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  • 14 hours More Asylum Seekers Stage Hunger Strikes at El Paso Detention Center Texasmonthly
    Another group of Indian asylum seekers held at an immigrant detention center in El Paso say they’re willing to carry on with a hunger strike even if it leads to their deaths. The four men are seeking to be granted bonds so that they can be free while appealing their deportation orders. “If I go back to India, I will be tortured and killed. I can die here,” Kumar Ajay, 33, told Texas Monthly. Another man, who asked not to be identified because he doesn’t his family to know what he’s doing, said he was desperate to get out of ... more
  • 22 hours Cowtown Brewing’s Double-Cut Smoked Pork Chop Is a Perfect Marriage of Barbecue and Beer Texasmonthly
    Back in 2017, when I first wrote about Big D Barbecue in Mansfield, owner Jordy Jordan told me about his upcoming project: Cowtown Brewing Co. would bring together his two loves of barbecue and beer. It opened last fall in Fort Worth, serving plenty of barbecue along with craft beers from head brewer Shawn Kidwell. Ten beers were on draft when I visited on a Thursday afternoon. Rock Island Red had just come on tap, and the rest of the lineup ranged from a light Mexican-style lager to a heavy and high ABV Imperial Milk Stout, appropriately named Cow Topper. Jordan ... more
  • 2 days The Texans and the Cowboys Are Upsetting Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Elliott Texasmonthly
    Jadeveon Clowney was never going to hit free agency this offseason. The Houston Texans have gotten far too much production from him during his last three Pro Bowl-caliber seasons to let that happen. The team was always going to apply the franchise tag to Clowney rather than let him hit the open market. Any club that wants to sign a non-exclusive franchise player like Clowney has to surrender two future first-round draft picks to the team that tagged him—a price so high it effectively locks down that player for his original team. The Texans’ only obligation in applying the tag ... more
  • 2 days Fort Worth Gets a Serious Contender with Derek Allan’s Texas BBQ Texasmonthly
    Derek Allan’s Texas BBQ might be the newest barbecue joint in Fort Worth, but owners Derek and Brittany Crudgington have been in the smoked-meat business far longer. They ran a food truck, Don’t Mess With Texas BBQ, in a the parking lot of a Best Buy in Grapevine for two years. It closed in 2017 as they made plans for their new brick-and-mortar in Frisco, but the build-out schedule lagged. They looked to a different location in Fort Worth and took over a shop that had been selling meal kits; the nine-month renovation ran their savings dry. They finally opened in ... more
  • 3 days Premiere: Robert Ellis is ‘Gone to the Moon’ in New Video Texasmonthly
    For those of us born decades after Apollo 11 returned from its mission, the imprint of astronaut boots on the lunar surface has always been historical fact. We can’t conjure personal memories of that voyage, of families huddled around the TV or radio, anxiously waiting for news of that one small step, that impossibly giant leap. And yet that journey—the ambition, bravery, intellect, and imagination it demanded—continues to inspire us fifty years later. Robert Ellis was born nearly two decades after Neil Armstrong made “Houston” the first word spoken on the moon. He grew up in Lake Jackson, some fifty miles ... more
  • 3 days Should Beto O’Rourke Drop Out? Texasmonthly
    Many of the Beto O’Rourke faithful in Texas, people who supported him during his 2018 Senate race, have now reached the same conclusion: Beto should drop out of the presidential race. In a Quinnipiac poll from early June, 60 percent of Texas Democrats said they preferred that O’Rourke suspend his presidential campaign and run against Senator John Cornyn instead.  Just 27 percent said they’d rather he continue his presidential bid. Since then, his national poll numbers have dropped significantly—one recent poll of New Hampshire voters found that O’Rourke had 0.0 percent support in the state. (New Age star Marianne Williamson ... more
  • 4 days Third Time’s the Charm? Houston Democrat Al Green is Going to Try to Impeach Trump Again. Texasmonthly
    Usually a soft-spoken lawmaker, Congressman Al Green, D-Houston, is launching his third formal effort to impeach President Donald Trump after he targeted four congresswomen with racist tweets on Sunday. Green announced today he would again force a House vote on the president’s impeachment by the end of July. “The President of the United States is a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, as well as an invidious prevaricator,” Green said Monday. “To say that Donald John Trump is unfit for the Office of the President of the United States is an understatement.” Green has twice before secured impeachment votes, in 2017 ... more
  • 4 days What the Hell Is Happening at the Border? (An Occasional Series, July 15 Edition) Texasmonthly
    The Texas/Mexico border sits at the epicenter of our nation’s ongoing fights over immigration. To avoid overlooking the hugely significant news emanating from the region, we’ll periodically round up the stories most worth your attention. 1. Acting Homeland Security Head Disputes Inspector General Report About Migrant Camps In recent weeks, we began seeing firsthand accounts of the conditions inside the migrant camps along the border—particularly camps in Clint, near El Paso, and Donna, near McAllen. While we’d heard from lawyers who had been granted access in the past, the accounts that came from lawmakers like San Antonio representative Joaquin Castro ... more
  • 4 days There’s Something Better Than Brisket at Franklin Barbecue Texasmonthly
    Smoked beef short ribs at Franklin Barbecue in Austin might just be the most difficult bite of barbecue to score in Texas. They’re served only on Saturdays, which is usually the busiest day with the longest lines at Franklin. I’ve tried bites of the beef rib at festivals but never ate one in the dining room, so on a recent Saturday, I grabbed a chair and a book and took my spot at fifteenth in line at 6:15 in the morning. The beef plate short rib, for the uninitiated, is a cut just behind the brisket and below the ribeye ... more
  • 4 days Willie Nelson & Friends: Live From Luck, Texas Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify This week, on a special edition of the National Podcast of Texas: Willie Nelson & Friends, recorded live on July 6, from the porch of Willie’s Luck, Texas, headquarters. The conversation followed a screening of the first-ever digital presentation of 1986’s Red Headed Stranger, an Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow and Luck Reunion co-production that allowed 400 fans to watch the movie on the very property where it was filmed. Red Headed Stranger has a complicated history. In 1979, screenwriter and director Bill Wittliff wrote a script based on Willie’s 1975 Red Headed Stranger album, telling the story ... more
  • 7 days Texas Monthly Recommends: Megan Thee Stallion’s First Late-Night Television Appearance Texasmonthly
    One of the joys of 2019 has been watching Megan Thee Stallion blow up from an “up-and-comer to watch” into a true superstar in the making. One of the milestones in the story of her ascendancy—a scene that would undoubtedly make it into the trailer in the movie of her life—is her first appearance on late-night television, which happened this week on Jimmy Kimmel Live. During the set, the rapper reps Texas with a rhinestone-studded cowgirl hat, a top emblazoned with the word “Houston” on it, and backing dancers in cropped Rockets jerseys. And, most importantly, she carries the rich ... more
  • 7 days Houston TV Legend Dave Ward Got By With a Little Help From His Friends Texasmonthly
    When beloved Houston beer joint Kay’s Lounge closed for good after 77 years of operation in 2016, a young reporter named Pooja Lodhia showed KTRK viewers around the place, highlighting its ancient cigarette machine and gigantic table in the shape of Texas. Newscast anchor Melanie Lawson cited Dr. Red Duke—the uber-Texan trauma surgeon who brought a Wild West gunfighter vibe to his role as KTRK’s nationally renowned medical correspondent—as a Kay’s regular and even recollected his favorite order (a Shiner and a pizza), but she oddly didn’t mention Kay’s even more locally famous longtime patron: Dave Ward. By the time ... more
  • 7 days The Last Boy Scout Texasmonthly
    Long before Texans had heard of “no pass, no play,” and before free trade was a major political issue, the diminutive Dallas billionaire H. Ross Perot entered my life as a super-patriot who believed perseverance was the key to success. The date was June 17, 1970, and I was receiving my Eagle Scout award in Dallas. If I had ever even heard of Perot, it was only because North Vietnam had turned him away the previous Christmas when he tried to deliver gifts and supplies to American POWs held in Hanoi. But Perot had also recently donated $1 million to ... more
  • 7 days The Gospel of Texas Barbecue Is Spreading Texasmonthly
    Texas barbecue is flaunting its dominance in some unexpected places these days. During a road trip through portions of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, I didn’t bring along high hopes for smoked brisket and sausages, but was proven wrong. And in Missouri, where Kansas City style barbecue is religion, Texas-style sliced briskets is creating converts. While in line at Federal Hill Smokehouse in Erie, Pennsylvania, an employee walked past me into the pit room to fetch some fresh barbecue. I spied a Dallas-built Bewley smoker when he opened the door. Owners Ryan and Autumn Atzert were on the other side of the counter. ... more
  • 7 days Even Trump Wouldn’t Follow Advice from Ted Cruz and Chip Roy to Ignore the Supreme Court Texasmonthly
    On Thursday, at a press conference in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump reversed course on his administration’s long-running effort, recently halted by the Supreme Court, to ask respondents to the 2020 census whether they are citizens. Attorney General Bill Barr took time to bat down stories that Trump had explored the possibility of doing an end-run around the court by ordering the question’s inclusion. Barr said the administration had never tried, and would never try, to overrule the court’s decision by “executive fiat.” Trump, he said, understood that the Supreme Court’s ruling was binding and final, and ... more
  • 7 days First Look: Vixen’s Wedding, Which is Unlike Any Restaurant in Austin Texasmonthly
    Austin chefs Todd Duplechan and Jessica Maher have a special love for Goan cuisine. The tiny former colony of Portugal on India’s west coast is the inspiration behind their latest restaurant, the improbably named Vixen’s Wedding. Today, the husband-and-wife duo team behind dreamy Lenoir are throwing open the doors to a high-ceilinged venue in the new Arrive East Austin Hotel that will showcase their imaginative take on Goan cuisine. “I worked at Tabla in New York with chef Floyd Cardoz, whose family was from Goa,” says Duplechan. “And I became fascinated with the food. The two cultures have blended over the centuries—I think ... more
  • 1 week How Russell Westbrook Could End Up With the Spurs, Rockets, or Mavericks Texasmonthly
    Last week, the drama level was dialed up on the reality show that NBA free agency has become in the years since LeBron James’s infamous “The Decision” TV special. San Antonio Spurs-spurner Kawhi Leonard chose to sign with the Clippers at the same time the Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to send Paul George also to L.A.’s second team. The ripple effect of these blockbuster deals is that the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, one of the NBA’s most attention-worthy stars, is now on the trading block. OKC isn’t going to compete for a title without George, so 30-year-old former league MVP Westbrook ... more
  • 1 week BBQ News Roundup: Bacon Burnt End Day, Smokey John’s Food Coma, and a Tex-Mex BBQ Fest Texasmonthly
    The readers’ choice and editors’ choice rarely match up when it comes to barbecue joints, but in this case, Snow’s BBQ takes the crown in both. The complete history of barbecue pork ribs: Our barbecue menus are richer (and our fingers stickier) as a result. https://t.co/agzeAjmL7l — Serious Eats (@seriouseats) July 3, 2019 The Dallas Morning News digs into Heim BBQ’s bacon burnt ends and shares a couple recipes for its popular side dishes. The day has already passed, but June 29 is now *officially* bacon burnt end day, thanks to Heim Barbecue. Trey’s Chow Down lists his barbecue favorites across the Dallas-Fort Worth area. ... more
  • 1 week Ode to the Raspa: My South Texas Childhood, Served in a Cup Texasmonthly
    There’s nothing like a South Texas summer. The air, laden with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, mingles with the salty brushland for a sultriness and ardency unparalleled in any other part of the state. The days go on forever. Mornings are hot, sticky and mostly still, with just the faintest breeze to stir the palm fronds. Afternoons might see a refreshing rain shower, followed by breezes that cause the mesquites to sigh into the long blue evenings. When I was child, life seemed to move very slowly here in the summer, which is why my little brother and I ... more
  • 1 week Fashion Photography Gets a Texas Accent at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts Texasmonthly
    Fashion photography tends to be thought of as a purely commercial enterprise—perfectly posed models in divinely chic clothing selling us impossible standards of beauty. Too often it’s overlooked as an artform unto itself. That perception is what Museum of Fine Arts, Houston hopes to upend with the special exhibit Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography. After making its debut at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles last year, the show is now on view through September 22 at MFAH—with a Texas twist. Curators Malcolm Daniel and Lisa Volpe aimed to showcase Houston’s diversity by adding more ... more
  • 1 week Snow’s BBQ Wins the 2019 Texas Monthly Readers’ Choice BBQ Bracket Texasmonthly
    What else is there to say? Our readers have great taste. After six rounds of competition and votes cast by more than 11,000 participants, the Texas Monthly Readers’ Choice is … also the Texas Monthly Editors’ Choice. Snow’s BBQ of Lexington, which we declared the best barbecue joint in the state the last time we ranked the Top 50 in Texas, finished No. 1 on our BBQ Bracket. In the finals, Snow’s took on a relative newcomer, Brett’s Backyard Bar-B-Que of Rockdale, that had already scored a major upset by taking out Austin’s Franklin Barbecue in the semis. Voters gave Snow’s a solid 55 percent of ... more
  • 1 week H. Ross Perot (1930-2019) Was a Larger-Than-Life Texan Texasmonthly
    H. Ross Perot died on Tuesday morning. The 89-year-old billionaire and former two-time presidential candidate had lived with leukemia since February. A Texarkana native, Perot lived most of his life in Dallas, where he was instrumental in expanding the burgeoning field of computers in the sixties and seventies. He got his start as a salesman at IBM, before founding Electronic Data Systems in 1962. His large personality and Texas roots made him a figure of fascination in the business world. The November 1968 issue of Fortune magazine ran a story about “the fastest, richest Texan ever,” and he was the subject ... more
  • 1 week The “Red Headed Stranger” Rides Again: Here’s What We Learned Texasmonthly
    A drive out to Willie Nelson’s ranch is always special. It’s down a dirt road on the outskirts of Austin, and the singer’s rescue horses graze in the grass. As the white steeple of Nelson’s chapel comes into view, four giant letters up on the hillside let you know—you’re finally in Luck.  Last Saturday, this pilgrimage to the ranch—home to Nelson’s annual Luck Reunion during South by Southwest—took on an extra meaning. Almost twenty years after it was last officially screened, the original tape of Nelson’s 1986 film, Red Headed Stranger, had been rediscovered, digitized, and would be played once ... more
  • 1 week Worse Things Have Happened to Blue Bell Ice Cream Than a Gross Prank at Walmart Texasmonthly
    On June 28, a very brief video clip was posted to social media that showed a teenage girl at a Walmart in Lufkin with a carton of Blue Bell ice cream. In the clip, the top of the container is off, and the girl licks the surface of it before replacing the lid and putting it back in the freezer for an unsuspecting consumer to purchase. The video quickly went viral—just one of the many tweets that shared it has more than 12 million views—and spawned a whole lot of outrage. What kinda psychopathic behavior is this?! pic.twitter.com/T8AIdGpmuS — Optimus ... more
  • 2 weeks Dallas’s New Mayor on Data, Crime, and Why Dallas Needs to Get Selfish Texasmonthly
    Mayor Eric Johnson begins with an apology. He’s calling several minutes late; he’s only been on the job for a couple weeks and hasn’t yet gotten the hang of using his phone at Dallas City Hall. The 43-year-old lawyer and former state representative is still trying to assemble his staff, not to mention furnish his office. He’s the 62nd mayor of the nation’s ninth-largest (Texas’s third-largest) city, the first native Dallasite to occupy the office in decades, and only the second African American elected to the job. He grew up in West Dallas and Oak Cliff and went on to ... more
  • 2 weeks NASA Pioneer Poppy Northcutt Reflects on Her Role in the Apollo Program Texasmonthly
    There’s a scene in the upcoming American Experience documentary Chasing the Moon (airing over three nights on PBS, July 8-10), in which we see ABC broadcaster Jules Bergman interviewing a young woman named Frances “Poppy” Northcutt at the Manned Space Craft Center in Houston. “How much attention do men in Mission Control pay to a pretty girl wearing miniskirts?” Bergman asks. It’s the late 1960s. Tall, blond, and in her mid-twenties at the time, Northcutt doesn’t flinch. “Well, I think the first time a girl in a miniskirt walks into [Mission Control], they pay you quite a lot of attention, ... more
  • 2 weeks Adrianne Palicki: “I Miss the Hell Out of ‘Friday Night Lights.’ But You Really Can’t Bring It Back.” Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify Actress Adrianne Palicki is best known for playing Tyra Collette in the first three seasons of NBC’s Friday Night Lights. She currently stars in Fox’s The Orville—a sci-fi dramedy from Seth McFarlane that was recently picked up for a third season, and her film career includes turns in Legion, Red Dawn, and John Wick. Although she was supposed to star in a much-anticipated 2011 reboot of Wonder Woman for NBC that never got beyond the pilot, she’s strung together a run of other sci-fi and comic-related roles, including parts on Smallville, Supernatural, and Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Palicki lives in Austin ... more
  • 2 weeks Where to Find the Best Barbecue in New Orleans Texasmonthly
    I’m often asked where folks can find good barbecue in major American cities throughout the country. When I get the question about New Orleans, a place I lived in for five years, my usual response is, “You don’t go to New Orleans to eat barbecue.” I suggest instead options for enjoying the many cuisines for which the city is famous, the same spots where I choose to eat when traveling to New Orleans. I hadn’t ever bothered with a dedicated barbecue tour of the city until a few weeks ago. Times-Picayune restaurant critic Brett Anderson declared New Orleans “barbecue country” ... more
  • 2 weeks The Texanist: What’s the Best Swimming Hole in Texas? Texasmonthly
    Q: I recently read a piece in your magazine about the swimming pool at Balmorhea State Park, which is indeed a natural wonder, not to mention a real blessing this time of year. Thank heavens it reopened in time for summer. I’m curious, though, across the entire state, what would you say is your absolute favorite spot in which to dip yourself when it’s hot out? Melissa McDonald, San Antonio A: The Texanist read that piece, too. It was excellent; informative, entertaining and executed with a stylish élan that is so rare to find in these post-literate days. Do you ... more
  • 2 weeks The Cruelty at the Border Is Increasingly Pointless Texasmonthly
    Children sleeping on concrete. Children covered in feces, mucus, urine. Children without adequate food and water; subjected to extreme temperatures; held in pens with the lights on 24 hours a day. Children in conditions that physicians say are “tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease.” In one holding facility, agents appointed a child “boss” in a cohort of detainees to keep the other kids in line, in exchange for extra food rations. Other migrants were kept under a bridge in El Paso, where toddlers and pregnant women slept on gravel and were bombarded by pigeon droppings; men were warehoused ... more
  • 2 weeks Q&A with a Texas Attorney on the Frontlines of Migrant Child Detention Texasmonthly
    It can be hard to keep up with all of the disturbing stories and images emerging from the nation’s migrant camps and detention centers. In recent weeks, attention has focused on a Border Patrol facility in Clint, near El Paso, housing immigrant children. Lawyers who interviewed children there reported disturbing accounts of filthy children, kids taking care of kids, lice, and lack of medical care.  But Clint is far from the only Border Patrol center holding children, or adults for that matter, for extended periods in dismal conditions. Karla Vargas, a South Texas lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project, ... more
  • 2 weeks Vote in the Final Round of the 2019 Readers’ Choice BBQ Bracket Texasmonthly
    And then there were two. Our BBQ Bracket is down to just Snow’s BBQ of Lexington, which claimed the No. 1 spot on our Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas in 2017, and Brett’s Backyard Bar-B-Que of Rockdale, which appeared on our list of  Top 25 New Barbecue Joints in Texas in May. Snow’s knocked out another long-beloved joint, Lockhart’s Kreuz Market, while Brett’s scored something of an upset in eliminating the nationally renowned Franklin Barbecue of Austin. Will fans of the newcomer rally one more time to win Brett’s the right to be called our Readers’ Choice champ? Or will Snow’s well-earned reputation carry it once again to the ... more
  • 2 weeks Border Patrol Leaves San Antonio to Sort Out Surge of African Migrants Texasmonthly
    Sheltering themselves from the 100-degree heat outside, dozens of families gather inside San Antonio’s Migrant Resource Center. A mother brushes her daughter’s hair into a ponytail, and a little boy gets his diaper changed near the tiled letter “Q” in the floor, a remnant of the building’s former life as a Quiznos sandwich shop. Over handfuls of orange slices and styrofoam takeout containers, conversations in Spanish, French, and Portuguese fill the room.  Such scenes are increasingly common at the migrant center as the number of immigrants and asylum seekers from Africa surges. From just June 4 to June 18, roughly ... more
  • 3 weeks Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro are Fighting Over Who Gets to Be “The Texan” Texasmonthly
    Texas Democrats still love Beto O’Rourke. In polls of the state, he leads every candidate in the field except Joe Biden. His improbable 2018 Senate campaign, which earned him more votes than any Democrat in the history of Texas, still carries a lot of goodwill in his home state. Nationally, though, he seems to be struggling to gain traction. South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has succeeded in attracting big money from people who believe the next president of the United States should be a nice young man who likes classical literature, and O’Rourke’s performance at the first Democratic debate last Wednesday ... more
  • 3 weeks Recipe: Instant Pot Okra and Tomatoes Texasmonthly
    When it comes to okra and tomatoes, there are two schools of thought. Some people stew them with spices forever, cooking the vegetables down until they achieve a deep flavor. Others take a faster route, simmering everything briefly to maintain a bit of texture while flirting dangerously with the dreaded okra slime. Both methods have their benefits and drawbacks. And, I’d argue, seasons. The low-and-slow method is perfect for using up frozen okra and canned tomatoes in the middle of winter, the dried spices giving everything an earthy heat that pairs well with colder weather. But okra and tomatoes are ... more
  • 3 weeks Lee Ann Womack: “Huge Country Music Success Didn’t Feed My Soul” Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify On paper, East Texas native Lee Ann Womack enjoyed a good run working within Nashville’s major-label system: She won a Grammy, six Country Music Association awards, five Academy of Country Music awards, and sold more than six million records. And her megahit, 2000’s “I Hope You Dance,” can still be heard on the radio and at weddings. Lots of weddings. Yet Womack says on the latest episode of the National Podcast of Texas that she only really came into her own after leaving Music Row’s hit-making machinery behind to make 2014’s The Way I’m Livin’ ... more
  • 3 weeks The Texanist: My Husband Shouldn’t Be Driving Around Town Without His Shirt On, Should He? Texasmonthly
    Q: My husband, who is a grown man, sometimes drives around town without a shirt, as if he were some kind of a small-town teenager coming home from mowing lawns or the swimming hole. He says that it’s no big deal, but it is a big deal, right? He shouldn’t do this, should he? Please back me up here.  Sandra Garcia, Fort Worth A: Wading into dustups between wives and husbands is typically an ill-advised endeavor, but the Texanist’s bread is buttered by giving guidance to those who come to him for such assistance and he doesn’t always get to ... more
  • 3 weeks Texas Monthly Recommends: Eugene Lee Yang Comes Out in New Music Video Texasmonthly
    I’m Gay by The Try Guys Maybe I shouldn’t have favorites, but without question, Eugene Lee Yang is my favorite of the Try Guys. If you’ve never heard of the Try Guys, they’re a group of four men—Eugene, Ned Fulmer, Keith Habersberger, and Zach Kornfeld—who got together under the BuzzFeed Video banner to… well… try things (like roller derby and stepping). Then in 2018, the four of them left BuzzFeed to establish their independent Try Guy empire, leading to their own YouTube channel, book, podcast, and summer tour. Through the too many hours I’ve spent watching Try Guy videos, Eugene has ... more
  • 3 weeks Farewell to the “Rambling Boy,” Lonn Taylor Texasmonthly
    “What is this word, ‘backstory’?” Lonn Taylor asked a few years back, while I was visiting his wife Dedie and him at their place in Fort Davis. The word clearly irritated him. “There’s the story, and that’s it,” he said. “‘Backstory’ is redundant.” It’s the story behind the story, I gently argued, foolishly parrying with a serious man of letters. Lonn was unmoved, so I let it go. I shouldn’t have even tried. Lonn, who passed away late in the evening of June 26 in Fort Davis at the age of 79, knew of what he spoke. Lonn was a ... more
  • 3 weeks Texas Monthly’s Newest Hires Texasmonthly
    Texas Monthly is pleased to announce that Paula Mejía is joining the staff as its new culture editor. The Houston native, most recently a digital producer for Gothamist, New York Public Radio’s local journalism outlet, has written for such publications as the New Yorker, the New York Times and Rolling Stone, and she launched Atlas Obscura’s food and drink vertical, Gastro Obscura. The George Washington University alum is a founding editor of Turning the Tables, NPR Music’s series about centering women and nonbinary musicians in the musical canon; it won a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media in 2018. Her first book, a ... more
  • 3 weeks The (Fake) Beto Diaries, Vol. 4 — Post-Debate Texasmonthly
    Former Democratic congressman and likely presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke posts journals of his life, his thoughts, and his travels; only some of those make it to the web. We’ve imagined one that got lost along the way. Welcome to the Beto Diaries.   Buenos dias, mi diario. Soy Beto. Big night last night. El primer debate with my fellow Democratic candidates. Last time I was that nervous onstage I was holding a bass guitar and wearing a dress. But it went muy bueno, I think. The night started off on a high note when I learned the location of my assigned podium. Center ... more
  • 3 weeks The Supreme Court’s Census Citizenship Question Decision Helps Texas—But the Real Work Lies Ahead Texasmonthly
    In April, when I was reporting a story on what Texas stood to gain—or lose—in the 2020 census, I heard several demographers and community leaders repeat the same phrase: “Even if the citizenship question is taken off the census, the damage is done.” At the time, a legal battle was raging over whether the Trump administration could add a question to the 2020 census that asked respondents whether or not they were U.S. citizens. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had argued the intent of the question was noble and egalitarian: It would give the Justice Department valuable information to better protect ... more
  • 3 weeks The Story Behind Guy Clark’s “My Favorite Picture of You” Texasmonthly
    Last week, on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Willie Nelson performed the late Guy Clark’s “My Favorite Picture of You.” Nelson has called it “maybe my favorite song” on his new album, Ride Me Back Home. The tune was inspired by a forty-year-old Polaroid of Clark’s livid, arms-folded, denim-clad wife, Susanna. It was the thematic centerpiece of an album of the same name, one the then-ailing Clark knew would be his studio swan song. (And one that would claim 2014’s Grammy for best folk album.) Its lyrics portray a dying man meditating on the ghost of the love of his ... more
  • 3 weeks Julián Castro Turns on Beto O’Rourke, and Why That’s Good for Elizabeth Warren Texasmonthly
    Here’s a secret, one which I’d appreciate you don’t tell our engagement editor I told you: you don’t really have to pay any attention to the Democratic primary until January or so. In fact it’s probably better for your sanity that you don’t. The primary could look like the Republican one in 2012, when a succession of minor candidates rose and fell in the polls (Newt Gingrich! Herman Cain! Rick Perry!) or it could look like the Republican one in 2016, when one candidate pulled into the lead and stayed there, or anything in between, and however it turns out ... more
  • 3 weeks What Happens When a Houston Energy Guru Messes With the Power Grid? Texasmonthly
    Electricity, like gasoline, is something we often take for granted. We complain that it costs too much, yet it’s both relatively cheap and abundant. When we throw a switch, the lights come on. Most Americans have grown up with this convenience, so we don’t give much thought to the engineering feats that make it possible. My grandfather became an electrician in the 1920s because he saw it as a growth industry. In fact, he was the only electrician in my hometown in central Pennsylvania for many years. My father, who worked with him back then, broke with convention and had ... more
  • 3 weeks What the Hell Is Happening at the Border? (An Occasional Series, June 25 Edition) Texasmonthly
    The Texas/Mexico border sits at the epicenter of our nation’s ongoing fights over immigration. To avoid overlooking the hugely significant news emanating from the region, we’ll periodically round up the stories most worth your attention. 1. Bodies Found Along the Rio Grande. On Sunday, Hidalgo County sheriff Eddie Guerra announced on Twitter that four bodies—three children and a 2o-year-old woman—had been found near Mission in the Rio Grande Valley. BREAKING NEWS: Deputies are on scene by the river SE of the Anzalduas Park in Las Paloma Wildlife Management Area where Border Patrol agents located 4 deceased bodies. Bodies appear to ... more
  • 3 weeks 2019 Readers’ Choice BBQ Bracket: Vote in the Semifinals! Texasmonthly
    Our BBQ Bracket began with 75 outstanding barbecue restaurants from our Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas and Top 25 New Barbecue Joints in Texas lists, and you’ve now winnowed those down to the final four: Snow’s BBQ of Lexington, Kreuz Market of Lockhart, Franklin Barbecue of Austin, and (the sole newcomer to reach the semifinals) Brett’s Backyard Bar-B-Que of Rockdale. Who will advance to the finals for a shot at being crowned the Readers’ Choice? Only your votes can decide. Here’s a reminder of the rules: We’ve heard your feedback from earlier rounds and are no longer requiring that you vote on each ... more
  • 3 weeks Remembering Don Graham, the Demanding Critic Who Helped Put Texas Literature on the Map Texasmonthly
    If you don’t chortle or make a sneering comment about oxymorons when you hear the phrase “Texas literature,” you likely have Don Graham to thank. The longtime University of Texas English professor was more responsible than anyone this side of Larry McMurtry for convincing the world—including his fellow Texans—that Texas letters weren’t just about cowboys and Longhorns. And that cowboys and Longhorns could be the stuff of serious literature too. Graham, who was 79, died on Saturday morning in Austin after a stroke, dealing a blow to a literary community that had suffered the loss of another local literary giant, ... more
  • 3 weeks The Space Issue Texasmonthly
    This summer marks the fiftieth anniversary of the trip that changed the world: the Apollo 11 moon landing. Texas Monthly has written about Texas’s role in the space program for decades, and our July collector’s issue combines the best of our archives with new perspectives on the final frontier.View Original PostThe post The Space Issue appeared first on Texas Monthly. ... more
  • 3 weeks From the Archives: Can a New Generation of Texans Revive the Dream of Space Exploration? Texasmonthly
    Mission to Mars By Katy Vine From “The Martian,” originally published in February 2018 In a cavernous warehouse behind a strip mall about three miles from the Johnson Space Center, Franklin Chang Díaz has been tinkering with an unorthodox idea for the past thirteen years. The lab for his eleven-person company, Ad Astra, is roughly the size of a Barnes & Noble. But in the center of the room, rather than rows of romance novels, there are three stacks of gadgets resembling hi-fi stereo components. Along the back wall is the main event: a forty-ton stainless-steel cylindrical chamber that sits ... more
  • 3 weeks Talking With a Leader of the Next Generation of Rocketry Companies Texasmonthly
    In a nondescript industrial park in far-north suburban Austin, about 150 people are building spaceships. Covering one wall is a giant portrait of Wernher von Braun, the German rocketry pioneer. In the back, there’s a machine shop where engineers are turning out rocket engines. A giant video screen displays a real-time feed from the company’s engine test site in Briggs, about thirty minutes from headquarters, where more engineers regularly blast fire across the prairie.  Both facilities are part of Firefly Aerospace, a maker of unmanned spacecraft and rockets for launching satellites. Tom Markusic, the 49-year-old founder and CEO, has worked for ... more
  • 3 weeks Was Apollo 11 a Beginning or an End? Texasmonthly
    The plan seemed preposterous. John F. Kennedy was just 43 years old, and he’d been president of the United States for just four months—a rough four months. So far, his attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro had ended in quick and utter disaster at the Bay of Pigs, and the Soviet Union had beaten the U.S. to outer space, launching cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into orbit and bringing him home onto the Russian steppe. Now here was Kennedy, on the afternoon of May 25, 1961, in front of a joint session of Congress, offering up what his national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, ... more
  • 3 weeks From the Archives: After the Apollo Program Ended, NASA Settled on a New, Less Glamorous Mission Texasmonthly
    When the Shuttle Was Young By Gregory Curtis From “Behind the Lines,” originally published in January 1984 The glory of the space program is that in fifty years we have gone from setting off rockets with matches to sending up laboratories where six men can live for ten days and return to Earth as gently as a jetliner pulls into DFW. The shuttle’s takeoff is an exhilarating spectacle because it is incontrovertible proof that all the problems that stood in its way were solved by human energy and intelligence. Capitalizing on the Right Stuff By Helen Thorpe From “Can John ... more
  • 3 weeks Moon Rocks, Megabytes and Fruit Flies: Space, By the Numbers Texasmonthly
    0.5 Percent of the U.S. federal budget that currently goes to NASA. 17 Days the Apollo 11 astronauts were required to spend in medical quarantine after splashing back down to Earth. 2 Number of times the Apollo 12 mission’s Saturn V spacecraft was struck by lightning just after it was launched, on November 14, 1969. 340 Record for the most consecutive days a NASA astronaut—specifically, Scott Kelly—has spent in space. 665 Record for the most cumulative days a NASA astronaut—specifically, Peggy A. Whitson—has spent in space. 6 Number of U.S. flags that have been planted on the moon. 41 Time span, ... more
  • 3 weeks From the Archives: During the Space Race’s Early Days, Americans Dared to Do the Impossible—and Did. Texasmonthly
    The Road to Houston By Al Reinert From “So Long, Cosmic Cowboys,” originally published in March 1973 Back in 1961, Lyndon Johnson, then vice president and chairman of the Space Council, and Houston congressman Albert Thomas, chairman, as chance would have it, of the very same House Appropriations subcommittee that passed on the NASA budget, were both laboring on behalf of a Houston site, lobbying the members of NASA’s Site Selection Team who were searching about for a logical (or, barring that, profitable) location for their soon-to-be-funded Manned Spacecraft Center. “The road to the Moon,” Thomas reportedly told NASA administrator ... more
  • 3 weeks A Timeline of Space Exploration Texasmonthly
    4th century BC The Greek mathematician Archytas creates a wooden pigeon that is propelled by escaping steam, an early example of rocket technology.  2nd century AD The Syrian writer Lucian of Samosata publishes A True Story, a satirical novel that includes the first known fictional references to outer space travel. 1232 The Chinese become the first people to use gunpowder-fueled rockets for martial purposes. 1897 The Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky correctly theorizes that rockets can function in a vacuum, unlike other forms of propulsion.  Dr. Robert H. Goddard and his liquid-fueled rocket in the frame from which it was fired ... more
  • 3 weeks She Couldn’t Go to Space Because She Was a Woman. But She Hasn’t Given Up On Her Dream. Texasmonthly
    It would be important to remember the time, she thinks. She looks up at the clock just before she enters the room. 8:20. She tries to burn that number into her mind. 8:20. 8:20. She knows she won’t see a clock again for a while.  In the middle of the room is a tank, eight and a half feet deep and ten feet in diameter. The water inside it is exactly the same temperature as her body, so as she steps into it, she begins to lose sense of where she ends and the water begins. She’s wearing a very modest one-piece ... more
  • 3 weeks Why Does Presidio Have One of the Best High School Rocketry Clubs in the Country? Texasmonthly
    It’s possible to build a model rocket in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert, but those who live in the remote West Texas border town of Presidio face an extra challenge: the nearest Home Depot is nearly four hours away, in Odessa. So, Presidio High School’s rocketry club typically goes to the local Dollar Tree to purchase many of their rocket-building materials instead. Dish sponges and cardboard, petroleum jelly and duct tape—those are a few of the items that the group of Presidio teenagers bought for a few dollars during recent trips to the store. Once those household items were ... more
  • 3 weeks Texas Monthly’s New Owner Texasmonthly
    Texas Monthly has a new owner. Two and a half years after the award-winning publication was sold to Genesis Park, the Houston-based private equity firm founded by Paul Hobby, it has been purchased by Texas Monthly, LLC, a newly formed affiliate of Enterprise Products Company (EPCO), a privately held firm also based in Houston. The chairman of both Texas Monthly, LLC, and EPCO is Randa Duncan Williams. Williams will be Texas Monthly’s fourth owner since its founding by Mike Levy in 1973. Levy sold the magazine to Indiana-based Emmis Communications in 1998, and that company sold it in late 2016 ... more
  • 4 weeks Collection: Summer Travel 2019 Texasmonthly
    We’ve put together a number of options for you to get out and see the state—and often stay cool while you do it.View Original PostThe post Collection: Summer Travel 2019 appeared first on Texas Monthly. ... more
  • 4 weeks Texas Man Who Got Ten Years in Prison For a Deadly Car Crash Gets a Second Chance Texasmonthly
    James Fulton, who was sentenced to ten years in prison for killing a young woman in a Tyler car accident, will get a new punishment trial, the 12th Court of Appeals in Tyler ruled last week. The ruling by the three-justice panel sheds further light on a difficult legal and moral issue I wrote about in a March feature story: When Does an Accident Become a Crime? In May 2016, Fulton drove his truck head-on into a car driven by twenty-year-old Haile Beasley, killing her instantly. Police at the scene conducted a field sobriety test—Fulton admitted to drinking beer that ... more
  • 4 weeks Aaron Watson: “I Relate More to Johnny Cash Than to Billy Graham, But They Both Loved Them Some Jesus” Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple — Google Play — Stitcher — Spotify Two years ago, a Texas Monthly feature titled “The Underdog’s on Top” laid out Aaron Watson’s story: “The big Nashville labels turned him away, and the radio stations refused to play him at first. But now, with a number one album and the most loyal fan base around, Aaron Watson has become a country music sensation.” A more nuanced version of that story is at the center of this week’s National Podcast of Texas. Watson’s 2015 album indeed debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, making him the first male ... more
  • 4 weeks Take an Exclusive Look Inside H-E-B and Favor’s New East Austin Tech Hub Texasmonthly
    In February 2018, H-E-B acquired Austin-based food delivery startup Favor. Since then, both companies have grown in exactly the way that COO Martin Otto told Texas Monthly he hoped they would: Favor has grown from a little over 100 employees to nearly 350, while H-E-B has seen its delivery and curbside pickup services flourish. As H-E-B reinvents itself to operate more like a tech company, it’s moving both Favor and many of its own digital employees into a new space in East Austin on Monday. Favor CEO Jag Bath, who also took on the role of H-E-B chief digital officer after ... more
  • 4 weeks From the Horse’s Mouth, July 2019 Texasmonthly
    Early this year, I attended a memorial service for the celebrated Texas Monthly writer Al Reinert, who died last New Year’s Eve, at age 71. I didn’t know Al, but I had long been a fan of his work, especially his reporting on the space program. The service was held at Texas State University’s Wittliff Collections, in San Marcos, where Texas Monthly’s archives reside. It was attended by many veteran TM staffers and alumni, including this magazine’s first editor in chief, Bill Broyles, with whom Al cowrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for the Tom Hanks movie Apollo 13. Around the same ... more
  • 4 weeks A Eulogy for Alan Peppard, the Arbiter of Dallas Society Texasmonthly
    What follows is a eulogy delivered by Texas Monthly Executive Editor Skip Hollandsworth upon the death of his longtime friend, Alan Peppard. When Alan Peppard was a kid growing up on Stefani Drive in Preston Hollow, he had this idea that he was going to be a rock star. He took some guitar lessons at the Melody Shop—and he and a few classmates from his school, Greenhill, formed a band that they named Five Card Stud, a curious nomenclature considering that they were the least studly group of teenage boys ever assembled. Alan did much of the lead singing. When ... more
  • 4 weeks The Best Thing in Texas: Willie Nelson Performs a Guy Clark Tune on the ‘Tonight Show’ Texasmonthly
    Who: Willie Nelson What: Singing “My Favorite Picture of You” this week on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Why It’s So Great: It’s not often that you see one Texas legend singing a song written by another (Guy Clark) about a third (Susanna Clark, Guy’s wife). Nelson has said that “My Favorite Picture of You,” the title track of Guy Clark’s final album, might be his favorite tune on Ride Me Back Home, the 86-year-old Red Headed Stranger’s new release. It’s one of two Clark originals Nelson selected for this album consisting mostly of covers. While “Immigrant Eyes,” the other ... more
  • 4 weeks The Great Northern BBQ Road Trip Texasmonthly
    A barbecue road trip through the American South is hardly a challenge. Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas are rich in barbecue destinations. This summer I’m taking a different sort of barbecue road trip—from Minneapolis to Toronto and back. There’s plenty of smoked meat stalwarts to explore, but the expansion of barbecue’s popularity outside its traditional boundaries means there’s lots of new blood too. I’ll do my best to chronicle a little of both throughout the adventure.   WISCONSIN This trek technically begins in St. Paul, Minnesota, just sixteen miles shy of the Wisconsin border. I don’t know which states ... more
  • 4 weeks A Shaman, a Storyteller, a Joyful Boy From Blanco: Memories of Bill Wittliff Texasmonthly
    Writer, photographer, publisher, and champion of Texas culture Bill Wittliff died last week at the age of 79. He was laid to rest Thursday at a small family service at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. (A public celebration of his life is being planned, but no date for the event has yet been announced.) Wittliff is such a shining light in our state’s literary and artistic firmament that we thought publishing just one remembrance of his life wasn’t nearly enough, as beautifully written as John Spong’s tribute was. We reached out to a few of his friends and colleagues, ... more
  • 4 weeks How Did the Dallas Courthouse Gunman Get Radicalized? Texasmonthly
    On Monday morning, Brian Clyde, a 22-year-old who served two years in the Army, stalked outside of the Earl Cabell Federal Building in a black mask and body armor, a long knife, and a semiautomatic rifle with an array of high-capacity magazines. After firing shots at the facade of the building, Clyde was killed by federal agents. No one else was hurt. Clyde’s social media presence was similar to that of a number of mass shooters. He shared memes that contained references to “incels,” a subculture of men who declare themselves “involuntarily celibate” and who have proven themselves capable of ... more
  • 4 weeks The Best Texas Restaurants in Every City Texasmonthly
    Sit down at a table in any of these restaurants, and you can expect what we like to call a “big-deal meal”—and, in some cases, a real adventure. Across Texas, chefs are serving up thrilling combinations, from beef-tongue tamales to fish-mousse dumplings. To the brave among you: The Flora Street Café’s bone-marrow custard shimmers; Otoko’s jellyfish crunches. Less courageous diners, do not fear. You can appreciate the celery-seed crackers from afar as you feast on more traditional fare. We’ve culled these restaurants from the past three years of our “Where to Eat Now” lists. Whether the venue is minimalist, casual, ... more
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