Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Keep It Weird
This cartoon was in the latest issue of the Austin Chronicle. The phrase "Keep Austin Weird" was started back in the year 2000 by a caller phoning in a pledge to KOOP radio, and thanked them for "keeping Austin weird". The phrase was picked up and used in a general campaign and movement to encourage people to buy local, support small businesses, and encourage positive entrepreneurship rather than let chains like Wal-Mart and Starbucks make everything everywhere look the same. Other cities in the country have since picked up the phrase, so you can now keep Louisville and Santa Cruz Weird... and more. Erie PA claims to have started it all over 20 years ago*, but I guess Austin is the one that built a fire under it.
*This is according to an article in the July 2005 SW Spirit magazine, not online.
I really don't like the gentrification-type development that is going on, and since money talks so loud, there's nothing that can be done to prevent these things. Over on Barton Springs Road, for example, I was really disappointed when Austin Java (now known as "previously weird") moved in and replaced Pizza Nizza -- a great little pizza restaurant with funny crap on the walls and a huge tree growing inside it that went right through the ceiling! (they didn't cut it down but it's no longer a prominent feature, so one small favor there) Austin Java's style is more modern and yuppie-fied, and they have bands playing on the deck that purposefully interfere with the bands across the street at Flipnotics (don't deny it AJ, Flipnotics was there first, all you're doing is creating cacaphony and unpleasantness). Now we hear that the owner of Austin Java is getting rid of that great little trailer park that has been there forever nestled between Shady Grove and whatever -- and putting up condos. Austin Java is off my good list. Here is a sign that one of the trailer park residents has in his fence that faces the sidewalk. Mister, you couldn't put it any better.
LINK: Keep Austin Weird