Just got back from a quickie 2-1/2 day trip to the Motor City to go to the pre-release book signing party for Heart Soul Detroit, Jenny Risher’s fantastic photo essay book coming out in March that I’m in featuring 50 iconic Detroiters. Thrill of thrills sitting next to Martha Reeves of Martha and The Vandellas, one of my all-time favorite Motown groups, as we signed our pages.

This wasn’t my first encounter with Ms. Reeves. In 2008, along with Congresswoman Joanne Watson, she awarded me my first Commendation from the Detroit City Council.

I was also in Detroit this trip to lay the groundwork for “The D”, the massive unofficial official Detroit theme song I’m going back in September to record with potentially hundreds of thousands of Detroiters.

As such, I met with Tyree Guyton, who created one of Detroit’s most precious jewels, The Heidelberg Project.

I seriously hope to collaborate with Tyree. I spent almost every Saturday of my youth climbing on piles of crushed cars and assorted junk, artifacts that influence my art style to this day and upon which Heidelberg is built. My father’s scrapyard was just down the street from Heidelberg so I treasure that area of the city.

I also did an unexpected Q&A with some seriously talented kids at Mosaic Youth Theatre.

They have the good taste to be doing some of my music at a program they’re doing at the Detroit Institute of Arts in March.

I may end up coming back for that because these kids were seriously great and evolved. And, of course, I’ll use any excuse to come back for this…

… Chef Greg and his insanely incredible tasting Boogaloo Wonderland!…

…which I LOVE so much I fly him to LA to serve them at my live shows.

Chef Greg’s D’Emilis Cafe is on Curtis and Wyoming, the corner I used to get off the bus on to go to high school back in the day.  I invited some family and friends there on Saturday before I had to get on the plane to come back to LA.

Chef Greg made me a peach cobbler for the plane.

Which was good because a bottle of water spilled in my backpack and drenched all my money which was still soaked when the food cart came down the aisle selling the crappy plane food.

So here’s to dry money and plenty of it, Boogaloo Wonderlands, and a bright future for the once and future city of the future, Detroit!  See you in September for some serious Dancin’ in the Streets!

I spent most of Wednesday afternoon being photographed and interviewed for “Born in Detroit,” a book by Jenny Risher “celebrating Detroit as a unique place that’s cultivated an extraordinary number of singularly influential people.”

To say that I’m elated about being included with the likes of Berry Gordy, Lily Tomlin, Iggy Pop, Eminem, Elmore Leonard, Jerry Bruckheimer, Al Kaline, Smokey Robinson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Michael Moore and more is an understatement. But it was SO hot yesterday in LA – and my house, at least the room we were shooting in, is largely glass, not the space of choice for a 100+ day – it rendered the photo subject a perpetual waterfall.

The sweat isn’t so visible in that photo but the tuckeredoutness is. It was all I could do to suck on my Vernor’s, Detroit’s finest beverage, to stay cool.

After having almost every relic of my childhood, including photographs and Hi-8 footage, thrown out long ago by my father in a fit of bowing to my stepmother’s wishes to get rid of all the “junk”, in my later years I’ve been fanatic about taking photos. Especially since digital cameras have replaced the torture of buying endless rolls of film that can spoil in the sun, waiting weeks for the drugstore to deliver the oftentimes-blurry-yet-previously-undetectably-so shots, and then misplacing photos after they overtake drawers. This still doesn’t stop me from collecting vintage cameras though:

Nowhere near as elegant as the lipstick camera, my little Kellogg’s honey was a giveaway with a few cereal boxtops. Even cheaper if you had the discount card.

The microcamera is a diminutive 3″ x 1.5″ x 1″.

It’s still in the original box.

It takes 110 film….

….though none is inserted in my Kellogg’s.

I actually have some 110 film in my freezer as we speak because another one of my cameras uses it.

You ought to see that one from the front. It goes nicely with the Kellogg’s cam.

But in truth, neither the Velveeta nor the Kellogg’s take good photos. Which is just as well because as soon as the shoot was done I set my can of Vernors down and it tipped over on the Velveeta cam.

Which is better than if it spilled on the photographer’s autographed computer signed by most of the Detroiters she’d shot for the book.

“Born in Detroit” should be out sometime around Christmas.  Until then I can only hope for cooler weather in LA, more Vernors in the frig, and a safe sleep for my Made-in-Taiwan-by-way-of-Kalamazoo Kellogg’s microcam, another Michigan native.


I’ve been blessed this past week to have great friends grace my bedside and nurse me through knee surgery, dressing up as nurses themselves for my amusement. Nancye Ferguson was one such nurse in training as I took my first steps a couple of days ago:

As nice as Nancye’s medical uniform is – a shower cap from the 99¢ store and paint mask and gloves from Home Depot – it’s nowhere near as up to code as nurse Jean Craig’s:

But as up to code as nurse Jean Craig’s education may have been to earn a graduate degree, there’s actually very little mention of it or anything else medical in this book. In fact, most of the time at Gallop Memorial Hospital Jean’s eyes are focused more on romance than on a heart monitor:

In fact, one of the only prominent mentions of illness is on Page 1:

Some of Jean’s time in Elmhurst, Conn. was spent drawing:

I wish there were more drawings in this book but sadly, in 1950, the World Publishing Company of Cleveland and New York only sprung for graphics on the cover and one across from the title page:

Even the back of the book is vacant of Jean, though there is some medical specimen from the book’s previous owner present:

Luckily, no strange medical specimens have impeded my progress and I’m happy to report that I have been hobbling around sans crutches for most of the day yesterday and today. My knee is an almost open and shut case for speedy recovery!

With a mind to sanitary conditions, Nurse Jean and her fellow graduates wore nice, long uniforms that covered their knees.

Which means they never had to worry about having a knee that looked like mine this past week:

Thankfully, Nurse Jean and Nurse Nancye’s services are close to never being needed again as my left leg is looking forward to returning to its former lovely self within days!

As a collector of kitsch for decades now with a particular love for popular television shows, there’s nothing better than having the real thing who made the real thing in your presence. Such was the case when Susan Olsen, a.k.a. Cindy Brady, the youngest, cutest, blondest Brady in the Bunch, walked into Willis Wonderland last Friday afternoon. And she came bearing one of her signature Christmas cakes, which is how we came to know each other in the first place as she posted her kulinary kitsch koncoction in The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch over Christmas.

Susan spent over a month (extra kitsch point #1) making these rum soaked (extra kitsch point #2) fruit cakes (extra kitsch point #3). And her description of them was hysterical too. It was an even better sign when I saw the way she prepped her photos. In the land of kitsch, detail insets are most impressive:

I got especially excited when I saw all the snowy peach fuzz that surrounded Susan’s elves:

But the elves on the cake she brought me needed no such extra set decoration as they got down to enough business on their own:

I was actually introduced to Susan by my Facebook friend and most dedicated aKitschionado at The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch, Denny McClain. We made sure to give him his props before we did anything else:

Our hooking up was also facilitated by another Facebook friend, Steven Wishnoff, who accompanied Susan to Willis Wonderland. I immediately offered them a snack as I had something amazingly fitting for this most kitschous of occasions:

Any of you smart and dedicated enough to subscribe to my blog will recognize that we’re holding a piece of King’s Hawaiian Bakery Rainbow Bread that I bought a loaf of last weekend on my Sunday drive with Charles Phoenix. This is possibly my favorite food discovery of the century so far.

It was perfect as Susan actually came dressed matching the bread:

We were all most anxious to see what happened to the color swirls when the bread was toasted, hoping they would get even brighter with a little bit of heat. We were sorely disappointed:

But that didn’t stop us from slopping on some peanut butter and jelly and enjoying a delicious grill stripped rainbow mini meal.

We spent a lot of time walking around Willis Wonderland as Susan and Steven had an excellent sense of kitsch.

I had much Brady Bunch memorabilia out…

…but I stupidly forgot to ask Susan to autograph anything. Luckily, before we met she mailed me a copy of a book she co-wrote about the making of one of the most exquisitely cheesy television specials ever made, The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.

If you’ve never seen it, RUN to YouTube now!!

Thank God, Susan autographed the book so I didn’t feel tooooo bad about the missed opportunities for my aforementioned Brady treasures.

All in all, we had a most Brady day!

I’m hoping next time we get together Susan will make me one of her signature Flufftinis.

Afterall, there’s SO MUCH we see eye to eye on.


Unless you can’t stand to look at meat or poultry this is a cookbook that’s filled with thrilling visuals, not the least of which is of the author herself:


I love her little Swedish meatball hair, Hostess cupcake shaped glasses, and Revlon ‘Love That Red’ lipstick that’s redder than any slab of beef that passes before her. You might be thinking, ‘Oh, is that the Margaret Mitchell who wrote the meaty “Gone With the Wind”?  I’ve seen the movie but not being a vociferous reader, I’m much more likely to have read this book by the carnivore loving Margaret Mitchell than the better known literary one by the other Margaret Mitchell where it’s Scarlett O’Hara being served up at the end rather than a nice Porterhouse steak. Though I guess they both have scarlet in common, one being the lead character and the other being the color of the meat product featured here:

margaret mitchell's mealtime magic cookbook_1951

These two-page spreads of meat cuts kill me:

margaret mitchell's mealtime magic cookbook_1956 margaret mitchell's mealtime magic cookbook_1955 margaret mitchell's mealtime magic cookbook_1954

Though I don’t care how pretty the pictures are, I will never be making this:

Here’s how Margaret suggests using aluminum foil:

I, however, have always had a different primary use of aluminum foil. I wrap presents in  it. Here’s a gift I’m taking to a mystery gift exchange at a high school reunion today for Detroiters who went to Mumford High who now live in Southern California:

It doesn’t have meat in it but it does come stuffed with Elvis popcorn. Which seemed an appropriate mystery gift for an exchange at a 60’s high school reunion and a blog about meaty presentations.

Elvis comes in a non recyclable plastic guitar bank. The publisher of Margaret’s book strongly suggests that your meat be popped in an aluminum pan that gives the gift of long-term toxicity to humans if ingested in large enough quantities.


I’m hoping none of the food at the reunion will be cooked in aluminum pans though I’m sure that’s what all of us were brought up on. For now, I prefer to look at my meat and poultry in pretty pictures as opposed to them sauteed in aluminum gravy.

I always love when there’s nothing left to say about a topic by the time you reach the back cover. When in doubt just repeat the author’s name and title of the book in the shape of hangers until you run out of room.


I would’ve preferred something a little more festive on the back cover but I guess all the money went toward the groceries on the front, as despite the raging red properties of meat the only color in Mealtime Magic is there. Frankly, Margaret, I fear your publishes didn’t give a damn.

As Thanksgiving week is upon us I will never forget the trauma of being invited to Luther Vandross’s Thanksgiving Day dinner and having to leave before the smothered turkey was ready, only to arrive at my next destination and having a plate of salmon plopped in front of me. NEVER  put a fish in front of a Thanksgiving guest unless you warn them first if you ever want to see them again! In that particular case, I developed a sudden headache and left just as quinoa and tofu were about to hit my plate and headed back across town where the table was flooded with the best holiday soul food fixins my stomach ever had the pleasure of ingesting. I bring up this story not just because I’ve learned to make sure the menu is Thanksgiving appropriate before I accept an invitation but because Luther and I often discussed the fact that Mahalia Jackson had a cookbook and how great it would be to make a total Mahalia Jackson meal.

In 1972, cousin Bennie thought so too.

Unfortunately, the only turkey in Mahalia’s cookbook is for pot pie.  But many other festive recipes abound.

All the photographs are fantastic, none of the actual food itself but, rather, of Mahalia  performing cooking tasks in excellent outfits.

We  even learn how to turn the oven on…

… and open the oven door.

The excellence of Mahalia’s bouffant is clearly evident in the photo above. As such, I wish Mahalia’s head was lit better in this photo so it didn’t look like it was part of the kitchen cabinet:

Mahalia also offers some kitchen tips, though I’m not sure how much I would trust the cook who’s concerned about either of these while cooking:

I have a lot of work to do today. Otherwise I might spend it trying to find the perfect recipe to make for the person who force fed me salmon one Thanksgiving. Maybe this…

I wasn’t going to do anything for my birthday this year. Too overworked and no extra coinage to throw around. But word leaked out and spread and all of a sudden these people, most of whom I’ve spent every birthday and momentous occasion with for umpteen years, showed up at my house:

Bottom row (L-R):  Diva Zappa, Lisa Loeb, me, Prudence Fenton and Michael Patrick King.
Middle row (L-R):  Jane Wagner, Lesley Ann Warren, Bob Garrett, Lily Tomlin, Pamela Des Barres, Karen Levitas, Gai Gherardi, Gail Zappa, Nancye Ferguson, Stan Zimmerman and Jim Burns. Top row (L-R): Ben Bove, RuPaul, Tom Trujillo, Roey Herschovitz, Jimmy Quill, Charles Phoenix, Sonny Ruscha Bjornson, Mark Blackwell and Jack Nesbit.

Though all of my friends may not practice kitsch like the religion I do, their lives and occupations are consumed with pop culture and they all bring unique individual style and vision to everything they do. None of us are color-in-the-lines people. Which means that when it comes to birthday presents, it’s fantasyland overload as their sensibilities collide with mine in harmonious gift wrapped chaos! For example, here I am with perennially great gift givers Nancye Ferguson and Jim Burns:

Jim is looking very happy because the video game he stars in, Call Of Duty Black Ops, was released the day before and set the opening day record for ANY type of entertainment,Is he is grossing $320,000,000 by the time he reached my house. Maybe that’s why they got me 14 gifts. Though Nancye and Jim are always reliable for a smorgasbord of age-inappropriate-unless-you-happen-to-be-me offerings like this magnificent 1950’s mother of pearl poodle pocket mirror/pill box:

… and this convenient land line phone ear piece for my iPhone:

They also gave me this wonderfully famous Enid Collins owl box purse…

…and this fantastic 50’s fold up wallet with plastic coin holder inside like the Good Humor ice cream man used to wear on his belt to give people change:

They also threw in this 1960’s Wilma Flintstone bathing cap.

Here I am with Pamela Des Barres, the world’s most famous groupie, and Diva and Gail Zappa, who came straight to my place from the airport after being honored at a Frank Zappa festival in London.

Pamela is a fabulous writer and also travels a lot for her work. Which is lucky for me and the rest of her friends as she hits thrift shops wherever she goes and picks up stuff for us all year round. She makes these finds for pennies and stacks them up so she can arrive like Santa Claus on any given occasion. These “On The Wagon’ coaster and snack trays she gave me are just about my favorite bar accessory ever!

I love when snacks are referred to as ‘Tid Bits’, especially when what is normally a single word is broken up into two separate words as stamped into the belly of the wagon.

This nightshirt could be the heaviest gift of the evening. It’s hard to see all the 1960’s pop culture graphics and slogans in this photo and I’m not sure who the characters on it are but there were more than a few vintage clotheshorses at the party, certainly including myself, and we all agree that Pamela’s $2 purchase would easily go for $500 in the right store.

Then there’s this early 60’s Make-Up Mask that you pull over your bouffant to protect the Max Factor from rubbing off your face when you pull your angora sweater over it:

Pamela graciously modeled it for us throughout the evening.

Her excellent gift giving instincts have definitely rubbed off on the other Des Barres in attendance, Michael, who reliably gives me fantastic African swag.

At one point there was a girl’s conference in the bedroom.  Here I am with (L-R) Lily Tomlin,Prudence Fenton, and Jane Wagner:

Prudence not only cooked an incredible dinner for everyone but made the excellent “Crackerature” portrait of me that’s between our heads in the photo above.

Lily and Jane gave me the most ridiculous-in-the-best-kitsch-sense-of-the-word-ridiculous gift of the night:

He’s only about 3″ high, his little arms are made out of bobby pins and his body is some kind of overcooked Sculpy or baking soda concoction. The card that accompanied him was just as kitschy.

The Diller is Phyllis Diller, which adds a few pounds on the kitsch scale for this gift. The note Jane and Lily wrote me make the cheese wheel even weightier:

Joining Lily and I here is Stan Zimmerman. We all grew up in Detroit.

Stan added a little class to my gifts with this 1950’s signed Sasha Brastoff ashtray.

Here’s Lily and I with RuPaul. Both of them have added greatly to the kitsch cache of my alter-ego, Bubbles the artist, as they are the #1 and #2 collectors of her art, each owning over 20 pieces.

Michael Patrick King, seen here with Pamela Des Barres’ lovely feet, brought me some of my most Americanized presents.

He brought my gifts back from Dubai when he was there filming Sex and the City II. First, this green shopping bag featuring a carefree Michelle Obama:

And then this brain-numbing Muslim Barbie shoulder bag:

I got one more bag, actually a Kitsch Emergency Kit, from Karen Levitas.

It’s nice when your friends give you a healthy snack of sardines to enjoy while you read cheesy poetry from the 70’s:

Here I am with Mark Blackwell, who’s also a November 10th birthday baby, and Sonny Ruscha Bjornson, Lisa Loeb and Roey Hershkovitz:

Lisa and Roey gave me some quality reading material:

Maybe I will learn to make beautiful cakes like this one on page 110:

But when it comes to baking, there’s only one Supreme Master and I’m pictured with him here:

Just a few days before my party Charles Phoenix was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal with his signature “Cherpumple” cake, one of which he baked for me.

A Cherpumple is three Sara Lee cherry, pumpkin and apple pies stuffed inside three Betty Crocker cakes and frosted as one happy stack of sugary ecstasy:

Here’s my friend, Lesley Ann Warren, indulging in some. Perennially skinny and always eating healthy, she hit the Cherpumple as an extreme gesture of kitsch on my birthday.

Lesley was my first friend when I moved to Hollywood in 1976. She was also the first person ever to sing one of my songs on TV when she did the third song I ever wrote, “Childstar”, on Johnny Carson.

Some people went back for seconds of Cherpumple. Each plate weighs 2 lbs.

Gai Gherardi and Rhonda Saboff shared their Cherpumple:

They gave me an excellent pair of glasses from LA Eyeworks, which Gai co-owns and where I’ve bought all of my eye coverings for the last three decades.

When RuPaul arrived he brought me another birthday cake.

It was delicious but everyone had already gorged on too much Cherpumple.

Which means that everyone went home in sugar shock, the condition they’ve had much practice existing in as they’ve all been over to my house a trillion times before.

I didn’t have far to go as my bed was only feet away from the remains of the Cherpumple. I went to sleep with my crown on and had sugar sweet dreams anticipating a very good year to come indeed!

More party photos can be seen here.


By the number of post-its that I’ve stuck in this book, 41 to be exact, it’s obvious that I’m as much a fan of the recipes in this hallowed hors d’oeuvres bible as the typical housewife was in 1958 when it was published by Good Housekeeping magazine and the Hearst Corporation. The fact that thanks are given to companies like Frito, Borden, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, Lawry’s, the National Biscuit Company, Ralston Purina, Swift and the Shrimp Association of the Americas should be a great indication of the junk-tipped treasures that lie within. I have long followed the advice of this book when throwing small dinner parties, well, at least small parties for me, 10 to 20 people, and if you happen to be cooking this lovely Sunday afternoon or evening and haven’t decided on the menu yet I suggest you do the same.


I don’t drink but any good hostess knows that keeping your guests in the state of mind they most like to be in, happy, one should always have plenty of these on hand:


Never forget that what you serve a dish in is just as important as the dish itself. Party moods are all psychological and what something looks like effects perception.


No plain white ones of these please:


What makes me happiest of all about the Appetizer Book is that the people at Good Housekeeping chose to call appetizers “nibblers”.  I have always loved the word “nibble”.  So much so that when a cat had two litters of kittens 55 days apart on my roof I caught her and named her “Nibbles”.


As you can see, her tail is a little “nibbled” on:


I named her daughter, who I also caught,  Niblet:


The simple truth this Sunday is that I’m on excruciating music and video deadlines so I’m going to leave you now in the good hands of the folks at Good Housekeeping. I’ll start with one of my favorite chapters:

Appetizer-book_2894 Appetizer-book_2895 Appetizer-book_2896 appetizer-book_2910 Appetizer-book_2897 Appetizer-book_2898 Appetizer-book_2899 Appetizer-book_2901 Appetizer-book_2902 Appetizer-book_2903 Appetizer-book_2904

How could a cook book have a more beautiful centerfold than one that features fried saltines wrapped in bacon, cheese cubes with drippy white things on the toothpicks and a bowl of mixed olives decades before it became de rigueur to have one on your appetizer table?


I hope you’re all having a very happy Sunday and enjoying some of these lovely nibblers. I’m going to pet Nibbles and Niblet and get back to work, but not before I eat some of these:




My life would have never been the same without Soul music. Growing up in Detroit, my teenage years were spent on the far right of the AM radio dial, down where the black stations were. I had no idea I would eventually become a hit songwriter especially because I never learned (to this day) how to play an instrument. Call it a limitation but I’m someone who believes in finding power in limitations. I learned everything I know from the Soul Stars in this book. Published in 1968 by Right On! magazine, a division of Tiger Beat, Right On! was THE commercial rag of blended Pop Soul, music that rippled with unbridled joy of freedom and self-expression, exuding confidence and spontaneity that sprung from a Black Is Beautiful social consciousness. Listening to THAT music was all music training I needed.

Here’s Right On’s 100 Super-Soul Stars as of 1968:


I know the names are small but squint to read them because they changed music forever and most of the records they made sound as contemporary today as the day they were mixed.


I loved every record the Supremes made though I loved the earliest ones the most.


The original version of “I Heard It through the Grapevine” by Gladys Knight and the Pimps slayed me. In 1973, “Midnight Train to Georgia” became and remains my single favorite background vocals record ever recorded.


Marvin Gaye’s songs recorded by the time Right On’s 100 Super-Soul Stars came out, especially “Wonderful One”, “Ain’t That Peculiar” and “I’ll be Doggone”, were my favorites. When he released his version of “I Heard It through the Grapevine” I think it became one of the greatest records ever made.


Merry Clayton was the believable female voice on The Rolling Stones ‘Gimme Shelter’. I got a promo copy of her solo LP in the early 70s when I was working at Columbia Records and played it constantly until I used it as a hat brim for an outfit that really screamed for an albeit impromtu hat.


The highest form of Godliness in Soul, Aretha’s ‘Soul ’69’ is still one of my favorite LPs ever.


I was very depressed when I graduated college having to leave all my friends at the University of Wisconsin. The only thing that kept me somewhat calm and optimistic on the long drive back to Detroit was hearing  “Oh Happy Day” over and over again on the radio.

For as great as 1968 was in producing Super-Soul Stars it was still too early to include the group that honestly and for real changed my life, Earth Wind & Fire. In 1978 they gave me my first hit single, “September”, and in ’79 my first hit album, “I Am”, on which I co-wrote every song but two.  Here’s they are in 1975:


Larry Dunn, keyboardist extraordinare, had the most awesome Afro of anyone in the group.


Though they too had spectacular Afros I hadn’t even heard of The Emotions when Right On’s 100 Super-Soul Stars came out in ’68. But years later they joined Earth Wind & Fire to sing my second hit, “Boogie Wonderland”.


Last Saturday night I went to The Waterfront Concert Theater in Marina Del Rey to see Elements of Fire, an EWF tribute led by Larry and Sheldon Reynolds, who joined the group as guitarist in the late 80’s and filled in for co-founder/lead singer and my favorite singer of all time, Maurice White, when he left the group. I bumped into Larry as I was walking in.


Once inside I met up with one of my favorite friends and funniest persons alive, Luenell, who was introducing the band.


If one just judges the music and love affair between performers onstage and the audience, the evening was spectacular. I spent two exquisite hours enjoying some of my favorite music on earth, several songs of which were mine.  I was surrounded by friends from back in the day. But that’s where the party ended. Once the evening was in the hands of The Waterfront “Concert Theater” it was a 3, no, 23 ring, circus of errors.

As a purveyor of kitsch and aforesaid strong believer in rolling with limitations if you can’t do anything to change them, these are the moments I must take a breath and remember I’m blessed.  Rather than chasing down the manager to strangle him/her I just squint and look at the evening as a massive wheel of brie spilling off a way-too-small buffet table and know I will remember it as a stand out in the annals (or anals depending on how hard you’re squinting) of Kitsch.

The screw-ups started a full week before I even got to The Waterfront “Concert Theater” when I tried to buy tickets over the phone and talked to a chain of robots, none of whom could help me other than tell me that dinner was served during the show. I would’ve bought tickets online but after five minutes of searching the site for a link to the box office there was no link to tickets for the band I wanted to see. I finally bypassed the club and got tickets through the tour manager. But even with them printed out in hand you still had to stand in line to pick up the real tickets which were the identical printed sheets of paper. Which would have been slightly more tolerable if the air conditioning had been working.

Soaked like a mop, I went to the bathroom to freshen up. I know this place is called The Waterfront because it sits on the harbor. I just wish they would’ve confined the standing bodies of water to outside. Nothing short of a few sticks of dynamite could’ve unplugged this:


I moved on to sink  number two but unless I had brought my bathing suit and spent the night sitting on the bathroom counter dipping my toes to try and cool down from the malfunctioning air conditioning I still was left with no place to wash my hands.


I included the following photo because it’s important for you to see the primo condition vintage 1950’s rayon shirt I have on. Covered with starbursts, it’s one of the best Atomic Age shirts I own.  I only wear it on special occasions when I know I want to feel good.


Little did I know as I swept  past the Waterfront’s beautifully finished bathroom walls…


… and well-attended to wastebasket…


… what would happen the second I got to my seat in the “VIP” section, three bridge tables plopped in the middle of the one and only narrow aisle that led to the stage and at least 20 other people who would need a waitress or a bathroom throughout the night. Though we were in slightly better shape than hundreds of other sardines smashed together in a room with only one exit. I finnnnnaly stepped over enough bodies to crumble into my seat and a waitress dumps a bottle of beer and a full whiskey sour on my beautiful, special, rare and beloved Atomic shirt. Ice cubes dribbled down my back coating both sides of the garment with sticky goo and deposited yet another body of standing water in my chair, the kind that has ass indentations carved into the wood so any liquid just sits there. Despite not being enough to soak up the mess on me, my chair, the floor, the people next to me and my once beautiful but now permanently spotted leather bag the waitress returned with six towels, a blessing as she only brought one thin paper napkin when she finally delivered our meal, the one and ONLY item on the “full dinner” menu the robots had told me was available, a Styrofoam plate with a tiny pile of bagged salad, an unidentifiable mound of squishy stuff that was probably going for Jumbalaya and “Chicken Strips”, 4 tiny frozen Costco chicken legs. As Luenell said when she got on stage, “Don’t be tellin’ a black woman you got chicken strips and then bring her no chicken legs dripping with sauce so now her lipstick’s smeared all over her face and she got to get up on stage. That’s dangerous.”

After about a half an hour I adjusted to the fact that I was stuck in a beer and whiskey soaked outfit in a club with little to no air conditioning and no sink to clean any of it or me off. The music was SO good – “September”, “Boogie Wonderland”, “Reasons”, “Serpentine Fire”, “Can’t Hide Love”, “I Can’t Let Go”, “In The Stone”, “Getaway” “Fantasy”, “That’s the Way of the World” and on and on. I even got used to having my chair shoved in my back every time anyone needed to get by. Of the hundreds of times it happened that night thankfully one time it was by this guy in the blue shirt:


He had many hits by the time he made it into Right On’s 100 Super-Soul Stars in 1968.


Ultimately, I think covering a sweat soaked body with an outfit made of beer and whiskey made Stevie’s medley of “Shining Star” and “Superstition” even better for me. Despite the constant efforts of The Waterfront Concert Jail I Mean Theater to do otherwise, it was the kind of night where you couldn’t help feeling like a Soul Star when you left.

Super-Soul-Stars-Book_4207 Super-Soul-Stars-Book_4210

(For more of me, EWF & Luenell on an evening that was far better managed, see the opening party for my social network, The Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch at AWMOK.com, last September 21st, the date that’s in the opening line of the song, “Do you remember the 21st night of September…”.  Larry Dunn and founding EWF member Verdine White, greatest bass player who ever lived, played for anyone who wanted to sing kariokee of “September”.  Though there are no drinks being spilled, no germ infested bathrooms, lots of food, air conditioning and folks who worked there who actually got past the first grade,  it’s still fantastic viewing material for anyone who likes me, Earth, Wind & Fire, Luenell or Super-Soul Stars in general.)

Intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B12TPKuVcSY

“September”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKXU2o6NVT8

“Boogie Wonderland”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj1tzW4kyMg

Featuring 425 “new” recipes plus a special “When-Company-Comes” section, this cookbook, published in 1958 by General Mills, was designed expressly for “brides, business girls, career wives and mothers of married children”. Divided into sections like Regional Meals USA, Pennywise Dinners and What Every Good Cook Knows, as is often the case with vintage cookbooks the quintessentially Atomic 50’s graphics and fonts are even better than the recipes themselves.


There are also many tips for what to do in the presence of meat and its other food friends. Like when you’re at the market “select canned goods economically.”


I never realized there was such a distinction between peas. Then again, I’m not much of a cook unless cooking means going online and ordering in. I’m the type to fast forward to “Foreign Lands–Hawaii” where I find this excellent dessert relying solely on colored toothpicks, maraschino cherries, canned pineapple and ice. This degree of culinary skill is right up my allee.


There’s even a lesson on setting the table correctly as “an atmosphere of charm at mealtime forms the background for fine living.” Look how the career wife, while learning how to give a dinner party for four, sweeps into pose to peer at her table through a microscope making sure no detail is overlooked in planning a buffet to insure that “an atmosphere of informal hospitality prevails.”


This illustration of a tourist couple taking photos next to whoever the famous Dane is depicted in statue on the rock  makes the Danish Apple Pudding recipe taste even more Danish.


As an artist, I’m especially drawn to page 169. Not only does all it take to make Croissants is yeast, Bisquick and water but it suggests that you serve Chocolate Eclairs along with them. Better yet, the recipe merely points you in the direction of a box of Betty Crocker Cream Puff Mix and you’re on your own from there.


Look how interested the potatoes are at how they’re going to be sliced:


When not looking at the pictures there are wonderful ideas to cook for your +1 like Baked Prune Whip and Unbaked Prune Whip.


I’m actually having three people over for lunch today and two more over for dinner tonight. One group will be eating Italian and the other Chinese and, despite the fact that Betty Crocker says this cookbook is perfect for “the working girl, active in her career and social life”, I will be spending no time in the kitchen at all.