Finally!! Get out the ol’ YouTube and enjoy this sneak peek at “The D”! (This is NOT the music video or film; just a sneak peek at what you can expect!) You can play this now or read a little more as I will kindly provide you with the link 30,000 times before the end of this update.
As we speak, I’m in my studio rolling my chair from one workstation to another as we simultaneously mix the 4000 vocal and instrument tracks for the record, and edit the 2000+ hours of footage into a music video, assorted trailers and a hybrid–documentary–but–not–really feature film. Normal life has ceased and no matter what other needs may need attending, work never stops!
In the nearly 2 years since I began working on “The D” there were times I was just inches away from pulling the plug because the financial and practical odds of getting thousands of Detroiters to sing a song and be in a film about human spirit on no budget just seemed too enormous. But make it to Detroit we did, in September – a magic month for me for obvious musical reasons – and again at Thanksgiving when I was such an exemplary float personality greeting the crowds as a block of ice being hauled down Woodward Ave., Detroit’s main drag and first paved road in history, in the Thanksgiving Day Parade:
As usual, massive thanks and eternal gratitude to those of you who have already donated or participated in the making of “The D”. Now that everyone else can finally get a hint of what we’re doing I hope many of you reading this will follow suit and help us finish by adding some gas in the tank.
For complete info on “The D” go here: http://www.wesingthed.com
And If you know some nice rich person or place with excellent taste and a whole lotta soul who might make this next part of our journey a little easier in the way of coin, please email me immediately!
I can guarantee you “The D” is a view of Detroit you’ve never seen before. I can guarantee you it’s an accurate one. And I can promise you it will make you smile. When it comes to soul – SERIOUSLY – there ain’t no place like the Motor City!
My “D” best,
And, by the way, have you seen this excellent sneak peek of “The D”?
It’s no secret to anyone within miles of my mouth that constantly babbles on about it that I love my hometown of Detroit, the city that gets more bad raps than an unpopular war, deadly criminals, and oil spills put together. If one had unprejudiced EYEballs to look through they would see the same beautiful and spirited city that I see, the one whose people – perhaps not those who fled to the lighter color suburbs – still believe in and wake up with the soul that Motown pumped into their veins still cursing through their bodies to make things better. Some of that stuff musta stuck personally to me as I seem to have become in my old age the cheerleader I always wanted to become in my young age, though now for the whole city as opposed to just the Mumford Mustangs, whose colors I bore at my graduation oh so many years ago.
As most of you reading this know I’m heading back to Detroit the entire month of September, a month I helped popularize in song!, to conduct daily sing-alongs in order to record, “The D”, the new theme song for the new Detroit I wrote with Andrae Alexander and to simultaneously film near round-the-clock in order to make multitudinous videos and an accompanying D documentary.
Raising money to do this, or for anything in my career, has been my least favorite part of being an artist. I hate dealing with money. That’s not why I make art/music/videos/web worlds/etc. It’s antithetical to this pure artists’ brain and being to ask for money. But as an artist who 90% of the time has funded themselves, and as a songwriter who has watched my own and others’ work get essentially cast into the public domain, operating under the digital assumption that songwriters no longer deserve compensation, unless there’s some gold or green in the bank ain’t no nothin gon happen no mo.
So I launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money for “The D”. But I’ve been pretty shy about confronting the bane of my career – asking people for money so I can put some gas in The D tank and actually pull off what most artists would want 1,000,000+ clams to do – spend a month getting every single person in Detroit who wants to be on the record or perform in the video/film to do exactly that. And I’m prepared to do it with scotch tape and string, the usual way I’ve have to execute my career, walking the money gutted path of pennies, stripping down the grand vision that I see in my head to the thinner version my pocketbook can afford. The good news about this is that without those limitations I doubt I ever would have stumbled onto the KITSCH style I’m known for in all areas of my art – other than my music, which remains on its Grammy high. And for this I thank those who have been either too cheap or ball-less or working at entertainment conglomerates to support me just to sit back and watch from behind the fence while I hit the home runs for those who HAVE pulled their checkbooks out.
All of this rambling to say, THIS WEEK ONLY, if you donate at least $15 to “The D” you’ll automatically be entered into the raffle to win one of an excessively limited edition of personally-autographed-by-me “Keep Your EYE on Detroit!” dashboard EYEballs in addition to all the other perks associated with the amount you contribute! Thank you, Archie McPhee, for the generous donation of these ocular wigglers.
This nifty EYEball shaker will not only liven up your car dashboard but will be a constant bouncing reminder that you’ve put your money where the underdog is and be a part of calling attention to a true American city that’s reinventing itself very much in the spirit that the United States itself was created. Forge into new territory and do it for yourself. Detroiters have no government to rely on, hell even the mayor quit, so people there are just rolling up their sleeves and executing ideas that they wouldn’t have the balls to even think of let alone build in other cities.
I’ve long said that the times that I’ve been perceived as hot in my career aren’t actually when I’m hot. It’s in the valleys when you think nothing is happening and no one’s paying attention to you because they think you’re over when you do the work that shoots you to the top of the mountain in your so-called “hot” periods. That’s what it’s like in Detroit now, the Wild (mid)West, the city that slid first and watched all the others fall in their arrogance of “that couldn’t happen here”, and the first city to embrace, at least from the inside, that radical change isn’t re-building, it’s re-imagining and re-inventing.
You can feast your real EYEballs here where I’ve just posted gaggles of photos from my trip to Detroit in April. Then try to get your real plastic EYEball here by helping me pull off this insanely massive project I have in my head to do in Detroit this September. If one just keeps their EYEs pointed toward the ground and walks the same path one’s always walked you get the same life you’ve always had. But if one keeps their EYE on Detroit, you’ll see the path changing, leading to a very bright light in the future. Please be among those who help me shine that light! http://igg.me/at/WeSingTheD EYE will appreciate it forever!
YOU + (at least) $15 = Making Allee very happy.
Full deets on da D: http://igg.me/at/WeSingTheD
I was very excited when aKitschinado Michael Eli is sent me these two face scarves that his sister-in-law Diane made for me.
It’s not usually cold enough here in LA to wear something of this nature but I’m always one for something a little different that adds style and comfort to one’s life.
When Michael received the photos I sent him of me wearing Diane’s creations, he politely explained that I was wearing the accessories wrong. How was I supposed to breath covering my nose?! I should have known this as my very lust for these mini scarves was inspired when I spent last Christmas under the spell of this particular hat:
But, truth be told, I breathe through my mouth. So that little slit seemed more than appropriate to spotlight my ever-Mac Morange lips. I often do things wrong where instinct would have kicked into other people’s heads instantaneously. Like most folks wouldn’t be 15 years into their painting career before they realized that you mix colors to get other colors. Or that you cook oatmeal rather than letting the little hard disks of oats nick your throat like blades on an ice skating rink while throat doctor after throat doctor can’t figure out what the problem is. These kind of predicaments are the kind of things that dump themselves on my doorstep daily. This has forced me to have more of a sense of humor about most things and not be embarrassed when someone tells me I am wearing something wrong and will most likely drop dead from lack of oxygen inhalation in mere minutes. But I’m happy to say that I am just as happy with my face scarf being worn properly as improperly!:
Though I’d probably feel better if I could put lipstick on my nose as I’d love a burst of contrasting color in the midst of all that yarn. But I’ll settle for my nose going nude and being able to enjoy the nippy air as God originally intended it to. Thank you again, Michael and Diane!
A few weeks ago, on the dawn of Hanukah, me, Snappy P a.k.a. Prudence Fenton, and Wendy Goldman-Rohm hopped into the mustache van and headed north to Snappy’s family pad in Monterey. We stopped at my favorite place on earth, The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, for a little Christmas shopping on the way.
We also bumped into a friend, Isabell Freed, who stopped at the inn for some french fries and pie on her way back down to LA:
Once we got to Monterey we stopped at Whole Foods for supplies, including these lemons. Yes, I said lemons.
All being writers, we treated our stay as a 5-day writing retreat.
Monterey is very quiet, condusive to this type of activity. Though the view out of the window next to us was very inviting I stayed glued to my computer.
A lot of friends stopped by to say hello:
Although beautiful, it was really cold.
Lots of great food was cooked.
It was, after all, Hanukah:
Wendy and Prudence attended to all the culinary duties:
Wendy’s apple pancakes were KILLER:
Our friend, Sally Rosenthal, drove down to meet us from Palo Alto just in time to sample them:
Sometimes we ate out. The soup at Cassanova was especially good:
Every day started out with a walk:
Notice that I’m not in any of those photos. I prefer my exercise to take place in a nice easy chair in front of a TV. Though I did manage to venture out once:
I only had to walk about 100 feet from the house to get a great shot of the golf course it sits on:
Every day included a lot of writing. I had to finish my Wienermobile post as well as two songs and a new outline for my live show slated for May 8 and 9:
On the last night we hit Carmel Beach as the sun was setting.
Snappy, Wendy and Sally, of course, went for another walk.
I stayed in the car and photographed the sunset…
All in all, Monterey yielded a most restful and productive few days. But alas, it was time to wrap up the latkes, jump into the mustache van and head back to LA for the holidays.
I’m blessed enough that to ring in the new year I’ve gone to at least four parties a day for the last couple of days with two more to go today. I just woke up and am racing out the door to New Years Day party #1 at Street, the restaurant I co-own and die for, where there are free homemade donuts and bottomless champagne til 3. So I will resume full-on posting here tomorrow or I’ll miss the dough-filled festivities. For now though, I leave you with two of my favorite things from last night – accessories to my chosen New Years outfit and the comedy icons I got to ring 2012 in with. First, the crowning touch of my wardrobe, a shoey salute to kitsch, these Jeremy Scott Addidas sneakers:
Transparent and way too big for me I stuffed the toes with fuzzy balls. There’s no way I’m going to let size stop me when I see a pair of shoes I like.
I’ve never had shoes with wings before.
My Michael Jackson as sphinx pendant wasn’t bad either:
And how completely dying were my shoes, pendant and I to get to spend New Years Eve with Banana Splits, H.R Pufnstuff, Donny and Marie Show kitsch-God-creator Sid Krofft, seen here with me, Beverly D’Angelo and Snappy P.
To make it a 60’s/70’s comedic love fest, Buck Henry was also there but I forgot to snap a pic. I’m seeing him later today at party #2 and will rectify the situation. In the meantime, here we are a couple of New Years ago:
Ok, gotta split and ring in the New Year with donuts and champagne at Street. Many, many, many more photos to follow from the years end/beginning activites later this week. In the meantime, a very sunny and pleasant 2012 to all and may it be stuffed with exquisite kitsch!!
Oops, I know I promised my Wienermobile blog today but there’s been too much activity to write up the over-three-hour trek through the San Fernando Valley in a wiener, so instead I shall make you all jealous by telling you that I took an unexpected detour to The Madonna Inn again for a little Christmas shopping. Unfortunately, which is wont to happen at this time of year, many of the gifts were for myself.
Me, Snappy P. and Wendy Goldman Rhome, all dedicated aKitschionados, hopped in the mustache van and sped 3 hours to my favorite destination on earth and raided the T-shirt and sweatshirt racks, but only after we ate in the Copper Cafe, which has hands down my favorite fried chicken and cheeseburgers (and decor) in the world.
In most people’s worlds, the odds probably aren’t very good for running into friends hundreds of miles away from home, but all my friends exhibit stellar taste when it comes to knowing their kitsch so it was no surprise we bumped into Isabel Freed, who was traveling back down the coast to go to LA.
No extensive documentation of the Madonna Inn this time as I’ve done it so many times before. Between my 3 songwriting deadlines, two press shoots of Willis Wonderland, two proposals due, a new outline of my live show, a plethora of Christmas parties, not to mention finishing my multi-part Wienermobile blog, I need a little more time to tend to the wiener (post). Which I hope I’m back here tomorrow with.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! May you have much turkey, tofurkey or whatever else you choose to stuff yourself with today!
A few Sundays ago, me and the lovely Snappy P, a.k.a. Prudence Fenton, headed down to Two Bunch Palms in Desert Hot Springs, just outside of Palm Springs.
Most people come here for the natural hot springs. I came for this:
The greatest barbecue I’ve ever seen. Saw it about nine months ago in an email from Modernway, an incredible vintage store on the main drag in Palm Springs, and finally made the trip down to claim it. I was tempted to leave with this as well but my pockets somehow remained zipped:
Though now that I think about it, a sunflower table next to a golf-ball-on-tee BBQ would have made an awfully nice set. But I had spent all my petty cash in Beaumont, a de rigeur vintage stop on the way down from LA, buying things like an exploding Mt. St. Helen’s whisky bottle…
…and an excellent apple ashtray:
Everytime I’m in Palm Springs I take endless photos of the former mayor, Mr. Sonny Bono. I love when statues look absolutely nothing like the person they’re carved to commemorate:
We stayed here, a few miles out of Palm Springs:
Two Bunch is a very private place so I must honor it by not posting any photos. I will say, however, that I’ve always enjoyed the neck-like-a-giraffe-horse waiting patiently outside the men’s room.
And, despite the refrigerator that has rumbled every time I’ve stayed in Villa 2 as well as the air conditioner that’s placed so it directly blows on your head – curious placement for a room in a health spa – I continually go back.
Though relatively little time was spent turning into an iceberg as we immediately headed back into Palm Springs to eat at Circa 59 in the relatively newly refurbished Riviera Hotel.
The last time I walked in this place was about 10 years ago when I was in an art show sponsored by Nancy Sinatra. As her father spent so many years frolicking at the Riviera it seemed only right I participate despite the fact that I had to whip something together overnight. I don’t remember the show being too successful. Maybe my piece would’ve had more impact if it were featured here, just down the block from the Riviera.
Needless to say, I’d love to be invited to a luncheon at the lodge.
The new and improved Riviera is quite a different story than the Dolly Sinatra Lodge. Here are a few shots by way of demonstration:
Those cutout panels are all over the ground floor of the hotel. Orange being my favorite neon color, it definitely set the tone for an excellent evening. As did the seating in the lobby.
There was interesting seating all over the place.
Though none as favorite as this little area that popped up a few times in the grand hallway leading to the restaurant.
I love pearlized leather.
I also love the pool table right across from those couches.
And i really go for the scale of the doors.
There are also great mirrors all over the place.
And a curved walkway to the rest rooms.
Despite a few hiccups like broccoli being undercooked despite sending it back twice and still tasting like a baseball bat and never getting any bread, the food at Circa 59 was pretty good. I totally forgot to take photos of it though so instead you can see my new little knit cap that I also bought in Beaumont as it’s displayed against the high booths in the restaurant.
I hate how that thing is positioned on my head. It has stripes all around the top but just looks like a lumpy muffin here. Speaking of lumpy muffins, they usually go great with fried chicken. But this is the closest I got to fowl, just down the road from Two Bunch:
There was also a dinosaur sighting:
Though perhaps my favorite sighting in Palm Springs was this T-shirt…
…that was across the street from these two plaster guard poodles…
…that was down the block from where I picked up my golf ball bbq.
And that’s what brought us here in the first place.
If anyone’s going to be in the Boston area this coming Saturday, head to Somerville where thousands of Fluffed-up folks will be honoring Fluff, the marshmallow food topping invented there, and where I’ll be judging the 70’s fashion show while people cremate my song, “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire, by changing the lyrics to reflect their love of Fluff.
I’ve been laboring on my outfit for the last 48 hours, the beginnings of which you can see above. I refuse to slop Fluff in my hair, as many of the participants do, so choose instead to ruin a few hats and shirts experimenting with Fluff-like effects so that I, the judge of the Pharaoh of Fluff fashion show and songwriting contests, look like I’m in the swing of the Flufftivities. I still have about 40 pounds of glue to go but that shirt will be covered like shag carpeting smothered a 70’s living room by the time I’m done.
More details on the Fluff festival here: http://unionsquaremain.org/fluff-festival/pharaoh-of-fluff/