LISA DAVIS 1963-1995The Moon Is Blue...

Thumbing through a "Best of Austin" back issue (1992 - Vol. XII, No. 5), I happened upon two lovely photographs: one of a bunch of women gleefully frolicking in the fountain outside of the LBJ Library at UT, the other of a bunch of women thrusting margarita glasses high, whizzing past a streaky night sky in a fine convertible. I saw these works originally in 1992, and at that time they triggered peals of my own delight, as they so accurately captured the spirit of Austin, Texas - my new home. On July 14, 1995, the big-hearted, gifted photographer responsible for freezing those images, Lisa Davis, 32, took her life at her parents' house in Houston. Her life in town began as a student at the University of Texas at Austin where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Photojournalism in 1986. As an Associated Press regular, she also freelanced for Rolling Stone, OUT Magazine, The New York Times, The Advocate, The Texas Triangle, and here at The Austin Chronicle. She leaves behind a remarkable photographic legacy.

Our beloved compañera was also a stalwart in so many of Austin's circles, including the gay community, women's community, and musicians' community. Most recently, she was known as a show promoter and activist. Her multi-media "extravaganzas" were sometimes curiously harebrained schemes but always stoked a powerful mix of politics, music, irony, and Austin culture. She dragged many of us kicking and screaming into these events until we found ourselves having the time of our lives.

Lisa Davis lived and loved hard. Her love and support for local music was inspiring. The local underground rock scene will recall her notorious on- and off-stage antics, eating fire and encouraging people to disrobe in joyous, rock & roll abandon. She even gained national notoriety as the first woman to stage dive at the Michigan Women's Music Festival.

Ultimately, as life regenerates itself, the question remains: Why - as time has proven again and again - is it that one individual has the power to change the world, yet human frailties often stand in the way of healing one's self? According to one dear friend, one of Lisa's answers to senseless questions like that was, "The moon is blue..." Now, a lot of us are, too.

Friends may wish to attend the memorial service at Umlauf Sculpture Gardens, Saturday, July 22, 6:30pm, with a potluck reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Lisa's memory to: Out Youth-Austin, 425 Woodward, Austin, TX 78704. For Out Youth information, call: 326-1234.

This fall, a commemorative gathering, musical performance, and photography show are currently being planned by close friends in Austin. If you are interested in attending and/or participating, please leave a message and phone number at 512/454-5766, ext. 200. n

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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Lisa Davis, AP, Associated Press, photographer, Ann Richards, drummer, Austin music scene, lesbian, LGBTQ, gay, queer, suicide

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