If anyone’s going to be in the Boston area this coming Saturday, head to Somerville where thousands of Fluffed-up folks will be honoring Fluff, the marshmallow food topping invented there, and where I’ll be judging the 70’s fashion show while people cremate my song, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, by changing the lyrics to reflect their love of Fluff.

I’ve  been laboring on my outfit for the last 48 hours, the beginnings of which you can see above. I refuse to slop Fluff in my hair, as many of the participants do, so choose instead to ruin a few hats and shirts experimenting with Fluff-like effects so that I, the judge of the Pharaoh of Fluff fashion show and songwriting contests, look like I’m in the swing of the Flufftivities. I still have about 40 pounds of glue to go but that shirt will be covered like shag carpeting smothered a 70’s living room by the time I’m done.

More details on the Fluff festival here: http://unionsquaremain.org/fluff-festival/pharaoh-of-fluff/

It’s really completely nuts for me even to be leaving my desk let alone fly east to the Fluff Festival this coming week, an extravaganza honoring the creation of the marshmallow foodstuff created in Somerville, MA. where the annual festival takes place. But I have official duties there and made arrangements to attend long ago, before I decided to jump off the cliff and perform live in a few weeks for the 1st time since jumping off my own stage in the middle of a song 37 years ago.

I was going to the Fluff Festival not just for the foodstuff but for the kitsch of the event itself. Those who choose to honor Fluff attend the festival in theme attire, dine only on those substances made with Fluff, sing songs about Fluff, etc. I didn’t expect to be in full Fluff kitsch mode until I arrived there next week but, lo and behold, I just saw this:

Evidently, as I’m chained to my desk in LA, I’m supposed to be judging a fashion show in Cambridge in about 6 hours. Obviously that’s not happening. Obviously it was never supposed to happen. Obviously it’s a very kitschy moment when one is booked at an event they had no idea they were supposed to be at, and it’s happening thousands of miles away in only a few hours.

I will be there in excellent fashion NEXT Friday. Until then, thank you for the pre- Fluff Fest flubb. These kinds of occurrences only whet my appetite for even larger doses of kitsch upon landing.


Gay as in ye ol’ sense of the word: happy, frolicking through the streets of Paris with n’ary a concern in the world. I love this Little ashtray for much more than its gayness however. Above all, I relish the little paint mounds that stand above all the matte black surfaces.

It’s hard to really tell from the photo – and I took at least 20 of ’em trying to get the little white mounds of glaze to properly pop – but you can see the little nubs of the sweater and those puffed locks of yellow blond hair and get an idea of the dimension of the glaze. Shoulder pads were a big 1940’s fashion trend, which I’m sure influenced this 1950’s design, so it’s a shame the white won’t photograph right. Of course, it’s a bigger shame that I don’t know how to shoot with anything other than auto focus…. Maybe you can see the gay raised paint splotches better on her skirt:

I love when you can see the imperfections in the glaze. It adds to the handpainted feel. Which someone did, though I’ve tried to make out the name unsuccessfully for 25 years since I’ve owned this thing.

I love the sidewalk treatment:

So Atomically perfect in design, splotched right on the pavement from the artist’s palette. I love her shoes too, though doesn’t one foot look five sizes larger than the other?

The fringe on the dress is etched into the clay. I love this reverse effect.

Other Parisian essentials, an umbrella…

…and The Eiffle Tower:

But the big mysetery is why a French Poodle wasn’t thrown into the mix? That particular canine so often accompanied French designs in the 1950’s.

Missing poodle acknowledged, this gay Parisian ashtray is still one of my fave ash receptacles.  May you all have a very gay day and remember to deposit your ashes in a stylish gay ashtray for optimum esthetic enjoyment.


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.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Del Rubio Triplets, you can get a crash course here. And here.

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 was in my adolescent and teen years in Detroit, stuffing my big feet into high heels and T-straps, both of which looked far better sans socks, PEDS were a MAJOR revolution. They were the very first commercially released beige skin colored socklets that acted like socks but were tucked well below the shoe line and made it appear that you were wearing nylons. Which I hated even more than heels.

I’m pretty sure I had Peds on in this photo:

In theory, Peds were brilliant. In practical application, they stunk. Literally. After they slipped down into your shoe until it felt like you were walking on a clump of laundry, the heavy material they were made of soaked up pounds of foot sweat and smelled like they had been used to wrap fish in and left in a gym hamper for six months.

Still, I had quite an inventory of Peds to avoid the dreaded nylons and pantyhose. This might not have happenened had I discovered the beauty and necessity of coordinated socks and shoes, but that adventure into my own style wasn’t to happen for another decade or so.

But back in the 1960’s, a girl needed to dress like a dainty girl. Or so I thought. And that meant wearing those damn heels. Or flats, but even those were still mostly worn without socks. You can’t see them in the photo but this was my first time in high heels, at my sister’s wedding:

I distinctly remember feeling my Peds slipping as that photo was snapped.

This Peds display was a very early thrift shop find of mine. These days I’m much happier to stare lovingly at it than to have little socklets grip my foot like a python in a sauna and lose elasticity faster than a 90 year old.

The only thing I love more than a really bad fashion idea is a really excellent display card to feature it on. The idea of a cigarette ring, or any kind of a ring to park some kind of smokable in, is actually pretty great were the part of the ring meant to hold the smoldering log large enough to accommodate it. But in the case of the Hollywood Finger Ring, unless you’re packing Virginia Slims, that ain’t going to happen.

Though they do suggest this:

Then again, why don’t you just carry a blowtorch? But, if we give some license and assume that a cigarette or some other rolled substance would, in fact, fit into the little carriage, here are some of the many instances in which such a ring would come in very handy:

As much as I abhor cigarettes or being in the vicinity of someone else partaking of the habit, I really think this is a brilliant concept. However, in addition to the already discussed too small opening for an actual sized cig, the rings are made of colorful plastic. Which means that they would most likely appeal most to kids. Who we don’t want to encourage to smoke. So this brilliant concept = stupid product.  Which is just what we love placing on the shelves here at The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch.

“Perspiration motion is carried out intensively and working out of the upper half of the body!!” Well, you can say that again!

I’m not quite sure why perspiration promotion deserves two ‘!!’s. Although I can attest to the fact that perspiration happens the second this smothering sheet of black is pulled over the upper half.

The last time I checked, perspiration could also transpire on the lower parts of the body. Though I’m not sure I would want “rubber processing” occurring anywhere:

Lest there be any confusion as to which part of the body a JACKET goes on, there’s this:

Despite this fashion being clearly marked as a “veste du sauna” I don’t think I need any article of clothing making me boil anymore in du sauna:

Notice that height is measured in inches. That usually stops after you’re a few years old.

It’s very nice that the Sauna Jacket comes with a ‘hood cover”, though I’m used to that phrase referring to something that goes over a stove or grill of a car:

I’m not so sure about wearing ‘clothing of absorbency’ if there’s a chance that my clothes will poison me:

Speaking of poisoning, I always look forward to reading the warnings on such imported products:

I would never wear my sauna jacket WITH a washing machine or dryer, the latter of which is spelled with a ‘y’ and not an ‘i’, fyI Daiso industries. And should I ever have to dry my sauna jacket, I’m not sure where to go for ‘shade of ventilation’. I would never bring it ‘close to a fire side’. I hope that any medical treatment I receive will never be ‘sick’. And I must say it really concerns me that the usage of any item of clothing be determined by what mood I’m in: ‘Do not use at the time of a bad condition or at the time of fatigue’. And I’m not sure what else I would use this jacket for but I will attempt to heed the advice of ‘Do not use in addition to an original use’.

The warning I’m most concerned about, however, is the one that I can’t understand no matter how much I attempt to interpret it: “There is individual difference in an effect”. Huh?? Perhaps there’s just too much responsibility in wearing the sauna jacket.

And so it’s now safely folded up and slipped back into it’s wrapper. Hopefully no one will stick the package fire side or in the shade of ventilation.

I was going to feature my Richard Simmons towel as my kitsch offering of the day:

But I decided to feature the real thing instead because of how far we go back.

I met Richard Simmons in 1981 when he first decided he wanted to cut a record. Bruce Roberts and myself wrote and co-produced  the entire Reach album. We worked on it with Richard for almost a year. With Richard singing lead and calling out exercise commands, it was filled with real pop songs and the hottest studio musicians and background singers around.

I just found this on youtube.  I don’t know who posted it and it sounds like it was transferred inside a muffler, but it’s the first 2 and 1/2 songs on Side 1. Bear in mind that this was done in the midst of the very first wave of aerobic/Jazzercise/Jane Fonda exercise-mania.

I’m even on the album cover:

Let’s take a closer look at that:

That was probably the last time I ever went to an exercise class, other then when I met Richard at his studio, Slimmons, this last Saturday. I can’t say I was in sweats or that I even sweat at all. In fact, I went to meet him for lunch. But I answered a lot of e-mail and got a little writing done on my iPad as literally hundreds of folks who came to his Saturday morning workout class huffed and puffed and did the sweating around me.

In actuality, I did use my towel to wipe some sweat from my brow because it was hot in LA this weekend and there was no air-conditioning in class. I know that’s the way people do it if they’re serious about exercising or yoga or anything else where it’s good that your natural goodness pours out of you. But I, on the other hand, am the type who would rather have an air-conditioning chip installed in their body if such things were yet invented.

I know my outfit isn’t as pretty as Richard’s and I’m not as slim. If only I could shed as many pounds as I have great memories. But the memories and friendships keep me stuffed with joy and that’s what life (if not exercise) is all about.

Mere days after my first and only album, Childstar, was released on Epic Records in 1974, I walked on stage in front of 10,000 people to open in Boston for folksinger David Bromberg.

The only other time I had been on stage before was when I played a little fur tree in a school play when I was 8. Now here I was singing soul music, the first 10 songs I ever wrote, plus a Mary Wells medley and Brenton Woods’s “Oogum Boogum”. My band, the singers of whom would go on to become Chic, were dressed as sequined vegetables and I was in a satin suit that I’d autographed from head to toe. This is a really crappy photo of part of the costumes on mannequins but it’s all I’ve got;

Me and The Angle Babies aren’t in costume here but you can get a pretty good idea that between us and our costumes we weren’t what the folksinging crowd came to see.

I didn’t have a very good time on stage. I never could remember my lyrics and I always spent more time designing the sets and costumes than I did rehearsing or getting comfortable being on stage. After five performances on the East Coast we were booked into a lunchroom at Ohio State, the only way the college could also get Joni Mitchell to play in the main auditorium because we had the same agent. Our only audience were three people at a bridge table eating hot dogs and a psychology class being conducted in the back of the room, with the professor telling us to lower our volume after every song. I walked offstage after six songs and made the decision to just be a songwriter, where at least if I was being tortured it was in the comfort of my own room.

Through the years I’ve gotten much more comfortable performing – in my own unique way of doing so which doesn’t include singing live – mostly because I’m a big party thrower and walk around on mic the whole time.

Almost every conversation I have comes through the speakers and I’m literally directing and producing the party as I go. Throw in the thrift shop auctions and stupid party games that I lead the guests through and I’ve gotten very relaxed holding that cold metal thing in my hands.

But I still never have gotten it together to sing anywhere other than in the studio.

So the fact that in mere hours I will be up on the stage for the first time in almost four decades and I’m not sitting here throwing up is a MASSIVE ACHIEVEMENT! Me and five other well oiled songwriters will be singing our greatest hits and talking about how they were written. It’s just with a keyboard – Chris Price, who I’ve been writing and recording a song with and shooting a video all on iPhones, is accompanying me –  but I’m singing and remembering lyrics and lines nonetheless.

And if I can get through the evening not thinking about soul singers dressed as vegetables, psychology professors and hot dogs I will have made a big breakthrough.

I’ll be performing “September“, “Boogie Wonderland”, “Neutron Dance”, and “I’ll Be There for You (theme from Friends)“. At least radio has regaled me with these songs thousands of times over the years so I’m hoping that for once I can remember my own lyrics and be happy I’m up on stage.

Wish me luck!

I love these kind of toy kits that are slapped together to take advantage of some current trend because the contents are usually cheaply made and wrong. This card of Disco accessories is no exception. For example, the model with the sky-bound hair looks way more trashy 80’s than stone cold funky mid-to-late 70’s, which is what anyone gracing anything that has the word ‘Disco’ on it should look like. Although I suppose her hair transcends any decade:

The scarf is a nice touch, though placement on anything other than the neck doesn’t seem optimum for Disco dancing.

And shouldn’t the model be wearing platform Disco shoes and not heels she might have worn to a tea at the Holiday Inn?! They could’ve at least found a stock shot of someone wearing appropriate footwear. Even the enclosed Go-go boots, tre passé in the the Disco era, are wrong.

And look at the different belt lengths. Is this in case of the doll’s weight gain or loss?

I guess I can understand that sizing approach in belts but not in shoes. You either have one size feet or the other.

A lovely but somewhat limited selection of jewelry is also provided:

But what on earth is this? A beach ball cover? A beach-themed yarmulke? An example of sloppy stitching?

I love that all the record titles have the word ‘Disco’ in them, lest we forget that these are DISCO doll accessories.

At least they got the Disco font right. Then again, the “D” is suspiciously like the ‘O’ so maybe not…

I was much better dressed when I co-wrote this (thankfully) Disco classic: