The Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic: A “Walk” in Austin

Kinky Friedman

Read March 2007

Miami has Dave Barry, Florida has Carl Hiaasen; Austin has to make do with the Shotgun Semite (especially with the recent passing of Molly Ivins). Jayadev Misra put it best when he said Kinky Friedman is known for a lot of things, but not particularly good at anything. That may be a shade unfair: Friedman is awfully good at two things, turning quotes and turning the spotlight (onto himself). He has a prodigious output of books, which he accomplishes by mostly pilfering the content of previous books to write the next.

This book is a bit different: there is evidence he spent a few hours on it. It is ostensibly a travelers guide to Austin, but it addresses the issues that really matter, such as which brunch cafes divide the locals. I wasn't sure whether to be pleased or aghast to find myself agreeing with an awful lot of the Kinkster's choices.

Don't read more than one Kinky Friedman book: that feeling of déjà vu has a good reason. But this is as good as many others, with the bonus of serving as a (surprisingly) useful guide to a great city.