“The D” update: Computer Hell/Detroit Heaven!

I know. It’s been pathetically long since my last update. This is not due to inactivity! We’ve been having 12 hour days here at Willis Wonderland since January and STILL haven’t quite gotten through all the footage and recording tracks, close to 3000 hours and 5000 tracks respectively, for ”The D” record and multiple music videos, and Allee Willis Loves Detroit our feature-length hybrid documentary.  Not that this has been driving us crazy or to drink.


There are a lot of D deputies in the way of engineers, editors, and assorted characters here every day:

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I know it might seem like we do a lot of lying around but this rarely occurs unless eyeballs start rolling in the back of our heads after working 16 straight hours looking at 743 takes of various groups singing the same line. Two of these folks in the above photo are gone already. We hate to lose them, well one of them at least, but when one is paying such a high salary, as close to zero dollars as humanly possible due to our expansive budget known as my pocket, these things are inevitable.

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Challenges have abounded. Like having to replace my hundred terabyte server in the middle of editing and mixing so that master files are scattered around on a trillion different drives and computers as opposed to one central location while the switchover happens. So this includes helpful things like servers constantly going down or computers not being able to talk to each other, watching files getting eaten up before your eyes, overwriting files, and all the other joys that come with working in a part-time dysfunctional digital environment.
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And then there was the hideous discovery that due to brain slippage of a certain IT person (no longer) working here nothing had been backed up since February and we lost at least a month’s worth of footage of us figuring out how to jam thousands of voices and instruments into one record so everyone’s heard. Not to mention the fits of hysteria incurred after looking at blurry key footage and figuring out how to work around it. This had me in a such a comatose state I had to shoot Vernor’s, Detroit’s beverage of choice, into my veins to keep me from slipping into a coma.
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But the trauma has always been tamed by the joy of working on such a unique projectSometimes we have even have FRIENDS drop in to bring us matzoh ball soup, cupcakes, and other modes of sustenance to remind us we have a life on the outside.

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And now traveling for “The D” crew kicks up again. I will be spending one week out of each of the next four months in the Motor City, this month to attend my 107th high school reunion!
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Then I return two weeks later in August to give a speech on Creativity And Detroit at the Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey, four hours from the city and where my parents bought their very first first house. Then I’m elated to report that on September 21 (yes, the “BaDeYa, say do you remember” 21st of September!) I will be performing LIVE in Detroit at the historic United Sound, the recording studio where the very first Motown records were made and still a vital part of Detroit music history. And then again at the end of October when the musical I co-wrote, The Color Purple, comes back to the D for the fourth time, this time starring Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday, who I wrote for many a year ago and haven’t seen since, making for a Dream D reunion! All these extravaganzas will be filmed and recorded for “The D” and Allee Willis Loves Detroit.

So as we cut and paste, chop, mix, curse, cry, hug and exhibit all the various kinds of behavior that come with undertaking a task of this girth I thank all of you who have donated or contributed your services thus far.
It’s not too late to donate!! We will do you proud!

 

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Categories: "The D", Allee Live Performance, Allee Willis Loves Detroit, Allee's live performances, Art, Creative process, Creativity, Detroit, empowerment, Financial, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Self expression, Technology, Travel, video

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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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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Allee Willis Marches on Detroit! Part 9, The City By Car

Wednesday, April 6, had tremendous potential. (L-R) Mark Blackwell and Laura Grover, both of whom worked on putting the whole Detroit extravaganza together with me, and I were being driven around the city by Michael Poris, one of the architects leading the charge to rebuild Detroit. The Majestic Theater is one of his projects.

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Categories: Architecture, Creativity, Detroit, Earth Wind & Fire, empowerment, Financial, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Place, School, Sculpture, Self expression, Sign, Songwriting, The Color Purple, Transportation, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Income Tax Day and a Mr T. Bank

I pity the fool who doesn’t dig all the way down into his/her pockets on this, the most dreaded of days, Income Tax Day, and cough up what little is left in the coffers. Don’t get me started on this topic, how none of the greedy, disgusting suits have been prosecuted for turning the world upside down, leaving the rest of us to walk around with this same bewildered Mr. T look on our faces as the calendar strikes 4/15, or as it is this year, 17.

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Categories: Celebrity, Financial, Hair, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Toy, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis Marches on Detroit! – A Benefit for Mumford High School

Next week I’m going back to my home town, Detroit, to conduct my high school marching band playing a medley of my greatest hits in the lobby of the theater I grew up in before a performance of my musical, The Color Purple, with the cast leading a sing-along.  It’s a fundraiser to buy new uniforms for the Mumford marching band because with over 40 kids in the band, some of them are still marching around in threads from when I were there.  Although I never made marching band as I never learned to play an instrument. I never learned how to read music either which should make my conducting this event most interesting to say the least!

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Categories: Detroit, empowerment, Financial, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, School, Self expression, The Color Purple

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Paging Dr. Casey!! I’m having knee surgery today…

Today I’m having surgery to repair a torn meniscus in my left knee. The operation, a relatively quick outpatient job, was supposed to occur on my right knee but after putting the surgery off for over a year and a half I favored the good leg so much that literally the day I finally scheduled the invasion the good knee went eeewwwrrripppp!!! and snapped just like the other one.  Calling Dr. Casey!!!

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Categories: Accessories, Celebrity, Financial, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Medical, TV/Radio, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Mr. Peanut Bank And Friends

Although I’m not a massive fan of actual peanuts, I’ve always loved classic 1950′s plastic Mr. Peanut memorabilia. I love how the plastic glows with depth from the richness of the classic 50′s colors he came in, in this case perfect baby blue.

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Categories: Brands, Drink, Financial, Food, Furniture and Housewares, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Toy

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Gold Bell Gift Stamps

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Were it not for Gold Bell Gift Stamps I never would’ve had a new blanket or clock radio to go off to college with. I’m not sure where these stamps  were given out in Detroit, where I grew up,  but it had to have been an A&P or Kroger’s as that’s where my mom always did her shopping. I loved licking and pasting in all the stamps she brought home and I collected those books like they were diamonds knowing that I could cash them in on the items of my choice.

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Categories: Book, Brands, Detroit, Financial, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Toast Wallet

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This 100% genuine  piece of plastic toast wallet looks just like the real thing right down to the butter starting to melt into the cushiony fake leather wonderfulness of it all. It feels like  a big marshmallow in your hands and makes pulling out endless streams of cash a slightly more pleasant procedure.

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Categories: Accessories, Fashion, Financial, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Giant Penny

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As you can tell from the photo, this “Lucky Penny” souvenir of Los Angeles is substantially larger than the real thing. It’s also so incredibly heavy that I suspect if I melted down it could pay for someone’s college education.   Although it’s dated 1920 it was made in the 1960′s. I’m not quite sure what the tie in was between a penny and Los Angeles but I’ve always felt incredibly lucky to live in LA so I maybe it’s just as simple as that.

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Categories: Financial, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Los Angeles, Travel souvenir

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