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The Myth of Austin

Sunset from Oasis ruins (Austin)
Originally uploaded by phantom_of_the_opera.

Creative people have always been drawn to Austin. From O. Henry to Elizabeth Ney to Janis Joplin, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Gibby Haynes, Daniel Johnston, Robert Rodriquez, Richard Linklater and on and on and on—there’s just something in the air that inspires creativity.

In Tales of the City, by Armistead Maupin, one of the novel’s characters talks about a commonly known myth about the origins of San Francisco.  It seems that everyone who moves to San Francisco is really a re-incarnated citizen from the city of Atlantis.  And when the last lost soul arrives in town, the city of San Francisco will immediately experience a great earthquake and the 49 square-mile tip of the Golden Gate peninsula will fall into the sea and all the lost Atlantians will return to whence they came.

I love that story and one of the reason I began The Armadillo Podcast is to discover the myth of Austin by talking to every single person in the city. And while we suss out the myth, I hope it inspires Galia, my best friend to move here.  (See Episode 1: My Friend Galia.) I’ve so far interviewed 18 people in Austin, the country's 16th largest city.  That's 18 down and 656,544 to go till I either interview them all, or my friend gives in and moves here.

So what is Austin’s mythic story?  Here’s my humble attempt at crafting one.

Long ago Austin used to be called the City of the Violet Crown because of the purple ring visible around the skyline as the sunsets most evenings.  Now an allergist or a botanist will tell you that that purple ring is really created by the unusually vast number of allergy-inducing pollens that are floating in our air.  But don’t you believe it.  That purple haze circling the vault of the sky is really billions of purple-clad fairies that are created every time an Austinite has a creative idea.  When a musician writes a song, a purple fairy is born.  Every time a programmer rezzes up a PC game, an engineer launches a startup or poet steps up to the open mic, another purple fairy gets her wings.

So the whole reason the entire town is constantly sneezing is not really because of allergies, it’s because the little creative fairies are tickling your nose.  But don’t stop taking the Claritan D, though.  The pseudoephedrine in every 12 hour capsule will give you the energy to create even more.

So Armadillo Podcast listeners, what do you think? Is this a suitable myth for Austin, or not?

If you have you own myth about Austin, please send us an email here.  We’ll publish your version of the Austin myth on The Armadillo Podcast blog and of course, give you all the credit.


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Come on, Galia! What are you waiting for?!?!

Here's another reason for ya:
The standard of living cost is so much cheaper here that you can afford more than just rent, as you probably know is not the case in CA. Work to live, don't just live to work!

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Guests and Armadillos

  • Steven Phenix
    Weekly podcast interviews of Austinites famous and infamous, known and unknown, with the sole intent to convince my good friend Galia, an Israeli woman living way out in California, to move and live with us here in Austin, Texas, the land of the weird and the home of the armadillo.

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