brush with greatness

Many of you know I spent my, shall we say, formative adult years living in Austin, TX. (1975-1991).  Unfortunately I moved away before Leslie, the famous homeless cross-dresser exploded on the local scene and made his mark as a public icon of Austin weirdness.  leslie1.jpgI’ve heard about Leslie for a few years now and followed his 2000 mayoral campaign, rejoicing in the fact that he garnered 8% of the popular vote (coming in second, mind you) and bemoaning the fact that I couldn’t vote for him, what with me here living in the land-locked Midwest now.   Leslie is a vocal opponent of the Austin police department’s treatment of homeless people and has been arrested numerous times for parading around Congress avenue in his thong and high heels.  According to Bookpeople, Leslie had the highest recognizability quotient in the city, in terms of branding.  Not bad.

My friend Tracy recently sent me a Leslie refrigerator magnet dress-up set for my birthday.  lesliemag.jpgI’ve got him front and center, along with my Blessed Mother dressup set and my GWB dress up set.  George is now dressed in Leslie’s TX Longhorn cheerleader outfit, complete with pompoms, and he looks freakishly normal in it.  The Blessed Mother looks on with a great sadness in her eyes at the spectacles around her.  I figure it’s good for her.

Yesterday Tracy went to see her stylist, Valerie, who has her salon at her home, and was describing my refrigerator magnet set-up and how much I loved my Leslie magnets.  As some kind of bizarre conincidence, Valerie told Tracy that Leslie just happened to be at her house at that very moment, and why not just tell Leslie herself?  So Tracy got to meet the icon. Leslie was curious to know if he looked gwbmag.gifas good in George’s Presidential suit as George does in his cheerleader outfit, but alas, George did not come with a Presidential suit.  However I think Leslie would look great in the black boots and the little Carmen Miranda top.  I’ll be trying that out that later today.   Also, as a bonus gift, Tracy will be sending me a second, autographed Leslie magnet set that I will be able to proudly display in my office alongside my Kinky for Governor (How hard could it be?) poster.  I figure if one has to spend 9 hours a day, five days a week in an office, one should make it as enjoyable as possible.  Don’t you agree?
So rock on, Leslie!  If only Kansas City had someone as original as you…

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13 Responses to “brush with greatness”


  1. 1 miss texas June 14, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    As freakish coincidence would have it, #1 son was in attendance at an Austin music event last night, (remember, live music capital of the world) and Leslie was there, in the same fetching outfit that he was wearing when I saw him. And lest you think that all Leslie does is hang out, he was at my stylist’s house to mow her lawn for her yesterday! So take that, all you right wingers who think that homeless people just stand around in thongs all day–they also help their friends and neighbors. If only everyone did that…then the world would be a better place, for you and me, you just wait and see…..fade to black….

  2. 2 RubyShooZ June 15, 2007 at 7:21 am

    Leslie for president!

    I was a homeless person in Austin back in the seventies when I was young and foolish and I used to hang out on the drag (hah! now there’s a coincidence!) but I was never treated badly there – nor did I ever meet Leslie. I think I’ve seen him somewhere on T.V. or maybe on an Austin Lounge Lizards video – I’m not sure – maybe a clip on a Jay Leno show?

    Man I miss Austin in so many ways for so many reasons. (My younger son is named Travis after everything in Austin – the county, the lake etc.) I live in the finger lakes region in NY.

    I don’t know about the dress up magnets, I feel like I’m missing out. Thanks for the smiles today.

  3. 3 poseidonsmuse June 15, 2007 at 8:48 am

    An excellent post as usual. I had my laugh of the day (THANK YOU!!!!!!). Wow, Leslie sounds like a wonderful character! I’d also love to get my hands on some of those fridge magnets too….George Bush in a tutu, now that’s something I would like to see [smirk]. Keep making your office (and this space) as enjoyable as you can…if kinky can be this fun and humanitarian, count me in….!

  4. 4 miss texas June 15, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    check out waterloo records in Austin for info on the GWB magnets–you could probably google them or-crazy idea-call directory assistance and talk to a real person. Leslie magnets are also available but I don’t know where,but i bet if you asked the waterloo people, they would know.

  5. 5 observantbystander June 16, 2007 at 7:20 am

    Ruby – Wow, you never know when you’ll meet another ex-Austinite. Who knows, our paths may have crossed way back when. Remember Hole in the Wall or Nothing Strikes Back??

    Poseidon/ruby: Google George Bush dress up magnets and you’ll find the site, plus a whole lot more cool fridge magnet sets. I can’t find a Virgin Mary set anymore, but she’s definitely got the best outfits of the whole bunch (complete with baby Jesus in his own stroller).

  6. 6 RubyShooZ June 16, 2007 at 9:10 am

    observantbystander,

    Yes yes! I remember Hole in the wall and Nothing Strikes Back ice cream parlor with black lights – what great memories – I remember too the one quarter place, where everything cost a quarter – a beer, the juke box….

    I miss Austin, I miss the drag, and I’m sorry I’ve missed Leslie.

    I’m going to have to put those magnets on my wish list. With our boys coming and everything else, we’re sort of going all out and gonna be hurting for money. I’m not sure I can justify buying George Bush dress up magnets, but I sure am going to google them.

    Thanks again for smiles. 🙂

  7. 7 poseidonsmuse June 16, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Observant – Thanks for the tip on the magnets – I’ll take a look. Have a great weekend!

  8. 8 Brewster June 16, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    Hey Observant, this is the #1 son of your other half that lives in Austin. Just wanted to say it’s been nice perusing some of the many blogs you have here…I am new to such e-ramblings and iThoughts and all things related, but it’s been enjoyable. I’m going to keep reading, and it’s made me want to write. Now I just need to think of something to say… And if I may make a suggestion…you should make it down to Blues on the Green so you can see how we young whipper snappers do the outdoor music thang. It might not be pitcher of beer and nachos, but it’s still a good time. Peace

  9. 9 observantbystander June 16, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Hey Brewster – Your description of the Blues on the Green picnic, complete with pesto, hummuses (hummi?), mojitos, and wine in real glasses caused your mother and I to ruminate on our own outdoor concert experiences back in the day. Y’all youngsters are certainly more upscale than we were then when a blanket and some beers were all we schlepped from our beat up cars. Do the kids still go out to Lake Travis to hang out?

  10. 10 transplanted texan June 6, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Wow! I’m not sure how I stumbled upon your site, but sure am glad I did!

    Growing up in Houston, I often spent weekends in Austin visiting my sister who was going to UT during the late 60’s & early 70’s – my first Peanut Butter Milkshake was @ Nothing Strikes Back @ life has never been the same:) I have many friends in Austin & get back there every once in-a-while … please keep writing your blogs, they bring back many memories!

  11. 12 observantbystander October 21, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I know. He’s doing much better now though.

  12. 13 Talula February 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Hah! I’ve just come from BookPeople where I saw this magnet & was tempted to purchase it but didn’t because I’m low on funds. So, for those who are curious, it’s available for purchase @ BookPeople (6th & Lamar) in Austin. I’m a born & raised Austinite and have seen this town through many changes. I, too, miss Hole in the Wall but Amy’s Ice Cream has pleasantly taken Nothing Strikes Back in terms of great original ice creams/flavors. Love this town, don’t ever want to move…despite the current aggravating traffic snarls.


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