This article is part of the The Great American Reach Around series.

The Karma Crip (Guest American)

Austin, Texas

Austin is the capital of Texas, but only the fourth-largest metro area in the state behind Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. The self-proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World", Austin is a young, fun, and consciously quirky city with a culture that's pretty distinct from the rest of Texas.

For instance, while most people think of Texas as a deeply conservative gun loving state with an execution fetish, Austin is actually pretty liberal. In fact, we even have a democratic mayor. Take that with a grain of salt though, as in the 2000 mayoral race a homeless transvestite named Leslie finished in second. Haha, just kidding! Oh wait, I was completely serious.

Austinites tend to be kind of proud of the fact that their city is a little strange. You'll even see people wearing shirts that say "Keep Austin Weird", which is the slogan of a movement aimed at protecting local businesses. In a country where Wal-Mart CEOs keep personal mixtapes of small business owners sobbing, it's nice to see a city where someone sticks up for local record stores and ice cream parlors.

One of the great things about Austin is the food. Being in Texas, there's plenty of great Barbeque and Tex-Mex, but there's also a surprisingly strong organic/vegetarian culinary movement, due in part to a significant neo-hippie population. For instance, ever hear of Whole Foods? You know, the place that has that great Tofu Vindaloo for ten dollars a cup that that girl you know is always telling you about. You know, the girl with all those upper-ear piercings who always wears Birkenstocks. Well anyway, Whole Foods started in Austin, which is something to be proud of, probably.

Live music is a huge deal in Austin, and our music scene might be our biggest point of pride. In addition to a concert schedule that's packed year-round, Austin has two big music festivals every year: South by Southwest and the Austin City Limits festival. Basically we really like music that isn't coming from a recording. A few guys playing some instruments, someone singing, maybe some amps? We're all over that shit.

So yeah, Austin is a really nice city with it's own culture. Come visit sometime. You'll probably enjoy yourself, and maybe you'll see that not every Texan is a bible-thumping oil tycoon with a hard on for firearms.

Now it's on to Mexico to indulge in a spicy enchilada of diverse flavors.

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