R.I.P., aKitschionado Monica Johnson

Submitted by Allee Willis November 5th, 2010
Certifikitsch WinnerClassique d Camembert

Sadly, aKitschionado, Monica Johnson, whose artwork abounds here at AWMOK, passed away on Monday. Although she never revealed it here, in addition to making many incredible art pieces, jammed packed with kitsch, Monica was an exceptionally brilliant screenwriter with lots of hit movies (Mother, The Muse, Real Life, Modern Romance, Lost in America, Americathon, The Scout and more) and wrote just as brilliantly for TV (Laverne & Shirley, It’s Gary Shandling’s Show, Mary Tyler Moore and more). You can read one of the many obits written about her in the LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/04/local/la-me-monica-johnson-20101104. She also wrote an hysterical bio just a few weeks ago to put on her new website: http://www.deadline.com/2010/11/r-i-p-monica-johnson/. Monica was hysterical, warm and generous and I can’t believe she has left us.

I got to know Monica through AWMOK. We became fast and furious friends, especially as we were both writers and had many mutual friends. She lived in Palm Springs and I was in LA so we got to know each other through her submissions here. From the time she submitted her first piece last November, we started e-mailing each other multiple times a day until we finally met face-to-face the week before last. We had an absolute blast and although I would only get to see her when she came to LA for chemo, I was looking forward to having way more hysterical evenings in the future. I knew she was sick but neither she nor I had any idea the end was so near.

Like me, Monica was someone who turned to art for self expression when the thrill of writing ebbed. We had a tremendous amount in common and we both felt like we knew each other our whole lives. You can see many of Monica’s pieces on her page here: https://www.awmok.com/author/monica-johnson/ . And after you look at some of those go to Netflix or wherever you go to see films and check out her movies and TV shows. We have truly lost a treasure…

11 Responses to “R.I.P., aKitschionado Monica Johnson”

  1. windupkitty

    oh i am so,so sad to read this……having seen so much of what Monica Johnson did in movies and tv (admittedly never knowing it until looking her up after seeing her awmok submissions), it was such a blessing to see her personal art here on the awmok……..i truly love her sculptures and the stories behind/about them and so admire her ability to communicate so many things in so many ways…..it’s just heartbreaking to know that someone who brought so much warmth, creativity, inspiration and good humor to us had to suffer……i am just so, so sorry to hear this……..

    • Allee Willis

      I know… And I can’t even begin to tell you how sweet she was. And always eager to help. Just a few weeks after we started emailing each other, without ever having met, I got sick. Nothing serious, a stupid cold or something. She was ready to call her friends in LA to come bring me cough medicine, take me to the doctor, whatever.

      Monica was completely hysterical. We used to have incredible e-mail exchanges about the perils of being a writer in Hollywood. It was a really unique friendship as all either one of us had to go on was our thoughts as revealed in the e-mails or in her artwork and my comments on them. It was really a very pure way of knowing someone very deeply.

      I’m anxious to go back and see all the movies again myself. I’m sure I’m going to get something very different out of them this time. And it will make me miss her even more.

      • windupkitty

        Oh I am just so sorry….this is just really sad and i send you and hers so many hugs….of course I didn’t know monica, but allee, what you’ve created here is such a warm, welcoming, and kind community for people with similar interests in art music, kitsch and overall goodness…..

        it’s a community i feel very honored to be a part of and i can truly say that i’ve met some of the loveliest people i will ever meet right here in the awmok….

        i really am sincere when i say a loss to such a loving and wonderful group such as this is so deeply felt….

        sure, the people here are talented, funny, smart and have cool stuff, but the thing is, the people here at the awmok are first and foremost KIND….i am so sorry and so sad to know that Monica has passed and i’m glad to know that she was able to share some of her personal art here……she, of course, will always inspire…….

        • Allee Willis

          I’m with you all the way on this, Windup. I never would have gotten to know Monica if it weren’t for AWMOK. And what I’m always struck by is how much I truly like all the people who regularly submit and/or comment here. The last thing I ever thought I’d be doing by starting this museum was making new friends. I was just hoping that people had interesting enough stuff and would take the time to submit it because I really did want the world’s largest aggregation of kitsch under one roof and I thought I knew enough about it to curate that well. Finding a whole bunch of people who I consider to be friends was an unexpected prize.

          As far as Monica specifically, it was a complete thrill to discover she was the mind behind some of the funniest lines ever. Just as a writer getting to know another writer it was very inspiring. We exchanged many, many long e-mail missives about trying to stay inspired creatively despite the fact that we were both sick of the business (me for about 30 years) and realizing we needed to change our artform to stay creatively connected.

  2. Douglas Wood

    I offer my sincere condolence regarding your friend Monica. I’ve enjoyed seeing Monica’s artwork but didn’t know until now that she was the same Monica Johnson as the screenwriter whose work I absolutely adored. I’ve always been a big Albert Brooks fan and love REAL LIFE, MODERN ROMANCE and LOST IN AMERICA, having seen them many, many times. What a loss.

    • Allee Willis

      Knowing your film background and what an excellent sense of kitsch you have, now that you know that Monica Johnson was the REAL Monica Johnson you should go back and and read some of the descriptions of her pieces. Although she wrote them real fast and never started using spellcheck until very recently they’re really interesting looking at them from the perspective of the person who wrote those brilliant movies and especially from someone who was consciously looking for other ways to express herself than via screenplays.

    • Allee Willis

      Yes, very sad. A fantastically kind person and monumentally talented.

      Glad to have you back, Nessa! Denny just emailed me the other day and asked where you were. You have some of the best stuff! Glad life has dialed back down and we love forward to more.

    • windupkitty

      welcome back nessa and i hope life got in the way in a good way…..i was thinking about you today when i dug up a crazy ceramic egg holder……..i seriously pulled it out of a box and thought “Oh, i gotta send this to nessa!”

      it would definitely fit in with your excellent vintage glass and ceramics! i’ll post it soon.lemme know if you want it!

  3. denny

    RIP Monica. Your art was a shining example of the spirit you possessed and shared with so many of us. We are all grateful and we will all miss you.

    Big love to you, Monica.

    Denny McLain