I’m not sure what goes on in Dyersville, Iowa but I sure hope it’s not a factory that specializes in turning out coffee mugs as this is one of the most seriously ugly ones I’ve ever seen. And, trust me, as a purveyor of kitsch I’ve seen a lot of them. If this is truly “Where Dreams Come True”, I hope that at least one Dyersville citizen is dreaming about a new coffee mug design.

The trees are in relief so your fingers bump up and down as they rest on the cup. There’s a layer of nice green ones that are then mysteriously covered over by a layer of brown and dead looking ones. It actually looks like there was a more intricate design underneath but the bowel brown trees apparently appealed more to the artisan.

Okay, I just googled Dyersville and I think the mystery is solved! According to the Chamber of Commerce, Dyersville has a population of 4000 and is known as the Farm Toy Capital of the World.  I would suggest the next run of mugs should feature miniature tractors and the like but that will never happen because of this: “Dyersville is also the home of the Academy Award nominated film, Field of Dreams.” Which explains the over-forestation on the coffee mug. Though I believe that a field consists of a patch of cleared land. Next time I hope someone mows the mugs before they hit the shelves.

As a devoted kitschmeister supreme, I can think of no greater honor than to be captured as a foodstuff and enjoyed as a most scrumptious meal. So thank you, devoted aKitschionado Denny Mclain, for molding me as a meatloaf and cooking and eating me Sunday night for dinner!

Denny has excellent taste in kitsch and has submitted literally thousands of precious pop culture artifacts to the Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com. We met for the first time last summer.

For anyone else who might want to enjoy me in ways other than through my music, art, videos, friends or other more normal avenues through which to experience an artist, here in Denny’s own words is his blow-by-blow recipe for engaging with me as a meatloaf.

“I decided to immortalize Allee Willis in the form of a meatloaf made with low fat ground turkey.”

“I started with a blueprint.”

“Low fat ground turkey is a meat we eat all the time in my house but this is the first time I ever tried treating cooking as an art form. Here we have some primary ingredients such as feta cheese (which gets mixed into the meat), Lipton Soup Mix (thrown in for a bit of flavor!!) the meat itself, some bread crumbs and pesto sauce. All of the ingredients here get mixed into the meat.”

“Musco Family Olives used for Allee’s glasses and eyes (for the pupils). Just take a handful and chop them up but not too fine!”

“The brussell sprouts are used for Allee’s eyes. Take two, cut in half and use the rounded halves for the eyes. The zucchini you see here is used for Allee’s hair. Take a veggie shaver and shave long strips to lay on top of the meatloaf to simulate the folicular goodness that is our Queen of Kitsch’s trademark do.”

“A bit of egg thrown in to help it stick together. The baby carrots were used for Allee’s lips. Take your veggie shaver and shave the carrots and in the meantime, try not to drop several on the floor in the process. Then when the meat is mixed together, gently shape and mold the meat into whatever person you want to eat…”

“…in this case , our Queen of Kitsch, Allee Willis!”

“Please note the chopped olives used for Allee’s glasses and pupils.”

“Stick Allee into the oven and cook her at 400 for about 40 minutes.”

“And voila! Presenting The Queen Of Kitsch, Allee Willis!”

“Serve on appropriate vintage Atomic 50’s dinnerware, in this case Royal Star Glow China.”

Thank you aKitschionado Denny! I am most honored to be preserved  and enjoyed as a meatloaf. I pride myself on always looking tasty and appealing but you have taken me to new heights and temperatures and for that I am ever grateful (and hungry).

I’m always amazed how all these pickled vegetables end up perfectly arranged in a bottle let alone in a glass high heel shoe. I never understood how ships were stuffed into bottles so I certainly don’t get how perfectly dissected relish foodstuffs end up stacked as precisely as Busby Berkeley dancers in glass enclosures. This high heel needs to be a segment on the Science Channel’s “How It’s Made”.

Weighing in at 4 lbs. this is no delicate little ladies foot!

Although the detail of the pearl ankle bracelet is quite the feminine touch:

In fact, all the details on this fashionable hors d’oeuvre stuffed foot are pretty fantastic. I love that they even allowed extra glass for the sole:

But why wasn’t this a pearl onion and caper stuffed heel?

Although that would’ve taken away from the perfect arch of the vegetables:

And how long did it take to hand stuff all those pimentos?

My whole life I’ve pretty much gone through phases of only wearing a certain type of shoe for a period of years and then flip to something completely different. From tiny tot through my teenage years my fascination was with penny loafers, white bucks and patent leather T-straps.

I know it’s hard to see that that’s a penny loafer but trust me, it was.  With a dime inserted into the penny slot, never a penny. Every now and then, saddle shoes would creep in.

But the big saddle shoe phase didn’t really hit me until I started writing songs in the 70s.

I believe “September” was written in those very shoes. They were red and white. I had every possible combo of saddle shoe – red and white, brown and white, blue and white, black and white, white on white, brown on beige, many in suede as well as leather, and all as vintage as possible. I still have big plastic boxes filled with at least 40 pairs of them that I wore exclusively from 1974 through ’79.

The only time I ever really wore high-heels was when I went to school dances. My feet were always as uncomfortable as I was, toting around the gallons of hair piled on my head.

For the last decade or so I’ve been obsessed with Nike Zoom Flights like these:

Only one of my shoe phases have ever included high heels, beautiful vintage 1950’s ones, but if forced to wear them again, a pair of these hearts of palm, carrot and pimento ones would be what I would wish for.

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.

We are blessed here at The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch at AWMOK.com to have an actual Brady in our Bunch and, as such, “Fake Jan Day” is now one of our National Kitsch Holidays! If you don’t know what “Fake Jan Day” is, Cindy Brady will explain it to you here.

Should you not decide to celebrate Fake Jan Day by dressing as a fake Jan I would suggest you simply acknowledge this most precious Kitsch National Holiday by ingesting the traditional “Fake Jan Day” food, the beloved sculptural culinary wonder known as the Cheese Ball. As far as I’m concerned, any day one has an official excuse to make a Cheese Ball is a holiday worth celebrating!

Oops, I didn’t mean those Cheese Balls.

I know the Christmas decorations are finally packed away but squirting cream cheese out of a frosting cone to enhance your Cheese Ball means that Santa gets one more closeup here at AWMOK.

It takes hardly any prodding at all to get me into the kitchen and in artistic mode to begin crafting a Cheese Ball. Were I not so lazy and overextended from holiday parties I might have even made it to the supermarket to construct one of my own so that it might serve as a veritable religious icon in the celebration of  Fake Jan Day. However, YouTube proved to be a loyal assistant here, and finding enough cheese balls, both gastronomic and human, proved an easy task.  So, if the holy fromage spirit inspires you to celebrate Fake Jan Day, wash your hands now and get ready to roll!

“Deep Fried Cheese Ball” – There seems to be a few steps missing here:

“Cheese Ball” – And now for the silent treatment:

“Corn Of Plenty Mini Cheese Ball recipe” – Don’t any of these people have heads?

“How To Make A Cheesy Spider Cheese Ball” – This is for Halloween but I’m sure it will keep til then:

“How To Make A Cheese Ball” – If the energy were any lower here I’d bottle it and take it to get to sleep every night:

“Pineapple Cheese Ball – Happy New Year”  I’m not sure if Pineapple Cheese Ball is the name of the dish or our sparkling hostess:

I never made a cheese ball of the magnitude of the following but I did make quite an impressive mashed potato ball once:

I sculpted the ball out of mashed potatoes, hit it with red food coloring, and stuck olives, gherkins and miniature corns in for a satellite effect and then fit it on top of my 1950’s Saturn shaped coffee urn for maximum presentational effect. You can see it and other impressive food ideas in my 1991 tiny short film, “Foxy’s Tips On Love – The Road To A Man’s Stomach Is Color-Coordinated”.

Whether you make your balls out of cheese, mashed potatoes or whatever ball material you choose I hope you have a very festive Fake Jan Day today!

I was so excited to use my new Japanese-by way-of-China Banana Slicer I ran to rip the package open as soon as I got it home.

But not before I enjoyed the rash of bad translations I always look forward to seeing on these kind of products that flood dollar stores here in the States. The cautionary bullet points on the back of the package are usually very helpful.

I promise not to use the Banana Slicer for anything other than slicing bananas. It doesn’t seem to be especially practical for use as a comb. I will not put the item on the side of a fire but how about in a fire? I also won’t bring it close but close to what? And what is a government divis? And the last time I had a brain in my head I interpreted “please keep this package” as the same thing as “without throwing it away”. I promise will have no trouble keeping the package without throwing it away.

I’ve never heard of a salad crêpe before. Seems like it might get a little soggy.

Is a crêpe the same as a crape?

I love how “Banana Slicer” is translated into so many different languages in case the banana shape of the slicer and the sliced bananas below the translations don’t make its purpose clear enough.

Now on to the actual artistry created with the Banana Slicer. First, position the comb I mean Banana Slicer over the banana.

Apply pressure and slowly push the slicer through the fruit.

Keep pushing.

Once penetration has been achieved, flip your Banana Slicer over to reveal the slices.

One would hope that the slices would just roll free but go wash your hands now as you must prod the fruit free from the teeth.

Look at the lovely banana slices!

Now, wash the Banana Slicer and keep it with your Portable Banana Keeper.

Thank you, aKitschionado windupkitty, for your generous contribution of one Banana Slicer to the personal collection of The Allee Willis Museum Of Kitsch.

One of the main reasons I love Thanksgiving is that I get to pull out all my holiday themed dinnerware. Not that I cook or that my house is the one everyone comes over to but the turkey accessories in plain view still keep me psychologically tweaked for the season.

The gravy boat is missing its spoon but it doesn’t diminish the beauty of the lifelike bird:

The SA&P’s look like tiny hens.

All three items serve an important purpose, to assist in the taste of food, as opposed to this beautiful, lifelike yet useless inflatable turkey that sits in the center of the table every Thanksgiving as well.

The top also doesn’t also pop off the inflatable bird so you can fill it with tasty turkey gravy like the ceramic bird is purposed for.

I hope the nasal cavities of  anyone prepping their turkeys or any of its fixin’s today are filled with the same gravylicious smell that my overactive imagination is filling mine with right now as I gazed at my ceramic birds.

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…


Yes, my birthday’s today and were I’m not so lazy and overworked that would mean it’s time for me to make one of my signature spewing fire and lava volcano birthday cakes. Ranging from a foot to four feet wide and anywhere up to 25 pounds and two feet tall, these overdosing towers of junk have accompanied me rounding the bend to another year ever since I first saw a commercial for The Special Effects Cookbook in 1992.

The real recipe calls for a nicely constructed “lifelike” looking volcano, but I’m an artist and into Kitsch so it should be no surprise that my cakes are hulking, unrecognizable lifeforms wayyyyy out of the realm of what the cookbook author had in mind.

My version is made of up to 10 layers of anything I want – vanilla, chocolate and cherry cake, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, Rice Krispy treats and any other foodstuffs appropriate for celebration, surrounded by Jell-O or whipped cream and accented with Snickers, mini marshmallows, sprinkles, multicolored frosting and flaming sugar cubes-soaked-in-almond-extract torches, all of from which spews lava made from eggs, water and dry ice.  In the 17 years of cooking/sculpting/drilling these things, even the most vegan amongst us ends up with their fingers plugged into this heart attack mound of sugar stuff. The cake is big enough that guests can easily locate a germ-free area in which to do their excavation. Here’s my Birthday ’94 Volcano before it blew:


And here’s the first Volcano cake I ever made in 1993:

volcano-cake5 volcano-cake6

See it erupting!:


Here’s me making a second 1993 lava spewing dragon cake in case my first volcano was too small to feed all my guests. A drill is one of my most necessary kitchen utensils.


Here’s my Volcano Birthday cake, 1997. Rather than stack four cakes on top of each other and risk an avalanche, or whatever it would be called if a volcano tipped over, I erected a mountain range.


Top view:


I won’t be baking any Volcanos this year because my friend, Charles Phoenix, is baking me one of his signature Cherpumples, three pies stuffed into three cake and presented as one. A most happy birthday to me!!