In 1974, Allee Willis walked off stage in the middle of her own show. Now she’s finally coming back! The Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Webby award-winning and nominated songwriter, artist, singer, technologist, collector, and party thrower comes to the El Portal Theater in beautiful North Hollywood for one night only of songs, stories, and party games. Sing-along to Willis’ greatest hits like “September”, “Boogie Wonderland”, “Neutron Dance”, “What Have I Done To Deserve This” and “I’ll Be There For You (theme from Friends)”! Win valuable prizes! Watch her as she attempts to get through the evening without walking off stage for another 37 years!
Show starts at 8:00PM, Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Doors open at 7:00PM with kitschy food + drinks, beer and wine available
So reasonable it’s crazy!
$24.99 and $34.99
(tickets are limited and they’re going fast…)
or call 1-866-811-4111
El Portal Theatre
5269 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
“Ms. Willis…considers party-giving an art form” – New York Times
“Allee Willis’ parties are the campiest hot tickets in town” – People Magazine
“..A rare look inside the process of one of the most prolific and tenacious interactive media artists working today.” – salon.com
“Willis is the spokeswoman for this grand dance of junque nouvelle and vérité… as if Ozzie Nelson had acquired a sick and sudden taste for Surrealist poets. Her own interest in kitsch typifies the dichotomy that makes her interesting…The silliness, un-self consciousness, sense of whimsy and innocence are reflected in the absurd designs and bright colors (that surround her). Even the themes lack pretension… Hopeful images of a powerful America and its future.” – LA Weekly
“…A singular vision by an artist, who if not limited by building codes, would be the Simon Rodia of the 21st century.” – Chris Nichols, Los Angeles Magazine
No new aKitschionado posts until tomorrow as I have to leave early this morning to go to Milly Del Rubio’s funeral where, as I did for both of her sisters, Elena and Eadie, I’ll be delivering the eulogy. Normally this would be a very upsetting task, but as all three of the Del Rubio Triplets were fond of saying, they were “three people with one head” and never could live with the thought of the group not being together. I’m at peace that they’re finally reunited, as Eadie passed in 1996 and Eleana joined her in 2001.
I thought about dropping ‘Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day’ from the title of my post today but if ever I were to worship at the throne of Kitsch it would be at the base of three magnificent thrones with gold nameplates that say “Del Rubio”.
I should also mention that Holy Cross Cemetery, where the triplets are buried next to each other by the time you read this, is right across the street from the Fox Hills Mall, where I got this:
I constantly get complements on how gorgeous this microphone pendant is. No doubt the complement flingers think it’s real diamonds but all that bling only cost $39.99. Not that I need a funeral as an excuse to go to the Fox Hills Mall, but if anyone would appreciate fantastic music-themed jewelry like this it would be the Del Rubio Triplets.
Milly, I know how long you’ve wanted to go and be with your sisters so I’m not sad to lose you now.
I trust that the three of you are already assembled in front of glowing diamond microphones, singing the out-of-this-world harmonies you sang even here on earth, and standing in the order you were born in, stood on stage in and did everything in life in; Eadie on the left, Elena in the middle and Milly now joining on the right.
So that’s it. The third and youngest miniskirted, go-go booted Del Rubio has left the planet to rejoin the act. Normally I’m really sad when a friend of mine passes away. Trust me, I’m upset about Milly, but as the Del Rubio’s themselves were fond of saying, they were one person with three heads. And now they are back together as one.
Milly passed away Thursday night. The last time I saw her was this last Valentine’s Day when I delivered the hundreds and hundreds of cards, many of them handmade, that people sent to me, many of those via Hidden Los Angeles, to give to her. She wasn’t feeling especially great that day and discouraged me from taking the hundreds of photos I usually do because her hair and makeup weren’t perfect. Not that mine are in this photo with Milly from 1996 after a day in the sun on the roof of the triplets’ mobile home.
This was the last photo I have of Milly, taken about a year and a half ago when I saw her and we discussed that if she started playing her guitar again I would throw a big party to present her.
I had the honor of delivering the eulogies when the first two triplets passed, Eadie in 1996 and Elena in 2001. Immediately after Eadie passed, the remaining two, whose lives had always been enriched and enlightened by the performances they did, announced they never wanted to perform again. I tried to pull them back into it for a couple years, telling them that the reason audiences loved them would not disappear because there was one less sister. But they would have none of it. As you can imagine, that worsened for Milly when Elena left to join Eadie.
I can’t imagine that the world will ever again see something as magnificent and innocent as The Del Rubio Triplets. They were completely unaware that they were somewhat of an oddity and lived to entertain and make people laugh. Although people who were seeing them for the first time may have started out laughing because they had never quite seen anyone who looked or sounded like The Del Rubio’s, they were always won over and went home uplifted, adoring the triplets and remaining eternal fans.
The Del Rubio’s were massive part of my life. I always lived to combine high and low elements of art. I met the Del Rubio’s after my songs had already sold over 30 million records, but to have the opportunity to hear my hits performed Del Rubio style was the biggest reward of all to a budding kitsch lover such as myself. The very first time I ever presented them to the public they did a duet of “Neutron Dance” with Ruth Pointer, who sang lead on the hit record that was then number 6 on the Hot 100 chart. That was honestly the peak moment of a lifetime devoted to the pursuit of Kitsch meets Art, a musical highlight equal to winning a Grammy for the song, which was part of the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, that same year.
There’s a fund established for Milly and her sisters at the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Foundation in Wytheville, VA., which you can make donations in Milly’s memory to here. You may not know who Edith Bolling Wilson is. She was the wife of Pres. Woodrow Wilson and the great aunt of the Del Rubio Triplets.
That’s right, they had Presidential connections big-time as you can see from that photo taken with Edith Bolling Wilson, with husband Woodrow looking on, at the Woodrow Wilson House Museum In Washington DC. Any of you who saw The Del Rubio’s already know how regal they were. Their presidential link is just one more cherry on the kitsch and musical sundae known as The Del Rubio Triplets.
If you’re on Facebook you can go here to leave a note about Milly and/or leave one here. R.I.P. sweet, blond, go-go booted angel…
When I, along with Hidden Los Angeles, put out the call a few weeks ago that for Valentine’s Day we wanted to bring as many V-Day cards as possible to Milly Del Rubio, the last surviving Del Rubio Triplet, I was hoping that at least a few of you would put pen to card and help amass a stash. I’m happy to report that hundreds of cards have been rolling in!
Every single card is wonderful and beyond appreciated. Some of you went beyond the call of duty and created extra special wonderfulness:
If you haven’t sent a card in already please show Milly the wuv and send one to her NOW c/o me, 11684 Ventura Blvd., Suite 430, Studio City, CA 91604.
Here’s Milly at a Valentine’s Day dance a couple of years ago:
So Milly won’t be sitting alone this year, I’m bringing all your cards to her nice and early this coming Monday morning, Valentines Day itself. Here’s the Valentine’s Day card The Del Rubio’s sent me in 1996:
Here’s what I sent back to them:
Anyone who ever went to one of their shows can tell you that The Del Rubio Triplets made you feel like every day was Valentine’s Day.
Here’s to a golden V-Day for Milly and for you too!
And, once again, it’s Milly Del Rubio, c/o Allee Willis, 11684 Ventura Blvd., Suite 430, Studio City, CA 91604.
Join me and Hidden Los Angeles and send a Valentine’s Day card to Milly Del Rubio. Details below.
Anyone who knows me knows that two of the most important things in the world to me are music and kitsch. Songs I’ve written have sold over 50 million records and, to the best of my knowledge, I have the largest collection of kitsch artifacts in the world. Discovering The Del Rubio Triplets in 1985 is easily the jewel in my musical kitsch crown.
I first saw the Del Rubios in 1985 on a flyer that said “Three Gals/ Three Guitars…We play 375 different kinds of music”. I didn’t even know there was 375 different kinds of music but between that and the mini skirted, go-go booted, platinum hair helmeted madness of their photo I called them immediately and made plans to go to a party they were playing at that weekend.
My party date was Katey Sagal a.k.a. Peg Bundy. The breath was literally knocked out of both of us when the triplets opened the door to the porta potty-like shed that was their dressing room and we beheld the most magnificent vestiges of human kitsch we had ever seen. I didn’t care what they sounded like, I knew they had to sing my songs.
Out of the 375 different types of music the Del Rubios played, conspiculously missing was Rock or anything remotely contemporary. I told them that playing “today’s” music was going to be their rocket to stardom and said that if they learned my song, “Neutron Dance”, a huge hit by the Pointer Sisters at the time, I would hire them to play at a party I was throwing in a couple weeks to open a new club downtown called The Stock Exchange.
And so they preformed for 2000 of my closest friends, all of whom stood gaped-mouthed as the 65+ year old minskirted sisters gave much leg and warbled from a balcony 20 feet above the crowd.
No one had ever seen or heard anything like it before, the triplets perfectly in tune with each out-of-tune other, playing similarly out-of-tune guitars and smacking drum solos on the sides of their instruments. As they plowed into “Neutron Dance” I looked down and saw the crowd parting to make room for a mound of hair that was pushing to the front. I realized that the moment I had always waited for, the ultra smashing together of the high and low ends of music into one perfectly mangled moment of musical expression, was upon me! As the Del Rubios finished the song, Ruth Pointer, who sang lead on “Neutron Dance”, wove her way up the circular staircase and ripped into the song again. With her help, The Del Rubio Triplets had ARRIVED:
For the next few years I did almost nothing without the triplets. They performed at every single party I threw, including a pajama party where they backed Joni Mitchell.
The Del Rubios had long told me that their main competition back in the day was The Andrews Sisters. But when Maxine Andrews showed up at the pajama party it was the first she’d heard of them.
In 1987, my song, “What Have I Done To Deserve This?”, was a hit with Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield. Neil and Chris were obsessed with the triplets and always wanted to do a duet with them. The Del Rubios preformed the song when it was #2 on the Billboard charts at my “What Have I Done To Deserve This Art?” opening.
The video I made of them performing it there expired when I left it on the front seat of my Studebaker Commander in a heat wave but here’s the outro of them singing the song on the Victoria Looseleaf show a couple of years later:
In 1991, they were a complete hit at my “Smock It To Me (Art Can Taste Bad In Any Medium)” party where they entertained a plethora of show business luminaries. There’s pieces of “Neutron Dance” and “Whip It” with Devo lead, Mark Mothersbaugh, accompanying them at 3:14 here:
Once I called legendary record exec, Clive Davis, and told him I had made the most significant talent discovery of my career. I loaded the Del Rubios into a van and drove to the Beverly Hills Hotel. Clive opened the door to his bungalow, took one look at them, hugged me and whispered in my ear, ”You owe me big time”.
In 1989 there was a fairly substantial earthquake in LA. It was before I learned the beauty of museum wax to stop things from falling and hundreds of precious kitsch and Atomic 50’s artifacts lay smashed on the floor. As such, I was in a complete fog and almost didn’t hear the doorbell when it rang. I thought it was one of my neighbors offering to turn the gas back on but instead it was Eadie, Elena and Milly, replete in matching fuscha mini party dresses and their ever present white go-go boots, ready for an interview I was doing with them for Details Magazine, where I had my own column through much of the ’80s.
Throughout the years, I spent a lot of time in the Del Rubio’s mobile home.
They stayed up every night drinking one martini each and sewing their costumes, of which they had hundreds, all miniskirts or mini dresses, one nuttier and more fringe filled than the next. Every night once the sewing was done they would plan new arrangements on their trusted toy Emenee organ, the keys of which had all been stuck for at least three years when I met them, the victim of a spilled jug of martinis. I asked them why they never cleaned the keys so the organ actually made some sound and they always assured me they “could hear it perfectly fine the way it was”.
I documented much of our escapades in the aforementioned Details interview. The 27 page cut-down-to 3 page interview – the girls were excessive gabbers – helped expose them to a national audience and they went on to appear on tons of TV shows including multiple Lettermens, Arsenio Hall, Pee Wee’s Christmas Special, The Golden Girls and on and on.
The Del Rubio Triplets did everything in the order they were born. There were only 15 minutes separating each of them but Eadie was clearly the oldest, always standing on the left, Elena, born next, was always in the middle and Milly, the youngest, was always on the right. They sat in this order, ate at the table in that order, went to the bathroom each morning in that order, preformed on stage in that order and even slept in the same bed in that order.
As fate would have it, the Del Rubios also died in that order, Eadie departing in 1996 with Elena following four years later. Milly is thankfully still with us.
I’ve written and worked with some amazing singers over the years, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Aretha, Cyndi Lauper, Patti LaBelle and Earth, Wind & Fire among them. But none swept me away with as much gusto as The Del Rubio Triplets. We should all be blessed with such belief in self and joy for what we do. They never questioned their talent, never suffered a creative block, never got tired of performing for adoring audiences who greeted them with laughter, which they always said was “better than applause”.
That last photo, from their 1995 Christmas card, is typical of the Del Rubios who were freaks about maintaining order and tradition. Even though they’re perched out of their usual order, with Milly now on the left and Eadie on the right, they signed their names in the order they were most used to, with Milly on the right and Eadie on the left. I never asked them whether they knew that they were signing under the wrong triplet.
Valentines Day is coming up and I’d love nothing more than to shower Milly with thousands of Valentine’s Day cards. So please join me and Hidden Los Angeles and send a Valentines Day card to Milly Del Rubio, c/o Allee Willis, 11684 Ventura Blvd., Suite 430, Studio City, CA 91604. With all that love pouring in and Milly seeing that she’s still getting her props maybe we can get her to pick up her guitar one last time.
After seeing the incredibly warm and enthusiastic response to my post a couple of weeks ago of me with my proudest musical discovery, the incomparable mini-skirted/ go-go booted Del Rubio Triplets, I am happy to announce that I’m working with Millie, the surviving triplet, on a possible comeback. Great progress was made this weekend in reuniting her with her guitar for the first time since Eadie, the oldest triplet (by 15 and 30 minutes respectively) left us in 1996. Still too early to tell if a concert is in the making as it’s clear it will be a long road back, but the mere fact that the guitar case was cranked open and the first dreadfully out of tune chords were struck is reason enough to keep hope alive! Will keep y’all posted.
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.