On May 8 and 9, 2012, I took a giant leap in my evolution and broke through an almost 4 decades-long bout of stage fright, performing two sold-out performances of my Super Ball Bounce Back Review, a combo concert/sing-along/party extravaganza at King King in Hollywood.
Lack of performing has always been a raw, gaping hole in a long career that’s stretched across various fields of the arts, despite the fact that I’ve always had the balls to throw myself off cliffs as I periodically dive-bomb into pursuits I know nothing about. I’ve hosted multimedia theme parties where I’m perenially on mic so that even the conversations I have with everyone are blasted throughout my house or wherever else I host these beasts. And God knows I walk around in hair and clothes that makes peoples’ necks snap if they’ve never gotten a gander of me before. Throw in that I’ve sold 50,000,000 records despite the fact that to this day I have no idea how to read, notate or play music, and I sold hundreds of paintings before I realized that you mix colors to get different colors. So backing away from displaying myself publicly made absolutely no sense.
But then I realized that this theme of living fearlessly was at the heart of everything I ever created. View life as a creative process. You are the canvas. If you’re stuck with a weakness, for God sakes turn it into a hook. Nine times out of ten, you’re the bogey monster scaring yourself shitless so just get out the way! So I finally did.
So here then are four videos from my Super Ball Bounce Back Review. If you like them and are going to be in LA on September 21 and/or 22, I’m rising again at NoHoPAC in a salute to “September”, the first line of which mentions the date of the opening night.
In 1974, Allee Willis walked off stage in the middle of her own show. Now she’s finally coming back! The Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Webby award-winning and nominated songwriter, artist, singer, technologist, collector, and party thrower comes to the El Portal Theater in beautiful North Hollywood for one night only of songs, stories, and party games. Sing-along to Willis’ greatest hits like “September”, “Boogie Wonderland”, “Neutron Dance”, “What Have I Done To Deserve This” and “I’ll Be There For You (theme from Friends)”! Win valuable prizes! Watch her as she attempts to get through the evening without walking off stage for another 37 years!
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:
I can’t think of anything Coke would go better with than a nice slab of liverwurst! Not sure what inspired anyone at the company to pick this meal combo to advertise the drink but I’m awfully glad they did because this 8″ x 24″ Litho cardboard sign has hung happily in my kitchen for almost 20 years. I’ve never done it the honor of munching down liverwurst when I pop the cap on a Coke but the sign inspired me enough that my alter ego, Bubbles the artist, painted a beautiful still life of the meal in 1999…
I only met Michael Jackson once. It was 1980 and I was at Hollywood Sound recording with Earth Wind & Fire and he was working in the room next door. This was before Billy Jean shot him into the stratosphere but Michael Jackson was still a music God. He walked over to me but as he gave me a big grin and very gentle almost-handshake someone burst into the studio and said Richard Pryor had set himself on fire. Everyone just froze and I quietly slipped out of the room. Those old school recording studios are as soundproof as tombs but I could hear all the commotion in the lobby as he ran out.
Anyone who knows me knows I love reality tv. I am SO not ashamed to admit that. Just like I wasn’t ashamed to admit I LOVED the internet in 1991 when everyone around me thought it was dorky and useless. I like reality. I’ve dedicated my life to trying to live the best one I can.
I love reality shows about creative process like Project Runway and Top Chef. But bottom feeders like “I Love New York” seriously steal my heart. I loved loved LOVED that show and its star. And I loved loved LOVED two contestants on it even more, Chance and Real, the two brothers who came in 2nd and 3rd on Season 1.
OK. I reallllly should be writing a detailed blog about the party I threw last Thurs. night here at Willis Wonderland to launch the new Bubbles & Cheesecake video, “Editing Is Cool”, and to debut my first official painting collaboration with Bubbles the artist, the Print Painting series, featuring canvas prints of five of Bubbles’ most popular images that I hand embellished with paint and vintage found objects. That sounds pretty ho hum, a party to promote something, but anyone who knows me knows I’m a hostess with mucho mostess and stiff is at the north pole of oppositeness of what went on here.
In order to do this party justice I need to go through 14 hours of video footage and this is not a job to do when you’ve slept for 21 hours total the previous week and your brain mass is still dripping through a strainer trying to get back to any semblance of normal. So I’m slogging through all of it as fast as I can but know if I drive myself nuts to finish in the timely fashion bloggers are wont to do I won’t enjoy any of it. So please know that the merriment of the “Launching Allee” party is forthcoming – you can look at a few photos from it in the meantime – and instead this blog is about how I took my own advise as offered in my brand new shiny video, “Editing Is Cool”, and got through the party without killing someone.
I loved Issac Hayes. Who didn’t I guess? He was totally innovative, his own man, one of the most classic soul songwriters in history and a MASSIVE influence on me. “Soul Man”, “Hold On, I’m Comin’”, “B-A-B-Y” not to mention ‘Shaft” and “Bumpy’s Lament”! First Black composer to ever win an Academy Award, busting it open for Black composers for all eternity. How much better does it get?
Those chains and wild pantsuits, a soul fashion icon of the highest proportion. A total individual following his own path. This photo of him holding the Bubbles’ ceramic he owned, Mr. Issac Hayes #7, is about my favorite photo of my work ever taken. I loved how he autographed it ‘To “Allee”‘, as if I was the one who wasn’t real and Bubbles was who really mattered.