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:

First off, I was blessed with the single best team I have ever worked with. Everyone – from my collaborator, Andrae Alexander, to Director Danny Franzese and Producer Jason Yamas, through the camera and sound crews, interns, assistants, volunteers, et al – was talented, bright, diligent, generous, funny, and fun, and I can’t wait until we all work together again. Which, if our progress in Detroit is any indication, will be VERY soon.

Empire Boxing Gym:

I created “The D” because I love Detroit and every time I go back I meet more and more incredible people who believe in the city and are doing incredibly positive things to reimagine it.

The Greening Of Detroit:

But if I loved Detroiters for their spirit and resiliency before this trip it’s nothing compared to the love affair I have with them now. At location after location we were greeted with the biggest smiles and enthusiasm that one could ever hope to experience.

The Fisher Theatre:

Detroiters’ love for their city is palpable, infectious and ever-growing.

Mosaic Youth Theatre:

Detroit is beautiful. Really, you have to drive deep around to find all the rubble that the media and most documentaries done about Detroit constantly exploit. I can’t even tell you the joy we all felt at every single location as people swelled with pride singing and performing “The D”. You can experience some of their comments here.

The Heidelberg Project:

Now that we’re back, “The D” adventure shifts into second gear. Starting today, Andrae and I begin going through the literally thousands of tracks of music in LA while Jason leads a New York crew going through the over 700 hours of footage.

Pasteur elementary school:

In addition, the crew will be most likely be reuniting in several different cities to film and record more prominent Detroiters. We will also most likely be returning to Detroit very soon to do something very big that I’m dying to announce here but it’s not 100% yet so that will just have to wait for the next update.

College For Creative Studies:

I’m also in the midst of building photo pages for each location we shot at. These will all hopefully be up online within a couple of weeks so I will have that link in the next update.

African Bead Museum:

Thanks to all of you again who so generously donated, volunteered, or participated in “The D”. Donations still happily accepted here. And a massive shout-out again to The Detroit Historical Society for its immeasurable and continuing help and for giving this scrapyard daughter a permanent and immortal home in cement!

Detroit Historical Society:

“The D” was blessed with great news coverage while we were there. You can see the spirit I’m talking about in the following stories. Here’s a piece that ran on NBC News and here’s one that ran on Fox. NBC is also preparing a half hour special on “The D”.

Onward Detroit!

http://www.alleewillis.com/WeSingTheD/

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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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“The D” Officially Gassed Up and On The Road!

I really meant to be doing far more of these updates but the schedule is thankfully and gratefully so packed here in Detroit that I can barely get into bed before it’s time to get up and start singing again. The participation here has been insanely enthusiastic and wonderful.

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Categories: Allee Live Performance, Architecture, Art, Celebrity, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Detroit, Discography, empowerment, Film, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Mumford high school, Music, Party, People, Place, Reality tv, School, Self expression, Songwriting, Theater, Travel, TV/Radio

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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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Heads Up, Detroit!

Just got back from an amazing trip to Detroit where I was laying the groundwork for the big project I’m coming back in September to do there and the project for which I’ve just launched a fund-raising campaign in order to pull off.  Below are are a couple of great stories that came out about my exploits. Please, please, PLEASE pass the link to the Indiegogo campaign for “The D” around so your fearless Kitsch leader can spread all the kitsch and glory around Detroit in September and pull off the greatest sing-along/theme song/video/documentary known to mankind!!! (That may be stretching to a bit but that’s what it feels like in my head!). http://igg.me/at/WeSingTheD

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Categories: Advertising/ Promotion, Allee Live Performance, Allee's live performances, Art, Creative process, Creativity, Dance, Detroit, empowerment, Film, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Party, People, Self expression, September, Songwriting, Travel, video

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R.I. P. Annette…

 


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Categories: Celebrity, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Memorabilia, Music, People, R.I.P., TV/Radio

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Lawrence Welk Accordion Vase

lawrence-welk-vase_9014One of the most spectacular examples of television Kitsch are reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show, 1955 to ’82, on PBS. My favorites are late 60′s/ early 70′s with their over-saturated technicolorish hues, cheesy sets and costumes, massive bouffants and Disco tweaked JFK hair helmets, bouncy musicians, extreme middle of the road interpretations of old and new pop songs, insert shots of the dancing octogenarian audience, not to mention the thicker than wiener schnitzel German accent of the wunnerful, wunnerful host himself, Mr. Champagne Music, Lawrence Welk.

His dedicated group of sidekicks included accordionist Myron Floren, his son-in-law, ex Mouseketeer Bobby Burgess, and platinum follicled pianist, JoAnn Castle, of whom TV Guide said, “Castle doesn’t tickle the Ivories, she hammers them—as if she is building the piano instead of playing it.” Appropriately sponsored by Geritol, a health tonic that zoomed to popularity in the post Atomic Age, The Lawrence Welk Show is a Kitsch lover’s Woodstock.

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – James Brown, Me & How To Write for Money

 

james-brown-aw-first-day

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The Reality Of Being A Songwriter

grammy-winning-85 Winning the Grammy in 1986

Yesterday I wrote an open email to a widely read music industry newsletter re the longstanding mistreatment of songwriters in the entertainment industry, veering off into the music industry ignoring the Internet until it had almost swallowed them up. Today, Mark Cuban posted this on his Facebook page which led to it spreading virally. I’ve had so many people email me and send me Facebook messages today I decided to post what I wrote myself:

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Categories: Art, Consumer Alert!, Creativity, Discography, Financial, Friends theme, Interactivity, Lyrics, Music, Neutron Dance, People, Self expression, Social networks, Songwriting, Technology, willisville

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – The Del Rubio Triplets!!!

aw-dels-on-couch2-85

With the spectacular mini-skirted, go-go booted guitar playing singing stars, who I’m credited with discovering, in the living room of their mobile home, 1986. For a Del Rubios smorgasbord plus “Neutron Dance” and “What Have I Done To Deserve This” as you’ve never heard them before run here.

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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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