Keeping Austin, and the Universe, Weird

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posted by Kathy Waller

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When I met him at a Saturday morning writing practice group at Austin’s Mother’s Cafe, I thought David Davis was a great writer of the impromptu essay.

David Davis at 2015 Fantastic Fest. © MKW
David Davis at 2015 Fantastic Fest. © MKW

Give David ten minutes and he’ll create a masterpiece of eccentricity complete with–I don’t know how he does it–beginning, middle, and end. Thousand Island dressing, Monica Lewinsky, elephants that jump through burning hoops–his topics range from the ridiculous to the sublime and back again. When he reads his compositions aloud, people at nearby tables suspend forks and coffee cups in midair and stare at the group sitting at the table in the corner, shrieking with laughter.

Eighteen years later, David still amuses audiences, but he’s doing it in new ways.

Now David accompanies words with action. He makes short-short sci-fi videos and flings them out to the universe. And the universe answers.

rosewell street light img_1697His “Invisible Men Invade Earth” was screened at both the Boomtown Film & Music Festival (Beaumont, Texas) and Roswell, New Mexico’s CosmicCon in 2012. “Invisible Men” was a big hit thanks to the totally unscripted appearance of cats William and Ernest.

(The bagged-up books were leaning against the wall preparatory to being donated to the public library’s Recycled Reads bookstore. The flash drive William is batting around later turned up under the refrigerator.)

Last year, “Alike and Different” and “Reverse Effects” were screened in the Austin Fantastic Fest’s Shorts With Legs DSCN1273category.  According to Fantastic Fest’s website, Shorts with Leg were “the strangest and most compelling eccentric short films we’ve seen all year, from polished excursions into existential surrealism to enthusiastic reveries of outsider art madness.”

The iDigital Times called David’s videos “perhaps the strangest shorts in this very strange collection.”

(“Alike and Different” also aired at the Conway, Arkansas Film Festival. If the pink spaceship resembles a vegetable steamer, there’s a reason for that. I won’t go into it here.)

https://vimeo.com/118180921

 

David’s latest venture is Alien Resort, “a favorite vacation spot known throughout the universe.” Cartoons appear on Facebook  (under Travel/Leisure) and on the Alien Resort blog.

In December, one of his cartoons made it into the Austin American-Statesman. Humor columnist John Kelso wrote, “If keeping it weird is an Austin prerequisite, then David Davis’ Christmas card has to be the grand champ in this year’s Funny Christmas Card Contest.”

© David Davis
© David Davis

You’ve got two aliens with green faces, chatting up the holiday season. No manger, no reindeer and no stinkin’ elves. Just men from the Planet Zarcon or, perhaps, Manor. Who knows?

“On Earth, he goes by the name Santa Claus,” one alien says. “How much of that night does he spend on each planet?” the other alien asks.

The alien on the left is a Photoshopped version of Davis, a South Austin writer and videographer who created the card and is into all things spacey.

 

For the record, keeping it weird is Austin’s national pastime. And John Kelso is one of the pastime’s most popular and dedicated cheerleaders.

What’s next for David? In July, “Alike and Different” goes to the Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase. Alien Resort continues to attract visitors. And David Davis keeps on keeping on as “The Eccentric Director Behind The Weirdest Festival Entries In Austin.”

And, as far as we know, everywhere else in the universe.

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Kathy Waller blogs at Kathy Waller: Telling the Truth, Mainly and at Austin Mystery Writers. Her short stories appear at Mysterical-E and in Austin Mystery Writers’ crime fiction anthology, Murder on Wheels (Wildside, 2015). AKA Mrs. David Davis, she gets to go to a lot of film festivals.

 

 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Keeping Austin, and the Universe, Weird

  1. David Davis definitely sounds like someone I’d like to meet. I’m about to look at the video. from your words, I expect to be duly impressed. I’m back after viewing it. What’s there not to love? I’m crazy about cats, and it’s about time they became heroes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathy- I have to say I’ve never watched anything like that before 🙂 …give or take some very ancient sci-fi of the 1950s. I can (sadly) certainly relate to the lack of interest shown by the earthling in the last video who’s more interested in the mobile phone or games unit being held!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Regarding your never having watched anything like these videos–you have a lot of company. I hadn’t seen any either. Regarding the mobile phone, I don’t know how people find so much to talk about. I use mine for emergencies, mostly to call someone to unlock the car when my keys are inside.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A very creative person, and one who loves cats. Both videos were entertaining when I didn’t expect them to be. He is good at thinking out of the box evidently and would be a fun person/author/creative guy to know. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A friend of mine just finishing a visiting teaching fellowship in Austin; she too is a writer. I’ll have to ask her if she knows David, too. Interesting and educational post, Kathy!

    Like

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