jo artsy goes commando

jos coffee austin
I’m doing some writing at Jo’s Coffee again. When you’re a guest of Jo’s you have choices. Not just soy, skim, foam on the side, but there’s seating to consider. You can sit facing the parking lot, or you can take advantage of the view: a highway. Okay, so Congress Avenue isn’t exactly a highway; it’s a two-way, three lane boulevard, with the name Avenue. I’ve chosen to face the thoroughfare, given that there’s an ice cream shop across the way, and I can at least take breaks looking up at a billboard of milky white cow udders.


The people who come to Jo’s are the type who eat seeds. The women: plastic red-framed glasses. Nose rings. Tofu farts. Jungle crotch. Tapestry shoulder bags. Weekend art fair earrings. A hoodie with fluorescent lining.  The dudes have chops. Bandanna hair. Cowboy boots. Thick leather wrists. Silver sidewalk rings. Camouflage wallets, Rainbow Bright Care Bear tees. Every single person here would describe themselves as “artsy.” If I sound judgmental, it’s because I am.

This is the grunge punk converse sneaker part of Austin. I choose to come here because this, this is living the slogan Keep Austin Weird. See, here at Jo’s, I’m the freak. And I’m okay with that. Who knows, maybe I’ll make a new friend here today. Then I can get to the bottom of this atrocious tapestry bag movement.



  1. Did you just misspell “Atrocious”? Oh, the shine is beginning to fade…

  2. “Tofu fart. Jungle crotch.” I laughed out loud too, but couldn’t be more fitting a description. I’m right down the street and now will have to pop into Jo’s just so I can visit with some of your new BFFs.

  3. It seems more than slightly rude to take pictures of these people you’re looking down on and post said photos. At least that magazine that did the fashion Dos and Don’ts used to add bars over the eyes of the people it was trashing.

    1. Hi Sally, are we looking at the same photo? The people on the photo either wear shades or their back is turned to the lens. So, calm down…

      1. Oh, that’s right, sunglasses are the most amazing disguise ever! I certainly can’t recognize anyone I know if they’re wearing sunglasses!

  4. I remember once being at Jo’s and having to use the bathroom. Talk about an artsy experience!

  5. Is there a place like this in NYC you can recall? I’d think maybe East Village?

  6. I guess it must be so much better than some antiseptic Starbucks, right? Trying to create the environment to bring about inspiration is difficult. Love your writing.

  7. A post like this says more about who you are than it does about the people you are judging.

  8. What is really telling is how personal people take everything you write. I love your honesty and mostly how you say what people think but rarely say.

  9. I remember reading your posts when you were in NY writing Straight Up & Dirty in Starbucks. Your observations were dead on then and dead on now.

  10. I guess that would do it for me, too! Love every word you write – misspelled or not! :)

  11. Oh please. Everyone is judgmental. We all have seconds to assess and make decisions in daily living, etc. and basic judgments can (and do )get made without the ‘whole picture’ all the time. Eh. It’s a huge reason why I don’t get a goddamned neck tattoo- what WOULD people think then?

    It’s funny but I get annoyed by the trying too hard hipster types myself. I’m in my thirties and it makes me feel 80. And I beg to differ- there is nothing true in ‘Keep Austin Weird’ it makes me roll my eyes all the time when i see that tired ass phrase now. Apparently it was years ago but now it’s people trying to seem offbeat and ‘artsy!’ I’ve seen much weirder in different cities I’ve lived in and it wasn’t contrived, ‘look at us being WEIRD!’ like it seems here. Austin isn’t bad just- that phrase. Totally lame. And yes, as soon as I can find a job transfer out of Austin I’m on a jet plane. Any day now. OOFa

  12. What’s wrong with being au naturel below? Why must I go through the pain just to look like a pre-pubescent girl down there to be called a woman?

  13. You’ve made me feel way better. Thank you.

    I like to tell myself that I am “artsy.” I am not. I like to sing and tap dance in musicals. I also like Lanvin. I sat through a play in LA the other night smelling ass that I hadn’t smelled the likes of since college. Then I passed a bunch of UCLA students smoking hookah pipes outside a restaurant and I had the most unbelievable urge to yell at them to stop being so damned useless.

    Then I thought back to my college days (at Smith, ha) and wondered what in the hell had happened. I only just turned 30. God knows what 70 will look like on me…

  14. Eh, they were no doubt judging you as a snotty, nouveau riche wanna be JAP – so to each his own.

  15. This was a funny post! Please check out my post about hipsters in Austin. They are EVERYWHERE. I love the part about tofu farts!

  16. i live in austin texas

    austin is a very diverse city, and it’s different than all the texas cities ive been too. e.g houston, san antonio, dallas, waco, san angelo, corpus, port a, south padre, katy, victoria, etc.

    it’s a unique place to live, and the atmosphere is very relaxed. what the shirts are meaning to keep it different from all the other cities, to keep it original.

  17. I get not liking the too-cool-fo-school kids… but I always thought “Keep Austin Weird” was related to supporting the city’s small businesses (like Jo’s).

  18. It’s just funny how Stephanie doesn’t want people to judge HER (slightly spoiled, born with a spoon in her mouth, has a nanny, etc…) but it’s ok for HER to judge other people so harshly. Get to know people, huh?

    I’m covered in tattoos, have a number of piercings and have worn doc martens since I was 14. Not everyone is posturing or “trying too hard.” And as Howard said – yeah, move to LA already. More your type of people. Pristine, pretty, much for show and not all that real. I mean, god – I think you described Beverly Hills as beautiful once? Or something similar. GAG.

  19. Oh my gosh, you just totally nailed exactly how I feel about Austin. It’s not that I’m being snobby, it’s that that group of people are so very different from who I am, it’s interesting people-watching. Also, on the flip side of the “Keep Austin Weird” t-shirts: I recently saw a man in the grocery store wearing a t-shirt that read “Keep Dallas Pretentious.” Ha!

  20. Umm, I don’t think SK has indicated being offended by other people judging her. This blog is about her opinions, anyways. It’s not like you read it for the latest in news updates.

    Definitely try Spider House and Mozarts- two more fun coffee houses in Austin. The scenery is totally different at each. And I love the bamboo wind chimes at Spider.

    1. Author

      Oooh, I’ve never even heard of Spider! Thanks for that tip. And you’re right. Since when have I EVER complained about people judging me. We all judge. It’s human nature. Just because I see people a certain way doesn’t make me shallow. I’m capable of both.

        1. Ruta Maya, anyone (great organics)? or Halcyon in the warehouse district (former Ruta Maya)? or Cafe Medici on West Lynn (french pressed). I could keep going, Austin has great coffee.

  21. “Silver sidewalk rings.”

    I’m stealing this, not even going to ask just gonna steal it :) thanks.

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