When Thax Douglas walks into IHOP, they already know what he wants. He sidles into the booth in his uniform of a stained thermal shirt, puffy green coat, and a trucker hat covering the top of his wild grey mane. The young waiter says “Swedish Pancakes,” before Douglas can get a word out. The 52-year-old indie-rock poet is a regular here, because the art gallery he’s crashing at doesn’t have a kitchen. If he wants to eat, it’s IHOP or whatever dried food he can make in the microwave, since there’s no refrigerator either.
Douglas moved to Austin for a space on the floor of the Birdhouse Gallery. Kevin Foote, an old friend from Chicago, was looking for someone to tend to his gallery while he worked his day job managing the Buenos Aires Café. “Last time I was in Chicago I randomly ran into him at a friend of mine’s show, and we were catching up a little bit and talking about how bummed out he was in Chicago,” says Foote. He knew Douglas was couch surfing in Chicago, without a permanent place to stay, so he invited Douglas to live rent-free in the gallery in exchange for being there when Foote had to work. He sleeps on the floor in a sleeping bag, with a Walkman for music and his trusty microwave. The art is all around him, including the installation piece