Archives for posts with tag: performers

Talk about sticking your finger into a light socket! I always got amazing electrical charges from Manhattan but nothing is like the energy in Vegas Baby! Part of it is, naturally, because Ava lived, loved and was loved here but even that part has finally tempered into not as many “triggers” for me. They’re not bolts of shock waves as I drive down familiar streets any more but more like little tingles of shock. Praise God and all those who live here who I love and who love me and Ava!

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These next pictures are the views that let me know I’m getting close to Vegas, Baby!

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Can’t get enough!

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Jenni Lee dreamt of this moment where she and other equally talented genius performing multifaceted ELECTRIFYING women came together. She named her group ELECTRA BRASS even before it congealed into this cohesive group of synchronicity and magic! I’m so blessed to have had and now have these women in my life! I’m in love!

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Vegas Babies Rehearsals

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How incredibly talented these Wonder Women are! WOW

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ELECTRA BRASS! YAY!

Tonight? Me, Photo shoot, video promo recording, these powerful women! INCREDIBLE!

More from Vegas, Baby tomorrow!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES and/or TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

At this time in my life, coming up with a topic concerning my best decision is quite the challenge because most of my “best” decisions are followed by strange, and, sometimes, tragic outcomes. This topic has catapulted me into a plethora of reflections this last month or so especially with the hallmark birthday which includes the number six at the beginning and the end of it.

First, I was sure it was when I was ten and my sister introduced to me of the Classics Section of the local library (specifically, Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy) which spurned me onward to bigger-than-life European history such as that of Catherine the Great and, eventually, to biographies of other famous and infamous women in history. It was their stories that made my  ancestors’  journeys burst forth with life…resuscitating them to breathe again through me. Their struggles for religious freedom or desire to invent a better bicycle brake or to be the best American Impressionist artist was the cause and effect of my destiny to fall in love with writing and, eventually, travel the back roads of the US and Canada writing this blog, fromafriend7491.com!

Our first major road trip in 2009 together

Our first major road trip in 2009 together.

But, then I remember being twenty-eight when I was sure my best decision was marrying the man I was deaf-dumb-and-blind in love with which was only followed by horrific tragedy and unbelievable loss that I surely couldn’t include that as my best anything except what I shouldn’t have done.

With her beloved big brother, Carl. They loved each other so much!

Ava with her beloved big brother, Carl. They loved each other so much!

Now I’m down to the one decision for which I’m truly proud; however, to be totally truthful, it wasn’t even my decision. It was a directive from my reliable third party directly related to a tragedy…the suicide of my beautiful gypsy opera singing daughter who lived/worked in Las Vegas, Nevada with her estranged husband.

Belly dancing magic in 2002. She looks like she has wings. Maybe, now she does.

Belly dancing magic in 2002. She looks like she has wings. Maybe, now she does.

As I drove west from my home in Georgia to handle Ava’s final affairs in early April, 2012, my reliable third party (call it God, Higher Power or whatever you wish) spoke to me in clear directives as he always does. Yes, my reliable third party always speaks to me in a very authoritative male voice. “Create an internet site to help others,” was all that was said.

As I love to drive the open road and have been doing for several years writing blogs about camping my way west alone with my dog, I have a tendency to drive anywhere from twenty-four to thirty-six hours with only pit stops and short naps. My anxiety of seeing the steel-hearted devil who was married to my daughter kept me pushing forward so as to get to my daughter’s house, git ‘er done (“Git ‘er Done Donna” is what they call me) and hit the open road again to parts unknown.

As you can well understand, my focus was on my grief and was totally not interested in hearing any message from my reliable third party concerning a task so outside my realm of expertise or knowledge. I wanted to focus on my loss, grief and how to move through finalizing things in Las Vegas and spending time on the real open road healing.

I argued. I argued my best to a silent, unrelenting audience, “I don’t know anything about creating websites!” I might as well have never even made that argument as it went flat as a fritter. Nothing. No response, no guidance, nothing for over twenty-four hours!

Finally, somewhere west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, I screamed at the silence, “What  has my forty-six years of real estate law experience got to do with creating a website?”

Finally, a response, “It taught you how to do the impossible!”

Ya’ know, I couldn’t argue with that one so my only retort was, “Now what?”

“Ask,” was the response but I knew what the real message was. I was to ask Ava’s friends who live and work in the performance industry in Las Vegas. So, I did and they all were excited for me to jump into this turbulent, bottomless task.

I started beating the drums and doing my research. I discovered that Las Vegas has a suicide rate fifty percent (50%) higher than the national average and has over eighteen bipolar therapy clinics. I obviously needed to start right there in Las Vegas.

My daughter had over 150 professional performer friends show up for her Las Vegas memorial and more would have been there but couldn’t because they had to work. Ava  was so very loved there and not a single person knew of her pain or despair save me. That’s quite a daunting task for one person and I didn’t want another friend, family or loved one to feel like there wasn’t a better decision for them to make or website to go like those my daughter visited her last night.

From her Memorial service in Las Vegas

From her Memorial service in Las Vegas

After returning home, I sat down at the computer and outlined the design of the website in forty-five pages in thirty days. I turned it over to a friend of Ava’s who was a web designer in New York during the .com days and she said it was the most detailed design she had ever seen. I didn’t want there to be any confusion about what I was “told” it was going to look like! After all, I was just following orders…very specific ones at that. This website HAD to be personal because there is NOTHING about suicide that isn’t personal. It had to be called “Ava’s Corner,” it needed to be entertaining and it had to be launched on December 2, 2012.

With the love and support of her friends, we launched the Avascorner.org website in Las Vegas on December 2, 2012. We had performers and live feed for Ava’s friends all over the world to connect with us and Avascorner.org. It was the fledgling version of the vision I was given but it was a beginning. Later, my reliable third party reminded me the reason for that date (12/02/2012) because there are more suicides in December than any other month of the year…one very close to home.

We incorporated Ava’s Corner, Inc. right before the kickoff event in 2012 and we’ve just celebrated our first year and we are getting feedback from friends and strangers alike that we’re making a difference. We got our 501(c)3 IRS certification as a non-profit public charity, which I filed myself…a true miracle as  I hate dealing with any kind of government related paperwork; however, once again, I was told I could handle it. And, I did.

We have an all volunteer Board of Directors who have experience in finance, website building, law and professional performer…all the elements needed to make a team who loved Ava and who see the vision of saving lives and educating people in what I call brain malfunctions like Bipolar Disorders (BD), Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) as Ava had, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and others.

Ava singing

Ava singing

Our broader Mission Statement:  “Ava’s Corner is a website constructed to encourage healing through creative energy and shedding light into the dark corners of mental disorders.

All friends or family of those suffering from brain disorders are welcome to utilize our education and support tools as well as participate in Ava’s Corner forums.”

We’re actively raising money to catapult this site into the final phase wherein members can create their own cyber community of support, freely expressing their pain through art, writing, videos, singing or other artistic endeavors as my daughter did. We have posted all the ways she found to cope until she couldn’t overcome all the negative influences of being bullied at home and at work. We had her thirty-five years, six months and ten days and we are all blessed to have had this remarkable, loving woman in our lives.

Ava's last painting from late February, 2012. Fitting that it has stars and an exhausted blue being. She was all that...a star and an exhausted blue being.

Ava’s last painting from late February, 2012. Fitting that it has stars and an exhausted blue being. She was all that…a star and an exhausted blue being.

There are other remarkable, loving people in our lives who need help and we at Ava’s Corner, Inc. and avascorner.org hope we can be there for them worldwide before another year goes by.

Ava was not just my daughter but my best friend and confidant. I have struggled valiantly these past two years to regain functions prior to March 2, 2012 as rote. I suffered from stroke-like symptoms of loss of vocabulary, thought processing, coping and more. I have only recently felt “alive” again…actually on the wee hours of December 7, 2013. I guess I’ll find out some day why that day other than the day this article was due…or that Ava visited me that morning and gave me clarity. Yes, Ava comes to me but that’s being saved for a book.

So, as I said, pain and joy, joy and pain can’t be separated when you have lived, loved and listened when making a best decision. It’s something that comes directly from the soul.

My daughter, AVA, committed suicide two months ago after struggling on so many levels:  fighting chronic severe depression, being bullied at work, exhaustion from college, worry over money  and pushing for nothing short of perfection in every performance, especially her career as an opera singer.

As a very serious, devoted opera geek and full lyric soprano, every note, every syllable, every dialect, every language (German, Italian, French, English, Czech, etc.) had to be studied over and over and over until every molecule of her body vibrated and celebrated the aria, the opera and the passion of the moment. Truly a revolutionary woman not only in her own words but of those who were privileged to hear her perform but who love her and call her friend (present tense intentional).

How do I know all this? I’ve just spent eight weeks listening to every single recording of every single lesson she had over the last several years and being embraced by each of those wonderful performers who love her and call her friend. I feel more at home in Vegas with these wonderful men and women than I do in my own state.

As a public speaker, I know what it’s like to put your all into what you’re doing behind the podium or on the stage but certainly not to the level of performers who put their guts on the stage when they get up there to entertain the public with their jokes, magic, singing, comedy, acting, music, voice… They are exceptional, loving individuals and a clan of their own…a true all-for-one-and-one-for-all group the likes of which I’ve NEVER experienced before. They are not only Ava’s tribe but mine as well.

It is that reason why I am driven, yet again, to not just step outside my comfort zone but leap into mid-air off a bazillion foot cliff to start AVA’S CORNER.ORG with an associated Hotline, initially in Vegas, to be that source for these extremely sensitive, loving people who may feel the need to search for assistance regarding a concern or want a caring person on the other end of the Hotline to listen to whatever it is they need to say with understanding, acceptance and assistance.

Ava’s Corner will trump every negative site my daughter searched that fateful night. It will be the FIRST place a person goes when searching all topics related to “suicide”. It’s my belief we should always dream in terms of a perfect world and work backwards so all you website people are cringing over the task, I only know that none of my previous experience as a commercial real estate title insurance underwriting, real estate law or consulting work ever prepared me for this and I’m just gonna’ jump in with my whole being because there is a need! Tell me what you CAN do…not what you can’t do!

We’re creating an album to be called “all things AVA”. We (Ava and all who has  written a song, a poem or a melody to go with Ava’s lyrics or anything related) are collaborating our love and our efforts to raise money for our efforts to assist with mental health resources and to help prevent as many suicides as possible in the performance industry with the power of positive influence. Every performer will receive full credit for their work including a Bio with photo of each artistic contributor of this beautiful collaborative effort will help fund AVA’s Corner & Hotline.

So far, we are hoping to have AVA singing art songs and arias “Trials and Tribulations of Love”, along with Jenni Kearns orchestrating melodies to Ava’s lyrics, performances by Mirjana Milovanovic, Marisa Johnson, Carmen A. Woodruff, Susanne Knauf’s melody, Beauregard Higgins performing his original song he wrote for Ava, Vital Germaine’s poem with his painting of Ava on the cover, Scott Gordon’s poem, Charly Urso performing his original song, Mirjana performing her original song and anyone else who has an original piece written for Ava. You just need let me know so we can review it.

I want this to be a collaborative effort of all of us to share and enjoy for a long time but also to give credit to some beautiful and talented people who love Ava dearly and will always feel that way. All proceeds will go to the Trust (or non-profit organization…haven’t decided which was is best yet) which I will form when I’m back in Georgia that will fund Ava’s Corner & Hotline.

I have plenty of artists (of all persuasions) but I don’t have a person to assist in creating the website. If you need money to do this and you’re the right person, contact me and I’ll see what we can do to come up with $$. Without the website (the right one, that is) this will never leave the ground. The web creator must “get” what we’re doing and feel passionate about its creation. As the focus will naturally be Vegas, I would love to have a Vegas creator who understands performers.

We’re rapidly building our team! If you feel the callin’ to join us, please reply to this message. Even if you can’t join us but have ideas, bring ’em on! If you can’t do either, support our efforts with love and appreciation for all those performers you’ve enjoyed.

Although I’ve been immersed dealing with this unimaginable loss and with giving all her possessions away to friends, family and loved ones from Vegas to Montreal to Florida, I have one last task. Ava and I were to go camping in the redwood forest where God lives in northern California. It’s a bitter-sweet expectation. I’d told her about this place for over 15 years and, this year, was the year. I cry each time I think about not having her with me on this next Great Adventure and I doubt if I’ll ever think about it without a tear no matter how many years pass. But, rest assured, I’ll be working diligently on this project as well as the big picture of a greater good.

Ava’s last head shot taken in Austria summer, 2011.

I also tear up at how amazing each of her friends embraced me as their own family as they did Ava…how hugging, loving and accepting of us both. And, as each of you pick up the pieces of the lives you had before all this happened, know that I know you haven’t forgotten. It’s just a necessity of living. I’ll be back soon!