Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Richard Simmons!

I was going to feature my Richard Simmons towel as my kitsch offering of the day:

But I decided to feature the real thing instead because of how far we go back.

I met Richard Simmons in 1981 when he first decided he wanted to cut a record. Bruce Roberts and myself wrote and co-produced  the entire Reach album. We worked on it with Richard for almost a year. With Richard singing lead and calling out exercise commands, it was filled with real pop songs and the hottest studio musicians and background singers around.

I just found this on youtube.  I don’t know who posted it and it sounds like it was transferred inside a muffler, but it’s the first 2 and 1/2 songs on Side 1. Bear in mind that this was done in the midst of the very first wave of aerobic/Jazzercise/Jane Fonda exercise-mania.

I’m even on the album cover:

Let’s take a closer look at that:

That was probably the last time I ever went to an exercise class, other then when I met Richard at his studio, Slimmons, this last Saturday. I can’t say I was in sweats or that I even sweat at all. In fact, I went to meet him for lunch. But I answered a lot of e-mail and got a little writing done on my iPad as literally hundreds of folks who came to his Saturday morning workout class huffed and puffed and did the sweating around me.

In actuality, I did use my towel to wipe some sweat from my brow because it was hot in LA this weekend and there was no air-conditioning in class. I know that’s the way people do it if they’re serious about exercising or yoga or anything else where it’s good that your natural goodness pours out of you. But I, on the other hand, am the type who would rather have an air-conditioning chip installed in their body if such things were yet invented.

I know my outfit isn’t as pretty as Richard’s and I’m not as slim. If only I could shed as many pounds as I have great memories. But the memories and friendships keep me stuffed with joy and that’s what life (if not exercise) is all about.

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Categories: Celebrity, Creativity, Discography, Fashion, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Jukebox Tip Tray and My First Time Singing On Stage In Mannnnny Years…..

Mere days after my first and only album, Childstar, was released on Epic Records in 1974, I walked on stage in front of 10,000 people to open in Boston for folksinger David Bromberg.

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Categories: Accessories, Afro, Art, Boogie Wonderland, Creative process, Creativity, Disco, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, empowerment, Fashion, Friends theme, Games, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Music, Neutron Dance, Party, School, Self expression, September, Songwriting

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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.

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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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Oops, I thought I’d be back in action….

My intentions were good. I was gonna wake up and spring back into action as I haven’t blogged regularly in over a week but my body still feels like it’s broken into 13 million pieces and I need a recuperation day from one of the greatest weeks in my life in Detroit that included giving a speech about the rejuvenation of the city, conducting my beloved Mumford high school marching band playing a medley of some of my greatest hits and, for the first time since my musical, The Color Purple, opened five years ago, conducting part of the show. My spirits are HIGH, like being powered by a hemi engine, but I need time to decompress, not to mention unpack my seven suitcases, go through the thousands of photos that were taken, begin transferring the close to 75 videotapes that were amassed, and somehow attempt to get back to my everyday life of music and mayhem in Los Angeles. So give me 24 and I hope to be back with something soon…

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Categories: Afro, Creativity, Detroit, Discography, empowerment, Forgot to Categorize, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Music, School, Self expression, Songwriting, The Color Purple

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Watch my new song: “Scared About Life Without Oprah”

My friend and hysterical TV comedy writer, Maxine Lapiduss, has done a brill job on the just-released-and-going-exceptionally-strong video for a song I co-wrote with her, Mark Waldrop, with whom Maxx started the lyric, and Michael Orland, musical director and accompanist for American Idol, good friend, and neighbor of mine who came over with Maxx and with whom we banged out the music in a few hours.

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Categories: Afro, Creativity, Discography, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Sports, The Color Purple, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – If You’re Heading To SXSW….

…come see me and my latest piece of technology, this 1960′s wrist transisitor radio, on the “Indie Success: Caching in on Collaboration” panel, Tuesday March 15, 11:00AM at the Hilton, Salon C, 500 East 4th Street. Here’s what me and my wrist accessory will be talking about:

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Categories: Art, Brands, Creative process, Creativity, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Educational, Friends theme, Interactivity, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Self expression, Silicon Valley, Social networks, Songwriting, Technology, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Vintage Harlem Nightclub Shaker and My Weekend at Vitello’s

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not an avid club-goer. It used to be that I wanted to hear every detail of a record under headphones and didn’t want anyone standing up in front of me or humming along next to me when I went to hear someone sing. But now that MP3s and YouTube have become ubiquitous with fidelity crushed down to the size of an ant I don’t care as much about such things. So this weekend I hit one club for two acts. My only regret is that I didn’t bring my vintage noisemaker shakers along to rattle in front of my talented friends who were up on stage.

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Categories: Afro, Creativity, Discography, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Musical Instruments, People, Place, Songwriting

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – UW Marching Band Conductor and One Of The Best Days Of My Life-Part 2

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I LOVVVVED conducting! I hope that’s evident in this clip. I’m grateful I got the footage I did though I’d planned to have at least five times as much of it to edit from. But as the journey below illustrates, the path was a little more crooked than I’d anticipated though well worth every swing of the drumstick!

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Categories: Creative process, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Fashion, Friends theme, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Place, Self expression, September, Songwriting, video

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Allee Willis’ “The 365 Days Of September” – Day 1, September 21, 2010

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People always ask me what my favorite song I’ve written is. I hate to favor any of the babies but pound for pound I’d have to shout “September”!  I think it’s an eternally uplifting song. It makes people HAPPY, not just with a capital H but ALL CAPS!! I write a lot of happy songs but even perennial foot tappers like “Neutron Dance” and “Boogie Wonderland” don’t inspire the immediate mood shift that “September” does. I’ve never been in a room where people’s toes didn’t start tapping or heads start bobbing as soon as it comes on. I’ve never been to a Bar Mitzvah or wedding where it wasn’t played, including Beyonce and Jay-Z’s, where I wasn’t but learned from US Weekly that that’s what they danced their first dance to. And they didn’t even get married in September.

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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Forgot to Categorize, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, LPs, Lyrics, Music, September, Songwriting, 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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