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 – ‘Can Ya Dig It’ Patch

Other then “Right on!”, there was no more popular phrase in the late 60′s and early 70′s than “Can Ya Dig It?”. Though this patch is missing the ‘?’, which makes it as kitsch as it was hip back in the day. Of course, sewing patches all over your clothes was never excessively hip but here are a couple other ones you may have sewn over holes in your bellbottoms were you of the mind:

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Categories: Afro, Detroit, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, video

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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 – Watch my new song: “Scared About Life Without Oprah”

My friend and hysterical TV comedy writer, Maxine Lapiduss, has done a brill job on the just-released-and-going-exceptionally-strong video for a song I co-wrote with her, Mark Waldrop, with whom Maxx started the lyric, and Michael Orland, musical director and accompanist for American Idol, good friend, and neighbor of mine who came over with Maxx and with whom we banged out the music in a few hours.

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Categories: Afro, Creativity, Discography, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Sports, The Color Purple, video

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From Allee on the road…

As much as I look forward to rolling out of bed every morning and choosing a fresh, new and wonderful artifact of kitsch to present, today is an absolutely torturous day in terms of what I have to accomplish. First of all, I’m driving back to LA from Monterey. It’s supposed to rain like cats and very large dogs most of the way back so I have to get an early start. Also, I have to write tons of the kind of stuff I hate to write because I’ve got to unleash a whole Facebook campaign on a death-defying event I’m attempting to pull off in 2 1/2 weeks in Detroit when I conduct my high school band in the theater I grew up in playing a medley of my greatest hits before a performance of my musical, The Color Purple, with the cast singing along. This should sound like a manageable event, but just imagine the sound of a marching band playing in the four-story high/almost block long lobby of a theater built in 1930 of solid concrete and marble, the acoustical nightmare of which has just dawned on me: What’s the point of having a sing-along if all you can hear is a bevy of brass drilling through your your eardrums?

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Categories: Art, bad art, Clothes, Creative process, Creativity, Detroit, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Music, Musical Instruments, Party, School, Self expression, Songwriting, The Color Purple, Travel, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Detroit Zoo Hat and My Homegirl, Lily Tomlin

When I grew up in Detroit I went to the zoo on 10 Mile and Woodward at least a couple times a year. Although I got this particular chapeau on Ebay, I’m certain I had one exactly like it as I never went there without something separating me from the sun. I was quite fond of theme hats as a kid.

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Categories: Animals, Celebrity, Detroit, Drink, Food, Hats, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Music, Musical Instruments, Place, Songwriting, Street, Travel, video

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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 – A Real Brady In The Bunch

As a collector of kitsch for decades now with a particular love for popular television shows, there’s nothing better than having the real thing who made the real thing in your presence. Such was the case when Susan Olsen, a.k.a. Cindy Brady, the youngest, cutest, blondest Brady in the Bunch, walked into Willis Wonderland last Friday afternoon. And she came bearing one of her signature Christmas cakes, which is how we came to know each other in the first place as she posted her kulinary kitsch koncoction in The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch over Christmas.

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Categories: Book, Celebrity, Dance, Drink, Food, Hollywood, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, TV/Radio, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Happy Fake Jan Day!! Celebrate With A Wonderful Cheese Ball!

We are blessed here at The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com to have an actual Brady in our Bunch and, as such, “Fake Jan Day” is now one of our National Kitsch Holidays! If you don’t know what “Fake Jan Day” is, Cindy Brady will explain it to you here.

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Categories: Celebrity, Food, Holidays, Hollywood, Kitchen, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Recipes, Sculpture, TV/Radio, video

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Allee Willis’ Soul O’ The Day – I’m Here and so is Oprah, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia and LaChanze

Last night on the Kennedy Center Honors on CBS Oprah Winfrey was the first one to receive her award. Not only did my song,“I’m Here”, co-written with Brenda Russell and Stephen Bray, from my musical, The Color Purple, get played during the montage of Oprah’s life but it was then sung to her live by Jennifer Hudson, backed by the choir at Oprah’s alma mater, Tennessee State University.

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Categories: Afro, Awards, Celebrity, Creativity, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, The Color Purple, video

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