stupid fucking austin

The shortsighted city of Austin, Texas is about to let something stupid happen In the next day or so, theyre going to allow Daniel Johnstons Hi How Are You frog mural to be torn down.

If youve ever been to Austin, youve probably seen it on the side of the Sound Exchange record shop, at the intersection of 21st and Guadalupe. Its a landmark. (As a longtime fan of Johnstons work, Id also argue that it has historical significance.) Apparently, however, a California-based fast food chain is moving in, replacing the famous music shop that stood there for years (the first place to sell Daniels music), and they have better plans for that side of the building.

I suppose its not surprising for Austin, a city that set out to sell its soul years ago. I remember the last time I was there, shortly after the internet bubble burst. My friend Dave gave Linette and me a tour, pointing out all of the abandoned construction projects that had been started during the boom, only to be walked away from when the money dried up. As we walked up to each of these depressing, partially-finished structures, Dave would tell us all about the cool, old, historic building that had, up until recently, stood on that same spot. Its a cautionary tale that bears repeating. They started sacrificing their history in a headlong rush toward what they perceived to be bigger and newer, and thus better. It seems to me that tearing down Daniels mural as just another step along that same path.

The good news is, however, that some people in the Austin community are trying to stop it from happening. If you go to the Hi How Are You site, youll find a list of phone numbers that you can call in order to express your opinion.

The chain moving in is Baja Fesh, a burrito place that I used to occasionaly eat at when I lived in LA. I know its a chain and all, but they had good food and it struck me as an alright place. Im not defending them, but Im saying that in the whole hierarchy of evil they probably arent near the top. So, my hope is that they may be amenable to reason. Give them a call and see what they say. I plan to.

My friend Dave, I should add, has since left Austin.

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