Eastsider: Leah!

2 02 2009

n686888891_1342094_8185A 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.
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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.

-JF

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Eastsider: Avan!

22 01 2009

avanToday we have a lovely addition to our Eastsiders… Avan. She moved here not to long go from South Carolina where she attended college. She found herself living in both Tarrytown and Hyde Park before ending up in East Austin. Here she felt like there was a larger community presence…and that’s the way she likes it. Right now she is currently working on her annual Valentines Day mix. See below for my suggestion… and if you guys have any, leave a comment with your favorite track.

Stars – The Aspidistra Flies

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?

AA: Yes, i proudly call the east side my home. I moved over here around a little over six months ago, and have to say I LOVE my house! I’ve always wanted to live over here due to the cheap rent and adorable houses. Plus, there’s so much more culture and you really get to know the folks that live next door to you. Everyone is always outside their houses hanging out.

EA: Which are you favorite East Austin spots when just looking for a place to relax?

AA: I moved here a little over three years ago, and I’ve always been a HUGE fan of the Longbranch, Progress, and El Chilito. I’m also loving Rio Rita, Shangri la, Bossa Nova and Hot Mama’s. There are so many great places, and I still have a ton to try.

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?

AA: The feelings are mixed. I love that more stuff is venturing east to add variety and occupy the abandoned spaces, but I hate all the condo/mixed use buildings popping up close to I-35 and slowly creeping further east. They aren’t affordable and are just pushing others out of their neighborhood. I wish there was a happy medium.

EA: Is there one thing in particular that you think we need in our neighborhood? Whole Foods? 24 hour diner?

AA: I love that the east side is mainly residential. It’s quiet and calm at night. I think if too many businesses get added it will take away from that vibe. Plus, I love that everything is accessible and isn’t more than a few miles away. However, another grocery store would be nice, but not a Whole Foods. I’m thinking a small locally owned one would be nice. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like driving to one of the HEBs, and my corner store isn’t too great.

EA: So what do you do? (Could be anything.. hobbies.. work)

AA: I occupy my time with anything and everything. I have an insatiable need to try everything. I hand-dye shirts and stitch designs on them, I help a non-profit with their database, I babysit kiddos, I watch way too many movies and I spend a lot of time in the park reading whatever I can get my hands on.

EA: Whats your favorite album at the moment?

AA: Favorite album right now – hmmmm. I’ve been listening to Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s newest release “Lie Down In The Light” and working on my annual Valentine’s mix, which means listening to a ton of different songs trying to find the perfect songs.

EA: How did you hear about us?

AA: I actually saw your business card at one of the coffee shops on E. 6th and picked it up.

EA: Anything else you want to say about yourself or East Austin?

AA: Venture over here and hang out. You’ll fall in love too.

Remember.. if you want to give us your two cents and help with the Eastsiders series… email us!

-JF





Eastsider: Danielle!

16 01 2009

sleepyheadWe are back with another Eastsider. This time it’s our very own -DD. You may recognize her from her awesome writing on this very own blog of ours. If you want to contribute to this little project of ours, where average East Austinites answer a few questions about living in the area, feel free to email us HERE. We would love to learn more about some of you guys.

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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?

DD: I do live in East Austin but I am not sure about this whole “eastsiders” versus “eastaustinite” thing. I kinda prefer “eastaustinite.” It sounds more glam. Like, “Oh, hi, I live in the most fabulous place in the world!” I’ve been in Austin for three years now and have lived on the east side in two different adorable houses. I think the east side became even more appealing when I realized that most realtors and landlords in Swankville (aka, Hyde Park) viewed my large (adorable and sweet) pooch with more disdain than a sex offender with a fistful of Twix. Yay for great landlords on the east side!

EA: Which are you favorite East Austin spots when just looking for a place to relax?

DD: I heart Mi Madre’s for breakfast tacos (ok, really I love any excuse to eat chips for breakfast). East Side Café for morning-after brunches with a good gaggle of giggly gal pals and their mates. Clementine for pretending to work… or a good afternoon of wine, gossip and vegan treats. The Good Knight or The Peacock for a fancy drink or a frilly new dress. And byckle-riding or walking on the east part of Lady Bird/Town Lake Trail with my two pups. I feel like you see more families on the east part and fewer of those people who run 10 miles a day and make me want to develop an eating disorder. Which reminds me: the best sandwich on earth can be found at Bossa Nova. Portabella mushroom on French bread. Another great spot for a slow Saturday afternoon. Ooh, one more. Mr. Natural’s boston crème pie vegan cone thing. Yummm.

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?

DD: To be honest, I am not sure how comfortable I am with all of the growth. Don’t get me wrong, I love riding my bike to places near my home. And the east side has some very adorable and wonderful spots.

My partner volunteers with the Meals on Wheels down the street and one of the women on his east side route chatted him up one day, telling him about all of the changes to the neighborhood. One of the things that stuck with both of us was her half-jokingly saying, “You wouldn’t know it but there used to be Black people who lived in this neighborhood!” She’s an older African American woman who has lived most of her life on the east side. Her children (now adults) were raised here. The street she and her husband brought her kids up on looks completely different than when they first moved there. Some might say this is good, and I honestly feel like it has the potential to be. But I also feel that there are several very distinctive worlds on the east side.

You can see this in the way that spaces become coded as white, black, or Tejano spots. I know on more than one occasion I’ve seen Chicano men on a Friday night walk into The Good Knight, see all the new white faces and new décor before quickly doing an about-face and walking out. I don’t like the feeling that this growth means we’re taking away or invading what used to be this community’s spaces. Does that make sense? (And yes, yes, I know there are a ton of empty spaces along that row of buildings!)

I think if this growth and the shifting demographics of the east side could translate into the dispersion of creative, social, educational, or financial capital for all east side residents, I would be all for it. My hope would be that families who have been here a long time (and have had their property taxes and/or rents increase) could at the very least benefit from everything else that comes along with gentrification and “revitalization.” I would like to see the end of such serious racial segregation in Austin. An equal sharing of everything that makes Austin great. And all of those gorgeous condos to be affordable for everyone. And world peace. Ooh, and a pony. Haha, wow, sorry to be talking from my utopian bubble. Done writing a book now!

EA: So what do you do?

DD: I’m the new intern (haha, or blogger?) for East Austinite!





Eastsider: Melissa

11 01 2009

zzThis time for our Eastsider series, in which we ask East Austin residents a few questions, we have Melissa who just moved to the area not too long ago and has become one of the many people who have fallen in love with the neighborhood. Her goal is to eat, sleep and party in East Austin and we have to agree since it’s something that we have done ourselves.

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?

Yes, indeed, I do live in East Austin. MLK and Chiconish to be more exact. I moved here with my girlfriend about a month ago because the house we found is bike central, meaning it’s less than a mile from downtown and the bus stop I use to commute; our house is cheap as hell; and I wanted to live in the heart of the city. And the choice was partially a social experiment (but I don’t mean to suggest our neighbors are lab rats). I want to explore all the isms around me by living smack in the middle of them. I’m learning a lot.

EA: Which are your favorite East Austin spots when just looking for a place to relax?

Well, aside from my backyard, Longbranch is cool. So is Rio Rita. I like shows at the Scoot Inn. I still need to get out a lot more. I want to find the been-here-forever places.

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?

Selfishly, I love it. As a pseudo hedonist, food and alcohol are two of the most important tenets in my life. I don’t ever want to have to go downtown again. I want the eastside to develop into its own independent colony that I never have to leave.

At the same time, I’m concerned about the “g” word, basically rents and property taxes being pushed so high that the longtime residents get pushed out. (And that hoity-toity refurbished portion of 11th Street scares me, though I really want to try Blue Dahlia.) I have no idea how to reconcile these two feelings. It’s a daily conversation. A small way would be for the newcomers like me to make sure to seek out and support the businesses that got here long before we did.

EA: Is there one thing in particular that you think we need in our neighborhood? Whole Foods? 24 hour diner?
Heh. Not Whole Foods. Well, more of my friends need to move here, for one thing. All of them, in fact. Besides that, I really want an Indian restaurant on the eastside. And a Hobby Lobby or its local equivalent. And Flip Happy Crepes. Bring your Airstream goodness to my corner. And fewer ice cream trucks. And a crack/community health clinic at 12th and Chicon.

EA: So what do you do? (Could be anything.. hobbies.. work)
To pay my cheap ass rent, I write and edit publications. The rest of the time, I like to ride my bike around, have four-hour long Saturday morning breakfasts in my backyard with my girlfriend, try new food, hoard vintage furniture and typewriters, decoupage stuff, hangout with friends on porches, and read news and fiction.

EA: How did you hear about us?
Do I have to say it? Myspace. Through the ATXBS page.

EA: Anything else you want to say about yourself or East Austin?
Move here. It’s rad. And hedonism and social responsibility do not have to be mutually exclusive.

-JF





Eastsiders: Alex

5 01 2009

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzOn this edition of the Eastsiders.. we have Alex… who like us, is pretty new to the neighborhood. How awesome is this? Apparently a ceiling full of cereal boxes. That my friends is commitment. If I did that to my ceiling it would be all Cinnamon Toast Crunch boxes. Remember, if you want to take part in it, you can reach us here.

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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?

AL: Yes. I’ve been in Austin for about four years, primarily north of campus. I’ve been on the east side for about six months. I live near Oakwood Cemetery, and love my place over here. The neighborhood is cool, lots of parties and “going-on’s.” It’s close to everything, namely downtown, HEB/Fiesta, UT and for the most part it’s decently safe.

EA: Which are you favorite East Austin spots when just looking for a place to relax?

AL: Honestly, I hang out in the Cemetery, but that’s between you and me. The library’s cool, I like East Side pies, and Longbranch Inn is a good place to get a beer. Though I prefer Gingerman or Lovejoy’s, sorry.

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?

AL: Gentrification at it’s finest. I don’t think it’s such a BAD thing, though (a lot self-righteous young people may disagree with me on that one however). It seems to me alot of longtime resident’s don’t seem to mind, either. I don’t see people picketing in the street. However, as far as these new digs go, If it’s good for the local economy, and is maintaining the integrity of the “culture” on this side of the highway, I don’t see anything wrong with it. I don’t think I’ve checked any of them out though, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

EA: So what do you do?

AL: I’m a student, pedicabber and aspiring writer.

-JF





Eastsiders: James

3 01 2009

So we wanted to try something new with the blog. We basically want to get to know who are neighbors are and we figured why not start with ourselves. We will be contacting some of our “fans” on our Facebook page to see if they are interested. Who knows, this might be fun. If you want to take part in it, you can reach us here. Me first!

n829083901_1107113_7996EA: Do you live in East Austin? If so, how long have you been here and why did you move to this neighborhood in particular?

JF: Yup… I have been living here for about 9 months. Ever since I moved to Austin. We really liked this neighborhood. We felt that the diversity was something that we really liked and there are a ton of people here that seemed to be like minded people.

EA: Which are you favorite East Austin spots when just looking for a place to relax?

JF: I really like The Good Knight and East Side Cafe. The bartender at The Good Knight is really awesome and really wants to make sure that we are enjoying their new drinks. East Side Cafe is just one of those places where you can always get something great to eat and it’s perfect for when you got friends in town. They are always impressed by the food and the garden.

EA: So what do you do?

JF: I work for an engineering firm…modeling buildings in 3D. Basically it means I blog and troll facebook and blogs all day.

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?

JF: I like it. The more we have here in our own neighborhood, the more walkable it can be. Which is something that I really am looking forward to. The more restaurants and shops we can get in this area the better. I still hope that we retain some of the existing stuff… it’s just that a lot of these buildings are empty and could use a great tenant.

EA:  Is there one thing in particular that you think we need in our neighborhood? Whole Foods? 24 hour diner?

JF: I would love a 24 hour diner. A place where we can stop by on the way home from one of the many bars in the area and sober up to some pancakes. Also, I would love to not have to go to Whole Foods or Central Market to do most of my shopping. The HEB on 7th is great for some of the necessities but I can’t do all of my shopping there.

EA: Anything else you want to say about yourself or East Austin?

JF: I really like the direction that this neighborhood is going.. and what people are doing to keep some of it the way it has been for the last decade or so. There are a lot of people here that are really welcoming to new comers.. some not so much.. but I think it will get easier.

-JF