Keep Austin Weird

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Keep Austin Weird is the slogan adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses in Austin, Texas. It is intended to promote local businesses and is inspired by comments made by Red Wassenich in 2000 while giving a pledge to an Austin radio station.[1] He later began printing bumper stickers, and now operates the website and published Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town.[2]

Despite a challenge from Wassenich, the slogan was later trademarked by Outhouse Designs and used to market T-shirts, hats, and mugs.[3][4][5] Other cities adopted similar slogans later, such as Portland, Oregon in 2003[6] and Indianapolis, Indiana in 2013.[7]

A recently released book on the topic, Weird City: Sense of Place and Creative Resistance in Austin, Texas,[8] discusses the cultural evolution of the "Keep Austin Weird" movement as well as its commercialization and socio-political significance.[9][10]

The Austin Independent Business Alliance is among at least 85 community organizations affiliated with the American Independent Business Alliance, a national non-profit that supports and connects pro-local community-based organizations.


The "Keep Austin Weird" slogan now reaches far beyond a marketing campaign.[citation needed] Austin is the self-proclaimed "live music capital of the world" and the people of Austin reflect a friendly, accepting culture of artistic and individual expression that maintains the city as a vibrant and eclectic creative center and haven for an LGBT community, intellectual community, community of naturalists and environmentalists, and for subcultures and people(s) who are not mainstream. In a mostly conservative Texas, Austin is "Weird" because of that and because it continues to be liberal and progressive politically, socially, in culture, in the arts and in music, among other things. "Keep Austin Weird" moves beyond a mere slogan, to reflect the dynamics that encompass Austin.

In January 2009 alone, over 1700 live music venues were supported.[11] In addition, multiple festivals such as SXSW, Austin City Limits, Armadillo Bazaar[12] and the Batfest, among many others are highly attended with enthusiastic and often large audiences.

Austin's culture is further enriched by a multitude of celebrities such as country music icon Willie Nelson, actress Sandra Bullock, writer Bruce Sterling, disability rights advocate Darren Bates, film directors Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez, actor Matthew McConaughey, and fashion designer Tom Ford.[citation needed]

Gallery of Austin weirdness[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yonan, Joe (March 27, 2011). "Can Austin stay weird?". Washington Post. 
  2. ^ Wassenich, Red. Keep Austin Weird: A Guide to the Odd Side of Town. Schiffer Books. ISBN 0764326392.  The slogan was used
  3. ^ Yardley, Jim (December 8, 2002). "Austin Journal; A Slogan Battle Keeps Austin Weird". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Kanter, Alexis (September 9, 2004). "Keep Austin Weird?". The Daily Texan. Retrieved 2006-03-16. 
  5. ^ Ross, Warren R. (August 15, 2005). "Structures of justice". Uuworld XIX (3): 1. Retrieved 2007-09-11. 
  6. ^ Smith, Marty. "Dr. Who: Whence the Weird?". 
  7. ^ Anthony, Cara (October 13, 2014). "'The Keep' movement catches on in Indy". IndyStar. Retrieved December 26, 2014. 
  8. ^ Long, Joshua (2010). Weird City: Sense of Place and Creative Resistance in Austin, Texas. University of Texas Press. 
  9. ^ Kelso, John (May 6, 2010). "It's Weird Social Science: Thesis on Austin now a book". Austin American Statesman. 
  10. ^ Dunbar, Wells (June 4, 2010). "Viva la Resistance". Austin Chronicle. 
  11. ^ "Austin Metro Area Entertainment Guide, Your guide to Austin Music, Events and Activities". Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  12. ^ "The 36th Season - Armadillo Christmas Bazaar". Retrieved 2011-06-24. 

Further reading[edit]

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