#AtoZChallenge 2020: H Is for Husband

Day H. I’ve worked my way from “Herman” (a kitchen monster) through “Here’s the latest from SIP” (bo-ring) to “Husband,” which I should have thought of in the first place.

Here’s the low-down.

After careers focusing on criminal codes and tax codes, David Davis creates. His Alien Resort cartoon has appeared in newspapers in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia.

Now the developing story of Alien Resort appears on his website, Alien Resort: A Website That Is Actually a Story.

A little background on that: Coy crash landed his spaceship on a Pacific island and has since been joined by other ETs—Plucky, Deadpan, and Lmao—who help him write comics. A group of earthlings, the Beacons of Night and their leader, Rash Lambert, oppose the efforts of Coy and his friends (“We stand for a united earth. If you were born here, you’re one of us. When Alien Resort makes comics, they’re stealing our jobs.”)

Before becoming a cartoonist, David Davis produced, directed, wrote, and sometimes acted in sci-fi videos. His work has appeared at the 2017 Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase; the 2017 Dallas Medianale; the 2012 Boomtown Film and Music Festival in Beaumont, Texas, and the 2012 CosmiCon and Sci-Fi Film Festival in Roswell, New Mexico, as well as other venues.

After Reverse Effects was screened at the 2015 Fantastic Fest (Austin), Andrew Whalen of Playerone.com wrote that the film “is almost like a living comic strip, but undeniably vigorous and fascinating.” He also labeled David “eccentric.” The jury is still out on the latter.

Last Saturday, his first animated video, Blood Bank, was screened at the Dallas Alt Fiction film festival—online, of course, in the comfort of everyone’s living room.

He’s recently completed a second animated short-short: Time Capsule.

In all his creative endeavors, David is self-taught. He also excels at  producing award-winners on a shoestring. Where some directors spend millions, David reaches into a drawer, pulls out a vegetable steamer, applies a few special effects, and—voila! a spaceship rises from the ground and makes for Venus. Or somewhere in the vicinity.

My favorite of David’s videos is Invisible Men Invade Earth, which received the Judge’s Choice award at the 2017 What the Fest Film Festival (Dallas); the Out of This World award at the 2016 Lionshead Film Festival (Dallas); and the Most Original Concept award at the 2016 Houston Comedy Film Festival.

See what you think:

Here’s a link to Blood Bank.

And one to Time Capsule.

All of David’s videos can be viewed on his Youtube channel, here.

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The Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2020 master list is found here.

Find the Challenge on Facebook here.

Score: Fifteen – Love

In less than an hour, David and I will have been married fifteen years and nine hours. Or slightly less; the wedding began at 2:00 p.m., but with all the singing and marching and reading and plighting, it was probably 2:30 before the minister told us we could leave. To me, it seems like we’ve been married only a few months. I don’t how it seems to to David, and I’m not going to ask.

Image may contain: 2 peopleAnyway, we’re celebrating with a night at the Omni Hotel at Barton Creek, where we’re conferring, consorting, and otherwise hob-nobbing with our brother and sister wizards. Or as David would put it,  we’re mixing with the quality.

I spent the morning and part of the afternoon at the Mokara Spa, getting nails, hair, and face done. Fifteen years ago it wouldn’t have taken that long, but things happen.

David took before and after pictures. I don’t know whether After will look much different from Before, but in real life, I walked out of that place looking a lot better than I did when I went in. I had color in my face. Or, more accurately, on it.

When I was thirteen, my mother handed me a lipstick and said, “Use it. You’re very pale.” She was the only mom in Creation who wished her daughter would use more make-up. I didn’t know how bad it was until I was in my forties, when I saw a picture of myself sitting in the church choir. Everyone else looked normal. I looked several shades past anemic.

It’s a Waller thing. My grandfather was tanned by the sun, but when he rolled up his khakis to wade into the river (on some mission related to his boat or his trotlines) his legs were unimaginably white. After meeting one of my cousins, David delicately and in a voice filled with concern, asked me if she had some kind of illness or condition. No, I said, that’s what’s known as alabaster skin. Unfortunately, I missed the alabaster, but I got the pallor. Until I get embarrassed, at which time I turn beet red.

A dermatologist once said to me, “Well, you have blonde skin, you know.” His tone was downright accusatory. I got my father’s black hair, which comes from the other side of his family. I know they don’t go together, but it’s not my fault. I have no control over my DNA.

Anyway, the Mokara make-up lady has me looking downright alive. She also did a pretty good haircut. I showed her a ten-year-old picture and she got about as close as anyone could get.

What, you might ask, did David–the other half of this anniversary thing–do while I was being gussied up? What he does every day. He sat with his Chromebook and worked on Alien Resort and whatever else he works on. I never know what he’s doing until he tells me a newspaper has picked up his cartoon or that a film festival is going to screen one of his videos.

Which brings this post to a turn I didn’t expect it to take: while I was writing this, David forwarded me an email from Central Arts of Hurst Short Film Series – Round Three saying that his “Invisible Men Invade Earth” will be screened this Saturday, June 29. It will be

“competing against “Don’t Die” and, based on audience reaction and input, a winner will be crowned at the conclusion of the evening. The winning film will then be invited back at the end of the screening series to compete in a “Battle Royale” to see which film is crowned “King” (or “Queen” or “Non-gender-specific Monarch,” take your pick)! SO, in the interest of giving your film the best chance to win, we very much encourage you to invite EVERYONE you know to this event!”

“Invisible Men” has garnered positive responses (“sweet and innocent”; “a film you can tell he made just because he wanted to”) at all showings, and it stars the cats (last-minute unscripted but welcome appearance), so I can, with confidence, pronounce it the best film of the year, bar none.

Nevertheless, if you’re in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford-Dallas-Fort Worth-Oklahoma area this Saturday evening, feel free to drop in (although they say to get a ticket early because they often turn people away at the door). And if you come, vote for David’s film. Because the other people in attendance might have poor taste and vote wrong.

We don’t know when the Monarch will be named. The film festival is a monthly event. The first in the series was in December 2018, so we assume the competition will be held toward the end of this year. We’ll let you know, since we are encouraged to invite EVERYONE we know. David appreciates all compliments, admiration, adulation, and adoration that come his way, and I’m sure he’d be okay with his film’s being crowned. The ultimate designation, though, is weird. That’s what an Austin reviewer called it. High praise. It’s an Austin thing.

So that’s the story of our anniversary celebration. The only things omitted are 1) the steak; half of mine is in the refrigerator, none of his resides there; and 2) the tantrum I had when, after both David and I spent a half-hour searching for the photographs I had transferred from my camera to the Google Drive, and after David said, How do you stand the mouse opening and closing tabs when you’re not looking and I said, I cuss under my breath, and he figured out how to fix it, almost—as I said, after all that, I discovered about four hundred words had disappeared from this post and the deletion couldn’t be undone and all revisions were gone gone gone.

It wasn’t much of a tantrum, because I knew I should have saved before running off after errant photos, but then, WordPress shouldn’t have autosaved an incomplete document.

And the mouse, which I’m certain is to blame, should have minded its own business.

If you’ve gotten this far without wishing the missing four hundred words had never been reconstituted, bless your heart. Now I have to go wash off all this makeup and fade into the background.

 

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Wedding photo by Atelier Wong

 

Weird Again in Houston

 

The Davises are off to Houston next weekend for Comicpalooza and the screening of David’s short-short animated video, “Blood Bank.”

Whatever you’re thinking “Blood Bank” is about, it’s probably not. David’s films are weird. That’s guaranteed. Otherwise, they’re unpredictable. Totally.

According to publicity, Animation Shorts comprises “Short film finalists in the Comicpalooza Film Festival that feature the best in animation.” “Blood Bank” is one of only three to be screened. It’s also his first attempt at animation.

Comicpalooza, “the largest annual, multi-genre, comic book, science fiction, anime, gaming, and pop-culture convention in the Southern United States,” has its unpredictable side, too. You never know whom or what you’ll see.

Here’s a sample of what we saw last year.

 

I can predict this year we’ll see Austinite Manning Wolfe, author of the Texas Lady Lawyer mystery series. She’ll be among the celebrities and guests appearing over the weekend.

Watch for more on Comicpalooza and “Blood Bank” next week–same time, same station, if you’re old enough to know what that means.

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“Blood Bank” will run in Animation Shorts, Friday, May 10, at 8:00 p.m.

See David Davis’ print cartoons at Alien Resort. His film “Invisible Men Invade Earth” appears on Youtube.

William and Ernest Make America Great. For the Second Year in a Row. In Dallas.

David and I are in Dallas for What the Fest 2 at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre, and we are officially chuffed. David’s “Invisible Men Invade Earth,” which was named Judges’ Pick in the 2017 WTF, was screened last night, first on the program–and will be shown again tonight.

What the Fest highlights films that don’t fit into any particular genre. (An understatement if there ever was one.)

Last night’s fan favorite was “Deletion,” the story of a psychiatrist who specializes in erasing patients’ memories. My favorite was “Toasted,” a look at what appliances, including a Scotch tape dispenser that handles tape about as well as I do, get up to when the master isn’t home.

Everyone in the audience received a raffle ticket for door prizes. If you let them stamp your forehead, you got an extra raffle ticket. Well, why not? David won a tote bag. Or maybe I did. I gave him my tickets to care for, and we don’t know whose number was called.

At the second intermission, girls* came around with a black light thingy and took pictures of our foreheads. Results are under Well, why not, above.

Pocket Sandwich Theatre is little and cute and specializes in melodrama, as you can tell from the carpet of popcorn on the floor.

What the Fest is my favorite of all the festivals we’ve been to, in part because little and cute also means informal–the principals say they’re a family, and they act like it. They have fun. So does the audience.

They also like David’s film. When they introduced it, they said they’d watched nine hours of submissions, and to keep themselves going throughout the arduous task, they periodically played “Invisible Men,” because it made them giggle. When we were leaving, a couple of the guys said they watch it a lot and also quote some of the lines (“Well, that sucks,” and “It is not a coincidence.”) One of the girls said she watches it with her mother.

In Austin, “Invisible Men, the story of two cats who save Earth by facing down a horde of space aliens,” and David’s other films are called weird.”** The folks in Dallas speak of “purity” and “a place of love.” In other words, it’s the kind of film you can take home to your mother, and that says a lot.

Once again, stars William and Ernest chose to stay home under the twice-a-day supervision of Charla, who feeds them, pets them, and gives William his insulin injection. They don’t like the carriers or the car, but they like Charla a lot. Charla emailed us that they’re playful.

We’re now using the wi-fi at the Denny’s next door to our hotel. The hotel’s wi-fi keeps slipping off the Internet and refuses to let me upload photos, but Denny’s is excellent.

In about four hours, we’ll head back to Pocket Sandwich Theatre to see “Invisible Men Invade Earth” and several new films. Last night, the audience started laughing before the first scene ended. I’m sure tonight’s viewers will be just as discerning.

***

*A purist would call them women, but where I come from, women that age are girls unless you’re trying to make a point.

**In Austin, weird is a compliment. I don’t know who decided Austin is weird, but “Keep Austin Weird” is right up there, or maybe above, “The Live Music Capitol of the World.” Weird may have started when Jim Franklin drew that armadillo. Oh. I just looked it up. Here’s who decided Austin is weird.

Further note: Lone Star used to be the National Beer of Texas, and I guess it still is. I haven’t seen the commercial in a long time, but there’s a video on youtube extolling its virtues.  (See link above.) According to the expert, It’s got a perfect taste that’s hard to describe.

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“Invisible Men Invade Earth” Wins at What the Fest

The video “Invisible Men Invade Earth,” written, directed, and produced by David Davis, was declared What the Fest Winner Judge’s Pick at Dallas’ Pocket Sandwich Theatre last night.*

Judges said “Invisible Men” has a “purity” that shows it comes from a “place of love,” and they could tell David made it simply because he wanted to.

David still claims he made it because he wanted something to do that didn’t require leaving the couch.

His videos have been recognized before– following Fantastic Fest 2015, Andrew Whalen described him in Player.One as “the eccentric director behind the weirdest festival entries in Austin”–but this is the first time his work has been judged #1.

We arrived at Pocket Sandwich Theatre in time to hear the last scenes of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Judging from the chorus of boos and hisses and the popcorn blanketing the floor, the audience had a rollicking good time.

Not as good a time as David and I had, of course.

Only one thing is missing. William and Ernest, who made it all possible, couldn’t be with us. Or, more accurately, wouldn’t be with us. Since that ill-fated trip to the vet last June, the sight of a suitcase sends them flying under the bed. A vet tech now comes to the house twice daily when we’re away to feed them and give William his insulin injection.

They like her. After eight years of hiding from company, William sashayed out, snuffled her hand, and invited her to give him a tummy rub. They agreed to star in “Invisible Men Invade Earth,” but that was when they were young. They have since given up the stage. Awards mean nothing to them.

David and I, though, are officially chuffed. And we’ll stay that way for the next couple of days at least.

*In truth, David’s video was declared winner early this morning. The program started at 11:15 p.m. last night and it comprised twelve videos and one intermission plus intros and miscellaneous talk, so the awards portion didn’t roll around till about 2:00 a.m.

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.

 

Invisible Men Invade Again

English: The McDonalds located at 720 N. Main ...
The McDonald’s located at 720 N. Main in Roswell, New Mexico models its PlayPlace as a flying saucer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David’s short film Invisible Men Invade Earth will be screened at Roswell Cosmic-Con and Film Fest in Roswell, New Mexico this month.

A thousand thanks to our friend, Lee, who told David about the call for submissions, and to David’s wife, who said, “Submit it submit it submit it!” (Wife wants to get out of Austin.)

That’s about all I know, except that some events will take place at the McDonald’s pictured at the left.

Official seal of City of Roswell
Official seal of City of Roswell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why Roswell? Because in July 1947, a press release written by the public information officer at the Roswell Army Air Field reported, under orders of his base commander, that the Army had in its possession a flying saucer that had crashed on a local ranch. The Associated Press picked up the story. The next day a second press release ordered by a higher-ranking officer stated that the flying saucer was actually just a weather balloon.

That might have been the end of it if civilians hadn’t found the wreckage in the first place. Witnesses told stories of four alien creatures, one of whom survived. A Roswell mortician received phone calls from the air base morgue regarding how to preserve bodies. The military asserted pressure, and witnesses stopped talking.

Around 1980, a UFO researcher discovered the incident and started looking for witnesses. He found a number of them, including the public information officer who wrote the press releases. From there, the story took off.

That’s a summary of the story as it appears on Roswell’s International UFO Museum. Other sources suggest there’s more. Or less, as the case may be. At any rate, Roswell and flying saucers are now irretrievably linked.

Hence the Roswell Cosmic-Con and Film Festival. And the screening of Invisible Men Invade Earth.

And the Davises invading Roswell.

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Note: In her book Area 51, Annie Jacobsen’s history of the top-secret military base in Nevada, the author repeats a story she was told about the Roswell Incident. She states the story could not be substantiated and does not present it as fact. But starring Stalin and Dr. Mengele, it fits right in with the rest of the Roswell lore.

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂