Nancye Ferguson and Jim Burns:

Jim is looking very happy because the video game he stars in, Call Of Duty Black Ops, was released the day before and set the opening day record for ANY type of entertainment,Is he is grossing $320,000,000 by the time he reached my house. Maybe that’s why they got me 14 gifts. Though Nancye and Jim are always reliable for a smorgasbord of age-inappropriate-unless-you-happen-to-be-me offerings like this magnificent 1950′s mother of pearl poodle pocket mirror/pill box:

… and this convenient land line phone ear piece for my iPhone:

They also gave me this wonderfully famous Enid Collins owl box purse…

…and this fantastic 50′s fold up wallet with plastic coin holder inside like the Good Humor ice cream man used to wear on his belt to give people change:

They also threw in this 1960′s Wilma Flintstone bathing cap.

Here I am with Pamela Des Barres, the world’s most famous groupie, and Diva and Gail Zappa, who came straight to my place from the airport after being honored at a Frank Zappa festival in London.

Pamela is a fabulous writer and also travels a lot for her work. Which is lucky for me and the rest of her friends as she hits thrift shops wherever she goes and picks up stuff for us all year round. She makes these finds for pennies and stacks them up so she can arrive like Santa Claus on any given occasion. These “On The Wagon’ coaster and snack trays she gave me are just about my favorite bar accessory ever!

I love when snacks are referred to as ‘Tid Bits’, especially when what is normally a single word is broken up into two separate words as stamped into the belly of the wagon.

This nightshirt could be the heaviest gift of the evening. It’s hard to see all the 1960′s pop culture graphics and slogans in this photo and I’m not sure who the characters on it are but there were more than a few vintage clotheshorses at the party, certainly including myself, and we all agree that Pamela’s $2 purchase would easily go for $500 in the right store.

Then there’s this early 60′s Make-Up Mask that you pull over your bouffant to protect the Max Factor from rubbing off your face when you pull your angora sweater over it:

Pamela graciously modeled it for us throughout the evening.

Her excellent gift giving instincts have definitely rubbed off on the other Des Barres in attendance, Michael, who reliably gives me fantastic African swag.

At one point there was a girl’s conference in the bedroom.  Here I am with (L-R) Lily Tomlin,Prudence Fenton, and Jane Wagner:

Prudence not only cooked an incredible dinner for everyone but made the excellent “Crackerature” portrait of me that’s between our heads in the photo above.

Lily and Jane gave me the most ridiculous-in-the-best-kitsch-sense-of-the-word-ridiculous gift of the night:

He’s only about 3″ high, his little arms are made out of bobby pins and his body is some kind of overcooked Sculpy or baking soda concoction. The card that accompanied him was just as kitschy.

The Diller is Phyllis Diller, which adds a few pounds on the kitsch scale for this gift. The note Jane and Lily wrote me make the cheese wheel even weightier:

Joining Lily and I here is Stan Zimmerman. We all grew up in Detroit.

Stan added a little class to my gifts with this 1950′s signed Sasha Brastoff ashtray.

Here’s Lily and I with RuPaul. Both of them have added greatly to the kitsch cache of my alter-ego, Bubbles the artist, as they are the #1 and #2 collectors of her art, each owning over 20 pieces.

Michael Patrick King, seen here with Pamela Des Barres’ lovely feet, brought me some of my most Americanized presents.

He brought my gifts back from Dubai when he was there filming Sex and the City II. First, this green shopping bag featuring a carefree Michelle Obama:

And then this brain-numbing Muslim Barbie shoulder bag:

I got one more bag, actually a Kitsch Emergency Kit, from Karen Levitas.

It’s nice when your friends give you a healthy snack of sardines to enjoy while you read cheesy poetry from the 70′s:

Here I am with Mark Blackwell, who’s also a November 10th birthday baby, and Sonny Ruscha Bjornson, Lisa Loeb and Roey Hershkovitz:

Lisa and Roey gave me some quality reading material:

Maybe I will learn to make beautiful cakes like this one on page 110:

But when it comes to baking, there’s only one Supreme Master and I’m pictured with him here:

Just a few days before my party Charles Phoenix was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal with his signature “Cherpumple” cake, one of which he baked for me.

A Cherpumple is three Sara Lee cherry, pumpkin and apple pies stuffed inside three Betty Crocker cakes and frosted as one happy stack of sugary ecstasy:

Here’s my friend, Lesley Ann Warren, indulging in some. Perennially skinny and always eating healthy, she hit the Cherpumple as an extreme gesture of kitsch on my birthday.

Lesley was my first friend when I moved to Hollywood in 1976. She was also the first person ever to sing one of my songs on TV when she did the third song I ever wrote, “Childstar”, on Johnny Carson.

Some people went back for seconds of Cherpumple. Each plate weighs 2 lbs.

Gai Gherardi and Rhonda Saboff shared their Cherpumple:

They gave me an excellent pair of glasses from LA Eyeworks, which Gai co-owns and where I’ve bought all of my eye coverings for the last three decades.

When RuPaul arrived he brought me another birthday cake.

It was delicious but everyone had already gorged on too much Cherpumple.

Which means that everyone went home in sugar shock, the condition they’ve had much practice existing in as they’ve all been over to my house a trillion times before.

I didn’t have far to go as my bed was only feet away from the remains of the Cherpumple. I went to sleep with my crown on and had sugar sweet dreams anticipating a very good year to come indeed!

More party photos can be seen here.

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Categories: Art, bad art, Book, Brands, Bubbles the artist, Celebrity, Creativity, Food, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Party, People

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Artistically Deficient Eisenhower Presidential Plates

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I’m not really a collector of vintage presidential plates. The only other ones I have, a few Jack and Jackie Kennedy ones, crept in more because of hairdos and fashion sense than for their stature as the First Couple of the United States. But every Eisenhower plate I’ve ever stumbled across has some tragic art department flaw.  Like no one ever approved the plates once they were finished or there’s no way they could have escaped the fact that something was always magnificently wrong with the skin color of the couple who occupied the White House right before the Kennedys, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower, President and First Lady of the United States from 1952 to 59.  Here they look like corpses:

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Categories: bad art, Furniture and Housewares, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Political

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Plastic Fruit & Vegetable People and The Most Talented Man You’ve Ever Seen Playing Music On Vegetables

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I used to actively collect figurative sculptures made out of plastic fruits and vegetables. Largely crafts projects, I loved them because most of them were so completely stupid looking but you could always tell a lot of love went into making them. I eventually stopped collecting these anthropomorphic fruit and vegetable people because in order to stand up straight most of them were made out of really light, cheap plastic food that would crack after a couple of  years leaving them looking like accident victims. Much like what happens to actual vegetables that I periodically have a conscience to buy only to end up jamming them down the disposal when they start curdling and smelling up the frig because they’ve gotten too old to eat. But as with anything, I love when things have dual purposes like plastic fruit for display/plastic fruit for body parts. Like what a great shape an apple makes for a head or how natural the sprouts on the top of an onion look for hair.  And until now, that’s how I prefered to experience vegetables.

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Categories: bad art, Crafts, Creativity, Food, Kitchen, Kitsch, Music, Musical Instruments, People, Sculpture, Self expression, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – The Ultimate Green Garden

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If ever there were a garden for 2010 with no water required, no gardening bills to pay and always picture perfect plumage on well-sculpted almost-topiary-but-without-the-cute-animals tree/bushes this would be it.

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Categories: Art, bad art, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Nature

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“Allee Willis’ Wonderland O’ Kitsch – East San Fernando Valley, Part 1″ VIDEO

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As Kitschmeister General I love, love, love the San Fernando Valley, just inches from the center of Hollywood and pumped full of Kitsch like a buffet line at Trader Vics. This is the first in a series of short films I’m making glorifying the Kitsch monuments that abound around me for bigisgood.tv. Part 1 features everything from Roman architecture and giant submarine sandwiches to clowns, frog families, volcanoes, giant fish, horses, shoe cars and very happy houses.

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Categories: Animals, Architecture, Art, bad art, Crafts, Creativity, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Los Angeles, Nature, Sculpture, Self expression, Transportation, video

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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’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Pigmy Will in “Golf Cart Pie”

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A plethora of pies hit the green.

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Categories: Animation, bad art, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Pigmy Will, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Muffler Tree

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I love sculptures like this, especially when they’re crafted by mechanics and stuck out on the street in front of their shops. I’m assuming that “Mofles” means muffler in some language. If not, there’s more that I love about this place than just the metal foliage.

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Categories: Art, bad art, Crafts, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Transportation, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – “Rainy Days And Thursdays”, Ultimate Karaoke Performance

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A more appropriate title for this ultimate kitsch rendition of The Carpenters legendary “Rainy Days And Mondays” is “Raining Or Not, I Can’t Find the Key”. The problem with the stupefyingly scale-jumping Leo isn’t his voice so much as his ears. He slips over and under keys faster than a greased cat, consistent in his own musical universe thousands of miles beneath the melody only to rise like a phoenix into an entirely different melodic universe drenched in its own never-before-heard key. To be fair, there are actually two bars where Leo sings in the right key. Unfortunately they don’t follow each other.

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Categories: bad art, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Self expression

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Pigmy Will starring in “Jockstrap”

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Brand new Pigmy Will video, as sophisticated  as ever!

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Categories: Animation, bad art, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Pigmy Will

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