T he noun you’ll hear applied to Austin most is “bubble,” often with the adjective “blue.” And chances are high that as you’re visiting Austin during SXSW or Austin City Limits or any of the other festivals and conferences that take over our city, you’re in a bubble nested in that bubble. It may seem obvious, but let me assure you, there is a “real” Austin here, beyond the glass. Festivals have been credited with (and blamed for) attracting transplants, and those transplants often see themselves as musical and liberal and future-minded, so this bears underlining. Behind the creative, progressive image that SXSW and ACL project, you'll find Austin struggling to live up to the marketing campaigns that brought you here.
Talk to South Congress shop owners about what used to be across the street from them.
I haven’t found my Malcolm X Lounge equivalent.
It’s hard to shake the awareness that I’m basking under the sun in the backyard of what used to be somebody’s home.
Get outside the bubble. Find the older, deeper Austin. Spend your money in that Austin.