Here's the thing you have to understand about me, with regard to Austin: I'm a New Yorker. I've spent over 13 years living in a city whose streets are crammed with maniacs of every conceivable stripe: artists and musicians and actors and designers and photographers and fashion whores, and all of the people who wannabe all of those things. Philosophical cabbies and homicidal bike delivery boys. Addicts. Tourists. College students with big dreams. Homeless folks with actual medical problems that affect the way they behave. Even bankers.
So when I first heard the whole "keep Austin weird" slogan, I gotta be honest, I felt a little jaded about it. I live in New York. I routinely walk past celebrities, men in drag, and people dressed up like it's their own private Halloween without sparing a second glance. I know weird.
And then I spent time there, and I got it. Austin's weird might be smaller in numbers than New York's, but it's every bit as potent. You've got equally strong contingents of creative types and dreamers, all of whom take pride in the weirdness--and you don't have as many of the corporate types as we've got here. And it all takes place in Texas, which really is what takes the whole thing to eleven as far as I'm concerned. New York as a state does not have an intrinsic personality beyond general Northeastiness, but Texas... well, you know.
My friend Erin Williamson took the photo above at Town Lake. We have conferred about whether the rainbow-pooping dog is some kind of abstract gay slur, and we think it's unlikely - "it's Austin, after all," she said. I do not know the why of this, or the how, or whether it was made by one person at once or by two, and I definitely don't know what it could possibly mean. I just know that I'd never see it in New York. This detailed rendering of a solemnly pooping dog is Austin weird, and I LOVE it.
And I'm heading back for another visit! In less than a month, I'll be back breathing that wacky air. Smells like... awesomeness.