Help build kitsch queen Allee Willis's creative legacy by bidding on a vintage ashtray (with wacky-fun artifacts) from her estate

The first time I visited Willis Wonderland, the incredible pink Streamline Moderne home in North Hollywood of Queen of Kitsch Allee Willis, I was completely awestruck. I had been invited to a daylong Fluff-themed party for aKitschionados, a group of us who had been "indoctrinated" to her online Museum of Kitsch, and here we were in her real-life Museum of Kitsch.

Now, Allee took great pride in hosting epic shindigs, describing them as "kids' birthday parties on acid," and this one definitely lived up to the hype. We got to be kids and Willis Wonderland was our trippy playhouse for the day.

In my defense, that L.A. weed of hers was strong. image:

For some reason, I had offered to bake a sandwich-shaped Fluffernutter cake in her kitchen during the party. She was game, thinking I was going to whip up a family recipe I had made a million times before. I hadn't. Then, as the fun was in full swing, I suggested we'd better get baking. She suggested we'd better get baked first. I obliged, sharing a joint with her on the front veranda, and then dove into the cake-making. Three hours later I was still too high to properly follow the recipe. It finally got made, after getting some last-minute help from Cherpumple-champion Charles Phoenix who decided we should stray from the recipe and dump an entire jar of peanut butter on it. Like me, the final product was a hot mess.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Well, because pieces from her collection are being auctioned off, including a swank vintage ashtray complete with "one of the last spliffs Allee was smoking"—lipstick stain and all. I laughed out loud seeing it in the catalog because it reminded me of that hilarious bake-and-cake incident.

A Detroit native and lover of Motown, Allee also collected vintage Black memorabilia including afro picks. image: Willis Wonderland Foundation

Sadly, Allee died unexpectedly at the end of 2019. Her life partner, Prudence Fenton, has since taken on the massive task of preserving her creative legacy through the newly-formed Willis Wonderland Foundation. Allee wanted her home to serve as a museum after her death. So, Willis Wonderland will be made available as a springboard for songwriters and multimedia artists, esp. those in underserved communities, to create, learn, and succeed. And to fund the foundation's mentorships, seminars, lectures, podcasts, and artist-in-residence programs, amazing artifacts from her estate are being auctioned off, both online and in person.

Plus, in pure Allee-style, there's going to be a party. And, naturally, it'll happen on the 21st night of September.

September 21st is a date is forever tied to Willis (do you remember?), who got her big break in 1978 for co-writing Earth, Wind & Fire's "September." At the beginning of that year, Allee was on food stamps. By the end, that record had sold 10 million copies. So, this year's September 21st will bring Night of Wonders, an epic fundraising party for the Willis Wonderland Foundation.

Night of Wonders will be one for the books, if its social presence is any indication. Lily Tomlin, Lesley Ann Warren, Mark Mothersbaugh, Laraine Newman, Pamela Adlon and Diva Zappa are just a few of the celebrities from Willis' circle that have been (having way too much fun) promoting it. Plus, it boasts the star-studded host committee of RuPaul, Lily Tomlin, Luenell, Paul Reubens, and Jenifer Lewis.

In addition to the art and memorabilia auction, a fashion parade, performances, and games—along with food, drinks and surprises—are planned at Valentine DTLA on Wednesday, September 21, from 7 to 10 p.m. You don't have to be in Los Angeles to be part of it, as the online auction is live now.

image: Willis Wonderland Foundation