How many of you are weary of hearing the phrase "Keep Austin Weird" as a catch-phrase/description/excuse for our city's general vibe? It seems to get thrown around almost as often as the word "festival" these days as a justification for why something is happening.
When I lived in Phoenix, our overused colloquialism was "...but at least it's a dry heat." In Chicago: "Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes." So I guess, we at least don't have a weather-related slogan to fill our water cooler conversation. So that's a plus.
But if there ever was a proper weekend to embrace this phrase and its proper usage, that weekend is here and now. That's because weird, wild stuff is happening all weekend long, and it's pretty darn exciting. So put away your eye-rolling, ye cynics, and revel in the Austin charm!
The key player in this revolution is the Keep Austin Weird Festival & 5k taking place on Saturday over at the Long Center. The event is actually called 'Keep Austin Weird' AND it's a festival AND it's a 5k, so it is literally custom made to represent Austin better than anything else you could possibly imagine. Food trailers? Yep, got 'em. Live music? Der. Pet-friendly? Of course!
Many of the local businesses that helped originate the slogan back in 2000 and their progeny will be present on the terrace with booths, free samples, music, performances and so much more. To trick it out further, the 5k starts in the evening instead of the morning, and local businesses (like CultureMap!) will be hosting stops along the way with obstacles, prizes and giveaways that you'll have to see to believe.
The weird, amazing party culture continues on Sunday with the 1st Annual Leslie Fest at Club 606 and Lipstick24. The "Leslie" in the moniker refers to none other than the patron saint of Austin Weird, Leslie Cochran, who sadly passed away earlier this year. In his memory, friends have organized a kind-hearted benefit birthday party to commemorate his spirit and benefit Hospice Austin. Starting at 4 p.m., attendees are invited to come dressed in their Leslie-inspired best to enjoy live music, swim in the outdoor pool and compete for the Best Thong at the Party.
But wait! There's so much more! We cannot stop talking about the amazing One-Man Lord of the Rings Trilogy performances happening this weekend inside The Long Center. Charlie Ross is the one man to rule them all, and he has found a way to take 11+ hours of Hobbit-y fun and condense it into one great evening of theater where he plays all the characters in the story. His impressions are uncanny, and fans will go nuts seeing how he is able to evoke each one of their characters in the most subtle of ways.
If we're talking weird, we should also point you in the direction of Salvage Vanguard Theater where GNAP! Theater Projects presents the latest one-act comedy by the sketch comedy team, Your Terrific Neighbors. These three insanely funny performers have concocted a long-form project called Ron Stepp presents Ron Stepp and the Stepp Sisters that combines the hardworking trio's finely tuned chemistry with their off-the-wall writing skills. This is some of the finest comedy writing you'll find in town, and each of their Friday - Saturday night performance runs open with a fellow sketch team from in town.
Pretty quirky in his own regard, Loudon Wainwright III stops by the Cactus Cafe for two live performances this Saturday and Sunday. Wainwright is best known by one generation for his contributions to the folk scene of the 70s and has released over 20 albums, one of which snagged him a Grammy. Younger fans likely know Wainwright as the father of Rufus and Martha Wainwright and as an actor in TV series like Undeclared and films like Knocked Up. However you know the guy, you're sure to fall in love with his stories and his songs at either one of these intimate evening performances.
And we don't have to tell you anything else about these masters of their genres, but Meatloaf is playing at ACL Live on Friday night while ZZ Top heads to the Whitewater Ampitheater in New Braunfels on Saturday. Plenty of opportunities to see how Austin welcomes these amazing entertainers in this Weekend of Weird.
So there you go: our picks on how to best Keep Austin Weird on this weekend aptly labeled as such. Put your tie-dyed shirt on, climb aboard your triple-decker bike, and spend your weekend luxuriating in the funny, local groove that underscores our fantastic city.
We made it this way for a reason, so let's make sure to keep it that way.