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Creek Running North
September 11, 2005
Must be something in the Austin tap water
What the hell is it about that little town on the banks of the (other) Rio Colorado? They got a lot of blogging women there, you know I love to read me some. I mean, like it's not enough that the city gets to host Amanda, poliblogger without equal. And then on top of that, there's Twisty, about whose writing lately I just feel... well, just go read item number two here and substitute her name for that of Lila Downs. No, even that's not enough. The town has to hog this amazing blogger - and her utterly unique, funny, and engaging writing on a trivial, universal subject - all to itself as well.
I repeat, what is it about that town that breeds such talent? The live music? The cooling breezes off Town Lake? The necessity to cross the street and look busy when you see norbizness heading your way, thus keeping you observant? The chicken-fried steaks?
Dunno. I'm going to have to go visit sometime and find out for myself.
Update: Rexroth's Daughter, in comments, reminds me that the stellar blogging at Stone Bridge is done by Huitzil, also based in Austin. It's got to be one of them Spiritual Goretexes I've heard about, like in Sedona.
Posted by Chris Clarke at September 11, 2005 01:30 PM
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*blush* Thank you.
And it's the combination of the Texan sense of humor and that Austin is a free thinker's oasis in a red state.Posted by: Amanda at September 11, 2005 02:29 PM
But Chris, they have so much to work with in Texas. They've got Gov. Perry and his hair. They have actual preachers who say God spoke through the hurricane, and He doesn't like homosexuals. They have real racists and the Bush family. Shit, with that kind of material, blogging is necessary for sheer sanity, an eloquent outlet, and the drug of choice. Now, I've got the blue state boring blogger blues!
Really nice links. I am very fond of Stone Bridge, which I believe originates in Austin as well.
I'll go with ya. Can we check out New Mexico too, though?Posted by: craig at September 11, 2005 04:47 PM
I'll buy you a beer.Posted by: Joe D at September 11, 2005 05:28 PM
As long as I can remember (that is, back to 1974), Austin has been a most amazing oasis of otherness in the middle of Texas. There was the music, of course, but also a peculiarly local variety of progressive politics, which, I am glad to see, is still there.Posted by: alice at September 11, 2005 05:36 PM
I blush also. But if it's something in the water, it must be statewide, for I drink only Ozarka, which lists as its source the Houston Municipal Water Supply.Posted by: Twisty at September 11, 2005 05:43 PM
Like General Ripper, I only drink grain alcohol and rainwater to avoid the impurification of my bodily fluids through Commie fluoridation.
Thanks for the props, Chris. I would be remiss if I didn't point out the efforts of the folks at the Appalachia Alumni Association and the other-otherness of Clif, roller-derby promoter extraordinaire, at Cuddlefish. Also, since almost nobody in Austin comes from Austin, I would highly recommend pockets of inside-the-loop Houston (especially the Southwest quadrant) for additional, surprising Texas weirdness.Posted by: norbizness at September 11, 2005 06:00 PM
(psst! your norbizness link is fuXX0red!)Posted by: the_bone at September 11, 2005 07:08 PM
I keep Austin in my backpocket so I can participate politely in any coversation about the state. My involvement always extends to "I would love to visit Austin."
My husband keeps "San Antonio," which he remembers fondly from a trip as a kid, ready for the same reason.Posted by: eRobin at September 12, 2005 05:09 AM
Speaking of Austin, I need to hatch a plan to go to SXSW next year ...on business.Posted by: Roxanne at September 12, 2005 06:32 AM
I have to disagree. I lived in Austin for two miserable years. My neighbors were remarkably close minded, I thought.
The first question they asked on meeting someone was, "What high school did you go to?" as if that was apropos of anything significant. At one neighborhood cookout they talked about the blacks who'd just moved in, but were relieved that at least Mexicans hadn't moved in yet.
And don't even get me started on the women I worked with at the State Capitol, whose lunchtime conversations debated the merits of coyote vs mink in outerwear.
And needless to say, I hate chicken fried steak.Posted by: KathyF at September 12, 2005 07:55 AM
KathyF has a point. Austin has its share of red-state ideologues (more notably in outlying suburbs than inside the city limits), old-south racists, frantic walmart shoppers, and troublesome neighbors. Plus it's really hot in the summertime.
OTOH, we got superannuated hippies, such as myself, who still live on in a post-cretaceous environment; we got music, which got weird with the 13th floor elevators and the Armadillo World Headquarters back before time began, and has continued to be a little different ever since; we got funky taco stands; we got yuppies and cappuccino and all the blue state amenities; we elect liberal democrats to the state legislature; and we still have Barton Springs, whose salamander is not yet extinct.
All in all, not a bad place. I like it.
Posted by Jim McCulloch
Yeah, Kathy, nobody told you that you HAD to live in Westlake (educated guess).Posted by: norbizness at September 12, 2005 11:39 AM
Nope, we lived in North Austin, near the research center whose name I can't remember. It was almost 20 years ago, too.
Maybe the food has improved.
(Ducks and runs.)Posted by: KathyF at September 12, 2005 11:43 AM
Balcones??? Was that it? My husband worked there, doing microwave drying experiments.
(This time really ducks and runs.)Posted by: KathyF at September 12, 2005 11:45 AM
A dish cloth usually works just fine for me, Kathy. If your husband wants more info, I'm available for a modest consulting fee.Posted by: Chris Clarke at September 12, 2005 11:48 AM
Received Lila Downs tix last night as a birthday present. Concert on the 24th. Just thought you should know. ;-)Posted by: leslee at September 12, 2005 04:25 PM
Give her my message, leslee.Posted by: Chris Clarke at September 12, 2005 07:37 PM
Ah hell, back then that wasn't even in Austin and it's still referred to suspiciously as "North" Austin, aka, not real Austin. I had to live there for a year to save money--we intended to stay longer, but between traffic and my overwhelming urge to strangle my boyfriend if he didn't quit complaining about the neighbors, we moved back to central Austin much sooner than we had planned. I'm glad, though, because my neighborhood just rocks. Also, it wouldn't have saved us a dime living far from work with gas prices skyrocketing.Posted by: Amanda at September 13, 2005 09:15 AM
I don't have a blog, but I hang around them, and run a progressive mental health online forum that has blog tendencies, so hey neighbors. I came to Austin 16 years ago, looking for a place like where I grew up, Minneapolis-St. Paul, but not so cold. A hotbed, they told me, of writers/musicians/bohemian scholars/eccentrics/cowboys and rrrriot grls living easy and on the cheap. That was then. It's Houston now. The outlaws are still here, but have to organize and agitate to keep Austin weird. Work, work, work, a weirdos work is never done.Posted by: flawedplan at September 22, 2005 04:02 PM
I just found this site and I love it.
I don't have a blog, but I hang around them, and run a little mental health online forum that has blog tendencies, so hey neighbors. I came to Austin 16 years ago in search of a city like my Minneapolis home, but not so cold. A hotbed, they told me, of musicians/artists/poets/cowboys/eccentrics/rrrriot grls/bohemian scholars and free living on the cheap. That was then. It's Houston now and I'm a recluse. All we took for granted is disappearing, but the paper says the activists still organize, agitate and support live music to keep Austin weird. Work, work, work, a weirdo's work is never done.Posted by: flawedplan at September 22, 2005 04:28 PM
Oy, it looks like there is a time lag between submitting and publishing of comments. Told you I am new to this. I thought it was me, so re-posted, feel free to delete one, if you please.
If there's gonna be a time lag, you'll get a message telling you so. Otherwise, just hit "reload" or "refresh."Posted by: Chris Clarke at September 22, 2005 07:06 PM