Anyone reading my blog long enough knows I’m an unabashed lover of junk food. My conscience has upped through the years but in a perfect world I would sustain myself on the Cheetos end of the scale. I learned how to make a Cherpumple and oftentimes take trips in search of the best food junk has to offer. Last weekend I took a trip up to Alameda, CA in search of real junk, both food and artifacts, when two of the most dedicated members of The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com were filmed for a segment of The Style Network’s Clean House.
If you’ve never seen that show, the people it usually features are certified pack rats who must give up the bulk of their stuff in a garage sale. But in the case of kookykitsch and Meshuggah Mel…
…it was that too much junk had accumulated for kookykitsch’s small kitsch storefront and was taking over their house. I knew that with all their “junk” this was going to be a DO NOT MISS sale so Mark Blackwell and I piled into my well-groomed van and headed toward the goods.
I can’t reveal the gems I acquired until after the show airs in the summer but I can reveal some of the spectacular junk food that was made for a kitschtastic party thrown in my honor by the aKitschionados up in the Oakland area, only two of whom I’d met before.
The party took place at the home of Rusty Blazenhoff and Ken Dashner two days before Valentines Day. Knowing that I love Jell-o, Rusty was gracious enough to prepare black cherry Jell-o hearts…
…and this Cool Whip and red Jell-o “salad:
Rounding out the Jell-o smorgasbord was this vodka filled lemon Jell-o mold with “I love Kitsch” spelled out in sunken Gummi letters. Trust me, there’s always room for Jell-O and there’s always room for kitsch. There were vodka Jell-o shots to wash it down.
Good Jew that I am (my constantly malfunctioning Mac Dictate software typed “good chew that I am”, which I guess is also appropriate), Rusty surrounded Jesus with these delicious Fluffernutters on Wonder Bread hearts sandwiches:
Everybody loves Fluffernutters.
Wonder Bread was a very popular foodstuff at the party. Jenny Martens also prepared these lovely tomato and cheese and minced ham scalloped tea cakes:
As you can see in my right hand in that last photo, I was very excited that Pigs in a Blanket also made an appearance. But I didn’t see the little sign that clearly marked them as ‘vegetarian’ before I popped one of Dorinda VonStroheim, a.k.a Baby Doe’s, treats in my mouth.
I munched down on a rubbery substance that had no pig in it but I must say that it did have an excellent hot dogish taste. I grabbed another one and took a bite, excited that I liked something vegetarian. But a half an hour later someone snapped this photo of the vestiges of it crushed flat as a pancake in my hand. At least I tried.
Lucky for me, Karen Finlay brought some real Pigs In The Blanket. I was remiss in taking a photo of her dogs/pigs but that’s her in the fabulous Mexican blanket-like skirt.
Chad Martens brought several varieties of Easy Cheese and spread them on reduced fat Ritz crackers with bacon bits and tomatoes.
The Martens also brought eternal vintage party pleasers, Triscuits. By the time I got to them there was no dip left in the center of the dish.
There not being a drop of anything I’m thinking that the Martens made a concious decision to allow the beauty of the sparkle plate to shine through, skipping the dip entirely. After all, Easy Cheese is tasty squirted on Triscuits and comes in a can so no dip is necessary.
Ken Dashner brought always elegant curly Cheetos and some Pabst Blue Ribbon to wash them down.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Todd Evans made this lovely cream cheese heart smothered in jalapeño jelly.
Clubhouse crackers, still in their plastic vacuform case, are always a perfect complement.
Rebecca Evans made a very fancy dish.
The pimento loaf with small green olives, toothpick swords, and asparagus star center deserves a close-up because of its excellent art direction. The missing pieces are probably because of me.
The bulk of the desserts were made by Maggie Lewis, aka windupkitty, an Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch party faithful since the virtual doors opened in September, 2009. She made a plethora of blindingly kitschy desserts, among them peanut M&M cookies…
…and brownies with toffee dribbled on top…
Baby Doe contributed these chocolate “cake bites”.
I think it’s brilliant that someone would carve tiny bite-size chunks so one can stuff multiples of them in their mouth without feeling like they consumed a whole piece of cake. You can down more that way and psychologically it doesn’t put on any calories. I only wish that jar of Maxwell House was full to wash the bites down.
Windupkitty also cooked up some excellent haberdashery for the evening. She’s very shy and prefers to be photographed from the back.
Here’s a close-up of her Pigmy Will chapeau:
Windupkitty also presented me with the stunning felt hat that sat on my head throughout the entire evening and has hardly been off my noggin a second since I’ve been home.
We did manage to get a nice shot of Windupkitty from the front though when she brought a few of the more embarrassing albums I had songs on for me to autograph.
I don’t actually think they’re embarrassing. It’s just that when you’ve written a lot of Earth, Wind & Fire, Pet Shop Boys, Pointer Sisters, Patti LaBelle, Aretha, The Color Purple. etc., Richard Simmons and The Del Rubio Triplets are not the LPs that usually come up for me. I, of course, love that Windupkitty stuck to the theme and schlepped these to a party honoring me and kitsch.
The evening was topped off with a nice sophisticated game of Twister.
Our Clean House honorees, Jessica, a.k.a. kookykitsch, and Mel, a.k.a. Meshugga Mel, had to retire early for more Clean House filming in the morning.
Just as Mark and I were about to follow them out, I noticed a set of dishes in the dining room and commented that I had 109 pieces of the same 1940’s “Bambu” by Weil Ware pattern. Before I knew it, boxes were laid out before me and I was packing up the pieces from Rusty’s bureau to take home because she wanted to make room for new dishes
I was hyperventilating from excitement so much I forgot to take a photo of the dishes on her shelf but here they are sitting with their relatives back at Willis Wonderland:
One person who didn’t make many of the shots was Mark Blackwell, who I drove up with and who was taking most of the photos seen here. But I did manage to get this shot of him as he emptied out the 40 pound freezer bag that he had to constantly lug around and refill with buckets of ice from the hotel ice machine to keep the cold packs cold that I had to constantly slap on my just-operated-on knee throughout our stay. We were so sugared up by the time we got back to the hotel, having to let a 40 pound bag of ice pee in the shower seemed like a fitting shot to end a most fabulous kitschified evening.