.

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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.

If you like what you see please please please spread the link to this “D” sneak peek around: http://youtu.be/4rkbTpZdxy8
If you want to donate go here: http://www.gofundme.com/3btivk
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”?

Allee

Zsa Zsa Voom!

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!

Yesterday was a lonnnng day.  Detroit is only 4 hours away but it took 12+ to get there.  Thank you, American Airlines! I bitched about AA from 8 am. to midnight. The terminal at LAX SUCKS. Flights were delayed. That part was the weather’s fault, but everything else was on American Airlines.  Here are my tweets and facebook posts throughout the tortuous yet fun day as I was traveling with fellow aKitschionados Mark Blackwell and Laura Grover.  That’s Laura’s daughter, Esther Rose, who came to see us off.:

8 AM. Being driven to LAX by debonaire bulldog:

9:15 AM.: Heading east total pain in butt today, especially of you’re heading thru Dallas. Biggg delays.

9:50 AM.: How much do I HATE American Airlines?! 4 plugs today for 6 gates + 1 bar wifi. Idiots. Please go bankrupt.

9:59 AM: Why hasn’t someone made some $ putting plugs in at airports? Four plugs per 2000 peeps ain’t cuttin it, idiotic American Airlines.

10:15 AM.:Thanks for the sucky seating in your terminal American Airlines. No wifi, 4 plugs for 6 gates and a dirty floor to boot.

10:50 AM.: I gave American Airlines too much credit. One bar now gone. No service at gates. AA, it ain’t 1960. Get your tech & hospitality together!

12:40 PM.: How much do I hate American Airlines?? 4 plugs for SIX gates and no wiki, unless you call 1 bar and “searching” a network. And then there was NO air on the plane. Not until at least 50 passengers were on did it start spitting thru those little nozels. Out of most snacks. I’m on the plane as we speak and connecting in Dallas where all flights are delayed. Next time just strap wings on me.

1:37 PM.: Men, in what universe is it ok to travel in shorts and impose those pale hairy legs on your seatmate? Tommy Bahama shirt is bad enough.

2:45 PM.: What’s with pilots who can’t stop chatting? Pilot on American should do dinner theater and not ‘entertain’ passengers. Thank God we just landed.

3:10 PM.: FINNNNALLLY arrived in Dallas. All flights delayed. Have commandeered all available charging stations and all devices are getting nourished. Dallas American Airlines terminal nowhere near as Neanderthal as at LAX.

3:30 PM: Taking a little snooze between flights:

5:45 PM.: Sloppiest Big Mac maker is at Dallas Ft Worth McDonalds. She needs to staple those burgers together. Plus lettuce overload and no pickles.

7:50 PM.: Back on plane. Nothing like a good fitting jetway. Thanks American. I’d feel better taking a skateboard (The cement inbetween my foot and the metal is the ground 15 feet below):

9:30 PM.: Still 2 hours to go to Detroit. Now the problem isnt American- unless you count the fact that no stewardess has been around to pick up garbage for over an hour – It’s the person in back of me whose phone keys have those hideous sounds attached to them. He sounds like a bad video game from 1995 and is driving me NUTS. Headphones still dead.

11:13 PM: Finally arrived close to midnight.  All the red bags, five of em, are mine. Plus one my jacket’s hiding.

12:02 PM. Picked up the rental car.  It was the kind of blue that makes me vomit.  Literally.  I’m clinically allergic to bluescreen blue. Makes me ill as soon as I look at it.  Now we’re in a white van and I’m happy.

12:45 AM: Finally arrived at The Doubletree.

Very happy now.  I have a corner suite that’s bigger than my house!  Off we go to get BBQ at Slow’s…

 

 

 

Elvis is alive and well as Amelia Earhart on the corner of Tujunga and Magnolia in North Hollywood, CA. Carrying a propeller blade instead of a guitar, everything else about this Amelia screams the King, like her pompadour hairdo and bell bottom aviator pants.

I’m not nuts about that kind of feathering technique where it looks like a slasher took his aggression out in clay. The statue is quite large, Amelia herself least 10 feet tall, so the sculptor slasher really had room to go to town.

A little too foreshadowing for me as per Amelia is the circle of propeller blades that surround her bronzed clayness. For my money, it looks like she’s being circled by shark fins, which was most likely her fate.

I would’ve rethought this had I been the knife wielding sculptor.

Amelia was a proud resident of North Hollywood, where her statue is docked.

I used to make fun of the statue until I became friends with the teen idol I most swooned over as a kid, Fabian. I once gave him away as a prize at my Night of the Living Négligée pajama party.

I made a short film showing where Fabian would take the lucky winner of the “Win A Dream Date with Fabian” contest. The Amelia statue would be the first stop on their romantic landmarks tour.

Sorry the photo is so low res but it was 1989 and I had an excessively cheap and rarely working camera. If you think that’s low res, you should see the film we made.

I was carrying on about how bad the sculpture was until Fabian’s manager told me he was was great friends with the artist and not only did the city pay a hefty price for it/her but there’s another exact Amelia at the Burbank airport.

I know most people would never make the connection between Amelia Earhart and Fabian, let alone Amelia Earhart and Elvis, but that’s what makes life interesting through these eyes. I’d still ditch the shark fins had I been Ernest but I’m happy that Amelia is still standing tall, mere blocks from her home in beautiful North Hollywood.

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Bright and early the Sunday before last, my #1 day-trip accompanist, Charles Phoenix, and myself tooled down Van Nuys Blvd. looking for a 1950’s diner we heard about called Beeps. For neither of us to know about a place of this nature that’s remained authentic is unheard of. In order to get to it we drove down the main drag of the Valley, Van Nuys Blvd.

No question Van Nuys is pumped full of Arbys, KFC’s and McDonald’s, but thankfully there are quite a few vintage buildings left as well as some newer cheese palaces that make our hit list. We hit the boulevard at Magnolia because there was no way I was going to miss one of my favorite rooflines in the city:

The vintage streetlights look so happy with their taller brother palms:

Tall palms accompany many of the vintage buildings on Van Nuys Blvd.

Although mostly 1960’s and later, older Deco gems pop up too…:

…as well as Deco wannabes, in this case vintage 1975:

There are many great murals along the way, like this one under an overpass,..:

…and this one on a dying building where it’s nice to see life…:

….and this one where it’s nice to get money.:

There’s also a lot of art like this lining the boulevard:

Then there’s buildings like this that are art itself:

And then there’s a type of ‘artful’ building way down at the other end of the tip, like this superstore that looms like a Mayan ruin:

Though not quite as towering as that ‘ancient’ Mayan statue. this is even more impressive to kitsch seekers such as Charles and myself:

A chicken dressed as a cowboy standing on top of a building is one thing. But a store name on top of a building that can only be seen from one side of the street and only in full from a fairly far distance doesn’t seem like the most effective signage. Especially with an ‘I’ that looks like a ‘T’ and an ‘S’ that’s hidden by a tree:

The color palette on these two buildings is pretty great:

You probably think it’s the pink building with the 70’s supergraphic relief that I like most.

But it’s the ancient Greek ruin next to it that makes my kitsch heart spin like a drunken roulette wheel:

Ancient Athens is also alive in this statuesque motel sign down the street:

This building may not have Greek columns but that fake wall is pretty classic:

I love round buildings when they come with a matching car:

That scalloped fence would make a nice companion piece to this rooftop:

Normally I would be pointing out the features on the 1950’s motel in back of me but all I can see is the crazy position my lips are in, as if someone Photoshopped them on:

Let’s pull in tight on that:

I’m assuming there are a fair share of lips in weird positions at The Godfather Gentleman’s Club too, just down the street.

And finally, there it was, Beeps, the 50’s diner neither of us knew about until hanging a left off of Van Nuys at Sherman Way and spotting this pulsating pillar of pinkness:

Double cheeseburger, fries and kitschtastic interiors coming up tomorrow. See you then!

 

In addition to my classic cars, a 1955 Studebaker Commander. nd a ’55 DeSoto Fireflyte…

I also have a more common Beetle and Mini. Both of my classic cars have been up on blocks and serving as planters for years until mommy saves enough pennies to restore them. So it’s my more normal cars that cart me around on a daily basis. But I’ve never really been a fan of something that looks exactly like something else, especially if it’s as ubiquitous as a car. So soonafter I got both of them in 2004 – I’ve been a Beetle owner since they came out in 1999, this being my 3rd and final one – I looked around for every aftermarket piece of chrome I could find as both come as nude as cars can come. As a consequence, both vehicles are now abnormally overloaded. The Beetle, for example, has features like a grill and eyelashes…

…fancy shoes,…

… quite a fetching gas cap…

… and color-coordinated interior parts.

The Mini has custom seats,…

… blinged initials,…

…a custom steering wheel and gauges anywhere they would fit despite me not knowing what any of them do,…

…and now, a 1950’s Oldsmobile Rocket 88 hood ornament to make it even prettier!

I’ve collected old car parts for decades. I used to make furniture out of them:

When I realized that it just took up too much space building these things, I stopped. That was in 1988. But the voluminous amount of boxes full of door handles, hood ornaments, badges, and anything else used to decorate cars still fill my storage garage. Somehow it felt only natural to bring this baby out of the box and into the open-air.

This feat was accomplished by Mark Tomorsky, my art fabricator and Soup To Nuts stage partner.

Thank you, Mark, for desecrating my hood so that the Mini (and my hair) now have wings to fly!

 

A few weeks ago, on the dawn of Hanukah, me, Snappy P a.k.a. Prudence Fenton, and Wendy Goldman-Rohm hopped into the mustache van and headed north to Snappy’s family pad in Monterey. We stopped at my favorite place on earth, The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, for a little Christmas shopping on the way.

We also bumped into a friend, Isabell Freed, who stopped at the inn for some french fries and pie on her way back down to LA:

Once we got to Monterey we stopped at Whole Foods for supplies, including these lemons. Yes, I said lemons.

All being writers, we treated our stay as a 5-day writing retreat.

Monterey is very quiet, condusive to this type of activity. Though the view out of the window next to us was very inviting I stayed glued to my computer.

A lot of friends stopped by to say hello:

Although beautiful, it was really cold.

Lots of great food was cooked.

It was, after all, Hanukah:

Wendy and Prudence attended to all the culinary duties:

I oggled..:

…and ate:

Wendy’s apple pancakes were KILLER:

Our friend, Sally Rosenthal, drove down to meet us from Palo Alto just in time to sample them:

Sometimes we ate out. The soup at Cassanova was especially good:

Every day started out with a walk:

Notice that I’m not in any of those photos. I prefer my exercise to take place in a nice easy chair in front of a TV.  Though I did manage to venture out once:

I only had to walk about 100 feet from the house to get a great shot of the golf course it sits on:

Every day included a lot of writing.  I had to finish my Wienermobile post as well as two songs and a new outline for my live show slated for May 8 and 9:

On the last night we hit Carmel Beach as the sun was setting.

Snappy, Wendy and Sally, of course, went for another walk.

I stayed in the car and photographed the sunset…


…and worked.

All in all, Monterey yielded a most restful and productive few days. But alas, it was time to wrap up the latkes, jump into the mustache van and head back to LA for the holidays.

 

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…

I’ve only waited a lifetime for a ride in the famed Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and last Wednesday, December 14, my dream came true!! Susan Olsen, a.k.a. Cindy Brady, the youngest of the B. Bunch, Charles Phoenix, Mark Blackwell and I hopped aboard and rode the wiener to some of our favorite kitsch spots in the San Fernando Valley. When one is onboard such a vehicle, photo opps are not to be missed!

It’s hard to look bad in a photo with The Wienermobile. So there’s going to be A LOT of them in this post, probably enough to serialize the adventure so check back later in the week or beginning of next for more. With that in mind I’ll start slowly, like how we all color-coordinated to look as fabulous against the backdrop of the transportational hot dog as possible. I threw my outfit together last minute but was happy with my choices, picking up all the essential colors of hot dogs, mustard, relish and mayo.

Here’s a closer look at my vintage Legionnaires shirt, made from that kind of expensive 1950’s satin that feels like you’re going down a cashmere slide:

I know there’s no Oscar Mayer at KFC but it was the closest thematically of any shoulder bag I had.  My T-shirt was much more on the nose…

… as were my shoes:

The first thing I did once I was dressed was to roast some wienies.  It gave me a perfect excuse to test out my recently acquired 1958 golfball barbecue:

I cooked up sixteen dogs so we could stuff ourselves throughout the day. Here’s the first  one, literally, on the grill:

First to arrive at Willis Wonderland for our big wiener ride was Mark, who documented us throughout the wiener day:

Next was Susan, appropriately dressed in wiener red:

And then Charles arrived, dressed in a dead-ringer Wienermobile matching suit and carrying a banner bearing our favorite brand’s namesake.

This also doubled as a fashionable cape.

It’s obvious we all passed the color test:

We took many such proof-of-concept photos:

There are so many obvious ways one wants to pose against such a stunning background:

When the Wienermobile first pulled up I wept with joy. I had forever envisioned it in my driveway.  Alas, the wiener was too plump to actually fit so it rested nicely in front until we boarded.

Before stepping into the vehicular hot dog we ran inside for a quick wiener ingestion:

They don’t actually serve food in the Wienermobile so we brought the leftovers with us. But we were so excited to finally board the hot dog we had all been dreaming about since we were born that we forgot and left them on top of my car:

Our Hotdoggers, college interns who serve a full year driving the wiener wondermobile, were Yoli Bologna and Tailgatin’ Traci:

You could literally hear an audible gasp from each of us as we entered the Wienermobile for the first time.

It’s got six seats, a mustard floor,…

… an appropriate floor mat…

… and a sky roof.

The seats were LITERALLY the most comfy car seat any of us had ever sat in. Plush yet solid, with armrests that made you feel like you were waiting in a highchair for a jar of hot dog baby food. We didn’t stop yapping about them the entire afternoon.

We especially loved the embroidered Wienermobile on the back of each seat.

None of us could figure out if the hot dogs on the dash had any purpose other than an as an exceptional decorative touch.

We thought we only had a half hour in the Wienermobile so we headed to Ventura Blvd., the street where we thought there’d be the most foot traffic so we could wave to the masses like beauty queens on a float. Charles mentioned that the real Brady Bunch house, the one used for the exterior shot that pops up in every episode, was probably only blocks away. Not only did I have no idea it was in the hood but Susan – an actual Brady – said she had never even seen it herself! How could this be??!  Cindy-I-mean-Susan explained that as a wee star she couldn’t compute that a house that was clearly two stories…

…was in reality only one.

So the Wienermobile, a deceptibly agile vehicle, whipped a U-ie and headed east toward Dillon St. As the top of the A-frame house poked into sight we started going nuts.

And we SO weren’t the only ones. There were already some sightseers there, dying that not only were they at the Brady house but now the Wienermobile had entered the picture AND a real Brady emerged out of it!  Only God could have put a blessed tourist here at this moment.

Needless to say, we took a lot of photos.

With Susan’s 35 year identity crisis rectified, our Hotdoggers, Yoli and Tracy, told us we could drive around for as long as we wanted.

Elated, we immediately discussed iconic snack food related establishments in the immediate area to best frame us and the Wienermobile. First we headed to a hot dog,:

followed by some chili,…

… a hamburger,…

…and a little something to wash it all down with.

But, alas… I have Christmas shopping to do, three song deadlines to hit, an outline overdue for my new live show, a contract to read, a cat scratcher turntable to assemble, a portrait commission to paint, a bunch of publishing crap to get together, not to mention that I’m supposed to be on vacation in sunny Monterey. So Part 2 of our Wienermobile adventures will appear in a few days.

Until then, eat lots of hot dogs as you kick off the holiday season!

Proceed to Part 2

A few Sundays ago, me and the lovely Snappy P, a.k.a. Prudence Fenton, headed down to Two Bunch Palms in Desert Hot Springs, just outside of Palm Springs.

Most people come here for the natural hot springs.  I came for this:

The greatest barbecue I’ve ever seen. Saw it about nine months ago in an email from Modernway, an incredible vintage store on the main drag in Palm Springs, and finally made the trip down to claim it. I was tempted to leave with this as well but my pockets somehow remained zipped:

Though now that I think about it, a sunflower table next to a golf-ball-on-tee BBQ would have made an awfully nice set. But I had spent all my petty cash in Beaumont, a de rigeur vintage stop on the way down from LA, buying things like an exploding Mt. St. Helen’s whisky bottle…

…and an excellent apple ashtray:

Everytime I’m in Palm Springs I take endless photos of the former mayor, Mr. Sonny Bono. I love when statues look absolutely nothing like the person they’re carved to commemorate:

We stayed here, a few miles out of Palm Springs:

Two Bunch is a very private place so I must honor it by not posting any photos. I will say, however, that I’ve always enjoyed the neck-like-a-giraffe-horse waiting patiently outside the men’s room.

And, despite the refrigerator that has rumbled every time I’ve stayed in Villa 2 as well as the air conditioner that’s placed so it directly blows on your head – curious placement for a room in a health spa – I continually go back.

Though relatively little time was spent turning into an iceberg as we immediately headed back into Palm Springs to eat at Circa 59 in the relatively newly refurbished Riviera Hotel.

The last time I walked in this place was about 10 years ago when I was in an art show sponsored by Nancy Sinatra. As her father spent so many years frolicking at the Riviera it seemed only right I participate despite the fact that I had to whip something together overnight. I don’t remember the show being too successful. Maybe my piece would’ve had more impact if it were featured here, just down the block from the Riviera.

Needless to say, I’d love to be invited to a luncheon at the lodge.

The new and improved Riviera is quite a different story than the Dolly Sinatra Lodge. Here are a few shots by way of demonstration:

Those cutout panels are all over the ground floor of the hotel. Orange being my favorite neon color, it definitely set the tone for an excellent evening. As did the seating in the lobby.

There was interesting seating all over the place.

Though none as favorite as this little area that popped up a few times in the grand hallway leading to the restaurant.

I love pearlized leather.

I also love the pool table right across from those couches.

And i really go for the scale of the doors.

There are also great mirrors all over the place.

And a curved walkway to the rest rooms.

Despite a few hiccups like broccoli being undercooked despite sending it back twice and still tasting like a baseball bat and never getting any bread, the food at Circa 59 was pretty good. I totally forgot to take photos of it though so instead you can see my new little knit cap that I also bought in Beaumont as it’s displayed against the high booths in the restaurant.

I hate how that thing is positioned on my head. It has stripes all around the top but just looks like a lumpy muffin here. Speaking of lumpy muffins, they usually go great with fried chicken. But this is the closest I got to fowl, just down the road from Two Bunch:

And this is the closest I got to an elephant, whizzing past this one on the 60 freeway as we headed back to LA:

There was also a dinosaur sighting:

Though perhaps my favorite sighting in Palm Springs was this T-shirt…

…that was across the street from these two plaster guard poodles…

…that was down the block from where I picked up my golf ball bbq.

And that’s what brought us here in the first place.