Is it legal to go topless in Austin?

Sunday is National Go Topless Day. What, your calendar wasn’t already marked?

According to GoTopless.org, the website of an organization dedicated to something that we shouldn’t need to explain, Go Topless Day “always falls at the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day, Aug 26. It is indeed on Aug 26, 1920 that women earned their right to vote on the basis of Gender Equality.” The organization says that “the right to go topless for women is based on gender equality as their right to vote once was.”

22 AUGUST 2010- Topless women pose for pictures holding signs after a march and Go Topless protest held in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, August 22, 2010. (American-Statesman/Rodolfo Gonzalez) 0905summernews
22 AUGUST 2010- Topless women pose for pictures holding signs after a march and Go Topless protest held in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, August 22, 2010. (American-Statesman/Rodolfo Gonzalez) 0905summernews

A map of the U.S. on the website labels Texas as a “top freedom” state and Austin as a “topless ‘tested'” city. Anyone who’s been around the Live Music Capital of the World for a significant amount of time knows that, yes, a bare breast isn’t much to bat an eyelash at. Hippie Hollow, Austin’s one and only nude park, is a legendary, clothing-optional swimming spot. But that lakeside locale takes a laissez-faire stance on bottoms, too. Also, there has been more than one protest in Austin over the years that decried Texas gun laws by encouraging open shirts.

We dipped into the Statesman archives to get the skinny on the topless rules for women and nudity in general in Austin.

• In a 2006 column, Statesman answer lady Jane Grieg told an unwilling peeping Tom with immodest neighbors that such behavior is not illegal. “There is no ordinance against appearing in various stages of undress or topless at a bay window or anywhere else in Austin,” Greig wrote. “State law prohibits reckless exposure of other bodily areas (e.g., genitalia, but female breasts are not genitalia).” A 2004 article about a naked bike ride points out that Austin “has no local public nudity laws.”

• Is someone wearing body paint nude? A 2013 article about the subject as it relates to adult-oriented businesses didn’t draw a definitive conclusion:

“So would restaurant waitresses wearing only body paint run afoul of Austin’s adult-oriented businesses ordinances? That’s a gray area. ‘The City of Austin has not addressed this type of situation in the past,’ city spokeswoman Samantha Park said in a statement. ‘Every case has different circumstances, so it isn’t appropriate to speculate how we would handle a hypothetical case.'”

• A 2005 Austin Chronicle article provides a little less support for public displays of toplessness: “Public lewdness, which applies when a person intentionally commits an act of sexual contact in a public place, could also come into play if going topless leads to more heated action.” Additionally, the Chronicle pointed out that Texas courts have upheld disorderly conduct convictions for women going sans shirt.

And remember, if you’re planning on feeling your Lady Godiva fantasy this weekend, none of this serves as official legal advice.

WATCH: Austin fourth-grader is very excited to be back at school

Not every kid dreads going back to school. For Austin’s Kevin Rodriguez, “excited” doesn’t even cover it.

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The fourth-grader stopped to chat with FOX 7 before starting at Rodriguez Elementary earlier this week and, when asked why he was so excited to return to school, nearly immediately launched into an abridged version of his life plan. “Because I’m going to fourth grade, and after that I’m going to fifth, and I’m going to college.”

PHOTOS: Central Texas heads back to school

Kevin’s more immediate concerns, like most kids his age, lie with making friends. “I’m hoping I can make more friends than just one,” he told FOX 7. He also expressed his frustration at his mom, who “thinks I’m a baby so I can’t walk to school sometimes.”

To all the kids returning to school this week, from the American-Statesman (and Kevin), “Hello students!”

READ: Ready for back to school? Do these 10 things before school starts

 

Here’s what Austin looked like from space nearly 50 years ago

In 1969, NASA sent Apollo 9 to travel the dark unknown and survey the moon’s orbit. But like anyone who’s ended up in an impressive location and taken a selfie, those in charge couldn’t resist snapping a few shots of Earth from above.

The Austin skyline from the 23rd floor of the Skyhouse Apartments on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
The Austin skyline from the 23rd floor of the Skyhouse Apartments on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Related: NASA captures image of sand dunes that look like Morse code message from Mars

This NASA image captures a view of Central Texas in 1969 — though to be honest, we wouldn’t have been able to differentiate this from a shot of China.

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Photo via NASA

Read: NASA astronauts photograph Northern Lights from ISS

According to NASA’s description of the photo, I-35 starts in Austin at the right, center edge and travels to Waco near the bottom left corner. Here’s the rest of the description:

“Also visible are the cities of Georgetown, Taylor, Temple and Killeen. The Colorado River runs through Austin. The Brazos River flows through Waco. Lake Travis is upstream from Austin. Lake Whitney is at bottom left corner of picture. The Belton Reservoir is near bottom center. The lake formed by the dam on the Lampasas River near Belton is also clearly visible.”

Related: NASA chooses 6 companies to make livable space habitats

Let’s also take a moment to marvel at how far astronomers have come in the last 47 years. It was just announced this week that University of Texas scientist Michael Endl located a new planet orbiting the closest star to Earth’s sun. What’s even more wild than a new planet? It could potentially be another Earth.

Read: NASA denies accusations it cut live video feed when UFO appeared

Exotic snake owner’s ‘dangerous’ king cobra recaptured in Texas

In the latest tale of unusual animals going rogue in Texas, a “dangerous” king cobra got loose on Wednesday in Fort Bend.

Stock photo via WikiCommons
Stock photo via WikiCommons

Related:  5 times wild animals got loose in Central Texas in 2015

It took “snake man” Clint Pustejovsky hours to capture the highly venomous, 8-foot-long snake, which was found nearby the barn it escaped from. According to ABC13, the snake, along with 24 others, belongs to Jared Zellars.

“The most venomous snake capture I’ve ever had by far,” Pustejovsky told ABC13.

See it: Goat gets loose, goes on morning Starbucks run

Authorities said Zellars holds all the proper permits to keep exotic snakes and has had them for about five years. He’s not sure how the snake got out.

“I usually use hooks. I double check everything. Lock them. All the cages are locked. She just happened to break through,” he said.

Read: Service animal monkey reportedly gets loose on flight

After the cobra was captured, the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Facebook account let people know that the situation was resolved and even made a little joke.

Tourism video from 1980s says Austin is ‘like Paris’

Austin touts itself as a lot of things. The “Live Music Capital of the World.” The home to Texas’ best barbecue. The hottest place on earth. But in the late 1980s, the city was claiming something even its biggest fans and longtime residents might struggle to substantiate.Capture

“Austin is like Paris,” a City of Austin video promoting tourism in 1987 asserts. The video immediately cuts to a scene of headband-ed individuals playing Frisbee as proof.

Although the surest and most obvious similarity between Austin and Paris is that they are both, in fact, cities, the video isn’t entirely off-base in claiming that each prioritizes “art, music and the pleasures of life.”

The video also claims that, “The spirit of the city is tended toward enjoying life more than building industrial empires.” Looking at you, Dallas.

Instead, with a nod to the slacker subculture, the video says Austin is more about “world-class lazing in the sun.”

Capture

 

The entire video, which offers a look at what the city had to offer visitors before three-day ACL passes, proves entertaining. What’s a funny thing to hear in 2016? “Some of the most exciting new buildings of the 1980s…”

WATCH: What did a tour of UT look like in the 1980s?

The video was uploaded to the YouTube account of a successful Kickstarter campaign looking to make a documentary about “how public access TV helped shape the culture of Austin, one of America’s weirdest cities.” The film will be called “When We Were Live.” The project, led by local video producer John Spottswood Moore, earned $17,000 from 209 backers.

It might not be Paris, but we’ll always have Austin.

Unsecured ‘Clinton Email Server’ Wi-Fi network appeared at Austin Trump rally

Someone at Donald Trump’s rally in Austin on Tuesday decided to have a little fun with the Wi-Fi networks.

Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Travis County Exposition Center Tuesday August 23, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Travis County Exposition Center Tuesday August 23, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

PHOTOS: Donald Trump visits Austin 

Among the many Wi-Fi signals that popped as available for connection during the Republican presidential candidate’s rally at the Travis County Exposition Center, one stood out: an unsecured network titled “Clinton Email Server.”

The joke is a stab at the ongoing email controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton. Rally attendees quickly took notice and began sharing the posts around social media — even Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about it.

It’s unknown who created the Wi-Fi network and Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino Jr. said he did not recommend attendees use it.

A few American-Statesman staff members who attended the rally tried their hand at connecting to the unsecured server but either couldn’t or said it was too weak.

The mystery lives on, for now.

 

Where are Texas’ most dangerous intersections? Austin’s home to four

Most of us can agree that traffic in Austin isn’t pretty. Granted, it’s not Houston, but still the commute home some days can be a bit harrowing. And it’s not like we’re the only two cities in Texas with a rough traffic situation.

Traffic backs up on northbound Mopac during the morning commute into downtown Austin on Monday, May 2, 2016. LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Traffic backs up on northbound Mopac during the morning commute into downtown Austin on Monday, May 2, 2016. LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Read: Record number of traffic deaths has officials scratching their heads

That’s why Houston personal injury attorney Brian White decided to take a comprehensive look at the Texas Department of Transportation’s collision data ranging from 2012 to 2015 and determine what the most dangerous intersections in Texas are. White and his law firm only included intersections where 48 or more collisions occurred within the four years.

Turns out, only four of the 279 Texas intersections listed are in Austin — that’s low compared to the number of intersections from  Dallas, Lubbock, San Antonio and of course Houston, with 82 locations listed.

Related: Why the Austin Police Department’s DWI crash statistics keep changing

1. According to the data, the most dangerous Austin intersection is where East Riverside Drive meets South Pleasant Valley Road. There have been 68 crashes, 53 injuries and zero deaths.

Riverside-S Pleasant Valley

2. Second most dangerous intersection is the crossroad between Lamar Boulevard an Parmer Lane with 56 crashes, 45 injuries and one death. parmer lamar

3. Third is the intersection of Butler Road and Lamar Boulevard. There have been 69 crashes, 33 injuries and zero deaths.

bulter lamar

4. The least dangerous Austin intersection on the list is where Riverside Drive and Willow Creek Drive meet, with 51 crashes. 38 injuries and zero deaths.

riversdie willow creek

Check out the data visualizations here.

Texas college student stacks the beef with In-N-Out vs. Whataburger rap

It’s bigger than Drake and Meek Mill. It’s bigger than a triple meat, triple cheese. And, according to Trinity University student Isaiah Specks, it’s definitely bigger than whatever you’re ordering at In-N-Out.

OCTOBER 30, 2015 - Commuters look on from the Whataburger restaurant near I-35 and Texas 123 as the intersection floods stranding drivers in San Marcos, Texas, on Friday, October 30, 2015. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
OCTOBER 30, 2015 – Commuters look on from the Whataburger restaurant near I-35 and Texas 123 as the intersection floods stranding drivers in San Marcos, Texas, on Friday, October 30, 2015. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Specks took to Twitter to profess his loyalty to the orange and white in a minute-long rap addressing the “Whataburger or In-N-Out?” question that doesn’t take most Texans too long to answer.

READ: The best apologetic Whataburger responses to their scaled-back breakfast hours

Part of Twitter’s #SoGoneChallenge trend, where participants rap and sing to the beat of Monica’s 2003 “So Gone,” Specks begins, “Whataburger is way better than In-N-Out,” calling In-N-Out’s burger “a snack.”

Watch the full video, below:

Specks also asserts that other states’ dismissal of Whataburger stems only from jealousy. If you disagree with Specks he simply suggests that you, “Go get you a honey-butter chicken biscuit.” The proof is in the honey-butter.

The rap has been retweeted upward of 6,000 times. Looks like Specks is a clear winner in the #SoGoneChallenge.

Animal style, who?

Saving the state reptile population one tiny, baby horny toad at a time

A Texas horned lizard basks in the sun at Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso. Photo by Pam LeBlanc.
A Texas horned lizard basks in the sun at Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso. Photo by Pam LeBlanc.

“It’s kind of tough when you’re a short, fat little lizard who doesn’t run real fast and your biggest defense mechanism is to just sit still,” Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Jim Gallagher told the Texas Standard.

Gallagher is very familiar with the struggle of the Texas horned lizard, the official state reptile of Texas — more affectionately and commonly referred to as the horny toad. Although capable of squirting blood from its eyes up to distances of five feet, the reptile isn’t especially well equipped to defend itself against the onslaught of neighborhood development that brings with it “kids, cats and dogs,” the Texas Standard reports. All of which threaten the creature’s main and favorite food source: red ants.

An appreciation: Long live the Texas horny toad

A Texas Parks and Wildlife program is working to battle the population decline, but the fight isn’t easy. Although the program most recently celebrated the birth of “25 little hatchlings,” baby horny toads (smaller than a dime at birth) are too small to accurately track and so program specialists like Gallagher are just “hoping” that they do well in the wild, according to the Texas Standard.

Time will tell how the babies, and thus the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s program will fare. Twenty-five tiny toads fighting for a species, the fate of which could turn on a dime. Literally.

Read the Texas Standard’s full piece on the program here.

Which sort-of-famous people call Austin home?

Most of us are familiar with Austin’s most famous residents. Matthew McConaughey, Willie Nelson, Elijah Wood.

FILE - JULY 27: Actor Chris Klein and wife welcomed their first child, a baby boy, on July 23, 2016. HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 04: Actor Chris Klein attends the premiere of Roadside Attractions' & Godspeed Pictures' "Where Hope Grows" at The ArcLight Cinemas on May 4, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
FILE – JULY 27: Actor Chris Klein and wife welcomed their first child, a baby boy, on July 23, 2016. HOLLYWOOD, CA – MAY 04: Actor Chris Klein attends the premiere of Roadside Attractions’ & Godspeed Pictures’ “Where Hope Grows” at The ArcLight Cinemas on May 4, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

But what about “star” of MTV reality show “The Hills” and now front man of punk rock band BobbyrocK, Justin Bobby? Who is (thanks for the update ET) “still cutting hair.”

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Thanks to the combined efforts of Austin Monthly and Reddit, the magazine scraped together a list of nine of the lesser celebs who call Austin home. Scan through a few of the more notable almost famous locals below:

  • Chris Klein Are you surprised to hear that we’re all sort of neighbors with none other than Oz from “American Pie”?
  • Marion Jones Once known for her Olympic medals and since for having them rescinded after testing positively for steroid use, the runner travels from her Pflugerville home to give inspirational speeches nationwide.
  • Tate Donovan Texas, here we come. Jimmy Cooper of “The O.C” is quite a ways from California, but continues to lead an active directing and acting career out of his Austin homebase. Most recently Donovan directed episodes of Netlfix’s “Bloodline,” in which fellow Central Texan celebrity Kyle Chandler stars.

WATCH: 50 Coach Taylor gifs to celebrate Kyle Chandler’s 50th birthday

Austin Monthly notes that, sadly, the man who played the corpse in both “Weekend at Bernie’s” and “Weekend at Bernie’s II” has since moved away.

Check out the full list of local non-celebs here, and keep up with the local big names on Austin360’s Buzzworthy Blog.

EXPLORE: Everything Willie Nelson