Robert Plant has been making the press rounds behind his latest album, Lullabye … and the Ceaseless Roar, this week. Like many of the former Led Zeppelin frontman’s works, it explores his love of the folk and blues tradition (instrumentation includes: bendirs, djembe, tehardan, kologo, ritti), but unlike his previous album, 2010’s Band Of Joy, it signals not his arrival to Texas, but his departure.
Alas, it’s clear from the interviews he’s been giving this week that Plant has pulled up his Austin stakes and returned to his homeland of England. Plant tells Vulture that his time in Austin came to an end recently after his collaborators in the U.S. faded.
In what is probably not the news that anyone who bought a house in Austin in the past year or so wants to hear, a recent report from the real estate website Trulia says that the city’s notoriously difficult-to-enter housing market is actually more of a lucky-to-avoid housing bubble. The report, part of the site’s “Bubble Watch” series, looked at housing bubbles in the ten most over-inflated U.S. markets.
Fortunately for Texans whose zip code does not begin with 787, Austin is the only city in the state to appear on the list. (Eight of the other nine are in California; Honolulu rounds out the rankings.) Of those ten, Austin is the only one whose prices Trulia believes are more inflated in 2014 than they were at the peak of the pre-recession housing bubble in 2006. In other words—Austin homeowners who are reading this and saying, “Well, I survived the last time I heard all of this,” you may not have seen the worst of it.
While the Daily Post was on vacation last week, Austinites Sandy Shook and Joseph Costello blew up on YouTube with a video that they made. Shook, a homeless man, went with Costello, a young filmmaker, to a local thrift store, where he bought a blazer and a pair of slacks. Costello than filmed Shook standing outside of the Scarbrough Building on Sixth and Congress, asking passers-by for a buck that he was short to pay for his Subway sandwich, or fifty cents he was missing for his bus fare.
Invariably, the people Costello and his camera captured Shook interacting with are respectful, kind, and generous. Then they flip the exercise: Shook changes into a ratty t-shirt and dirty jeans and asks people the same questions, and suddenly no one makes eye contact with him. Many walk past without acknowledging that he’d addressed them at all. One shouts “No!” at him before Shook even opens his mouth to speak.
When last we checked in with Austin Internet sensation Romeo Rose, things were good for the lovelorn goofball who liked to dress like the Count of Monte Cristo: He was proudly flaunting his bizarre, horrible criteria for seeking a mate on his website, SleeplessInAustin.com, and offering a $1,500 finder’s fee to anyone who could help him make the match of his dreams.
Sleepless In Austin is down now, and so perhaps is Rose himself: Despite having once possessed $1,500 to entice people to set him up with a lady who was under 130 pounds; who had never dated a black guy (“that is ALMOST the same thing as beastiality”); had no children; and, of course, wasn’t black herself (“I don’t care if she looks like Halle Berry”), these days Rose is using the Internet to advertise something other than his availability as a lover: Namely, he’s taken to Craigslist to sell his guitars and solicit work as—get this—a babysitter.
Hello, Texas! Is your Friday afternoon proceeding sluggishly? Worry not: here is a reprieve from said sluggishness in the form of a video from the Dallas Zoo of a cheetah and a dog who are celebrating their first birthday together after a year of being best friends by enjoying a giant popsicle and playing with balls in a bucket with the letters “BFF” on it.
See that headline up there? We’re pretty sure that you clicked on this piece out of a sense of outrage. See folks, we can do what VICE, the snarktacular international media outlet, does, too.
Last week, VICE published a piece with the title, “Reasons Why Austin Is The Worst Place Ever” by Luke Winkie (disclosure: Luke is a friend of mine), which set the Internet ablaze in various parts of Central Texas. It was shared over 4,000 times on Facebook, with another 36,000 “likes,” and a thousand tweets; it inspired over 1,500 comments on the VICE page, not to mention the endless discussion on other Austin media outlets—all of which further drove thousands of visitors to share content on the Austin Chronicle and Culturemap Austin.