Tuesday, Tina and I drove to Austin to go to a show at the Blanton Museum of Art, the show was titled From Turner to Monet: Masterpieces from The Walters Art Museum. It was a terrific show at a museum we were completely unfamiliar with.
It was a quickie of a trip because of having to leave our feline family to their own devices. They are all rescued and therefore have abandonment issues. We miss them when we go away for a couple of days and worry about them.
This means our trips tend to be limited to a couple of days away. We drove down to Austin on Tuesday and came home yesterday.
Austin is pretty fucking cool…
It blows away almost any stereotype you might have regarding Texas.
For one thing there are hippies and all sorts of counter-culture folks all over the place along with one of the last Women’s Bookstores in the country and an Anarchist Bookstore.
The really neat thing about Austin is that it is less Mall of America Cloneville. One of the nastier elements of World Inc. and the domination, of our culture by the major corporations, as well as the reduction of people to homogenized consumer units has been the destruction of localized civic individuality.
The city slogan is “Keep Austin Weird” and it is wonderfully weird.
It is also foodie heaven with hundreds of food trucks and trailers around the city serving up an eclectic combination of food.
Austin has the best BBQ I’ve ever had…. Anywhere….
The first night we went to The Green Mesquite BBQ, the one at 1400 Barton Springs Road. Some of the best pulled pork and smoked sausage in Texas. We highly recommend this place to all omnivores and carnivores.
I was blown away by the Dallas music scene. Next to Austin’s it is minuscule. They have a lot more live music than New York or LA/SF.
I mentioned the book stores.
Austin still has independent bookstores. On a previous trip we visited Book People. This time we made a point of buying several books at even smaller independent book sellers.
After visiting the museum we went to Monkey Wrench Books , an Anarchist book store at 110 E. North Loop. I practically came in my jeans with the rush of nostalgia. The store reminded of the stores in the alley off Telegraph Ave., between Dwight and Haste in Berkeley 40 years ago. It was like stepping into the way-back machine.
We had dinner at Quality Seafood Market/Restaurant at 5621 Airport Blvd, again up in an area we probably wouldn’t have explored because it was neither in downtown nor in a part of town we associated with the hip area.
And yes they had live music, on a Wednesday evening.
Because of our excursion away from downtown we found Book Woman, at 5501 North Lamar #A-105. We had seen the store at a former location near Book People, which is near 6th and Lamar.
We were sort of lucky to run across it as I remembered it in its old location and a map showed it at its old location. When in doubt make certain the web site you are searching is the current one.
Price Line came through with a great deal on a hotel room at the Radisson Hotel on Cesar Chavez at Congress.
Thanks to our GPS any getting lost in Austin was sort of deliberate.
We finished our trip with lunch at Chez Zee, at 5406 Balcones Dr.
We had a blast in Austin and felt right at home.
Over the years I heard the snark about hippies and hipness and maybe it is warranted regarding some of the folks who get pretentious about their shopping at Whole Food, and wearing the proper hip clothes while driving the proper hip car. I guess if one wants to be pretentious, one can be pretentious.
I’ve heard Austin described as “laid back” and to me that is a good thing. People seemed to walk more and bicycle more in Austin. They also seemed more earnest and sincerely happy than I’m used to seeing here in Dallas.
One of the other things about our trip that upsets the stereotype of Texas is the number of dome houses and buildings along I35. It’s like the spirit of Bucky Fuller is alive and well, scattering the seeds of his imagination.