What do you get when you combine a 91-year-old female drummer on an oxygen tank; an eccentric, Grammy-winning songwriter; and one of L.A.'s funkiest, hyper-local galleries? A party that will likely be unlike any you've ever attended.
The drummer is Jerrie Thill, a spunky phenom from the Jazz Age who still performs at the El Cid in Silver Lake. The songwriter is Allee Willis, who has penned a wildly diverse catalog of tunes including the theme to "Friends," the Pointer Sisters' "Neutron Dance" and "The Color Purple" musical. The gallery is Ghettogloss, the tiny Silver Lake-salon-that-could. The fortunate union of the three is in celebration of the YouTube premiere of a music video called "Hey Jerrie," directed by Willis and starring Thill.
The video features a catchy, jazz-driven number that Willis wrote and animated photos from Thill's life of drumming (featuring almost as many era-defining styles as I have fingers), interspersed with footage of Jerrie, as she is today, swinging her brushes above her head and pleasantly tap, tap, tapping on her kit.
"I generally like very offbeat talent," explains Willis. "But Jerrie is just a fine musician." Willis had already made a number of music videos featuring herself as her alter-ego "Bubbles" when she discovered Thill, who was playing her monthly Sunday gig at El Cid. Willis was immediately bowled over by the spunky nonagenarian. "I adored being around her," she says.