See a sandwich dance and sing and more at my LIVE SHOW in LA on THE 21st night of SEPTEMBER (and 22!) http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/258274 NOW!
Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ the Day – A zillion trillion PHOTOS from my sold out Super Ball Bounce Back Review concerts!!
On May 8 and 9, 2012 I had one of the greatest experiences of my career performing my Super Ball Bounce Back Review at King King in Hollywood. It not only was only the second and third performances I’d done since jumping off the stage in the middle of my own show in 1974, but was an attempted – and I’m happy to say TOTALLY TRIUMPHANT – comeback after one of the worst experiences of my career seven months before when 90% of the technology my first attempted comeback show was dependent on failed. But I knew that I had to get back up and practice what I preach: From some of the worst situations come the greatest miracles and I had proven to myself time and time again that, if nothing else, I was someone who had the courage to make lemonade out of big, fat lemons.
So I’m happy to report that I have risen from the ashes and had two of the greatest nights of my life bouncing back as a performer in a major way. I can’t thank everyone who came enough. And I can’t thank everyone who worked with me on the show enough.
So I leave you with a whole lotta photos from both nights, videos to come and a big, loud Badeya-say-do-you-remember there never has to be a cloudy day as long as you have sunshine inside. ENOY THE SHOW!!
Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Rehearsing for my live “Super Ball Bounce Back Review” – Part 1
Rehearsing is, indeed, a novel concept for me. I like to plan, plan, plan but then just let things happen as they may and field the few things that may go awry. This is part of my daredevil style being a completely unschooled artist. But when I tried that in my last show, supposedly my big comeback after a 37 year bout with stage fright, the tech guy screwed up so severely that I realized that could never happen again. So I spent the last week in the rehearsal studio with a lot of amazing folks getting ready to hit the floor boards again.
These were all taken last week at rehearsals for my Allee Willis’ Super Ball Bounce Back Review live show in mere moments, tomorrow and Wednesday nights, the 8th and 9th, at King King in Hollywood. These are in no particular order, just a few of my favorites.
Many mouths to feed as my live Allee Willis’ Super Ball Bounce Back Review is only two days away and we be deep into rehearsals. So this 36 incher from Big Mamas and Papas was the only way to go. Actually it wasn’t… There’s also a 54 incher. And it’s mmmmmmmmmmm good too!
My esteemed bandleader, Andrae Alexander, takes the first bite:
Yesterday was a lonnnng day. Detroit is only 4 hours away but it took 12+ to get there. Thank you, American Airlines! I bitched about AA from 8 am. to midnight. The terminal at LAX SUCKS. Flights were delayed. That part was the weather’s fault, but everything else was on American Airlines. Here are my tweets and facebook posts throughout the tortuous yet fun day as I was traveling with fellow aKitschionados Mark Blackwell and Laura Grover. That’s Laura’s daughter, Esther Rose, who came to see us off.:
8 AM. Being driven to LAX by debonaire bulldog:
9:15 AM.: Heading east total pain in butt today, especially of you’re heading thru Dallas. Biggg delays.
9:50 AM.: How much do I HATE American Airlines?! 4 plugs today for 6 gates + 1 bar wifi. Idiots. Please go bankrupt.
9:59 AM: Why hasn’t someone made some $ putting plugs in at airports? Four plugs per 2000 peeps ain’t cuttin it, idiotic American Airlines.
10:15 AM.:Thanks for the sucky seating in your terminal American Airlines. No wifi, 4 plugs for 6 gates and a dirty floor to boot.
10:50 AM.: I gave American Airlines too much credit. One bar now gone. No service at gates. AA, it ain’t 1960. Get your tech & hospitality together!
12:40 PM.: How much do I hate American Airlines?? 4 plugs for SIX gates and no wiki, unless you call 1 bar and “searching” a network. And then there was NO air on the plane. Not until at least 50 passengers were on did it start spitting thru those little nozels. Out of most snacks. I’m on the plane as we speak and connecting in Dallas where all flights are delayed. Next time just strap wings on me.
1:37 PM.: Men, in what universe is it ok to travel in shorts and impose those pale hairy legs on your seatmate? Tommy Bahama shirt is bad enough.
2:45 PM.: What’s with pilots who can’t stop chatting? Pilot on American should do dinner theater and not ‘entertain’ passengers. Thank God we just landed.
3:10 PM.: FINNNNALLLY arrived in Dallas. All flights delayed. Have commandeered all available charging stations and all devices are getting nourished. Dallas American Airlines terminal nowhere near as Neanderthal as at LAX.
3:30 PM: Taking a little snooze between flights:
5:45 PM.: Sloppiest Big Mac maker is at Dallas Ft Worth McDonalds. She needs to staple those burgers together. Plus lettuce overload and no pickles.
7:50 PM.: Back on plane. Nothing like a good fitting jetway. Thanks American. I’d feel better taking a skateboard (The cement inbetween my foot and the metal is the ground 15 feet below):
9:30 PM.: Still 2 hours to go to Detroit. Now the problem isnt American- unless you count the fact that no stewardess has been around to pick up garbage for over an hour – It’s the person in back of me whose phone keys have those hideous sounds attached to them. He sounds like a bad video game from 1995 and is driving me NUTS. Headphones still dead.
11:13 PM: Finally arrived close to midnight. All the red bags, five of em, are mine. Plus one my jacket’s hiding.
12:02 PM. Picked up the rental car. It was the kind of blue that makes me vomit. Literally. I’m clinically allergic to bluescreen blue. Makes me ill as soon as I look at it. Now we’re in a white van and I’m happy.
12:45 AM: Finally arrived at The Doubletree.
Very happy now. I have a corner suite that’s bigger than my house! Off we go to get BBQ at Slow’s…
I love hot dogs. I mean, I lovvvve hot dogs. Usually I’m just a mustard and relish gal. But when I go to this joint, the chili is ON!
New Year’s Eve, 2011. I’m coming down Sunset Plaza, a really windy road with million dollar homes right above Sunset Blvd. in LA. I’m in my Green Beetle, which is a lean and fast machine.
Sunset Plaza’s a pain in the ass to drive under any circumstance but nightmarish should you end up behind a slowwww driver, which is what fate dealt me this New Years when I was in a big hurry to get to my destination, my friends Nancye Ferguson and Jim Burn’s pad, an ultra modern built-for-Brian-DePalma-in-the-70’s house that teeters on stilts overlooking the city. Here’s the view from the balcony:
There are very few parking spaces to accommodate a small fraction of the 50 people on their way up there. If you don’t get one of those spaces you have to turn around in a teeny tiny cul-de-sac and drive a quarter mile out the little windy road with hardly any shoulder and a drop-down of hundreds of feet. And then you’re back out on the main winding road where there are about two parking spaces for every fifty people. No way am I limping back up that hill on foot! So I start leaning on the horn behind this little black car driving at funeral speed. To my credit, I only honked when there was enough room for the stupid driver to pull over so I could pass. Finally, after five minutes the car hugs the curb and I whiz past, gunning it extra hard to show my annoyance even further.
I get to the house and thank God there’s a space left. I pull in, put some lipstick on and send a few emails on my iPad before I go in. A couple of cars pass me and I don’t see them coming back down the hill, which means they must’ve found parking spots too. I finally get out of the car and trudge the last 20 feet up to the house. Standing there is my good friend, Beverly D’Angelo, with a guy I don’t know. Beverly and I go way back and I love her. She’s also an excellent party guest, a criteria I have incredibly high standards for, and has been coming to mine for years.
Just as I’m getting in hugging range I hear Snappy P yell, “Green Beetle, that must have been Allee!”. “You fucking asshole, you almost drove us off the road!!,” screams Beverly as I approach. Oh shit, I rarely misbehave behind the wheel anymore and now I’ve gone and terrorized a friend. But then it gets worse, “Meet Sid Krofft,” she says, referring to the mystery man next her, adding that she brought him to the party specifically to meet me. Now I’ve been waiting to meet this guy since the late 60’s when his puppets, marionettes and insane live action shows started ruling TV and now I’ve almost killed him. “I wanted to get out of the car and tell you what an asshole you were” he says. Thank God the Beetle was turbo-charged and he didn’t have a chance. I ate a lot of crow for the next few minutes, but it was immediately apparent that Beverly was completely right. This guy was a kindred spirit and we hit it off like we had known each other for decades.
Though Beverly had told Sid he HAD to come to Willis Wonderland, I went to his place first, now a couple weeks ago. I took hundreds of photos but I can’t show any of them because Sid’s a really private guy. But it’s as handcrafted as my place is times 6 trillion-on-steroids.
In actuality, I didn’t really get full tilt into the Kroffts back in the day when their shows were on the air because by then I was way way way deep into records and the radio. As a fan and later as a songwriter, when my radio habit lurched into twelfth gear and I lived and breathed music every millisecond of every day, I was still aware of that Sid and Marty Krofft name and that it stood for something crazy. But it really wasn’t until so many friends of mine insisted I go to an auction of their props at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1998 that I realized the extent of that craziness as well as the magnitude of its reach. As a kitsch lover, how could I have not been familiar with every single detail of the Kroffts’ career, the guys on the throne at the top of the kitsch mountain??
YouTube, of course, makes for an excellent crash course. So I’ve seen more of the Krofft brothers’ magic in the last month than I have in my lifetime. And my respect and discovery of the depth of influence their work had on me subliminally has been a revelation. H.R. Pufnstuf is probably their most classic:
I don’t like to wake up early for social visits but at 82, Sid Krofft is in REMARKABLE shape, jogging 9 miles a day + a couple hours in the gym, so he’s raring to go when the sun comes up. 10:30 bright and early a couple of Tuesdays ago he and Beverly were at my doorstep.
I even got it together to cut up healthy food for him.
This is a BIG step for me as this is what’s more likely to be on that table on a regular basis:
Sid was as fascinated by Willis Wonderland as I was of his hand-built abode. As my yard is part of my living room, we hit that first.
Although it was raining when I took the following shot, you need to see those GORGEOUS 1950’s fiberglas fish lounges sans people:
As we strolled around outside we were joined by Donny Molls, a great artist and Sid’s next door neighbor:
We stopped and chatted in every room:
My downstairs, where that shot was taken, is particularly packed with memorabilia, some of which is Krofft Brothers stuff I’m happy to say I had the good sense to collect even if I wasn’t sure exactly what it was when I bought it.
If you’ve never seen Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, double up your sedation and watch now! EASILY one of the greatest title sequences in the annals of kitschdom:
Thank god I had a few View Master disks of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl in my collection too:
Sid and Michael Jackson were great friends so I pointed out some of my primo MJ cheese:
You really need to see what I’m pointing at. Yeah, I got the doll and the puzzle like a zillion other people…
…but who else do you know who has the drink cooler?! This is easily my favorite piece of MJ memorabilia I own:
When we got to my dining room…
… Sid posed in front of Mr. Wah Wah, a stunning portrait painted by my alter-ego, Bubbles the artist.:
We spent a lot of time in my recording studio too.
Although Sid has a computer he’s not obsessed with them as I am of my 11 networked Macs. So what we really wanted to do was show him how much of his stuff is online.
And there’s gaggles of it – H.R. Pufnstuf, Land Of The Lost, The Bugaloos, Lidsville, The Donny and Marie Show, not to mention Electra Woman and Dyna Girl for starters. And no exploration of Sid and Marty Kroffts would be complete without the Brady Bunch Variety Hour:
The Brady Bunch is certainly coming up A LOT lately!
One of THE most classic and cheesiest shows EVER on TV was called Pink Lady and Jeff. 1981. I remember being so intrigued by that nutty title that I tried to catch the show whenever I could. Imagine the complete and total ecstasy-breakdown I had when I saw the Pink ladies immortalizing my song,”Boogie Wonderland”:
Watching this again with the creator of that show who was totally in on the cheese joke of it all was even more thrilling. As we were poking around doing searches on YouTube I discovered that not only did Pink Lady do that quintessential performance of the song, they also recorded it. I’m still gasping for breath:
What a day I spent with the gang. Here’s one last parting shot for the photo LP before everyone left:
I sho love me some Sid Krofft!!
Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – My Sunday Drive With Charles Phoenix: Cruising Van Nuys Blvd. In Search Of Beeps- Part 2
So Charles and I are driving down Van Nuys Blvd. in search of this 1950’s diner named Beeps that neither of us have ever heard of. We both find it hard to believe that if it were THAT good one of us wouldn’t have been aware of it. So we had low expectations until we turned a corner and saw this:
I would’ve stopped anywhere the occupant of that gold sparkle Chevy stopped to eat but I knew from the original Beeps neon that we hit the jackpot, Chevy or not.
All the signage at Beeps is pretty great:
Though some of the signage placement could’ve used a little more thought:
I wish that palm had settled in front of James Dean instead. I hate all that 50’s repro crap, especially when this place actually existed at that time.
Inside, there’s very little room for signage. However, every inch is covered with more 50’s repro madness. I HATE WHEN DINERS DO THIS, not when they should be preserving and relishing the authentically vintage naugahyde, chrome stools and formica covered tabletops they ripped out to make way for it in the first place. Unfortunately, Beeps is a victim of such “modernization”. But thankfully, I can still appreciate it from a kitsch POV as there’s such an overload of new crap everywhere:
Every surface is jammed, even where there’s barely any room, like this wannabe Elvis stuck in the “bar” area.
Even the ceilings are smothered with stuff:
I would suggest bringing a phone or a good book so you don’t have to look at the walls with every repro light-up diner poster ever made, like this one:
Same for the neon guitar:
In contrast, the restroom key is very minimalist. Although perhaps there could have been a more appetizing choice for a restaurant key fob than a drain pipe:
But all of the decor is tolerable because of this::
The menu is massive, far beyond the reach of this photo:
We were very lucky that Valentines Day was approaching, adding to the beauty of the food selection:
Both Charles and I had cheeseburgers.
The french fries were nice and crispy. I was very happy with this action ketchup shot:
I would suggest any burger or kitsch lover head down Van Nuys and make your stomachs (if not your eyes) very happy.
Happy dining until we drive again…
Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – My Sunday Drive With Charles Phoenix: Cruising Van Nuys Blvd. In Search Of Beeps- Part 1
Bright and early the Sunday before last, my #1 day-trip accompanist, Charles Phoenix, and myself tooled down Van Nuys Blvd. looking for a 1950’s diner we heard about called Beeps. For neither of us to know about a place of this nature that’s remained authentic is unheard of. In order to get to it we drove down the main drag of the Valley, Van Nuys Blvd.
No question Van Nuys is pumped full of Arbys, KFC’s and McDonald’s, but thankfully there are quite a few vintage buildings left as well as some newer cheese palaces that make our hit list. We hit the boulevard at Magnolia because there was no way I was going to miss one of my favorite rooflines in the city:
The vintage streetlights look so happy with their taller brother palms:
Tall palms accompany many of the vintage buildings on Van Nuys Blvd.
Although mostly 1960’s and later, older Deco gems pop up too…:
…as well as Deco wannabes, in this case vintage 1975:
There are many great murals along the way, like this one under an overpass,..:
…and this one on a dying building where it’s nice to see life…:
….and this one where it’s nice to get money.:
There’s also a lot of art like this lining the boulevard:
Then there’s buildings like this that are art itself:
And then there’s a type of ‘artful’ building way down at the other end of the tip, like this superstore that looms like a Mayan ruin:
Though not quite as towering as that ‘ancient’ Mayan statue. this is even more impressive to kitsch seekers such as Charles and myself:
A chicken dressed as a cowboy standing on top of a building is one thing. But a store name on top of a building that can only be seen from one side of the street and only in full from a fairly far distance doesn’t seem like the most effective signage. Especially with an ‘I’ that looks like a ‘T’ and an ‘S’ that’s hidden by a tree:
The color palette on these two buildings is pretty great:
You probably think it’s the pink building with the 70’s supergraphic relief that I like most.
But it’s the ancient Greek ruin next to it that makes my kitsch heart spin like a drunken roulette wheel:
Ancient Athens is also alive in this statuesque motel sign down the street:
This building may not have Greek columns but that fake wall is pretty classic:
I love round buildings when they come with a matching car:
That scalloped fence would make a nice companion piece to this rooftop:
Normally I would be pointing out the features on the 1950’s motel in back of me but all I can see is the crazy position my lips are in, as if someone Photoshopped them on:
Let’s pull in tight on that:
I’m assuming there are a fair share of lips in weird positions at The Godfather Gentleman’s Club too, just down the street.
And finally, there it was, Beeps, the 50’s diner neither of us knew about until hanging a left off of Van Nuys at Sherman Way and spotting this pulsating pillar of pinkness:
Double cheeseburger, fries and kitschtastic interiors coming up tomorrow. See you then!