A woman of many talents, Leah has been entertaining audiences in Austin for the last couple of years. We recently caught her in action during the last edition of the 5 Things reading and music revue. We have to admit, this is the funniest Eastsider profile yet. It hopefully wont be the last. So if you are interested in letting your neighbors know how you are, drop us a line.
EA: Do you live in East Austin? If so, how long have you been here and why did you move to this neighborhood in particular?
I live in French Place…aka hipster central. I was born and raised in Austin and went to junior high and high school on the east side but moved much further east for a good ten years(NYC). When I returned to Austin a couple of years ago, I noticed that the city had changed dramatically. The smaller community feel of the place had left most of the neighborhoods I used to enjoy but still seemed to be thriving just east of the highway. I could actually afford a place by myself with a yard and within walking distance of work, fun, friends, and culture. With the perk of being in a place that my family members still think is too dangerous to go to after dark.
EA: Which are you favorite East Austin spots when just looking for a place to relax?
I have a healthy addiction to coffee and booze so I tend to stick to places where I can get one or the other. Redhouse gives me booze and pizza and a chance to meet neighbors who all just talk to my dog. Clementine gives me coffee and attractive counter help who all like my dog too much. TC’s gives me hot sweaty dance parties and cold beer but I can’t bring my dog.
I also like to eat on the cheap and the east side has always been great for that. Juan in a Million, Cisco’s, El Azteca, La Chapala are all great, unless you are afraid of lard, you big west side pansies!
But, if you do insist on getting fresh organic green things into your diet, Boggy Creek Farms is amazing (its like a real farm, like from the tv!).
On a totally random side note, I have been really into the green and white grocery for my candles and random magical protection needs, but be warned, this place is serious, they have some stuff there that really shouldn’t be messed with. The owner will give you “mal ojo,” and if you don’t know what that means, don’t go in there.
EA: There have been a ton of new places that have chosen East Austin as their new digs. The Good Knight, Shangri La, Kemestry Salon, Birds Barbershop, Karibu and the list goes on. How do you feel about this?
I support community growth, as long as the community can actually be a part of it. Its one thing to bring in a business that adds to the place and thrives on the feel of what is already established, it is another thing to try to change an entire neighborhood into a space that is more welcoming to people outside of it than the people within it.
I know a lot of the owners of these businesses that are coming in, and most of them have spent at least a decade on our side of the highway, so I wouldn’t call them outsiders. But, it’s a dangerous line, because over the past 25 years, poor working artists have come into the east side just to be able to afford their way of life and because of such a thriving artistic community, more people, rich people, want to get in on that “hot new thing.” Damn you rich people! I hate you, and want to be you.
EA: Is there one thing in particular that you think we need in our neighborhood? Grocery Store? 24 hour diner?
Ok, so rich people, if you are reading this…I suggest the following things, and I will expect a cut of your profits.
1. Lets change that abandoned Airport parking lot on Manor into a drive in movie theater.
2. Lets change Ace Motel into art studios where artists can live in the rooms and sell out of their space. (sorry hourly rate customers, someone has to lose)
3. I never thought I would have to say this but…can we get another liquor store? Seriously, like a nice, one north of 12th and this side of the highway? Please keep it stocked with Jameson and random strange tequilas.
4. Healthy foods place…maybe a fresh plus/ Daily Juice bastard baby? Yes I am spoiled and privileged and I need my wheat grass shots, rice milk, and organic tampons. But I still don’t want to step foot into a megamart, no matter how fancy the fish counter is.
EA: So what do you do? (Could be anything.. hobbies.. work)
I am a local comedian, actress, writer, photographer and performer. I perform with Look Cookie, a local improve troupe. I write, perform, and produce UpTowne, a monthly sketch comedy show at ColdTowne Theater. I also produce events around town with Swellephant Productions.
I steal plant clippings from neighbor’s yards so I can beat them at their own game. I ride my bike. I walk my dog. I refinish furniture. I wear a stupid orange hat for most of the winter. I dance as much as possible. I aspire to swim with sharks, as soon as I no longer fear them. I boast a lot about my zombie killing abilities. I have a clown costume, in my closet, that awaits the right occasion. I am one of the last remaining real Austinites.
EA: Whats your favorite album right now?
My favorite album is always Love’s Forever Changes.
But, I have been completely enamored with Nigerian Rock Special.
EA: We are looking to get more Ink pretty soon. Where do you suggest we get our stuff done?
Like a tattoo? Or like Press? Or posters?
I will answer all 3.
Tattoo: Megan at Gully Cat.
Press: Misprint…they are just the sweetest
Posters: Bearded Lady…gurus.
EA: Anything else you want to say about yourself or East Austin?
I love where I live, but it is a very different place now than it was 10 years ago and I know that 10 years from now I will probably not recognize it. So, I want to relish what remains.
12th and Chicon….please never change. If you promise to never stop slinging ass and crack on that prime piece of real estate, I promise to always get mildly anxious and lock my doors when I am stuck at your light.