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Last night I ate at Street with (L-R) Nancye Ferguson, Buck Henry, Prudence Fenton, me, Susan Feniger, Irene Ramp and Jim Burns. For those of you who might not know who Buck Henry is he’s an hysterical actor who wrote things like The Graduate and Get Smart, which he also created with Mel Brooks.


Last night we Got Full. We ate Kaya Toast, Lamb Kafta Meat Balls, Japanese Shizo Shrimp, Argentine Ricotta Noquis, Graaskaas Aged Gouda Salad, New Jerusalem Bread Salad, Albacore Sashimi, Moroccan Spiced Winter Squash with popcorn, Sautéed Black Kale with Refried White Beans, Sri Lankan Fried Plantains, Moscow Eggplant, Black Bean Soup, Beef Tenderloin Schnitzel, Tatsutage Fried Chicken and the Toffee and Cookie Plate. And once again, I did not Get Smart when it came to proper documentation of our meal as I was talking too much…


… and I forgot to take photos.


Earlier in the day, however, I Got Smart and took a photo of my favorite hot dog in LA:


And my one of my greasy fingers Got Smart when it’s slipped on my camera and shot this photo of lunch:


I was slightly distracted because I was looking at these signs at the restaurant:


What I was really trying to get was a photo of  this 1957 Chevy Bel Air being towed in front of Excitement Video, Psychic and …Eria across the street.


Had I’ve been carrying my vintage Get Smart lunchbox I could’ve taken all the day’s spoils home and been munching on them right now as I write this post.


On this bright, sunny Sunday may you all Get Smart and have a fantastically full day!


Photo credit: Prudence Fenton, me


I bought this Party Pendant at a thrift shop recently, brought it home, shined it up and glued little rhinestones on it. I’ve only worn it out a couple of times but people have ooh’d and ahh’d as if I’d gotten it at Tiffany’s. So I decided to make it a habit and wear it when I knew I’d be attending a hot party. I did, in fact, know that Nancye Ferguson’s birthday party Sunday night would be hot as all of her parties are at her amazing Atomic house that gives you one of those aerial postcard views over the entire city of LA. But when I got home and dumped my photos I realized that not only had I forgotten to take a photo with Nancye, the Party Pendant along with every other piece of jewelry I meant to wear had been forgotten in a drawer at home, replaced with my Color Purple backstage pass that I still had on from earlier in the day when I went to see the fabulous new cast of my musical at the Performing Arts Center in Thousand Oaks. As proud as I am to have that pass swinging from my neck, I do wish that my ratty ass cheap Party Pendant were also present as it would have been so appropriate hanging in the following photos.

Here I am party pendantless with Michael Patrick King and Prudence Fenton.


Michael may have written and directed the Sex and the City movies and much of the TV series but this guy wrote The Graduate and created and wrote TV series like Get Smart.


Not  that I wasn’t excited to see Buck Henry but I almost needed to be hospitalized when I stumbled onto Dr. Kildare in the kitchen.


I’ve long been a collector of Richard Chamberlain/ Dr. Kildare memorabilia.


Speaking of doctors on television, here I am with Ian Buchanan, Dr. Greg Madden on All My Children, and Diva Zappa.


Diva’s father was Frank. Here’s a portrait of Frank carved a few years ago by Diva’s brother, Dweezil.


Dweezil was missing in action Sunday night but here I am with his mom, Gail Zappa.


And here I am with Pamela Des Barres. Among other things, Pamela used to babysit for the Zappa kids and was in the all girl band Frank put together in the 60’s called The GTOs.


It’s ancient history but Lisa Loeb used to go out with Dweezil.


In 1999, Lisa commissioned my alter ego, Bubbles the artist, who I used to manage, to do a portrait of Dweezil and all the things he loved for his birthday. Lisa is standing outside the window playing golf, Dweezil’s favorite sport.


I wish I could say that we played golf or did anything other than taking long rides on Sunday and eating in dives and somehow tie it into the rest of the narrative, but here I am with Charles Phoenix and Jack Nesbit.


Ultimately, I can only tie that photo in by saying that Charles and Jack brought the balloons we’re standing in front of for Nancye’s birthday, the one person I somehow forgot to take a photo with. Here’s one of us for reference, taken at Diva Zappa’s birthday party last year, tying things up nicely.


I love going to parties when they’re good parties. I have good friends who throw good parties. Now I also have good bling for good parties which I’ll hopefully remember to wear the next time I go to one.


If you’re just jumping aboard The Wienermobile, please exit through the rear and check out Part 1 of my adventure with Susan Olsen,a.k.a. Cindy Brady, and Charles Phoenix, without which Part 2 lacks context. Wagging the tail without the (hot) dog as it were.

Now, assuming you’ve fully digested part 1, join us aboard the Wienermobile as we head east from the Brady Bunch house…

…to another iconic wiener in  the neighborhood, Larry’s.

The Wienermobile ate up quite a lot of real estate in this four- table parking lot eatery.

So we turned the vehicular wiener towards another vintage hot dog-related gem a few blocks away:

Isn’t this where you would go if you were a hot dog?

We knew Chili John’s has very early hours but we jumped out anyway, praying the chili palace still might be open:

If you haven’t been to this place, spit out your food and head there now. It’s as authentic as the day it was born in 1941:

The counter is (perfectly and beautifully) makes up the entire restaurant.

You can see the handpainted mural that runs the length of the restaurant better in this shot with Charles:

Up close it’s apparent that the artist, Mr. Chili John himself, captured each and every crevice of the exploding Vesuvius terrain as possible. Perhaps this was to illustrate the constant lava-like flow of chili that runs through his namesake establishment daily.

While we were there, there was an incredible photo opp for The Wienermobile:

With hot dogs and chili under our belts, it was time to move on to burgers. Very few food symbols are as iconic as The Wienermobile, but surely the Big Boy at Bob’s a few blocks away on Riverside has an equal place on the mountaintop.

The sheer magnitude of these two sculptural icons together was overwhelming for kitsch lovers such as ourselves.

So we took lots of photos:

But, alas, the sun was starting to set and there was one place we knew we had to hit while The Wienermobile was still under our control:

The Circus Liquor neon clown, on Burbank Blvd. just west of Chili John’s, has been in countless movies and tv shows, not to mention I’ve dropped coin in there every time I need a bottle of anything, just so I can visit the clown.

The height of the Wienermobile was an INSANELY perfect fit. If only the clown were permanently mounted on top of it.

With the evening approaching fast we headed back to Willis Wonderland,…

…already upset that our Wienermobile afternoon would soon be but a memory, albeit one grilled into our braincells forever.

When we dislodged from The Wienermobile we got some parting gifts:

Some Wienermobile whistles, some of which were glow-in-the-dark, a plush toy Wienermobile, as well as this larger plastic one:

It was like we had all been dropped out of a time capsule. I’m someone who likes to have a good time but once I’m done with an activity I gotta clear the house and get back to work. But it was as if we all knew that when we separated we would somehow have to settle back into reality, hopefully just little bitty pieces at a time, that’s how strong the magnetic pull of the Wienermobile was for all of us. So was only natural we sat down to a hot dog dinner to extend the wiener coma we were all in.

The dogs were cooked, as I said in part 1, on my newly acquired 1958 golf ball barbecue:

It was comforting to have such statuary in the yard, softening the blow of the departed Wienermobile as it disappeared into the night.

Thank you, Hot Doggers Traci and Yoli. You drove the Wienermobile like it was a delicate little Smart Car and put up with three drooling adults for longer than anyone deserves to be in ecstasy.

And thank you, Mark Blackwell, for documenting the trip, and I mean Trip.

Susan, Charles and myself are forever grateful to have such a childhood and adult dream fulfilled, especially one that provided such insanely magnificent photo opps.

And we are grateful for the joy of celebrating a junk food that was a building block of nutrition throughout most of our lifetimes. Truth be told, although it has killed me, the foolishness of subsisting exclusively on such foodstuffs is starting to be rectified in my old age. But even Martha Stewart enjoys munching on a good wiener every now and then.

The Wienermobile experience was pretty heavy.

But alas, all things must end.

We love you, Wienermobile. Until we meet again…

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.

Susan spent over a month (extra kitsch point #1) making these rum soaked (extra kitsch point #2) fruit cakes (extra kitsch point #3). And her description of them was hysterical too. It was an even better sign when I saw the way she prepped her photos. In the land of kitsch, detail insets are most impressive:

I got especially excited when I saw all the snowy peach fuzz that surrounded Susan’s elves:

But the elves on the cake she brought me needed no such extra set decoration as they got down to enough business on their own:

I was actually introduced to Susan by my Facebook friend and most dedicated aKitschionado at The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch, Denny McClain. We made sure to give him his props before we did anything else:

Our hooking up was also facilitated by another Facebook friend, Steven Wishnoff, who accompanied Susan to Willis Wonderland. I immediately offered them a snack as I had something amazingly fitting for this most kitschous of occasions:

Any of you smart and dedicated enough to subscribe to my blog will recognize that we’re holding a piece of King’s Hawaiian Bakery Rainbow Bread that I bought a loaf of last weekend on my Sunday drive with Charles Phoenix. This is possibly my favorite food discovery of the century so far.

It was perfect as Susan actually came dressed matching the bread:

We were all most anxious to see what happened to the color swirls when the bread was toasted, hoping they would get even brighter with a little bit of heat. We were sorely disappointed:

But that didn’t stop us from slopping on some peanut butter and jelly and enjoying a delicious grill stripped rainbow mini meal.

We spent a lot of time walking around Willis Wonderland as Susan and Steven had an excellent sense of kitsch.

I had much Brady Bunch memorabilia out…

…but I stupidly forgot to ask Susan to autograph anything. Luckily, before we met she mailed me a copy of a book she co-wrote about the making of one of the most exquisitely cheesy television specials ever made, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

If you’ve never seen it, RUN to YouTube now!!

Thank God, Susan autographed the book so I didn’t feel tooooo bad about the missed opportunities for my aforementioned Brady treasures.

All in all, we had a most Brady day!

I’m hoping next time we get together Susan will make me one of her signature Flufftinis.

Afterall, there’s SO MUCH we see eye to eye on.


My relationship with technology has been one of the most intense and complex relationships of my life.  Here I am with my main squeeze in 1991, the first Powerbook ever released, a 170.


I was always a multi media artist, combining my music with my art and interactive parties long before ’91 when I first I attempted to combine these artforms in a digital realm.  My dream was to redefine music, art and socializing in the as yet unembraced Pop medium, the Internet, where the audience was as much creator/ collaborator as the artist herself.

My premise, which I shouted from every keynote podium from 1991-1997, was that art and information were no longer under strict control of the person who originated them but, rather, the co-product of the people who interacted with the art and information. In the Digital Age, the artist would shift from sole owner/creator to cruise director, merely providing the first piece and directing from there a never ending sprawl of mutations from users who were interested enough to impact the original work.

This premise was blasphemous to captains, worker bees and artisans alike in the all ruling Entertainment Industry.  I viewed them as horse farmers, belligerently staring as prototypes of the Model-T cranked down dusty roads at the dawn of the 20th Century, arrogantly holding on to the belief that nothing could supplant the sale of their well bred horses. But the horse farmers didn’t understand that the promise of automobiles was the reforming of communities and a collapsing of time and space. Just like the Entertainment Industry almost 100 years later didn’t understand that the promise of the Internet, mobile devises and any connection that linked virtual and physical space meant the very same thing – a redefining of community, living space and beyond anything,  the empowerment of common man.

In 1992, after I proclaimed my total disinterest in all artforms linear, I started developing an idea for willisville, the world’s first visual and collaborative social network.  It would also link the Internet to TV, radio, film, video, books and physical spaces. You can bone up on it in detail here.


Attempting to sell this vision in 1992 and throughout the 90’s was like living in the basement of Hell. No one in Hollywood could fathom funding it as the Internet was to them a very creepy, laughable space. Folks in Silicon Valley could think of funding it but only if enabled by technologies they had already invested in. The one we were saddled with at Intel, who funded a willisville prototype in 1995, had about as much potential of encouraging socialization and artfulness among users as inviting someone to a party on the promise that you were going to rip their toenails out without anesthetic.


So, in 1997, after spending every penny I had ever earned on trying to sell my vision of the Internet as a social environment I crept back into writing songs and painting and even writing a Broadway musical. I still built websites, rather distinctive ones at that, but I shoved my quest to build the Brave New World and staying at the forefront of social technology down so low into my solar plexis it felt like I was made of cement.

This went on for almost 10 years. But painful as my self-imposed exile was, I was aware that my brain had been profoundly reshaped from the previous seven years of attempting to make order out of all the disparate forces coming together to define The Digital Age. And this impacted the linear work I started doing again. I was always an artist who looked to integrate my music with my art but now I was capable of thinking on a zillion levels at once, connecting everything so that one singular vision resulted from trillions of different threads.

The linear arts – music, art, videos, musicals, whatever – seemed simple and straight ahead after all the years of thinking about art as a never-ending series of connections and collaborations that linked to a lifestyle rooted in self-evolution whose very engine was kept running by the connections and creations made in cyberspace. I welcomed a break from the tedium of tapdancing for money, always hoping someone would be smart enough to invest in a non linear vision of social art. I once again loved linear songwriting and painting for the pure joy of creating. I hadn’t felt that way since I had my first hits in 1979 and felt the pressure of a follow-up and the boredom of working in just one medium.  

But with this simplicity a new kind of artistic self torture identified itself. Things like Ebay, Amazon, YouTube, MySpace and Facebook had popped up. Wait! Wasn’t I the one who had thought of garage sales, homemade art, parties and collaborations in cyberspace? Wasn’t I the one who had preached Power To The People a full decade before the proliferation of social networking sites? I, who was sooooooooo ahead of the curve on all things digital, was now the last one to the party.

It finally hit me when The Color Purple opened on Broadway at the tail end of ’05 and I had a little breathing room to figure out what I wanted to do next.


If I started singing my own songs I could do the videos and build web worlds and begin to have the kind of presence in cyberspace I had envisioned for everyone so many years before.

My first smash-up, “It’s A Woman Thang”, co-starring my alter-ego, Bubbles the artist, exploded on YouTube in 2007 and won a Webbie Award Honorable Mention in the Viral category.  (I recently uploaded a wayyyy better resolution version of it so watch this one if you haven’t seen it already.) I’m on my fourth one now, “Hey Jerrie”, featuring me and a 91 year old female drummer on an oxygen tank. I view these videos as  welcome mats into my world. But if that world is to be the one I envisioned oh so long ago it meant I needed to understand technology, integration and trends as deeply as I did in the 90’s.

I write, sing, play on and produce the records and write, paint, film, animate, direct and produce the videos and web components. I do some of the functions with partners and some without. To support the output I slowly and resentfully built my MySpace and Facebook pages. I made myself build pages wherever anyone told me to – Bebo, Uber, et al – and hated each one more than the last. I understood that these things were necessary but MySpace felt like one big hype assault from fledgling bands and hooker wannabes. Most of the other ones felt like pale imitators.

My breakthrough came when I finally started adding friends on Facebook after having a page that had all the life of a stillborn baby for almost a year. I looked for people who liked soul music, animation, kitsch, Atomic design and all the other stuff that I was not only interested in but had turned out like a mofo for decades. Some people never responded. But the ones who did were enthusiastic. And I communicated with them when they communicated with me. I understood that this social network had found an incredible abbreviated way for people to realize the potential in each other and form new alliances that physical space never encouraged them to do. 

But Facebook cuts you off after 5000 friends.  Which means you have to uninvite people when you hit that mark.  Bad Facebook. Seriously stinky rule. I’m a party thrower.  I have friends. Talk about a major shortcoming if you’re lucky enough to be popular.  

Other than the fact that I, like most folks I know, are  run ragged by attending to all the little gardens they have scattered all over cyberspace because they all lack something major that would allow for one centralized online presence, I realize I am finnnnnnaly building my own social network, finding what I enjoy about all the ones that already exist and building little presences wherever I can stand the interface.  It’s not the elegant cul-de-sac I once dreamed of with willisville but there’s a little piece here and a little piece there and with enough overtime and bus fare it’s manageable.

I’m in the midst of said proliferation now. I’ve been consciously thinking about cyberspace for 18 years. I have no idea what tomorrow holds. I rarely have. I just know that I hate to be bored. I hate creating what I’ve already created. Reinvention is my middle name. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. But my brain enjoys getting watered and I can finally see green pushing up through the ground. If you’ve read this far perhaps you’re ready to hop on the bus and take the ride with me.