Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Henry Darger


January 1, 1971. I had a very poor nothing like Christmas. Never had a good Christmas all my life, nor a good new year, and now…. I am very bitter but fortunately not revengeful, though I feel should be how I am…’
(Art: Cat-Headed Blengin, date unknown.)



Another thing on my wishlist is a book on Henry Darger's work.  I can look at his creations forever, and I'm always finding something new.  There is so much of his work that when I look up his images, I end up discovering a piece I've never seen before. Amazing. What a story this man had. 

Here is more about him here.   I've mentioned before that his work would make really interesting tattoos.   I still dream about getting something done, but I have to limit my options.  That is going to be tough.  If you still haven't seen In The Realms of the Unreal, you must make that one of your resolutions.  It is one of the most beautiful documentaries. 

Sad he never had a good christmas.  Lets all try to have a joyful one, and a happy hanukkah + new year! 

your friend,


Sunday, December 18, 2011


Copyright Ava Alamshah, 2011.  Ink, markers, colored pencil.   

Here's a piece I did for a little employee art show we are having at my workplace.  I work at Trader Joes.  Jeaux thinks my drawing has a hopeful feeling.  I think it is kind of melancholy sad.  What is your interpretation? 

Stop by the Silverlake store to check out the original starting on December 20th.  It will be for sale, along with limited edition prints of the same image!  Email me at for more information.  

your friend,


Friday, December 16, 2011

Vulnerability = POWER

As soon as I logged onto my computer this morning, I saw this.  Very inspiring.  I never thought being vulnerable could have such a positive influence, but from my own experiences, I have to say that results can be eye opening.  It reveals inner truth, and that's pretty powerful. 

Have a great day! 

your friend,



On my wish list....

Rachel Comey's shoes are beautiful.  I own one pair courtesy of her line for Urban Outfitters.  Otherwise, I can't afford them.  These beauties are 434.95 on solestruck.  They are a lot more on the Anthro site..448.  Time to save those purrrtyy pennies or just splurge with some much needed xmas dollars.  Oh thank you, Jesus!  I wear a size 7.5 to 8 in case anyone is feeling R E A L L Y generous. 

your friend,


Thursday, December 15, 2011

S W I N E update!

A T T E N T I O N !  * * Los Angeles friends* *

You can rent a copy of Swine from the Echo Park Film Center for just two bucks! I love the EPFC, and was introduced to that place by my friend, Brad.  Bradley was the cinematographer/editor for Swine and use to take classes under Paolo, EPFC owner and all around nice guy.  It's also located on my most favorite block in Echo Park, on Alvarado, in between Sunset and Reservoir.  Next door to the film center is Machine Project, and right next door to that you've got the downbeat cafe.  So have some green tea (my beverage of choice), see an art opening and check out a 5 dollar screening all in the same night!  You can't beat it.  If you haven't seen my post about the film and our epic premiere here

And now, here's executive producer, Koren Young. 

your friend,


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Premiere Night!

Me and my gorgeous friend, Bethany, at the grand reception!  We've known each other for about 14 years and recently had our 10 year high school reunion (that we never went to).  Lovely photo courtesy of Emylie

I'm so glad to finally be writing about my friends and the exciting night they had two Saturdays ago.  The day after this night, my cold ended up resurfacing, and I'm just now starting to come out of my funk.  So here it is....Premiere Night!  

My good friend Daniel is the director of a little three part feature titled Swine.  Swine has action, Sci-fi battles with lazer guns, hot babes, great locations with vast desert landscapes, ghost towns, abandoned country sides...the best thing of all, a lot of close friends got to work on this and make cameos!  I didn't make a cameo, but I got to work a bit on props, painting some guns! 

some detail work on this huge machine gun/cannon...I think this was 2009

a perfectly good photo...bomb
Amber and I had great coats that day.  Her coat, red and mine, pink!  That's Emylie right above us looking sassy.  There's Daniel!  This was truly his night.  Our friend Koren was the executive producer and he managed to get the Premiere shown at the wonderful Laemmle Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.  It is truly one of my most favorite theaters ever and there is always something interesting playing there.  If you are ever in need of a good indie film and inexpensive prices, the Laemmle is the place to go. I mean, bargain prices are 8 bucks and that's how much it would have cost to go to the movies in the 90s!  Sigh...the good ole days.  It was a midnight showing and the cast, crew, friends and family all had the theater to ourselves. We all met up beforehand for free pizza at Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana.

See, free pizza! 

I don't know about those yelpers, but I have to be honest.  I'm very picky when it comes to pizza..very.  I mean my mom's a New Yorker for cryin out loud!  I've had pizza in New York, Chicago, and Italy.  I have to say,  New York takes the cake. Those immigrants sure new what they were doing.  I'm sad, because I can't eat pizza all the time, but this night was special.   Though the pizza at Settebello, not very good.  The dough was soggy and flimsy, and it was just mediocre.  But it was free, so I ended up having three slices.  I know, beggars can't be choosers.  I do have to say, the staff was great for having us there and they kept the pizzas coming, and fast!  Major props guys!

Jeaux snapped this one right before we left. It was a chilly night, which made me happy because I finally got to wear my coat!

The serious director, Mr. Levitch.

Here's Beth and I being groupies in the parking lot.  This was around 2am and we had to get to our cars fast, or else the Pasadena Parking Police would have given us major tickets.  Oh, Pasadena and your crazy meters.  We are holding our very own copies of the film.  My boyfriend designed the illustrations that are on the cover!  Check them out!  I know he worked very hard on them, and is very proud of his contribution.

My friends want to turn this small trilogy into a feature length film one day.  If you can, please take the time to donate here.  I know times are tough in our country right now, so if you can't afford to donate, please help spread the word to the masses!  Here's their official facebook page. 

your friend,


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

oodles of poodles

Feeling kind of uninspired lately. I think this cold has really gotten me down.  My boyfriend sent me this photo of Audrey a little while ago because he knows how obsessed I've become.  How can I be sad when looking at this beautiful woman in her poodle blouse? 

Speaking of poodles, look what I found!

That's a young Joan Collins in the first photo.  When I clicked on the image, it led me to this woman's really cute blog.  I was happy to discover that Johanna loves vintage fashion, and from the looks of it, she makes her own clothes.  She is also from Sweden, collects Barbie dolls, loves Disney themed parks and paints. She's also cute as a button.  Check out her style.  Very retro.  Let's be friends. 

Also, how weird and awesome is that photo of Zsa Zsa Gabor?  That poodle cracks me up, I don't know how to feel about this.

your friend,


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hibernation Part !!

Being sick also gives me a lot of time to waste time on the internet.  Check out some raddd photos I found of my favorite fashion icons.  Google images is ridiculously addictive! 

I don't like to promote guns, but Angelica looks fierce! 

Oh, the colors...sigh.  I'm sorry, but she was hands down the most stylish first lady.

I watched a bit of Vertigo last night and I want to look like Kim Novak.  Which version, you ask?  Probably Jimmy Stewart's fantasy with the icy blond locks, but in reality it may be less of a challenge to achieve the look of brunette Kim (no dying my hair). Either way, she's gorgeous.  Watching the trailer again, I just have to say that Vertigo is my absolute favorite Hitchcock film, even more than Psycho, more than Rear Window (let's face it, they are all good).  Maybe it's the wardrobe design by Edith Head, or that amazing Bernard Herrmann score. I love, LOVE the opening titles designed by Saul Bass.  Listen to this guy.  He seems to know a thing or two about film. 

It was also filmed all over San Francisco, which is a city close to my heart due to some dear friends that live there. 

Great trick photography back then! 

That coat! Those gloves! Perfection. 

 More Angelica...I'm obsessed. 
Great look for the next Spring/Summer.  Totally copying.


your friend,


Wednesday, December 7, 2011


To all my friends,

I am alive (I promise) and recovering from a head cold that has plagued me on and off for about three weeks now. It has been quite the little tragedy because I missed out on a lot.  I've missed out on friend's concerts, parties, being outside, I didn't feel like blogging, I was really sad about it actually.  So many wonderful things were happening around me, for instance, my pal Clark plays drums for the band, Melotia, and he had a free show at The Roxy.  Now the sunset strip isn't my bag, baby, but I've gone to some pretty neat shows there.  I remember seeing an amazing live performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at said Roxy that blew my mind.  Remember Michael Pitt in the film version?!  So, so hot (check out those pants, and those pouty lips!)

Also, Clark is awesome and I've been wanting to check out his gigs, but coincidentally have been sick each time. There must be a God somewhere that refuses to let me see pop metal shows, but few of you know I can get down with my inner metal goddess.  It's true.


The lovely, Ema Tunermann, had a show that same night.  I would have gone to both, although her show was at the Silverlake Lounge, clear on the other side of Sunset.  She is very talented and I can't tell you how much I love to see her perform.  Actually....oh yes, I CAN, I've done that twice

I also missed this last night.  I'm fascinated with Lynch's style of filmmaking, and I am certain that his music will be just as haunting...and strange. I hope I can meet him one day so he can sign my Blue Velvet ring, made especially for me back in school by my friend, Rio. It contains this image below, and I really should wear it more often. 

On a good note, I've managed to obtain a lot of needed rest.  I wouldn't say it was all boring either.  I've caught up with my nail painting (glitter fabulous!),

watched some wonderfully disturbing episodes of Boardwalk Empire (SPOILER ALERT*SPOILER ALERT...everyone saw the incest thing coming, right?!), oh yeah...hello again Michael Pitt..
source via interview

...saw one of my favorite films I haven't seen in a long time Double Indemnity, while eating gluten free chocolate chip cookies that are actually's been great. 

The best thing of all is that Jeaux came to visit me with Matzo Ball soup today.  Bits of chicken, matzo, noodles, carrots, celery, and all that wonderful broth.  Needless to say, I was a happy woman. Thanks honey!  I still feel a bit wonky, but well enough to have the energy to write again. There was one night I was able to go out, and that was last Saturday.  I had the pleasure of enjoying my friend, Daniel's, movie premiere!  Here's a sneak peak.  Promise to have more on that story very soon. 

your friend,


Saturday, November 19, 2011

My New Coat

Just in time for this cloudy weather.  I managed to find this amazing bargain while shopping for ornaments at Anthropologie.  This is my forth coat added to my collection and it makes me think that I should stop living in Los Angeles because I hardly get to wear them.  It has these short sleeves that evoke a certain era where women wore long, elegant gloves.  It's cliche, but I instantly thought of Audrey after trying it on.  A lot of people have been saying Jackie O too.  It's forcing me to dress more elegantly, which I always wanted to to, but never knew how to execute until I reached my mid to late 20s.  Now that I'm almost 30, I've reached this point in my life where no matter where I am, I always want to look like a lady.  Though, I don't want to seem too prim and proper.  Besides wearing with dresses, I'm going to embrace this coat with jeans and a tee shirt.  Dressing it down a bit will give it some edge.  

The images below capture a certain vibe I'm embracing.  Strong and feminine. Bold brows and a bold lip, with a beautiful 40s/50s ensemble.  Throw in something modern so it's not too "Halloween Party", like some gold metallic nail polish, or leather booties.  I also love it when classic pieces are re-styled to look more modern, such as a classic oxford with a leopard print.  I never thought I would like leopard print again, and dare I say, clogs.  Who am I?  I love a good statement necklace too and I keep a lot of vintage pieces passed down to me by my very stylish mother.  She's the only one, besides my friend, Stefani, who knows my tastes so well.  Especially my taste in jewelry.  
Say "YES" to night portraits.  Especially when your subject is this good.


your friend,


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back to the Future Part II

A while back I posted some beautiful photos from Irina Werning.  Her series "Back to the Future" is brilliant and I love her attention to detail when replicating photographs from the past.  It looks like she was in LA for some of them, and I wish I would have known sooner because I would have LOVED to be one of her subjects.  About 8 years ago or so, back at CalArts, I had this project in my head about childhood that never got made.  My mother was rummaging through the garage and found some vintage super 8 footage of me and my family in the early 1980s.  It showed images of "Baby Ava" playing dress up (not too different from today), my 1st birthday is on film with brief images of my grandpa who passed on before I ever got to know him...

Footage of seeing my uncle in his late 20s holding me was really surreal, like from another realm, and just seeing myself as a child brought forth so much raw emotion.  I wept, and thought, "I have to use this somehow".  Something compelled me to use this footage, maybe to possibly relive my childhood in a way, but to come up with an execution was impossible at the time.  The ideas were too vague back then.  I know I wanted to evoke a certain feeling I got from watching the footage for the first time.  I had some present footage of me, at the time, trying to act like a little girl while driving around my neighborhood.  Reenacting the actual events, with pain staking detail, never occurred to me.  I love how Werning's project takes these past photographs and recreates them, forcing the subject to re-live their childhood for just a moment.  I would be curious to read about what kinds of feelings these images evoked for the subjects captured.  Her photographs give me inspiration to finish what I started and just getting ideas out there is the first step. 

Here are some more of my favorites.  To see more, click here.
Andy 1964 & 2011 Los Angeles
Alexandra 1970 & 2011 Paris
Christoph 1990 & 2011 Berlin Wall
Jackie 1990 & 2011 Buenos Aires
Maartje 1990 & 2011 Amsterdam
Marcela 1970 & 2011 Buenos Aires
Puna 2003 & 2011 Buenos Aires
Maria Jose 1983 & 2011 Buenos Aires
Sonia y Laurita 1998 & 2011 Buenos 
The Zurbanos 1999 & 2011 Buenos Air
All images copyright Irina Werning, 2011.

your friend,


A Little Something..


Last Sunday, my Dad gave me a ride to work.  On the way there he gave me this gift made especially for me by my 7 year old cousin.  I've been sick this past week, so this was especially comforting.  It reminded me of when my brother, now 20, would slip me drawings underneath my door.  My mom found a few of those while cleaning up, and seeing them again,  I remember having this strong feeling of loss.  That bittersweet feeling telling me that we were once really young, and I wish I would have taken the time to appreciate what was given to me so long ago.  Now it's all just vague memories.  

Her gift came packaged in this bright neon pink envelope, embellished with stickers.  Cute animals in silly costumes (I'm not a fan, though I am not opposed  to it either). My favorite has to be the bee dog, and I don't know if this was intended, but the devil kitty next to my name seems appropriate.  I'm just glad Adrina is getting a head start on controversial topics.  She'll be a natural in the art school circuit.  

I remember drawing rainbows a lot as a kid.  I love me a good rainbow, and this one is my favorite.  Last spring, I noticed a lot of real rainbows surfacing after all that heavy rain we were having here in Los Angeles.  I still like to believe that they bring good luck.  

your friend,


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hidden Treasure

From The Pictorial Guide To Sexual Intercourse


"The sexual consciousness and the teaching of sex techniques to adults are...the bridge into the 21st century."

Alfred C. Kinsey

Jeaux stumbled upon this amazing book on sex in his parent's garage. We didn't bother to ask any questions.

I recommend a good peek inside.  "The Wheel Barrow" seems a bit too uncomfortable, though not impossible (use the power of imagination).   The pictures may seem tame now, but this book was published in 1969. I was really excited to see these images, but not for the obvious reasons.  I was more fascinated about the kind of lighting that was used and that 70's soft focus glow. I truly believe the kissing image above is quite beautiful.  When you click on the link above, it leads to a really fun review by Julia Rothman, from the site Book By Its Cover.  She received this treasure for her bachelorette party. It's really cool to know I'm not the only one who thinks this is an amazing find. Thanks Julia! 

By the way, I just discovered Julia's site and it looks really interesting. It's all about art related publications!  If I had some extra cash, I'd throw down for a couple of coffee table books. In the mean time, maybe I'll just check out her website and make a wish list. 

Here's to curling up with a good, good book!  Oh yeah. 

your friend,


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Burbank (Part One)

This photo was taken a few weeks back in Burbank.  I thought this wall looked really 70s and fit very well with what Jeaux calls, my "Big Lebowski" sweater.  I love the way the lines flow in contrast with the patterns.  Some parts of Burbank are like stepping back in time, and I really recommend a visit.  Lots of mom and pops are still in business, like Tony's Bella Vista Ristorante, which hasn't changed one bit.  I was born in Glendale, and I remember going to this little Italian eatery with my parents. I couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 years old at the time. I remember a lot of red, and last year I took Jeaux there to see it again.  The decor was just like I remembered, except smaller because I've grown, but the red leather booths are still there, as well as the little white xmas lights, and pizza! There are some really cool shops and restaurants on Magnolia Blvd. that I have yet to explore further.  There is a gluten free market, lots of little antique and vintage shops, small coffee houses....

Another great treat...Portos!  It was my first time checking out the one on Magnolia, though I've been to the Brand location many times.  When my mom use to work in Glendale, she'd come home with a box in hand filled with potato balls, stuffed with ground beef and those amazing meat pies..a savory and sweet experience. Jeaux wasn't feeling the lines, but believe me, it is SO worth the wait.

My friend, Robbie, was having a book signing at Dark Delicacies that day.  She is a dear friend and my former high school art teacher, and an all around beautiful person. Funny enough, I've never read any of her fiction, but I cherish the life stories she tells me whenever we have some quality time together. I always tell her that she should write a memoir because her stories are so full of character and so, so interesting.  We have shared funny tales of dating horrors, dealing with unrequited love, falling in love, travel, misfortunes,, and she has lived an adventurous life thus far.  It was great to see her at this signing, which was for the anthology,  Dark Passions XIII.  I'm going to have to read it one of these awesomely gloomy days, but probably only her chapter (because I love her).  I'll do this covered in blankets, while sipping on some warm almond milk.  My friend, Ema, turned me on to warm almond milk cooked with a bit of honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg, sprinkled with a bit of fresh ginger for a kick.  I'm hoping it gets chillier, otherwise it won't be as much fun. I'm tired of pretending that I live in a place with four seasons. It's time to accept that LA is so unpredictable, though the wannabe goth in me wishes for more rain.  Here's to good friends...a rarity, and when you find them, hold on to them!  

More images and stories about that day in Burbank very soon!   .Virtual hugs.

your friend,


Thursday, November 3, 2011


Here are some illustrations I've done over the past year and a half.   I've never really considered myself to be much of an illustrator, but I do enjoy drawing every now and then.  You may recognize the first image.  Desire Obtain Cherish was written on a trash can of all things, in front of the Brite Spot in Echo Park.  Words to live by.

I walked all the way up those steps and thought about Laurel & Hardy the whole time. 

Wet Dream

Fuckn Pirates...

your friend,