“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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Leg One of “The D” Over and Out!

Got back to LA from leg #1 of “The D”, my song/video/documentary tribute to the SOUL of Detroit, last week sick as a dog, happy as a clam, and just now rising from the dead to finally write this update. After a year and a half of ups and downs including times I didn’t even know if we were going to make it to Detroit I can honestly say these were among the all-time greatest three weeks of my life! And an exceedingly auspicious debut for “The D”.

Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Choir:

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Categories: Allee Live Performance, Allee's live performances, Art, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Detroit, Discography, empowerment, Fashion, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Party, People, Place, School, Self expression, Songwriting, Travel

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EYE on Detroit! $$ in da Bank!

It’s no secret to anyone within miles of  my mouth that constantly babbles on about it that I love my hometown of Detroit, the city that gets more bad raps than an unpopular war, deadly criminals, and oil spills put together. If one had unprejudiced EYEballs to look through they would see the same beautiful and spirited city that I see, the one whose people – perhaps not those who fled to the lighter color suburbs  -  still believe in and wake up with the soul that Motown pumped into their veins still cursing through their bodies to make things better. Some of that stuff musta stuck personally to me as I seem to have become in my old age the cheerleader I always wanted to become in my young age, though now for the whole city as opposed to just the Mumford Mustangs, whose colors I bore at my graduation oh so many years ago.

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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Allee Live Performance, Art, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Detroit, empowerment, Hats, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Music, Party, People, School, Self expression, September, Songwriting, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Calling all Detroiters: Come to Mumford tonight!!

All the hits you can stand to hear!!! And the last time in an architectural treasure.

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Categories: Allee's live performances, Architecture, Dance, Detroit, Disco, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Educational, Friends theme, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Mumford high school, Music, Neutron Dance, Party, Place, Press, School, September, The Color Purple, TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – I’m off to Detroit!

Off to host a greatest hits concert at my high school, Mumford, before the wrecking ball knocks down one of the most gorgeous Deco buildings ever ….

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Categories: Allee Willis' Super Ball Bounce Back Review, Allee's live performances, Creative process, Detroit, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Music, School, Self expression, Travel

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Countdown To Blast-Off! 27 days & Counting ‘Til May 8&9!

Rehearsals for my May 8 & 9 return to the stage in my Super Ball Bounce Back Review have begun. Given what happened at my last show in October this is very significant!

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Categories: Allee Willis' Soup To Nuts live show, Allee Willis' Super Ball Bounce Back Review, Allee's live performances, Art, bad art, Creative process, Detroit, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Mumford high school, Music, School, Self expression, Songwriting, Soup To Nuts Party Mix live show, The Color Purple, Theater

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Allee Willis Marches on Detroit! Part 7, Fox News and Marching Band Rehearsal

Tues., April 5, started at 7 am. (Kill me now; that’s the middle of the night for me.) Thank God there was a Yum Yum (my dictation software just typed that as Young Dumb) Donuts open in Southfield, the suburb of Detroit where Fox News is located. So I hit Young Dumb for a quick sugar infusion and rolled up the street to Fox in time to be on the morning news. Thank God the Green Room, one of the few actually painted green I’ve been in, had a nice, squishy couch. The donuts hadn’t quite kicked in yet.

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Categories: Detroit, Mumford high school, Music, Musical Instruments, School, TV/Radio

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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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