Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Allee Willis Marches on Detroit! Part 14, THE VIDEO

As I’ve been blabbing about for weeks now, I had the extreme pleasure of conducting my high school marching band playing a medley of some of my greatest hits in the lobby of the theater I grew up in in Detroit with the cast of the musical I co-wrote, The Color Purple, singing along. I meant to post video of our performance as soon as I got home but to my horror, one of the three cameramen only shot the students from the back and the other both forgot to turn his camera on for parts of songs and babbled over the footage like he was the subject of a documentary. So it took quite a lot of editing to get something where you could even begin to see the  warm, wonderful and uplifting-higher-than-the-sky feeling that permeated the theater that day.

The performance was a benfit to buy new marching band uniforms for the Mumford band. The last time they got new uniforms was in 1984 when Jerry Bruckheimer, also a Mumford grad, bought them so they could play at the premiere of Beverly Hills Cop in Detroit. I got a Grammy for Beverly Hills Cop so this entire extravaganza was tied up in one fantastically organic bow!

Also organic was my shoes and socks combo in the Mumford school colors.

I had an excellent time wearing my hat, color coordinated to The Color Purple, the matinee of which started immediately after the closing notes of the marching band. Though my hat ecstacy only lasted a couple of bars. Too wobbly on my head.

If the music was wobbly at all it’s only the charm of a high school band and a songwriter who’s never learned how to read, notate or play music despite her songs selling more than 50 million records.

That’s the innocence of youth. I hope you enjoy our youth as much as me and the kids did. It was a VERY special experience indeed.

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Categories: Boogie Wonderland, Detroit, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Friends theme, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Music, Musical Instruments, Neutron Dance, Party, School, Self expression, September, Songwriting, The Color Purple, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Allee Willis Marches on Detroit! Part 12, My Speech

On April 7 I was the closing keynote speaker at the Rust Belt To Arts Belt III conference in Detroit. Every year the conference takes place in a different city that’s faced with the task of reinventing itself in the ongoing transition from the Industrial Age into the Digital Age and beyond. Loving Detroit and having been in the heat of designing communities since the dawn of the commercial Internet in 1991, I wax on about all this in my speech.

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Categories: Boogie Wonderland, Detroit, Earth Wind & Fire, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Music, Neutron Dance, Place, September, Songwriting, Transportation

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Allee Willis’ Soul O’ Day – Earth Wind & Fire At the Hollywood Bowl with a Seventy Piece Orchestra and Fireworks!

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Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t go to concerts. I don’t like the crowds, I don’t like the walking, I don’t like someone singing next to me or standing up in front of me dancing. I understand this is the nature of concerts and I’m not out to change that so I was always happier sinking my head under a set of headphones and listening to the intricacies of the music rather than the  idiosyncrasies of the crowd. This includes concerts where my own music is being performed. Of the hundreds and hundreds of songs of mine that have been cut I’ve seen maybe ten of them performed live. One of the most memorable nights ever for me was in 1979 at the Los Angeles Forum when half of the songs performed by Earth Wind & Fire were mine, including “September”, “Boogie Wonderland” and “In the Stone”.  Although I’m blessed to have some of my tunes among their most popular I never saw the band perform live again. Until last Friday night when I saw a performance that blew my head off my shoulders and still has me skipping along the sidewalks of Los Angeles, a very happy girl.

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Categories: Afro, Boogie Wonderland, Celebrity, Creativity, Dance, Disco, Earth Wind & Fire, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Music, Party, People, September, TV/Radio, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1968 Right On’s 100 Super-Soul Stars Book and Saturday Night with Earth Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder, 2010

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Categories: Afro, Boogie Wonderland, Book, Detroit, Disco, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Music, September, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Donny Osmond “Boogie Wonderland”, 1980

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Last night Donny Osmond bagged an almost perfect score doing the Cha-Cha to my song, “September”, on Dancing With The Stars. In his former life as an Osmond he and his brothers took on my follow-up Earth Wind & Fire hit, “Boogie Wonderland”. What makes the latter performance in Provo, Utah in 1980 kwalify as Kitsch isn’t so much that Donny’s singing is uncharacteristically off, flatter than an iceskating rink in spots, but that the lyric changes made to suit Mormon sensibilities are so odd:

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Categories: Boogie Wonderland, Dance, Disco, Earth Wind & Fire, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Religion

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Tragic And Wonderful Misuse of ‘Boogie Wonderland’ in “How To-Dominican Blowout/Doobie”

How-To--Dominican-BlowoutDoobieAs most of you know by now, I’m one of the few songwriters who loves when their songs are used or performed inappropriately as it turns the songs into masterpieces of Kitsch. I never set out to write Kitsch as I love music too much but if I leave it in the hands of all the people who love to see themselves on YouTube I’m rarely disappointed.

As opposed to a performance, this is someone who’s chosen to verrrry sloooowwwwly show us how to achieve a Dominican hairdo using two Earth Wind & Fire songs as background music, “After The Love Is Gone” and “Boogie Wonderland”, the latter of which I co-wrote and the significance of neither in regards to the the subject matter make any sense.

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Categories: Afro, Boogie Wonderland, Creative process, Forgot to Categorize, Hair, Health & Beauty, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Self expression, Songwriting, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – PARTY VIDEO! Me, Earth Wind Fire and Luenell at the opening of The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch!

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It was the 21st night of September, the opening line of my very first hit song as well as the date of the grand opening party celebrating the launch of awmok.com, my mini social network and ongoing museum exhibit of all things Kitsch. I am SO NOT the songwriter type to get up at a party and perform but this was the night that tradition broke. As it was a special night in my musical history as well as a night to celebrate kitsch I decided to let anyone who wanted to sing sing bad karaoke versions of September.I also brought a bunch of cheap, thrift shop instruments with me – a knockoff Beatles Apollo bass with three strings, a 1981 Casio keyboard with 2 1/2 octaves and a missing middle C. key – just in case any of the famous musicians in attendance might want to play along my style.
As any of you familiar with me know, I’m a massive fan of smooshing together very high and very low elements of art that most people would create, perform or perpetuate in very different spaces and times. I live for moments where the incredible thinking, technology and execution at the top collide with the passion and dedication (and not necessarily talent) at the bottom. 
Moments like these have allowed me to see some of my Greatest Hits performed by the best and the worst at once. Like when my discoveries, the Del Rubio Triplets, octogenarian identical triplets in miniskirts and go-go boots and of questionable musical prowess, performed “Neutron Dance” with The Pointer Sisters the very week the record was in the Top 10. I’m elated to report that the 21st night of September a couple of weeks ago was an opportunity for another such performance. 
In walks Larry Dunn, original Earth Wind & Fire keyboard player extraordinaire who played on every single significant EWF hit, and Verdine White, cofounding member who’s still in EWF, greatest bass player who ever lived and the man who discovered me and brought me to the group back in 1978. And there’s Luenell, hysterical off-color comedienne who is literally the number one Earth Wind & Fire fan in the world. She carries their Greatest Hits CD with her wherever she goes and watches aEWF Collection DVD every day, swear to God. She’s been in love with Larry Dunn since she first caught sight of his perfectly carved Afro in the early 1970s. 
Here are three 6 minute videos documenting one of the best times I’ve ever had in my life at a party. Part 1 is a set up, where Luenell meets her idols NI announced that anyone who has the balls to sing September with Earth Wind & Fire in the house is welcome to him. Part two is September and part 3 is Boogie Wonderland. I have video cameras going almost every minute of the day. It’s moments like they that would never translate unless you were there to see it that make me thankful I spend every dime I earn on tape, cameras and people to point them.
Last thing I’ll say here is to make sure and go to AWMoK.com, the reason everyone was here to celebrate and where so many people have gone to keep the party going

It was the 21st night of September, the opening line of my very first hit song as well as the date of the grand opening party at LA’s Ghettogloss celebrating the launch of AWMoK.com, The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch, my mini social network and ongoing exhibit of all things Kitsch. I am SO NOT the type to get up at a party and perform my own songs but this was the night that tradition broke.

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Categories: Afro, Art, bad art, Boogie Wonderland, Celebrity, Creativity, Disco, Earth Wind & Fire, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Musical Instruments, Party, Self expression, September, Songwriting

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Photos from Party #2 for the Grand Opening of The Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch!

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Seems like there are hundreds of photos circulating on the Internet from my party Monday night where, among a zillion other things, members of Earth Wind & Fire performed in a parking lot for anyone who wanted to sing my EWF hits, “September” and “Boogie Wonderland”. 

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Categories: Art, bad art, Boogie Wonderland, Celebrity, Earth Wind & Fire, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Party, People, September

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – She’s even better at “Boogie Wonderland”!

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A couple of weeks ago I featured the world’s happiest gal dancing to my song “Neutron Dance”. Now, the Krown Princess of Kitsch Khoreography turns her attention to the sweeping horns and strings and theatrical chorus melody of another one of my most danced-to songs. Black leather against backlit drapes encourages an even more dramatic performance, made exceptionally special by how the dancer’s mouth moves aggressively though rarely quite mouthing the words. Other favorite aspects of the performance are the freeze poses and excellent recovery from a stumble in the first chorus. The moves in the instrumental are especially impressive. Kudos from the author to this Neutron Dancer in Boogie Wonderland!

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Categories: Boogie Wonderland, Dance, Disco, Earth Wind & Fire, empowerment, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Neutron Dance, People, Self expression

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What Social Networks And Songwriting Have In Common

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What’s to make me join yet another social network when I’m already a member of so many, dragging myself ’round the clock to fulfill my duties as a responsible citizen on each of them? What’s to make me listen to a record that sounds like everything else – same beat, loop or intellectually challenged lyric? It’s one thing to be first. It’s another to be 43rd.

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Categories: Afro, Boogie Wonderland, Earth Wind & Fire, Lyrics, Music, Social networks, Songwriting

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