Allee Willis with psychedelic Fluffernutters
It's never fun to report that someone in our tribe has passed. That's especially true when that person is also someone you know and love.
Allee Willis, Happy Mutant Extraordinaire, died just after 6 p.m. on December 24 of cardiac arrest. She was 72.
My friend Heather was in tears when she phoned me to tell me the news. It was 10:15 p.m. on Christmas Eve. She had just read about Allee's sudden and unexpected death in Variety. We were both shocked and deeply saddened. We pondered together on the call, "How is it possible that she's gone?"
I first met Allee back in the February of 2011. Friends of mine here in Alameda, Jessica and Mel, introduced me to her. "You HAVE to meet her!" they insisted. At that time, a TV show called Clean House was filming the decluttering and redecorating of their home. Their excess stuff was soon to be sold in a televised public sale. Since they are well known for their massive collection of pop culture kitsch and, being the Queen of Kitsch, Allee was compelled to drive up for the sale. And because their house was out of commission for the show's filming, I offered up mine to host a party in Allee's honor, not entirely sure what I was getting myself into or, honestly, grasping the full understanding of who she was. But I was game. I invited a group of local friends, all self-proclaimed kitsch lovers. Read the rest
This just now got on my radar, even though it was released way back in 2010. Whatever! You can't put a date on fun. Fred Schneider (of The B-52's, of course!) & the Superions made a kind-of-sexy, but also perfectly kitschy and weird, super low-budget music video for their song "Fruitcake." Yes, it's a song about fruitcake. I won't say another word, just watch it. New holiday favorite born.
screenshot via Fruitcake Read the rest
Pop culture humorist Charles Phoenix (previously) has been busy this year. He's written a book:
Holiday Jubilee is loaded with original eye-popping “test kitchen” recipes and over 500 vintage images, serving up an intoxicating, action-packed extravaganza of America’s favorite seasonal traditions past, present, and future. Your imagination will be inspired and your spirit will soar!
And he's created this hilarious and kitschy "Raw" Turkey Tiki Meatloaf Mug ($80). This "meatloaf pan-shaped Moai" is inspired by his Tiki Turkey Dinner, an alt-Thanksgiving recipe found in the book.
Hey! Charles will be at Soap Plant WACKO in Los Angeles this Sunday, September 15, signing that new coffee table book of his from 2 to 4 p.m. This line alone, from the event page, makes me want to hop down to LA this weekend: "LIFE ALTERING SNACK and ARTIFICIALLY COLORED AND FLAVORED REFRESHMENTS will be served." Read the rest
If a Bob Ross TOASTER isn't gloriously leaping over the "officially-licensed Bob Ross merchandise shark" with red, white, and blue streamers, I don't know what is!
Don't get me wrong, I love every inch of its modern-day kitsch aesthetic. From Bob's smiling mug and signature on the toaster's front to the feature that actually chars an image of the late great Joy of Painting host on the bread itself, fro and all. It's truly something to behold. But I can't help but feel sad that Mr. Ross himself wasn't around to experience his fantastic late-capitalism legacy.
It's touted as, "The perfect present to cheer up any artist's kitchen." You can get one for the artist in your life for $39.95.
(Foodiggity, Odditymall) Read the rest
Mariano Pascual has created a delightful nod to classic desktop layouts for his new site, but it's updated with all kinds of colorful bells, whistles, and Easter eggs. Read the rest
Low-poly sculpturist Pellegrino Cucciniello of Italy has rethought the ordinary. He's taken an icon of outdoor kitsch, the garden gnome, and stripped it of its details and paint job. His angular, concrete creation is named Nino.
Nino is produced by Rome-based studio Plato Design who sells the 14-inch indoor/outdoor figures in three monochromatic colors for $108.46 each.
Read the rest
Heads up! The reigning Queen of Kitsch, Allee Willis, is hosting three live Christmas/Hanukkah mashup "party performance" shows in Studio City later this week.
It is with great pleasure that I announce my craziest in-the-best-sense-of-the-word nuts live show yet! For 3 big nights - Nov. 30-Dec. 2 - the party rages on at Allee Willis’ Love ’N Latkes Chanukah Christmas Shopping (and Singing and Comedy) Extravaganza Show! An ALL NEW "one-woman + Andrae” party performance featuring hit songs (I was just nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame so you know they’re great hits!), sing-alongs, the least appropriate stories a songwriter could tell, and, oh yeah, not just an auction of supreme flea finds but the greatest early holiday gift shopping in the whole wide Kitsch world!!
That’s right! For the first time ever, I’ll be opening the vaults and auctioning off treasures from my own world-renowned personal Kitsch, Pop, and Soul collection!
Tickets to all three shows (Thursday 11/30, Friday 12/1, and Saturday 12/2) are available now. Her shows always sell out so, if you're thinking of going, grab tickets now. Read the rest
Creator of the Cherpumple (and other retro-fabulous foods) Charles Phoenix has a new book that celebrates "classic & kitschy American life & style." It's titled Addicted to Americana and it looks amazing!
Here's a look inside the book (click on image to embiggen):
The book is available for $22.32 on Amazon.
Charles is also on a book signing and comedy slide show tour (mostly in California). If you've never seen him perform, please do yourself a favor and get thee to one of his shows. They are a hoot. Read the rest
I know a kindred spirit when I see one and New Orleans-based bon vivant Sam Malvaney is definitely "one of us," a true kitsch lovin' collector. Take a walk with Sam --who's dressed in a leopard-print tuxedo jacket, no less-- as he gives a virtual tour of his enviable French Quarter home, aka the "Museum of Bad Taste."
(David M. Jones via Skip Baker) Read the rest
Spotted in the dregs of YouTube, this spectacular opening sequence from a classic schlock-fu film. I love the opening credits. Stay with it through the vry srs bizness American-English VO around 1:30. I know this stuff is all over YouTube, and has been for some time, but I thought this one was a particularly fun specimen.
Video: The Invincible Kung Fu Legs, part 1.
The uploader has shared a number of other goodies from this same genre, including 8 other clips from that same film. Read the rest