Leslie reminded Austin it was getting too big for its britches

We end on a sad note this week.

The bonafide character of Austin, the sometimes homeless, scraggly and cross-dressing, Leslie Cochran died this week at the age of 60. If you have read this blog from the beginning, you might remember that Leslie was my original choice for Texas governor in the 2010 election. He didn’t win. He didn’t even run. Some say Leslie exemplified what helped “keep Austin weird.” I’m not so sure. I’m not even sure Austin is any weirder than, say, Marquez, or maybe even Dime Box.

Creative Commons photo by Johanna McShan Photography

Perhaps Leslie was what helped Austin from being just another large Texas city with too much traffic and too little infrastructure. Or perhaps Leslie’s thong-exposed butt was stuck out there on South Congress Avenue to help remind others that the city and its folks aren’t nearly as cool as they think they are.

That’s not to say I hate or don’t like Austin. I do like it. I’ve liked it since the 70s when it was a little city with a refreshing absence of blatant self-superiority. It was certainly more enjoyable when you weren’t forced stop for traffic jams at all hours of the day on I-35 or other crowded byways. Or, of course, it was definitely more favorable when the Armadillo World Headquarters still existed. Those were the days, such as when a topless UT coed sunbathing and literally “hanging out” at Barton Springs Pool was more as a act of simple youth enjoyment rather than an exercise of entitled chic.

Many headlines and news clips today say Austin is less weird with Leslie gone. I just say Austin is left a little less colorful and minus a living example to warn a city that it can get a little too big for its britches.


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