Eccentric Director’s Films Like a “Living Comic Strip”

Fantastic Fest: Epilogue

David is taking this in stride, but I am simply agog.

As a result of his participation in Fantastic Fest, David has been profiled the September 30th iDigital Times.

fantastic fest day 2 007

According to writer Andrew Whalen, “perhaps the strangest shorts in this very strange collection [Shorts With Legs] were those of David Davis.”

The article includes two of the shorts–“Alike and Different” and “Reverse Effects”–as well as a link to his Vimeo page.

Warning: The links to Vimeo in the article worked the first time I tried them

but failed a few minutes later. So I’ve added a direct link here.

Rummage around on his Vimeo page and see “Invisible Men Invade Earth,” which was screened in 2012 at Cosmic-Con and Sci-Fi Film Festival in Roswell, New Mexico, and at the Boomtown Film and Music Festival in Beaumont. Ernest the Cat makes an unscripted but serendipitous appearance.

Note: It’s best to use one of the links to access David’s films on Vimeo. I looked for them by googling his name and found several David Davis pages there–and some of the films surprised me. Nothing terrible (I guess; I didn’t exactly watch any of them), but I want to make clear that those surprise collections are not part of the genuine David Davis’ repertoire. The eccentric David Davis.

Another note: David’s short films are short–only two or three minutes. Don’t blink.


The Best of Fantastic Fest: My Husband, His Films, and a Flying Vegetable Steamer

Last week a friend asked what David and I have done for fun lately.

A long silence followed.

Fantastic Fest 2015 tee-shirt

Fantastic Fest 2015 tee-shirt

After a courtship comprising concerts, coffee houses, radio spots, tacos Tapatio on Christmas morning in Ciudad Acuna, and a road trip that David’s brother termed a kamikaze vacation to Maryland, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Georgia between Christmas and New Year’s (if there’s territory to be covered, we cover it), we settled into a quiet married life complete with a washer, a dryer, a microwave, and two four-pawed children. We’re happy, but our definition of fun tends toward the stodgy.

Today, however, we leave our cool sequester’d vale and plunge into the madding crowd at the Alamo Draft House for Fantastic Fest.

Three of David’s short films will be screened today in Shorts with Leg, starting about 2:00 o’clock. They first aired last Friday, so we’re a repeat audience.

According to Fantastic Fest’s website, Shorts with Leg are “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.” It also refers to “the most mind-meltingly bizarre short film submission this programmer has ever seen!” We’re not certain, but the way it’s phrased, that seems to apply to one of David’s films. I’d not thought of it, but mind-meltingly bizarre is accurate.

The three films, which will reappear on his Vimeo page after the festival ends, are

Click on Alike and Different and read that “David Davis becomes your new favorite outsider artist in this lo-fi satirical look at a first contact scenario.” You’ll also see a photo of a flying saucer that closely resembles my vegetable steamer.

Madding Crowd at Fantastic Fest 2015

Madding Crowd at Fantastic Fest 2015

Other Shorts with Leg were made by professionals–one said he’d just finished editing Warren Beatty’s latest film–which makes David’s “outsider status” pretty darned special. Even better–in my estimation at least–was audience reaction to his films: They laughed. And laughed. And laughed. What higher praise is there? His films were bright spots in an otherwise strange, dark two hours.

After the screening, directors appeared on stage and answered questions. To wit:

Question: What inspired your film?

David: I wanted to make something simple and cheap.

He accomplished his goal. Actors, singer, arranger, pianist, costume enhancer, and flying saucer donated their time.

In short, he done good. I knew I was marrying a writer and a kamikaze, but I had no idea I’d end up as consort of a film producer/director/editor and all the rest.

Having described David’s success, I’ll move on to mine.

Me, at certain times of the year

Me, at certain times of the year

For photo IDs, the Fest wanted shaky faces, meaning we were supposed to shake our faces back and forth and snap a picture at the worst point–when flesh had practically parted from bone and was wobbling all over the place.

I refused. Instead, I sent in an old drawing I’d made to represent how I felt during allergy season. If they refused to issue me a badge, I was going to sit outside on a bench and read.

But I got my badge. The picture is on sideways, but it’s there. I realized last Friday morning that if I didn’t brush my hair, I’d look just like it.

This post should have gone online last night, but I ran out of steam. No matter. I am not used to working in advance of need.

Time to leave. I have to stop this and throw on my tee-shirt. If we happen to meet in the lobby, please look at my photo ID. No one else has.



Oh–Publicity mentions that Elijah Wood will be the DJ at the closing party. The Elijah Wood? I don’t know. David said he’s not interested in going to the parties because it would just be young people behaving boisterously. I concur. We’re going to El Mercado and then to see Mark Pryor at BookPeople instead.

See? I told you our fun tends toward the stodgy. And, thank goodness, toward the literary, which is not stodgy at all.


Mark Pryor's HOLLOW MAN

Mark Pryor’s HOLLOW MAN

PS  Author Mark Pryor will be at BookPeople tonight at 7:00 p.m. His new book, HOLLOW MAN is–I can’t think of an adjective besides amazing, and that’s used so often it’s become meaningless–but just take my word for it that this book is what a mystery/suspense/thriller should be. Plotting reminds me of Ruth Rendell’s books, and she is the best. So–BookPeople tonight for Mark Pryor and HOLLOW MAN.


Brazos Writers’ Women and Crime: The Lost Photos

Photos that should have appeared in yesterday’s post about the September 5th Brazos Writers’ Women and Crime workshop–didn’t. Somewhere in the endless loop of composing, editing, and previewing, they slipped away unnoticed. But they’re back now, the remains of a day well spent.


Brazos Writers’ Women and Crime: Facts, Projected Details, and a Streak of Luck

Just the Facts, Ma’am:

 Gale Albright and Kathy Waller spent a pleasant and productive day at  Brazos Writers’ Women and Crime workshop, held at the Southwood Community Center in College Station, Texas.


Speakers included

  • Mary Ringo, private investigator at Gumshoe Investigative Services, on Life as a PI;
  • Courtney Head, DNA Analyst at the Houston Forensic Science Center, on Life in the Houston Forensic Science Center; and
  • Lesley Hicks, Lieutenant, College Station Police Department, on Life in the PD.

A panel of authors–

discussed How to Create a Strong Female Detective, Professional or Amateur.

Over lunch, Mark Troy, author of The Splintered Paddle, hosted a Jeopardy! Style Game about Women and Crime. Players in the final round received copies of mysteries written by women.

At the end of the day, a reception was held during which guests mingled and authors signed books.

So much for the bare facts.

English: Tall grass growing wild at Lyme Park....

English: Tall grass growing wild at Lyme Park. Category:Plant images (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Presentations were excellent–imagine a surveillance operation that involves wading through sewage, hiding in tall grass, and feeding crackers to an enormous, foul-smelling dog who refuses to leave your side, while you’re trying to get pictures of people you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley–and details will appear in the near future.

Some will probably show up at Gale Albright’s Crime Ladies blog.

Gale might also tell how she wiped out the competition in the lunchtime Women and Crime game, and how she managed to snatch a door prize from the hands of the writer sitting next to her, whose ticket was only one digit off.

Said writer will tamp down her resentment and allow Gale to ride back home with her today. If I make her take a bus, she might not critique my story this week.

But I mean, really. Two prizes?


Note: I fibbed. Gale deserved the game prize. She was a powerhouse.


Related articles

Happy Birthday, Veazey

seven-cousins (2)Today is my cousin Mary Veazey’s birthday. I will not say how old she is. I’ll say only that she is old enough that she’s always thought she had the right to boss me around.

We have had many good times together.

The most memorable, right now, aside from the times we almost broke up church because we couldn’t stop laughing, and the time she made me go on the Cruise from You-Know-Where, is the time we went to the drive-in movie to see The Great Gatsby, and her eleven- and twelve-year-old sons–I’ll call them Boy C and Boy G–sat in the back seat griping for the length of the dumb, boring show and yowling to go home.

When the second feature came on, however, the boys displayed immediate interest. It was The Sterile Cuckoo, a cute, sweet movie starring Liza Minnelli. We hadn’t planned to stay for it, but every time Mary Veazey said we had to leave, the boys protested. This was a real good movie, Mom, so we stayed.

We stayed so long that we ran into the scene in the little motel room in which Minneli’s college freshman girl, Pookie Adams, offers Wendell Burton’s sweet, shy freshman boy the opportunity to “Peel the Tomato.”

And there we were, as they say, ketched.

The boys in the back seat were leaning head and shoulders into the front. They were very, very quiet. I don’t think they were breathing.

Their mother and I didn’t breathe either, because if we had, laughter would have bounced off the screen and echoed throughout the lot.

Suppressing that much laughter for an entire scene hurts.

Finally, the camera pulled waaaay back on the two young characters walking across a field of green, accompanied by the Sandpipers’ lovely rendition of “Come Saturday Morning.”

Mary Veazey saw an opportunity and grabbed it. “Okay, time to go.” She replaced the speaker on its stand, started the car, threw it into gear, and tore out of there.

Boys: “Aw, Mom, it’s not over yet.”

Mom: “Yes it is.”

Boys: “But the music isn’t over. Let’s stay till the music’s over.”

Mom: “No, I want to get out before everybody else does. Don’t want to have to wait in line.”

Boys: “Awwww, Mom. We want to stay.”

Mom: “No, it’s late. Gotta get home.”

Kathy: “Hahahahahaahahahaha.”

Mary Veazey couldn’t give me the evil eye because by that time she was laughing, too.

All the way home, we heard from the back seat, “Boy, that was a good movie.” “Yeah, that was good.” “I wish we could have stayed till the music was over.” “Yeah. That was good.” Periodically, one leaned forward and said, “What’re y’all laughing at?”

Then Boy G said, “What was the name of that movie?” They looked back at the still visible marquee.

Boy G read, “Shirley Cuckoo.”

From the front seat: “Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…”

“Not ‘Shirley,'” said Boy C. “The Stirlee Cuckoo.”

Front seat, louder, “Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha…”

Laughing that hard hurts, too. And it can be dangerous. I’m surprised Mary Veazey didn’t run the car up onto the sidewalk and get us all hauled off to jail. It’s good she didn’t, because we’d have just laughed harder.

The next morning no one mentioned the movie. But that afternoon, while the boys and two neighbor girls played cards in the living room, and I sat in the kitchen waiting for cookies to bake (cookies the boys were making, hahahaha again), I caught part of the conversation.

Boy G (quietly): “We went to a movie last night.”

Girls: “What was it rated?”

Boy C (whispering): “X, I think.”

I was sorry Mary Veazey was at work and missed the punch line.

Several years later, The Sterile Cuckoo aired on television. About five minutes into the movie, the phone rang. It was Mary Veazey. “What are you doing?”

“You know what I’m doing. Watching The Stirlee Cuckoo.


Happy Birthday, Mary Veazey. We ought to take the boys to the movie again sometime.



mamaw in hat

Mary Veazey Barrow

Note 1: Our grandmother’s maiden name was Mary Veazey. For people who say, Mary What?, it’s pronounced VEE-zee. Alternatives, for those in the family, are Veazey, Merveazey, and other such diminutives. She introduces herself as Mary. I got the Mary part of our grandmother’s name but was spared the Veazey confusion. My problem comes from the Katherine I got from my great-grandmother. I’m Kathy, but I have to introduce myself as Mary to anyone holding an official, or unofficial, record. On seeing Mary Katherine, many people say, “Are you a nun?” I’m not.

Note 2: All this happened in 1974. I don’t know whether Boys C and G have even seen the real ending of The Stirlee Cuckoo. I don’t know whether they ever learned the correct title. I don’t even know whether they remember any of this at all. But if I send this post to their wives on Facebook, they will.

Note 3: President Nixon resigned later that week, but the movie is my more vivid recollection.

Note 4: Both The Great Gatsby and The Sterile Cuckoo had been out for several years before this story took place. I’m always behind in my movie-going.

Here’s a clip from The Sterile Cuckoo.








Shattering a Vase

Kathy Waller:

I’m posting today at Austin Mystery Writers–a meditation on how harrrrrrrrrd I work at writing and why I should stop moaning about it. I also share an anecdote from Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with a Pearl Earring and Falling Angels, about turning failure into success.

Originally posted on Austin Mystery Writers:

…it was like taking a vase and setting it down so hard it shatters…

~  Tracy Chevalier

When I taught secondary English, grading essays was my least favorite task. I was happy to read them, but assigning letter grades? I hated that.

I hated judging. I hated trying to determine the difference between a B and an A, or, worse, between a B-plus and an A-minus.

English: Henry Fuseli - Hamlet and his father'... English: Henry Fuseli – Hamlet and his father’s Ghost (1780-1785, ink and pencil on cardboard, 38 × 49,5 cm) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the worst–the part that made me want to moan like the Ghost of Hamlet’s father, “Oh, horrible, oh, horrible, most horrible!”–was listening to students who thought their work merited higher grades: “But I worked so harrrrrrrd.

Some had watched classmates complete an entire assignment during a lull in history class and then score A’s. It wasn’t fair.

“Harrrrrrrrrrd”was my signal to say

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