Finally!! Get out the ol’ YouTube and enjoy this sneak peek at “The D”! (This is NOT the music video or film; just a sneak peek at what you can expect!) You can play this now or read a little more as I will kindly provide you with the link 30,000 times before the end of this update.
As we speak, I’m in my studio rolling my chair from one workstation to another as we simultaneously mix the 4000 vocal and instrument tracks for the record, and edit the 2000+ hours of footage into a music video, assorted trailers and a hybrid–documentary–but–not–really feature film. Normal life has ceased and no matter what other needs may need attending, work never stops!
In the nearly 2 years since I began working on “The D” there were times I was just inches away from pulling the plug because the financial and practical odds of getting thousands of Detroiters to sing a song and be in a film about human spirit on no budget just seemed too enormous. But make it to Detroit we did, in September – a magic month for me for obvious musical reasons – and again at Thanksgiving when I was such an exemplary float personality greeting the crowds as a block of ice being hauled down Woodward Ave., Detroit’s main drag and first paved road in history, in the Thanksgiving Day Parade:
As usual, massive thanks and eternal gratitude to those of you who have already donated or participated in the making of “The D”. Now that everyone else can finally get a hint of what we’re doing I hope many of you reading this will follow suit and help us finish by adding some gas in the tank.
For complete info on “The D” go here: http://www.wesingthed.com
And If you know some nice rich person or place with excellent taste and a whole lotta soul who might make this next part of our journey a little easier in the way of coin, please email me immediately!
I can guarantee you “The D” is a view of Detroit you’ve never seen before. I can guarantee you it’s an accurate one. And I can promise you it will make you smile. When it comes to soul – SERIOUSLY – there ain’t no place like the Motor City!
My “D” best,
And, by the way, have you seen this excellent sneak peek of “The D”?
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.
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”.
When Sid Krofft – let’s stop and take a breath right here – Sid Krofft! of H.R. Pufinstuf and Land of the Lost and wayyyy more fame – when Sid called me two months ago and made me put Sunday, June 30, 2012 in my calendar he told me that it was a nonnegotiable-under-penalty-of-death-do-not-cancel-under-any-circumstance type of event. I trust this man enough to know that that means I should write it in my calendar in cement. Then he told me where we were going: to ZSA ZSA GABOR’S house for her husband, Prince Frederic’s birthday party!! Had I actually been writing in cement there’d be a big fat Allee Willis face print in it right now because THAT’S HOW FAST my head bobbed to my chest in ecstasy and disbelief upon hearing WHERE we were going. Besides that, Sid is one of those people who I clicked with the second we met and we always have the greatest and most comfortable time together.
Sid lives very close to another good friend of mine, Beverly D’Angelo. The plan was we would meet at her house exactly 45 minutes after she arrived home from a Lego extravaganza in Minneapolis. Beverly and I go back to the 1980s together. She’s hysterical, a great friend, great actress, and dresses with flair, a quality I can relate to. She looked especially great on Zsa Zsa D-day, which was amazing as her plane was late and she got this together in 15 minutes:
So me and Beverly in my car…
… follow Sid and Donnie and Teri Moll, who live smack dab in between Sid and Beverly, winding around Mulholland Drive into the immaculate bowels of Bel Air to Zsa Zsa’s house. The first person we met was the Prince himself. You see this guy on the news and they always portray him as a nut but I have to tell you, nut or not, he’s an excellent party host. And trust me, I know a lot about being an excellent party host.
The kind of party host who takes care of every detail:
Price Frederic also hand-carried out out every morsel of food and set the table himself.
It was deli-gone-insane. Every kind of sliced meat on the planet…
… including these impressive linoleum looking slabs:
A big topic of discussion was what the white stuff was in the middle of this pork chop. Was it a Porturkey?
Zsa Zsa and the Prince’s house is THE Hollywood house that anyone who loves Hollywood, old Hollywood, dreams about. Built by Liberace (and where the HBO biopic was shot), Lee sold it to Elvis, who then sold it to Zsa Zsa – three of the most extreme personalities in show business history, all of whom floated their nuttiness around in Liberace’s famous piano-shaped pool!
Everyone at the party, regardless if they had been there 100 times before, was snapping photos so fast it was like their index fingers were on automatic pilot. But it’s SO not my place to plaster Zsa Zsa’s kitsch-on-the-elegant-tip domicile all over the Internet. So I shall have to leave it at this one shot of Beverly waiting for her drink next to the Oscar replica/ gold champagne bar as an example of the supreme 70’sness of this most hollowed mansion.
And though Zsa Zsa was ensconced in her bedroom there was lots of Zsa Zsa around.
Here’s Sid with Zsa Zsa:
This wall was not only gold but whatever the finish is had little chunks of raised goldness in it:
BTW, though the dog resting so comfortably on the pillow wasn’t real, many people pet him.
It took all my strength not to straighten this copper relief of Zsa Zsa:
As I’m posting these photos I realize… How completely crazy am I that I didn’t go to the bathroom there?! OMG, if textured gold walls are in the house what must the bathrooms look like?! How could the undisputed Queen of Kitsch miss an opportunity like that??!! Especially as this is the decoration on the outside of the bathroom door:
I know the obvious question is, “But did you meet Zsa Zsa?”. The answer is no because at 96 she was too frail to attend. But there was a live video feed going into her bedroom so she didn’t miss a thing. The camera followed Prince Frederick everywhere, including when he danced with Madame.
Wayland Flowers may be long gone but Madame is still very much alive!
As is Pee Wee Herman:
All in all, it was a Zsa Zsa Voom Sunday! As we alighted down the red astro-turf carpet to get our cars…
… we all agreed it was one of the best looking Sundays we’d had in years.
Va Va Zsa Zsa Voom!
On November 8 and 9, 2012 I reprised BaDeYa, Baby!, my sold out one-woman-show-with-25-people-in-it at NoHoPAC in beautiful North Hollywood, CA. Just as the shows that preceded it on September 21 and 22nd, it was a salute to my very 1st hit, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, the first line of which is “Do you remember the 21st night of September?”. All the hits, sing-alongs, dancers, games, prizes, Boogaloo Wonderland sandwiches from my hometown Detroit, not to mention the big ol’ greasy foot massages conspired to make these evenings no normal singer/songwriter fare! So enjoy the show and the next time I do this I hope you BaDeYa with me!
See all 450 photos here. November 8, 2012 show coming SOON. Until then. BaDeYa!
My favorite spot to go for a ride to was this collection of 52 family members and pets that used to be in front of a motel also handbuilt by Trapper John. When the Burbank airport expanded this went bye-bye but thankfully I got a few choice photos with the family before that happened.
On May 8 and 9, 2012 I had one of the greatest experiences of my career performing my Super Ball Bounce Back Review at King King in Hollywood. It not only was only the second and third performances I’d done since jumping off the stage in the middle of my own show in 1974, but was an attempted – and I’m happy to say TOTALLY TRIUMPHANT – comeback after one of the worst experiences of my career seven months before when 90% of the technology my first attempted comeback show was dependent on failed. But I knew that I had to get back up and practice what I preach: From some of the worst situations come the greatest miracles and I had proven to myself time and time again that, if nothing else, I was someone who had the courage to make lemonade out of big, fat lemons.
So I’m happy to report that I have risen from the ashes and had two of the greatest nights of my life bouncing back as a performer in a major way. I can’t thank everyone who came enough. And I can’t thank everyone who worked with me on the show enough.
So I leave you with a whole lotta photos from both nights, videos to come and a big, loud Badeya-say-do-you-remember there never has to be a cloudy day as long as you have sunshine inside. ENOY THE SHOW!!
I was very excited when aKitschinado Michael Eli is sent me these two face scarves that his sister-in-law Diane made for me.
It’s not usually cold enough here in LA to wear something of this nature but I’m always one for something a little different that adds style and comfort to one’s life.
When Michael received the photos I sent him of me wearing Diane’s creations, he politely explained that I was wearing the accessories wrong. How was I supposed to breath covering my nose?! I should have known this as my very lust for these mini scarves was inspired when I spent last Christmas under the spell of this particular hat:
But, truth be told, I breathe through my mouth. So that little slit seemed more than appropriate to spotlight my ever-Mac Morange lips. I often do things wrong where instinct would have kicked into other people’s heads instantaneously. Like most folks wouldn’t be 15 years into their painting career before they realized that you mix colors to get other colors. Or that you cook oatmeal rather than letting the little hard disks of oats nick your throat like blades on an ice skating rink while throat doctor after throat doctor can’t figure out what the problem is. These kind of predicaments are the kind of things that dump themselves on my doorstep daily. This has forced me to have more of a sense of humor about most things and not be embarrassed when someone tells me I am wearing something wrong and will most likely drop dead from lack of oxygen inhalation in mere minutes. But I’m happy to say that I am just as happy with my face scarf being worn properly as improperly!:
Though I’d probably feel better if I could put lipstick on my nose as I’d love a burst of contrasting color in the midst of all that yarn. But I’ll settle for my nose going nude and being able to enjoy the nippy air as God originally intended it to. Thank you again, Michael and Diane!
And now, the Oscar for Best Motion Picture…. goes to… The Artist!
As I hunkered down to watch the Oscars yesterday, the first time I had ever watched it alone due to pressing deadlines on my end, I remembered the last time I sat down to watch a global event unfold on TV. It was when Carmageddon was predicted when the 405 freeway had to close for a day in LA last summer. I thought about it a few days before and decided to go through my vast collection of digital images of bad album covers and match them to the demolition/construction events as they occurred in real time. Last night, as soon as I saw Mila Jovovich be the first star to walk down the red carpet…
…I realized I could take the same approach to the Oscars as Carmageddon as the stars continued to arrive:
I pride myself on being a daredevil artist, ready to field any creative challenge thrown down in seconds. So as the Oscars were announced, I gave myself between the time the presenter walked on stage til the moment the winner was announced to scan through close to 5000 images and pick the appropriate stinker LP cover for each category. Here then are The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch Oscar winners, in the order I posted them but starting with the after party and final award, and ending with the stars arriving earlier in the day:
Have fun at the after parties!:
Best Motion Picture:
Best Animated Film:
Best Original Screenplay:
Best Original Song:
Best Original Score:
The inevitable speech by the head of the Academy:
Best Supporting Actor:
Best Special Effects:
Best Sound Mixing:
Best Supporting Actress:
Best Foreign Film:
Best Costume Design:
Sasha Baron Cohen wasn’t the only one who arrived carrying something:
The actors are looking especially fabulous:
Fashions continue to astound:
The stars are in exquisite fashions:
Congratulations to all the Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch Oscar winners!