Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Music Saves My Soul Tote, Food and Concert

To a purveyor of kitsch such as myself, spotting a 99¢ or dollar store, Dollar Tree or whatever other buck or below establishment that bases its name on that spin and carries bargain merchandise, shoots the same kind of joy and anticipation through your body as what Columbus must have felt when he spotted America. I never ever used to be interested in anything that wasn’t vintage but, especially since establishing the Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com and seeing the crap, I mean treasures, real treasures, that people have posted that were acquired at such bargain emporiums, I’ve become a ravenous beast for the contents that lay within. Some of the most popular Bingo prizes at my recent Soup to Nuts Party Mix live show, like jam and jelly room deodorizers, Malted Milk Balls lip gloss, Pen/Stylos, and flowers in a can were purchased for mere pennies compared to their actual kitsch value had they been located on slightly loftier shelves.

But far and away, my most favorite purchase last week in Riverside, CA., where I went to see Larry Dunn, founding member of the group that gave me my start, Earth, Wind & Fire, and his orchestra play in White Park, was this paper-thin metallic tote telling me just what music does:

If I had had enough time to plan I would’ve taken my new flimsy tote to one of the spots I met up with Larry and crew. But I always travel with a digi recorder, a couple pairs of glasses, two phones, an Ipad, three cameras, two Flip cams, a bottle of water, and other away-from-home essentials, all of which would have been too much for this excessively-and-thankfully- kitschtastically-cheaply-made tote to bear, and I’d rather have it in my permanent collection than in the wastebasket at the Marriott where we all were staying. That’s not to say that it wouldn’t have been the perfect accessory to complement the fine meal I had at my favorite soul food restaurant in CA., which I’ve blogged about before and where we all went to eat as soon as we checked in.

Just as Music Saves My Soul on the tote, Fried Chicken, Yams and Greens Save My Soul on the table.

When Larry told me he was performing in Riverside I told him he had to go to Gram’s. When Larry called Gram to tell him he was playing in Riverside, Gram threw a party for the band.

I put my rep on the line when I said Gram’s had the best fried chicken in the state. Larry and his fabulous wife Luisa, also in the band, completely agreed.

As a customer, it’s always a good sign when the only poster on the wall is something you wrote.

The concert was great. As always, I photographed and videoed everything as soon as my songs were played, in this case ‘September”, “Boogie Wonderland” and “In The Stone”, all of which Larry also played keyboards on on the original records. He also played them for me live at Soup To Nuts Party Mix.

So all in all, a very productive and soulful weekend was spent in Riverside. A l’il bit o’ Soul at the 99¢ store…

…a l’il bit o’ Soul food at Grams…

…and a whole lotta Soul music with the Larry Dunn Orchestra.

Which is good as I need a whole lotta Soul this week to write a write a whole lotta:

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Categories: Allee Willis' Soup To Nuts live show, Earth Wind & Fire, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Soup To Nuts Party Mix live show, The Color Purple

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – ‘Allee Willis’ Soup To Nuts Party Mix’ – LIVE SHOW!!

In 1974, Allee Willis walked off stage in the middle of her own show. Now she’s finally coming back! The Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Webby award-winning and nominated songwriter, artist, singer, technologist, collector, and party thrower comes to the El Portal Theater in beautiful North Hollywood for one night only of songs, stories, and party games. Sing-along to Willis’ greatest hits like “September”, “Boogie Wonderland”, “Neutron Dance”, “What Have I Done To Deserve This” and “I’ll Be There For You (theme from Friends)”! Win valuable prizes! Watch her as she attempts to get through the evening without walking off stage for another 37 years!

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Categories: Art, bad art, Boogie Wonderland, Bubbles the artist, Creative process, Creativity, Del Rubio Triplets, Disco, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, empowerment, Friends theme, Games, Hair, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Los Angeles, Memorabilia, Music, Outer Space, Party, Self expression, The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com, The Color Purple, Theater

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – R.I.P. Alex Steinweiss

Alex Steinweiss passed away last Sunday. Even if you don’t know his name there’s no way you don’t know his work. Steinweiss literally invented the album cover. Before the 1930′s, records came in brown paper sleeves. At 23, he was hired by Columbia Records and suggested that the music be accompanied by poster art. Thus began the singlemost prolific and influential record jacket design career the world has ever known. Not only did Steinweiss give life to the record industry but he made the burgeoning Atomic Age visible to the public, creating the first wave of freeform design that designers still ride today.

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Categories: Art, Celebrity, Creative process, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, LPs, Music, People, R.I.P., Songwriting, The Color Purple

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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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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Allee Willis Marches on Detroit! Part 10 , The Restaurants

An important part of any urban experience is where and what you choose to eat. Anyone who knows me knows that no money needs to be wasted on the fanciest or trendiest restaurants in town. I wanted to hit the institutions in Detroit that not only involved the excitement I had as a child driving to them but that have proven to be quality enough (or, preferably, kitschy enough) to live on, restaurants whose very presence defines the personality of the city. Most of my all-time favorites have long since succombed, like Dinah Inn, Jerry’s, both great steakhouses off Woodward, and my all-time favorite deli, Darby’s. Even Carl’s Chop House closed a few years ago.

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Categories: Architecture, Celebrity, Detroit, Food, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Place, The Color Purple

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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 – Allee Willis Marches on Detroit! Part 3, The House

I know… I promised that Part 3 was going to be about finally getting into the house I grew up in on Sorrento Ave. in Detroit after trying for the last 46 years. But, as someone who’s conscious of her evolution and creative process every waking moment, this finally-going-home experience was BIG for me. Also, it’s not like I can go posting detailed photos of someone else’s stuff, which is inevitable if one is photographing a room. So this isn’t so much about documenting the actual house as it is about what I felt like being back in it.

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Categories: Afro, Architecture, Creative process, Detroit, Families, House, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Songwriting, The Color Purple

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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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I’m off to Detroit today!

Here’s where I’ll be this coming weekend conducting the bows music to my musical, The Color Purple, and then on Saturday morning from 11-12:30 sharp conducting my high school marching band playing a medley of my greatest hits in the GORRRRRGEOUS lobby of the historic Fox Theatre with the cast of The Color Purple singing along.  I don’t read music (despite writing all we’re playing), and just imagine what the 60 piece Mumford marching band, 20 member pom pom squad, 25 member Color Purple cast, me and 250 attendees singing along will sound like in here… To kitsch!

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Categories: Creativity, Detroit, Families, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, School, Self expression, Songwriting, The Color Purple, Travel

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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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