In my youth, Sundays were always for relaxing. But as the years have stretched on, all too many days of rest have turned into days I push pedal to the metal and try to jam in anything I can before the week’s normal downpour of work befalls me. As you can imagine, a nice steaming cup of coffee to start off the day can make it all seem somewhat more civilized. Though not every Sunday…

I’m actually down to 1-3 cups of decaf a day from the 20-30 caffeinated ones I used to throw back when I first started to write songs. In the 70’s, the coffee machine and Pong were the only social breaks for a working musician with a permanent reservation in a recording studio.

These days, I usually pour a cup as soon as I wake up.  Then I sit down at my computer and go through an average 100 emails, curate and post at least ten new artifacts submitted to my social network, The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch, not to mention dealing with two Facebook pages, a Tweet, feeding three cats, getting my assistant up to speed for the day’s tasks, and returning any phone calls to people still living in the Stone Age who don’t email or text, none of which accounts for the songwriting, art, video, animation or other duties that constitute what my real work is that I need to prep for each morning.  All of which gets me to the bottom of an average cup of decaf before I’m a tenth of the way through.  Which is why this triple size stack is the answer to my prayers.

Also, for someone as lazy as me when it comes to exercise, saving the ten steps from my main computer to the kitchen for a refill is to be considered.

I also like looking sharp while sipping.

A couple days ago, I documented my Sunday drive with Charles Phoenix, noting that our very first stop was for an appetizer at Spudnuts, a donut establishment where the donuts are made out of potatoes. We weren’t sure how these were gonna taste but I can tell you that the big fat cakey one I had was literally one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

When Charles and I hit upon foodstuffs of this magnitude we oftentimes stick it in a box, videoing ourselves packing it up, and then open it in a year to see how much has changed. We were about to open a box of two dozen Yum Yums we laid to rest last New Year’s, 2010…

…but decided to let it go another year. We think that other than being harder than a rock, the donuts are going to look perfect but just be more dietarily appealing because, as you can see, all the grease  has been absorbed by the box. But that outcome will now not be revealed until 2012.

This last Sunday, our Spudnuts were so good that we both saved the last bites with intentions of also wrapping them up for a year to open in January, 2012. But we both forgot them under the front seat of Charles’ car and when we went out a couple nights ago we found that all they were of use for by then were to break your jaw. At the moment of discovery, we were right across the street from another historic Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank. So we raced out of the car and posed in front of the Boy himself in order to offer you the last look at our delicious, beloved Spudnuts.

If by any chance you have a Spudnut establishment in your neighborhood –  I have no idea if this is local to California or what –  I’d sure like to know if they’re as good in your neck of the donut as in ours. Happy chewing!

One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is to take a drive with my fabulous friend, Charles Phoenix, who knows the kitsch heights of Los Angeles and surrounding areas unlike anyone else on the planet. As we both adore LA and equally revere its vintage past, we regularly  tool through sections of town with unbelievable architecture and restaurants still unscathed by the wrecking ball. Usually we have a set destination but this time we just decided to get in the car and let the wheels take us where they may.

Our first stop was at Spudnuts in Inglewood, where Charles had heard there were unbelievable donuts made out of  potatoes. We had an appetizer there.

For the main course we hit Dinah’s in Culver City.

The 1950’s interior of Dinah’s is as fabulous as that massive bucket of fried chicken that hovers above the restaurant outside.

I especially like the carvings in the floor:

Charles and his fried chicken look excellent against the interior.

I got fried chicken too but it was my sides that were most impressive if one is judging on the culinary kitsch scale. First, there was my creamed spinach, which looked and tasted much more like elementary school paste:

Then there were my green beans. We were particularly fascinated by one particular bean as it was just a hollow tunnel with no bean inside. See how you can see clear down to the fork prong?

It’s just this kind of detail that makes this relaxed kind of day even better. There was also an outstanding detail at the IHOP we passed in Westchester, just outside LAX.

Most IHOP’s are known for their pancakes, not their horses:

Driving through Hawthorne we passed many modern 60s buildings like this…

…as well as fantastic signage like this:

We didn’t stop at Pizza Show as we were on our way to far more impressive vintage architecture and signage:

Each letter is mounted on a metal mesh canister that lights up.

The roofline is spectacular.

Other then the ratty white plastic chair that too many restaurants use for outdoor seating, the interior of Chips is just as fantastic as the exterior:

Also fantastic is the name of the whipped cream they squirt at Chips:

Charles had quite a lot of Affair going on inside his chocolate malt.

I had a sensible tossed salad with about 10,000 calories worth of Thousand Island dressing and a nice cup of watery vegetable soup.

Next we hit King’s Hawaiian Bakery in Torrance.

Charles, featured recently on the front page of the Wall Street Journal with his towering Chepumple pie/cake, wanted some King’s Rainbow Bread so we each bought a loaf. I think you can see why:

The only thing better at King’s than that psychedelic bread is the giant pineapple holding up the ceiling in the dining room.

We continued on through Torrance, passing many more incredible 1960s office buildings.Some people think these edifices look like crap. To us, they’re a Pantheon among Pantheons.

But by far, my  favorite architecture in Torrance is the Palos Verdes Bowl.

The curved rock wall reminds me of 1950’s Vegas.

The cut-out metal overhangs are pretty great:

The font is even greater, with a new ‘O’ getting it almost right except the color:

But even more impressive than the bowling alley exterior was the outfit on this bowler:

It’s hard to see in this photo but that’s a matching shimmery lion shirt and pants. The way the sun bounced off the lion on this guy’s butt was astounding. The jeans were very shiny too. I can only hope that he had matching bowling shoes.

We left Palos Verdes and passed a plethora of  great vintage signs like these in Lomita…

… and these in Long Beach:

We passed so many vintage motels they deserve a separate post. But this classic “Colonial” estabishment, with enough pillars to hold up a stadium, was one of my favorites. Fake facades are to motels what Liberace’s capes were to Liberace.

As the sun began to set, we passed this excellent mural saluting the working people of Long Beach. I especially love the marionette looking man or is it a woman out in front with the orange toupee.

Our last stop was at this historic Bob’s Big Boy in Downey. Originally built in 1958 as Harvey’s Broiler, it’s considered the birthplace of car culture dining. Unfortunately, some of the neon was out.

We did get these excellent photos with Big Boy though.

And we got to sit in a fabulous newly-tweaked-but-vintage-nonetheless interior:

And we ate very sensibly as Charles demonstrates with his fit-conscious cottage cheese…

… and me with my second tossed salad of the day. It seems blasphemous to be in an authentic diner and not get a lump of Thousand Island on something.

All in all a was a wonderful day, tooling around LA with a wonderful friend whose eyes absorb kitsch as fast as mine and whose stomach knows how to theme eat so that what goes in matches the staggering sites that lie outside.


Join me and Hidden Los Angeles and send a Valentine’s Day card to Milly Del Rubio. Details below.

Anyone who knows me knows that two of the most important things in the world to me are music and kitsch. Songs I’ve written have sold over 50 million records and, to the best of my knowledge, I have the largest collection of kitsch artifacts in the world. Discovering The Del Rubio Triplets in 1985 is easily the jewel in my musical kitsch crown.

I first saw the Del Rubios in 1985 on a flyer that said “Three Gals/ Three Guitars…We play 375 different kinds of music”. I didn’t even know there was 375 different kinds of music but between that and the mini skirted, go-go booted, platinum hair helmeted madness of their photo I called them immediately and made plans to go to a party they were playing at that weekend.

My party date was Katey Sagal a.k.a. Peg Bundy. The breath was literally knocked out of both of us when the triplets opened the door to the porta potty-like shed that was their dressing room and we beheld the most magnificent  vestiges of human kitsch we had ever seen. I didn’t care what they sounded like, I knew they had to sing my songs.

Out of the 375 different types of music the Del Rubios played, conspiculously missing was Rock or anything remotely contemporary. I told them that playing “today’s” music was going to be their rocket to stardom and said that if they learned my song, “Neutron Dance”, a huge hit by the Pointer Sisters at the time, I would hire them to play at a party I was throwing in a couple weeks to open a new club downtown called The Stock Exchange.

And so they preformed for 2000 of my closest friends, all of whom stood gaped-mouthed as the 65+ year old minskirted sisters gave much leg and warbled from a balcony 20 feet above the crowd.

No one had ever seen or heard anything like it before, the triplets perfectly in tune with each out-of-tune other, playing similarly out-of-tune guitars and smacking drum solos on the sides of their instruments. As they plowed into “Neutron Dance” I looked down and saw the crowd parting to make room for a mound of hair that was pushing to the front. I realized that the moment I had always waited for, the ultra smashing together of the high and low ends of music into one perfectly mangled moment of musical expression, was upon me! As the Del Rubios finished the song, Ruth Pointer, who sang lead on “Neutron Dance”, wove her way up the circular staircase and ripped into the song again. With her help, The Del Rubio Triplets had ARRIVED:

For the next few years I did almost nothing without the triplets. They performed at every single party I threw, including a pajama party where they backed Joni Mitchell.

The Del Rubios had long told me that their main competition back in the day was The Andrews Sisters. But when Maxine Andrews showed up at the pajama party it was the first she’d heard of them.

In 1987, my song, “What Have I Done To Deserve This?”, was a hit with Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield. Neil and Chris were obsessed with the triplets and always wanted to do a duet with them. The Del Rubios preformed the song when it was #2 on the Billboard charts at my “What Have I Done To Deserve This Art?” opening.

The video I made of them performing it there expired when I left it on the front seat of my Studebaker Commander in a heat wave but here’s the outro of them singing the song on the Victoria Looseleaf show a couple of years later:

In 1991, they were a complete hit at my “Smock It To Me (Art Can Taste Bad In Any Medium)” party where they entertained a plethora of show business luminaries. There’s pieces of “Neutron Dance” and “Whip It” with Devo lead, Mark Mothersbaugh, accompanying them at 3:14 here:

Once I called legendary record exec, Clive Davis, and told him I had made the most significant  talent discovery of my career. I loaded the Del Rubios into a van and drove to the Beverly Hills Hotel. Clive opened the door to his bungalow, took one look at them, hugged me and whispered in my ear, ”You owe me big time”.

In 1989 there was a fairly substantial earthquake in LA. It was before I learned the beauty of museum wax to stop things from falling and hundreds of precious kitsch and Atomic 50’s artifacts lay smashed on the floor. As such, I was in a complete fog and almost didn’t hear the doorbell when it rang. I thought it was one of my neighbors offering to turn the gas back on but instead it was Eadie, Elena and Milly, replete in matching fuscha mini party dresses and their ever present white go-go boots, ready for an interview I was doing with them for  Details Magazine, where I had my own column through much of the ’80s.

Throughout the years, I spent a lot of time in the Del Rubio’s mobile home.

They stayed up every night drinking one martini each and sewing their costumes, of which they had hundreds, all miniskirts or mini dresses, one nuttier and more fringe filled than the next. Every night once the sewing was done they would plan new arrangements on their trusted toy Emenee organ, the keys of which had all been stuck for at least three years when I met them, the victim of a spilled jug of martinis. I asked them why they never cleaned the keys so the organ actually made some sound and they always assured me they “could hear it perfectly fine the way it was”.

I documented much of our escapades in the aforementioned Details interview. The 27 page cut-down-to 3 page interview – the girls were excessive gabbers – helped expose them to a national audience and  they went on to appear on tons of TV shows including  multiple Lettermens, Arsenio Hall, Pee Wee’s Christmas Special, The Golden Girls and on and on.

The Del Rubio Triplets did everything in the order they were born. There were only 15 minutes separating each of them but Eadie was clearly the oldest, always standing on the left, Elena, born next, was always in the middle and Milly, the youngest, was always on the right. They sat in this order, ate at the table in that order, went to the bathroom each morning in that order, preformed on stage in that order and even slept in the same bed in that order.

As fate would have it, the Del Rubios also died in that order, Eadie  departing in 1996 with Elena following four years later. Milly is thankfully still with us.

I’ve written and worked with some amazing singers over the years, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Aretha, Cyndi Lauper, Patti LaBelle and Earth, Wind & Fire among them. But none swept me away with as much gusto as The Del Rubio Triplets. We should all be blessed with such belief in self and joy for what we do. They never questioned their talent, never suffered a creative block, never got tired of performing for adoring audiences who greeted them with laughter, which they always said was “better than applause”.

That last photo, from their 1995 Christmas card, is typical of the Del Rubios who were freaks about maintaining order and tradition. Even though they’re perched out of their usual order, with Milly now on the left and Eadie on the right, they signed their names in the order they were most used to, with Milly on the right and Eadie on the left. I never asked them whether they knew that they were signing under the wrong triplet.

Valentines Day is coming up and I’d love nothing more than to shower Milly with thousands of Valentine’s Day cards. So please join me and Hidden Los Angeles and send a Valentines Day card to Milly Del Rubio, c/o Allee Willis, 11684 Ventura Blvd., Suite 430, Studio City, CA 91604. With all that love pouring in and Milly seeing that she’s still getting her props maybe we can get her to pick up her guitar one last time.

If you weren’t nauseous before you grabbed for this “A sick bag” or “Sac a vomis” you would be after taking a look at everything going on on the packaging.

I love that “A sick bag” is also referred to as ‘the etiquette bag’ as it “will help by quickly solidifying your vomit and quenching the odor”. Now THAT’s etiquette!

I always like when a creative slogan like “help when you’re feeling sick and want to throw up” is employed:

That sudden feeling of wanting to share your contents with the sidewalk can happen anywhere, on all kinds of transport:

I can’t imagine many people would need instructions about how to use the “A sick bag” but easily understandable ones are included nonetheless:

In case you don’t read Japanese, helpful illustrations for how to open your A sick bag, heave into it and seal it up are also included:

I don’t know about you, but if I had an unexpected, unsightly regurgitation the last thing I’d want to do is carry it around all day until I got home. And what’s up with the “non-burnable trash”? Are we saving it for something?

The conflict of “1” and “batches” is making me slightly nauseous:

I guess Arabic speaking peoples also have a propensity for “vomis”:

Ahh, I think I will save my coin and just use a plastic bag should the occasion “arise”.

Although none of these little mini pens come in the signature Mac Morange ultra bright neon shimmer orange color that I slap on my lips almost every hour of the day, they’ve been a staple in my purse ever since I received three of them for Christmas. They’re the exact size of and dead ringers for a real tube of lipstick so, as someone who always carries multiple pens because I’m forever writing myself notes, size and beauty rank these high on my list of practical kitsch accoutrements.

I hate keeping things in my head. I don’t like my brain clogged with anything other than empty space for ideas to float around in and percolate. And, despite the fact that I have three iPhones because I can’t take the time to look for my phone when I inevitably misplace it, I’m still in the habit of scribbling notes on little pieces of paper.

And just as I am with iPhones (and pocket recorders and keys and anything else that’s small that I need to put my hands on at a moment’s notice), I’m incapable of only owning one lipstick pen.

I tried to live with just these three for a couple weeks but broke down today and went on the hunt for them online. I was going to get a conveniently priced set of 12 but was watching Extreme Couponing on TLC during my search so felt inspired to stockpile. In just a few days I’ll be the proud recipient of enough lipstick pens to keep one constantly in sight for a year. My one regret is that the pens don’t come in all these gorgeous 1970’s shades:

I still get a thrill when I uncork a new tube of lipstick for the first time and that perfectly shaped oval ski slope of slick, untouched color emerges. If you’re someone who loves lipstick, there’s nothing like that first virgin drag across your lips. I like lipstick so much that I have several other lipstick shaped  items.  For example, I have a lipstick camera,

… a lipstick umbrella

… and several lipstick lighters.

But most beautiful of all are my new lipstick pens!

I have a lot of friends. I love my friends. I even wrote the theme song. As I usually work as far as the hands on the clock stretch, I mostly see my friends at parties, which is where most of them see each other too.  The seven-day stretch between Christmas and New Year’s is always fun as it’s chocked full of some of the best of them. And for the last umpteen years, the same two friends throw a New Years Eve and New Years Day party respectively, taking the pressure out of the holidays as along with sugar cookies and cheese balls I know what and, most importantly, who to expect:

Me, Charles Phoenix and Prudence Fenton:

Michael Des Barres, Roseanne Barr, Sally Kellerman, Dweezil Zappa and me:

Billy Bob Thornton and me:

Matt Groenig and me:

Buck Henry, me, Gail Zappa:

Me, Steve Vai and Pia Vai:

Me, Beverly D’Angelo and Eric Idle:

Dweezil Zappa and me:

Me, Dr. Kildare Richard Chamberlain and Nancye Ferguson:

Michael McDonald and me:

Peter Asher and me:

Me and Stan Zimmerman:

Nancye Ferguson, me and Beverly D’ Angelo:

Prudence Fenton, Jim Burns aka Sgt. Frank Woods, me:

Nancye Ferguson, Michael DesBarres and me:

Candy Clark, Bob Garrett and me:

Me and Charles Phoenix:

The bagpipe player who serenaded Gail Zappa on her New Year’s Day birthday:

Me, Antonio Hendricks, Prudence Fenton and Nancye Ferguson:

Diva Zappa, me, Irene Ramp:

Ian Buchanan, me, Nancye Ferguson:

Now back to work and to more wonderful friends in 2011!

We are blessed here at The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at to have an actual Brady in our Bunch and, as such, “Fake Jan Day” is now one of our National Kitsch Holidays! If you don’t know what “Fake Jan Day” is, Cindy Brady will explain it to you here.

Should you not decide to celebrate Fake Jan Day by dressing as a fake Jan I would suggest you simply acknowledge this most precious Kitsch National Holiday by ingesting the traditional “Fake Jan Day” food, the beloved sculptural culinary wonder known as the Cheese Ball. As far as I’m concerned, any day one has an official excuse to make a Cheese Ball is a holiday worth celebrating!

Oops, I didn’t mean those Cheese Balls.

I know the Christmas decorations are finally packed away but squirting cream cheese out of a frosting cone to enhance your Cheese Ball means that Santa gets one more closeup here at AWMOK.

It takes hardly any prodding at all to get me into the kitchen and in artistic mode to begin crafting a Cheese Ball. Were I not so lazy and overextended from holiday parties I might have even made it to the supermarket to construct one of my own so that it might serve as a veritable religious icon in the celebration of  Fake Jan Day. However, YouTube proved to be a loyal assistant here, and finding enough cheese balls, both gastronomic and human, proved an easy task.  So, if the holy fromage spirit inspires you to celebrate Fake Jan Day, wash your hands now and get ready to roll!

“Deep Fried Cheese Ball” – There seems to be a few steps missing here:

“Cheese Ball” – And now for the silent treatment:

“Corn Of Plenty Mini Cheese Ball recipe” – Don’t any of these people have heads?

“How To Make A Cheesy Spider Cheese Ball” – This is for Halloween but I’m sure it will keep til then:

“How To Make A Cheese Ball” – If the energy were any lower here I’d bottle it and take it to get to sleep every night:

“Pineapple Cheese Ball – Happy New Year”  I’m not sure if Pineapple Cheese Ball is the name of the dish or our sparkling hostess:

I never made a cheese ball of the magnitude of the following but I did make quite an impressive mashed potato ball once:

I sculpted the ball out of mashed potatoes, hit it with red food coloring, and stuck olives, gherkins and miniature corns in for a satellite effect and then fit it on top of my 1950’s Saturn shaped coffee urn for maximum presentational effect. You can see it and other impressive food ideas in my 1991 tiny short film, “Foxy’s Tips On Love – The Road To A Man’s Stomach Is Color-Coordinated”.

Whether you make your balls out of cheese, mashed potatoes or whatever ball material you choose I hope you have a very festive Fake Jan Day today!