MON., SEPT. 11, 2006
This weekend thousands of middle-class white people will descend on Austin to eat our food, drink our liquor, and dance with our dates. Hopefully we will be as accommodating as we were last weekend with the Buckeyes, both on and off the field. The field this weekend, however, is down at Zilker Park. Normally it’s populated with adult soccer players (mostly hyper-competitive, soft-boned, office-worker creampuffs who make orthopedic surgeons piss their pants with delight) and the occasional miniature choo-choo full of exhausted parents and toddlers with soft-serve mustaches/purple popsicle tongues. The field at Zilker Park is exactly the type of uninspired landscape that demands you make your own fun, whether with a pinch-hitter and a hacky-sac or eight stages and 90 bands. Sure, Austin has its hills and lakes and cricks and rivers and all manner of furry and feathered fauna, but its true charm is its people. No matter how hard Starbucks or Applebees or Wal-Mart or Old Navy or any other tentacle of corporate generica has tried to suck us into its grasp, Austinites have managed to maintain and nourish their individuality, their “weirdness.” Out-of-towners, especially middle-class suburbanites from treeless, sprawling subdivisions find Austin’s civic quirkiness fascinating. They come here ostensibly for the music, or the sports, or the bats, or a first-class education, but they really dig us as much for the freakshow as anything else. On any given week you can run into a swarthy, crossdressing homeless guy in a thong and red heels, a dude who looks like Jesus selling flowers, dogs on a motorcycle, hippies, punks, emos, retros – and the freakiest of all: taco-hatted frat boys on a drinking binge. If you need help locating any of the above, we have ghost tours, duck tours, dork tours (aka those silly Segway tours), and all manner of drinking tours, just follow the frat boys. Whether you’re from here or there, if you want to get a taste of Austin weirdness without inhaling the stench of sweat, stale beer, and urine, you’re in luck: Dave Steakley at Zach Scott has put together Keepin’ It Weird, a play about Austin weirdness culled from more than 200 hours of interviews with real Austin weirdos. Yes, life’s rich pageant all dolled up and done up onstage. What could be more Austin than that?