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Austin holds a reputation for being a strange place. What are the most bizarre aspects of this creative city?


Red Wassenich would never have imagined what he started probably as a novelty and a mild shocker would turn into a monster. Neither could he have foretold that the city of Portland would ape the theme with its own Keep Portland Weird. The Keep Austin Weird idea had arrived and taken root.

What is weird about Austin? Does calling itself the live music capital of the world constitute weirdness? It should, one thinks. Not even Willie Nelson living in Austin (instead of Nashville that could pose some serious opposition to the self-proclaimed nomenclature) can qualify the city for the name. For New York can hardly be called the movie capital of the world just because Woody Allen makes his home there.

No one can dispute the Cathedral of Junk’s weirdness, which took 700 bicycles to build. Before his demise, you could go meet the cross-dressing mayoral candidate Leslie to learn about the city. While it lasted, the cook-off called Spamarama would surely take your breath away.

Another book, Weird City: Sense of Place and Creative Resistance in Austin, Texas, sticks to Keep Austin as the focal point of an exploration that seeks to make sense of the place, urban politics, consumption patterns, and sustainable development.

Keep Austin Weird as a slogan was adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance with a view to promote small business in the city. Red Wassenich put up some resistance, but the phrase slipped from his grasp, though he still has some kind of ownership of it with his website He also published a book named Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town.

Outhouse Designs, which wrenched the slogan from Wassenich’s hands, markets various things like T-shirts, mugs, and hats.

In Austin, the traditional way of looking at jobs has taken a new meaning. Whether you are a bookstore clerk, a lawyer, a doctor, or a computer professional and you earn your living by such work, you do not consider it your job. So, what constitutes jobinAustin? The real work goes beyond these materialistic occupations. Music and art are some of these “jobs.” Collecting old vinyl of Bob Segar or even Popeye mugs are properly called work here.

Take parenting: Kids are left alone to have the time of their life at outdoor play or at ice cream parlors. Parents meanwhile are content to seriously nurse bottles of Lone Star beer and may compare body piercings. Do not be surprised to see this all-pervading patio culture in bars and restaurants where the outdoor annex might be bigger than the indoor space.

The slogan Keep Austin Weird may sound frivolous, but there is a strong undercurrent behind it. Residents of the city are not about to let big corporations make a foray in to the city. Their support for local business is total. Weird or not, Austin means business.

About the author:

Jenny Corteza loves to read and write. She contributes articles to a number of websites online, some of them being about travel and owning a lovely luxury villa in Thailand. She also runs a bunch of blogs for her followers and is mighty active on various social media platforms as well.