Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1960′s Fringe Vest Pattern

I wore my fringe vest for years. It was gold suede, just like the cheesy-haired couples’ on the bottom of this McCall’s pattern, though mine didn’t have the little turquoise beads. I think the sound of them knocking together would have driven me insane. I wore that that vest religiously from about 1970 to 73 but it got so pit stained I finally had to retire it. Suede does not take kindly to pit stains. I know I still have it sitting in a box somewhere. It was too much a part of my formative years to part with forever.

Speaking of pit stains, I’m not wearing my  fringe suede vest in this 1971 photo, when such a garment frequented my body, but I certainly am exhibiting pit stains:

I had just graduated college and got a job in the advertising apartment of Columbia and Epic Records. Although I would soon go on to become a copywriter, writing ads and commercials for all of the female and black stars on the labels, and eventually recording an album there myself, here I am as a secretary getting Johnny Cash to approve some copy my boss had written to promote his upcoming album. I remember being so upset about the pit stains when I finally got my photo developed, but it makes me love it more now.

I can’t seem to find any photos of me in my  fringe vest. But here’s one taken not long after the Cash photo where I’m wearing another vest  that displays the art of macramé, another massive trend in 60′s and 70′s fashion. This was the first and last vest I ever made. You can tell by the difference in the size of the holes that something that demanded this much precision was not my forte.

But back to fringe vests. I’ve never seen anyone wear one better than Peter Carpenter, writer, producer and star of one of my all-time favorite bad movies, “Point Of Terror”.  Just look at him work the fringe in the opening titles of his 1971 masterpiece.

Should I ever have the urge to wear a Fringe vest again I can always pull out my McCall’s pattern and pray I have better luck and skills then I exhibited with macramé. I’ve definitely learned how to control the pit stains.

 

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Categories: Clothes, Film, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – My Early Morning Drive Through Hollywood

Bleary eyed from chasing a friend’s cat through the hills above the Hollywood Bowl all night last night – finally captured I’m happy to say! – I had to get up bone-breakingly early this morning to pick up a keyboard in Hollywood. My eyes were still practically glued shut but there’s so much kitsch along the roadways in this city, I can always deal with a situation as long as I remember to bring my camera. In addition to the above mural painted underneath the 101 on Argyle, here are but a few of the gems that crossed my car and eyeballs as I made my tired trek this morning.

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Categories: Architecture, Art, Celebrity, Film, Forgot to Categorize, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Los Angeles

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O ‘ The Day – Road Trips, Kitties, The Batmobile and M&M Rice Crispies

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Last weekend, me and Snappy P, a.k.a. Prudence Fenton, jumped into the mustache van and headed up north on a cat reconisance mission after AWMOK‘s own (human) windupkitty sent an email blast from Palo Alto about a very special (feline) kitty in need of adoption. Normally I try not to read these things as I already have a fairly dysfunctional fur family running around Willis Wonderland, but this time, also-AWMOK’s own Snappy P in Los Angeles had been looking for a very special cat who embodied the spirit of her recently departed tripod puss, Harpo, and windupkitty’s description that the kitty in need of a home had an extra wide head, gigundo paws and a few other physical and mental quirks put him squarely in Harpo territory. So off we rolled up the 5 in search of the perfect cat.

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Categories: Animals, Film, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Transportation, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – No Credit Scarlett Johansson “Bath Towel”

Unmistakably Scarlett Johansson yet no mention of Scarlett anywhere and therefore no royalties for starlet Scarlett. Also, according to the name of the product, unmistakendly a bath towel, yet no towel in sight.

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Categories: Bad translations, Bathroom, Celebrity, Film, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 007 Rubber Bands

No mention of James Bond, no mention of Sean Connery, no mention of anything other than the fact that these are 007 Superior Quality Rubber Bands. All of which means the only thing secret agent about this is the bootleg nature of the product.

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Categories: Celebrity, Film, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Toy

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Dinah-Mite and the Dyn-O-Miteness of Jenifer Lewis

I love things that are ‘off’ but born of popular trends and then spin off into their own orbit, making a firm landing on the terra firma of Pop Culture themselves. In the early 1970′s, Mego Toys, the po’ cousin of popular doll brands like Barbie, did just that, popping out one cheaply made, shabbily dressed femme fatale after another.

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Categories: Afro, Celebrity, Fashion, Film, Friends theme, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Self expression, Songwriting, The Color Purple

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Seriously Ugly Coffee Mug from Dyersville, Iowa

I’m not sure what goes on in Dyersville, Iowa but I sure hope it’s not a factory that specializes in turning out coffee mugs as this is one of the most seriously ugly ones I’ve ever seen. And, trust me, as a purveyor of kitsch I’ve seen a lot of them. If this is truly “Where Dreams Come True”, I hope that at least one Dyersville citizen is dreaming about a new coffee mug design.

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Categories: Advertising/ Promotion, Drink, Film, Furniture and Housewares, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Travel souvenir

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Allee Willis’ Folks O’ The Day – Friends Over The Holidaze

I have a lot of friends. I love my friends. I even wrote the theme song. As I usually work as far as the hands on the clock stretch, I mostly see my friends at parties, which is where most of them see each other too.  The seven-day stretch between Christmas and New Year’s is always fun as it’s chocked full of some of the best of them. And for the last umpteen years, the same two friends throw a New Years Eve and New Years Day party respectively, taking the pressure out of the holidays as along with sugar cookies and cheese balls I know what and, most importantly, who to expect:

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Categories: Film, Holidays, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Party, People, TV/Radio

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My Song Sung to Oprah on The Kennedy Center Honors TONIGHT, Tues., Dec. 28!

Sorry this is so last-minute (not as sorry as I am for that crazy smile on my face) but if you have a chance to catch or TiVo The Kennedy Center Honors tonight, Jennifer Hudson is singing my song, “I’m Here”, to Oprah when she gets her honor. The Kennedy Center Honors are on CBS, I think at 9 pm. I’m told it’s toward the beginning of the show but with this said, you never know how things are going to be edited and whether the song is going to be there or not. But I have a lot of friends who were there and said it’s fantastic. Of course, it’s a great honor to know that “I’m Here” is part of such an honor for Oprah!

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Categories: Afro, Awards, Celebrity, Creativity, empowerment, Film, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Music, People, Songwriting, The Color Purple, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Cher Perfume and Burlesque, A Very Bland Thanksgiving Turkey!

Unfortunately, my bottle of Cher perfume, given to me as a birthday present one year by Elvira, is long empty. Just like Burlesque, the film that opened this week that Cher and her once great face that no longer moves stars in. But in the case of Burlesque, I wasn’t expecting emptiness so much as a big fat Thanksgiving turkey gloriously stuffed with kitsch. I’d been whetting my lips for a year and a half since the insanely done-to-death-27,000-times-over storyline was revealed to me when I, along with God knows how many other songwriters, was asked to submit a song for the film. My co-writer dropped the ball and never handed in any of the three we did  - I’ve yet to even hear a mix…..Earth to Steve…..but often when my songs haven’t made it into a film it saved me from being stuffed into too many cinematic turkeys. Unless, of course, you count Howard The Duck, which I co-wrote five songs for with Thomas Dolby. But that was just about writing with Dolby and George Clinton as, despite being excited about being in a George Lucas produced film, I knew it was headed for the turkey farm my first time on the set when Howard, a little person stuffed into a costume that looked like a pillowcase with feathers glued on, ran in.

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Categories: Awards, bad art, Celebrity, Consumer Alert!, Film, Health & Beauty, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music

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