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How To Keep [Your City] Weird

To protect a city’s character, residents need to welcome change.
Don't worry, Austin is still weird.
Don't worry, Austin is still weird.effelarr/Flickr

When the Sound Exchange record store closed in Austin, Texas, in 2003, no one thought for a second that any misfortune might befall Jeremiah the Innocent. Everyone was wrong.

The iconic mural—a friendly painted frog by the freak-folk pharaoh Daniel Johnston—had graced the side of the record store since 1993. In 10 years’ time it had practically earned itself landmark status. It seemed impossible then that anyone could doubt its cultural value. But that’s Baja Fresh Mexican Grill for you. When the chain moved into the space vacated by Sound Exchange, those heartless corporate burrito monsters set about to take the mural down. Had Baja Fresh never heard of Nirvana?