The Aaron Spelling produced Vega$, the first TV series to be filmed entirely in Las Vegas, ran on ABC from 1978 to 1981. A kind of run-of-the-mill detective show, what I liked most was that its star, Robert Urich, aka private dick/ Vietnam vet Dan Tanna, a name spun off of a popular LA eatery, spun around town in a red 1957 T-Bird, gorgeous but no KITT and whose parking space was in Tanna’s living room.

Although I didn’t really watch the show – it seemed a little slick for what I was into at the time – I was excited when Robert Urich and his budding B-star wife, Heather Menzies, both longtime friends of my then boyfriend, invited us to stay at their new pad in Vegas when Bob first got the show, becoming the first TV star I ever met. I don’t remember so much about the visit because I was always so eager to get out of the pad and start photographing the vintage 1950s hotels and artifacts that still populated Las Vegas. I do remember they made great salads.

This is a 10″ x 14″ 150 piece jigsaw puzzle made in 1978 by Aaron Spelling Productions Inc. and distributed by H-G Toys of Long Beach, CA. I’ve never actually put the puzzle together as that kind of thing takes far more time and patience than I’m ever willing or able to allow. My favorite thing about it anyway is the box, with poses of Urich stuck into heart, club, spade and diamond shapes and printed with a cheap color process that allowed the ink to sink tight into the cardboard giving it a kind of porno-y look. All this topped off an all-too-blown-up and blurry cut-out of what looks to be a Urich look-alike sitting in the T-Bird. Mmm… if there’s even a prayer of the puzzle art being that kitschy I just might stay home tonight and put it together. Although there seems to be a preponderance of solid green pieces, perhaps a tribute to the salads.

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This excessively cheap, anything-but-“real” leather wallet with an embroidered gold reminder to “keep it real” was part of a series of similarly sloganed wallets that Target carried about five years ago. It’s fun to hold because it’s stuffed with a lot of cheap foam so it feels like you’re gripping a marshmallow.

“Keep it real” has a bunch of compartments for credit cards and a zippered pocket in the back for change. Good thing as for some reason the compartment to keep dollar bills isn’t stitched all the way across the bottom so if you happen to throw your change in there it’s someone else’s by the time you reach your car.

There’s no manufacturer label on the wallet, only a small tag that says “100% Man Made Materials”.

My favorite thing is the wrist strap so you can keep your wallet out at all times and let the world know that you’re the kind of gal who “keeps it real”.

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If it’s Eva Gabor it’s got to be good and this certainly lives up to all expectations! This incredibly cheaply made – one piece of elastic, two alligator clips and one plastic “decorative ring” – fashion strap “keeps your wig securely in place while your wig is being combed, brush or styled.” It looks like all you do is attach a clip to either side of your fake hair and tighten the noose around your neck by sliding the “decorative ring”. The final instruction, as if written for an idiot, is “comb or brush your wig into desired style.”


This product was made in 1972 for Eva Gabor International in Hong Kong and was sold at the May Company for $4. I’ve never worn a wig but I would’ve bought a case of these had I seen them at the time.

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My favorite Sundays are when I entertain and this golf ball corkscrew has been held in the hands of almost every brunch guest who’s ever been over here. It’s as close as anyone will get to a golf course around here as the only use I have for golf balls and clubs are as bar accessories as seen here or as found objects in my art and sculptures. Like this series of Arnold Palmer Golf Hat & Coat Racks I made in 1987.

Judging by the vast number of both vintage and new bar accessories that incorporate golf equipment I’d say the liquor industry has to be pretty happy with this sport!



Before the proliferation of plastic bags, these vintage string holders covered the landscapes of more bakeries and butcher shops then linoleum did. All the rage in the 1940s and 50s, anyone who worked in these kinds of establishments tugged on these things to pull out long pieces of string to wrap around boxes of chocolate cakes and cheese danishes, wax paper bundled T-bones and salmons and anything else that couldn’t magically seal itself.

Made of plaster and easily breakable, many of the string holders were human faces, chefs being among the most popular, to identify with the businesses on whose walls they were mounted. Tucked in back in the cavity of the big bulging face was a big ball of string that fed through a hole in the mouth so these guys always looked like like they were drooling. The wads of string had to be replaced several times a day so with all that handling, it’s a miracle that this chef has survived only in need of a good facial.



This thing kills me. Not only does it still reek of the scent of the powder that was pumped into it five decades ago but it exemplifies a common marketing tactic taken by some of the most brilliantly kitschy products when a staunchly middle of the road company attempts to be hip and takes on a pop culture trend. In this case, it’s The Fuller Brush Company attempting to cash in on the folk singing craze of the early 1960s by covering a bath mit in fabric that looks like something that would have been stretched over the armrest of an Ethan Allan Early Americana couch.

I don’t even know what half of the instruments are let alone what a Declaration of Independence type scroll, leaves or half of the other icons on this have to do with Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary or anyone else who  inspired teenagers and young adults to buy acoustic guitars, don turtlenecks and rip into a chorus of “If I Had A Hammer”.

The box is as brilliant as the mitt. I love the backdrop of musical notes, although I have no idea what the melody is as despite the copious number of hit songs I’ve written I don’t know how to read music. But that story’s for another time. What’s important here is the illustration of a pert and sunny sorority looking girl who’s more apt to be dancing in front of her TV with American Bandstand on than attending a Hootenanny while she’s being serenaded by the Ray-Ban man and  someone else whose pants are way too short.

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Yes, my birthday’s today and that means it’s time for me to make another one of my signature spewing fire and lava volcano birthday cakes! Ranging from a foot to 4′ wide and anywhere up to 25 pounds and 2 1/2′ tall, these overdosing towers of sweetness have accompanied me rounding the bend to another year ever since I first saw a commercial for The Special Effects Cookbook in 1992.

The real recipe calls for a nicely constructed “lifelike” looking volcano, but I’m an artist and into Kitsch so it should be no surprise that my cakes are hulking, unrecognizable lifeforms wayyyyy out of the realm of what the cookbook author had in mind.

Made of up to 10 layers of anything I want – vanilla, chocolate and cherry cake, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, Rice Krispy treats and any other foodstuffs appropriate for celebration – my creations are massive lumps of sugary heaven surrounded by Jell-O or whipped cream and accented with Snickers, mini marshmallows, sprinkles, multicolored frosting and flaming sugar cubes-soaked-in-almond-extract torches, all of which form a cave around spewing lava made from eggs, water and dry ice.

This may seem gross but let me tell you that in the 17 years of cooking/sculpting/drilling these things, even the most Vegan amongst us dives into this junk food fantasy like they’re in the hot dog eating contest at Coney Island. No utensils necessary, everyone goes fist first as the cakes are big enough that guests can easily locate a germ-free area in which to do their excavation.

Here’s my Birthday ’94 Volcano before it blew:


And here’s the first Volcano cake I ever made in 1993:

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See it erupting!:


Here’s me making a second 1993 lava spewing dragon cake in case my first volcano was too small to feed all my guests. A drill is one of my most necessary kitchen utensils.


Here’s my Volcano Birthday cake, 1997. Rather than stack four cakes on top of each other and risk an avalanche, or whatever it would be called if a volcano tipped over, I erected a mountain range.


Top view:

No Volcano cake this year but a most happy birthday to me!!


Anything that has Disco in the title is assured of shelf space at my place but the fact that the Pegtoy Corp. of Westport Connecticut calls this a “play style” means it gets a nice warm spot up front. With tiny little earplugs that might fit into the ears of an ant and a play cassette as thin as a communion wafer, this Disco Rock Radio has as much chance of actually emitting sound as a Pet Rock.

I especially love that the Disco Rock dancers look more like they’re doing the Riverdance than anything that might’ve gone on at Studio 54. I’m especially fond of the male dancers jumpsuit and high heel cowboy boots.

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