“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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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 – Have a most happy 21st of SEPTEMBER!!

Needless to say this is a very special day for me, like an extra birthday a year, as it’s the opening line of my very first hit song – “Do you rememba the 21st night of Septemba?”- and my favorite of my hits to boot! So I hope everyone is having a very blessed and happy 21ST OF SEPTEMBER!!! And listening to the record a lot!

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Categories: Afro, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, September, Songwriting

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Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – UW Marching Band Conductor and One Of The Best Days Of My Life-Part 2

UW-vid-icon

I LOVVVVED conducting! I hope that’s evident in this clip. I’m grateful I got the footage I did though I’d planned to have at least five times as much of it to edit from. But as the journey below illustrates, the path was a little more crooked than I’d anticipated though well worth every swing of the drumstick!

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Categories: Creative process, Discography, Earth Wind & Fire, Fashion, Friends theme, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, People, Place, Self expression, September, Songwriting, video

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Allee Willis’ “The 365 Days Of September” – Day 13

sept-http-www.youtube.comwatch-v=oppTbbw0j3k

In this Lego Star Wars recreation, “The galactic civil war is finally over and peace has been achieved. The surviving members of the Empire have reconciled and joined the party. But what to do in this time of happiness? DANCE!!!”  This stop motion dance fest proves that Fenderboy105 is a better Lego builder than choreographer, though his attempts are noble.  The little Star Wars cast does their thing but without any sense of rhythm or editing to accents or tops of verses and choruses, the kind of things dancers wait for to spike their expression.  An admirable effort to be sure but with a greater musical sense this could’ve elevated to a higher universe.

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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Brands, Film, September, Songwriting, Toy

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Allee Willis’ “The 365 Days Of September” – Day 8

sept-http-www.youtube.comwatch-v=9vuGwD9QZ00&feature=related

If for no other reason, this is fantastic for the player’s voice announcing what he’s about to perform at the top of this ’2groovy postparody :D ’ vid.  CharisC22 indeed plays a most spirited version of my first hit, “September”.  I seriously love how tinny his keyboard sounds and how heavy he lays on the pedal as if Bigfoot is in the band. The brief narration noting the shift in mood at 2:11 slays me and the 60′s-Sondheim-kind-of-staccato-ishy-little-chord-juts-that-someone-like-me-who’s-sold-50,000,000-records-should-know-the-musical-term-for is outstanding as well.

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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Music, Songwriting

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Allee Willis’ “The 365 Days Of September” – Day 7

The kids at Fairview High do a noble job of singing and a much more ambitious job dancing than a lot of other high schools I’ve seen do “September” on Youtube. But, as the Grand Pooh Bah of Kitsch, the standout for me is the performance by the horn section.  Either someone didn’t do their homework before they came to band practice or they’re just plain tone deaf. What it really sounds like to me is that the horn players got the big riffs down after the choruses and just figured they could coast through the single note accents. Which would have been fine had they managed to find the key. Far be it for me to not encourage someone to go farther in music because they’re un-schooled. I still don’t know how to read, notate or play a note of music, including “September” and anything else I’ve written, so I’m all in favor of doing it just for the love of it. I’m just sayin’, the horns are a standout, wayyyyy stand out.


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Categories: 365 Days Of September, Kitsch, Kitsch O' The Day, Lyrics, Music, Musical Instruments, September

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