Saturday, March 19, 2011

SXSW: Keeping Austin weird

Posted by on Sat, Mar 19, 2011 at 5:18 PM

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According to a friend, the guy who created the "Keep Austin Weird" t-shirt — which has since been borrowed by Manitou Springs and other bastions of self-proclaimed eccentricity across the country — never bothered to trademark it.

And, weirdly enough, he practiced what he preached to the extent that he didn't even care about the massive paycheck he missed out on.

As it turns out, Austin doesn't need that much help being weird. Witness, for instance, this SXSW performance from the city's own Invincible Czars, which I stumbled upon at an "intimate" dive called Skinny's Ballroom.

If you like ska-influenced bands with extremely tall, vinyl-clad nuns playing saxophones, you won't find a better one than this.

Or, for a somewhat more traditional approach to eccentricity, there was this bit during an afternoon performance by former Mekons bandleader Jon Langford and friends at the Yard Dog art gallery:

Even so, Austin surely met its match with the Zappa-gone-New-Wave, avant-garde yet strangely tuneful, fairly creepy, almost poignant madness of Gary Wilson, an utterly obscure artist who was rediscovered earlier this decade and ended up recording new material for the Stones Throw label.

Described to me by a girl in the adjacent club as "that guy with the fucked-up costumes," Wilson's weirdness is tough to beat. So we'll end here with a few clips to prove it:

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