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Austin’s Bowie Street illegally changed to David Bowie Street, city lets it slide

Tributes to the late rock icon David Bowie have come from across the globe, but a vandalized street sign in Austin, TX revised to honor the rock legend may take the cake.

Now, in addition to Willie Nelson Boulevard, someone has — illegally — put David Bowie Street on the map in Austin. And, apparently, the Austin Transportation Department has officially opted to let it slide and keep the sign up through January 19 in tribute.

“We appreciate Austin’s reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World and recognize David Bowie for all he did for the music industry and more,” said the Austin city department in an official statement (via Austin360). “To this end, we will leave the sign up until Tuesday, January 19, so our community can enjoy the makeshift memorial a few days longer.” Not the kind of response you’d expect from a bureaucratic entity — but then again, it is Austin.

While the city only plans on keeping the name change for a few more days, an Austin resident has launched a petition to make it permanent. The petition, which currently has more than 3,000 supporters, explains that David Bowie is a “more fitting reflection” of Austin’s “growing and shifting” culture.

The sign is actually named after Jim Bowie, the 19th century pioneer who was instrumental in the Texas Revolution, and the namesake of both the Bowie knife, and David Bowie himself. The latter changed his name from David Jones to David Bowie to differentiate himself from Davey Jones, of The Monkees, and to honor the original pioneer.

Notably, the sign is located near the headquarters of South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual music, film, and tech conference and festival. While an official statement from the festival founder Roland Swenson denied any responsibility for the change according to Austin360, we wouldn’t be too surprised if one of its employees played a part in the clever tribute.

While the sting of Bowie’s early departure is still fresh for millions of music fans across the world, it’s nice to see city officials willing to forego the law for a few days, even if the change isn’t permanent. Austin continues to live up to its reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World.

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