In 1991, Austin adopted the slogan “Live Music Capital of the World” after it was discovered that they had more live music venues per capita than anywhere else in the nation. And so now, with annual festivals like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin has naturally become a mecca for musicians and music enthusiasts alike. But it doesn’t stop there. Austin also has a very eclectic mix of poets, painters, sculptors, photographers, designers, and pretty much any type of visual artist that you can imagine. Now don’t get me wrong, Austin is no New York City. But despite its location in the hill country area of central Texas, where locals jokingly refer to Austin as a “little blue star in a giant red state,” it’s done pretty well for itself. And having all it has to offer, and at less than half the cost of Manhattan, well, let’s just say it attracts all kinds.
Take Adam for instance. He lives an hour north of Austin, in Belton, and for Adam, Austin is his New York City. When he’s not busy playing weddings or traveling, you can find him most weekends somewhere on South Congress Avenue carting around “Little Bertha,” his saved-from-the-dump, self-restored, piano on wheels. He’s often spotted with his percussionist, Alex, but on this Sunday afternoon, he was playing solo on the corner of South Congress and Gibson Street. I heard him long before I saw him. He was covering Coldplay’s Clocks, but from down the street, all I could see was a white feather, bobbing up and down and protruding from a top hat made of straw, as he belted out the song’s iconic intro. He had tried tirelessly for months to get a license from the city to be able to play on the street corner, but eventually decided it was useless to bog himself down with red tape while trying to follow his dreams. And so he just started showing up, wheeling his piano to any corner on South Congress that would have him. And no one seemed to mind. And from the looks of his tip bucket that day, he’s doing pretty well. His goal is to make enough money to move here. In my opinion, being an Austinite isn’t about living in a certain zip code, or how tight your pants are, or even how big your beard is. It’s about waking up every day and taking it a little further that you did the day before. So whether I have the authority to do so or not, I bestow upon Adam the title of Honorary Austinite.
You can follow Adam on Facebook at facebook.com/lozoyapiano