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!
Autographed in lipstick by Annette, one of my earliest star obsessions and with whom I shared much chocolate milk watching after school every day, this portrait has long been one of the most cherished renderings in my kitsch likeness collection. I found it laying face down in a puddle outside of a thriftshop in the pouring rain in the mid 80’s.
That big blotch of red in the bottom left corner is a cut out of her actual lip print on cellophane. The lips were almost all there despite sitting in that puddle for God knows how many days, weeks, or months and held on for at least another 20 years until the sun pouring through the window smiling at them at my place everyday finally took it’s toll. Unfortunately, Annette and her lips finally lost their long battle with MD today.
Don’t know who Tony is but his heart had to have skipped a beat getting this autograph from Annette written entirely in Love That Red or whatever 50’s shade she wore.
The exact same lipstick as the lip print, gone but not entirely forgotten:
Just like Annette to whom ‘now it’s time to say goodbye…”. R.I.P….
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!!
New Year’s Eve, 2011. I’m coming down Sunset Plaza, a really windy road with million dollar homes right above Sunset Blvd. in LA. I’m in my Green Beetle, which is a lean and fast machine.
Sunset Plaza’s a pain in the ass to drive under any circumstance but nightmarish should you end up behind a slowwww driver, which is what fate dealt me this New Years when I was in a big hurry to get to my destination, my friends Nancye Ferguson and Jim Burn’s pad, an ultra modern built-for-Brian-DePalma-in-the-70’s house that teeters on stilts overlooking the city. Here’s the view from the balcony:
There are very few parking spaces to accommodate a small fraction of the 50 people on their way up there. If you don’t get one of those spaces you have to turn around in a teeny tiny cul-de-sac and drive a quarter mile out the little windy road with hardly any shoulder and a drop-down of hundreds of feet. And then you’re back out on the main winding road where there are about two parking spaces for every fifty people. No way am I limping back up that hill on foot! So I start leaning on the horn behind this little black car driving at funeral speed. To my credit, I only honked when there was enough room for the stupid driver to pull over so I could pass. Finally, after five minutes the car hugs the curb and I whiz past, gunning it extra hard to show my annoyance even further.
I get to the house and thank God there’s a space left. I pull in, put some lipstick on and send a few emails on my iPad before I go in. A couple of cars pass me and I don’t see them coming back down the hill, which means they must’ve found parking spots too. I finally get out of the car and trudge the last 20 feet up to the house. Standing there is my good friend, Beverly D’Angelo, with a guy I don’t know. Beverly and I go way back and I love her. She’s also an excellent party guest, a criteria I have incredibly high standards for, and has been coming to mine for years.
Just as I’m getting in hugging range I hear Snappy P yell, “Green Beetle, that must have been Allee!”. “You fucking asshole, you almost drove us off the road!!,” screams Beverly as I approach. Oh shit, I rarely misbehave behind the wheel anymore and now I’ve gone and terrorized a friend. But then it gets worse, “Meet Sid Krofft,” she says, referring to the mystery man next her, adding that she brought him to the party specifically to meet me. Now I’ve been waiting to meet this guy since the late 60’s when his puppets, marionettes and insane live action shows started ruling TV and now I’ve almost killed him. “I wanted to get out of the car and tell you what an asshole you were” he says. Thank God the Beetle was turbo-charged and he didn’t have a chance. I ate a lot of crow for the next few minutes, but it was immediately apparent that Beverly was completely right. This guy was a kindred spirit and we hit it off like we had known each other for decades.
Though Beverly had told Sid he HAD to come to Willis Wonderland, I went to his place first, now a couple weeks ago. I took hundreds of photos but I can’t show any of them because Sid’s a really private guy. But it’s as handcrafted as my place is times 6 trillion-on-steroids.
In actuality, I didn’t really get full tilt into the Kroffts back in the day when their shows were on the air because by then I was way way way deep into records and the radio. As a fan and later as a songwriter, when my radio habit lurched into twelfth gear and I lived and breathed music every millisecond of every day, I was still aware of that Sid and Marty Krofft name and that it stood for something crazy. But it really wasn’t until so many friends of mine insisted I go to an auction of their props at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1998 that I realized the extent of that craziness as well as the magnitude of its reach. As a kitsch lover, how could I have not been familiar with every single detail of the Kroffts’ career, the guys on the throne at the top of the kitsch mountain??
YouTube, of course, makes for an excellent crash course. So I’ve seen more of the Krofft brothers’ magic in the last month than I have in my lifetime. And my respect and discovery of the depth of influence their work had on me subliminally has been a revelation. H.R. Pufnstuf is probably their most classic:
I don’t like to wake up early for social visits but at 82, Sid Krofft is in REMARKABLE shape, jogging 9 miles a day + a couple hours in the gym, so he’s raring to go when the sun comes up. 10:30 bright and early a couple of Tuesdays ago he and Beverly were at my doorstep.
I even got it together to cut up healthy food for him.
This is a BIG step for me as this is what’s more likely to be on that table on a regular basis:
Sid was as fascinated by Willis Wonderland as I was of his hand-built abode. As my yard is part of my living room, we hit that first.
Although it was raining when I took the following shot, you need to see those GORGEOUS 1950’s fiberglas fish lounges sans people:
As we strolled around outside we were joined by Donny Molls, a great artist and Sid’s next door neighbor:
We stopped and chatted in every room:
My downstairs, where that shot was taken, is particularly packed with memorabilia, some of which is Krofft Brothers stuff I’m happy to say I had the good sense to collect even if I wasn’t sure exactly what it was when I bought it.
If you’ve never seen Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, double up your sedation and watch now! EASILY one of the greatest title sequences in the annals of kitschdom:
Thank god I had a few View Master disks of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl in my collection too:
Sid and Michael Jackson were great friends so I pointed out some of my primo MJ cheese:
You really need to see what I’m pointing at. Yeah, I got the doll and the puzzle like a zillion other people…
…but who else do you know who has the drink cooler?! This is easily my favorite piece of MJ memorabilia I own:
When we got to my dining room…
… Sid posed in front of Mr. Wah Wah, a stunning portrait painted by my alter-ego, Bubbles the artist.:
We spent a lot of time in my recording studio too.
Although Sid has a computer he’s not obsessed with them as I am of my 11 networked Macs. So what we really wanted to do was show him how much of his stuff is online.
And there’s gaggles of it – H.R. Pufnstuf, Land Of The Lost, The Bugaloos, Lidsville, The Donny and Marie Show, not to mention Electra Woman and Dyna Girl for starters. And no exploration of Sid and Marty Kroffts would be complete without the Brady Bunch Variety Hour:
The Brady Bunch is certainly coming up A LOT lately!
One of THE most classic and cheesiest shows EVER on TV was called Pink Lady and Jeff. 1981. I remember being so intrigued by that nutty title that I tried to catch the show whenever I could. Imagine the complete and total ecstasy-breakdown I had when I saw the Pink ladies immortalizing my song,”Boogie Wonderland”:
Watching this again with the creator of that show who was totally in on the cheese joke of it all was even more thrilling. As we were poking around doing searches on YouTube I discovered that not only did Pink Lady do that quintessential performance of the song, they also recorded it. I’m still gasping for breath:
What a day I spent with the gang. Here’s one last parting shot for the photo LP before everyone left:
I sho love me some Sid Krofft!!
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
So as I was saying yesterday, this last weekend at Willis Wonderland we aKitschionados from The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch saw the light of Fluff!
For a quick recap if you were too lazy to click on that link, many of us are converging on Somerville, MA. September 24th to attend the fifth annual Fluff Festival to celebrate the marshmallow food topping in the city it was invented in. aKitschionado Rusty suggested that we first convene at Willis Wonderland in LA, the physical arm of AWMOK.com, and spend a day cooking with Fluff. Bear in mind that many of the aKitschionados in attendance had never met before and only knew each other by commenting on the kitsch they’d submitted to AWMOK. So everything served had to be a real icebreaker. As such, the first course was Fluff inspired sandwiches…:
… accompanied by Goldfish in sea foam dip vegetables:
All of which was washed down with Flufftinis…:
…an original recipe by aKitschionado iamfluff, a.k.a. Susan Olsen, a.k.a. Cindy Brady of the Bunch:
Extra points were earned for color-coordinated food, dishware and clothing:
Even more points racked up for color-coordinated lamps and other sugary Fluff alternatives:
aKitschionado Mark Blackwell scored even more bonus points for coordinating his jellybean tribute to The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch with the aforementioned lamp and M&Ms.
I hope anyone reading this appreciates the importance of color-coordinated meals and accoutrements. If there’s any question at all about the importance of food and furnishings color-coordination, please refer here.
The main course was delicious and nutritious Fluffernutter cake. I know this photo’s blurry but so was my vision after the day’s 21-gun sugar salute.
If you think that cake is gooey, let me tell you that as the party hostess who had to clean up – actually I didn’t clean up at all as the aKitschionados are a very conscious and esthetically tidy breed – there were vestiges of Fluff everywhere. Like on Mark’s pants:
Slightly less lava-flowish-of-Fluff were the fried S’Mores made by akitschionado Snappy P.
Technically, there’s no Fluff in this recipe but as its fraternal twin, marshmallows, are a key ingredient the Willis Wonderland stove did not discriminate.
Many aKitschionados came bearing gifts. Doug Wood, for example, brought me a lovely kitsch-filled basket:.
One of the gifts was a practical Hostess Twinkie holder:
Many aKitschionados were jealous of my acquisition:
Just as important as protecting your Twinkies is protecting your Pringles. Thank you, aKitschionado Windupkitty, for the lovely Pringles protective case.
By the way, a practical party hint: name tags are essential. Even if your guests know each other for a hundred years it gives them an opportunity to express what they’re feeling in name, which acts as much of an icebreaker at a party as food no one has eaten since they were 11 years old.
It also saves the host or hostess time in making introductions.
As I said, the bulk of the day’s festivities centered around cooking and eating. But aKitschionados were free to wander around Willis Wonderland to enjoy the artifacts they’ve been seeing in my posts since I first launched AWMOK.com in 2009. Many of them also enjoyed the fine reading materials scattered around.
That book deserves a close up:
In fact, my whole Soul kitsch collection deserves a close-up. Here’s but a few of the shelves of it:
I think Fluff is a soulful food. It recalls one’s childhood and brings feelings of peace to the mind if not the blood vessels, as aKitschionado John Zenone experiences here:
Off in my recording studio, I was showing some of the aKitschionados some more of my Soul kitsch collection:
You might want to see the front of that picture frame:
As much as I covet my James Brown autograph, I covet this bit of Soul kitsch almost as much, Sammy Davis Jr’s last stash of marijuana:
Slightly easier to see than the cannabis in that last photo are the edges of the round circle rugs that cover the floor in my recording studio. They’re there to protect the plastic that’s actually the floor surface that scratches as soon as you breathe on it. Here’s what the floor looks like in real life:
Despite signs posted all over begging aKitschionados to carefully step on the rugs, several of them found it necessary to defy their leader’s command. Bad girl, kookykitsch!
And Meshuggah Mel!
Although it was close to 100° and muggy, we also spent time outside. That’s where my over 200 pieces of bamboo dinnerware are.
And for anyone who missed the sugar inside, there was plenty of cotton candy floating in the pool.
Food that floats is something every party chef should consider when throwing summer parties.
So all in all, a good and Fluffy time was had by all! Come back again soon, aKitschionados. See you all in Somerville in “September” one way or the other.
Photos: Allee Willis, Prudence Fenton, Mark Blackwell, Rusty Blasenhoff, Ken Dashner.
I wasn’t even sure what this was when I saw it on eBay a few years ago but it looked like it couldn’t possibly have been actual sanctioned Beatles swag, and that alone kicks it into a very high level of Kitsch. Besides, just the box – 5″x7″x1-3/4″ with colors so vibrant they make your brain rattle – was worth the 3 bucks it took to procure it.
George and John actually look like George and John.
But Paul kind of looks like a cross-eyed Paul and Ringo looks like Paul-but-not-really-but-certainly-not-like-Ringo.
When something comes packaged in the original cellophane as this Beatles product did it absolutely kills me to open it. But seeing as I really had no idea what lay within I had to carefully slice through the cello to reveal this:
100 tiny packages of Beatles pomade:
Greasy, waxy hair product that the Beatles never would have used on their Beatle hair as the whole point was that it bounced all over their head in rock ‘n roll defiance. The wax still retains its original squish:
Now that the package is open to reveal the secrets within, my whole house smells like the bathroom at a Chinese restaurant circa 1964. Maybe because it was made on that side of the world that long ago.
That smell isn’t the best smell in the world to inspire brilliant music, which I have to write today, so I’ll confine myself to looking at the box, not smearing anything on my head, and pray the Beatles vibe enters without rubbing it in with pomade.
No mention of James Bond, no mention of Sean Connery, no mention of anything other than the fact that these are 007 Superior Quality Rubber Bands. All of which means the only thing secret agent about this is the bootleg nature of the product.
If I were a big James Bond collector I might feel ripped off, but being a kitsch collector I’m completely ecstatic! The more bastard the product, the more magnificent the kitsch pedigree.
The rubber bands themselves are pretty special. They’re listed as multicolored but I think that’s stretching it a bit given the paucity of color allotted to each.
The manufacturer didn’t even get it together to give themselves credit on the box. Perhaps so Agent 007 can’t track them down for copyright infringement. The only information at all on this 3″ x 3″ cube is that it’s “Packed by Tin Tin Bizarre, Inc.” Tin Tin Bizarre sounds like a great name for a Bond girl. Aside from that,everything about this product’s identity and MO is strictly top secret x 007.
In the lexicon of kitsch, ‘cheese’ and ‘cheesy’ are words often used to describe objects that grace the highest echelon of kitsch itself. As if there wasn’t enough cheese to go around on Super Bowl Sunday between the dedicated–to–the-point–of-Camembert headgear and face paint that loyal fans wear to the game, the obscene price of tickets, the even more obscene money dumped into commercials, the melted cheese on the pizza and hot dogs… it’s a veritable wheel of Brie when throngs gather around the TV screen or freeze in the stadium to watch people ram into each other insuring that life after 50 will be spent in the maximum amount of pain possible.
Although I happen to own the pert little 1950’s looseleaf pictured above, that purchase had much more to do with celebrating teenage years in an innocent age than celebrating February’s favorite sport. So I thought I’d take a tour of eBay today and see what football kitsch was available to anyone in a shopping mood who might want to sprinkle a little more cheese on their Super Bowl Sundae. Here are my Top 20 Cheddar picks:
Without question, this simple, homemade and very brown tribute to football lamp ranks high:
Although if I had my choice of only one thing it might be this stuffed Houston Oilers cheerleader:
I wonder if her sport skills include this?
I think the designer of this tee-shirt, listed on Ebay as “vtg-80s-RaBBiT-FooTBALL-BoW-BuNNY-CuTE-SWEATSHIRT-S_M” might definitely have such a skill:
I doubt that’s what Mickey had in mind though…
…or this dork who I never want to see in a football jersey or anything else again:
Same with this guy:
When it comes to plush, I’ll stick to balls.
The one on top of this 1970’s Avon bottle isn’t bad:
I never thought of a football as ergonomically shaped, so this phone can’t be too comfortable to hold in your hand:
Whoever hand-beaded this tiny little football charm was very comfortable with a glue gun in their hand:
I wish it had been a football phone or glue gun that were in this juiced up football player’s hand instead of what we all know was in it in 1994:
How completely ugly is this Treasured Times football frame?
And how completely inappropriate is a football in the hands of this little 1961 porcelain Christmas angel?
And how completely dumb is it to permanently mount a glass on top of a football helmet, albeit a miniature one?
How completely ugly, inappropriate and dumb are fanny packs under any circumstance, any time and any place?
But how completely perfect is this football positioned as a towering head in order to sell this vintage protective device?
Also at the head is the football on this 1950s Dazey butter churner:
While you’re churning your butter perhaps you’d like some beer.
But don’t drink too much or you may end up with hips like this player:
Throw a little whiskey into the brew and it could be an early Valentine’s Day:
May you be enjoying all the cheese possible this Superbowl Sunday!