“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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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Getting To Kenosha and Beyond

LAX last Friday morning, with people leaving for 4th of July, was like D-Day at the stockyards. My whole morning had been like that. Snappy P and I were flying to Chicago to go to friends’ wedding in Kenosha, WI. We figured we’d beat the holiday traffic and take an early flight, but by 7am. the pigs were chomping full force at the trough. I’ve never traveled on prime getaway day for  a holiday before in my life and now I know why.

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Categories: Architecture, Consumer Alert!, Food, Hair, Holidays, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, People, Sign, Technology, Transportation, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – “Why Yes Fly Me”… On My Way To SXSW!

This 18 inch tall plaster stewardess is a stone cold vestige of the late 1960′s spirit of flying, when both planes and the people that manned them became more then silver tubes and dark blue head-to-toe wardrobe, finally giving passengers something to look at both inside and out of the plane.

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Categories: Dolls, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Sculpture, Songwriting, Technology, Transportation, Travel

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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 Zenith Pedistal Clock Radio

I love this 1950/60s clock radio so much because it looks exactly like can openers of that same vintage did. I kept it in my kitchen for years, and with as much cooking as I did often held a tuna fish can up to it looking for what I hit to make it open. I always pressed this red button expecting some magic magnetized arm to pop out.

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

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Mr. T A-Team Transistor Radio

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I was never into The A-Team when it came out in the 1980′s. But lately, as I flip through channels in the wee hours of the morning trying to find something to fall asleep to, I’ve gotten completely obsessed with the reruns on Centric. I love all the low camera angles as truck tires screech by and slam dirt into the camera and explosions blow up right in your face. The direction has a clear POV and things that hover near the ground get as many close-ups as the actors do. And, of course, there’s always Mr. T, whose memorabilia I’ve slowly but surely collected over the years – banks, gold chain bubblegum, coloring books, puffy stickers, lunchboxes, air fresheners, and this Mr. T radio I recently received as a gift.

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Categories: Afro, Celebrity, Forgot to Categorize, Gadgets, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Technology, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Coleco “Quiz Wiz” Computer Answer Game and 42,000 Terabytes Later…

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Most people have a laptop or desktop computer and, if they’re lucky, a few terabytes of storage. I have 42,000 terabytes, the ever-growing result of owning one of the first networked houses in LA and being terminally digital dependent. I put the network in in 1991 when I connected all of my then three Macs and got online. This was still in the day when 97% of  the world’s population and 99.9% of the entertainment industry either never heard of the Internet or thought it was the dorkiest medium possible and would “never catch on”.  But I was clear that for me it was the road to ultimate self-expression, a way out of  being under the thumb of media conglomerates who controlled when and how I could express myself via my career. I was always a vociferous documenter and archivist so once that network went in my house it grew by leaps and bounds to this very day when my “laptop” looks like this:

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Categories: Gadgets, Games, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Technology

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – CBer’s Prayer Plaque and On The Road To Work With Pomplamoose

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As I cruise along the 5 and 101 freeways up north to finish three videoSongs with Pomplamoose, my trusty CBer’s Prayer Plaque is in place on the dash. Before modern technology, the CB radio leading the way in multi-vehicle communication, my  traveling life was hell. I never actually had a CB but I did marvel at how trucks could warn each other of impending Smokies or fabulous truck stops with Blue Plate Specials. Now that I have a cell phone, well, several cell phones, an Ipad and my laptop that I plug into the cigarette lighter I’m much more inclined to travel because I can stay connected. I never really had a desire to leave my life behind and now I don’t have to.

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Categories: Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Sign, Technology, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – You Are What You Drive

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I’ve long said that everything about and around a person is a vehicle for self-expression. I mean the way you dress, how you decorate your living space, your hair, the plaster frog family on your front lawn, everything in your personal, physical and virtual environments is a canvas on and through which you show the world who you are. The driveway at The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com is packed with cars, campers and trucks that scream the personality of the person behind the wheel. Here are but a few examples of some such “I Am” vehicles.  Click any of them for more info.

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Categories: Advertising/ Promotion, empowerment, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Sculpture, Self expression, Technology

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Music Muffs Radio Headphones

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Without question, these are by far my favorites of the 50 or 60 pairs of headphones that I own. Although of no use whatsoever in my recording studio as their sole purpose is to wear them to listen to the radio they still are the best looking set of phones I’ve ever seen.headphones-music-muffs_6724

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

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