Digital Austin is just as creative and individualistic as the city itself. Here are my picks for the 10 top bloggers who prove it, covering the range of everything that's cool about Austin from music, movies and nightlife to fashion, food and the completely offbeat.
This Austin native is the armadillo blogger at the Republic of Austin, a lifestyle site that celebrates life, art, people, music, food, style and events in Austin. Actually, Roary lives under Chris Apollo Lynn's house—Chris is the founder of ROA. Since Roary is unfortunately cursed with stubby little legs and the inability to drive, Chris handles most of his research and blogging. ROA is a cool blog because it's a very multimedia platform, sharing its stories about Austin life through video and interactive photo displays along with the stories. "As editor-in-chief, you could say I’m the mad scientist behind the Republic of Austin," says Chris. "I didn’t completely realize just how awesome this city was until I moved here in 1995 for school. Even after leaving her for larger cities—Berlin, New York, San Francisco—Austin has always stuck in my head."
This well-known and beloved Austin writer describes herself as a "knitter, dog lover, yogurt nut, controversy artist and teacher"—as well as an Uninsurable American. Her blog, Spike Speaks, covers everything from local theater and her travels, to thoughts on religion and her dog, Princess Bubbles (who Spike claims bears an uncanny resemblance to Paul Simon). Spike Speaks is a great "mental break" read, that is, more creative writing than short, straightforward blog style posts. Oh, and she also officiates at weddings. Spike says that one of her favorite things about traveling so much is flying back into Austin. "This is one of my most beloved pastimes," she says. "My heart starts beating faster every time I hear, 'We're beginning our descent into Austin.'"
Quick pop quiz: what's the top thing Austin is known for? Besides Leslie...yes, that's right, music. Well, Nathan of Austin Town Hall blogs about all things music that he knows and you don't, but should. Nathan was the unfortunate soul you remember in middle school who wore eyeliner because in the 90s, nothing was bigger to him than The Cure. What's his favorite spot in Austin? Waterloo Records, where he spends countless hours browsing for records that few other people have ever heard of.
Kate X Messer
The Chronicle is really the bible for everything cool and happening in Austin, and also has the most active, thorough blog for the LGBT community, The Gay Place. Kate is the top blogger at The Gay Place, covering dining, theater, dance, bars and nightclubs, rallies, festivals and volunteer opportunities. She's also the editor for the Chronicle's famed "Best of" annual poll. "What I love most about Austin is the fierceness of our culture in preserving a local identity," she says. "Weird or hipster doesn't quite capture it—it's too elusive. I feel it's grounded in how accepting of a city Austin is." Her local favorite? The Tamale House on Airport Boulevard. "It's the quintessential Austin landmark."
Can there be a better person to blog about the film scene in Austin than the founder of Alamo Drafthouse, Tim League? The Alamo is Austin's favorite spot to catch a flick, and Tim shares his love of movies on the Alamo's Cinema Blog. Here he waxes poetic on people often long-forgotten or overlooked, such as Roger Corman, and highly original films such as Exit Through The Gift Shop—his favorite Alamo showing. "I very rarely pound out a heartfelt recommendation for a film, maybe three to four times a year max," Tim says about his selective process.
This guy loves tacos. I mean, he seriously loves tacos. I used to work with Mando at United Way, and he would often eat tacos for breakfast and lunch—and, I suspect, dinner as well. Mando thinks tacos are so great that he started his blog, Taco Journalism, to document his quest to find the perfect taco, and to review the best and worst of Austin taco joints along the journey. He refers to his team as the Taco Mafia. "Tacos are everyman's food," Mando explains. "You can have them anytime, as a snack or dinner. Plus they make the world go 'round!"
The blogger behind Austin Eavesdropper is known as "that Austin girl." Tolly says, "I think Austin is an incredibly special city, and I feel very lucky to live here." Austin Eavesdropper is about fashion, food and drink, music and just plain awesome stuff around town—but she puts a disclaimer right out there that she's hardly a culture expert. "But I do dork out over many things here in town," and happily she shares them with us, including the weird and random such as a happy hour for dogs and cats. But she never writes about sex, because her parents read the blog. (To which her dad responded, "Blog about sex, it's OK. We're not dead, stupid or naive. We had you, didn't we?")
Amber is the force behind the go-to blog for those who like to get their drink on. And if that describes you, what better topic than free open-bar events? That's what Amber Demure searches out and reports on for you, from bars serving free drinks and food, to street fairs and block parties. Where she digs up all the finds she blogs about, I don't know—but if you follow it religiously, you may never pay for such things again! "I am obsessed with fun, and can't get enough," Amber says. We are glad.
If you want the lowdown on Texas politics, this is your man. The Burka Blog covers all things politics, all the time; Paul thoroughly analyzes all aspects of any political issue, and isn't afraid to voice his opinions. For example: "I have believed for some time that the Republican Party made a deal with the devil when it embraced the Tea Party." Above all, he's entertaining. He's even been known to balance the budget for our "poor, overworked elected officials."
Got fashion? Or just need it? Joanna is here to help. Her blog, Keep Austin Stylish, mainly exists to keep Austinites in the know on the latest fashion news and trends—but Joanna's sense of style doesn't stop there. "I like anything and everything having to do with producing creative and pleasing visual imagery whether it be in the form of clothes, photography or video," she says. Her fascination with clothes began as a kid, when she would twirl around in her grandmother's petticoats. About Austin style, Joanna says, "Austin is a beautiful city bustling with creative people and creative fashion."