Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Gertrude Stein/ Alice B. Toklas Mug and Stephanie Miller’s Coming Out Party

Submitted by Allee Willis October 4th, 2010
Certifikitsch Winner

I don’t usually like mugs with serious faces on them but “The Gertrude Stein” mug made by Fitz & Floyd in 1976 is a rare one featuring legendary and first-outta-the-gate lesbian life partners, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Gertrude actually looks like Gertrude while Alice looks like a mushroom person, the kind of poisonously sweet little gnome-like being that ceramicists were somehow infatuated with in the late 1960’s and 70s.


Stein, an American writer living in Paris in the first half of the 20th Century, was ultimately known most for her “a rose is a rose is a rose” saying and for coining the term “Lost Generation”, while Toklas is revered for a brownie recipe with a little something extra she published. They were also known as spectacular party throwers for the salons they hosted that attracted the “mugs” of great artists and thinkers of the day, including regulars Ernest Hemingway, Thornton Wilder, Picasso and Matisse.

As gay women who are out and throwing parties go, #1 progressive morning radio show host and Larry King regular, Stephanie Miller, threw a spectacular one Saturday night. After years of being an outspoken supporter of gay rights, especially as regards the repeal of Caifornia’s Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage, Stephanie announced her gaiety on her radio show last month and then threw this combo Birthday/Coming Out bash to celebrate.

Screen shot 2010-10-04 at 10.07.36 AM

Stephanie’s “mug” looks an awful lot like this 1964 Republican Vice Presidential candidate’s. That would be because William E. Miller was her father.


Stephanie being a staunch liberal Democrat, their “mugs” are as far as the resemblance goes. My “mug” doesn’t look anything like Mr. Miller’s but it would have been stupid to have been this close to his in his daughter’s house and not popped off a shot.


There were a lot of fantastic “mugs” at the party, the kind that sit on top of your neck and smile as opposed to ceramic ones like Gertrude that you sip something out of. Here I am with three excellent ones, Jane Wagner, Rep. Maxine Waters and Lily Tomlin.


My compadre, Julie Brown, was also there…


…along with Prudence Fenton


…and this “mug” who I was very excited to meet, George Schlatter. His show, “Laugh In” changed my life, not to mention introduced the world to Lily Tomlin.


I die for Rep. Maxine Waters. She speaks her mind and is right on target. I’ve always loved her for her mojo and spirit. She has an amazing personality for a politician.


I only saw the “mug” of attorney Gloria Allred from afar.


Although Stpehanie’s “mug” appears out her cake, it’s her starts-with-j-and-rhymes-with-mugs that are used to best advantage on it.


A big blow-out Happy Birthday & Coming Out to Stephanie Miller!!


4 Responses to “Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – Gertrude Stein/ Alice B. Toklas Mug and Stephanie Miller’s Coming Out Party”

  1. Douglas Wood

    The Gertrude Stein/Alice B. Toklas mug is fantastic– love when something lofty and erudite mixes with low pop culture!

    Good to see George Schlatter’s face after so many years. I have much affection for him as he gave me my first big break in Hollywood in 1985 by casting my comedy partner and me as series regulars on an NBC music/comedy series, “The Motown Revue with Smokey Robinson,” as well as positions as staff writers on the show. (My comedy duo was called “The Fine Line”).

    • Allee Willis

      Wow, I had no idea! I didn’t even know about ‚ÄúThe Motown Revue with Smokey Robinson‚Äù which is so bizarre as I’m so obsessed with Motown. But I don’t think I was watching much TV in those days. How long did the show last?

  2. Douglas Wood

    There were eight episodes, I think– this was back when they used to do those “summer replacement series” which were usually musical-variety shows. The show wasn’t all that great but for a young guy like me who had just arrived from Chicago only three weeks before, it was a mind-blowing gig as I got to work with the amazing Smokey as well as Ray Charles, Mary Wells, Martha Reeves, Wilson Pickett, Chaka Khan, Rick Nelson, Kim Carnes, Peewee Herman and Dean Martin who were all guests on the show. (And in the previous two weeks I got to perform my comedy act on two separate Merv Griffin shows where I met one of the biggest (in all ways) icons of them all, Orson Welles (just months before he died.)