Leslie Cochran Grows Up
Leslie Cochran, Austin’s beloved cross-dresser, has lived the American Dream. Whereas years of transience and a horrific bikini line might be a limitation for most, Leslie has managed to spread his assets across Austin’s social fabric. His popularity started innocently enough with random sightings and the occasional morning radio appearance, and has since blossomed such that 6th Street and major events feel empty without his spandexed package on display.
But times have changed. Just like the city that has grown up around him, Leslie appears ready to forsake his funky past and move on to more commercial goals. In a Monday press release, he explains the need to hang up the banana hammock, and perhaps even leave Austin altogether.
In the 90’s, it was all about being myself. The fact that cross-dressing allowed me to grope chicks and scam drinks was a bonus, but it was all in the name of self actualization n’ shit. Then the money started rolling in, and now it’s just a job. Frat boys, bachelorette parties, queer bubbas … It’s like my hairy ass-cheeks don’t even belong to me anymore.
Leslie tried to turn the corner towards respectability by running for mayor, but found politics to be harsher than any APD shake-down. Competition from Jennifer Gale and a burgeoning hipster electorate downgraded Leslie from Freak Vote to ironic diversion. After failing to mount a campaign in 2006, Leslie lamented “Either Austin’s getting smarter, or I’ve jumped the shark. Either way, it’s time to go.”
Buoyed by sales of dress-up magnets and a shrewd investment portfolio (including silent partnerships in The Belmont restaurant and Spring condo development), Leslie will self-finance the next stage of his career. His first project will be a reality series documenting his pantless exploits criss-crossing the country with Verne Troyer in a sidecar motorcycle. Various tie-in projects are still being negotiated, and a duet album with Roberta Flack is rumored to start recording once Leslie has completed vocal rehabilitation.
With Leslie out of the picture, the City Council is scrambling to recruit a replacement icon for Austin’s weirdness. “Right now we can barely afford to hand out kazoos to the homeless,” observed Mayor Wynn. “For Austin to compete in the global weirdo marketplace, we’re going to need a serious freak, and that takes serious money.”
Neighborhood groups have called for a new “Weirdness Tax” to help support the effort. Under this proposal, a $1,000 fee would be assessed on the purchase of any “luxury” downtown condo, which currently covers 97% of all units in development. Several alternative revenue proposals are circulating City Hall, including an admission charge for Eeyore’s Birthday Party, meter installation on area disc golf nets, and tolls on all major greenbelts. A spokesperson from Betty Dunkerley’s office defended the fee proposals as sound fiscal policy; “Those who benefit from the weirdness should be prepared to pay for the weirdness.”
So Austin will say goodbye to Leslie, and the little piece of our soul that he takes with him. But in the spirit of progress and growth, he will inevitably be replaced with something newer, more expensive, and preferably coated with a nice brushed aluminum finish.