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  • 1 day A Former Police Officer Finds His Calling with Lonestar Sausage & BBQ Texasmonthly
    Kevin Mason’s barbecue business began from the trunk of his patrol car. The Houston native was stuffing and smoking sausages at home, and then selling them to fellow Harris County sheriff’s department officers with their own coolers at the ready. Word spread, and more orders came in that required delivery to strangers. “I was always afraid to go back to the areas I patrolled to sell sausage,” Mason admits, but he never encountered a problem. Soon after, folks found him on Facebook and would peer into the large front window of his house looking for their fix. “I had ... more
  • 1 day Can Chip Roy Hold Off the Democratic Shift in Suburban San Antonio and Austin? Texasmonthly
    For years, the tantalizing prospect of Texas becoming a “purple” battleground state has motivated Democrats—who have had their hopes dashed in election after election. However, the 2018 midterms showed cracks in the GOP’s hold on the state, with Democrats picking up congressional seats in districts that were drawn by Republican mapmakers to be easy holds. Now polling suggests that 2020 could see further gains by Democrats. While all eyes are on the presidential campaign, and, er, some eyes are on the surprisingly low-profile Senate race between GOP incumbent John Cornyn and Democratic challenger MJ Hegar, the fiercest battles in ... more
  • 1 day Meet the One Ranger Who Made It to the World Series—The Team’s DJ Texasmonthly
    A lot of Michael Gruber’s sports dreams wound up coming true this season. Just not quite how he’d planned. Gruber—or Grubes, as he’s known to fans and on Twitter—has been the DJ for the Dallas Stars since 2013, and this season, the team made it all the way to the Stanley Cup final. Of course, all those games were played in Canada, where the NHL set up its playoff “bubble.” Forced to work remotely just like everybody else, Gruber made sure that Edmonton’s in-house DJ, Johnny Infamous, still gave fans watching in Texas a taste of home: Pantera’s “Puck ... more
  • 1 day Won’t You Say You Love a Dark ‘Barney’ Movie? Texasmonthly
    It’s been more than thirty years since Dallas teacher Sheryl Leach first created Barney the Dinosaur, though his legacy lives on in his earworm theme song and the involuntary tics his name still provokes in nineties parents. Like Barney’s former cast mates Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato, most of the kids who grew up learning the importance of living, loving, and laughing annoyingly from a purple T. rex are now adults themselves, and prone to nostalgic longing for anything that reminds them of when they were younger and happier. You can count actor Daniel Kaluuya among that backwards-looking Backyard ... more
  • 1 day Up Close With One of Texas’s Most Prized Playwrights in a New Documentary Texasmonthly
    When Horton Foote was six years old, he arrived home out of breath one afternoon, covered in dirt and sweat. Stunned, his mother listened as he described a most harrowing scene: a wild dog had chased him across a cotton field, and the town marshal—while on horseback—pulled him up and saved his life. When Foote’s father went to thank the marshal the following day, he had no idea what the man was talking about. “I wrote my first story,” the ninety-year-old Foote recalls with a smile in Anne Rapp’s new documentary, Horton Foote: The Road to Home. Foote spent ... more
  • 2 days From the Editor: Going Hollywood Texasmonthly
    In the past couple of years, Texas Monthly has worked to bring to other platforms the same vivid storytelling that we’ve long delivered through the written word. We’ve created podcasts, launched video series, and even set our sights on Hollywood—and I’m pleased to report that those efforts are paying off. Thanks to the talents of our editorial staff, the leadership of our editor of new story platforms, Megan Creydt, and the efforts of our friends at Creative Artists Agency, we have more than a dozen series and feature films in development. I’d like to tell you about a few of those. ... more
  • 2 days What Is NASA Going to Announce About the Moon? Texasmonthly
    On Wednesday afternoon, NASA interrupted the daily news cycle’s perpetual scroll of doom with some fun news: a “major announcement” is coming—about the moon! The announcement, the space agency said, would arrive the afternoon of Monday, October 26, giving everyone the opportunity to daydream about might be coming. Whatever it is, this news is especially exciting for Texans, since the moon is spiritually—if not geographically—a part of our great state. Legend has it that the first word spoken on the moon, as former Texas governor Rick Perry was fond of pointing out, was “Houston,” after all. (That story might ... more
  • 2 days ‘One by Willie,’ Episode 3: Alejandro Escovedo on ‘Half a Man’ Texasmonthly
    Singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo is almost surely the only artist to have shared bills with both Willie Nelson and the Sex Pistols. But while his West Coast punk rock roots in the seventies and longtime status as a hard-rocking, driving force on the Americana scene might suggest he has little in common with Willie, the opposite is true. He’s made his career through relentless touring and by sticking to his guns creatively, upending the expectations of fans, critics, and record labels alike. Does any of that sound familiar? Subscribe Apple Podcasts — Google Podcasts — Spotify — Stitcher On this ... more
  • 2 days How One State History Textbook Erases the Stories of Black and Hispanic Texans Texasmonthly
    No one grows up in Texas without internalizing the myth of our state’s exceptionalism in some way. I say “myth,” but that doesn’t mean that Texas is not, in fact, exceptional. I grew up here, and I’ll never not believe with my whole heart that Texas—even with all its contradictions and hypocrisy—is the best, coolest, toughest, most interesting state in all the USA. But as I got older, it became obvious that the legends upon which this initial belief was built—stories about the Old Three Hundred, the Texas Revolution, and the Republic of Texas that I learned in the ... more
  • 2 days Taco News Roundup: Dallas’s Taco Scene Is Booming Texasmonthly
    Perhaps in penance for releasing a pumpkin spice margarita earlier this month, Taco Cabana announced an inoffensive Enchilada Fest promotion with your choice of six new sauces: suiza, ranchero, green, Tex-Mex, sour cream, or queso. Dallas-area taquerias are really taking off: Basic Taco, Velvet Taco, and Itxa-Tacos all opened new locations within the last week or so. Taquero also returned at a new location, and Tejas in the Bishop Arts District reopened after a revamp. Because of the pandemic, the Taco Libre Dallas festival of tacos, lucha libre, and music has been postponed until April 17, 2021. The festival had ... more
  • 3 days Who Is Austin’s Citizen Police Academy Meant to Serve? Texasmonthly
    In the years after unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by a member of a neighborhood watch group in Florida in 2012, James Nortey, an attorney, felt called to get involved in his community in Austin. He began attending forums about policing, where he noticed that representatives from the Austin Police Department typically deflected when asked critical questions about the department’s use of force, encouraging those who asked them to sign up for the Citizen Police Academy. “That kind of gave them cover to avoid tough questions or give authentic answers,” Nortey said. So in September 2016, he ... more
  • 3 days Tour de Texas, Week 7: Tough Climbs and Spectacular Views in West Texas Texasmonthly
    I am almost 2,600 miles into my quest to circumnavigate Texas. This week was spent in the much-loved West Texas. It was great experiencing the vast and beautiful landscapes with friends and family. Without them, the mountainous miles would have been much more difficult. Rest Day in Marfa October 13, Distance: 0 Miles Last week ended with a surprise visit from my wife’s cousin, Anthony Galloway, and that is where things pick up this week on my rest day. Sure, I didn’t ride any miles, but we walked around plenty. We did our best to find shops or galleries ... more
  • 4 days “It’s the Most Outrageous Thing I’ve Ever Seen. It Makes No Sense.” Texasmonthly
    In his darkest hours, Lydell Grant would think back to the promise he’d made to his mother. Ever since arriving at the Hughes Unit, a maximum-security prison in Gatesville, just west of Waco, Grant had developed fanatical work habits. He rose each morning at 3 a.m. and did three hundred push-ups and 150 sit-ups. By 5:30 he was bent over a desk in the law library. He became a student of the U.S. Constitution and the Texas criminal code. He sent dozens of letters to defense lawyers, though most went unanswered. He filed at least eight motions and appeals ... more
  • 4 days Democrats Narrowly Lost the Twenty-fourth Congressional District in 2018. Can Candace Valenzuela Win It in This Cycle? Texasmonthly
    For years, the tantalizing prospect of Texas becoming a “purple” battleground state has motivated Democrats—who have had their hopes dashed in election after election. However, the 2018 midterms showed cracks in the GOP’s hold on the state, with Democrats picking up congressional seats in districts that were drawn by Republican mapmakers to be easy holds. Now polling suggests that 2020 could see further gains by Democrats. While all eyes are on the presidential campaign, and, er, some eyes are on the surprisingly low-profile Senate race between GOP incumbent John Cornyn and Democratic challenger MJ Hegar, the fiercest battles in ... more
  • 4 days Texas Has More Early Voters Than Any Other State Texasmonthly
    As of Tuesday afternoon, 4,706,398 Texans had cast a ballot in the first seven days of early voting. They represent almost a quarter of the state’s registered voters, and nearly half of the total number of voters in the 2016 election. There are a lot of things we can conclude from that turnout, and even more that we cannot, including, alas, who those voters are casting their ballots for. We can conclude that enthusiasm is high, and we can tell that some parts of the state—Harris, Denton, and Galveston counties, for example—have seen huge spikes in turnout relative to ... more
  • 4 days A Museum Show in Houston Is Shelved, and the Texas Art Community Cries Foul Texasmonthly
    Can museum audiences, or museums themselves, be trusted with potentially traumatic, inflammatory, and divisive imagery? When is it a museum’s role to provide context about provocative art—and why is it seemingly such a daunting task? Who gets to make and display paintings about the Ku Klux Klan? These questions and more have become flash points of debate in the American art world in recent weeks, as controversy has swirled around the four-year delay of a much-awaited retrospective exhibition of work by the late American artist Philip Guston. The four participating museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), ... more
  • 4 days Mathew Knowles Helped Make Beyoncé a Superstar. Now He Wants to Share His “Secret Sauce.” Texasmonthly
    Earlier this month, Mathew Knowles posted a clip on Instagram of a scene from Project Popstar, a contest run in the early 2000s by his company, Music World Entertainment. The talent search aimed to identify the next iteration of Destiny’s Child—the superstar girl group that Knowles managed and that included his daughter Beyoncé—among a vast crowd of Houston’s homegrown talent.  In the grainy scene, which unfolds in a mirrored dance studio, Knowles, wearing a baggy dress shirt and jeans, commands each of his teenage-ish contestants to publicly eliminate three people from the burgeoning girl group—right there, on the spot, ... more
  • 5 days Dining Guide: Highlights From Our November 2020 Issue Texasmonthly
    Texas Monthly adds and updates approximately sixty restaurant listings to our Dining Guide each month. There’s limited space in the print issue, but the entire searchable guide to the best of Texas cuisine is at your fingertips online! Below are a few highlights from the new restaurants reviewed in our November 2020 issue. Click “More Info” for further detail on each restaurant: Houston Bludorn Superstar chef marries a daughter of the local Pappas restaurant family, quits NYC for Houston, and opens an eponymous restaurant—great news in the midst of COVID-19. Order this to go: tender squash blossoms filled with creamy basil-tinted ricotta and topped with ... more
  • 5 days Recipe: Instant Pot Queso Mac and Cheese Texasmonthly
    I had three goals for my Instant Pot queso macaroni and cheese: make it easy, make it cheesy, make it Texas as heck. And for that I turned to breakfast sausage, a go-to queso meat choice for tailgaters and a favorite “secret” queso ingredient for slow cookers across the state. If this sounds like an odd choice to you, don’t worry—the final product doesn’t taste particularly breakfast-y. Instead, the sausage flavor matches the spice and cheese quite nicely. There are a few reasons to cook your macaroni and cheese in the Instant Pot other than ease (although it is ... more
  • 5 days Tom Brown’s Body, Chapter 4: Lake Marvin Road Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple Podcasts — Google Podcasts — Spotify — Stitcher One day in mid-January, 2017, a worker for an electric company was on a lonely farm-to-market road east of Canadian. The route is known among locals as Lake Marvin Road because it leads directly to the reservoir, fourteen miles away. The man spied something unusual: a black-and-red backpack in an upright position, four to five feet from the road, behind a barbed wire fence and under a clump of hackberry trees. He didn’t think much of it, but later, after hearing reports about the case of Tom Brown, he ... more
  • 5 days Welcome to Battleground Texas Texasmonthly
  • 5 days The Best Thing in Texas: An Austin Teen Is One of the First Girls in the Nation to Earn the Rank of Eagle Scout Texasmonthly
    WHO: Austin teen Abby Winkelman WHAT: She’s one of the first girls in Texas to earn the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America. WHY IT’S SO GREAT: In February 2019, when the Boy Scouts of America changed its name to Scouts BSA and announced that girls could join the organization for the first time in its 108-year history, Winkelman, then thirteen, was ecstatic. Having accompanied her older brother on camping trips and other scouting events since he was in the Cub Scouts, she’d always been jealous of the climbing, fishing, and welding he got to ... more
  • 5 days The Fajita Burger at Ninfa’s Is One of the Best in Texas—and It Came to a Chef in a Dream Texasmonthly
    On a recent trip to Houston, I told a friend that I’d never been to Ninfa’s, the Tex-Mex institution acclaimed for popularizing fajitas. My friend, a native of Mexico City who was raised in San Antonio but has made a career in food events and publishing in Houston, gasped. “How have you not been to Ninfa’s?” She promptly drove us straight to the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation. There, at her insistence, I ordered the fajita burger. As soon as I took the first bite, I immediately regretted not stopping by sooner. It’s one of the best burgers I’ve ever ... more
  • 6 days A Houston Suburb’s Mayoral Race Has Become a Texas Bellwether Texasmonthly
    It took only a brief mention of public health during an online forum in late September to reveal the partisan influences at work in the officially nonpartisan mayoral election in Pearland, a fast-growing suburb south of Houston. When candidate Quentin Wiltz noted the value of contact tracing to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, online commenters pounced: “Contact tracing? WTH guy. No thanks,” wrote one observer. “You are OK with contact tracing typical democrat,” offered another, even though neither candidate had mentioned party affiliation. (Some Republicans around the country have objected to contact tracing—which seeks to locate ... more
  • 6 days The Late Johnny Bush on How He Wrote Willie Nelson’s Perennial Show Opener, ‘Whiskey River’ Texasmonthly
    It was one of the cruelest jokes the country music fates ever played on a performer, in this case a journeyman Texas dance hall musician on the verge of becoming a national superstar. By the time Johnny Bush died Friday in his longtime home of San Antonio of complications from pneumonia at age 85, he’d had a long, admirable career on the commercial margins of the country music industry. But back in 1972, the Houston native was racing up the charts with his first major-label single, a song he’d recently written titled “Whiskey River.” At that time, he was ... more
  • 1 week Diedrick Brackens’ New Exhibition Mythologizes Blackness and Queerness Texasmonthly
    The visual artist Diedrick Brackens was born in Mexia in 1989. The small city, which has a population of about 7,500, is home to many members of Brackens’ extended family; although his immediate family moved around for his father’s job in the military, his parents wanted to maintain a connection to their family and Texas. No matter where Brackens and his family lived, he spent every summer of his childhood, and many in his adulthood, returning to Mexia—a place that now frequently informs his woven tapestries. For Brackens, weaving is a form of language that evolves during every step ... more
  • 1 week The Early Voting Numbers in Texas Are Bonkers. Here’s What That Does and Doesn’t Tell Us. Texasmonthly
    For Democrats trying to explain how they can win in Texas, the line has long been that it’s not a Republican state, it’s a non-voting state. The second half of that claim has been true historically: Texas has routinely brought up the rear on lists of states ranked by voter participation. But 2020 is setting up to be the year where that changes. As of Thursday evening—that is, after just three days of early voting—a whopping 2.63 million Texans had cast their ballots, either in person or by mail, for the November 3 election. That’s more than 15 percent ... more
  • 1 week Selena Gomez Could Be Your Next Scream Queen Texasmonthly
    It’s been nearly a decade since Selena Gomez last dabbled in the dark arts, when the end of Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place finally released the Grand Prairie star from the binding spell of child stardom. She’s had a few dances with evil since then: playing a vampire’s daughter in the Hotel Transylvania franchise; grappling with zombies in Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die; dating Justin Bieber. But now she’s set to make her first genuine foray into horror as the producer and likely star of Dollhouse, a thriller that could tap into a side of Gomez not seen since ... more
  • 1 week Texas Monthly Recommends: A Cozy, Retro Stay in Terlingua Texasmonthly
    Tin Valley Retro Rental At Tin Valley Retro Rentals, just outside of Terlingua, recycled old school buses, cars, and trailers are renovated to make for a cozy stay. This campground, located between an open desert in the middle of a small mountain range, is equipped with an outdoor pool, showers, barbecue grills, and Wi-Fi at the more upscale rentals. My favorite part of staying here, though, was meeting Sampson, the campground’s pet donkey. If you’re looking for an unconventional getaway in West Texas, I can’t speak of it highly enough. —Kathia Ramirez, art assistant    The blend of languages, ... more
  • 1 week After Offensive Comments, Stan Richards Leaves His Dallas Ad Agency Texasmonthly
    Stan Richards, founder of the Richards Group, the country’s largest independent advertising and marketing agency, has had a reputation sharply at odds with the depiction of admen in movies and TV series such as Mad Men. He’s no three-martini-lunch Don Draper. Described by some as a “drill sergeant,” the executive starts each day with a bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries. He often could be seen on an indoor cycling bike at the agency’s sleek headquarters building in the Uptown neighborhood of Dallas, where he insisted that his employees report to work each morning by 8:30 a.m. sharp. Yet ... more
  • 1 week Lizzie Fletcher’s 2018 Victory in TX-7 Proved Democrats Could Win in the Texas Suburbs. Can the GOP Take the Seat Back? Texasmonthly
    For years, the tantalizing prospect of Texas becoming a “purple” battleground state has motivated Democrats—who have had their hopes dashed in election after election. However, the 2018 midterms showed cracks in the GOP’s hold on the state, with Democrats picking up congressional seats in districts that were drawn by Republican mapmakers to be easy holds. Now polling suggests that 2020 could see further gains by Democrats. While all eyes are on the presidential campaign, and, er, some eyes are on the surprisingly low-profile Senate race between GOP incumbent John Cornyn and Democratic challenger MJ Hegar, the fiercest battles in ... more
  • 1 week Why UT’s Administration Is Digging in Its Heels on ‘The Eyes of Texas’ Texasmonthly
    On Saturday, despite staging a thrilling four-overtime near-comeback, the University of Texas Longhorns football team lost its second straight game to an unranked rival. At a Monday press conference, in addition to speaking to the team’s shortcomings on the field against Oklahoma, head coach Tom Herman addressed another controversy surrounding the Longhorns: the ongoing debate over the school song, “The Eyes of Texas.” In June, dozens of UT athletes signed a letter asking the university to address racist aspects of its history by, among other things, changing its spirit song to something without the troubled history of “The Eyes ... more
  • 1 week “One by Willie,” Episode 2: Lyle Lovett on “Hello Walls” Texasmonthly
    Lyle Lovett first heard “Hello Walls” as a kid growing up in tiny Klein, Texas. On this episode, the four-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter talks about that song, Willie’s first No. 1 country song as a songwriter, which leads him to reflect on the solitary nature of songwriting, the big wet kiss of gratitude that Willie planted on Faron Young—the singer who spent nine weeks at No. 1 with “Hello Walls” back in 1961—and the time Lyle recorded another Willie song with the great Al Green. Subscribe Apple Podcasts — Google Podcasts — Spotify — Stitcher We’ve created an Apple Music ... more
  • 1 week Why the University of Texas Shouldn’t Fire Tom Herman Texasmonthly
    DeLoss Dodds saw this coming. In early 2013, Mack Brown’s Longhorns had just finished a 9–4 campaign, including a 63–21 shellacking at the hands of Oklahoma, plus a pair of Big 12 season-ending losses, to TCU and Kansas State. But when it came to the notion of getting a new football coach, the University of Texas athletic director reckoned that the FieldTurf wasn’t always greener. “Look at the programs that made changes,” Dodds told the Austin American-Statesman’s Kirk Bohls, referencing other big-name schools where long-successful coaches had seemed to reach their expiration date. “Lloyd Carr at Michigan, Phil Fulmer ... more
  • 1 week I’ll Be Missing ’Cue: Saluting Joints That Are Gone but Not Forgotten Texasmonthly
    I heard just a few days ago that Neely’s, in Marshall, has closed for good. It has changed ownership several times over the years, but Neely’s has been serving its signature Brown Pig pork barbecue sandwiches for more than ninety years. Not much has changed about the sandwich, and it’s hard to imagine a new restaurant adding a similar one—topped with an unlikely trio of lettuce, mayonnaise, and barbecue sauce—to its menu. The Brown Pig was a holdover from the days of the Pig Sandwich served at Pig Stand drive-ins across Texas and the country. Besides Mary Ann’s Pig ... more
  • 1 week How Beekeeper Erika Thompson Became the Queen Bee of Pastoral TikTok Texasmonthly
    A few years ago, when Erika Thompson was living in Austin, she came across a dove languishing on the sidewalk. She scooped the dove up, took him home, and nursed him back to health. Thompson hoped to release him into the wild when he was ready, but he refused to fly. The dove, Lime, now perches on the back of one of Thompson’s dogs, a wiry mutt named Shelby. “We think Lime likes the fur,” Thompson says, watching the pair serenely for a few seconds. The cross-species harmony is broken when Thompson’s husband, Andrew Hollister, suddenly opens their house’s ... more
  • 1 week BBQ News Roundup: Want to Buy a Top 50 Barbecue Joint? Texasmonthly
    “Umur Panjang Nenek Barbeque” is the headline on an Indonesian article in Jambi Ekspres about Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ in Lexington. It loosely translates to “the longevity of granny barbecue.” In an interview for the docuseries ReOpen, which explores how restaurants are surviving the pandemic, Aaron Franklin urged diners and restaurateurs alike to be kind. “Don’t be a jerk to people, man,” he said. “Everybody’s having a hard time. Have some empathy. Just care about people.” Patrick “Jube” Joubert of Jube’s Smokehouse in Fort Worth can’t explain why his place got so popular so quickly, but he’s not ... more
  • 1 week Tour de Texas, Week 6: The Underrated Beauty of the Guadalupe Mountains Texasmonthly
    This week presented me with a number of challenges in the form of dangerous roads, epic climbs, and high winds, but it also took me places I’d never been before. El Paso may be my new favorite Texas city, and I can’t wait to bring my kids to Guadalupe Mountains National Park—one of the nation’s least-visited national parks, and home to the four highest peaks in Texas—after spending one night there. My brother-in-law, Javier, continued traveling with me as my coach, cheerleader, support crew, and cook. Late in the week we were joined by another family member from California. ... more
  • 1 week Don’t Call Texas’s Latino Voters the “Sleeping Giant” Texasmonthly
    If you ask him to check a box, Peter Guzman considers himself a Democrat. Yet though he is now thirty years old, he has voted only twice in his life. In 2008, as a senior at McCollum High School on San Antonio’s South Side, where he and his family have lived for several generations, he heard an assembly lecture about the importance of voting. Inspired by the talk, and having just turned eighteen, he voted for Barack Obama, since the charismatic senator from Chicago was promising change. Over the next eight years, even as Obama went up for a ... more
  • 1 week From the Editor, November 2020: “BBQ, Boots—and Ballots” Texasmonthly
    Whenever we publish a cover package on politics, we can count on some of our readers to urge that we stick to stories on barbecue and boots, “the way Texas Monthly used to do.” We get that suggestion from Democrats when we put Beto O’Rourke or Wendy Davis on the cover of our annual Bum Steers issue. We get the same suggestion from some Republicans when we cast a critical eye on Governor Greg Abbott or House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. Most of our longtime readers know that we have, in fact, held public officials and political candidates accountable since ... more
  • 1 week Are Japanese Tacos the Next Big Thing in Texas? Texasmonthly
    Japanese restaurant Edoko Omakase opened in Irving’s upscale Las Colinas suburb just days before the statewide shutdown of dining rooms in March and remained closed until pandemic restrictions loosened in May. As soon as I safely could, I reserved a patio table at the eatery, which offers a seven-course omakase tasting (meaning the chef chooses the menu) as well as à la carte selections. But I wasn’t there for the sushi and sashimi combos. I was there for the tacos. I ordered four, each starring a different main filling on a lightly grilled corn tortilla: pink-and-white-striped Scottish salmon belly ... more
  • 1 week How Venny Etienne’s Jacket for Beyoncé Inspired His Latest Collection Texasmonthly
    Dallas fashion designer Venny Etienne draws from both the strong and soft aspects of femininity in his work—look no further than the custom blazer he made for Beyoncé to wear in her Black Is King visual album, which was released this summer. “It’s a great combination of my DNA and what I appreciate,” says the 33-year-old former Project Runway contestant (he made it to the final seven in the seventeenth season of the Bravo show). A cross between a military coat and a sundress, with exaggerated shoulders and a floral pattern, the yellow garment inspired the designer to build ... more
  • 1 week Why Quinn Mason, a 24-Year-Old Composer From Dallas, May Be Classical Music’s Next Superstar Texasmonthly
    Thirteen years ago, a class of fifth graders filed into the library of Onesimo Hernandez elementary school, in Dallas, for a short Career Day presentation—a tradition that inspires often unpredictable reactions in the under-twelve set. As the students settled into their seats, the Dallas Opera Orchestra’s principal oboist, Rogene Russell, smiled at the squirming audience and began to play her instrument. Straight away, an eleven-year-old boy blurted out the name of the work, as naturally as if it were basic arithmetic: “Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony!” he said. Russell was surprised that a youngster recognized the piece; she did this sort ... more
  • 1 week Texas Will Be Turning Blue Any Second Now Texasmonthly
    Have countless people over the past two decades prematurely predicted the imminent victory of Democrats in Texas? Yes. Is it possible that some people are making the same mistake today? Also yes. 2002 “[Texas] never was a Republican state. It’s just a Bush state.” —Former Democratic Texas comptroller John Sharp 2002 “Over the next decade, a Democratic presidential candidate could also win the electoral votes of Georgia, Tennessee, and, yes, even Texas.” —Authors John Judis and Ruy Teixeira 2008 “I don’t know if it’s four years or eight years off, but down the road, Texas will be a presidential ... more
  • 1 week Has Texas Developed Its Own Style of Bourbon? Texasmonthly
    With the recent explosion of the American craft whiskey industry, a wide range of whiskeys have found their way onto retail shelves across the country. With more than 130 spirits distilleries in the state (including whiskey, vodka, gin, and more), Texas now sits among the top five states in number of distilleries alongside California, New York, Washington, and Colorado. But aside from its sheer size, Texas stands out from among the rest for its climate. No one here needs reminding that the weather in the Lone Star State throughout the year fluctuates on a spectrum of hot and humid. ... more
  • 1 week This Year, Our Family’s Día de los Muertos Altar Will Memorialize Those Who Have Died from Coronavirus Texasmonthly
    Other than a few framed photos of family and friends who had passed away over the years, there wasn’t much in the way of decorations when my family set up our first Día de los Muertos altar. Later came the banner of papel picado, and the year after that tiny sugar skulls. But no matter how our family altar has changed, it always begins with the same centerpiece—a grapefruit—that takes us back to a faraway memory of how it all began. It’s 1938 and my father is a young man. He lives in Donna, just a few miles north ... more
  • 1 week Can a Bernie-Style Democrat Unseat Longtime Republican Representative Michael McCaul in TX-10? Texasmonthly
    For years, the tantalizing prospect of Texas becoming a “purple” battleground state has motivated Democrats—who have had their hopes dashed in election after election. However, the 2018 midterms showed cracks in the GOP’s hold on the state, with Democrats picking up congressional seats in districts that were drawn by Republican mapmakers to be easy holds. Now polling suggests that 2020 could see further gains by Democrats. While all eyes are on the presidential campaign, and, er, some eyes are on the surprisingly low-profile Senate race between GOP incumbent John Cornyn and Democratic challenger MJ Hegar, the fiercest battles in ... more
  • 1 week Where to Find Fall’s True Colors in Texas Texasmonthly
    How lucky are we?” I can’t count how many times my park pal and I, enchanted by yet another of Texas’s wonderful, wild places, have said that to each other. Alas, this year, this annus horribilis, we have had fewer opportunities to do so, since we, like everyone else, have spent most of our days within the slightly-less-wonderful confines of our respective four walls. But we were certainly feeling fortunate around this time last year, when we hit the road for Lost Maples State Natural Area, outside of Vanderpool, a little less than two hours northwest of San Antonio. ... more
  • 1 week Meanwhile, in Texas: An Abilene Man Used a Golf Club to Fish a Snake out of His Toilet Texasmonthly
    An Abilene man used a golf club to fish a bull snake out of his toilet and then released the reptile in his backyard. To commemorate the wedding date they had set before the pandemic postponed their nuptials, a Temple couple staged a “goofy” funeral-themed photo shoot at a Whataburger. The Department of Justice charged a Houston man with bank and wire fraud for allegedly spending COVID-19 relief funds on a Lamborghini and at strip clubs. The online bidding war for a San Antonio woman’s vintage Selena T-shirt hit $5,100. Nueces County drug agents discovered nearly $1 million worth of ... more
  • 2 weeks Even if Trump Wins Texas, the GOP Is Facing a Historical Reckoning Texasmonthly
    On paper, at least, Genevieve Collins would seem to be an ideal recruit for the Thirty-second Congressional District, a swath of Dallas and its suburbs that has long been a Republican stronghold. She’s young (34), well funded, and a native of the area who graduated from Highland Park High School and Southern Methodist University. She works at an education technology firm owned by her father, Richard Collins, a mega-wealthy Dallas investment manager and lavish GOP donor. A former college athlete who walks with a swagger, she possesses the toothy verve of a woman who has never encountered failure. Collins ... more
  • 2 weeks Three Good Texas Book Festival Reads Texasmonthly
    Memorial Bryan Washington, Riverhead Books, October 27 Narrated in alternating sections by Mike and Benson, a mixed-race couple living in Houston’s Third Ward, Washington’s first novel explores love, forgiveness, estranged parents, and the power of meals to connect people. (In addition to penning fiction, Washington frequently writes about food for the New Yorker.) The story picks up soon after the two men have a fight; Mike flies to Osaka to visit his dying father, leaving Benson to manage his own father’s worsening alcoholism. Like Lot, Washington’s acclaimed 2019 debut collection of Houston-set short stories, Memorial brims with subtle moments ... more
  • 2 weeks November 2020: Roar of the Crowd Texasmonthly
    We’ll Pass The article “The Quest for Better Beef” [September 2020] is a war against Texas, written by a native New Yorker on your staff. Texas Monthly should be renamed Manhattan Monthly. Some of the largest, oldest, and most famous ranches in the world are in Texas. I raise cattle, and their flatulence is nothing compared to farting horses. Why don’t the Texas Monthlys of the world want to rid the planet of horses and eliminate all the nasty equine gas? Sam Parsons, Forest, Virginia End of the Line I read your article about Luby’s [“Luby’s, LuAnn Platters, and ... more
  • 2 weeks Sixteen Candidates on Policing and the Black Lives Matter Movement Texasmonthly
    U.S. Senate John Cornyn (R) vs. MJ Hegar (D) Hegar supports reforming qualified immunity, which protects police from many civil suits, and creating a national database of police misconduct. During a June debate, her runoff opponent, state senator Royce West, suggested that both she and Cornyn were afraid to explicitly say “Black Lives Matter.” She shot back, “We need to vote in leaders that, yes, absolutely acknowledge that Black lives matter.” Cornyn receives the seventh-most funding from police-affiliated groups of any U.S. senator. In a June op-ed, he acknowledged the existence of “systemic problems” in policing and voiced support ... more
  • 2 weeks The Biggest Fight in the State? Control Over the Texas House. Texasmonthly
    All eyes are on the presidential election, but in Texas the biggest story may be control of the state House. Democrats need to pick up 9 of 150 seats to take over the lower chamber of the Legislature, which they haven’t controlled since 2003. Helped by Barack Obama in 2008, the party came within 2 seats of a majority. If the GOP keeps the House, it can draw new legislative and congressional maps with few checks. If the Democrats take over, they will have a shot at avoiding the kind of extreme gerrymandering that has kept them on the ... more
  • 2 weeks Remember That Time a Nuclear Weapons Bunker Blew Up in San Antonio? Texasmonthly
    On the clear, cool morning of November 13, 1963, a convoy flanked by blue Air Force police cars with flashing lights turned off the tarmac at Kelly Air Force Base, southwest of downtown San Antonio. It wound its way carefully across Interstate 410 and into the neighboring Lackland Air Force Base’s Medina Annex, slowly passing a neighborhood made up of new ranch homes. At the center of the convoy, an ungainly vehicle called a straddle carrier, whose driver sat in a cab high above the roadway, held precious cargo slung between its four wheeled legs. The vehicle resembled a giant ... more
  • 2 weeks Being a Houston Astros Fan in 2020 Is Complicated Texasmonthly
    Are the Houston Astros winners or losers? They won their first two playoff matchups—but they lost more games than they won in the regular season. The team still has a World Series trophy—but they lost the hearts of baseball fans everywhere when their cheating scandal was revealed last November. Looking back on a messy year, the Astros have prompted more questions than answers, and they have more haters than fans. With their worst winning percentage since 2014, the Astros squeaked into this year’s playoffs (expanded from ten teams to sixteen as a result of COVID-19). The most hated team ... more
  • 2 weeks Tom Brown’s Body, Chapter 3: “Evil Has Come to Canadian, Texas” Texasmonthly
    Subscribe Apple Podcasts — Google Podcasts — Spotify — Stitcher “So, let’s go to the beginning of the Thomas Brown case,” Philip Klein told me when I went to see him at his office in Nederland, east of Houston. The private investigator leaned back in his leather chair. “It’s a hell of a case. And I can tell you a hundred of these cases that we’ve done that you would go, Oh, my God. ” The 61-year-old Klein is a big guy, six feet six inches tall and 230 pounds, with an outsized personality to match. He’s cocksure, with a ... more
  • 2 weeks Virtual or Viral? Candidates Face Tough Choices About How to Campaign During a Pandemic. Texasmonthly
    The white, one-story house on a south San Antonio cul-de-sac practically screams, “A Republican lives here!” The Dodge Ram 1500 in the driveway sports a bumper sticker proclaiming that “The Second Amendment Is My Gun Permit,” and decorations with the insignias of the U.S. Army and the San Antonio Fire Department adorn an exterior wall. An American flag flying in the yard is black and white, except for a single blue stripe: the thin blue line symbolizing support for law enforcement. It’s a sizzling August afternoon, and Tony Gonzales, a Republican running for the open seat in Texas’s Twenty-third ... more
  • 2 weeks Dozier’s Has Been Making Traditional Texas Barbecue for 63 Years. Under New Pitmaster Jim Buchanan, It’s Even Better. Texasmonthly
    Jim and Colleen Buchanan have been smacked down by the restaurant industry more than once. The couple’s first barbecue operation was supposed to open in Houston in 2018. They rushed to finish the kitchen for an August opening, then watched helplessly as all that work was submerged under the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey. The restaurant never opened. Persevering, Jim partnered with the Houston bar Lucky’s Lodge for recurring pop-ups to bide his time until an opportunity for a new restaurant presented itself. The Buchanans moved to Galveston and opened Buck’s there last August, but were forced to close less than ... more
  • 2 weeks As ‘Dazed and Confused’ Gets Older, the Spirit of the Film Stays the Same Texasmonthly
    In a move that ended up being quite fitting for the occasion, I totally spaced on the start time for the Dazed and Confused live reading last night and logged on almost 45 minutes late. Fortunately for me, it hadn’t gotten very far. I signed on during Mitch’s Friday-night baseball game—right before he gets paddled­—and though I was momentarily disoriented because Ashton Kutcher­, not Ben Affleck, was reading all of Fred O’Bannion’s lines, I very quickly started to enjoy myself. Dazed and Confused is just such a familiar movie. Affleck might have been absent, but on the screen next ... more
  • 2 weeks Wendy Davis Is a Feminist Icon. Chip Roy Is a Ted Cruz Protégé. What’s a Swing District to Do? Texasmonthly
    Hi, beautiful friend,” Wendy Davis cooed to Connie Britton as soon as Davis joined the Friday Night Lights actress’s Instagram livestream. It was August 6, and Britton was hosting the former state senator as part of #TeamJoeTalks, a Joe Biden initiative to mobilize celebrities and their social media platforms during an election cycle in which we’re all encouraged to stay inside our homes. The two feminist icons have a natural rapport; they’ve been friends and allies since Davis’s famous 2013 filibuster in the Texas Senate temporarily halted a sweeping anti-abortion bill, after which Britton launched a line of “What ... more
  • 2 weeks Watch an Animated Rendering of Willie Nelson from the All-Virtual Austin City Limits Music Festival Texasmonthly
    If not for the pandemic, this weekend, nearly 75,000 people a day would have gathered in Austin’s Zilker Park for the second weekend of the 2020 Austin City Limits Music Festival. Instead, it’s being presented virtually, as a three-day livestream mixing classic festival performances and new content recorded without audiences.  And if not for the pandemic, Willie Nelson would surely be stepping onstage somewhere this weekend for another date (or three?) on what’s essentially a never-ending tour. Instead, Wille’s been off the bus since March and is safely holed up at home. “It’s frustrating,” he told me a few ... more
  • 2 weeks Hollywood, Texas: ‘Dazed and Confused’ Cast to Reunite Online, Online, Online Texasmonthly
    One of the seminal lessons of Dazed and Confused—besides the timeless importance of playing it cool—is that the older you get, the more rules they try to get you to follow. The best we can do is follow our hearts, keep a little change in our pockets, and exert some measure of control over our own lives whenever possible, like voting for the people who write those rules in the first place. This is especially crucial in an era when it seems more difficult than ever to just keep livin’—and that’s why the Dazed cast is coming back to ... more
  • 2 weeks Willie: A Special Project Texasmonthly
    “According to my grandmother,” Willie Nelson once said, “the definition of music is anything that’s pleasing to the ear. Once I learned that, I quit thinking about it.” That’s a perfect Willie quote. It touches on family and music, the two things that matter to him most. Like the songs he’s written, it’s clean, short, and simple on its face, with a dose of his signature everyman humility. Since 1962, Willie has recorded an astounding 143 albums in just about every genre but hip-hop and heavy metal. If you’ve ever wondered why he has ranged so widely, the quote ... more
  • 2 weeks Get Lost in the Woods at These Five Magical Texas Treehouses Texasmonthly
    From a spiraling outdoor staircase high above the rest of the world to a lofty château fit for royalty, Texas’s growing number of ornate and offbeat luxury treehouses inspire a sense of awe you could only dream of as a kid.  Eight months into a pandemic that continues to upend life as we know it, secluded vacation rentals have become increasingly attractive to Texans suffering from wanderlust and in need of a literal shift in point of view. As travelers flock to the countryside for a night or two under the canopy, they’re finally able to reacquaint themselves with ... more
  • 2 weeks Recipe: Huevos Rancheros Grits Casserole From ‘Tailgreat’ Texasmonthly
    Much like college football itself, John Currence’s new cookbook almost didn’t happen this year. Tailgreat: How to Crush It at Tailgating had already been announced when the coronavirus became a global pandemic in March. “There’s not going to be any football,” Currence’s agent predicted at the time. “There’s not going to be any tailgating.” What was the point of publishing a book designed to be, as Currence puts it, “a road map to doing a tailgate that’s a little more adventurous,” if there weren’t tents and grills and batched cocktails in parking lots? In the end, however, Currence and ... more
  • 2 weeks “One by Willie,” Episode 1: Margo Price on “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” Texasmonthly
    In our inaugural episode of “One by Willie,” a podcast celebrating the life and music of Willie Nelson, Grammy-nominated Americana singer-songwriter Margo Price takes a look at Willie’s number-one country hit from 1980, “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.” With senior editor John Spong, she explores the difference between writing a sad song and feeling the need to just sit and listen to one. From there, she goes on to describe what it was like to record a duet with Willie one of her own sad songs—and relays a dirty joke she learned from Willie himself.  Subscribe Apple ... more
  • 2 weeks Taco News Roundup: Pumpkin Spice Margaritas May Be the Scariest Thing This Halloween Texasmonthly
    Chilaquil, a San Antonio food truck specializing in chilaquiles, opened a second location on Wednesday in the Pearl district’s food hall. In a truly horrifying update, Taco Cabana is now serving a pumpkin spice margarita. If this is what it takes to get the beloved Tex-Mex chain through the pandemic, we’ll let it go. But this is as far as we’re going. San Antonio’s Mixtli served its final meal in its original freight car location. The modernist Mexican restaurant will reopen in a larger space in San Antonio’s Southtown this winter. In more Mixtli news, co-owners and executive chefs ... more
  • 2 weeks The Texanist: What Would the World Be Like if Willie Nelson Had Never Happened? Texasmonthly
    Q: You know that old Willie Nelson song “Pretend I Never Happened”? It starts with the couplet that goes, “Pretend I never happened / And erase me from your mind.” Well, it got me wondering: What would the world be like if Willie Nelson had never happened? Simon Hernandez, Austin A: Though the Texanist is generally known to be a man of boundless good cheer, even he has occasional spells during which his spirits can flag a bit, and it’s in such moments that deep existential questions tend to pop into his head. Questions such as “What if bluebonnets ... more
  • 2 weeks Why We Need Willie Nelson Now, More Than Ever Texasmonthly
    “According to my grandmother,” Willie Nelson once said, “the definition of music is anything that’s pleasing to the ear. Once I learned that, I quit thinking about it.” That’s a perfect Willie quote. It touches on family and music, the two things that matter to him most. Like the songs he’s written, it’s clean, short, and simple on its face, with a dose of his signature everyman humility. Since 1962, Willie has recorded an astounding 143 albums in just about every genre but hip-hop and heavy metal. If you’ve ever wondered why he has ranged so widely, the quote ... more
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