In the kountry of Kitsch, there’s no higher honor bestowed upon a President than that of being commemorated as a Chia Pet. Now Chia Obama joins Chia Washington and Chia Lincoln in achieving that honor.

This Special Edition “Chia Obama” comes in two different moods, Chia Obama “Happy” and Chia Obama “Determined”.


Both come with with enough seed packets for three separate plantings with full growth expected in one to two weeks.


My hope on this President’s Day is that things like job creation, health care and other aspirations of Actual Obama get the watering and tender lovin’ care they deserve so they can achieve full growth too.  Come on now and hail to the Ch-Ch-Ch- Chief!

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Not quite sure why no chair was provided for the female of the species as by the time this photo was taken for this vintage Hamm’s beer sign in the late ’70’s feminism had surely raised its voice loud enough to demand equality in seating arrangements. At least they’ve got a few beers to tip back this Valentine’s Day so her muscles won’t cramp in that position. Maybe one of her gifts to him is a pedicure. In addition to candy and flowers I hope one of  his gifts to her is a nice, comfortable chair.

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Can’t even move I’m so stiff and a little pissed as well as me who usually travels around with four cameras, different resolutions for different occasions, only had one on me last night at the opening of my musical, The Color Purple, back in LA for the third time, and after many years of faithful service this camera just handed in its resignation and quit. I suppose that could be considered Kitsch, the co-author of the show’s camera rebelling at the opening no less, leaving a master archivist, me, with little other than words to describe the UNBELIEVABLE NIGHT it was.

Alas, I’m at the mercy of friends sending me photos, all of which I hope will arrive sometime within the next 48 hours but not in enough time to have THE killer shot to head this blog post as I suspect my buds feel like me this morning after haaaard whooping and partying til 4 am. last night resulting in numb brain, feet, hands and anything else I can remotely feel still thumping. So pretend you see me in beautiful photos with some of last night’s guests including Quincy Jones, Chaka Kahn, Aaron Sorkin, Tisha Campbell, Loni Love, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Della Reese, Michael Colyar, Monique Coleman and my little party of Jai Rodriguez, John Lloyd Young and Luenell. I know I’m missing tons of folks but aforesaid brain is still soaked and without photos for reference I can’t make the ids.

Happy Purple. Please see the show if you’re in LA. Mommy’s very proud of the baby.

With some of the cast:


With Quincy Jones, Luenell and Constance Tillotson:

With John Lloyd Young, who was brilliant as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys which opened a couple weeks before us on Broadway:


With my TCP collaborator, Brenda Russell and Luenell, and a fabulous singer whose info I sadly lost as soon as she gave it to me, lead singer of Honeycomb, one of my favorite 70’s Soul groups (While You’re Out looking For Sugar”, “Want Ads”):


With Michael Colyar and Luenell:


With Charles Phoenix:


With my TCP collaborator, the Pulitzer prize winning Marsha Norman:


Three of my dates last night :  Jai Rodriguez, Brian DeShazor, Charles Phoenix:


Me and Luenell on the red (should have been purple) carpet:


With Prudence Fenton and Luenell:

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No official Kitsch O’ The Day entry today as I’m getting ready for the opening tonight of the last stop on the first national tour of my musical, The Color Purple. The second tour begins in March but it’s a whole new production and whole new cast. I will miss my amazing Color Purple family of the last five years BEYOND IMMENSELY!

Here’s me and my two music/lyric collaborators, Stephen Bray and Brenda Russell with Stephen’s daughter Milena and our fantasically amazing Celie, Fantasia, last night after previews.

The show runs from now through the 28th at the Pantages in LA.

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Seeing as the Lustrous Lipstick display was so popular yesterday I moved my vintage Ponds face cream up in KOTD status to grace the shelves at The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch today. Along with Jergens, Ponds ruled the middle class moisturizer market in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. Growing up, I don’t ever recall going into a friend’s house whose mom didn’t have a jar of this stashed next to the cotton balls.

Made by Chesebrough-Pond’s Inc., NY,NY this is the 10.4 oz. economy jar, the product’s most popular size. Pond’s famous Seven Day Beauty Plan included slathering this stuff on twice nightly for “smoother, lovlier” skin.


I remember stocking up on Ponds for college but then being too embarrassed to abide by the Pond’s famous Seven Day Beauty Plan for fear of having to walk my dorm around looking like this woman:


Here’s a 1960’s Ponds ad:


This commercial wasn’t for Ponds but for a competing more boutique line of facial cosmetics in the 1950s. It’s astounding to watch because of one of its secret ingredients, radioactivity!



Lipstick names absolutely slay me.  Lipstick displays with all the little color shafts lined up like cosmetic soldiers slay me even more.  Favorites here, some of which are still made, include Love That Pink, Paint the Town Pink, Foxy Brown, Million Dollar Red, Love That Red, Certainly Red, Red Hot Red, Cherries In The Snow And Cherries A La Mode. With this said, all I ever wear is Mac Morange.

If I could wear this lipstick display around my neck this would be my most favorite pendant ever.


I can’t think of anything Coke would go better with than a nice slab of liverwurst! Not sure what inspired anyone at the company to pick this meal combo to advertise the drink but I’m awfully glad they did because this 8″ x 24″ Litho cardboard sign has hung happily in my kitchen for almost 20 years. I’ve never done it the honor of munching down liverwurst when I pop the cap on a Coke but the sign inspired me enough that my alter ego, Bubbles the artist, painted a beautiful still life of the meal in 1999…


…and soon after also made this beautiful and appetizing dinner plate.


Both for sale. Actual liverwurst accompaniment is extra.

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Ponytail was one of the first if not THE first ubiquitous teenage girl brands. In the age of Elvis Presley, when such creatures felt freedom unlike any generations previous, Ponytail couldn’t crank out matching products fast enough – eyeglass cases, wallets, diaries, treasure boxes, 45s record cases, Deskette desk sets –  all in the signature Ponytail baby blue or powder pink leatherette.

I’m going to several Super Bowl parties today…


… and will be carrying my Ponytail assistant holding my notes and sketches as the ball I need to keep my eye on are my impending writing deadlines which I shall attend to with the other eye while the Saints and Colts duke it out.

This 2-ring binder measures a sporting 11″ x 15″ and features two pockets and a fabric identification label.



The only thing I really understand about this game is that Shari Lewis and Lambchop have absolutely nothing to do with it beyond appearing on the cover.  Perfect on the Kitsch scale but less than satisfying as a “game” as there are no instructions enclosed (another excellent sign of Kitsch).  I guess you hold the cards up and try and get the answer but if you’re unsuccessful you place the cheap little piece of plastic with holes punched in it over the card and it miraculously reveals the answer.shari-lewis-gameME_2809

Although the Bar-Zim company of Jersey City, New Jersey managed to stuff about 30 cards into the compact little box, many of the edges look like they were hand cut.  Maybe the person in charge of cutting  got a little slaphappy and haphazard as his brain numbed from the monotony of the “game”.


This is the best way a celebrity appearing on a product or endorsing it can achieve Kitsch: Make sure the product has absolutely nothing to do with the celebrity, produce it in the cheapest way possible and don’t include any instructions. Kudos to Shari Lewis and Lambchop Magic Answer Cards for scoring a perfect 10 in all categories!

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One of my favorite genres of Kitsch is when objects are produced to take advantage of a massive trend in pop culture but actually have nothing at all to do with that trend.  My next favorite genre of Kitsch is when the products themselves are impractical for the use they were created to serve. This “Disco Beat” earring holder qualifies on both fronts! The bouncy,  clean cut 1950’s American Bandstand bobby-soxers would have never gotten into the 1970’s disco-beated Studio 54 and the zillion holes provided to dangle earrings from makes for too crowded of a surface to effectively hang more than a couple sets of earrings without them hanging over each other and coalescing into a tangled mess.  All of which makes for one hell of the fantastic Kitsch product!

I had my ears pierced when I was 16 but the pain was so excruciating I couldn’t get the image of a shaft of metal poking through flesh out of my head, reliving the experience every time I poked a cheap little gold wire through either hole. So I gave up after a few years and nothing has violated that area since. I did however have a great collection of  vintage earrings, none of which fit on the Disco Beat unless I had at least a half an hour to spend trying to disengage the earrings from the holes and each other.

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