Browsing Tag

Austin

Love

Three Zero

My love and me captured by the lens of Clayton Austin

Just three years ago today (on October 30, 2008), my husband and I had our first date on the patio of a sleepy cantina in Austin, Texas. We talked about Soderbergh movies, had a Diet-Coke-drinking contest, and I decided then and there that I wanted to know this handsome guy forever. By some crazy stroke of good fortune, he made the very same decision about me on that creaky wood patio, and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because I get to know him a little bit more every day for the rest of our lives. It won’t always be as easy to know each other as it is now, and I would be lying if I said this didn’t scare the shit out of me. But, a wise person once told me no dream is worth having unless it scares you a little. I guess this scariness (of the mysterious future, the hard work, and the backaches it will likely take to support one another in the years when our batting averages aren’t so stellar) is really just a small price to pay in order to live out the dream of knowing my dearest friend for all eternity.

Psst: The above photo is part of a love story that was shot by the infinitely talented Clayton Austin back in May of 2011. Would you like to see more snippets from this photographic love story? Leave a comment.

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #37: Austin Adieu Part Deux

Luscious-lipped cow statue in front of Amy’s Ice Cream in Austin, TX

My last week in Austin has included eating heaps of chips and queso, kayaking on the Colorado River, listening to a free Bob Schneider concert on a picnic blanket while drinking contraband wine, and taking in as much kitsch as possible. I feel such a rush of emotions as my love and I prepare to leave tomorrow morning, and maybe you’ll have a slight notion of why when you see some more of the absurd things that dwell in every nook and cranny of this city.

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #36: Austin Adieu

Guitar-and-fountain-drink-holding statue above Fran’s Hamburgers in Austin, TX

I am only 1.5 days away from leaving Austin for good, and I figure it would be a shame to depart without paying an homage to some of the kitsch around town I have yet to share with you. After all, I’m a gal who moved to Austin in search of love and kitschy plaster statues. So, let’s hear it for rollerskating, guitar-playing ladies who pedal hamburger meat at drive-ins; jolly-green midgets who promote smoothie shops; and submarine sandwiches that sit atop old-time Western storefronts like defective, cheese-filled UFOs. Austin, this is why I love you…

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Sweet Nothings

Southern Comfort

Old Volkswagen Bug painted like the state flag of Texas, which I spotted on the streets of Austin a few weeks ago

Once upon an abandoned parking lot in 2005 there lay a dead bird and an industrial-sized snow scraper atop sweltering Texan asphalt. It was the middle of March and I had just moved to Austin three days prior without a single job prospect or acquaintance as far as the eye could see, and this mammoth snow scraper had become my weapon of choice in lieu of a knight in shining armor on speed dial. About an hour earlier, I’d set out to Home Depot with the simplest intention of buying an extra can of “Orange Rose” paint so I could finish my living room walls, but the universe had other plans… Just as I was turning onto a highway access road and hitting the accelerator, no less than 30 young birds alighted off the ground at a nearby street corner. I’m sure there is a mathematical equation that could explain how my speed times their velocity and the gusty winds equaled fatal contact, but who needs numbers when you’ve got visceral dings, splats, and oozes of green slime?

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #35: Rooftop Rex

Plastic dinosaur atop Wheatsville Co-Op in Austin, TX

There’s been this pesky, giant, green monster haunting my side-view mirrors every day for as long as I’ve lived in Austin. And, believe you me, it’s a scary sight. I jump almost half of the times I see this Godzilla-like creature towering over the Austin skyline, and I often suspect it is going to swoop down and eat me while I’m running errands on one of the city’s busiest streets. Whenever I look closer and realize it’s just a fake dinosaur sitting atop a food co-op I not only breathe a sigh of relief, but I remind myself that I really should research why on earth this dino is a mascot for a neighborhood food store. After years of reminding myself to look into this mystery, I finally contacted Wheatsville Co-Op’s general manager, Dan Gillotte, and he gave me the skinny…

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #33: Flamingos Revisited

Pink, white and mauve flamingos all boxed up and ready to move out of The Flamingo Place in Austin, TX

Do you remember the field of plastic flamingos I shared with you several months back? Well, I was organizing photos a few days ago and came across some snapshots from The Flamingo Place (R.I.P.) that I’d completely forgotten about…Although this former garden store only allowed pink flamingos to populate their front lawn, they sold a rainbow’s variety of plastic flamingos inside. When I stopped by to snap these images in December, all their unsold flamingos were boxed up in cardboard awaiting the highest bidder or a dump truck, and I can only hope they all found happy homes that kept them together with large groupings of their siblings. I not only adore being reminded of these flamingos’ spotted, Technicolored and metallic finishes, but I also just love seeing them together in heaping piles; there’s something about a plurality of kitschy objects that makes them all the more marvelous…

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #32: Retiring Rodents

Plaster rat standing guard at the gates of South Side Tires

On a drive to nowhere in particular, I came across a delightfully kitschy tire shop in South Austin a while back. This purveyor of rubber rollers is South Side Tires, a shop located far from any signs of city life where a plaster rat stands guard above locked chain-link fences and chicken wire, and a bevy of signs offer up puns galore. The signs are all hand-painted and most depict a dark-haired man who smiles while holding out an assortment of tires. From the rat sculpture to the custom signs, everything is homemade and I love seeing how much handcrafted effort went into decorating the facade of this business – someone really went to town with matte paint and plaster.

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Inspiring Tidbits, Sweet Nothings

Making Faces

Red, devilish mask by Sara Hasslinger on display in front of Flashback in Austin, TX

Here’s a little tale about an inspiring, creative soul that just might give you a second wind as you sprint into the weekend…I wouldn’t know about this person if I hadn’t come across a display of bright, hand-made masks when my fiancé and I were strolling through South Austin a few weekends back. These vibrant, bulbous heads of papier-maché made us stop in our tracks, overcome with the sensation that we’d somehow been transported into the costume closet of a circus or an elaborate Broadway show. We were merely standing on a Texas roadside, however, taking in the stunning masks of Sara Hasslinger, an Austin-based artist who spearheads a community-art project called Monsterlove

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #30: Picasso and Poultry

Picasso-esque cardboard shapes, plaster bodies and a guitar on a front lawn in Austin, TX

This past weekend my city hosted something called the Austin Art Yards Tour, an informal walking/driving tour that invites Austinites to gawk at notable lawn art all around the greater metropolitan area. My high expectations weren’t quite met, but there were some highlights including a giant plaster chicken and a lawn covered in flamingos wearing chiffon headdresses. It also turned out that the gorilla I shared with you last week was included in this walking tour. The crowning kitschscape that made the whole tour worthwhile, however, was a two-story homage to Picasso made almost entirely from black-and-white-painted cardboard…

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Kitsch Fixes

Kitsch Fix #29: Gorillas in the Raw

Unpainted plaster gorilla in front of a home in Austin, TX

Promise me a giant gorilla on a street corner and I’m there. I don’t care if it’s tame or wild, silver-backed or baby-faced – but I will admit I’m partial to the plaster variety…Although I’m used to my gorillas being outlandish colors (like this pink gorilla and this polka-dotted primate), I recently spotted an unpainted ape statue that was really quite elegant. This beaut sits in front of a vine-covered fence on a corner lot within an upscale residential neighborhood of Austin. Looking part guardian and part monument, this ape reminds me that I really need to seek out the famed statuary shop in Dallas that reportedly sells these gorillas in bulk. It will be tricky squeezing a trip to Big D in before my move out west, but I think it will be worth it to see the place that has inspired such a range of primate statues – from the psychedelic to the minimalist.

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