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When Austin Got Weird

When Austin Got Weird: New exhibit is a trippy trek through counterculture history

When Austin Got Weird
Copyright 1968 by Gilbert Shelton Courtesy Texas Poster Collection, TPA_0141, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Relive Austin’s own “Golden Age” at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum’s newest exhibit, opening this Friday, July 11. When Austin Got Weird is a collection of interactive podcast interviews and music poster artwork that defined the counterculture generation. 

“We hope that visitors get to see when Austin really became the 'Music Capital,' when it really changed,” Jenny Cobb, exhibit assistant, tells CultureMap. “The exhibit highlights the time in history when all of these artists and musicians started finding out that Austin’s where it’s at. We really want them to experience the 'Golden Age' of Austin and see that the city still stands on that foundation today.”

When Austin Got Weird highlights the ever-popular counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s that transformed Austin into the musical mecca we know it as today. The collection of 29 posters is on exhibit through September 14 in the Third Floor Rotunda Gallery. It features the era’s famous musicians — including Pete Seeger and the Ramones — plus local legends like Janis Joplin and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Other homegrown musicians including Willie Nelson, Texas Tornados, Shiva’s Headband and Asleep at the Wheel are also featured in the curated collection.

But the musicians aren't the only ones glorified by the exhibit. It also celebrates renowned poster artists of the generation, including Michael Priest, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Burns and Jim Franklin. “All of the posters are really amazing,” Cobb says. “When you see them in person they just come to life. You can hear the music and feel what it was like to be there just from looking at them.”

Opening night of When Austin Got Weird also marks the return of another musical endeavor at the museum, the annual Music Under The Star concert series. The three-week series appropriately kicks off its 11th season with psychedelic rock pioneer –– and Austinite –– Roky Erickson. The concerts take place each Friday from 6-9 pm. The full lineup for the series is as follows. 

July 11: Roky Erickson and The Shiva's Headband Experience
July 18: Carrie Rodriguez and Tish Hinojosa
July 25: Ray Benson with Milkdrive and Jason Roberts Band

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