Keep Austin Weird

Filed under : City Guides

Like most catch phrases, “Keep Austin Weird” has a basis in reality. Austin is many things: political, vibrant, intelligent and fun, but it is also undeniably weird.

For example, where else in the world would you find a cross-dressing vagrant who wears high-heeled shoes and runs for mayor? Leslie Cochran, a man who has been dubbed “The Queen of Austin,” is one of its most beloved characters—so beloved, in fact, that local stores sell “Leslie’s What to Wear Refrigerator Magnets” that act as a magnetic version of a paper doll kit.

Leslie is not the only local attraction that keeps the city interesting. There is Hippie Hollow, the only “clothing-optional” beach in all of Texas, as well as the fact that Austin, in addition to being the state capital, is supposedly the Frisbee Golf capital as well. Also consider the Alamo Drafthouse, a series of movie houses-slash-restaurants-slash-performance theatres, which has an eclectic event calendar and funny promotions to keep patrons coming back for more. There are not many places where you can attend a showing of “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” that includes all the miniature burgers you can eat.

Down in South Austin, one can visit the infamous “Cathedral of Junk,” which was started in 1988 and is constructed of an array of throw-away items like bottles, bumpers and wheels (oh my!). Despite its appearance, the cathedral is structurally sound, passing inspection by the city each year. While in that part of town, there is also the Museum of Ephemerata, which has hosted such weird items as the last cigarette Marilyn Monroe ever smoked.

Each year, Austin plays host to biker rallies, burlesque shows, rodeos, political demonstrations, theatre events, street markets, live music performances and festivals, poetry readings and barbecues. There truly is never a dull moment.

And yet, perhaps it is simply the people of Austin who keep it weird. Austinites, both native and self-made, continually contribute to the city’s atmosphere, full of flair, fun and energy. It is they who buy from the funky shops, they who attend the crazy shows, and they who take pride in occupying such a unique place in the world

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