Brand new Pigmy Will video, as sophisticated as ever!
It was the 21st night of September, the opening line of my very first hit song as well as the date of the grand opening party at LA’s Ghettogloss celebrating the launch of AWMoK.com, The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch, my mini social network and ongoing exhibit of all things Kitsch. I am SO NOT the type to get up at a party and perform my own songs but this was the night that tradition broke.
As it was a special night in my musical history being “the 21st night of September” as well as a night to celebrate Kitsch with a kapitol K, I decided to let anyone who wanted to sing do bad karaoke versions of “September”. I also brought a bunch of rickety, thrift-shop-bought instruments with me – a knockoff Beatles Apollo bass with three strings, a 1981 Casio keyboard with 2 1/2 octaves and a missing middle C. key – just in case any of the famous musicians in attendance might want to play along, my style.
As any of you familiar with me know, I’m a massive fan of smooshing together very high and very low elements of art that most people would create, perform or perpetuate in very different spaces and times. But I live for those moments where the incredible thinking, technology and execution at the top collide with the passion, dedication and mixed results talent at the bottom.
Moments like these have allowed me to see some of my Greatest Hits performed by the best and the worst at once. Like when my discoveries, The Del Rubio Triplets, octogenarian identical triplets in miniskirts and go-go boots and of questionable musical prowess, performed “Neutron Dance” with The Pointer Sisters the very week the record entered the Top 10. I’m elated to report that the 21st night of September a couple of weeks ago was an opportunity for another such hi/lo performance.
In walks Larry Dunn, original Earth Wind & Fire keyboard player extraordinaire who played on every significant EWF hit, and Verdine White, cofounding member who’s still in EWF, greatest bass player who ever lived and the man who discovered me and brought me to the group back in 1978. And there’s Luenell, hysterical off-color comedienne who is literally the #1 Earth Wind & Fire fan in the world. She carries their Greatest Hits CD with her wherever she goes and watches the EWF Collection DVD every day, swear to God. She’s been in love with Larry Dunn since she first caught sight of his perfectly carved Afro in the early 1970s.
Here are three 6 minute videos documenting one of the best times I’ve ever had in my life at a party. Part 1 is the set up, where Luenell meets her idols and I announced that anyone who has the balls to sing “September” with Earth Wind & Fire in the house is welcome to do so. Part 2 is us doing “September” and Part 3 is “Boogie Wonderland”.
I have video cameras going almost every minute of the day. It’s moments like these that would never translate unless you were there to see them that make me thankful I spend every dime I earn on tape, cameras and people to point them.
Last thing I’ll say here is to make sure and go to AWMoK.com, the reason everyone came to celebrate and where so many people have gone to keep the party going ever since.
Seems like there are hundreds of photos circulating on the Internet from my party Monday night where, among a zillion other things, members of Earth Wind & Fire performed in a parking lot for anyone who wanted to sing my EWF hits, “September” and “Boogie Wonderland”.
The Grand Opening Party #2 at Ghettogloss for The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at awmok.com also featured a Thrift Shop Art auction,
a raffle to win a personally-conducted-by-me tour of Willis Wonderland, the physical home of the AWMoK, and massive amounts of gourmet Street and standard faire junk food to keep the minds of the 400 attendees tweaked to Kitsch perfection.
I usually go through the photos and pick out the 20 or so best ones but I loved the fantastic mix of people and ages so as long as it was in focus it’s here.
People keep sending me new photos everyday so I very likely may be adding to these everyday. And video of the insanely kitschy performances with EWF is coming as soon as I can grab enough minutes to edit something together.
People magazine said of my parties, “Invitations to Allee Willis’s ultra-exclusive … parties are the campiest hot tickets in LA.” I’m confident I quite lived up to my reputation with this one!
Go to AWMoK.com to join a fantastically witty and friendly community of very cool people with very kool Kitsch.
Sincerely, Your hostess/curator aKitschionado, Allee
Running around all day today on about a second of sleep doing final tweaks on the first party celebrating the Grand Opening of The Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch tonight as well as coding my tootsies off on the virtual Museum, the heart of the experience, at AWMoK.com. I hope to open the floodgates online at noon LA time. (Until then, the ‘Coming September 14th’ page with the trailer, press and a few other goodies is still there.) Not sure I’ll make the noon door opening but once it flies open there’s some magnificently supreme kitsch to browse through in The Museum itself and in the Kitschenette wing there are incredibly easy instructions, customized for dummies and people like me who get confused reading directions of any sort, for how to submit your own prize Kitsch.
AWMoK.com is a mini social network, built to scale up and incorporate more interactivity as more Kitsch is injected into it. Please visit later today or tomorrow and register to become an aKitscionado, another process that I’ve slaved over so it’s pathetically quick and easy. You can browse both The Museum and The Kitschenette but you need to register in order to submit anything or make comments.
Party photos will go up sometime tomorrow and video will follow though not sure when. The parties, tonight and next Monday night, were supposed to be webcast but the DSL at the gallery can’t handle the upload speeds so now it means digitizing six hours of footage from each of the three cameras and editing everything, a far more gruesome process than just letting it stream as it happens. But photos will be up as soon as I wake up tomorrow, which could be God knows what time as I haven’t slept in a week and have to do a lot of press tomorrow.
Today is also the beginning of a weeklong “What Is Kitsch?” Film Festival on YouTube, eight short films I made on the subject of Kitsch. I’ll be posting the links to these when I upload them. There are two going up today, the introductory film, “What Is Kitsch?”, as well as one that’s about submitting items to The Museum. (When I say submitting items I mean images and descriptions. As much as I’d love to own all the stuff you guys tell me about, The Museum is virtual so photos and not the actual item is what you’ll be contributing.)
I’ve worked on putting The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch together online ever since I started my Kitsch O’ The Day blog seven months ago. Integrating virtual and physical spaces is what I’ve dreamed about doing since I stumbled on the Internet in 1991. I hope you enjoy The Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch, The Kitschenette and the eight short films as much as I’ve enjoyed – though sometimes been tortured by! – making them.
This starts out looking like a performance in a dinner theater and quickly spirals into something out of “Hair”. Between ‘costumes’ from much earlier in the ’70s than when my song came out and the exceedingly Caucasian phrasing of the lyrics and choreography this is, in a Kitsch lovers universe, a stupendous rendition of “September”.
If you live in Los Angeles, come to Ghettogloss on Monday night, September 21 (“Do you remember the 21st night of September?”) for a party commemorating the opening of The Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch featuring karaoke versions of this song that changed the course of my career. Hopefully, you’re as skilled as the folks who took the stage at Abilene High.
This is the real deal, vintage 1967 original Spirograph by Kenner No. 401. Although the resulting art was too precise and anal looking for me – zillions of geometric combinations looking like they’re made from little spiders’ legs – I recognize the Spirograph as an icon in Pop Culture. Just like those string art paintings of owls, ships and such that I passionately collect but never felt drawn to create.
Made by locking gears and rotating plastic wheels inside other plastic wheels and tracing with a pen as they move, the rules of this are too rigid for me. Hell, I can’t even paint inside the lines so something demanding precision and this much repetition definitely falls outside my scope. I was always the free form type. But I love that Spirographs make non-artists feel like artists, proud enough to hang their creations on their walls and refrigerators. I’ve always looked at art – any form of it – as something social and a crash course in self expression. So if a series of little curves, technically known as hypotrochoids and epitrochoids, turn most people on who am I to argue?
1960’s Spirograph commercial:
1970’s Spiromania commercial:
I can’t imagine that many people working at Bayshore Industries, the company responsible for this follilicular fun for the face, knew many actual artists to pattern their work after. Not only is it a mix of stereotypical arty types – 1950’s bearded beatnik above the neck and 1960’s flower power below – it appears the designers had little regard for what artists have to say as they forgot to leave a hole for the mouth.
With the hairdo on the left looking like the perfect bundt cake, a bulldog in the middle and a bouffanted Jay Leno on the right, what Jesus used was The Faith Tones’ heads to perform some of the most astounding hair artistry in the history of Christian album covers, the Kentucky Derby of cheese championships in the 1960’s and 70’s.
I love that The Faith Tones invested in matching baby blue polyester tops that would go up in flames if a match were within twenty feet of them but stopped short of buying matching blouses or scarves or whatever they’re wearing underneath. I suppose the theory was “no one will notice” and with the indisputably best hairdos of the 20th Century they were almost right.
Although this LP has made the Internet rounds, something so astounding always bears repeating. The Faith Tones and their heavenly follicles have indeed ascended to the throne of Kitsch Klassics!
Here’s how I spend my spare time, making this highly sophisticated -NOT- animation with Prudence Fenton, of Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Peter Gabriel videos fame. After being a private joke for 15 years, we’ve finally committed (in all senses of the word) the Pigmy to film. If anybody deserves a place on the mantle of Kitsch Klassicism, it’s Pigmy Will.
We’ll be churning out two to four of these weekly, all under 30 seconds, as fast as our minds can de-numb and fingers can move.
Today’s offerings include “Pie Day”, “The Counter”, “The Boat Ride” and “Take 20”. At the end of each masterpiece you can click through to the next one. So just click here or on one of the videos below to get started.
See all 4 Pigmy Wills (by the time you read this there may be more):
Deet deet deet deet!!
Made in Tijuana in 1998, this velvet portrait suffers from an over prescription of Kitsch which causes the Carrott Top pumped-to-within-an-inch-of-bursting-his-skin steroidal physique rather than the normal man size of George Reeves who this is a portrait of. This plump-as-a-Thanksgiving-turkey Superman is more apt to pop some Creatine and protein powder than leap off a tall building where he’d most certainly sink like a rock.