In his book, Patoski poses his questions to and about the artists of the city: What makes Austin Austin? How did it get so weird? Why is it called the People’s Republic of Austin? Who declared Austin the Live Music Capital of the World? And why do locals always tell you that you got here two years too late?
“‘Austin to ATX’ is a deep dive into alternative Austin through the lens of the outsiders, musicians, free thinkers, artists and entrepreneurs who shaped the city,” said Joe Nick Patoski. “Creatives, drawn by Austin’s counterculture and music scene in the 1970s, developed communities and institutions that have led to film, food and tech becoming cornerstones of the modern, forward-thinking city Austin is today.”
A eclectic mix of innovative outsiders are profiled in “Austin to ATX,” including Stephen Harrigan, Willie Nelson, Eddie Wilson, Rick Linklater, Shannon Sedwick, Richard Garriott, Patty Lang Fair, Liz Lambert, Clifford Antone, Steve Wertheimer, Aaron Franklin, Terry Lickona, Marcia Ball, Roland Swenson, Louis Black, Nancy Schafer, Robert Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellan, Vince Hannemann, Cecilia Balli, John Mueller, Hugh Forrest, Heather Brunner and Joanna Wu.
These outsiders’ origin stories explain how the Armadillo World Headquarters provided the foundation for a music scene and a sound that resonates around the world; how hippie grocers grew their store called Whole Foods Market into the largest organic food retailer in the world; how Keep Austin Weird became an all-purpose catchphrase; how the idea of a music conference for people who couldn’t get inside the doors of the music industry turned into South By Southwest, the music, film, and technology confab that is the largest convention of alternative ideas on earth; how Austin City Limits persisted and became the longest running music series on television and the brand attached to the biggest annual music festival in the southwest; how two guys who just wanted to watch more movies started the Austin Film Society, the linchpin of an independent film community known as the anti-Hollywood; how a derelict motel on South Congress Avenue was revived and reborn and went on to articulate Austin Style; and how a food trailer turned Texas Barbecue into a global culinary staple and tourist attraction, and its young pit boss into a foodie superstar.
“These institutions inform Austin’s identity, locally and internationally,” said Patoski. “Each one was created by a core of people who were driven by ideas that were so cool and fun, they were willing to work for cheap or free – that’s the Alternative Austin Business Model. Money was hardly the object. It explains why Austin is first Texas city whose economy wasn’t built upon oil or other extractive natural resources, but on the creative mind.”
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