Keep San Antonio Lame: What It Is

Here's the write-up I did for this year's San Antonio Owners Manual issue about one of my very favorite Beuysian underground (non-) movements, Keep San Antonio Lame:

Keep San Antonio Lame: A rose by any other lame would smell as sweet

San Antonio visual artist Aaron Forland, contributing writer to (billed as “America's most difficult art blog”) and co-conspirator with Justin Parr at emerging-artist hotspot Fl¡ght Gallery, originated “Keep San Antonio Lame” as a catchphrase in 2004, partially in satiric response to Austin's “Keep Austin Weird” sub-culti PR blitz. It's a pretty telling comment on San Antonio's self-image: We think of ourselves as significantly less, well, cool than Austin. Austin's middle-class, educated, indie, hip, self-aware. SATX is much poorer and way more old-fashioned. We love metal and the accordion, and could largely give a shit about trends if we even know about them. You know: “lame.”

But Forland and co., who went on to emblazon T-shirts and bumper stickers with the credo, mean it as more than just a great yawp of self-deprecation. What makes us lame â?? our off-the-mass-media radar status, our chaotic sprawl, our unapologetic socio-ethnic brownness, love of tradición, and lack of suburban-bred hipsterism â?? is exactly what makes us special. Keep San Antonio Lame is a rebuttal to those who would wish our city a target market for Urban Outfitters. And as KSAL's MySpace page says, “remember lameness, like all else, is just an illusion.”

Since the Owner's Manual isn't online, I thought it'd be good to post this. It also gives me an excuse to share the following unstoppably awesome images with y'all â?? in which the now-iconic sticker's been spotted in crazy places.

There's an incredible Facebook page for KSAL, too, look it up if you're on there. Tons of wonderful images and anecdotes about underground San Antonio.

â?¦There was an underground San Antonio?

Hells yeah!

Keep San Antonio Lame!

Note: All photos by Aaron Forland. Photo titles and captions by him too.


Lame Before You Pump

“Zip Trip.”

Lame Darlings


“Members Only.”

Lame Supper

“the Lame Supper by Franco Mondini-Ruiz.”

Bush Lamey

“the historic Kaiser Wilhelm district.”

DJ Lamester

“DJ Jester believes he can fly.”

Alamo City Harlame Davidson

“Alamo City Harley-Davidson represents.”

And finally:

Keep San Antonio Llama