BaDeYa, Detroit! – Allee LIVE in The D, FINALLY……

For the past few few years now on the “BaDeYa, say do you remember 21st night of September”, my blessed and magic day because it’s the first line in the first hit record I ever had, I’ve made a tradition of performing live, something that took me over three decades to get together. Other than last year when I was in Detroit conducting one of the 50 sing-alongs for ”The D”, the unofficial official theme song I cowrote for Detroit, in a laundromat with people essentially spinning around in dryers while singing.

As luck would have it, THIS year was a particularly special September 21st as just a couple days earlier NPR did a story on why “September”, co-written with Maurice White and Al McKay, remains such a timeless song, symbolizing warmth, love, and soul.

This year September 21 was even more special because I decided to perform live for the very first time EVER in Detroit, my beloved hometown for whom I’ve (unofficially) been slaving away on a project, “The D”, a record and multiple music videos, and Allee Willis Loves Detroit, a feature length film, for the last 2 1/2 years. As such, my co-writer and partner on the music portion of the project, Andrae Alexander, and I put together a 15 piece band made up of the very best musicians and singers we found during the 50 D sing-alongs we led last year to perform live with us in the show, BaDeYa, Detroit!.

We also wanted to give everyone a preview of the song which finally has a preliminary mix after over a solid year of trying to deal with 5000 vocal and instrument  tracks, each one with up to hundreds of voices on them. There’s just so much room in the sound spectrum and every inch of it we have taken up truly sounds like something you have never heard before. We also gave the audience a sneak peak at the beginnings of the first of many music videos to follow.  (Sorry – no preview here; only a few shots so you can see it ain’t no normal thang and to insure that you get the full punch once the first video’s actually delivered.)

For an artist such as myself who dotes on every detail of a stage production from designing the invitations to handmaking the set, picking theme food, designing the merchandise, casting people who help us like I’m casting characters in a musical, shipping 20 crates of everything to Detroit, directing, co-producing, and doing just about everything else involved in a production – albeit all with fantastic collaborators – this was no easy feat. And performing out of town for essentially the first time in my adult life makes that even harder. But don’t even ask me how worth it it was!!! Easily one of the best days/nights of my life was this “21st (almost) night of September”!

We performed at United Sound, a still-in-existence historic recording studio in Detroit where everyone from Charlie Parker to The Rolling Stones and some of my all-time favorite records like Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft”, The Dramatics’ “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get”, and Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” were recorded.

But to turn a brilliant recording studio into a brilliant performance space is another issue entirely, especially when it involves things like sets, choreographed videographers who leap over drums on crash cymbal cues and organ sweeps, and all the other madness that goes into an Allee Willis production..

Of this now 2 1/2 year Detroit gargantuan mofo project,  “The D” and Allee Willis Willis Loves Detroit, the feature-length film about human spirit as seen through the people of Detroit and how my life, a constant conscious battle to keep my own spirit going, parallels that struggle, 99% of it has been funded by me. (Put some gas money here please.) So this meant getting people involved in BaDeYa, Detroit! working for gratis. Which they thankfully, gratefully, and miraculously did. From the band to just about everyone else who worked in any capacity on the show. They are saints. They are insanely talented. They are blissfully soulful, and primary examples of why I feel so compelled to make a film about the people of Detroit and how it is THEY who will rebuild the city because of their resilient spirit.

I want to give a special shout out to Malcolm Haris and Donnevan Tolbert, two young gentleman I saw play Mister and Harpo when their high school, Cass Tech, became the first in the country to license the musical I cowrote, The Color Purple, a couple years ago, and who did a brilliant spoken word intro to my show.

And I want to thank the five brilliant dancers from The Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit, one of the two beneficiaries of all profits from my Detroit efforts, who donned mechanics uniforms and spun car tires over their heads during the sneak peak world premiere of the first mix of “The D” and boogied their butts off during my second hit,  “Boogie Wonderland”.

I want to also thank the stupendous audience not only for showing up, as songwriters remain the buried treasure of the music industry, but also for participating so wildly so that the show came off just as I had prayed it would. Like a party in my living room. And if you don’t know my reputation for throwing parties you better go here now.

As a result of having so much fun not to mention hitting a new plateau in my budding performing career, I love Detroit even more than I have kvelled about it before, as if that was even possible. And I will eternally love the 21st of September for doing everything from giving me a second birthday because every year since I wrote it I hear from thousands of people that day telling me how happy the song makes them feel. This year it made me the happiest of all.

I hope you can see the spirit that was jumping off of the stage and ricocheting back to us in all the above photos as well as all of these. That room was an automatic power generator and from what I’ve heard everyone, certainly including me, is still buzzing. So BaDeYa Detroit!

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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Afro, Allee Live Performance, Allee Willis Loves Detroit, Allee Willis' Ba-de-ya, Allee's live performances, Art, Badeya, Baby!, Boogie Wonderland, Celebrity, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Detroit, Disco, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, empowerment, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Neutron Dance, Party, People, Self expression, September, Songwriting, Standup, Theater

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Allee Willis’ Soul O’ the Day – Finally, VIDEOS From My Live “Super Ball Bounce Back Review”!!


On May 8 and 9, 2012, I took a giant leap in my evolution and broke through an almost 4 decades-long bout of stage fright, performing two sold-out performances of my Super Ball Bounce Back Review, a combo concert/sing-along/party extravaganza at King King in Hollywood.

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Categories: Afro, Allee Willis' Super Ball Bounce Back Review, Allee's live performances, Animation, Art, Boogie Wonderland, Bubbles the artist, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Disco, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Friends theme, Games, Hollywood, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Music, Neutron Dance, Party, People, Pigmy Will, Self expression, September, Songwriting, The Color Purple, Theater, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – My “Super Ball Bounce Back Review” Is the Biggest Bounce I Ever Had!!

Ideally I would’ve had a shitload of photos and videos to post already after my – I’m not too proud to say – sold out SMASH shows at King King in Hollywood this past Tuesday and Wednesday nights. But, alas, as I’m everything from the star of the show to co-producer, co-director, set designer, maker of all souvenirs and handouts, MC and anything else that’s involved in putting the show together, just getting everything unpacked and trying to make up for the total 6 hours sleep I got in the last week means I won’t get any serious documentation up before next week or so. But here are a couple videos that my assistant Dina, on stage with me at all times, shot on my little Canon Elf.  I only have them up on Facebook so hopefully you can see them there by clicking below. Didn’t want to put anything up on YouTube yet as I want to wait until I have the real footage. SO way way wayyyyy more coming in weeks to come, with at least photos hopefully by Tuesday.

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Categories: Allee Willis' Super Ball Bounce Back Review, Allee's live performances, Boogie Wonderland, Creativity, Dance, Disco, Earth Wind & Fire, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Self expression, September, Songwriting, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Dinner And Neutron Dancing With CHARO!

I’m sure any kitsch lover has a similar dream – having dinner with the kitschy-kitschy-cuchi Charo and bonding like you have been best friends for 30 years. Such was my evening at composer Pietor Angell’s pad with the aforementioned singer, actress, Flamenco guitar virtuoso, CHARO!

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Categories: Celebrity, Dance, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Neutron Dance, Songwriting, video

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – FINALLY: Soup To Nutty!

I meant to start posting my thoughts about my Soup To Nuts Party Mix show, my first live performance in 37 years at the El Portal Theater last Tuesday night, the day after the show but I could barely pick up a stylus to write let alone move my mouth in any detectible syllabic pattern because I was so tired and overwhelmed. I’m racing to get photos up, a fun yet gruesome task as there are literally thousands of them to go through. Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll have them organized enough to post. In the meantime, let me tell you about this cruise on the Love Boat that mutated into the Titanic yet somehow still ended up at Fantasy Island…

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Categories: Allee Willis' Soup To Nuts live show, Art, bad art, Boogie Wonderland, Celebrity, Creative process, Creativity, Disco, Earth Wind & Fire, Friends theme, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Music, Neutron Dance, Self expression, September, Songwriting, Soup To Nuts Party Mix live show

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – She’s even better at “Boogie Wonderland”!

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A couple of weeks ago I featured the world’s happiest gal dancing to my song “Neutron Dance”. Now, the Krown Princess of Kitsch Khoreography turns her attention to the sweeping horns and strings and theatrical chorus melody of another one of my most danced-to songs. Black leather against backlit drapes encourages an even more dramatic performance, made exceptionally special by how the dancer’s mouth moves aggressively though rarely quite mouthing the words. Other favorite aspects of the performance are the freeze poses and excellent recovery from a stumble in the first chorus. The moves in the instrumental are especially impressive. Kudos from the author to this Neutron Dancer in Boogie Wonderland!

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Categories: Boogie Wonderland, Dance, Disco, Earth Wind & Fire, empowerment, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Neutron Dance, People, Self expression

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Definitive Boogie Wonderland

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In what could easily turn into Kitsch O’ The Day’s Musical Monday because of all the insane versions of my songs on YouTube, this one by Pink Lady, a Japanese duo who had a short-lived but utterly fantastic cheese wheel of Kitsch tv show in the 1980′s, is way near the top of the heap.  The Oriental opening, bad lip-synching of the pink person on the right,  cheesy choreography, clear fascination with American dancers, glitzy costumes, dorky synth patches, bombastic arrangement and cheap set all add up to musical heaven in Boogie Wonderland.

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Categories: bad art, Boogie Wonderland, Dance, Disco, Earth Wind & Fire, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Songwriting

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Boogie Wonderland In The White House tonight

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I know you are all watching the Oscars tonight but you weren’t invited to the White House anyway so no conflict.

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Categories: Afro, Boogie Wonderland, Earth Wind & Fire, Kitsch, Music, Party, Songwriting

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Being Boogie Wonderland

When I co-wrote the song “Boogie Wonderland” in 1978 every other record that came out had the word “boogie” in it to capitalize on the Disco craze that had wrapped itself around the world tighter than a spandex miniskirt. I spent hours with Jon Lind, eventual writer of such hits as Madonna’s “Crazy” and Vanessa Williams’ “Save The Best For Last”, discussing how we could use the word “boogie” in a song without using it as a synonym for ‘dance’ as trillions of composers before us already had.

I had just seen the movie “Looking For Mr. Goodbar” in which Diane Keaton goes to the disco every night, picks up men and brings them home, eventually stumbling on a serial killer. The state of mind of a club-goer who gyrates their brains out on a dance floor, escaping for a precious few hours their otherwise dysfunctional life is the state of mind that to us was Boogie Wonderland, a wondrous and temporary headspace where all is well and life is bouncing to a happy beat until the record ends and life deflates back into its more depressed state.

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Categories: Boogie Wonderland, Creative process, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Lyrics, Music, Songwriting

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