Feb. 19/20 at The Knitting Factory: Alex Davis: Man of the Year

Singer, songwriter Alex Davis is performing this weekend at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. Music Connection Magazine called him one of “the top 5 up and coming solo artists”, and this show at The Knitting Factory is his solo stage show called “Alex Davis: Man of the Year”. Apparently, it incorporates stories, video, music, I’m not sure what else, but I’m going this weekend and I cannot wait to see it. Here is a piece about what the show entails.

Alex Davis is the child of actor Brad Davis, most famous for his unforgettable role in Midnight Express, although I hold great love for his performance as Richard Loomis in Sybil, and also his performance in Fassbinder’s Querelle. A fearless, riveting, uncompromising actor, who died of AIDS in 1991, Brad Davis was married and had a daughter. His widow continues to be an activist for AIDS-related causes, and his daughter, Alexandra, is now Alex Davis: Man of the Year. There is a beautiful and painful symmetry in all of this. I didn’t know Brad Davis, and I cannot presume to know his heart, but I can’t help but think that he would be very very proud as a father to know that his child was out there, doing his thing, flourishing.

I was thrilled a month ago when I received an email, out of the blue, by an Alex Davis. I don’t know an Alex Davis, but people often email me about posts I have written that they found through Google, or whatever. I opened the email and was quickly stunned to find that it was an emotional and articulate “Thank you” to me, written by Brad Davis’ child (now an adult), for one of the posts I have written about his dad, that I called “Raw” – an appreciation of his performance in Midnight Express. The email brought me to tears. It was a very human communication. Davis expressed gratitude to all of his father’s fans that are still out there, but also expressed sadness that there’s so much rumor/speculation about his father, due to the manner in which his father died, and so he has experienced some disrespect towards his family because of that. This is not cool to Alex Davis. He loves his family. He appreciated that I appreciated his father’s work without going into all that. (After all, it’s none of my business.)

In the email, Alex brought up one of the scenes I analyzed from Midnight Express, the scene when Billy bites out the tongue of the horrible Rifki. Alex calls it the “53 days left” scene and says that whenever he feels stuck, or like he can’t communicate, or that he’s blocked – he remembers that scene, played so ferociously and so unforgettably by his father, and it helps him to get out of his own way, let it all hang out, do what needs to be done to express what is in his heart.

Alex told me that he is now a transman, and much of his show coming up is a celebration of his father, and also the rest of his family and his girlfriend. He thinks that Brad Davis, his talented father, is overdue for a resurgence, in terms of respect and acknowledgement and his show was created, in part, to do that. I am so excited about this, because I have long felt that Brad Davis hadn’t quite gotten the praise he justly deserved for those incredible performances. For the talent that we all lost when he passed away. Who would he be now? What kind of an actor would he be? What kind of character roles would he be getting? He was a giant talent.

I was so moved to hear from this lovely, polite individual (I know, I sound like such a Grandma, but seriously: these things matter. Manners matter!! You can tell if someone was raised well!), and also to hear some of his thoughts about his father, an actor I have always loved, from the first time I saw him in clown-makeup, kissing Sally Field on the subway, in Sybil.

I am so looking forward to the show this weekend, and hope that any of you New Yorkers who also love and remember Brad Davis, will consider going. It sounds like it’s going to be a real night of celebration – celebration not only of Brad Davis, but also of his child, someone who has gone his own path, and understands that so much of art is about celebrating and acknowledging the contributions of others.

Knitting Factory details here. He has shows Saturday and Sunday. Doors open at 7 p.m., shows start at 8.

You can read more about Alex Davis on his website Lucky Alex.

Additional Note: I asked Alex if it was okay if I shared a little bit the nature of our communication, and he generously gave me his blessing.

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13 Responses to Feb. 19/20 at The Knitting Factory: Alex Davis: Man of the Year

  1. mitchell says:

    Im sooooo sad i cant go…im in rehearsals for a new play …but if i weren’t i would so be there to support… a. an artist b. a transperson doing his thing and c. the child of one of my favorite actors. God bless the child…. Break legs Alex and have a blast Sheila!
    p.s. i love it when Sheila refers to someone as “well-raised”..its her highest praise!

  2. sheila says:

    Mitchell – You can feel good manners, know what I mean? Very much appreciated, as old-fashioned as it might be.

    I love you – so wish you could come and celebrate Alex/Brad together. Maybe Alex will have some show dates in Chicago!

    You will be there in spirit!!

  3. DBW says:

    Don’t you just love the internet. It allows for this kind of connection–one that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

  4. sheila says:

    DBW – It is amazing. This is probably the most amazing moment I’ve had, in terms of anyone contacting me. This one was really special. Can’t wait for the show!!

  5. Mary says:

    Thanks for sharing those comments. Truly inspiring! I saw (and briefly met) Alex recently in San Francisco. He’s such an amazing performer and you can tell he’s a sweetheart (oozing warmth and good manners ;-) I really wish I could see the New York show, but hopefully it’ll come to Toronto soon? In the meantime, I find myself playing and enjoying his CD every day.
    Also, I definitely agree about Brad Davis’ performances. He was so talented and I still recall so many scenes from Midnight Express, as well as how emotional I felt watching it (decades ago). I’m going to have to watch Sybil though – it sounds as powerful and mesmerizing as I would expect.
    You can see and hear the talent and feel both the strength and gentleness in a Davis performance. If you can catch Man of the Year, I’m sure it won’t disappoint!

  6. Timothy Mann says:

    Alex you are a very special person. I so admire you and your inner strength. I’ve had emotional problems all my life having been brought up within a strict religious control system knowing I’m gay. Your father was a great actor and he is my idol. God bless

    • alex says:

      thank you so much for your kind compliments, Timothy! i can only image the hardship you’ve endured in an upbringing like that. you’re obviously a strong person to have made it though to being you’re own man, and being willing now to speak honestly about the difficulties you’ve suffered. i’m glad that my dad could provide some inspiration and comfort for you; he does the same for me every day:]

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