Finally, after months of work and a whole lot else my song, video and game, “Jungle Animal” – Pomplamoose and Allee Willis launched TODAY!!  To cut to the chase:




I’m never as interested in just collaborating on music as I am in a full multi-layered collaboration where I get to use my visual and social interactive skills as well. Long gone are the days that I wish to club 3/4 of my brain dead so I can just remain in something as a music writer. “Jungle Animal” provided me with the opportunity to connect everything I do into one cohesive multimedia project, just the way I like it.

You can take a peek at the collaboration as I worked on the Jungle Animal music with Pomplamoose here. Keep scrolling down on that page and it chronicles the days we spent together in LA and in Northern California where they live. I did the animation and game technology on my own down here in LA.


If you like what you see and hear, please email the links above to your friends, family, gardeners, mechanics and anyone else hovering in your spheres. There’s a lot going on in the jungle today!



For the last few months I’ve been holed away in the creative jungle known as my desk trying to complete a long-distance collaboration with Pomplamoose, the YouTube sensation band I collaborated with after I saw them do a highly unusual version of my song, “September”.  With “Jungle Animal”, a song and video we worked on together, as well as an online game that I whittled away at myself, theoretically just hours away from release, I thought that this off-kilter Atomic 1950’s zebra, knees buckling but still standing, was the perfect visual representation of what one feels like when they emerge from as intense of a workload as this.

Before this project, my connection to jungle animals was confined to those in my kitsch collection. Much more of a cat, dog or goldfish person, I certainly appreciated jungle animals but didn’t really come to love them as much until I had to stare at them over the last few months in order to do the artwork for the video and game.


I even opened a Jungle Animal Petting Zoo at my social network, The Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch at, so I would have more animals to study. I can see all the anatomically correct models I want with a Google search but I was more interested in how they’ve been interpreted via pop culture artifacts. For example, I learned a lot from this “dreamy tiger” submitted by aKitschionado Nessa.


And staring at this slightly blurry rope lion submitted by omahamama……


……provided for my interpretation of the king of the jungle:


And God knows, I’ve been staring at this zebra for years.


Long one of my favorite ceramics I’ve ever owned, this spectacularly Atomically tilted 1950’s zebra originally had a mate, a perfectly-tilted-the-other-way zebra. They really were the best set of jungle animals for my taste I’ve ever seen.  Both of them were quite heavy, filled with sand so they were sure not to fall off a shelf unless an earthquake of astronomical proportions hit. Unfortunately, that earthquake arrived in the person of someone I was interviewing to be my assistant who dropped the zebra carrying it to my car where I was about to leave to art direct some rock video. Needless to say, that was the end of the assistant, who I was much happier to lose than the zebra.

When it came to “Jungle Animal”, I stayed up for weeks painting.


I actually did every inch of painting in the computer. I just thought this was a great excuse to show what paints looks like when the artist loves her work. It was also a great excuse to show this box:


Perhaps if I spent less time growing up watching American Bandstand and more watching Jon Gnagy, the first television art instructor in the 1950’s and 60’s, I might have understood that despite the fact I think this looks dead-on like a real hippopotamus others might not.


The person who designed my favorite zebra was definitely not thinking about interpreting an animal of perfect zebratude when he sculpted and painted this:


Pound for pound, I think my zebra looks more like the real thing, though not as much as Jon Gnagy might have hoped for.


I can’t tell you how many years I wasted not being an artist because I was so hung up that I couldn’t draw anything exactly as it was. It took me decades to realize that true art is all about personal style. It’s about having the balls to show your stripes.


“Jungle Animal” was a very challenging collaboration for reasons I’ll one day be ready to talk about. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from painting and animating all these jungle animals, not the least of which was inspired by this full tilt zebra who, despite all odds, continues to stand up straight, it’s that with integrity and perseverance one can not only survive in the jungle but thrive.


(“Jungle Animal” is supposed to be up on YouTube at 1 AM tomorrow morning, the 21st of September. Ba-de-ya!)


I got this squirrel planter last week when I was up in Sonoma recording. At least I think it’s a squirrel. Maybe it’s a gopher, or even a beaver. I’m not that up on my animals with buck teeth but whatever it is I love that it’s got two separate compartments and, as such, I will be putting it to work here at Willis Wonderland. I’m not sure if the squirrel/gopher/beaver will hold pencils in the large compartment and paper clips in the little ashtray/bowl or Q-tips in the large compartment and safety pins in the smaller one. These types of decisions are the joys of being a collector who actually uses what they collect as opposed to putting things behind glass as so many collectors do, squeezing the life out of the object whose role usually grinds to a halt because of such practices. Though as a whole I find that very few collectors of kitsch actually relegate their artifacts to imprisonment in glass jails. Kitsch lovers usually put their objects right to work.  There’s a utilitarian pride in collecting such a genre, making this squirrel/gopher/beaver about to be very happy in its new home.


Speaking of new homes for squirrels, I have long been the enabler of fine living among the species. I apologize for the graininess of the following shots, all grabbed from videos at least 15 years old. This particular squirrel is enjoying a corn cob at a miniature picnic table and chair I erected for him/her to dine at.


Before I bought the squirrel his/her own patio set, he/she used to snack at my table:


A few times the squirrel dined in a fashionable 1950’s wrought iron planter:


And oftentimes when he/she was full he/she relaxed on the head of a statue that James Brown himself removed from my backyard when we wrote together in 1985 and he combed my collection for any mammys and Sambos and sent them packing.


After a few years I had to close the squirrel cafeteria because it just got too messy as every squirrel in Los Angeles eventually heard about it. As much as I miss all the activity in my backyard, this goofy little squirrel planter fulfills all my animal needs as he’s cute and I don’t have to feed him.

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In the 1960’s and 70’s when string paintings were at the peak of their popularity more string owls lived on wallpapered and wood paneled walls inside houses than real ones lived outside. I never took the craft up. The strings  in the crowded areas reminded me of tiny spider legs. The nails were tiny and unless you hit them dead on the black velvet would twist around the shaft and pucker everywhere. Then the string, or in this case yarn, had to be pulled completely taunt or you’d have a sagging bird. All those crisscrossing strings gave me Vertigo, especially when it got to places like around the eyes where there were so many of them it was like a spider convention at The Sheraton. This was way too precise of a task for a free-form, spontaneous artist such as myself. I felt the same way about Spirographs.

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As ubiquitous as they were there were way too many little spider leg lines for me and you had to adhere too strictly to the rules.

Whether fashioned out of string, metal or ceramic the owl is one of the most iconic birds in art.  Although I collect string owl paintings I prefer my owls in more solid form. I have owl cups, …

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… an owl radio,…

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… an outdoor metal owl…


… and a zillion other forms of owls. I even have more owl string art.


I think my black velvet owl string painting is one of the best looking around, bare bones and to the point.


The disadvantage of owning a string art owl is that keeping him clean is nasty business. Black velvet  is hard enough to keep clean without 12,000 little worms stretched across it. The next time you see string art at someone’s house take a good look. The little nails are like barbecue pits around which families of dust balls gather. So, no barbecues at my place, no owls on the wall, just a nice string painting, wrapped back in plastic, going back to nest in a rack in my garage until the next time I need a good look at the First National Bird Of Kitsch.



I’m not sure which kitsch factor I enjoy most about this made in Japan Portable Banana Keeper,  the fact that it’s pierced with hearts because it loves bananas so much,…


…or that you can wear it as a necklace,…


…or that the little latches that keep your banana secure are so hard to pop open it will only last for two or three reloadings,…


…or that my cat loves it…


…or that there’s a special one for green bananas…,


…so special, in fact, that it’s called a Banana Case…


…as opposed to its yellow big brother,…


…The Banana Keeper,…


…and is scientifically designed with tiny holes instead of large hearts…


…to ripen your fruit quicker despite the fact that few people I know would walk around with their banana around their neck for days while they waited for it to ripen.

Or maybe it’s simply the fact that all bananas aren’t created equal and some don’t fit into their new home.


Whatever the case may be, I love plastic convenience products from Japan. And I don’t really care if the Banana Keeper/ Banana Case works or lasts at all as long as it continues to make my cat happy.



Thank you, aKitschionado Margaret Lewis, for your generous contribution of one Banana Case and two Banana Keepers to The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at!


I can’t remember any game more popular than Cootie when I was growing up. But forget about the game itself, I loved playing with the little plastic body parts. I’m quite positive that the full-on-plastic-soaked-saturation of the pink Cootie legs is where my love of that particular color came from.


My house is the same pink:


So was my car:


I still get a thrill when I touch any of the Cootie contents today, especially those pink legs.


I’m sure that looking at all this saturated color all day when I was a kid influenced me as an artist. Here’s my very first art piece I made as a grownup artist in 1983:


It was a 5 1/2′ x  8′ collage of made out of (primarily) pink house paint, 70’s Ebony magazine clips and 50’s TV knobs. It was called “Dialated Pupils”.

Here’s a blurry photo of James Brown sitting in front of it when we worked together in the 80’s:


None of this has much to do with the subject at hand other than my life is filled with pink and there was no bigger fan of my memorabilia collection than The Godfather. But back to Cootie:

This particular Cootie game was the victim of a flood just weeks after Mr. Brown was over when some of my underwear clogged the drain that the washing machine dumped into.


The same flood ruined the my Beatles wig…


… but that doesn’t have much to do with Cootie either.

I don’t even really remember the rules of the game – I just liked twisting the little pink legs into the Cootie bodies. But I do remember not liking the directions because they were so slanted towards the dominant sex it was assumed would play the game:


Cootie, my house, my art, my car, James Brown, my Beatles wig –  this post is all over the place, just like the Cootie legs are going to be as soon as I pick this up:


As much as I loved/love those pink legs the Schaper  Manufacturing Company of Minneapolis, who made the game in 1949, never mastered a tight enough fit of them into the body holes. The last time I officially played Cootie I was 10, stepped on one of my beloved pink legs and slid into a bridge table with a cup of coffee on it, the contents of which dumped on my pristine white buck shoes forever staining them just like they had been in a flood over here all those years later.



There’s nothing more I like to throw on my head to protect it from a raging shower stream than a shower cap covered with T-bone steaks. I wish it were more of a meat directory up there but, alas, despite giving the cap the general category name of “meat” only the lonely T-bone made it to immortality.


I found this elegant “Deluxe” shower cap a few years ago when I was looking for party souvenirs. There they were, 30,000 glistening meat caps for sale at some online overstocks place for 15¢ each.  I was so excited my teeth started chattering as if I had been locked in the freezer with a side of beef for days. It took all my strength not to figure out a way to get all 30,000 of them. $450 would buy me enough meat chapeau souvenirs for a lifetime. But I behaved and held myself to 300 so I had enough money left to concentrate on the real beef that guests could put in their mouths and not on their heads.


I’ve won many awards in my lifetime. Finally becoming FDA approved is right up there with the best of them.



As Kitschmeister General I love, love, love the San Fernando Valley, just inches from the center of Hollywood and pumped full of Kitsch like a buffet line at Trader Vics. This is the first in a series of short films I’m making glorifying the Kitsch monuments that abound around me for Part 1 features everything from Roman architecture and giant submarine sandwiches to clowns, frog families, volcanoes, giant fish, horses, shoe cars and very happy houses.

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For the full glorious and kitschyfied tour:

And check out


Once again I don the Easter bonnet I made to go to my friend April Winchell’s mother’s house Easter, 1998 where she had a smorgasbord of international foods, the unrecognizable contents of which were festooned with name tags stuck into the dishes on popsicle sticks, an excellent sign if one likes a side of Kitsch with their holidays.

This was the first Easter bonnet I ever wore, modeled with the Sears Easter Bunny in Detroit in 1952.  It was storebought and wasn’t very Eastery. I vowed to have more festive haberdashery after that.


My current chapeau is made of foamcore, eggs, chicks, peeps, bunnies, roosters, shredded cellophane, bagels and about 10 pounds of hot melt glue. It has held up remarkably well over the years .

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There were recipes for “Eggs In Exciting Ways” from a vintage cookbook under the brim.


I’m wearing the hat now and having a very Happy Easter.  I hope you are too.


Although one of these little fish was a victim of the 1994 LA earthquake and lost the tip of her fin this happy couple are still among my favorite salt-and-pepper shakers in my collection of 1000 or so vintage ones. Though any ceramic animal, fish, vegetable or otherwise that has eyelashes immediately leaps it to a higher ranking in the army of Kitsch over here.

The only drag about these stone cold 1950’s/ Made in Japan amphibians is that the holes drilled for the S&P to come through are so huge that once you flip the fish over the entire Morton Salt mine blankets the food like an avalanche. Over the years I’ve learned how to bend my wrist just so in order to release the desired amount but they still terrorize dinner guests if I haven’t remembered to swap them out for a pair with more delicate holeage.

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