Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 3D, Miami Beach & Charles Phoenix

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With 3D all the rage today many people forget that the first ubiquitous mass consumer experience with the technology was with View-Masters.  Introduced in 1962, one could view seven 3D images as they spun around on a paper disc creating lifelike reality inside the mouse hole of two eyepieces. The earliest View-Masters featured popular tourist attractions like this one of Miami Beach, where I first started buying these.

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When I was young my parents drove to Miami Beach from Detroit twice a year.

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We stayed at the Carlyle Hotel.

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I bought every Viewmaster reel of Miami Beach I could find because the Deco architecture drove me so batty. When I had my first hit record I immediately bought a house that reminded me of Miami Beach.

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A frequent visitor to my house is Charles Phoenix, one of my best friends and Kitschmaster General of vintage slide shows and books featuring insanely on-the-nose location and human examples of living wheels of brie.  The last time he came over, Charles gave me a lesson in how to bake one of his signature Cherpumples, a cake with three pies stuffed inside of it.  As soon as I get done editing the footage we shot I will post our instructional film.

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Something like the Cherpumple with M&Ms bubbling out of the pepto -bismolian-pink frosting and utensils at rest would make an excellent 3D photo if only we had the right camera.

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Yesterday, I went downtown with Prudence Fenton, Nancye Ferguson and Jim Burns and saw Charles’ first ever all 3D retro slide show.

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We learned a lot about how 3-D photography and View-Masters came into being.

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We saw a lot of families in the 50′s learning how to not only use their View-Masters but make their own 3D reels.

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Of course, you won’t be able to see anything clearly because you don’t have your 3-D glasses on. As opposed to this slide from Charles’ show featuring an attractive threesome with a very clear view of the LA freeway when it was built in 1960 standing less than 10 feet away next to oncoming traffic.

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I hope to have a clear view of the week ahead of me although it could go either way. I could feel like an outsider…

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… or I could choose to see the world in super enhanced, bigger than life 3D.

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Thank you, Charles for an excellent afternoon and thank you View-Master for putting 3-D in the palm of our hands.

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Categories: Architecture, Clothes, Creativity, Detroit, Fashion, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, People, Photograph, Place, Toy

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – The Extendable Fork and Top Chef Masters

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Last night I found myself in the middle of another food fest, this time at Ciudad, another one of Top Chef Master competitor Susan Feniger’s restaurants in LA which she owns along with co-stupendous Chef Mary Sue Milliken.  Border Grill in Santa Monica and Las Vegas is theirs too.  As long as Susan remains on Top Chef Masters there’ll be a screening of the Bravo show each week at one of her restaurants, including my beloved Street.

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Categories: Accessories, Food, Furniture and Housewares, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Place, Street, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Snack Master Tube and Real Tube

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The Snack Master, a 1-1/2″ long aluminum tube with a wooden plunger, is the vintage quintessential kitsch kitchen accessory that cuts holes in food, making teeny round, bite-size appetizers. Which means that you can turn a slice of American cheese into a slice of Swiss cheese with one simple plunge not to mention whipping up little toothpick skewers of bologna, liverwurst and other festive lunch meats to impress your friends!

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Categories: Art, Celebrity, Food, Furniture and Housewares, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Party, People, Street

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Cell Phone Flask

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As if the dangers of using a cell phone while driving aren’t pronounced enough already now we have the ubiquitous gadget coupled with driving danger #2, drinking.  Accompanied by a convenient clip-on carrying case, this was actually really well designed to pass as the real thing when it was first manufactured a few years ago.

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Categories: Accessories, Drink, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1970′s Panasonic Panapet Transistor Radio

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Although it’s all a little worn, this Panasonic Panapet 9V R-70 is one of the most popular transistor radios in history. Music boomed through it throughout the ’70s and it continues to hiss out AM reception like the day it was born. The 4″ high Panapet came in white, red, blue, yellow and green as well as a much rarer lavender and was known for having less static than other transistor radios. It fit comfortably in your palm but if you were really cool you used the handy chain to hang it on your pole lamp or doorknob.

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Categories: Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Technology, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Eva Gabor’s Fix-A-Fashion Chin Strap

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If it’s Eva Gabor it’s got to be good and this certainly lives up to all expectations! This incredibly cheaply made – one piece of elastic, two alligator clips and one plastic “decorative ring” – fashion strap “keeps your wig securely in place while your wig is being combed, brush or styled.” It looks like all you do is attach a clip to either side of your fake hair and tighten the noose around your neck by sliding the “decorative ring”. The final instruction, as if written for an idiot, is “comb or brush your wig into desired style.”

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Categories: Celebrity, Gadgets, Health & Beauty, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Products, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Flying Saucer Transistor Radio

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Although just about every transistor radio that was made since they were commercially available in 1954 through the transistorized 1960s was completely gorgeous, the rare ones that were shaped like flying saucers were my favorites. MAde in Hong Kong, this baby is rare as most though most Realtone models bore Space Age names like Galaxy and Electras they came in more traditional rectangular shapes.
Made in Hong Kong, this baby still hums like the day it was born. Turn the plastic thumbwheel and music blasts through slits on the bottom as though the soundwaves could propel this spacecraft off the kidney shaped coffee table it most likely was sitting on.

Although just about every transistor radio made in the ’50s and ’60s was completely gorgeous, the rarer ones shaped like flying saucers were my favorites. Made in Hong Kong, this Realtone is rare among the popular brands’ models that bore Space Age names like Galaxy and Electras but usually came in more traditional rectangular shapes like this:

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Categories: Accessories, Art, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – The Spork

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With as many taco trucks as I eat off of and as many meals as I eat in my car — my favorite dining room of all — the Spork, a spoon, fork and knife in one, is an one of those indispensable instruments of life that you should always have around. And just like another modern-day marvel, the Snuggie, it’s both practical and kitschy, the penultimate combination in contemporary Kitsch klassicism 
Made in Sweden by Light My Fire, the Spork is heat resistant, “Teflon ready” (whatever that means – isn’t it either Teflon or not?!) and machine washable. 
I hope to never be without my Spork.

With as many taco trucks as I eat off of and as many meals as I eat in my car, my favorite dining room of all, I can tell you that the Spork, a spoon, fork and knife in one, is one of those indispensable instruments of life that comes in handy time and time again. And just like another modern-day marvel, the Snuggie, it’s both practical and kitschy, the penultimate combination in contemporary Kitsch.

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Categories: Accessories, Creativity, Furniture and Housewares, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Products

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Outdoor Transistor Radio-Mania

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I love actual owls and ladybugs but none so much as these transistorized versions. I have entire zoos and forests of these things but these are two of my favorites – a ladybug who, when you twist her left eyeball, opens her wing to expose a still working speaker and an owl who, when you twist her right pink rhinestone eyeball, chirps the sound of AM radio as clear as the day she was hatched. I bought the owl in the early ’80s and she still works perfectly despite the fact that I’ve never changed her batteries.
The ladybug, all plastic and made in Hong Kong by Sonnet, British Design, is 5 inches long and an inch and a half tall and counting. She comes with a convenient wrist strap and two rubber antennae.
The owl, made in Japan, is 8 inches tall and fat with a plastic body and gold medal wings, eyes, legs and speaker holes in the crotch.

I love actual owls and ladybugs but none so much as these transistorized versions. I have entire zoos and forests of these things but these are two of my favorites – a ladybug who, when you twist her left eyeball, opens her wing to expose a still working speaker and an owl who, when you twist her right pink rhinestone eyeball, chirps the sound of AM radio as clear as the day she was hatched. I bought the owl in the early ’80s and she still works perfectly despite the fact that I’ve never changed her batteries.  

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Categories: Accessories, Animals, Birds, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, Nature

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch and “What Is Kitsch?” YouTube Film Festival coming today!

 

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Categories: Architecture, Art, Awards, bad art, Cheesy LPs, Creativity, Gadgets, Games, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Party, Technology

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