BaDeYa, Detroit! – Allee LIVE in The D, FINALLY……

For the past few few years now on the “BaDeYa, say do you remember 21st night of September”, my blessed and magic day because it’s the first line in the first hit record I ever had, I’ve made a tradition of performing live, something that took me over three decades to get together. Other than last year when I was in Detroit conducting one of the 50 sing-alongs for ”The D”, the unofficial official theme song I cowrote for Detroit, in a laundromat with people essentially spinning around in dryers while singing.

As luck would have it, THIS year was a particularly special September 21st as just a couple days earlier NPR did a story on why “September”, co-written with Maurice White and Al McKay, remains such a timeless song, symbolizing warmth, love, and soul.

This year September 21 was even more special because I decided to perform live for the very first time EVER in Detroit, my beloved hometown for whom I’ve (unofficially) been slaving away on a project, “The D”, a record and multiple music videos, and Allee Willis Loves Detroit, a feature length film, for the last 2 1/2 years. As such, my co-writer and partner on the music portion of the project, Andrae Alexander, and I put together a 15 piece band made up of the very best musicians and singers we found during the 50 D sing-alongs we led last year to perform live with us in the show, BaDeYa, Detroit!.

We also wanted to give everyone a preview of the song which finally has a preliminary mix after over a solid year of trying to deal with 5000 vocal and instrument  tracks, each one with up to hundreds of voices on them. There’s just so much room in the sound spectrum and every inch of it we have taken up truly sounds like something you have never heard before. We also gave the audience a sneak peak at the beginnings of the first of many music videos to follow.  (Sorry – no preview here; only a few shots so you can see it ain’t no normal thang and to insure that you get the full punch once the first video’s actually delivered.)

For an artist such as myself who dotes on every detail of a stage production from designing the invitations to handmaking the set, picking theme food, designing the merchandise, casting people who help us like I’m casting characters in a musical, shipping 20 crates of everything to Detroit, directing, co-producing, and doing just about everything else involved in a production – albeit all with fantastic collaborators – this was no easy feat. And performing out of town for essentially the first time in my adult life makes that even harder. But don’t even ask me how worth it it was!!! Easily one of the best days/nights of my life was this “21st (almost) night of September”!

We performed at United Sound, a still-in-existence historic recording studio in Detroit where everyone from Charlie Parker to The Rolling Stones and some of my all-time favorite records like Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft”, The Dramatics’ “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get”, and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” were recorded.

But to turn a brilliant recording studio into a brilliant performance space is another issue entirely, especially when it involves things like sets, choreographed videographers who leap over drums on crash cymbal cues and organ sweeps, and all the other madness that goes into an Allee Willis production..

Of this now 2 1/2 year Detroit gargantuan mofo project,  “The D” and Allee Willis Willis Loves Detroit, the feature-length film about human spirit as seen through the people of Detroit and how my life, a constant conscious battle to keep my own spirit going, parallels that struggle, 99% of it has been funded by me. (Put some gas money here please.) So this meant getting people involved in BaDeYa, Detroit! working for gratis. Which they thankfully, gratefully, and miraculously did. From the band to just about everyone else who worked in any capacity on the show. They are saints. They are insanely talented. They are blissfully soulful, and primary examples of why I feel so compelled to make a film about the people of Detroit and how it is THEY who will rebuild the city because of their resilient spirit.

I want to give a special shout out to Malcolm Haris and Donnevan Tolbert, two young gentleman I saw play Mister and Harpo when their high school, Cass Tech, became the first in the country to license the musical I cowrote, The Color Purple, a couple years ago, and who did a brilliant spoken word intro to my show.

And I want to thank the five brilliant dancers from The Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit, one of the two beneficiaries of all profits from my Detroit efforts, who donned mechanics uniforms and spun car tires over their heads during the sneak peak world premiere of the first mix of “The D” and boogied their butts off during my second hit,  “Boogie Wonderland”.

I want to also thank the stupendous audience not only for showing up, as songwriters remain the buried treasure of the music industry, but also for participating so wildly so that the show came off just as I had prayed it would. Like a party in my living room. And if you don’t know my reputation for throwing parties you better go here now.

As a result of having so much fun not to mention hitting a new plateau in my budding performing career, I love Detroit even more than I have kvelled about it before, as if that was even possible. And I will eternally love the 21st of September for doing everything from giving me a second birthday because every year since I wrote it I hear from thousands of people that day telling me how happy the song makes them feel. This year it made me the happiest of all.

I hope you can see the spirit that was jumping off of the stage and ricocheting back to us in all the above photos as well as all of these. That room was an automatic power generator and from what I’ve heard everyone, certainly including me, is still buzzing. So BaDeYa Detroit!

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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Afro, Allee Live Performance, Allee Willis Loves Detroit, Allee Willis' Ba-de-ya, Allee's live performances, Art, Badeya, Baby!, Boogie Wonderland, Celebrity, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Detroit, Disco, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, empowerment, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Neutron Dance, Party, People, Self expression, September, Songwriting, Standup, Theater

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A SNEAK PEEK at “The D”!!

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Categories: Allee Live Performance, Allee's live performances, Art, Celebrity, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Detroit, Earth Wind & Fire, empowerment, Families, Fashion, Film, Friends theme, Hats, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Mumford high school, Music, Musical Instruments, Neutron Dance, Party, People, Place, Self expression, September, Songwriting, Stir It Up, Transportation, TV/Radio, video

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“The D” Officially Gassed Up and On The Road!

I really meant to be doing far more of these updates but the schedule is thankfully and gratefully so packed here in Detroit that I can barely get into bed before it’s time to get up and start singing again. The participation here has been insanely enthusiastic and wonderful.

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Categories: Allee Live Performance, Architecture, Art, Celebrity, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Detroit, Discography, empowerment, Film, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Mumford high school, Music, Party, People, Place, Reality tv, School, Self expression, Songwriting, Theater, Travel, TV/Radio

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Gunning The Engine Toward Detroit!

Hard to believe that after working on “The D” a solid year and a half, my ever-growing crew of 15 and I are descending upon Detroit in less than a week to record the song, video and feature length documentary. We’ll be recording and filming groups of 50 to 1000 people at each of 40+ locations where people will be singing “The D”, dancing, and showing their Motor City spirit however they can. Nothing like this has ever seen attempted- not just the largest number of people ever on a record, but the largest number of people as the original artist on a record. A partial list of locations participating is at the end of this email.

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Categories: Allee Live Performance, Allee's live performances, Art, Celebrity, Creative process, Creativity, Detroit, empowerment, Financial, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Music, Party, People, Self expression, September, Songwriting, Travel

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Zsa Zsa Voom!

When Sid Krofft – let’s stop and take a breath right here - Sid Krofft! of H.R. Pufinstuf and Land of the Lost and wayyyy more fame – when Sid called me two months ago and made me put Sunday, June 30, 2012 in my calendar he told me that it was a nonnegotiable-under-penalty-of-death-do-not-cancel-under-any-circumstance type of event. I trust this man enough to know that that means I should write it in my calendar in cement. Then he told me where we were going: to ZSA ZSA GABOR’S house for her husband, Prince Frederic’s birthday party!! Had I actually been writing in cement there’d be a big fat Allee Willis face print in it right now because THAT’S HOW FAST my head bobbed to my chest in ecstasy and disbelief upon hearing WHERE we were going. Besides that, Sid is one of those people who I clicked with the second we met and we always have the greatest and most comfortable time together.

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Categories: Art, Bar accessory, Celebrity, Fashion, Film, Furniture and Housewares, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Painting, Party, People, Place, Self expression, Transportation, TV/Radio

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R.I. P. Annette…

 


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Categories: Celebrity, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, People, R.I.P., TV/Radio

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DEtroit Citay! 2013

Just got back from a quickie 2-1/2 day trip to the Motor City to go to the pre-release book signing party for Heart Soul Detroit, Jenny Risher’s fantastic photo essay book coming out in March that I’m in featuring 50 iconic Detroiters. Thrill of thrills sitting next to Martha Reeves of Martha and The Vandellas, one of my all-time favorite Motown groups, as we signed our pages.


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Categories: Afro, Awards, Badeya, Baby!, Book, Celebrity, Creativity, Detroit, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Songwriting

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Get Yo Hands Offa My Psyche… My First Stand-Up EVER Comin’ Right Up!

After almost four decades the torturous vice grip on my psyche has been chiseled open so that my little stage personality, the one that once cowered in a dark corner  but whose pleas to give it a chance never stopped rattling through my brain, has finally put on some clothes and come out to play!  FINALLY all the noise can stop!!

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Categories: Allee's live performances, Celebrity, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Theater, TV/Radio

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Photos from my live show – Badeya, Baby!, Nov. 9, 2012

On November 8 and 9, 2012 I reprised BaDeYa, Baby!, my sold out one-woman-show-with-25-people-in-it at NoHoPAC in beautiful North Hollywood, CA. Just as the shows that preceded it on September 21 and 22nd, it was a salute to my very 1st hit, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, the first line of which is “Do you remember the 21st night of September?”.  All the hits, sing-alongs, dancers, games, prizes, Boogaloo Wonderland sandwiches from my hometown Detroit, not to mention the big ol’ greasy foot massages conspired to make these evenings no normal singer/songwriter fare! So enjoy the show and the next time I do this I hope you BaDeYa with me!

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Categories: Afro, Allee Willis' Ba-de-ya, Allee's live performances, Art, Badeya, Baby!, Boogie Wonderland, Celebrity, Creativity, Dance, Earth Wind & Fire, Fashion, Friends theme, Games, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Los Angeles, Mumford high school, Music, Neutron Dance, People, School, Self expression, September, Songwriting, The Color Purple, Theater, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ the Day – A zillion trillion PHOTOS from my sold out Super Ball Bounce Back Review concerts!!

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Categories: Allee Willis' Super Ball Bounce Back Review, Allee's live performances, Art, Boogie Wonderland, Celebrity, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Earth Wind & Fire, Fashion, Food, Friends theme, Games, Hair, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, LPs, Lyrics, Memorabilia, Music, Musical Instruments, Neutron Dance, Painting, Party, People, Pigmy Will, Self expression, September, Sign, Songwriting, The Color Purple, Theater, TV/Radio

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